Page images

to do injustice to another individual; that the same moral law applies in one case as in the other. But we must also remember that it is as much the duty of the nation to guard its own rights and its own interests as it is the duty of the individual so to do. Within the nation the individual has now delegated this right to the state, that is, to the representative of all the individuals, and it is a maxim of the law that for every wrong there is a remedy. But in international

. law we have not advanced by any means as far as we have advanced in municipal law. There is as yet no judicial way of enforcing a right in international law. When one nation wrongs another or wrongs many others, there is no tribunal before which the wrongdoer can be brought. Either it is necessary supinely to acquiesce in the wrong, and thus put a premium upon brutality and aggression, or else it is necessary for the aggrieved nation valiantly to stand up for its rights. Until some method is devised by which there shall be a degree of international control over offending nations, it would be a wicked thing for the most civilized powers, for those with most sense of international obligations and with keenest and most generous appreciation of the difference between right and wrong, to disarm. If the great civilized nations of the present day should completely disarm, the result would mean an immediate recrudescence of barbarism in one form or another. Under any circumstances a sufficient armament would have to be kept up to serve the purposes of international police; and until international cohesion and the sense of international duties and rights are far more advanced than at present, a nation desirous both of securing respect for itself and of doing good to others must have a force adequate for the work which it feels is allotted to it as its part of the general world duty. Therefore it follows that a self-respecting, just and far-seeing nation should on the one hand endeavor by every means to aid in the development of the various movements which tend to provide substitutes for war, which tend to render nations in their actions toward one another, and indeed toward their own peoples, more responsive to the general sentiment of humane and civilized mankind; and on the other hand that it should keep prepared, while scrupulously avoiding wrongdoing itself, to repel any wrong, and in exceptional cases to take action which in a more advanced stage of international relations would come under the head of the exercise of the international police. A great free people owes it to itself and to all mankind not to sink into helplessness before the powers of evil.'

Fourth Annual Message, December 6, 1904, Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents,




PRESIDENT A NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE, 1906. This portion of the President's message created much discussion at the time, and was generally condemned by the leaders of the peace movement of that period, who tended to center their efforts upon securing a reduction of armaments.

The following summer the President became the leading figure in the movement for international peace by virtue of the important part which he played in bringing about the Treaty of Portsmouth, which closed the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. The Committee of the Norwegian Storthing which controls the Nobel peace prize awarded that prize to the President of the United States the following year.

When Mr. Roosevelt stepped down from the presidency on March 4, 1909, and shortly sailed for Africa on a hunting trip, he had acquired a unique distinction which gave his sayings and doings peculiar interest both in the Old World and in the New. On his return from Africa, he made many addresses in Europe, one of which was his address at Kristiania, Norway, as Nobel peace prize laureate. In that speech, he offered a definite scheme for a league of peace, which attracted much attention and sank deep into the minds of European publicists. Mr. Roosevelt at Kristiania said:

Finally, it would be a master stroke if those great powers honestly bent on peace would form a league of peace, not only to keep the peace among themselves, but to prevent, by force if necessary, its being broken by others. The supreme difficulty in connection with developing the peace work of The Hague arises from the lack of any executive power, of any police power to enforce the decrees of the court. In any community of any size the authority of the courts 'rests upon actual or potential force; on the existence of a police, or on the knowledge that the able-bodied men of the country are both ready and willing to see that the decrees of judicial and legislative bodies are put into effect. In new and wild communities where there is violence, an honest man must protect himself; and until other means of securing his safety are devised, it is both foolish and wicked to persuade him to surrender his arms while the men who are dangerous to the community retain theirs. He should not renounce the right to protect himself by his own efforts until the community is so organized that it can effectively relieve the individual of the duty of putting down violence. So it is with nations. Each nation must keep well prepared to defend itself until the establishment of some form of international police power, competent and willing to prevent violence as between nations. As things are now, such power to command peace throughout the world could best be assured by some combination between those great nations which sincerely desire peace and have no thought themselves of committing aggressions. The combination might at first be only to secure peace within certain definite limits and certain definite conditions; but the ruler or statesman who should bring about such a combination would have earned his place in history for all time and his title to the gratitude of all mankind."



