Frederick William Holls.

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

. (page 7 of 39)
Online LibraryFrederick William HollsThe peace conference at The Hague, and its bearings on international law and policy → online text (page 7 of 39)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

reorganization begun this year will have been termi-


Chapter III nated. Up to then it would be impossible for us to
maintain, even for two consecutive years, the same
number of effectives." ^

Answer of Coloucl Giliusky replied briefly to the arguments

Giiinsky. of General von Schwarzhoff. He considered it possi-
ble to meet the objections based upon the present
laws of Germany. Regarding the prosperity of
States, Colonel Giiinsky said that he did not claim
that all countries were being impoverished — there
are those which progress notwithstanding military
charges, but still the latter were certainly not a help
to public prosperity. Successive armaments were
not of a nature to increase the wealth of govern-
ments, even though they might be profitable to some
persons. He conceded that the question of railways
exercises a great influence upon the defence of a
country — an army would have to be much more
numerous if the boundaries could not be quickly
defended from the interior, with the assistance of an
effective railway system. With regard to the coun-
tries beyond sea, he admitted that exceptions would
have to lie made on the subject of colonial troops,
but he thought that while no hard-and-fast rule
could be laid down, the way might be found to
satisfy, if not all, at least a great number.

General von Schwarzhoff, in reply, feared that he

^ The entire subject of disarmament, or a limitation of armaments
in its various aspects, is treated in a masterly manner, in Chapter XIV.
(p. 450) of Schlief, Der Fricde in Europa, where the reader will find
some of General von Schwarzhoff's view's amplified, and others con-


had not been completely understood. He would not Chapter in
deny that other means, perhaps more humane, might K«piy of
be found to spend money, than in supplying military scinvarzhoff.
armaments. He merely wished to answer language
which, according to his ideas, was surely exaggerated.
The number of effectives alone gave no proper basis
for comparison of the strength of armies, because
there was a great number of other considerations
which had to be reu'arded. AYithout touchino; the
number of its effectives, any power could vastly
increase its belligerent strength. The equilibrium
which is now supposed to exist would then be de-
stroyed, and in order to reestablish it, governments
must be left free to choose the means best suited to
their requirements.

Jonkheer van Karnebeek of Holland supported the Speech of
views advanced by his colleague, General Den Beer Karnebeek.
Poortugael, without ignoring the great force of the
objections raised by General von Schwarzhoff, and he
called particular attention to the fact that the forces
of anarchy and unrest in each country would be the
only ones to profit directly by the failure of the
Conference to agree upon some limitation of the in-
crease of armaments.

M. Stancioff of Bulgaria declared that his Govern-
ment would cordially support any proposition for a
limitation of armaments. He declared that armed
peace was ruinous, especially for small countries
whose wants were enormous and who had everything
to gain by using their resources for the development
of industry, agriculture, and general progress. He


Chapter III repudiated the idea that the proposition before the
Conference impaired the liberty of nations. For this
reason Bulgaria had warmly welcomed the circular
of Count Mouravieif, and was prepared to support
every movement tending toward the practical reali-
zation of the ideas of the Emperor of Russia.

Appointment After a further brief discussion, the chairman, M.

of Sub- n , . J.

Committees. Beemacrt, suggested the appomtment oi a committee
to which the Russian proposals should be referred.

M. Bourgeois of France suggested that the smaller
states, which were necessarily inclined toward the
maintenance of peace, should Ije represented equally
with the Great Powers, and the motion of the chair-
man was adopted by the following vote : —

Ayes : United States of America, Belgium, Spain,
France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Netherlands,
Persia, Portugal, Roumania, Russia, Servia, Sweden
and Norway, China, Turkey, and Bulgaria, (17).

Noes : Germany, Austria-Hungary, (2).

Abstentions: Denmark, Greece, Switzerland, (3).

