Слике страница
PDF
ePub

"II

"The Signatory Powers invite all other civilized Powers to express their assent to the foregoing statement of established law so that there may be a clear public understanding throughout the world of the standards of conduct by which the public opinion of the world is to pass judgment upon future belligerents.

"Ill

"The Signatory Powers, desiring to insure the enforcement of the humane rules of existing law declared by them with respect to attacks upon and the seizure and destruction of merchant ships, further declare that any person in the service of any Power who shall violate any of these rules, whether or not such person is under orders of a governmental superior, shall be deemed to have violated the laws of war and shall be liable to trial and punishment as if for an act of piracy and may be brought to trial before the civil or military authorities of any Power within the jurisdiction of which he may be found.

"IV

"The Signatory Powers recognize the practical impossibility of using submarines as commerce destroyers without violating, as they were violated in the recent war of 1914r-1918, the requirements universally accepted by civilized nations for the protection of the lives of neutrals and noncombatants, and to the end that the prohibition of the use of submarines as commerce destroyers shall be universally accepted as a part of the law of nations they now accept that prohibition as henceforth binding as between themselves and they invite all other nations to adhere thereto.

"V

"The use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices, having been justly condemned by the general opinion of the civilized world and a prohibition of such use having been declared in treaties, to which a majority of the civilized Powers are parties.

"The Signatory Powers, to the end that this prohibition shall be universally accepted as a part of international law binding alike the conscience and practice of nations, declare their assent to such prohibition, agree to be bound thereby as between themselves and invite all other civilized nations to adhere thereto."

Mr. Root, in presenting this Treaty for the approval of the Conference, said:

"You will observe that this treaty does not undertake to codify international law in respect of visit, search or seizure of merchant vessels. What it does undertake to do is to state the most important and effective provisions of the law of nations in regard to the treatment of merchant vessels by belligerent warships, and to declare that submarines are, under no circumstances, exempt from these humane rules for the protection of the life of innocent noncombatants.

"It undertakes further to stigmatize violation of these rules, and the doing to death of women and children and noncombatants by the wanton destruction of merchant vessels upon which they are passengers and by a violation of the laws of war, which as between these five great powers and all other civilized nations who shall give their adherence shall be henceforth punished as an act of piracy.

"It undertakes further to prevent temptation to the violation of these rules by the use of submarines for the capture of merchant vessels, and to prohibit that use altogether. It undertakes further to denounce the use of poisonous gases and chemicals in war, as they were used to the horror of all civilization in the war of 1914^1918.

"Cynics have said that in the stress of war these rules will be violated. Cynics are always near-sighted, and often and usually the decisive facts lie beyond the range of their vision.

"We may grant that rules limiting the use of implements of warfare made between diplomatists will be violated in the stress of conflict. We may grant that the most solemn obligation assumed by governments in respect of the use of implements of war will be violated in the stress of conflict; but beyond diplomatists and beyond governments there rests the public opinion of the civilized world, and the public opinion of the world can punish. It can bring its sanction to the support of a prohibition with as terrible consequences as any criminal statute of Congress or of Parliament.

"We may grant that in matters which are complicated and difficult, where the facts are disputed and the argument is sophistic, public opinion may be confused and ineffective, yet when a rule of action, clear and simple, is based upon the fundamental ideas of humanity and right conduct, and the public opinion of the world has reached a decisive judgment upon it, that rule will be enforced by the greatest power known to human history, the power that is the hope of the world, will be a hope justified."

COMMISSION TO REVISE RULES OF WAR

The Conference adopted the following Resolution for the appointment of a commission to examine the rules made necessary by recent experience with respect to new agencies of warfare:

"I. That a Commission composed of not more than two members representing each of the above-mentioned Powers shall be constituted to consider the following questions:

"(a) Do existing rules of International Law adequately cover new methods of attack or defense resulting from the introduction or development, since the Hague Conference of 1907, of new agencies of warfare?

"(b) If not so, what changes in the existing rules ought to be adopted in consequence thereof as a part of the law of nations?

"II. That notices of appointment of the members of the Commission shall be transmitted to the Government of the United States of America within three months after the adjournment of the present Conference, which after consultation with the Powers concerned will fix the day and place for the meeting of the Commission.

"III. That the Commission shall be at liberty to request assistance and advice from experts in International Law and in land, naval, and aerial warfare.

"IV. That the Commission shall report its conclusions to each of the Powers represented in its membership.

"Those Powers shall thereupon confer as to the acceptance of the report and the course to be followed to secure the consideration of its recommendations by the other civilized Powers."

A further resolution was adopted at the same time, as follows:

"Resolved, That it is not the intention of the Powers agreeing to the appointment of a Commission to consider and report upon the rules of International Law respecting new agencies of warfare that the Commission shall review or report upon the rules or declarations relating to submarines or the use of noxious gases and chemicals already adopted by the Powers in this Conference."

AIRCRAFT

It was found to be impracticable to adopt rules for the limitation of aircraft in number, size, or character, in view of the fact that such rules would be of little or no value unless the production of commercial aircraft were similarly restricted. It was deemed to be inadvisable thus to hamper the development of a facility which could not fail to be important in the progress of civilization.

Second. Pacific And Far Eastern Questions

When the Conference was called there existed with regard to the Far East causes of misunderstanding and sources of controversy which constituted a serious potential danger. These difficulties centered principally about China, where the developments of the past quarter of a century had produced a situation in which international rivalries, jealousies, distrust, and antagonism were fostered.

