Frederick William Holls.

The peace conference at The Hague, and its bearings on international law and policy online

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make them take a certain course, and put a Commissioner
on board ; they can even detain them, if important cir-
cumstances require it.

As far as possible the belligerents shall inscribe in the
sailing papers of the hospital-ships the orders they give


The military hospital-ships shall be distinguished by
being painted white outside with a horizontal band of
green about a metre and a half in breadth.

The ships mentioned in Articles II and III shall be dis-
tinguished by being painted white outside with a horizontal
band of red about a metre and a half in breadth.

The boats of the ships above mentioned, as also small


mentionnes, comine les petits batiments qui pourront
etre affectes au service hospitalier, se distingueront par
une peinture analogue.

Tous les batiments-hospitaliers se feront reconnaitre en
hissant, avec leur pavilion national, le pavilion blanc a
croix rouge prevu par la Convention de Geneve.


Les batiments de commerce, yachts, ou erabarcations
neutres, portant ou recueillant des blesses, des malades,
ou des naufrages des belligerants, ne peuvent etre cap-
tures pour le fait de ce transport, mais ils restent exposes
a la capture pour les violations de neutralite qu'ils pour-
raient avoir commises.


Le personnel religieux, medical, et hospitalier de tout
bailment capture est inviolable et ne puet etre fait prison-
nier de guerre. II emporte, en quittant le navire, les
objets et les instruments de chirurgie qui sont sa pro-
priete particuliere.

Ce personnel continuera a remplir ses fonctions tant que
cela sera necessaire, et il pourra ensuite se retirer lorsque
le Commandant-en-chef le jugera possible.

Les belligerants doivent assurer a ce personnel tombe
entre leurs mains la jouissance integrale de son traite-


Les marins et les militaires embarques blesses ou malades,
a quelque nation qu'ils appartiennent, seront proteges et
soignes par les capteurs.


craft which may be used for hospital work, shall be distin-
guished by similar painting.

All hospital-ships shall make themselves known by
hoisting, together with their national flag, the white flag
with a red cross provided by the Geneva Convention.


Neutral merchantmen, yachts, or vessels, having, or
taking on board, sick, wounded, or shipwrecked of the
belligerents, cannot be captured for so doing, but they are
liable to capture for any violation of neutrality they may
have committed.


The religious, medical, or hospital staff of any captured
ship is inviolable, and its members cannot be made pris-
oners of war. On leaving the ship they take with them
the objects and surgical instruments which are their own
private property.

This staff shall continue to discharge its duties while
necessary, and can afterwards leave when the Commander-
in-chief considers it possible.

The belligerents must guarantee to the staff that has
fallen into their hands the enjoyment of their salaries


Sailors and soldiers who are taken on board when sick
or wounded, to whatever nation they belong, shall be pro-
tected and looked after by the captors.



Sont prisonniers de guerre les naufrages blesses, ou
malades, d'un belligerant qui tombent au pouvoir de
I'autre. II appartient a celui-ci de decider, suivant les
circonstances, s'il convient de les garder, de les dinger
sur un port de sa nation, sur un port neutre ou meme sur
un port de I'adversaire. Dans ce dernier cas, les prison-
niers ainsi rendus a leur pays ne pourront servir pendant
la duree de la guerre.




Les regies contenues dans les Articles ci-dessus ne sont
obligatoires que pour les Puissances Contractantes, en cas
de guerre entre deux ou plusieurs d'entre elles.

Les dites regies cesseront d'etre obligatoires du moment

ou, dans une guerre entre des Puissances Contractantes,

une Puissance non-Contractante se joindrait a Tun des



La presente Convention sera ratifiee dans le plus bref
delai possible.

Les ratifications seront deposees a La Haye.

II sera dresse du depot de chaque ratification un proces-
verbal, dont une copie, certifiee conforme, sera remise par
la voie diplomatique a toutes les Puissances Contractantes.


Les Puissances non-Signataires, qui auront accepte la
Convention de Geneve du 22 Aout, 1864, sont admises a
adherer a la presente Convention.