The sub-committee for the examination of the
military proposals was constituted as follows : —
Military. Major-Gencral Gross von Schwarzhoff of Germany,

General Mounier of France, Colonel Gilinsky of Russia,
General Sir John Ardagh of Great Britain, Lieuten-
ant-Colonel von Khuepach of Austria, General Zuccari
of Italy, Captain Briindstrom of Sweden, Colonel
Coanda of Roumania, and M. Raffalovich of Russia,
Naval. The naval portion of the Russian proposals was

referred to another sub-committee, consisting of M.


de Bille of Denmark, Count Soltyk of Austria, Captain Chapter ui
Sclieine of Russia, and M. Corragioni d' Orelli of Siam.

At the next meeting of the First Committee under
tlie Presidency of M, Beernaert on June 30, M.
Mijatovitch of Servia took the floor, and in a speech
of great force dechired the adhesion of his country to
the ideas expressed by Count Moiiravieff, and formu-
lated in the Russian proposals.

The military sub-committee appointed at the last Report of
session, to which was referred the examination of the committee,
first proposal, reported through M. Beernaert as fol-
lows : " The members of the committee, to whom was
referred the proposition of Colonel Gilinsky, regard-
ing the first point in the Circular of Count Mouravieff,
after two meetings, report, that with the exception
of Colonel Gilinsky they are unanimously of the opin-
ion, first, that it would be very difficult to fix, even
for a period of five years, the number of effectives,
without regulating at the same time other elements
of national defence ; second, that it would be no less
difficult to regulate by international agreement the
elements of this defence, organized in every country
upon a different principle. In consequence, the
committee regrets not being able to approve the
proposition made in the name of the Russian Govern-
ment. A majority of its members believe that a
more profound study of the question by the Govern-
ments themselves would be desirable."

General Zuccari of Italy declared that the num-
ber of effectives for peace of the Italian army



Chapter III

Speech of
Baron de
Bildt of
Sweden and

was fixed by organic laws, which his Government
had no intention of changing, and that it must
therefore reserve to itself complete liberty of action
with regard to any international agreement on the

Baron de Bildt of Sweden and Norway spoke as
follows : —

" I venture to say that in no country have the
Russian proposals been received with a more spon-
taneous and more sincere sympathy than in Sweden
and Norway. Profoundly convinced of the necessity
of peace, we have for nearly a century pursued a
policy which looks to nothing but the maintenance
of good relations with other Powers, and our military
establishments have always had only one object, —
the protection of our independence and the mainten-
ance of neutrality. A message of peace, having in
view a limitation of the armaments which now weigh
heavily upon the world, could not be otherwise than
welcome to us, and it could not come from any better
source than from our powerful neighbor. If, not-
withstanding all this, we cannot approve the proposi-
tions formulated by Colonel Gilinsky, it is not because
we have not the same desire as he, regarding that
which is to be done, but l^ecause we find ourselves
confronted with an important question of form. The
Russian propositions make no difference between
armies organized according to the principles of mod-
ern military science and those which are still governed
by former conditions, possibly superannuated, or those
which are at present in a state of transformation.


Moreover, they make no distinction between armies chapter m
constituting a complete military weapon, equally
adapted to attack or defence, and those which, either
by the short duration of service or by their distinctive
qualities, manifestly are intended to have only a de-
fensive character. This is precisely the case with
the Swedish and Norwegian armies, organized on the
basis of obligatory service of at least some months,
and being now in a stage of transformation. When
I state that the greater number of cadres of the
Swedish army exists under a system dating back two
centuries, I believe I have said enough to convince
you that this is not an organization which we could
agree to maintain even for five years. We have,
therefore, not given our vote in favor of the Russian
proposition, such as it has been formulated, and I
state this fact with the sincerest regret — I may say
more, with great sorrow — for, gentlemen, we are
about to terminate our labors, recognizing that we
have been confronted by one of the most important
problems of the century, and confessing that we have
done very little toward solving it. It is not for us
to indulge in illusions ; when the results of our labors
shall have become known, there will arise, notwith-
standing all that we have done for arbitration, the
Red Cross, etc., one grand cry, ' This is not enough,'
and most of us in our conscience will have to admit
the justice of this cry. It is true, our conscience will
also tell us, as a consolation, that we have done our
duty, for we have evidently followed our instructions ;
but I venture to say that our duty is not linished,