The Hague court began operation in 1901, and since that time has had on its docket 17 cases, of which 15 have been decided. Its operation previous to the Second Hague Conference in 1907 demonstrated that while it was sound in principle and timely in appearance, it was inadequate because it was not what it purported to be, a “permanent court of arbitration.” For the court established at The Hague was merely a panel of judges from which arbitrators might conveniently be chosen by litigant nations. The next logical step in advance was taken by the United States. Secretary of State Root saw the cogency of the arguments for a court consisting of permanent judges, and in his instructions to the American delegates to the Second Hague Conference he discussed the problem involved and gave this positive direction:

It should be your effort to bring about in the Second Conference a development of The Hague Tribunal into a permanent tribunal composed of judges who are judicial officers and nothing else, who are paid adequate salaries, who have no other occupation, and who will devote their entire time to the trial and decision of international causes by judicial methods and under a sense of judicial responsibility.”

The American delegates loyally carried out the desire of their Government. Before the conference was over, they had enlisted the co-operation of Great Britain and Germany for their plan, which was complete, except for a method of successfully apportioning 15 judges among 44 states. But the American delegates succeeded in having the principle indorsed in the Final Act of the conference, to which

* African and European Addresses, 81-83. The address was entitled “International Peace" and was delivered at Kristiania, May 5, 1910.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1907, 1135. The instructions are dated May 31, 1907. * Scott, Texts of the Peace Conference at The Hague 1899 and 1907, 138-139.



was appended the entire project, minus details respecting the composition of the court. Though the conventions signed by the conference required ratification by the powers to become binding, the Final Act did not; so that, while the project failed of immediate realization, the wish expressed in the Final Act committed 44 states of the civilized world to the advisability of such a court in these words:

The conference calls the attention of the signatory powers to the advisability of adopting the annexed draft convention for the creation of a Court of Arbitral Justice, and of bringing it into force as soon as an agreement has been reached respecting the selection of the judges and the constitution of the court."

The American Government continued to work for a Court of Arbitral Justice, being thus assured that the plan must come before a third Hague conference, and it is more than probable that, if the European war had not broken out in 1914, such a court would now be in existence.

TAFT.-A STEP TOWARD WORLD ORGANIZATION, 1910. With the idea of a league of peace backed by regulated force already prominently launched by a former President of the United States, there was formed in New York at almost the time when Mr. Roosevelt was speaking at Kristiania an organization called the World Federation League. This organization proved to be short-lived; but it was instrumental in having Congress consider and pass a joint resolution providing for a commission to study the preservation of peace and the establishment of a combined force for its maintenance. This resolution, which was approved by President Taft on June 25, 1910, is of peculiar significance because it is believed to be the first attempt on the part of any legislature to initiate an organization of the nations of the world, with or without the element of force. The joint resolution as passed reads:


IN RELATION TO UNIVERSAL PEACE. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That a commission of five members be appointed by the President of the United States to consider the expediency of utilizing existing international agencies for the purpose of limiting the armaments of the nations of the world by international agreement, and of constituting the combined navies of the world an international force for the preservation of universal peace, and to consider and report upon any other means to diminish the expenditures of government for military purposes and to lessen the probabilities of war: Provided, That the total expense authorized by this Joint Resolution shall not exceed the sum of ten thousand dol lars and that the said commission shall be required to make final report within two years from the date of the passage of this resolution.

Approved, June 25, 1910.'

The idea was in advance of its time, even though it correctly expressed the aspirations of the American Congress and the American people. When the Government inquired of other states as to their attitude on the matter and the Department of State examined the world situation with a view to realizing the purpose intended, it was found that action was not possible. There is only one official statement respecting the matter in American public records, but that is clear and accurately reflects the situation at the time. President Taft in his annual message of December 6, 1910, wrote:

I have not as yet made appointments to this commission because I have invited and am awaiting the expression of foreign governments as to their willingness to co-operate with us in the appointment of similar commissions or representatives who would meet with our commissioners and by joint action seek to make their work effective.?

Foreign governments evidently discouraged the American initiative.

[ocr errors]


Two weeks lacking a day after the publication of this message, President Taft proved how thoroughly he had the cause of pacific settlement at heart by consenting to address the annual meeting of the American Society for Judicial Settlement of International Disputes at its annual banquet. Not only did he lend to the ideal for which the society stood the prestige of his position, but he thrilled his hearers, and the world next day through the newspapers, by suggesting, responsibly, for the first time on behalf of a great power, that the arbitral settlement of every issue between states, whether

Statutes at Large, 36, Part I, 885.
Foreign Relations of the United States, 1910, ix.

« PreviousContinue »