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If extradition treaties are entered into without difficulty between the different States, the decisions of foreign courts in criminal matters, even if not final, being thereby caused to be respected, so far at least as the arrest of the offender and his delivery to the court of original jurisdiction are concerned, no argument seems to be necessary to prove that the same thing must be done in civil matters, and that the interests and rights of great moment often involved in judicial acts of one country should also be caused to be respected and enforced in others.
Some nations have secured the satisfaction of this necessity by means of treaties, as it has happened, for instance, between Colombia and Spain. But certainly it is better, if practicable, to try to reach this result by collective action in a conference of many, if not all, the nations interested in securing it, even if no other reason could be given than the benefit which always is derived from international meetings, when undertaken and conducted under the inspirations of common friendship and good will.
The idea of causing the South American Congress to convene seems to have occurred simultaneously to the Governments of the Argentine Republic and of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. So it appears from the following interesting document :
“PROTOCOL PROVIDING FOR THE HOLDING OF THE CONGRESS.
"In Buenos Ayres, on the fourteenth day of the month of February, of eighteen hundred and eighty-eight, the minister of foreign relations of the Argentine Republic, Doctor Don Norberto Quirno Costa, and his excellency the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, Doctor Don Gonzalo Ramirez, being met in the office of the former for the purpose of carrying into immediate realization the idea in which their respective Governments have coincided, of calling together a congress of jurisconsults of the several nations of South America to make uniform, by means of a treaty, the several subjects embraced by private international law, recognizing the want of unity existing in the legislation of the several countries, and persuaded of the importance of removing the obstacles that in many cases that difference presents, all of which will disappear from the moment a uniform legislation shall facilitate civil relations between individuals, or a common law is established to adjust differences in case of inability to prevent them, both conferees agreed as follows:
“First. The Argentine and Oriental Governments shall invite separately, but simultaneously, the Governments of Chile, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Paraguay to the meeting of an International South
American Law Congress, whose object shall be the conclusion of a treaty embracing the subjects embodied in private international law.
“Second. The congress shall meet in the city of Montevideo, its opening taking place on the 25th of August next.
“Third. Each of the Governments adhering to the holding of the congress shall be represented therein by two plenipotentiaries or delegates.
“Fourth. The Argentine and Oriental Governments shall mutually agree as to the terms of the note of invitation to the other South American Governments, which shall be addressed to them in the early part of the month of March next, in order that they may have time sufficient to be represented in the Congress on the day set for its installation.
“It was so agreed, the conference terminated, this protocol being signed in duplicate for purposes of record and other effects.
“N. QUIRNo Costa.
“ Gonzalo RAMIREZ. “DEPARTMENT OF Foreign Relations,
“ Buenos Aires, 20 February, 1888. “Approved :
Seven nations were represented in this congress by the following plenipotentiaries :
The Argentine Republic by Doctor Don Roque Saenz Peña and Doctor Don
Bolivia by Doctor Don Santiago Vaca Guzmán.
Peru by Doctor Don Cesareo Chacaltana and Doctor Don Manuel Maria
And the Oriental Republic of Uruguay by Doctor Don Ildefonso Garcia Lagos and Doctor Don Gonzalo Ramirez.
Doctor Don Ildefonso Garcia Lagos and Doctor Don Roque Saenz Peña were elected, respectively, the former president and the latter vice-president of the Congress.
* The secretaries were Don Ricardo I. Pardo and Don Oscar Hordeñana, chief clerks, respectively, the former of the department of foreign relations of the Argentine Republic, and the latter of the same department of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.
This congress held thirty-five meetings, with the following sesult:
9. A protocol, containing provisions of a general character additional to the foregoing instruments.
Some of these treaties have been subsequently approved and ratified by the South American nations, and are the law of the land in the countries which have so approved them. Other nations, as, for instance, Chile, has rejected one (the treaty on international civil law) and accepted the others; and in other nations they are still under study.
The following speeches with which the congress was closed will certainly be read with interest. Doctor Garcia Lagos, president of the congress, expressed himself as follows:
Gentlemen, on a day memorable in the annals of my country, and in the midst of sympathetic demonstrations toward you as eloquent as they were harmonious, I inaugurated six months since the sessions of this congress, greeting you as the molders of American law and fraternity.
“A generous and grand idea inspired us. But one thought animated us, the success of the task before us, yet we did not conceal a certain feeling of trepidation at the contemplation of the arduousness of an undertaking in which others had failed.