1 See p. 128.



The shipwrecked, wounded, or sick of one of the bellig-
erents who fall into the liands of the other, are prisoners
of war. The captor must decide, according to circum-
stances, if it is best to keep them or send them to a port
of his own country, to a neutral port, or even to a hostile
port. In the last case, prisoners thus repatriated cannot
serve as long as the war lasts.




The rules contained in the above Articles are binding
only on the Contracting Powers, in case of war between
two or more of them.

The said rules shall cease to be binding from the time
when, in a war between the Contracting Powers, one of
the belligerents is joined by a non-Contracting Power.


The present Convention shall be ratified as soon as

The ratifications shall be deposited at The Hague.

On the receipt of each ratification a proces-verhal shall
be drawn up, a copy of which, duly certified, shall be sent
tlirough the diplomatic channel to all the Contracting


The non-Signatory Powers who accepted the Geneva
Convention of the 22d August, 180-1, are allowed to
adhere to the present Convention.

1 See p. 128.


Elles auront, a cet effet, a faire connaitre leur adhesion
aux Puissances Contractantes, au moyen (Fune notification
ecrite adressee au Gouvernement des Pays-Has et com-
muniquee par celui-ci a toutes les autres Puissances Con-


S'il arrivait qu'une des Hautes Parties Contractantes
denongat la presente Convention, cette denonciation ne
produirait ses effets qu'un an apres la notification faite
par ecrit au Gouvernement des Pays-Bas et communiquee
iramediatement par celui-ci a toutes les autres Puissances

Cette denonciation ne produira ses effets qu'a I'egard de
la Puissance qui Taura notifiee.

En foi de quoi, les Plenipotentiaires respectifs ont signe
la presente Convention et I'ont revetue de leurs sceaux.

Fait a La Haj-e, le 29 Juillet, 1899, en un seul exemj^laire,
qui restera depose dans les archives du Gouvernement des
Pays-Bas et dont des copies, certifiees conformes, seront
remises par la voie diplomatique aux Puissances Contrac-



For this purpose they must make their adhesion known
to the Contracting Powers by means of a written notifica-
tion addressed to the Netherland Government, and by it
communicated to all the other Contracting Powers.


In the event of one of the High Contracting Parties
denouncing the present Convention, such denunciation
shall not take effect until a year after the notification
made in writing to the Netherland Government, and
forthwith communicated by it to all the other Contracting

This denunciation shall only affect the notifying Power.

In faith of which the respective Plenipotentiaries have
signed the present Convention and affixed their seals

Done at The Hague the 29th July, 1899, in single copy,
which shall be kept in the archives of the Government of
the Netherlands, and copies of wliich, duly certified, shall
be sent through the diplomatic channel to the Contracting





The Hague, July 31, 1899.
The Honouable John Hay, Secretary of State,

Sir: — On May 17, 1899, the American Commission to
the Peace Conference of The Hague met for the first time
at the house of the American Minister, The Honorable
Stanford Newel, the members in the order named in the
instructions from the State Department being Andrew
D. White, Seth Low, Stanford Newel, Captain Alfred
T. Mahan of the United States Navy, Captain William
Crozier of the United States Army, and Frederick W,
Holls, Secretary. Mr. White was elected President and
the instructions from the Department of State were read.

On the following day the Conference was opened at the
Palace known as " The House in the Wood," and dele-
gates from the following countries, twenty-six in number,
were found to be present : Germany, The United States
of America, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, China, Denmark,
Spain, France, Great Britain and Ireland, Greece, Italy,
Japan, Luxemburg, Mexico, Montenegro, The Nether-
lands, Persia, Portugal, Roumania, Russia, Servia, Siam,
Sweden and Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and Bulgaria.

The opening meeting was occupied mainly by proceed-
ings of a ceremonial nature, including a telegram to the
Emperor of Russia and a message of thanks to the Queen
of the Netherlands, with speeches by M. de Beaufort,
the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs, and M. de
Staal, representing Russia.



