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to yield to the majority, and as an attempt to sign a special convention dealing with the subject, to be binding only on those who voted for it, would have created bitterness of feeling within and without the conference, it was deemed in the interest of international peace and good understanding to adopt the principle in the abstract without seeking to incorporate it in the concrete form of a convention. The future, however, is very bright. There is no reason to prevent the thirty-two powers from negotiating individual and separate treaties and thus accomplish indirectly and beyond the confines of The Hague what might and would have been accomplished but for the determined opposition of two great but unconverted powers.
In the next place, to continue the reading of the Final Act, the conference adopted unanimously the following resolution:
The Second Conference of Peace reaffirms the resolution adopted by the conference of 1899 regarding the limitation of military charges, and considers that these military burdens have considerably increased in almost all the countries since the last date. The conference declares that it is especially to be desired that the governments should undertake again the serious study of this question.
The friends of peace regarded the failure to limit the burden of armaments as a misfortune. There is much, however, to be said for the haste that makes slowly. The problem of disarmament or limitation of armaments is a very serious one. It is much more serious than the pacifists would have us believe. Shall all disarm at one and the same time? If that were possible, we could solve the question at once; but the fear that some may not disarm while others do, and the further fear that the large powers have not really lost the appetite for the weaker, must make one pause. Germany consented to the passage of the resolution, Great Britain supported it, and, in accordance with direct instructions from the Secretary of State, the American delegation voted for the measure.
The Final Act then proceeds to enumerate five recommendations, the first and last of which should be discussed.
The conference recommends to the signatory powers the adoption of the project hereunto annexed of a convention for the establishment of a court of arbitral justice and its putting into effect as soon as an agreement shall have been reached as to the choice of the judges and the constitution of the court.
The project referred to as annexed and made a part of the recommendation is a careful convention consisting of thirty-five articles,
providing for the organization, jurisdiction, and procedure of a permanent court of arbitration, composed of permanent judges, versed in the existing systems of law of the modern civilized world. The conference was unable to agree upon the precise method of appointing the judges for the court, but recommended that this court be established upon the basis of the project approved by it and annexed to the recommendation as soon as the signatory powers should agree upon the method of appointing judges. The number of powers necessary is not specified, nor is the number of judges determined, as in the court of prize. It therefore follows that any number of powers may agree to make the project the basis of the court and the court is established. It would thus seem that we are in the presence of the realization of centuries of hope.
The fate of the court was long in suspense. The opposition to it was bitter at times. It was more difficult to carry than the prize court, because there was no international court of prize, whereas there is a permanent court of arbitration - The Hague Court - although permanent in name only and constituted from a list of judges for each case submitted to it. The existence, however, of the permanent court made it more difficult to establish the new one, and it was not until the last day but one of the conference that the project was adopted and referred to the powers by the unanimous vote of the nations present and voting. Perhaps it would be advisable to quote the first paragraph of the project in order that the exact nature of the court may be evident. It is as follows:
In order to further the cause of arbitration, the contracting powers agree to organize, without injury to the permanent court of arbitration, a court of arbitral justice, free and easy of access, composed of judges representing the juridical systems of the world and capable of assuring the continuity of arbitral juris. prudence.
It is proper to state that the project was essentially an American project, although presented conjointly by Germany and Great Britain, and the establishment of the court in the near future will be an American triumph. President Roosevelt, in his recent message to Congress, commented as follows upon this recommendation:
Substantial progress was also made towards the creation of a permanent judicial tribunal for the determination of international causes.
There was very full discussion of the proposal for such a court and a general agreement was finally reached in favor of its creation. The conference recommended to the signatory powers the adoption of a draft upon which it agreed for the organiza
tion of the court, leaving to be determined only the method by which the judges should be selected. This remaining unsettled question is plainly one which time and good temper will solve.
I believe you will search in vain for any work of a more far-reaching nature accomplished within the past centuries. The dream of Henry IV, the hope of William Penn, both of whom prepared projects for a court of nations, seem, if not wholly to have been realized, within the very grasp of our generation.
The friends of peace and arbitration had wished to make the conference at The Hague a permanent institution, meeting at regular and stated intervals known in advance. The American delegation had the honor to urge the adoption of such a resolution or recommendation and succeeded in substance, although the language is not so clear and crisp as one would like to see it. The exact wording of the recommendation follows:
Finally, the conference recommends to the powers the reunion of a third peace conference to take place within a period analogous to that which has elapsed since the preceding conference (eight years) at a date to be fixed by common agreement among the powers, and the conference calls their attention to the necessity of preparing the programme of the Third Conference far enough in advance in order that its deliberations may take place with indispensable authority and rapidity.
In order to reach this end, the conference considers it very desirable that two years before the probable reunion of the conference a preparatory committee be charged by the governments with the duty of collecting the different propositions to be submitted to the conference, of discovering matters susceptible of future international regulation, and of preparing a programme which the governments shall determine so that it may be attentively studied in each country. This committee shall propose a mode of organization and procedure for the conference.
The meaning of this recommendation is obvious. Whatever power may call the conference, the interested governments are to prepare the programme and devise rules for the organization and procedure of the conference. In other words, the conference ceases to be Russian in becoming international.
Enough has been said to show that this conference, which lasted four months, and which was subjected to criticism in all parts of the world and to misrepresentations in the journals, has not only justified its calling, but that it is a landmark in international development.
Our great concern must be, as far as possible, to humanize war as long as war exists. The greater task is to remove the causes of war so that nations may not be hurried into war, or that friction,
developed by the failure to solve or adjust conflicts, may not permit nations slowly but surely to drift into war.
Leaving out minor matters, this conference did four things :
1. It provided for a meeting of a third conference within an analogous period, namely, eight years, to be under the control of the powers generally, instead of the control of any one of them.
2. It adopted a convention for the non-forcible collection of contract debts, substituting arbitration and an appeal to reason for force and an appeal to arms.
3. It established a prize court to safeguard neutrals, and
4. It laid the foundations of, if it did not put the finishing stone to, a great court of arbitration.
JAMES BROWN SCOTT
TEXTS OF THE PEACE CONFERENCES
AT THE HAGUE
RESCRIPT OF THE RUSSIAN EMPEROR1
AUGUST 24 (12, OLD STYLE), 1898
The maintenance of general peace, and a possible reduction of the excessive armaments which weigh upon all nations, present themselves in the existing condition of the whole world, as the ideal towards which the endeavors of all Governments should be directed.
The humanitarian and magnanimous ideas of His Majesty the Emperor, my August Master, have been won over to this view. In the conviction that this lofty aim is in conformity with the most essential interests and the legitimate views of all Powers, the Imperial Government thinks that the present moment would be very favorable for seeking, by means of international discussion, the most effectual means of insuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and durable peace, and, above all, of putting an end to the progressive development of the present armaments.
In the course of the last twenty years the longings for a general appeasement have become especially pronounced in the consciences of civilized nations. The preservation of peace has been put forward as the object of international policy; in its name great States have concluded between themselves powerful alliances; it is the better to guarantee peace that they have developed, in proportions hitherto unprecedented, their military forces, and still continue to increase them without shrinking from any sacrifice.
All these efforts nevertheless have not yet been able to bring about the beneficent results of the desired pacification. The financial charges following an upward march strike at the public prosperity at its very source.
1 Handed to diplomatic representatives by Count Mouravieff, Russian Foreign Minister, at weekly reception in the Foreign Office, St. Petersburg, August 24/12, 1898.