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The United States and Latin America. By John Holladay Latané, Ph.D.,
LL.D. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co. 1920. pp. 346. $2.50.
In the preface to this interesting volume, the author states that it is based on a smaller book issued by the Johns Hopkins press in 1900, under the title The Diplomatic Relations of the United States and Spanish Amer. ica, which contained the first series of Albert Shaw Lectures on Diplomatic History. In its present form this work contains nine chapters on as many different topics relating to the political history of Latin-American countries and the diplomatic relations of the United States with them from the beginning to the present time.
In the first chapter, which deals with “The Revolt of the Spanish Colonies," the author reviews, although rather briefly, the principal events which ultimately led to the political emancipation of the Spanish Colonies in America. The next chapter deals with “The Recognition of the Spanish-American Republics." Here the author makes a presentation of the political conditions and circumstances which led, not only to the recognition of the new governments, but also to the formulation of the Monroe Doctrine, which indirectly insured their existence, protecting them against European aggression and intrigue.
Chapter three, which treats on “The Diplomacy of the United States with Regard to Cuba,” contains a condensed exposition of the historical facts and diplomatic situations which brought about the Spanish-American War, the liberation of Cuba and the establishment of that island as a virtual protectorate of the United States under the terms of the so-called Platt Amendment, which determines the political relations existing between that country and the United States. The next chapter contains “The Diplomatic History of the Panama Canal,” which resulted in the establishment of the Republic of Panama, the building of the Canal, and the present strained relations of Colombia and the United States.
Chapter five deals with “The French Intervention in Mexico," and Chapter six with “The Two Venezuelan Episodes." These two chapters are of positive historical value to the students of the enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine against the encroachment of European Powers upon Latin-American countries. It was on the occasion of one of these episodes that Señor Drago of Argentina restated the Calvo doctrine, which is now usually known as the Drago Doctrine, to the effect that no state has a right to resort to armed intervention for the purpose of collecting the private claims of its citizens against another state, which subsequently found expression in a resolution of the Pan-American Conference held at Rio, and later on in the Porter Resolution, which, after much discussion, culminated in the well-known resolutions of the Second Peace Conference at The Hague by which the contracting Powers agreed not to have recourse to armed force for the recovery of contract debts claimed from the government of one country by the government of another country as being due to its nationals, which undertaking is, however, not applicable when the debtor state refuses or neglects to reply to an offer for arbitration, or, after accepting the offer, prevents any compromis from being agreed on, or, after the arbitration, fails to submit to the award.
The last three chapters are really the most interesting in this volume, as they deal with the history of the three most important subjects of the new world politics: “The Advance of the United States in the Caribbean," “Pan-Americanism,” and “The Monroe Doctrine." In respect to the latter, the Latin-American reader will probably agree with the author that the imperialistic tendencies of our Caribbean policy, whether they be regarded as logical deductions from the Monroe Doctrine or not, have undoubtedly aroused the jealousies and fears of our Southern neighbors. One of the results has been the formation of the so-called A B C Alliance, based on treaties between Argentina, Brazil and Chile, the exact provisions of which have not been made public. This alliance doubtless serves a useful purpose in promoting friendly relations between the three great states of South America, and since the acceptance of the mediation of these powers in Mexico by President Wilson there is no reason to regard it as in any sense hostile to the United States. While the United States may very properly accept the mediation of other American states in disputes like that arising out of the Mexican situation, the United States would not feel under any obligation to consult other American states or accept their advice on any question involving the enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine. The United States has always maintained the Monroe Doctrine as a principle of self-defense and, consequently, on its own authority. In 1825 the Brazilian Government proposed that the United States should enter into an alliance with it in order to maintain the independence of Brazil in case Portugal should be assisted by any foreign Power in her efforts to reconquer Brazil. Secretary Clay replied that while President Adams adhered to the principles set forth by his predecessor, the prospect of peace between Portugal and Brazil rendered such an alliance unnecessary.
In recent years the proposal has been more than once made that the Monroe Doctrine be Pan-Americanized. This proposal was discussed by Mr. Root in his address before the American Society of International Law in 1914, in the course of which he said:
Since the Monroe Doctrine is a declaration based upon this nation's right of selfprotection, it cannot be transmuted into a joint or common declaration by American states or any number of them. If Chile or Argentina or Brazil were to contribute the weight of its influence toward a similar end, the right upon which that nation would rest its declaration would be its own safety, not the safety of the United States. Chile would declare what was necessary for the safety of Chile, Argentina would declare what was necessary for the safety of Argentina, Brazil, what was necessary for the safety of Brazil. Each nation would act for itself and in its own right, and it would be impossible to go beyond that except by more or less offensive and defensive alliances. Of course, such alliances are not to be considered.
President Wilson, in his address before the Second Pan-American Scientific Congress in 1916, agreed in part with this when he said: “The Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed by the United States on her own authority. It has always been maintained, and always will be maintained, upon her own responsibility.”
Except for a previous book by the same author, now out of print, the material in this present volume is not obtainable in any other single book.
This very instructive volume, as pointed out by the editors, was written primarily for college and university classes in history and political science, but its subject-matter and the method the author has used in handling this material make the book possible of wide use by the general reader.
Two maps, one of South America and the other of the Caribbean, cover the entire geography with which the book is concerned. The book also contains a table of contents and a useful analytical index.
Legal Effects of War. By Arnold D. McNair, C.B.E., M.A., LL.M.,
Cambridge: University Press. 1920. pp. xiv, 168.