At tlie second meeting a permanent organization of the
Conference was effected, M. de Staal l)eing chosen Presi-
dent, M. de Beaufort honorary President, and M. van
Karnebeek, a former Netherlands Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Vice-President. A sufficient number of Secre-
taries was also named.

The work of the Conference was next laid out with
reference to the points stated in the Mouravieff circular
of December 30, 1898, and divided between three great
committees as follows: —

The first of these committees was upon the limitation
of armaments and war budgets, the interdiction or dis-
couragement of sundry arms and explosives which had
been or might be hereafter invented, and the limitation of
the use of sundry explosives, projectiles, and methods of
destruction, both on land and sea, as contained in Articles
1 to 4 of the Mouravieff circular.

The second great committee had reference to the
extension of the Geneva Red Cross Rules of 1864 and
1868 to maritime warfare, and the revision of the
Brussels Declaration of 1874 concerning the laws and
customs of war and contained in Articles 5 to 7 of the
same circular.

The third committee had as its subjects, mediation,
arbitration, and other methods of preventing armed con-
flicts between nations, as referred to in Article 8 of the
Mouravieff circular.

The American members of these three committees were
as follows : of the first committee, Messrs. White, Mahan,
Crozier ; of the second committee, Messrs. White, Newel,
Mahan, Crozier ; of the third committee, Messrs. White,
Low, and Holls.

In aid of these three main committees sub-committees
were appointed as follows : —

The first committee referred questions of a military


nature to the first sub-committee of which Captain
Crozier was a member, and questions of a naval nature to
the second sub-committee of which Captain Mahan was a

The second committee referred Articles 5 and 6, hav-
ing reference to the extension of tlie Geneva Rules to
maritime warfare to a sub-committee of which Captain
Mahan was a member, and Article 7, concerning the revi-
sion of the laws and customs of war, to a sid^-committee
of which Captain Crozier was a member.

The third committee appointed a single sub-committee,
of "examination," whose purpose was to scrutinize plans,
projects, and suggestions of arbitration, and of this com-
mittee, Mr. Holls was a member.

The main steps in the jDrogress of the work wrought by
these agencies, and the part taken in it by our Commis-
sion are detailed in the accompanying rejjorts made to
the American Commission by the American members of
the three committees of the Conference. It will be seen
from these that some of the' most important features
finally adopted were the result of American proposals
and suggestions.

As to that portion of the work of the Plrst Committee
of the Conference which concerned the non-augmentation
of armies, navies, and war budgets for a fixed term and
the study of the means for eventually diminishing armies
and war budgets, namely Article 1, the circumstances
of the United States being so different from those which
obtain in other parts of the world and especially in
Europe, Ave thought it best, under our instructions, to
abstain from taking any active part. In this connection,
the following declaration was made : —

" The Delegation of the United States of America has
concurred in the conclusions upon the first clause of the
Russian letter of Dec. 30, 1898, presented to the Con-


ference by the First Commission, namely : that the pro-
posals of the Russian representatives, for fixing the
amounts of effective forces and of budgets, military and
naval, for j^eriods of five and three years, cannot now be
accepted, and that a more profound study upon the part
of each State concerned is to be desired. But, while thus
supporting what seemed to be the only practicable solu-
tion of a question submitted to the Conference by the
Russian letter, the Delegation wishes to place upon the
Record that the United States, in so doing, does not
express any opinion as to the course to be taken by the
States of Europe.

" This declaration is not meant to indicate mere indif-
ference to a difficult problem, because it does not affect
the United States immediately, but expresses a determi-
nation to refrain from enunciating opinions upon matters,
into which, as concerning Europe alone, the United
States has no claim to enter. The resolution offered by
M. Bourgeois, and adopted by the First Commission,
received also the hearty concurrence of this Delegation,
because in so doing it expresses the cordial interest and
sympathy with which the United States, while carefully
abstaining from anything that might resemble interfer-
ence, regards all movements that are thought to tend to
the welfare of Europe. The military and naval arma-
ments of the United States are at present so small, rela-
tively, to the extent of territory and to the number of the
population, as well as in comparison with those of other
nations, that their size can entail no additional burden of
expense upon the latter, nor can even form a subject for
profitable mutual discussion."

