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large enough to cope with any situation or crisis which may suddenly arise, until national armies could be assembled and sent.
Baron Makino, of Japan, gave notice that when the time came for discussion, his country would have an amendment to propose, it being generally understood that he referred to the question of racial discrimination.
Mr. Barnes, a second delegate of Great Britain to speak, upheld the argument of France for an international force. Other speakers were Mr. Venizelos, of Greece, Mr. Koo, of China, and the delegate from the Hedjaz, who approved the Covenant, and Premier Hughes, of Australia, who inquired when he would be allowed to discuss it, and was answered by Mr. Clemenceau that the Covenant would not be open for discussion until after it had been submitted to and discussed by the respective Governments.
After the foregoing remarks the meeting was declared adjourned.
The official text of the Covenant of the League of Nations as reported by President Wilson is printed in the Supplement hereto, page 128.
Geo. A. Finch.
Since the foregoing article was prepared the report of the Commission on the League of Nations has been made public, from which the following extract is quoted showing the proceedings upon the Covenant subsequent to the presentation of the draft to the Peace Conference on February 14, 1919:
"The draft Covenant of the 14th February was made public in order that discussion of its terms might be provoked. A great deal of constructive criticism followed upon its publication. Further suggestions resulted from hearings of representatives of thirteen neutral states before a Committee of the Commission on the 20th and 21st March.
"These various recommendations were taken under advisement by the Commission which held meetings on the 22nd, 24th and 26th March and on the 10th and 11th April. At the meeting of the 10th April a delegation representing the International Council of Women and the Suffragist Conference of the Allied countries and the United States were received by the Commission.
"At the meetings of the 10th and 11th April the Commission agreed definitively on the following text of the Covenant to be presented to the Conference: [The text referred to is printed in the Supplement hereto, p. 128.]
"At the last meeting of the Commission the following resolution was adopted: "Resolved, that in the opinion of the Commission, the President of the Commission should be requested by the Conference to invite seven Powers, including two neutrals, to name representatives on a Committee
"A. to prepare plans for the organization of the League,
RECONSTRUCTION AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
There is a general disposition to assume that four years of dreadful war have so altered men's minds and characters and the underpinnings of organized society, that the world will be quite a different place from that which our observations and our studies have made familiar. This belief does not altogether carry conviction to my mind. The civilized world was threatened with an evil domination and combined to defend itself. This instinct and combination for defense are as old as the Greek Republics. For a generation to come the world will see less movement because of the war's exhaustion; it will have less money to spend and must economize; it will have higher taxes and therefore higher costs of production; here and there it will experience such change of governmental forms as should insure larger self-government.
But such results of war do not imply a change in human or even in national character. Peoples will continue to have that degree of control over their own destinies which their own character expresses and demands. The slavish nature will continue to live under a despot, whether he be called czar or head of a committee. The free spirit will continue to live under free institutions, because by self-knowledge and self-control he deserves them; and the title of the executive head of his state, whether king or president, is a matter of indifference. For realities and not forms are what count. Readjustment of existing principles to new conditions may be necessary, therefore, while reconstruction in the sense of the evolution of new principles and their application to a new world order, is unnecessary and unlikely.
It will be objected here that the French Revolution was a turningpoint in the world's life, and that the present situation is comparable to that. I reply that it was not the upheaval in France that really counted, but the new philosophy which preceded the Revolution and brought it on; moreover, that there is nothing of a similar nature at the present, except perhaps the German theory of state morality, and that has been discredited. The distinction is between a political philosophy which succeeded and revolutionized the world, and a political philosophy which has failed and will disappear.
Let us apply the doctrine that the old order has not fundamentally changed to the relations of states with one another. National animosities and jealousies and rivalries will not disappear in the coming era. Progress does not imply throwing away the fruits of the past. War will not be done away with, but only be made more difficult. And the rules of war will not greatly change, but the violation of those rules will be straightway punished. This is the ideal to work toward, remembering that the Law of Nations, like other law, in fact more fully than other law, is a growth and not a creation. If a weakness appears, we strive to remedy it, we do not seek to replace the entire fabric.
