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WASHINGTON 25, D. C., 7 January 1944. TM 27-251, Treaties Governing Land Warfare, is published for the information and guidance of all concerned.
(A. G. 300.7 (11 Oct 43).]
BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR:
G. C. MARSHALL,
Chief of Staff
The Adjutant General.
This manual is intended to serve as a supplement to FM 27-10, Rules of Land Warfare. The treaties and international conventions referred to therein are here given in full in the original French text together with an English translation, except the Hague Declaration No. XIV of 18 October 1907 prohibiting the discharge of projectiles and explosives from balloons. (The United States has stated it will not observe this Declaration, none of the other belligerents being bound thereby.) It will be noted that the French text is the only official text so far as the international relations of states are concerned; and accordingly, in case of dispute as to the meaning of any provision, it is the French text which must be accepted as controlling. Though the English translation is, in general, believed to be correct, no translation can always give the meaning of the original with entire accuracy.
Each of the conventions signed at The Hague in 1907 and set forth in this manual, save that relative to the opening of hostilities, contains a provision that it shall be binding upon any of the belligerents in a war only if all the belligerents in that war are parties to it. As neither Italy nor Bulgaria has ratified the 1907 conventions given herein, the United States might have declined to be bound by them. However, as those conventions in general express the practice of civilized nations at war, the United States has adopted the policy of observing and enforcing their provisions. In this connection the provisions of Section I, Circular No. 136, War Department, 7 May 1942, will be carefully observed. The pertinent part of this circular reads as follows:
“-Obedience to treaties and conventions.-Attention is directed to FM 27-10, October 1, 1940, and especially to paragraph 5, with reference to the obligation to obey international treaties and conventions. Although all of the conventions set out on page VI of that manual are not binding on all of the countries with which the United States is at war, as indicated in the last sentence below, they will be observed and enforced by the Army of the United States as provided in FM 27-10. Any failure of an enemy belligerent to accord similar rights and treatment to United States forces will be promptly reported to the War Department. The Hague Declaration Number XIV, October 18, 1907, prohibiting the discharge of projectiles and explosives from balloons (H. D. XIV), is not binding and will not be observed.”
The Geneva Prisoners of War Convention of 1929 (Articles 89 to 97, incl.) and the Geneva Red Cross Convention of 1929 (Articles 31 to 39, incl.) contain no provision requiring that all the belligerents be parties to