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The distinction between such persons and German agents whose object is to make use of the shelter of a neutral country in order to foment risings in British territory, to fit out ships for the purpose of preying on British commerce, and to organize outrages in the neutral country itself is obvious.
It is hardly necessary for me to state that it is far from the wish and intention of His Majesty's Government to take any action involving an invasion of the sovereign rights of the United States Government; the above observations will have made it clear that in view of my Government no such invasion was involved in the action of His Majesty's ship Laurentic, and I feel confident that after the foregoing explanations in regard both to the general question involved and to the removal of enemy subjects from the China the United States Government will not feel disposed further to contend that this action was not justified. I have, etc.,
E. GREY. Our latest effort to insure neutral rights upon the high seas is the following proposed code for the freedom of the seas. Coming at this time it can only serve as a suggestion for the future: INTERNATIONAL LAW INSTITUTE RECEIVES DRAFT MADE AT LANSING’s
SUGGESTION-BARS COMMERCE BLOCKADE—No MERCHANT SHIP TO BE SEIZED OR DESTROYED IF IT BEARS VISÉED PAPERS.
HABANA, CUBA, January 22. A code of rules of maritime neutrality which should govern the relations between belligerents and neutrals, prepared at the suggestion of Secretary of State Robert Lansing of the United States, was submitted to the American Institute of International Law in annual session here to-day.
The proposed regulations practically provide for freedom of the seas in time of war. Commercial blockades would be forbidden and mails inviolate; merchant ships without contraband, whether of belligerent or neutral registry, would be unmolested if they bore viséed papers; right of search at sea would be abolished. The mandates would be enforced by a neutral conference, with authority to take “ severe measures ” against violators. .
The code was drafted by Dr. Alejandro Alvarez, secretary general of the institute, and who formerly was juriconsult to the Chilean foreign office and counselor to the Chilean legations abroad. It will be referred to the national society of international law in each of the 21 American Republics, and final action on it will be taken by the institute at its next annual meeting. The code follows:
GENERAL DECLARATIONS. ARTICLE 1. Neutrality is the situation of States which, in the course of a war, are not participants therein.
Neutrality, especially maritime neutrality, must hereafter be regulated not merely on the basis of the rights of the belligerents but especially on that of the rights of neutrals, by safeguarding commercial liberty and releasing neutrals from the useless burdens resting on them with a view to observing neutrality. This new conception of neutrality is demanded by reason of the bonds of solidarity which exist between all the members of the society of nations.
ART. 2. In case of war between two or more countries the rest of the States must refrain from increasing the number of belligerents.
If not able to prevent the conflict, they must do all they can to put an early end to it, neutrality not merely being an impartial duty between belligerents equally respectful of right but a duty of pacification toward mankind.
THE CONFERENCE OF NEUTRALS.
ART. 3. When war is declared, the neutral States of the entire world shall, upon the request of the Administrative Council of the Permanént Hague Court, meet in conference, in order:
1. To take all necessary measures to maintain the freedom of commerce and navigation of the neutral countries.
2. To determine the list of articles to be regarded as contraband.
3. To see especially to the observance of all neutral rights and duties established in these present rules, and to exercise any other powers granted them by the said same rules.
ART. 4. The conference of neutrals shall gather in The Hague Peace Palace unless the council directs otherwise.
The belligerents shall be invited to send representatives, who may take active part in the discussions and have the right to vote.
Resolutions shall be adopted by a majority vote and bind the minority.
ART. 5. In important cases the conference may authorize severe measures against the belligerent or against the neutrals refusing to respect the rights and duties of neutrality:
Such measures may be public blame, pecuniary indemnity, commercial boycott, and even the use of an international force to be determined by the conference.
ART. 6. The conference of neutrals may organize in any number of commissions thought necessary, one of these commissions to be especially designated to consider such pecuniary indemnities as are referred to in these rules.
FREEDOM OF COMMERCE IN TIME OF WAR.
ART. 7. The commercial blockade, both of the belligerent ports and the maritime zones along belligerent coasts, is formally forbidden, no matter what the means by which the blockade is to be effected.
ART. 8. Private property in the open sea is inviolable. Belligerent and neutral merchant vessels may in no case be confiscated, nor sunk, under any pretext whatever.
If carrying contraband, this may be confiscated or destroyed by the captor.
ART. 9. The right of search is abolished. The local authorities of each country shall visé the papers of merchant vessels leaving port for a belligerent port.
Belligerent vessels may not stop neutral merchant vessels or merchant vessels belonging to the other belligerent except to demand examination of the vessel's papers. Despite the regularity of the said papers, they (belligerent vessels) may proceed to the search of merchant vessels. If shown that the vessel does not carry contraband, the searching vessel shall be condemned to pay to the vessel searched a fine to be determined by the conference of neutrals; and in case the vessel searched carries contraband, the country whose authorities viséed the false passport shall be condemned to pay an indemnity to be determined by the said conference of neutrals.
Vessels not carrying duly viséed papers may be searched conformable to present international practice without the right to an indemnity.
ART. 10. Belligerent merchant vessels may not refuse to carry from one neutral port to another neutral port persons or merchandise under pretext that they (persons or merchandise) belong to a nation with which their (belligerent merchant vessels) country is at war.
Exception to be made regarding persons who, by reason of their age or condition, might serve their country and who might be presumed to leave in order to join the enemy forces of the country to which the vessel belongs.
ART. 11. The official or private postal correspondence of neutrals or belligerents found in the open sea on board a neutral or enemy vessel is inviolable. It may not be seized, even under the pretext of the police right of warships over merchant ships of their own nationality.
RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF BELLIGERENTS.
