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Such a policy would naturally require for its execution the cooperation, not only of China, but also of Japan and of Russia, who already had extensive railway rights in Manchuria. The advantages of such a plan were obvious. It would insure unimpaired Chinese sovereignty, the commercial and industrial derelopment of the Manchurian provinces, and furnish a substantial reason for the early solution of the problems of fiscal and monetary reform which are now receiving such earnest attention by the Chinese Government. It would afford an opportunity for both Russia and Japan to shift their onerous duties, responsibilities and expenses in connection with these railways to the shoulders of the combined powers, including themselves. Such a policy, moreover, would effect a complete commercial neutralization of Manchuria, and in so doing make a large contribution to the peace of the world by converting the provinces of Manchuria into an immense commercial neutral zone.
The signature of an ad referendum agreement between a representative of the Chinese Government and the financial representatives of the United States and Great Britain to finance and construct a railway line from Chinchow to Aigun gave the United States an opportunity to lay this proposal before the Government of Great Britain for its consideration, and the project received the approval in principle of that Govern
Germany and China cordially approved the American suggestion. Japan and Russia found the proposal unacceptable in its wider scope. The alternative proposition is still under consideration by the respective Governments concerned.
THE SIXTEENTH ANNUAL LAKE MOHONK CONFERENCE ON INTERNATIONAL
The sixteenth annual meeting of this conference, which was held at Mohonk Lake, N. Y., May 18th, 19th and 20th, is likely to be remembered as the most significant of the long series of these unique gatherings. Former meetings have equalled it in the number and prominence of their participants; but none has possessed so many of the attributes that make an assembly an accurate index of public opinion. Among the three hundred persons present were representatives not only of every phase of the peace movement but of practically every important calling. The Business Committee which presented the platform consisted of three judges, four lawyers, three educators, two editors, three business men, national commissioner of labor, a brigadier-general, a rear-admiral, s.
member of the State Department, an expert in Pan-American affairs, two clergymen and the representatives of three peace and arbitration societies; and all these classes and others were heard on the floor of the conference. Eight nationalities were in evidence, London, Paris, Berne, Christiana, Tokio, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and most of the large cities of the United States from Los Angeles on the west to Jacksonville on the the south and Portland, Maine, on the east, being represented. It was a cosmopolitan gathering; and its discussions were equally representative. Conditions in the Far East and in South America; the relation to arbitration of churches, colleges, commerce and labor; limitation of armaments; the duty of the l'nited States in the peace movement, these and other topics were freely brought forward, and all received a sympathetic hearing. But the dominant note of the conference - starting with the opening remarks of Albert K. Smiley, the host, permeating almost every address and finally becoming part of the platform — found its fullest expression when the Solicitor for the Department of State closed his address with these words:
The Secretary of State, the Honorable Philander C. Knox, authorizes and directs me to say officially that the responses to the identic circular note (of October 18, 1909) have been so favorable and manifest such a willingness and desire on the part of the leading nations to constitute a Court of Arbitral Justice, that he believes a truly permanent court of Arbitral Justice, composed of judges acting under a sense of judicial responsibility, representing the various judicial systems of the world and capable of insuring the continuity of arbitral jurisprudence, will be established in the immediate future and that the Third Peace Conference will find it in successful operation at The Hague.
It will be remembered that as early as 1896 and for four successive years the Mohonk Conference inserted in its platform an appeal for the establishment of an international court, and that this subject and the negotiation of treaties of arbitration have been the leading themes at all of its meetings. Last year, the platform particularly urged the United States Government to take the initiative in promoting the establishment of the international court of arbitral justice. It was, therefore, with peculiar satisfaction and appreciation that the meeting received this message from the Secretary of State. The feeling of the Conference and the spirit of its discussions is well expressed in the platform adopted, which is as follows:
The Sixteenth Annual Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration congratulates the people of the United States on the marked progress which the past year has witnessed in the age-long struggle for the substitution of the reign of law for the reign of force in international affairs. It notes with deep satis
faction the significant announcement of the Secretary of State that the proposed constitution of the International Court of Arbitral Justice recommended to the powers in his identic circular note of October 18, 1909, has been received with so much favor as to insure the establishment of such a court in the near future, and it pledges to the President and the Secretary of State the hearty support of the Conference and invokes the cooperation of men of good will everywhere in bringing this beneficent result to pass.
The Conference has further noted with profound interest and satisfaction President Taft's recent declaration in favor of the submission to arbitration of all matters of difference between nations without reservation of questions deemed to affect the national honor, and the Conference expresses the earnest hope that the President and the Senate of the United States will give effect to this wise and far-seeing declaration by entering upon the negotiation of general treaties of arbitration of this character at the earliest practicable moment.
The Conference reaffirms its declaration of last year respecting the portentous growth of the military and naval establishments of the great powers and calls renewed attention to the fact that the rapid development of the instrumentalities of law and justice for the settlement of international differences furnishes to te statesmanship of the civilized world the long-desired opportunity of limiting by agreement the further increase of armaments. The coming celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the arrangement between Great Britain and the United States definitely limiting the naval force on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence to four hundred tons and four eighteen-pounders calls renewed attention to the continued menace to the peace of the world caused by the prevailing conditions and emphasizes the fact, so well expressed by former President Roosevelt in his Christiania address, that with sincerity of purpose, the great powers of the world should find no insurmountable difficulty in reaching an agreement which would put an end to the present costly and growing extravagance of expenditure on naval armaments."
