Frederick William Holls.

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

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for which it provided should itself appoint its secretary
or clerk and supervise the administration of its own
bureau or record office. When the idea of a continu-
ously sitting tribunal Avas abandoned, another method of
administration of the bureau or recoi'd office was made nec-
essary. Accordingly, the proposal which has been adopted
provides that as soon as nine of the Powers who have
acceded to this convention have ratified it, the representa-
tives of the signatory powers accredited to the Govern-
ment of the Netherlands will meet under the presidency
of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and
organize themselves as a permanent Council of Adminis-
tration, whose first duty it will be to create a permanent
Bureau of Arbitration. The Council of Administration


will appoint a secretary-general, secure quarters for the
court and such assistants as may be necessary, in the
shape of archivists and other officials who will sit in
permanence at The Hague, and who will constitute the
working staff and headquarters of the international sys-
tem of arbitration. The Hague was selected as the seat
of the permanent tribunal, by common consent, no propo-
sition or vote favoring any other place having been

The American plan provided for one judge from each
adhering country. The British proposal suggested two,
and on the motion of the German delegate this number
was increased to not more than four. The German dele-
gation stated that their reason for proposing a larger
number was that the Great Powers, at least, ought, in
their opinion, to nominate as members of the tribunal
men of eminence, not only in law, but also perhaps a
diplomat and perhaps a military or naval expert. The
Powers are not restricted to their own citizens in the
choice of judges, and two or more Powers may unite in
naming the same person. The judges to be named are to
hold office for six years, and during the exercise of their
functions and when outside of their own country they are
to enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities.

In place of the provision of the American proposal that
the tribunal itself should fix its own rules of procedure,
the Committee adopted a code of procedure proposed
by the Russian delegation, with slight amendments. This
code is almost identical with the rules of procedure
adopted for the British and Venezuela Court of Arbitra-
tion, now in session at Paris. The authors of these rides
were, it is understood, M. de ^Martens, President of the
Court, ]\rr. Justice Brewer of the United States, and Lord
Justice Collins of Great Britain.

The provision contained in the American plan that the


cases, counter cases, depositions, arguments, and opinions
of the covirt should, after the delivery of the judgment,
be at the disposition of any one willing to pay the cost of
transcription, was, by common consent, left as an adminis-
trative detail for the consideration of the Council of

The American proposal that every case submitted to the
tribunal must be accompanied by a stipulation signed by
both parties, to agree in good faith to abide by the deci-
sion, which was also a feature of the Russian proposals,
was unanimously adopted ; as was also the further Ameri-
can proposal that in each particular case the bench of
judges should, by preference, be selected from the list
of members of the tribunal. The Comite tVExamen was
unwilling to make a categorical rule, as suggested in the
American plan, that when tlie tribunal consisted of only
three members none of them should be a native, subject,
or citizen of either of the litigating States, but, on the
other hand, the American objection to tribunals consisting
of only one representative of each litigating State and one
umpire was embodied in the provision that, except in
case of an agreement to the contrary, the tribunal should,
in all cases, consist of five members, two being nominated
by each State, the four to choose the fifth. This enables
the parties to have one representative each on the bench,
while the majority of the tribunal may, nevertheless,
consist of entirely impartial judges, who may not ne-
cessarily agree on all points with either side.

The American proposal regarding the expenses of the
tribunal, that the judges should be paid only when on
duty, was in effect adopted. The American proposal was
the only one which contained provision for a second hear-
ing for the correction of manifest errors. This provision
was inserted in the code of procedure in a permissive form,
after much opposition.


The American propositi that tlie Convention shoukl be
in force upon tlie ratification of nine States was adopted,
but the restriction as to tlie character of these States, con-
tained in the American plan, was omitted as unnecessary.
It is substantially certain that among the first adhering-
States there will be eight European or American Powers,
of whom at least four have been signatory Powers of the
Treaty of Paris of 1856. It should be observed here that
this description was made a part of the American Plan,
only in order to make it clear that in the opinion of the
United States Government the confirmation of a certain
number of the Great Powers was essential to success.