The preface says that “This Volume is composed of a collection of seven essays and lectures upon several aspects of the Effect of War upon the municipal or national law of England,” aimed to give "an estimate of the permanent impression made upon the law during the five years of the war.” Four of these essays appeared at various times in the Law Quarterly Review for July, 1919, April, 1915, April, 1918, and January, 1919. The several chapters of the book “derive their origin from a course of lectures delivered as the Law Society's Lecturer in Commercial Law.”
Chapter I is on “British Nationality and Alien Status in Time of War.” In this chapter the author discusses nationality and domicile in general, British nationality in particular, revocation of naturalization, voluntary loss of nationality, imperial naturalization, the status of married women and minor children, German law of nationality, the status of aliens, the effect of war upon aliens, the position of alien enemies, and the definition of an alien enemy. Throughout the author refers to pertinent war legislation and points out where this differs from the law as heretofore existing. The author's distinction between nationality, domicile and residence is recommended to students of the subject. The section on British nationality is interesting as showing who are British subjects by birth, by annexation, and by naturalization.
Chapters II and III relate to the “Procedural Capacity of Alien Enemies," that is, their capacity to institute action or to defend against action in the courts of England. A historical sketch of the law on this subject is followed by a discussion of modern cases. The discussion covers alien
enemies in British territory, alien enemies who have left British territory and returned to their own country, alien enemies in Allied or neutral territory, alien enemies so declared by statute, corporations, and the effect of internment.
Chapters IV, V, VI, and VII relate to the “Effect of War on Contracts,” and is a clear but brief discussion of the principles involved and the tendency of recent decisions. Chapter IV relates to “General Principles," and the subject is treated in accordance with the following analysis : A. Contracts between British and Enemy Residents : (1) in existence at the date of the outbreak of the war,
(a) when a right of action has already then accrued;
(b) when no right of action has then accrued; (2) attempted to be made during war. B. Contracts between Allied and Enemy Residents. C. Contracts between Neutral and Enemy Residents. D. Contracts between British Residents (or persons resident in British, Allied, or
Only special points of interest will be referred to. Whether the Statute of Limitation runs during war in cases of contracts between British and enemy residents, and whether a debt carries interest during the period of war, are not answered by any direct English authority, and the author, therefore, refers to American cases on these points. As to whether contracts are abrogated or suspended by the outbreak of war the author states, "We shall, however, be safer in assuming that discharge is the rule, al. though we shall find that there are one or two classes of contract where this is not so." (Page 64.)
The kinds of contracts which are not abrogated are contracts of tenancy and contracts for the sale of land. Such contracts are not even treated as suspended. Coming to contracts which are suspended, the author appears to find no satisfactory decisions of the courts, although no doubt certain contracts are merely suspended.
Chapter V deals with “War-Time Impossibility of Performance of Contract.” The author first reviews the exceptions to the general rule that where there is a positive contract to do a lawful thing, the contractor must perform it or pay damages, such as the doctrine of "supervening impossibility of performance,” or as known in maritime law "frustration of the adventure.” This review places the reader in a position to understand the bearing of the recent decisions of the House of Lords in Horlock's case (1916), Tamplin's case (1916), and the Metropolitan Water Board's case (1917). The author finally summarizes these cases and the decisions of inferior courts involving similar points as follows:
(a) Mere commercial impossibility or difficulty in obtaining goods, not specific goods, arising from some unforeseen cause, will not excuse a vendor from performing his contract.
(b) Impossibility which only affects a part of the thing contracted to be done, although an important part, will not discharge the contract, although the impossibility and its cause would otherwise satisfy the required test and have that effect.
(c) Mere increased cost of performance, unless to an enormous and extravagant extent, does not make it impossible. A man is not prevented from performing by economic unprofitableness unless the pecuniary burden is so great as to approximate to physical prevention.
(d) A temporary impossibility which is removed within a reasonable time cannot be used to snap a discharge of the contract. (Pages 93, 94, 95.)
Finally, the author closes the chapter with the proposal to apply “an acid test."
Two conditions must coëxist before supervening impossibility can excuse performance or further performance: (1) the cause must be such that the court will assume that if it had been mentioned to the parties during their negotiations for the contract, they would both have said, “Oh, of course, if that happened, it would knock the bottom out of our bargain"; (2) the effect of the cause must amount to real (but not neces. sarily physical) prevention of the performance of the whole or substantially the whole of at least one party's obligation, and must not merely mean that its performance will take place under conditions somewhat different from those contemplated. (Page 97.)
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In Chapters VI and VII the author applies the principles worked out in Chapters IV and V to some of the more important kinds of contracts. First, however, he discusses the meaning of "trading with the enemy" under the common law, the maritime law, and the enemy legislation passed during the recent war. The author points out that the Trading with the Enemy Acts of Great Britain aimed broadly (1) to prevent intercourse with the enemy across the line of war and (2) to stamp out enemy influences and operations in Great Britain and elsewhere. The definition of “enemy” was at first territorial rather than personal, though the personal aspect developed later. Passing to the consideration of some particular contracts, he takes up the contracts of Affreightment, Agency, Companies, Property Insurance, Life Insurance, and Sale of Goods. A few points which strike the reviewer as interesting may be referred to.
It is not always clear to the layman or even to the lawyer whether blockade running and contraband carrying is illegal. The author points out that under British municipal law such trade ventures are not illegal, but the Government recognizes the right of belligerents to check these practices by inflicting the customary penalties. The author refers to certain cases in which contracts involving these practices have been enforced. As to a contract of agency between an agent in one belligerent representing a principal in another belligerent, he regards the outbreak of war as rendering the contract terminated in the same way as by the principal's death or insanity, and rejects the American view (Kershaw v. Kelsey, 100 Mass. 561) that payments may be made to the agent here of a principal in an enemy country and that the agent might remit the money to the enemy. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, in which carrying