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Before the meeting of the Geneva Congress of 1864 seven states had established national Red Cross Societies. By 1866 five others, the United States included, had done the same. By 1870 the number of national associations was twenty-one, but in some instances the action taken seems to have been premature for by the date last stated five associations had lapsed. These have since been re-established and twenty-eight of the independent nations of the world have now extended recognition to their national organizations.



HAGUE, JUNE 1, 1910.

Your Excellencies, Gentlemen: Ten years have elapsed since the Permanent Court of International Arbitration has been established by the first Conference of the Peace which has met under the reign of a glorious and all beloved Queen in this charming town.

In those few years already this novel institution has done a great deal of good all over the world. It has shown that, instead of appealing to brute force with all its casualties, cruelties, and injustices, differences, important differences between mighty States may be adjusted according to the laws of equity, justice, and humanity.

Tribunals instituted in virtue of the Conventions of 1899 and 1907 have decided disputes touching all four continents, divided in various realms, differences which have arisen in the North of Europe, in Northern and in Southern America, in Japan, in Arabia, and in Morocco.

The greatest Powers of the world have submitted by their free will to this Court, and nations of minor forces have found their protection before it.

Governments which once had appealed to this High Court have intrusted it a second and a third time with the decision of their conflicts; arbitrators who had been chosen in one case, have been nominated to decide other affairs, certainly the most convincing evidence, I think, that nations have been contented with the work that has been done here.

Matters of great importance have been adjusted in these modest, provisional rooms, some of them involving the most delicate questions of sovereignty and national pride, all implicating intricate problems of international law.

But perhaps never till now has there been intrusted to an arbitral tribunal a question of such gravity and of so complex a nature as in the present case of almost secular standing. Many of the documents in this case are prior to the independence of the United States of America, some of them go as far back as the seventeenth century. l'pwards from 1818, during more than ninety years, the questions implicated in the present arbitration have been the subject of almost uninterrupted diplomatic correspondence and transaction, and more than once they liave brought the two great seafaring nations of Europe and America to the verge of the extremities of war.

And now these two nations, to which the world is indebted for so inuch of its progress in every sphere of human thought and action, have agreed to submit their longstanding conflict to the arbitration of this Tribunal.

In doing so, they have expressed their full confidence in this peaceful mode of resolving international differences, which the first Conference of 1899 has recognized as the most efficacious and at the same time the most equitable method of deciding controversies which have not been settled by diplomatic means.

In doing so, these Governments have set an example for the whole community of nations and have acquired a new merit in the sublime cause of international justice and peace, to the progress of which they have contributed perhaps more than any other nation, especially under the peaceful reign of a great King, whose premature and sudden loss his vast Empire lamented in the last weeks, and under the presidency of that illustrious Statesman who has the historical merit of having initiated the first meeting of this Court in the “ Pious Fund " case.

Ilaving been appointed by agreement of the Parties to be the C'mpire in this arbitration and being therefore called to the high honor of presiding at these debates, it is my first duty to thank Their Excellencies the President and the Members of the Administrative Council of the Permanent Court for honoring the opening of these proceedings by their presence.

Then I may be permitted to offer a most hearty welcome to my eminent Colleagues and to the honorable and distinguished Agents and Counsel of the two litigant Parties.

Only consciousness of being at your side, my dear and most honored Colleagues, and of being assisted by your experience, your tact and your knowledge has inspired me with the courage to accept the functions so noble, but also so responsible and so difficult, incumbent ou me in this arbitration.

Let me express to you once more in public, what I have said already to you in private, that I consider it the greatest distinction in my life to sit in your company in this historic proceeding.

My illustrious Colleagues and myself have studied in these last months with all care and assiduity the voluminous and highly interesting documents which have been presented to us by the Parties; but we have deliberately forborne to form a definite opinion on the arduous questions involved in the case, before having had the most valuable — I may say the indispensable — assistance from the speeches of those eminent lawyers and statesmen, who have accepted the functions of Counsel in this case.

Be assured, gentlemen representing the litigant Parties, that all we arbitrators are imbued with the sense of our responsibility not only to the Governments which honored us with their confidence and to the two great nations they represent, but also to the noble idea of international arbitration, so dear to all of us.

We are fully aware that with the end of promoting this peaceful mode of settling international differences the award we have to pronounce must by the force of its motives meet with the approval of all who by their unbiased knowledge of international law are entitled to criticize us.

Every sentence rendered by this Court ought to be by virtue of its impartiality and equity a new marble pillar to sustain the ideal palace of Justice and Peace, the symbol of which is to be that noble edifice which has been dedicated to this town by the munificence of a man whose name is dear to both litigant nations.

Being conscious of our responsibilities, we shall do our best to render justice to those “ captains courageous” and hardy fishermen of both nations, who in the uproar of the sea and at the risk of their lives pile the treasures of the Ocean for the benefit of men. In doing our duty in that way, we hope to settle peacefully and definitely a difference, which for so long a time has agitated the two branches of the Anglo-Saxon race.

May we, with the help of Him who bade His peace to all who are of good will, succeed in promoting the progress of mankind through Justice to Peace, per justitiam ad pacem.


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