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THE PEACE CONFERENCES
AT THE HAGUE, 1899 AND 1907
WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION
EDITED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION, BY
JAMES BROWN SCOTT
TECHNICAL DELEGATE OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE SECOND PEACE
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
PREFATORY NOTE BY
SECRETARY OF STATE
PUBLISHED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF PEACE
BY GINN & COMPANY
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The Atheneum Press
In the letter submitting The Hague Conventions of 1907 for consideration by the Senate, the Secretary of State said:
“Let me go beyond the limits of the customary formal letter of transmittal and say that I think the work of the Second Hague Conference, which is mainly embodied in these Conventions, presents the greatest advance ever made at any single time toward the reasonable and peaceful regulation of international conduct, unless it be the advance made at The Hague Conference of 1899.
“The most valuable result of the Conference of 1899 was that it made the work of the Conference of 1907 possible. The achievements of the Conferences justify the belief that the world has entered upon an orderly process through which, step by step, in successive Conferences, each taking the work of its predecessor as its point of departure, there may be continual progress toward making the practice of civilized nations conform to their peaceful professions.”
The collection of documents in this volume brings into relief a fact which should affect our judgment regarding all of the attempts in recent years to secure international agreement upon matters affecting peace and war; this fact is that each attempt is to be considered, not by itself alone, but as part of a series in which sound proposals may come to general acceptance only by a very gradual process extending through many years. For example, Dr. Francis Lieber's Instructions for the Government of the Army of the United States in the Field, prepared for President Lincoln and embodied by him in General Order No. 100 of the year 1863, has now developed, after forty-four years, into the universal “Convention regarding the laws and customs of land warfare,” signed at the last Hague Conference. The three rules of the Treaty of Washington, agreed upon by the United States and Great Britain, in 1871, are now accepted by the civilized world, in 1907, in The Hague “Convention respecting the rights and duties of neutral powers in naval war."
The question about each international conference is not merely what it has accomplished, but also what it has begun, and what it has moved forward. Not only the conventions signed and ratified, but the steps taken toward conclusions which may not reach practical and effective form for many years to come, are of value. Some of the resolutions adopted by the last conference do not seem to amount to very much by themselves, but each one marks on some line of progress the farthest point to which the world is yet willing to go. They are like cable ends buoyed in mid-ocean, to be picked up hereafter by some other steamer, spliced, and continued to shore. The greater the reform proposed, the longer must be the process required to bring many nations differing widely in their laws, customs, traditions, interests, prejudices, into agreement. Each necessary step in the process is as useful as the final act which crowns the work and is received with public celebration.
ELIHU ROOT DEPARTMENT OF STATE
May 1, 1908
RUSSIAN CIRCULAR, JANUARY 11, 1899 (DECEMBER 30, 1898, OLD STYLE)
CONVENTION FOR THE ADAPTATION TO MARITIME WARFARE OF THE PRIN-
CIPLES OF THE GENEVA CONVENTION OF AUGUST 22, 1864 . . .
DECLARATION CONCERNING ASPHYXIATING GASES . . .
DECLARATION CONCERNING EXPANDING BULLETS.