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265. Local armistice.--A local armistice suspends operations between certain portions of the belligerent forces, or within a designated district of the theater of operations. A local armisu tice may be concluded by the military forces only, or by the naval forces only, or between a less number than all of the belligerents at war.1
1 G. 0. 100, 1863, art. 137, par. 1: “An armistice may be general and valid for all points and lines of the belligérents ; or special, that is, referring to certain troops or certain localities only.",
266. Suspension of arms.-A suspension of arms is a form of armistice concluded between commanders of armies, or even of detachments, for some local military purpose : such as to bury the dead, to collect the wounded, to arrange for exchange of prisoners, to enable a commander to communicate with his Government or superior officer."
1 The above distinction as stated is not absolutely essential, although Mr. Oppenheim still draws the distinction between the three forms mentioned in the above text (Land Warfare, pp. 56-57) But see Westlake, War, part 2, p. 92, and Spaight, War on Land, pp. 233-234. A suspension of arms was asked for by the governor of Manila
of Admiral Dewey on Aug. 9, 1898, which would allow him to communicate with his Government and receive instructions.
267. Notification of armistice.-H. R. Art. XXXVIII. An armistice must be notified officially and in good time to the competent authorities and to the troops. Hostilities are suspended immediately after notification, or on the date fixed."
i Vide par. 259.
268. Intercourse in theater of operations.-H. R, Art. XXXIX. It rests with the contracting parties to settle, in the terms of the armistice, what intercourse may be held in the theater of war with and between the populations."
1 This translation of the text is copied from that of Messrs. Westlake and Spaight, and is believed to more accurately express the intent of the framers. The original from which this article was probably taken is in G. 0. 100 of 1863, art. 141 : " It is incumbent upon the contracting parties of an armistice to stipulate what intercourse of persons or traffic between the inhabitants of the territories occupied by the hostile armies shall be allowed, if any. If nothing is stipulated the intercourse remains suspended, as during actual hostilities." Our own official translation is as follows:
" It rests with the contracting parties to settle, in the terms of the armistice, what communications
may be held in the theater of war with the inhabitants and between the inhabitants, of one belligerent State and those of the other."
The British official translation is as follows:
" It is for the contracting parties to settle, in the terms of the armistice, what communications may be held, on the theater of war, with the populations and with each other."
Of course, what is intended to be regulated is the intercourse of the population of the occupied territory with the population of the country still held by the enemy (in both cases nationals of the enemy State), and also between each belligerent force and the inhabitants of the localities held by the other.
269. Rule in absence of stipulation.-If nothing is stipulated, the intercourse remains suspended, as during actual hostilities.'
16. 0. 100, 1863, art. 141, par. 2. The French manual, p. 61, states : “If the contracting parties have omitted to arrange as to the mutual relations of the population during the armistice, each belligerent preserves the absolute right to settle the question as he chooses on the territory held by him. An armistice is not a temporary peace; it leaves the state of war in existence; consequently the comings and goings of the inhabitants about the respective positions or within the neutral zone may offer inconveniences and facilitate spying."
270. What stipulations armistice should contain.—The following stipulations should be incorporated in an armistice:
(a) The precise date, day, and hour of the commencement of the armistice. The date of commencement of an armistice may be different for different parts of an army.'
1 Vide par. 260, supra.
(b) The duration of the armistice. The duration may be for a definite or indefinite period, and may terminate with or without notice of expiration. In case it is indefinite, a belligérent may resume operations at any time, with due notice given. If the term is fixed and no agreement has been made for prolonging same, hostilities may be resumed without notice in the absence of positive terms to the contrary. An armistice commences, in the absence of express mention to the contrary, at the moment it is signed.?
2 In 1898 Spain protested against hostilities being continued during the negotiations for an armistice in Washington. The United States replied that it was a belligerent's strict right to continue operations so long as an armistice had not been concluded,
In 1865 Gen. Wilson captured Macon, Ga., during an armistice between Gens. Sherman and Johnston, of which Gen. Wilson had been informed by Gen. Cohb, but not by his own commander. Gen. Sherman directed him to release the captured Confederate generals (Cobb, G. W. Smith, and McCall) and to occupy ground outside of Macon,
(c) The principal lines and all other marks or signs necessary to determine the locations of the belligerent troops should bes fixed.+Belligerents frequently make use of maps with the lines indicated shown thereon, which maps are made part of the convention. A neutral zone is frequently determined upon between the two armies. These lines are not to be crossed or the zone entered except by parlementaires or other parties by special agreement for specified purposes, such as to bury the dead and collect the wounded.