The unanimous adoption of this platform by a body including men of every shade of opinion respecting the relation of armaments to peace seems strikingly significant of a growing belief that, whatever the possibility of limiting armaments by mutual agreement, it is as a result of the establishment and successful operation of a real international court that such limitation will most naturally and most easily be effected. Coming from so representative an assembly, the platform can hardly fail to be gratifying to the Department of State.
Other official acts of the Conference were a resolution, based on the address of the Dean of Worcester, urging the churches of America to coöperate with those of Great Britain and Germany in fostering international good will; the appointment of a committee “to consider the best method of properly celebrating the completion of one hundred years of peace between the English-speaking peoples of the Western Hemisphere;” and the following self-explanatory resolution:
Resolved, That a Committee of three lawyers, with power to add to their num. ber, be appointed by the Chair, to report to this Conference in 1911, as to the best method of carrying into effect the recommendation of successive Presidents of the United States, that the United States Government be vested with the power to execute through appropriate action in the Federal Courts its treaty obligations, and generally to furnish adequate protection to alien residents in the United States.
The committee appointed under the terms of the last named resolution consists of Elihu Root, Simeon E. Baldwin and George W. Kirchwey.
A number of noteworthy addresses were made, among them that of the presiding officer, Nicholas Murray Butler, whose careful analysis of the peace movement and powerful arraignment of the arguments advanced by those who from ignorance, indifference or personal gain, oppose or neglect the movement showed that the peace advocate of today is the truly practical person, and that they are “theorists who, grouping as in a fog, assume that mankind must be forever ruled by brute foree and cruelty and lust for power and for gain.” William Jennings Bryan's eloquent exposition of the forces that make for peace and his appeal that the United States set an example in checking naval expenditure made a strong innpression. The address of the Swiss Minister, dealing with the development or aëronautics, raised some interesting points of international law, while the addresses on the international court of arbitral justice have great permanent value for readers of this Journal. Other points were well brought out in the forceful, clear-cut addresses of Charles W. Eliot, L. S. Rowe, John B. Clark, and the Canadian Minister of Labor.
Next to the dominant judicial note, perhaps the most striking feature of the conference was a spirit of agreement and cooperation, one manifestation of which was the report of a Committee 1 appointed by the Conference last year to consider the establishment of a National Peace Council which shall bring into closer cooperation the different peace and arbitration societies of the United States and direct their work into the most effective channels. The Committee, through their spokesman, George W. Kirchwey, expressed strong hope of definite results in the near future. The success of such a plan would be an achievement of no small importance and would be quite in line with the broad policy that has usually characterized the Mohonk meetings.
i consisting of Elihu Root, Andrew Carnegie, Albert K. Smiley, Benjamin F. Trueblood, E. D. Warfield, Lyman Abbott, Edwin D. Mead, George W. Kirchwey, James Brown Scott, and Nicholas Murray Butler.
CONSULAR ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES OF DECEASED ALIENS.
In the case In re Ghio, the Supreme Court of California has recently rendered a decision in which it is held that an Italian Consul General, entitled by treaty to all of the rights and prerogatives of a consular officer of the Argentine Republic, is not given the right under Article IX of the existing treaty between the United States and the Argentine Republic of July 7, 1853, to administer the estate of a deceased intestate countryman in preference to a local public administrator ciothed with power to administer in such cases by the State law.
The article in question contains the following provision:
If any citizen of either of the two contracting parties shall die without will or testament, in any of the territories of the other, the Consul General or Consul of the nation to which the deceased belonged, or the representative of such Consul General or Consul, in his absence, shall have the right to intervene in the possession, administration and judicial liquidation of the estate of the deceased, conformably with the laws of the country, for the benefit of the creditors and legal heirs.
The process of reasoning by which the court reaches its conclusion is interesting. It is admitted at the outset that:
The treaty-making power of the Federal Government is so far superior to the law-making power of Congress, that it would authorize the Federal Government to control by treaty the power of the States to confer and limit the right of administration of estates, and the power of the State courts to appoint administrators, so far as the estates of resident citizens of foreign countries are concerned.
Nevertheless, the court later declares that the claim of the consul (the petitioner) ascribes to the Federal Government the intent, by means of its treaty-making power, to materially abridge the pritonomy of the several States, and to interfere with and direct the State tribunals in proceedings affecting private property within their jurisdiction. It is obvious that such intent is not to be lightly imputed to the Federal Government, and that it cannot be allowed to exist except where the language used in a treaty plainly expresses it, or necessarily implies it.
If it be true that the Federal Government may by treaty confer upon a foreign consular officer the right to administer the estate of a deceased countryman, even thougn Congress lacks the power to do so, the problem whether or not a particular treaty contains such a provision is not to be solved by reference to the effect of its operation upon the local laws of
i See Judicial Decisions, p. 727.