The one distinctive feature of the American plan which
was rejected on principle was that providing for the coop-
eration of the highest courts of each country in the selec-
tion of members of the Court of Arbitration. This idea
proved absolutely unacceptable to the Continental Powers
for various reasons, which have been stated to the depart-
ment in our despatch Number 10. There is no highest
court for the entire Empire of Austria-Hungary, and the
relations between the different parts of the Empire are
not calculated to make joint action by the two highest
courts practicable or desirable. This is also true of
Sweden and Norway. In Russia the highest coui't con-
sists of a Senate of one hundred members, whose coopera-
tion in the matter of appointment would contradict all
local traditions. Besides this, the organization of the
courts of nearly all Continental countries is based upon
the traditions of the Roman Law, and those traditions
always have excluded the idea of any action, on the part
of a judicial tribunal, with reference to the selection of
a man or men for any particular jjui-pose, even if the
latter were judicial in its nature. Fiulliermore, in sev-
eral large European States, notably (lermany, the rules
governing the practice of the law are such as to prevent

2 M


the members of the highest court from having any knowl-
edge of the ability or reputation of many of the most
noted lawyers or judges,, since no one is allowed to prac-
tise before the highest court unless he is a resident of
the city of its location, and a member of its particular
bar, and the rules providing for appeals are very nar-
row in their lindtations. Under these circumstances, the
members of those courts are not, like our Justices of the
Supreme Court of the United States, or the members of
the Privy Council of Great Britain, the best possible
advisers with reference to the selection of creditable
legal representatives upon the great tribunal, and it was
stated that in many cases they were about the last authori-
ties to whom the appointing Power would be likely to
turn with success for such advice and cooperation. Under
these circumstances, the adoption of this feature of our
plan was hopeless from the first ; but, out of courteous
regard for the United States, the Comite d'Examen directed
the reporter to mention the importance of a complete dis-
regard of political considerations in the choice of members
of the court.

It wdll be seen that nothing in the proposed j)lan of
organization of the permanent tribunal is absolutely con-
trary to the fundamental ideas set forth in the American
proposal, and the code of procedure contains nothing con-
trary to the principles of equity pleading in English or
American courts. In view of the fact that a large major-
ity of the members of the Arbitration Court must neces-
sarily be Europeans trained in the principles of the Roman
Law, it has been deemed important from the first to secure
all possible guarantees against practice or procedure which
would put nations having the Common Law as the basis
of their jurisprudence at a disadvantage. It is believed
that this end has been successfully accomplished.

Attention is called to the fact that the entire plan for


the tribunal and its use is voluntary, so far as sovereign
States are concerned. The only seeming exceptions to
this rule are contained in Article 1, ^vhich provides that
the Signatory Powers agree to employ their efforts for
securing the j)acific regulation of international differences ;
and Article 27, which says that the Signatory Powers con-
sider it to be a duty, in the case where an acute conflict
threatens to break out between two or more of them, to
remind those latter that the permanent court is open to
them. The obligation thus imposed is not legal or diplo-
matic in its nature. These articles merely express a gen-
eral moral duty for the performance of which each State
is accountable only to itself. In order, however, to make
assurance doubly sure and to leave no doubt Avhatever of
the meaning of the Convention, as affecting the United
States of America, the Commission made the following
declaration in the full session of the Conference, held
July 25 : —

" The Delegation of the United States of America, in
signing the Convention regulating the peaceful adjust-
ment of international differences, as proposed by the
International Peace Conference, make the following
declaration : —
" Nothing contained in this convention shall be so con-
strued as to require the United States of America to
depart from its traditional policy of not intruding upon,
interfering with, or entangling itself in the political ques-
tions or policy or internal administration of any foreign
State ; nor shall anything contained in the said Convention
be construed to imply a relinquishment by the United
States of America of its traditional attitude toward purely
American questions."