The people of China are the inheritors of the oldest extant civilization of the world; but it is a civilization which has followed a course of development different from that of the West. It has almost wholly ignored the material, the mechanical, the scientific, and industrial mastery of natural resources, which has so characterized our Western civilization in its later growth, and has led among us to the creation of an intricate industrial system. The spirit of Chinese civilization has, moreover, been pacifist, and lacking in the consciousness of nationality as we understand that term. In its political aspects, the ideal of that civilization was to follow the principle of self-government by the family or guild to an extreme. The throne had imposed upon the people virtually no authority and exercised virtually no functions save to preserve order and to collect taxes for the maintenance of the throne as a symbol of national or racial unity.

So long as China lived as a race apart, as a self-contained agricultural country, such a political idea was possible of realization; and we who are the inheritors of so different a tradition can not but pay respect to China's civilization.

It is perhaps one of the tragedies of human evolution that the fine civilization which had developed in China and which had spread to other lands of eastern Asia was of necessity withered by contact with our more material western system of living. The Asiatic nations seem to have been conscious of this in their early contacts with the European world; and for a time they sought to exclude the new influences. Failing in that, they met the problem in different ways. Japan, with its highly centralized system, which, in marked contrast with the political ideals of China, had instilled into its people a national consciousness and loyalty and obedience in a singular degree, had found it possible within a comparatively few decades to adapt itself to membership in the family of modern nations; and by what is doubtless the most extraordinary transformation in history, took on so much of the material development and political tradition of the West as enabled her empire to become what it is to-day, one of the foremost nations of the world.

China, on the other hand, with its age-long devotion to a political ideal which scarcely involved the concept of the State, and which had afforded its people no experience of coordinated action for political ends, was slower to adapt itself to conditions arising out of what it regarded as the intrusion of the West. Even after it had ceased actually to oppose this intrusion, it still sought to hold itself aloof and to carry on a passive resistance to the new influences which were at work. Against powerful, well-knit governments of the European type, strongly nationalistic, and in some instances availing themselves of military force, China could oppose only the will of a weak and loose-knit government, lacking even the support of a national self-consciousness on the part of its people. Against the organized commercial and industrial enterprises of the West, China had no similar organization to oppose, and no means of exploiting on any adequate scale the coveted latent wealth of the country. It was melancholy but perhaps inevitable that a realization of this situation should have led to a scramble among the Powers of greatest military and industrial strength with a view to obtaining the fullest possible opportunity to profit by the riches and the weakness of China. In this scramble, not only were the rights of China ignored or violated, but a number of the stronger Powers found themselves in a situation of mutual antagonism as a result.

It was in the midst of this scramble, in the year 1899, that Secretary Hay sought to establish the principle of the open door and to obtain general acceptance for certain concrete applications of it which at least would minimize the existing danger. And when, in the following year, a portion of the Chinese people were beguiled into the futile antiforeign protest that we know as the Boxer Uprising, Secretary Hay joined with the open-door principle its corollary, that is, the preservation of Chinese territorial and administrative integrity. These two related principles have since had their influence in restraint of the temptation to encroach upon the rights of China or upon the rights of other friendly states in China. But it is unfortunately the fact that these principles, helpful as they might have been, were never a matter of binding international obligation among all the powers concerned; and although generally professed, they were in some instances disregarded, and each such case afforded an excuse and a temptation to treat them thereafter more and more as mere counsels of perfection for which no nation could be held strictly to account. This disintegrating tendency had become more marked in the period following China's overthrow of its ancient dynasty and its assumption of the status of a republic. This development has inevitably brought with it a period of transition.

The democratic system of government represents the final and most difficult stage in the political experience of a people; and its adoption has universally been accompanied, as it was in our own case, by a period of painful adjustment to new and difficult requirements. In China, perhaps, the singular lack of political experience, or even of a helpful governmental tradition, made this development infinitely difficult, and for approximately ten years China has been exhibiting the weakness and political disturbance which seem to be the price that must be paid for the institution of popular government. In these circumstances, the weakening of the restraints upon the action of foreign nations seeking to participate in the economic development of China has perhaps not unnaturally led to a greater indifference to China's rights and interests, and to a greater disregard of the dangers arising out of international rivalries.

A situation had thus been created in which the Chinese people nursed a sense of grievance and even of outrage; and the foreign nations found their relations complicated by mutual suspicion and resentment.

Throughout considerable areas of the territory of China claims were made to so-called spheres of interest which not only placed a check upon the normal economic development of the country and interfered with its administration, but also sought to restrict the free commercial intercourse of those peoples, which, like ourselves, considered that they had a full right, with the sanction of treaty engagements, to deal without control or interference with the Chinese people in whatever part of China and in whatever sort of legitimate business or enterprise they might find mutually profitable.

Such was the unhealthy situation that had come to exist in the Far East; and those who regarded it with a view to its effects upon the relationships of the several nations concerned could not but be conscious that plans for the limitation of armaments could scarcely have more than a temporary success if it were not possible to dispel the growing sense of uneasiness and mutual distrust which had arisen out of those conditions.

THE ANGLO-JAPANESE ALLIANCE

It may be stated without reservation that one of the most important factors in the Far Eastern situation was the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. This Alliance has been viewed by the people of the United States with deep concern. Originally designed as a measure of protection in view of the policies of Russia and Germany in Far Eastern affairs, the continuance of the Alliance after all peril from those sources had ceased could not fail to be regarded as seriously prejudicial to our interests. Without reviewing the reasons for this disquietude, it was greatly increased by the "state of international ten

« ПретходнаНастави »