As to that portion of the work of the first committee
which concerned the limitations of invention and the
interdiction of sundry arms, explosives, mechanical agen-
cies, and methods heretofore in use or which might possi-


bly be hereafter adopted both as regards warfare by land
and sea, namely, Articles 2, 3, and 4, the whole matter
having been divided between Captains Mahan and Cro-
zier, so far as technical discussion was concerned, the
reports made by them from time to time to the American
Commission formed the basis of its final action on these
subjects in the first committee and in the Conference at

The American Commission approached the sul)ject of
the limitation of invention with much doubt. They had
been justly reminded in their instructions of the fact that
by the progress of invention as applied to the agencies of
war, the frequency, and indeed the exhausting character
of war had been as a rule diminished rather than increased.
As to details regarding missiles and methods, technical
and other difficulties arose which obliged us eventu-
ally, as will be seen, to put ourselves on record in opposi-
tion to the large majority of our colleagues from other
nations on sundry points. While agreeing with them
most earnestly as to the end to be attained, the difference
in regard to some details was irreconcilable. We feared
falling into worse evils than those from which we sought
to escape. The annexed Reports of Captains Mahan and
Crozier will exliibit very fully these difficulties and the
decisions thence arising.

As to the work of the Second great Committee of the
Conference, the matters concerned in Articles 3 and 6
which related to the extension to maritime warfare of the
Red Cross Rules regarding care for the wounded adopted
in the Geneva Conventions of 18G4 and 1868 were, as
already stated, referred as regards the discussion of
technical questions in the committee and sub-committee
to Captain Mahan, and the matters concerned in Article 7,
on the revision of the laws and customs of war were re-
ferred to Captain Crozier. On these teclmical questions


Captains Mahan and Crozier reported from time to time
to the American Commission, and these reports having
been discussed botli in regard to their general and special
bearings, became the basis of the final action of the en-
tire American Commission, botli in the second committee
and in the Conference at large.

As to the first of these subjects, the extension of the
Geneva Red Cross Rules to maritime warfare, while the
general purpose of the articles adopted elicited the es-
pecial sympathy of the American Commission, a neglect
of what seemed to us a question of almost vital impor-
tance, namely : the determination of the status of men
picked up by the hospital ships of neutral states or by
other neutral vessels, has led us to refrain from signing
the Convention prepared by the Conference touching this
subject, and to submit the matter, with full explanations,
to the Department of State for decision.

As to the second of these subjects, the revision of the
laws and customs of war, though the code adopted and
embodied \n the third convention commends our approval,
it is of such extent and importance as to appear to need
detailed consideration in connection with similar laws
and customs already in force in the army of the United
States, and it was thought best, therefore, to withhold
our signature from this Convention, also, and to refer it
to the State Department with a recommendation that it
be there submitted to the proper authorities for special
examination and signed, unless such examination shall
disclose imperfections not apparent to the Commission.

In the Third great Committee of the Conference, which
had in charge the matters concerned in Article 3 of the
Russian circular, with reference to good offices, media-
tion, and arbitration, the proceedings of the sub-com-
mittee above referred to became especially important.

AVhile much interest was shown in the discussions of


tlie first of the great Committees of the Conference, and
still more in those of the second, the main interest of the
whole body centred more and more in the third. It was
felt that a thorough provision for arbitration and its cog-
nate subjects is the logical precursor of the limitation of
standing armies and budgets, and that the true logical
order is first arbitration and then disarmament.