Art. 12. Belligerents are held to respect the sovereign rights of neutral powers and to refrain within neutral territory or neutral waters from committing acts which, if tolerated by neutral powers, would constitute a breach of neutrality.
ART. 13. Belligerents are especially forbidden to make of neutral ports and waters the base for naval operations against their adversaries, and, particularly, to install therein wireless stations or other apparatus intended as a means of communication with belligerent land or naval forces.
ART. 14. Regarding the sojourn, victualing, and provisioning of belligerent vessels in the neutral ports, roadways, and jurisdictional waters, distinction must be made between warships and merchant vessels.
The following dispositions concerning warships are also applicable: (1) To ordinary auxiliary vessels.
(2) To merchant vessels transformed into war vessels, conformable to Convention VII of The Hague.
(3) To merchant vessels giving continuous or occasional aid to the war vessels of their country, if they have not been transformed into war vessels according to the said convention.
safetey may case of folal water
(4) To neutral vessels giving continuous or occasional aid to belligerent vessels, and the following dispositions regarding merchant vessels are likewise applicable to vessels which have been auxiliary vessels, but retransformed into merchant vessels according to article 18.
ART. 15. Belligerent warships shall not have access to the ports. roadways, and territorial waters of neutral powers, except in the duly justified case of force majeure.
They may not there repair beyond what is indispensable to the safety of their navigability, and not in any manner whatever to increase their military capacity. The neutral authorities shall establish the nature of repairs to be effected, and these must be carried out as rapidly as possible. They must depart immediately after the force majeure has ceased to exist.
It is especially forbidden said war vessels to renew or to increase their military provision or armaments or to complete their crews.
The need of revictualing, of fuel, or provisions does not constitute a force majeure permitting a warship to enter the ports, roadways, or territorial waters of neutral powers.
ART. 16. Belligerent merchant vessels may take fuel and provisions on board in neutral ports subject to the conditions especially determined by the local authorities, or, wanting these special conditions, in the same manner as in time of peace.
ART. 17. If proven that the merchant vessel taking fuel or provisions on board in a neutral port has passed all or part of such provisions to a belligerent warship within or without the territorial waters of the neutral power no fuel or provisions shall thereafter be furnished in such country to any ship of the company to which belongs the vessel committing such infraction.
ART. 18. If, ascertained by its installations or other facts, a merchant vessel is suspected of furnishing to the warships of its country provisions it asks for, the local authorities may, according to the circumstances, regard it as a naval auxiliary, and on this account refuse to it any provisions or request the agent of the company to which the vessel belongs to furnish bail guaranteeing that the said vessel will neither help nor assist the belligerent.
When a vessel is suspected, the case must be notified at once to all other countries, through the medium of the conference of neutrals, especially so if the vessel has furtively left a port of the country.
ART. 19. Belligerent auxiliary vessels retransformed into merchant vessels shall be admitted as such into neutral ports, provided
1. That the retransformed vessel ha's not violated the neutrality of the country where it arrives;
2. That the retransformation has been effected in the ports or in the jurisdictional waters of the country to which the vessel belongs, or in the ports of its allies;
3. That such retransformation be effective; that is to say, that the vessel, neither through its crew nor through its installations, shows that it can, as an auxiliary, as before, give aid to the armed fleets of its country;
4. That the Government of the country to which the vessel belongs notify to all the nations interested, through the medium of the conference of neutrals, the names of the auxiliary vessels which shall have lost this quality, to resume that of merchant vessels; and
5. That the said Government agree that in the future the said vessels shall not again, as auxiliaries, be destined to the service of the armed fleet.
Art. 20. Aeroplanes, dirigibles, or airships of the belligerent countries may not fly over the territory or over the jurisdictional waters of the neutral powers. Infraction of this rule entitles to the confiscation of the craft, if possible, and, at any rate, to an indemnity to be determined by the conference of neutrals.
RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF NEUTRALS.
ART. 21. In a war distinction must be made between the acts of aid on the part of neutral States and acts of commerce on the part of the individual; the former only are contrary to neutrality.
Conveyance, on whatever ground, made directly or indirectly by a neutral power to a belligerent power, of warships, munitions, or war material, is forbidden..
ART. 22. If a neutral power, notified of the opening of hostilities, learns that a belligerent warship is within one of its ports, roadways, or within its territorial waters, it must inform the said vessel that it must clear within 24 hours or within the time prescribed by the local law.
ART. 23. The neutral Government must use all available means to prevent within its jurisdiction the equipping or arming of any vessel which it has reason to believe is intended for cruising purposes or for aiding in hostile operations against a power with which it is at peace. It is likewise bound to exercise the same care in order to prevent the departure from its jurisdiction of any vessel intended: for cruising purposes or for aiding in hostile operations, and which vessel, within the said jurisdiction, might have been adapted, in part. or in its entirety, to war purposes.
ART. 24. Neutral powers are not bound to prevent the exportation or the transit, for the account of the one or the other belligerent, of arms, munitions, and, in general, of anything that may be of any use to an army or to a fleet.
ART. 25. Neutral Governments must prevent agents of the belligerent Governments from enrolling, within their territory, their (the belligerents') nationals, and especially to prevent their (the nationals) being summoned under the penalty of being declared deserters, should they not answer the summons.'
They shall not, however, prohibit the voluntary departure of the nationals of the belligerent States, even when organized on a large scale.
Neutral Governments might, however, forbid the voluntary departure, for the purpose of joining the forces of one of the belligerents, of persons who, being its (the neutral's) nationals, are also nationals of one of the belligerent countries, except by declaring that in enrolling they intende to lose the nationality of the country from which they leave.
ART. 26. In war time the use of the telegraphs or cables of neutral powers by the nationals of the belligerent powers shall be subject to measures edicted by the local authorities.