+? It is customary to designate the roads that are to be used by all parties entering or passing through a neutral zone. Vide general form armistice, Appendix A, this section. 1. (d) The relation of the armies with the people.--In the absence of stipulations
to the contrary, each belligerent will 'exercise toward the inhabitants the rights of belligerents over
occupied territory, such as billeting troops, requisitioning supplies, etc., as well as all intercourse between them.",
4 Vide Spaight, War Rights on Land, p. 247.
(e) What acts are prohibited during the armistice.-In the absence of stipulations to the contrary, each belligerent is authorized to make movements of troops within his own lines, to receive and instruct recruits, to construct intrenchments, to repair bridges, to establish new batteries, and, in general, to take advantage of the time and means at his disposal to prepare for resuming hostilities. This includes the right to continue espionage, but does not include the right to introduce supplies into a fortress unless especially stipulated in the agreement."
5 Les Lois, Jacomet, art. 133. Vide note 2, par. 261, supra.
In the Brussels Conference it was proposed to make the matter clear as to what a belligerent may or may not do after an armistice is concluded, by specifying that on the conclusion of an armistice, what each of the parties may do and what he may not do shall be precisely stated.”
This was not passed because of the belief that this was implied in Art. XXXVI of the present rules. See the French rule in note 1, par. 269, supra. For practice during modern wars which conform to the foregoing principle, see Spaight, War Rights on Land, pp. 233 et seq.
271. Denunciation of armistice.-H. R. Art. XL. Any serious violation of the armistice by one of the parties gives the other party the right of denouncing it, and even, in cases of urgency, of recommencing hostilities immediately.
272. Must not constitute perfidy. To denounce an armistice without some very serious breach, and to surprise the enemy before he can have time to put himself on guard, would constitute an act of perfidy. In the absence of extreme urgency, some delay should be given between the denunciation and resumption of hostilities.
1 Land Warfare, Opp., pars. 296–297.
273. Armistice no excuse for lack of vigilance.--The existence of an armistice does not warrant relaxation of vigilance in the service of security and protection, or in the preparedness of troops for action, or exposing positions to the enemy.'
1 At the second battle of Fredericksburg, May 5, 1863, the Federals discovered the weakness of Gen. Barksdale's force during a suspension of hostilities to collect the wounded after the second repulse. Memoirs, Alexander, p. 351. In the suspension of arms at Wynnes Hill, during the relief of Ladysmith, many of the burghers stood up and disclosed the position of their trenches, which until then had not been located by the enemy, South African War, Vol. II, p. 602.
274. Violations by individuals.-H. R. Art. XLI. A violation of the terms of the armistice by individuals acting on their own initiative only entitles the injured party to demand punishment of the offenders or, if necessary, compensation for the losses sustained.
275. Soldiers captured violating armistice are prisoners of war.–Soldiers captured in the act of breaking an armistice must be treated as prisoners of war. Such acts do not justify denunciation of the armistice.?
1 Mr. Oppenheim says: “There is no justification in such circumstances for a renewal of hostilities, unless the behavior of these individuals is approved of or sanctioned by their superiors. If, however, the violation of the armistice by individuals acting on their own initiative be repeated, and if it become evident that the adversary is unable to repress such abuses, there might be no other way, after proper protest, to obtain redress except by denouncing the armistice." Land Warfare, art. 299; Ariga, p. 555, states that “ during the armistice frequent reports were received that Russian soldiers entered the neutral zone in violation of the third article of the protocol. We have never believed, however, that we should make any complaint with regard to this, because it was a question in reality only of small individual infractions which should have no influence upon the general effect of the armistice."
FORM OF ARMISTICE.
ARMISTICE BETWEEN TWO OPPOSING FORCES.
authorized by CD, commander in chief of the United States forces in
and E F authorized by FH
commander in chief of the troops in
agree to the following articles : ART. 1. On the publication of this armistice, hostilities shall cease between the United States and
forces at all points along the frontier of ---- between ---- and
ART. 2. The armistice shall continue until noon on the day of ------, and until such further time as is hereinafter mentioned.
ART. 3. Either side may at any time on or after the said day of
days' notice of its intention to determine the armistice, and the armistice shall be determined at the expiration of such days. Notice shall be given by writing, stating the intention to determine the armistice, and sent from the headquarters of one army to the headquarters of the other army. In reckoning time for the purpose of the said ------ days' notice, the day on which the notice is given, at whatever hour the same may be given, shall be reckoned as an entire day, and the armistice shall expire at midnight on the
---- day succeeding the day on which the notice is given.
ART. 4. The lines of demarcation shown on the attached map shall be strictly adhered to during the armistice. The territory lying between the two lines of demarcation shall be strictly neutral, and any advance into it by any member of either army is prohibited except for the purposes of communication between the two armies. Neither army shall extend its line in a
direction beyond the points shown as the extremities of their respective lines.
ART. 5. Subject to the restrictions mentioned in the fourth article, as respects making an advance into the neutral territory, either army may take measures to strengthen its position, and may receive reinforcements and stores, of warlike and other material, and may do any other act not being an act of direct hostility.
ART. 6. During the two days following the day on which this armistice is ratified, burial parties from both armies shall be