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not appear to be conformable to the understanding arrived at in respect to the Red Cross Congress to be held at Geneva in mid-June, which would manifestly not have an opportunity to complete its work in season for consideration and action by the participating governments before the time proposed for the meeting at The Hague. For these reasons, as well as for other practical considerations in regard to the difficulty that would beset the several governments taking part in these three important conferences at the same season, both as to their representation thereat, and as to the need of preserving a consistent harmony in the discussion of the allied topics which would necessarily come before the three conferences, the President is constrained to say, in all frankness, that so early a date as is proposed for the meeting of the Conference of The Hague appears to be extremely inexpedient; and that he would be obliged to say so in response to the formal joint invitation of the Imperial and Dutch Governments which is foreshadowed in your announcement of their intended proposal. As your note merely intimates the proposal of those two Governments to act in concert in the indicated sense, it is assumed that the present purpose of the Imperial Government is to invite the general acquiescence of the interested powers in the contemplated proposal in advance of the later communication of the formal invitation; hence it is proper in advance to acquaint the Imperial Government with the views of the United States in the matter of the date to be agreed upon.
I take note of the further statement that "Russia at the same time invites the nations which did not sign the convention relative to the laws of war on land, nor that relative to the adaptation of the Geneva Convention to war at sea, to inform the Royal Government of the Netherlands of their adhesion to these conventions. With regard to further adhesions to the convention concerning international arbitration, the Imperial Government is conferring on this subject with the governments which signed the acts of 1899."
As respects the latter proposition, the President has already, in the circulars of the Secretary of State dated October 21 and December 16, 1904, advocated the extension of the option of adherence to powers not represented at the conference of 1899, and he will welcome the suggested comparison of views looking to the conclusion of an agreement among the contracting powers in that sense, as contemplated by article 60 of the First Hague Convention of July 29, 1899.
The United States, being already an adhering party to the conventions mentioned, would gladly see other nations, not heretofore signatories or adherents, become in like manner parties to the beneficent engagements which were framed by the First Conference of The Hague, and to which the approaching second conference may rightly be expected to give wider scope and more effective application in the light of recent military developments and in view of the practical needs suggested by experience.
Due note is also taken of the programme of subjects for examination and discussion which the Imperial Government proposes to submit to the conference, and the Government of the United States reserves consideration thereof, with liberty to advance other proposals of an allied character should its own needs and experience counsel such a course. Be pleased to accept, etc.,
ELIHU ROOT His Excellency Baron ROSEN,
etc., etc., etc.,
THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE
IMPERIAL EMBASSY OF RUSSIA,
WASHINGTON, April 12, 1906.
MR. SECRETARY OF STATE: When it assumed the initiative of calling a second peace conference, the Imperial Government had in view the necessity of further developing the humanitarian principles on which was based the work accomplished by the great international assemblage of 1899.
At the same time, it deemed it expedient to enlarge as much as possible the number of states participating in the labors of the contemplated conference, and the alacrity with which the call was answered bears witness to the depth and breadth of the present sentiment of solidarity for the application of ideas aiming at the good of all mankind.
The first conference separated in the firm belief that its labors would subsequently be perfected from the effect of the regular progress of enlightenment among the nations and abreast of the results acquired from experience. Its most important creation, the Inter
national Court of Arbitration, is an institution that has already proved its worth and brought together, for the good of all, an areopagus of jurists who command the respect of the world. How much good could be accomplished by international commissions of inquiry towards the settlement of disputes between states has also been shown.
There are, however, certain improvements to be made in the convention relative to the peaceful settlement of international disputes. Following recent arbitrations, the jurists assembled in court have raised certain questions of details which should be acted upon by adding to the said convention the necessary amplifications. It would seem especially desirable to lay down fixed principles in regard to the use of languages in the proceedings in view of the difficulties that may arise in the future as the cases referred to arbitral jurisdiction multiply. The modus operandi of international commissions of inquiry would likewise be open to improvement.
As regards the regulating of the laws and customs of war on land, the provisions established by the first conference ought also to be completed and defined, so as to remove all misapprehensions.
