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Very recently the State Department has proposed, in a circular note to the powers, that the prize court should also be invested with the jurisdiction and functions of a court of arbitral justice.1
The United States as the originator of this project is confidently, yet anxiously, looking forward to its acceptance by the powers, which will give to the world an international judicial body to adjudge cases arising in peace as well as controversies incident to war.
Secretary Knox thus concludes his address, which is certain to be both widely circulated and favorably received:
One is naturally led to speculate upon the fundamental reasons for the remarkable progress and great effectiveness of international cooperation within the last few decades as compared with earlier times. We conjecture whether it is because of broader and more enlightened views common to the nations of the world, or whether it is for some different basic reason. Does it not rest upon the practically simultaneous operation of the common mind and the conscience of the world upon common knowledge ? One can readily understand the force and effect of a concurrent expression of international opinion made while the subject upon which it operates is a fresh and burning one as compared with the disconnected and ineffective expression of the same opinion when made at different times after the facts upon which it rests.
Instantaneous world communication is very modern.
Ribs of steel and nerves of wire have not only bound nations together in a single body for many purposes and communicated thought; but have enabled them, sharing a common knowledge, animated by a common conscience, to take common and contemporaneous action while the need is yet fresh.
This view is well stated by Judge Baldwin in an able and interesting article on International Congresses, published some time ago.
Speaking of the impulse towards social coordination, he said:
“ This impulse will be felt as a cosmic force in precise proportion to the psychological contact of nation with nation. Until the days of steam transportation there were few in any country, even among its leaders, who ever went far from their own land. The seventeenth century had indeed established the practice of maintaining permanent legations for diplomatic intercourse; but it was an intercourse limited to official circles. Modern facilities for travel, modern uses of electricity, and the modern press have put the world, and even the embassy, on a different footing. There is no place left that is safe enough to hide State secrets. The telegraph and telephone have conquered time and space. The newspaper gives daily to every one for two cents what a hundred years ago all the governments in the world could not have commanded in a year.
1 For the full text of Secretary Knox's proposal concerning the prize court and the enlargement of its jurisdiction by investing it with the jurisdiction and functions of a court of arbitral justice, see Supplement to this number of the JOURNAL, page 102, and for editorial comment upon the proposition, see this number, page 163.
“Nations have been brought together by material forces, starting into action greater immaterial forces. Electricity is finishing what steam began. Men come close together who breath a common intellectual atmosphere; who are fed daily by the same currents of thought; who hear simultaneously of the same events; who are eager to disclose to each other whatever new thing, coming to the knowledge of any, is worthy the notice of all.”
The disposition, then, to take concerted international action grows with the opportunity thus afforded by the marvelous modern development in the means of communication. Each nation instantaneously feels the compulsion of the public opinion of all nations. Compare, for example, modern exchanges of views between governments, swiftly reaching a common basis of action and resulting increasingly in ends beneficent to the whole world, with former ignorance and mutual suspicions largely due to ignorance, resulting in no common action and permitting aggressions and abuses by single nations or small groups which to-day the concert of all nations protests against more and more loudly and less and less tolerates.
Then, just as individuals and separate nations advance in the fruits of civilization and display in their conduct higher regard for honesty and justice and peace and less tolerance for wrong and oppression and cruelty, so these ideals of private and national conduct are manifestly inspiring all nations in their relations with each other. As nations understand each other better and the world draws closer together in the recognition of a common humanity and conscience, of common næds and purposes, there is carried into the international field the insistent demand for greater unity in enforcing everywhere the principles of a high morality and, by restraints mutually applied and observed, all the human ameliorations without which both national and international life would soon fall into anarchy and decadence.
This clear statement of the tendency toward international unity by a statesman holding responsible office will bring hope and encouragement to those wlio have long labored in private without recognition, and the announcement by Mr. Knox, as Secretary of State, that our Government not only approves the International Court of Prize, but seeks to invest it with the jurisdiction and functions of a court of arbitral justice in order that civilization may have a court in peace as well as in war, is evidence not merely of progress, but of the fact that international justice and the means by which it is to be promoted are the concern not merely of one nation but of the international community as a whole.
Many propositions have been made for the establishment of a permanent court of arbitration, but this is, as far as is known, the first instance of a statesman in office seriously proposing the establishment of such a tribunal and by so doing making its establishment a question of politics and a question of time.
UNVEILING OF THE MONUMENT COMMEMORATING THE FOUNDATION OF
THE UNIVERSAL POSTAL I'NION
The Universal Postal Union, which has now existed for thirty-five years, is, among all international organizations, that which most intimately affects the everyday life of people the world over. Quietly this great unifying institution has been working without a numerous staff of officials and unattended by the pomp of state. Yet the entire world has become conscious of its influence, and it was therefore befitting that at the time when the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Union was celebrated at Berne, the proposal should have been made and adopted to erect an artistic monument in honor of this great international work. The monument is a gift of all the governments who are members of the Postal Union. The plan was selected by a committee after an international competition, in which M. René de Saint Marceaux of Paris was successful. His beautiful work was unveiled on October 4 last, with imposing ceremonies.