Under tlie reserve of this declaration the United States
delegates signed the Arbitration Convention itself.

Article 8 of the Convention, providfng for a special


form of Mediation, was proposed individually by Mr.
IIolls of the United States Commission. It is fully ex-
plained in the report of M. Descamps and in the minutes
of the meeting of the Committee at which it was unani-
mously adopted. Being purely voluntary in its charac-
ter, it is at least certain that it conflicts with no American
interest, while, on the contrary, it is hoped that in par-
ticular crises, when the other means provided by the Con-
vention for keeping or restoring peace have failed, it may
prove to have real and practical value. It is certain that,
by the Continental States of Europe, it has been exceed-
ingly well received.

The Convention for the peaceful adjustment of interna-
tional differences, if ratified by the Senate, will require
no special enabling legislation on the part of Congress,
beyond the annual appropriation of a sum sufficient to pay
the share of the United States of the expenses of the Arbi-
tration Bureau at The Hague. It is provided that these
expenses shall be borne by the Signatory Powers in the
same proportion as is now prescribed by the World's
Postal Convention, so that the share, even of a great
Power, will be very small.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.

Andrew D. White.
Seth Low.
Frederick W. Holls.


July 4, 1899

The one hundred and twenty-third anniversary of
American Independence, occurring during the sessions of
the Peace Conference, afforded a suitable occasion for a
celebration under the auspices of the American Commission
to the Conference. At the suggestion of Ambassador
White, the President of the American Commission, and
with the cordial approval of the Secretary of State, this
celebration took the character of a festival in honor of
Hugo Grotius, including the deposit U})()U his tonil) in the
Grote Kerk of Delft, of a silver wreath, and a huu-heon at
the Stadhuis or City Hall of Delft immediately afterward.
The wreath was made by Eugene ^Marcus, Court Jeweller,
Berlin, and. is twenty-eight inches in diameter : the leaves
of frosted silver, on one side being oak with acorns in
silver gilt, and on the other side laurel, with berries in
silver gilt. The stems at the base are held together by
a large ribbon and bow of silver gilt, and upon this the
inscription is placed in blue enamel. Attached to this
ribbon and bow and held together by it are shields of
silver gilt bearing in enamel on the right side the arms
of the Netherlands, and on the left those of the United States
of America. The inscription on the ribbon is as follows : —


Cn Kcbrrcnrc anti (Sratitulic



Jl'LY 4, 1899

The celebration was held in the apse of the great church,
in front of the tond) of Grotius, — that of William the



Silent being immediately adjoining. A platform, upon
which the i)re.siding officer and speakers were seated, was
erected between one of the great j)illars of the church and
the tomb of William the Silent. A choir of one hundred
voices, carefully selected from among the best singers of
The Hague, and all of whom had volunteered their ser-
vices, was placed at the end of the apse on a slight eleva-
tion. The choir was under the direction of Mr. Arnold
Spoel, Director of the Royal Conservatory of Music in
The Hague.

The invited guests included all members of the
Peace Conference, and all members of the Dutch Gov-
ernment and the Diplomatic Corps accredited to The
Hague, the Deans of the Law Faculties of the Universities
of Leyden, Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Groningen, the
Burgomaster and city authorities of Delft, and other dis-
tinguished visitors, and although the weather was inclem-
ent, one of the severest rain-storms of the season raging all
the morning, nearly all the invited guests were present.
At eleven o'clock, which was the hour set for the commence-
ment of the exercises, the apse and the greater part of
the body of the church were well filled. Beginning at a
quarter after ten o'clock, Mr. John Kethel, the organist
and director of the Nieuwe Kerk of Delft, played inter-
national airs on the beautiful chimes of the church for
half an hour, and at quarter before eleven o'clock and
during the arrival of the guests he played an organ prel-
ude, including the Russian National Anthem, which was
given at the moment when Baron de Staal, President of
the Conference, entered the church.