“Mutual helpfulness having given heart to our faith, and the goal having been reached, I have to-day the honor to address you for the last time to congratulate you in the name of the President of the Republic for the notable success which has crowned the labors of this congress of plenipotentiaries, presenting, as it has, to the several governments a series of treaties which form a veritable code of private international law, the most complete, systematic, and practical recorded in diplomatic annals.
“And in saying this, gentlemen, there is not any arrogant exaggeration; for we recognize—and we recognize it willingly—that in the preparation of that task we have consulted the works of the most eminent jurists and thinkers of modern times, and also that it has been comparatively easy for us to arrive at proper conclusions upon points which appear as veritable problems in the inter
national jurisprudence of other countries whose political and social conditions differ from those of the nations represented in this congress.
“In this way, keeping those precedents in view, or disregarding them at times to accept other principles more in keeping with, or better adapted to, the peculiar character or necessities of our countries, the congress has succeeded in establishing fixed rules for the settlement of the differences arising from the conflict of the laws regarding private relations in civil life as well as in commercial interchange and maritime traffic. It has succeeded in reconciling the demands of justice with the right of personal liberty. It has laid down the recognition of the right to literary, artistic, and industrial prosperity within the limits marked out by social interest; it has prescribed reciprocal privileges for the exercise of the liberal professions; and it has determined, in fine, the jurisdiction over all legal relations affecting persons, acts, and property, as well as the special rules to be followed in the conduct and decision of proceedings, the principle of the territoriality of the laws, which means mutual respect for the sovereignty of the states, prevailing and being confirmed in all the wide range covered by its provisions.
Gentlemen, you have brought your mission to a close, and what is still more, you have discharged it with a wisdom and liberal and progressive spirit worthy of America. So signal a service rendered in behalf of the development of their international relations and the science of law is already applauded by the countries on either bank of the Plata, represented on this auspicious occasion by the high magistrates presiding over them, and it will be applauded on the morrow in your countries as one of the acts which more faithfully marks the stage
of your political progress and your social culture. “Let us express the fervent hope that this work shall become still more profitable, and that, leaping the boundaries of our continent, it may very soon obtain the adhesion of other states of Europe and America, thus daily strengthening more, through the certainty and stability of all laws, the well-being of their citizens who may come to live on our soil, under the protection of its institutions.
“Before we, who have up to to-day participated in the same fatigues, shall separate, permit me, my hand grasping yours, to congratulate you sincerely and feelingly for the success achieved, and to assure you that the honorable President of the Republic will in a short time carry out the announcement made in his last message to the honorable congress relative to the sanction of the treaties.
“And now, tendering a respectful greeting to the illustrious Presidents of the Republics of the Plata who organized this congress, as well as to the other chiefs of State who have given it their effective cooperation, I declare the sessions closed.”
His excellency Dr. Quirno Costa, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Argentine Republic, followed, pronouncing the following discourse:
“Honorable plenipotentiaries, it becomes my pleasant duty to extend to you the congratulations of the Argentine Government for the happy outcome of your labors, which will so largely contribute to the closer binding of the South American countries, uniting them still more through the enactment of a common legislation touching the principles which have been the object of your
“ The fruit of your labors has been eight international compacts, and if opinions have not harmonized on all of them, still the fraternal and patriotic spirit which has inspired each one of the members of the congress must be recognized; it being left to the Governments to seek in time the solutions which shall best subserve the common interests by reaching an agreement upon questions of form, or upon matters of substance, in so far as shall be in keeping with the constitutional law of the several countries.
“In the vast program of your work you have had scope enough to embrace in their varied phases the most complicated problems of private international law, considering it in its broadest sense, as it is considered by noted writers, and as demanded by the progress of science which tends to expand its component parts, thus obeying modern advancement which develops it in the same ratio as the relations between nations grow more intimate and communication more frequent.
“You have established the rules most in keeping with the principles of law, making laws respecting persons, things, and acts, and with this triple object in view, the treaties negotiated embrace matters civil, commercial, and penal, the program
your labors being completed by the most advanced declarations relative to literary property, which, like property in other things, could not be disregarded in view of our constitutional laws, and by Governments who maintain such extensive relations with the old world, which not only sends us capital and muscle, but also the literary and scientific works of its great thinkers.
“No nation can consider itself wounded by the conclusions arrived at by the International South American Congress, and far from this, the nations of Europe will find new proofs that it has been sought to proclaim principles which will be influential in the way of fostering good relations with the countries with whom we exchange our products and divide our riches.
“Honorable plenipotentiaries, there was a time when the genius of Bolivar entertained the idea of a great congress to organize a South American confederation, and when the fruitful spirit of Monteagudo, giving form to the thought