The monument is both highly imaginative and, while representative of the idea of postal communication, full of artistic beauty. On a ledge of rock, at the foot of which flows a small spring emptying into a pond in which the whole monument is mirrored, there is seated the graceful figure of a woman whose outstretched arm and hand rest upon the escutcheon of the town of Berne. Both to the right and left of this figure lie masses of rock. Upon the summit of the highest of these, the sculptor has modelled a cloud, upbearing a globe. Five genii, representing the different parts of the world, are floating about this sphere, handing letters to each other. The sculptor has overcome great difficulties. From the above description it might seem that the monument would be lacking in unity and that, moreover, the portrayal of so light a substance as clouds by means of stone could hardly be successful. And vet, all this is forgotten when the monument itself is in view. The sculptor has triumphed, although he himself does not describe his work as sculpture, but as a picture in granite and bronze.
A notable gathering of representatives of all the powers cast lustre upon the occasion. Nations were represented both by diplomats and by members of cabinet and administrative officials. Mr. Brutus J. ('lav, the American Minister in Switzerland, represented the United States. At the dedication of the monument and at the banquet given by the town council of Berne, a number of notable speeches were made. The
feeling which animates these discourses shows how strong a hold the idea of international cooperation has taken upon representative men. The spirit of the occasion was perhaps best expressed by M. Deucher, President of the Swiss Confederation. Among other things, he said:
Gentlemen, the old Assembly House of the Bernese Diet bears this inscription: " It is in this building that the Universal Postal Union was founded on October 9th, 1874.” To-day, thirty-five years later, there rises on one of the most beautiful sites of our Capital, the grand commemorative Monument, the unveiling of which we are met to celebrate.
The five genii which surround the globe represent the universal importance of the Union and attest the power gained by a great idea, for the realization of which nations went hand in hand, regardless of the difference of race, language and religion, political and economic interests - a triumph of civilization and culture, a bond of union between the nations. The Universal Postal Union, a work supremely pacific, constitutes a real confederation of the nations, the repre. sentatives of which to-day turn their eyes to the international monument and express their gratitude to the master who created it.
THE NORWAY-SWEDEN BOUNDARY ARBITRATION
On October 23, 1909, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague decided the boundary dispute between Norway and Sweden, by virtue of a convention between the two Powers dated March 14, 1908. The tribunal was to be and actually was composed of three members of whom one was a Norwegian (M. Beichmann), another a Swede (M. de Hammarskjöld), and the third or president, who, by the agreement was to be “neither a subject of either of the contracting parties nor domiciled in either of the two countries,” M. Loeff of Holland.
The tribunal, consisting of three members, was not constituted according to the terms of article 24 of the Hague Convention of 1899, which contemplates that the judges chosen shall be members of the permanent panel. The arbitration was, however, under the auspices of the Permanent Court, as the parties in controversy availed themselves of the provisions of article 26:
The International Bureau at The Hague is authorized to place its premises and its staff at the disposal of the Signatory Powers for the operations of any special Board of Arbitration.
It may, therefore properly be called a decision of the Permanent Court at The Hague and, as such, both enhances the dignity and demonstrates again the usefulness of this institution.
The award of the tribunal deals with and settles the facts in controversy and only incidentally discusses or applies principles of international law, and its importance lies not so much in the decision as in the resort to arbitration for the settlement of an outstanding international difference.
In the matter of procedure it would seem that an innovation is to be noted, because the arbiters decided to visit and actually did visit the territory in dispute in order that they might by personal examination familiarize themselves with the territory in dispute and be the better prepared to understand and appreciate the arguments relating to the geography and topography of the region.
For the second time within a year the Permanent Court at The Hague has rendered a decision, and it is devoutly hoped that the resort to arbitration will become a habit and that a permanent court of arbitration will be the natural consequence of a frequent and confident resort to arbitration.
THE NOBEL PEACE AWARD
On December 9, 1909, the Committee for the Distribution of the Nobel Prizes announced that the peace prize had been divided between M. Beernaert of Belgium and the Baron d'Estournelles de Constant of France. The recipients are well-known and active workers in the cause of peace and richly deserve the honor accorded to them.
M. Auguste Beernaert, born in 1828, is a trained lawyer and statesman who has served his country through a long and honorable career as Minister of Public Works, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Finance, President of the Chamber of Representatives, and Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. At the First Peace Conference he was president of the first commission, charged with the consideration of the limitation of armaments, and in the Second Conference he was president of the second commission, charged with the consideration of the laws and customs of land warfare. In both conferences his voice and influence were for the lessening of the hardships of warfare and for the peaceful settlement of international conflicts. A reference to any work on the conferences will show the nature and importance of his contributions, and it is no exaggeration to say that the Nobel Committee honored itself as well as M. Beernaert by its award.
1 For the facts and the opinion and judgment of the court, see Judicial De. cisions in this number, page 226.