As for maritime warfare, in regard to which the laws and customs of the several countries differ on certain points, it is necessary to establish fixed rules in keeping with the exigencies of the rights of belligerents and the interests of neutrals.
A convention bearing on these subjects should be framed and would constitute one of the most prominent parts of the tasks devolved upon the forthcoming conference.
Holding, therefore, that there is at present occasion only to examine questions that demand special attention as being the outcome of the experience of recent years, without touching upon those that might have reference to the limitation of military or naval forces, the Imperial Government proposes for the programme of the contemplated meeting the following main points:
1. Improvements to be made in the provisions of the convention relative to the peaceful settlement of international disputes as regards the Court of Arbitration and the international commissions of inquiry.
2. Additions to be made to the provisions of the convention of 1899 relative to the laws and customs of war on land among others, those concerning the opening of hostilities, the rights of neutrals on land, etc. Declarations of 1899. One of these having expired, question of its being revived.
3. Framing of a convention relative to the laws and customs of maritime warfare, concerning
The special operations of maritime warfare, such as the bombardment of ports, cities, and villages by a naval force; the laying of torpedoes, etc.
The transformation of merchant vessels into war ships.
The length of time to be granted to merchant ships for their departure from ports of neutrals or of the enemy after the opening of hostilities.
The rights and duties of neutrals at sea among others the questions of contraband, the rules applicable to belligerent vessels in neutral ports; destruction, in cases of vis major, of neutral merchant vessels captured as prizes.
In the said convention to be drafted, there would be introduced the provisions relative to war on land that would be also applicable to maritime warfare.
4. Additions to be made to the convention of 1899 for the adaptation to maritime warfare of the principles of the Geneva Convention of 1864.
As was the case at the conference of 1899, it would be well understood that deliberations of the contemplated meeting should not deal with the political relations of the several states, or the condition of things established by treaties, or in general with questions that did not directly come within the programme adopted by the several cabinets.
The Imperial Government desires distinctly to state that the data of this programme and the eventual acceptance of the several states clearly do not prejudge the opinion that may be delivered in the conference in regard to the solving of the questions brought up for discussion. It would likewise be for the contemplated meeting to decide as to the order of the questions to be examined and the form to be given to the decisions reached, as to whether it should be deemed preferable to include some of them in new conventions or to append them, as additions, to conventions already existing.
In formulating the above-mentioned programme, the Imperial Government bore in mind, as far as possible, the recommendations made by the First Peace Conference, with special regard to the rights and duties of neutrals, the private property of belligerents at sea, the
bombardment of ports, cities, etc. It entertains the hope that the Government of the United States will take the whole of the points proposed as the expression of a wish to come nearer that lofty ideal of international justice that is the permanent goal of the whole civilized world.
By order of my Government, I have the honor to acquaint you with the foregoing, and awaiting the reply of the Government of the United States with as little delay as possible, I embrace this opportunity to beg you, Mr. Secretary of State, to accept the assurance of my very high consideration.
THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE
IMPERIAL EMBASSY OF RUSSIA,
WASHINGTON, April 12, 1906.
MR. SECRETARY OF STATE: Supplementing the note dated April 12, relative to the programme of the Second Peace Conference, I am charged by the Imperial Government to submit to the favorable attention of the Government of the United States the following considerations:
The inclosed list shows that among the States invited to participate in the labors of the contemplated meeting there are several that have not taken part in the first conference of 1899. It can but subserve the lofty purpose pursued by these great humanitarian gatherings to increase the number of the powers which join in agreements so beneficial to universal peace. But, on the other hand, a difficulty, of form only, that stands in the way of the admission, pure and simple, of new States must be taken into account. If, as supposed by the Imperial Government, the forthcoming conference is to be called upon to perfect the provisions of 1899, a formal adhesion to the three conventions of The Hague should be formulated by the States which have newly convoked and would, thereafter, take part in the general deliberations over the additions or amendments to the said provisions.
As to the convention relative to the peaceful settlement of international disputes, it contains in article 60 the following stipulation concerning eventual accessions: “The conditions on which the powers