At precisely eleven o'clock Jonkheer van Karnebeek,
the First Delegate of the Netherlands to tlie Peace Con-
ference and Vice-President of the Conference itself, who
liad been chosen to preside, took the chair and the exer-
cises were opened by a magnificent rendering, on the jmrt


of the choir, of the selection from ]Mendelssohn's Oratorio
of St. Paul : "• How lovely are the messengers who bring
us good tidings of Peace," which was sung in the German

Jonkheer van Karnebeek then delivered the following
address : —

" Ladies and Gentlemen :

"• It is the American custom that every meeting should
be conducted by a Chairman, and it is my good fortune
to enjo}^ the great honor of having been selected to act as
such on the occasion of this imposing ceremony, which is
so flattering to my country, and so highly valuable as a
proof of the friendly spirit of the United States of Amer-
ica toward the Netherlands. It also marks the sympa-
thetic disposition of the representatives of so many nations,
who have come forward to take part in this pilgrimage to
the ' New Church ' of Delft, which, in fact, is an old
church full of historical memories dear to the hearts of
my countrymen.

"Allow me to state, in a few words, what the nature of
this ceremony is.

"Nowhere, I dare say, has the Peace Conference, to which
many of those present belong, met with a more liearty and
general sympathy, than in the United States of America,
and it is a token of this feeling, and also — I may some-
what proudly say — as an acknowledgment of the recep-
tion of the Conference by the Netherlands, that the
American Delegation, in the name of their Government,
desire to place on the tomb of Hugo Grotius a tribute of
honor to the memory of a Dutchman, Avho may be justly
reckoned among the principal founders of international
law and international justice, with which the Conference,
now assembled at The Hague, is so closely connected.

"The American Delegation have asked you to be kindly


j)resent at their act of sympathy and courtesy, and, in
order to give it additional significance as a demonstration
of the feelings prevalent among their people, they have
chosen for its accomplishment their great national festival,
the Fourth of July.

" Your responsive gathering to this call gives the assur-
ance of your good will on this occasion and of your inter-
est in what is about to take place."

At the conclusion of his address, i\I. van Karnebeek
introduced M. de Vries van Heyst, the Burgomaster of
the city of Delft, who briefly welcomed the American
Delegation and their guests, in the Dutch language, on
behalf of the city.

The choir then sang the Dutch national anthem : " Wien
Neerlandsch Bloed," at the conclusion of which the Chair-
man introduced the President of the Commission of the
United States, And)assador Andrew D. White, who spoke
as follows : —

" YouK Excellencies, Mp.. Burgomaster, Gentlemen
OF the University Faculties, my Honored Col-
leagues OF THE Peace Conference, Ladies and
Gentlemen :

" The Commission of the United States comes here this
day to discharge a special duty. We are instructed to
acknowledge, on behalf of our country, one of its many
great debts to the Netherlands.

"• This debt is that Avhich, in common with the whole
world, we owe to one of whom all civilized lands are justly
proud, — the poet, the scholar, the historian, the states-
man, the diplomatist, the jurist, the author of the treatise
'De Jure Belli ac Pacis.'

"Of all works not claiming divine inspiration, that book,
written by a man proscribed and hated both for his poli-


tics and liis religion, lias proved the greatest blessing to
humanit3^ More than any other it has prevented unmer-
ited suffering, misery, and sorrow ; more than any other,
it has ennobled the military profession ; more than any
other, it has promoted the blessings of peace and diminished
the horrors of war.

" On this tomb, then, before which we now stand, the
Delegates of the United States are instructed to lay a
simple tribute to him whose mortal remains rest beneath
it — Hugo de (xroot, revered and regarded with gratitude
by thinking men throughout the world as (iuoTii's.

" Naturally we have asked you to join us in this simple
ceremon}^ For his name has become too great to be cele-
brated by his native country alone ; too great to be cele-
brated by Europe alone : it can only be fitly celebrated in.
the presence of representatives from the whole world.