Chapter III

Speech of
Baron de
Bildt of
Sweden and

and that there yet remains something else to accom-
pHsh. Let me exi)lain what I mean. The act of the
Russian Emperor has ah-eady been covered with all
the flowers of rhetoric, by men much more eloquent
than I . Let me content myself with saying, that while
the idea is grand and beautiful, and while it responds to
a desire felt by millions upon millions of men, it may
further be said that it cannot die. If the Emperor
will only add the virtue of perseverance to the nobil-
ity of heart and the generosity of spirit which he
has shown throughout the Peace Conference, the
triumph of his labors is assured. He has received
from Providence not only the gift of power, but also
that of youth. If the generation to which we belong
is not destined to accomplish this work, he may
count upon that which will soon come to take our
places. To him belongs the future, but in the mean-
while we, who wish to be, each one in his own small
sphere of activity, his humble and faithful co-laborers,
we have the duty to seek, and to explain to our
Governments with entire frankness and entire ve-
racity, each imperfection, each omission which may be
shown in the preparation or the execution of this
work, and to tenaciously strive after the means of
doing better and doing more, whether this means be
found in new conferences, in direct negotiations, or
simply in the policy of a good example. This is the
duty which it remains for us to fulfil."

The speech of Baron de Bildt was warml}^ ap-
plauded and created a profound impression.


M. Bourgeois thereupon took the floor, and spoke Chapter ni
as follows : —

"I have been happy to listen to the eloquent^pf''"'"'"'^ m-

^ ^ ^ . . , ^ B()urj;i'ois of

remarks which Baron de Bildt has just delivered. Fiance.
They express not only my personal sentiments and
those of my colleagues of the French delegation, but
I am sure that they also express the feelings of the
entire Conference. I wish to join in the appeal which
the delegate of Sweden and Norway has just made.
I believe that to express completely the thought by
wdiicli it was animated, the committee must do some-
thing more. I have read carefully the text of the
conclusions adopted by the sub-committee. This
report shows with great precision and force the diffi-
culties now in the way of the adoption of an inter-
national treaty for the limitation of effectives. It
was for the purpose of examining these practical
difficulties that the subject was referred to this sub-
committee, and no one can think of criticising the
manner in which it has accomplished its task. But
this first committee of the Conference should con-
sider the problem presented by the first paragraph
of the circular of Count Mouravieff from a point
of view more general and more elevated. We cer-
tainly do not wish to remain indifferent to a ques-
tion of principle presented to the civilized world by
the generous initiative of His Majesty the Emperor
of Russia. It seems to me necessary that an addi-
tional resolution should be adopted by us, to express
more clearly the sentiment wdiicli animated the last
speaker, and which makes us all hope and wish that


Chapter III tliG work here begun may not be abandoned. The
Speech of M. question of principle may be stated very simply. Is
Frame. it dcsirable to nmit the military charges whicJi now

weigh upon the world ? I listened with great care
in the last session to the remarkable speech of
General von Schwarzhoff. He presented with the
greatest possible force the technical objections which,
according to his view, prevented the committee from
adopting the propositions of Colonel Gilinsky. It
did not, however, seem to me that he at the same
time sufficiently recognized the general ideas in pur-
suance of which we are here united. He showed us
that Germany is easily supporting the expense of
its military organization, and he reminded us that
notwithstanding this, his country was enjoying a
very great measure of commercial prosperity. I
belong to a country which also supports readily all
personal and financial obligations imposed by national
defence upon its citizens, and we have the hope to
show to the world next year that we have not gone
back in our productive activity, and have not been
hindered in the increase of our financial prosperity.
But General von Schwarzhoff will surely recognize
Avith me that if in his country, as well as in mine,
the great resources, which are now devoted to mili-
tary organization, would, at least in part, be put to
the service of peaceful and productive activity, the
grand total of the prosperity of each country would
not cease to increase at an even more rapid rate.
It is this idea which we ought not only to express
here among ourselves, but which, if possible, we