As to subsidiary agencies, while our Commission con-
tributed much to the general work regarding good offices
and mediation, it contributed entirely, through ^Ir. Holls,
the plan for " Special Mediation," which was adopted
unanimously first by the committee and finally by the

As to the plan for " International Commissions of
Inquiry " which emanated from the Russian Delegation,
our Commission acknowledged its probable value, and aided
in elaborating it ; but added to the safeguards against any
possible abuse of it, as concerns the United States, by our
Declaration of July 25, to be mentioned hereafter.

The functions of such commissions is strictly limited
to the ascertainment of facts, and it is hoped that, both
by giving time for passions to subside and by substi-
tuting truth for rumor, they may prove useful at times
in settling international disputes. The Commissions of
Inquiry may also form a useful auxiliary both in the
exercise of Good Offices and to Arbitration.

As to the next main subject, the most important of all
under consideration by the third committee — the plan
of a Permanent Court or Tribunal — we were able, in
accordance with our instructions, to make contributions
which we believe will aid in giving such a court dignity
and efficiency.

On the assemljling of the Conference, the feeling regard-
ing the establishment of an actual, permanent tribunal
was evidently chaotic, with little or no apparent tendency


to crystallize into any satisfactory institution. The very
elaborate and, in the main, excellent proposals relating to
procedure before special and temporary tribunals, which
were presented by the Russian Delegation, did not at first
contemplate the establishment of any such permanent insti-
tution. The American plan contained a carefully devised
project for such a tribunal, which differed from that adopted
mainly in contemplating a tribunal capable of meeting in
full bench and permanently in the exercise of its func-
tions, like the Supreme Court of the United States, instead
of a Court like tlie Supreme Court of the State of New
York, which never sits as a whole, but whose members sit
from time to time singly or in groups, as occasion may
demand. The Court of Arbitration provided for resembles
in many features the Supreme Court of the State of New
York, and courts of unlimited original jurisdiction in
various other States. In order to make this system effec-
tive a Council was established, composed of the diplomatic
representatives of the various Powers at The Hague, and
presided over by the Netherlands jNIinister of Foreign
Affairs, which should have charge of the central office of
the proposed Court, of all administrative details, and of
the means and machinery for speedily calling a proper
bench of judges together, and for setting the Court in
action. The reasons Avhy Ave acquiesced in this plan will
be found in the accompanying report. This compromise
involving the creation of a Council and the selection of
judges, not to be in session save when actually required
for international litigation, was proposed by Great Britain,
and the feature of it, Avdiich provided for the admission of
the Netherlands with its Minister of Foreign Affairs as
President of the Council, was proposed by the American
Commission. The nations generally joined in perfecting
the details. It may truthfully be called, therefore, the
plan of the Conference.


As to the revision of the decisions by the tribunal in
case of the discovery of new facts, a subject on which our
instructions were explicit, we were able, in the face of
determined and prolonged opposition, to secure recogni-
tion in the Code of Procedure for the American view.

As regards the procedure to be adopted in the Inter-
national Court thus provided, tlie main features having
been proposed by the Russian Delegation, various modi-
fications were made by other Delegations, including our
own. Our Commission was careful to see that in this
Code there should be nothing which could put those con-
versant more especially with British and American Com-
mon Law and Equity at a disadvantage. To sundry
important features proposed by other Powers our own
Commission gave hearty support. This was the case
more especially with Article 27 proposed by France. It
provides a means, through the agency of the Powers gen-
erally, for calling the attention of any nations apparently
drifting into war, to the fact that the tribunal is ready to
hear their contention. In this provision, broadly inter-
preted, we acquiesced, but endeavored to secure a clause
limiting to suitable circumstances the "duty" im})osed
by the article. Great opposition being shown to such an
amendment as unduly weakening the article, we decided
to present a declaration that nothing contained in the
convention should make it the duty of the United States
to intrude in or become entangled with European politi-
cal questions or matters of internal administration, or to
relinquish the traditional attitude of our nation toward
purely American questions. This declaration was received
without objection by the Conference in full and open ses-

Online LibraryFrederick William HollsThe peace conference at The Hague, and its bearings on international law and policy → online text (page 32 of 39)