" For the first time in human history there are now
assembled delegates with a common purpose, from all the
nations ; and they are fully represented liere. I feel
empowered to speak words of gratitude, not only from my
own country but from each of these. I feel that my own
country, though one of the youngest in the great sister-
hood of nations, utters at this shrine to-day, not only her
own gratitude but that of every part of Europe, of all the
great Powers of Asia, and of the sister republics of North
and South America. From nations nf)w civilized, but which
Grotius knew only as barbarous ; from nations which in
his time were yet unborn ; from every land where there
are men who admire genius, who reverence virtue, who
respect patriotism, who are grateful to those who have
given their lives to toil, hardshij), disappointment, and
sacrifice, for humanity — from all these come thanks and
greetings heartily mingled with our own.

" The time and })lace are well suited to the acknowledg-
ment of such a debt. As to time, so far as the world at


large is concerned, 1 remind you not only that this is the
first conference of the entire world, but that it has, as its
sole purpose, a further evolution of the principles Avhich
Grotius, first of all men, developed thoroughly and stated
effectively. ISo far as the United States is concerned, it
is the time of our most sacred national festival — the
Anniversary of our National Independence. What more
fitting period, then, in the history of the world and of
our own country, for a tribute to one who has done so
much, not only for our sister nations but for ourselves.

"And as to the place. This is the ancient and honored
city of Delft. From its Haven, not distant, sailed
the Mayflower — bearing the Pilgrim Fathers, who, in a
time of obstinate and bitter persecution, brought to the
American Continent the germs of that toleration which
had been especially developed among them during their
stay in the Netherlands, and of which Grotius was an
apostle. In this town Grotius was born ; in this temple
he worshipped ; this pavement he trod when a child ;
often were these scenes revisited by him in his boyhood ;
at his death his mortal body was placed in this hallowed
ground. Time and place, then, would both seem to make
this tribute fitting.

" In the vast debt which all nations owe to Grotius, the
United States acknowledges its part gladly. Perhaps in
no other country has his thought penetrated more deeply
and influenced more strongly the great mass of the people.
It was the remark of Alexis de Tocqueville, the most philo-
sophic among all students of American institutions, that
one of the most striking and salutary things in American
life is the widespread study of law. De Tocqueville was
undoubtedly right. In all parts of our country the Law
of Nations is especially studied by large bodies of young
men in colleges and universities ; studied not profession-
ally merely, but from the point of view of men eager to


understand the fundamental principles of international
rights and duties.

" The works of our compatriots, Wheaton, Kent, Field,
Woolsey, Dana, Lawrence, and others, in developing more
and more the ideas to which Grotius first gave life and
strength, show tliat our (u)untry has not cultivated in
vain this great field which Grotius opened.

"As to the bloom and fruitage evolved by these writers
out of the germ ideas of Grotius, I might give many ex-
amples, but I will mention merely three.

" The first example shall be the act of Abraham Lincoln.
Amid all the fury of Civil War, he recognized the neces-
sity of a more humane code for the conduct of our armies
in the field ; and he intrusted its preparation to Francis
Lieber, honorably known to jurists throughout the world,
and at that time Grotius's leading American disciple.

'" My second example shall be the act of General Ulysses
Grant. When called to receive the surrender of his great
opponent, General Lee, after a long and bitter contest, he
declined to take from the vanquished General the sword
which he had so long and so bravely worn ; imposed no
terms upon the conquered armies save that they should
return to their homes ; allowed no reprisals ; but simply
said, ' Let us have peace.'

" My third example shall be the act of the whole people
of the United States. At the close of that most bitter
contest, which desolated thousands of homes and which
cost nearly a million of lives, no revenge was taken by
the triumphant LTnion on any of the separatist statesmen
who had brought on the great struggle, or on any of the
soldiers who had conducted it ; and, from that day to this,
North and South, once every year, on Decoration Day,
the graves of those who fell wearing the blue of the North

Online LibraryFrederick William HollsThe peace conference at The Hague, and its bearings on international law and policy → online text (page 36 of 39)