should declare before the public opinion of the world. Chapter ni
It is for this reason that if I were obliged to vote on
the question put in the first paragraph of the propo-
sition of Colonel Gilinsky, I would not hesitate to
vote in the affirmative. Besides, we have hardly the
right here to consider only whether our particular
country supports the expense of armed peace. Our
duty is higher. It is the general situation of all
nations which we have been summoned to consider.
In other words, we are not only to vote on questions
appertaining to our special situation. If there is a
general idea which might serve to attain universal
good, it is our duty to emancipate ourselves. Our
object is not to form a majority and a minority. We
sliould refrain from dwelling upon that which sepa-
rates us, but emphasize those things upon which we
are united. If we deliberate in this spirit, I hope
we shall find a formula which, without ignoring the
difficulties which we all understand, shall at least
express the thought that a limitation of armaments
would be a benefit for humanity, and this will give
to the Governments that moral support which is
necessary for them, if they are to still further pursue
this noble object. Gentlemen, the object of civiliza-
tion seems to us to be to abolish more and more the
struggle for life between men, and to put in its stead
an accord between them for the struggle against the
unrelenting forces of matter. This is the same
thought which, upon the initiative of the Emperor
of Russia, it is proposed that we should promote by
international agreement. If sad necessity obliges us


Chapter III to roiiouiice foi' tlio iiioiiient an immediate and posi-
tive engagement to carry out this idea, we should at
least attempt to show public opinion that we have
sincerely examined the i)roblem presented to us.
"We shall not have labored in vain if in a formula
of general terms we at least indicate the goal to be
approached, as we all hope and wish, by all ciA^lized

M. Bourgeois then moved the adoption of the fol-
lowing resolution : —

Resolution on u r^^L^ Committee considers that a limitation of the

the Iniiitation

of armaments, niilitary cliargcs which now weigh upon the world is
greatly to be desired in the interests of the material
and moral welfare of humanity." This resolution
was adopted unanimously.

M. Delyannis of Greece next read a statement
explaining the non-committal attitude of his Govern-
ment toward the Russian proposals.

The Report. Tlic secoud sul>committee, to which the naval
propositions were referred, made a report similar to
that of the first sub-committee, so far as the limita-
tions of naval budgets was concerned, and the full
Committee resolved that the resolution presented by
M. Bourgeois applied equally to both Russian pro-
posals. After requesting Jonkheer van Karnebeek to
draw up the report of the Conmiittee to the Confer-
ence, the Committee adjourned, and the further
discussion upon the question of the limitation of
armaments took place in the full Conference.

At the last meeting of the First Committee, on
July 17, when the report to be j^resented to the


Conference was under consideration, the following Chapter ni
statement, drawn up by the Commission of the
United States of America, was read : —

'"The delegation of the United States of America statement dn

, . , T . 1 /• behalf of the

have concurred ni the conclusions upon the iirst united states
clause of the Russian letter of December oO, 1898,°
presented to the Conference by the First Committee,
namely : that the proposals of the Russian represen-
tatives for fixing the amounts of effective forces and
of budgets, military and naval, for periods of five
and three years, cannot now be accepted, and that a
more profound study on the part of each State con-
cerned is to be desired. But while thus supporting
what seemed to be the only practicable solution 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 indifference to a difficult problem,
because it does not affect the United States immedi-
ately, but expresses a determination to refrain from
enunciating opinions upon matters, into which, as
they concern Europe alone, the United States has
no claim to enter. The resolution offered by M.
Bourgeois and adopted by the First Committee has
also received the hearty concurrence of this delega-
tion, because in so doing it expresses the cordial in-
terest and sympathy with which the United States,
while carefully abstaining from anything that might
resemble interference, regards all movements that



Chapter III are tliouglit to tend to the welfare of Europe. The
military and naval armaments of the United States
are at present so small, relatively, to the extent of
territory and the number of the population, as well
as m comparison with those of other nations, that
their size can entail no additional burden or expense
upon the latter, nor can even form a subject for
j)rofitable mutual discussion."