The principles of international law in time of peace are not so seriously controverted as to menace the world's progress. By a series of conventions ratified by the more important states and gradually covering all the relations of states in time of peace, we may hope to build up a code of rules, clearer, more comprehensive, perhaps more just than that body of usage heretofore recognized. Much progress has already been made in this direction.
It is the rules which govern the relations of states in time of war which are troublesome. In war there are three separate sets of interests involved, those of the two belligerent parties and of the neutral world.
Each of these three possesses rights and owes duties which are of very vital importance. Each accordingly will strain every nerve so to interpret any mooted question as to favor its own interest. Now in most wars the belligerents and neutrals have to give and take. There is such balance between them that neither can enforce his own view without concession. Hence it is accurate to say that the great body of law relating to war has grown slowly out of century-long discussions and compromises between belligerent and neutral.
We are just emerging from a war where two features, quite at variance with this growth process, confront us. For one thing, the neutral influence has been relatively so weak that it could not main
tain its rights. For another, we have had to deal with a belligerent who has recognized as binding no rules or obligations which he deemed disadvantageous to his arms. His breach of the law, on the admitted principle of retaliation, has led at times to the same breach by his enemy. From this double attack upon the laws of war as accepted prior to 1914, chaos has resulted. What we want, therefore, is to get back to an earlier and better status and to devise some expedient for the future, which shall make the violation of its laws less likely, because more certainly and immediately punished.
My conception, then, of reconstruction and international law, is of the old system of law with new teeth, so that somehow some time a calculated breach, by individual or by state, will find a penalty. In order to understand the serious nature and extent of the problem, at this point I desire to catalogue and to classify the violations of law and the variations from accepted usage which this war has witnessed.
And first as to war on land. The war began with the unprovoked invasion of Belgium. There were two approaches to France, one across a common frontier, the other over neutral territory. The one was carefully guarded and fortified; the other fairly open to attack. The one to the south was broken by the Vosges Mountains, was shorter than the Belgian front and less suited to the wide sweeping advance of a huge modern army. The route through Belgium, on the other hand, was level and well supplied with rail and highway communication. It was preferred by the great German staff on the score of military convenience. Now to attack a friendly state with which one has no quarrel, simply because it is convenient to do so, is the unpardonable sin, the sin against the Holy Ghost. That Germany was itself one of the guarantors of Belgian neutralization, intensified a crime, it did not originate it.
The general principles which cover the rights of neutrals are laid down in one of the Hague Conventions, V, 1907. Articles 1, 2 and 10 read as follows:
Art. 1. The territory of neutral Powers is inviolable.
Art. 2. Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either mu litions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.
Art. 10. The fact of a neutral Power resisting, even by force, attempts to violate its neutrality can not be regarded as a hostile act.
This convention was ratified by Germany, November 27, 1909. It merely stated with precision a rule which was perfectly well established and long operative. There can be, therefore, no shadow of doubt that Germany's crossing of Belgium to get at France was a breach of international law and of treaty. If the resistance of Belgium to invasion can not be regarded as a hostile act, as the article just quoted declares, then no state of war resulted and the German army was not entitled to consider Belgium an enemy state, and its territory occupied, with the rights which occupation gives the invader. This, however, is rather a matter for curious speculation than of practical importance, for when the whole country was overrun and local sovereignty crushed, the will of the German occupants was alone in a position to be enforceable.
Generally speaking, the principle which governs occupation is that occupied territory is governed by martial law in terms of the local law, that is, by the will of the commander working through local officials as far as possible, over country which by the actual constant presence of invading troops is not under the control of the legitimate sovereign. The 1907 Convention IV respecting the laws and customs of war on land, ratified by Germany, November 27, 1909, recognizes this principle, and even goes beyond it, in declaring that "the high contracting parties clearly do not intend that unforeseen cases should, in the absence of a written undertaking, be left to the arbitrary judgment of military commanders." With this proviso, the Convention lays down rules which I have space only to summarize, in the most essential particulars.
The inhabitants of an occupied territory shall be considered combatants if they carry arms openly and respect the laws of war, even if they have not had time to organize as militia.
Prisoners of war may be set to work if the work is not excessive and does not relate to the operations of war. They shall be clothed and fed as well as the troops of the captor. All their personal belongings remain their property.