Further study The Conference subsequently unanimously adopted
question. the rcsolutiou proposcd by the First Committee on
the motion of M. Bourgeois, and the entire subject
was thus relegated to the further study of the various
Governments. It should not be forgotten that an
agreement to limit armaments is in effect a promise
to be more or less unready in what may be a supreme
crisis of national life or national honor. So long; as
the fear of such crises may reasonably enter into the
daily thoughts and the serious plans of even the most
peaceable and highly civilized of nations, there can
be little hope even for a further study of the

The effective federation of the civilized world for
purposes of international justice, and the conviction,
possible perhaps only after years of experience, that
in the twentieth century international differences
can be settled by peaceable means more frequently
than ever before, will alone suffice to reassure the
nations of the world sufficiently to permit the relax-
ino; of efforts which even the warmest friends of
peace cannot, in the meanwhile, wholly condemn.

Its probable


The Humanizing of War Chapter hi

The second, third, and fourtli clauses of the circu-
lar of Count Mouravieff of December 30, 1898, treat-
ing of the humanizing of war, were also referred to
the First Committee of the Conference, which in turn
referred the second and third paragraphs to its mili-
tary sub-committee, and the fourth paragraph to its
naval sub-committee.

The military sub-committee in consequence had
charge of the subjects of powders and explosives,
field guns, balloons, and muskets, as well as bullets,
although, as Captain Crozier remarks in his report to
the American Commission, it would have appeared
more logical to consider them under the seventh
numbered article of the circular, referring to the dec-
laration concerning the laws and customs of war,
made by the Brussels Conference in 1874.

The report of the military sub-committee was sub- Report of the

/ J^ 1 p 1 Military Sub-

mitted by General Den Beer Poortugael of the Committee.

Netherlands, and it was most ably and lucidly
summarized for the Commission of the United States
of America by Captain Crozier, the American repre-
sentative on the Committee. The Russian represen-
tative was Colonel Gilinsky, and the propositions for
discussion were for the most part presented by him
in the name of his Government, so that upon him
generally devolved the duty of explaining and sup-
porting the propositions in the first instance.

Upon the subject of powders, by which term the Powders,
propelling charge of projectiles as distinguished from


Chapter III tlio bursting charge, was meant, the proposition was
an agreement not to make use of any more powerful
powders tliau tliose employed at present, both for
field guns and muskets. Upon this subject Captain
Crozier declared that the prohibition of the adoption
of more powerful powders than those actually in use
might easily work against one of the objects of the
Russian proposition, namely : economy. A powder
being powerful in proportion to the production of
gas furnished by the charge and the atmosphere of
combustion, it might be easy to produce powder
which, while furnishing a greater volume of gas at a
lower temperature of combustion, might be more
powerful than any powder now actually in use, and
yet, at the same time, on account of the lower tem-
perature, it might injure the musket much less, and
thus increase the latter's durability.

The point made by the American representative
was so well taken that the proposition was unani-
mously rejected.

Mining shells As to cxplosives or the bursting charge of projec-
tor field ., . . , ,^, „

artillery. tilcs, two propositious wcrc made. Ihe nrst was an
agreement not to make use of mining shells for field
artillery. After a brief discussion the proposal was
rejected by a vote of eleven to ten, the minority
being made up of the States of Belgium, Denmark,
Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Servia, Russia, Siam,

High expio- Switzerland, and Bulgaria. The second proposition
was not to make use of any new explosives of the
class known as high explosives. This proposition
was, after a short discussion, rejected by a vote of


Online LibraryFrederick William HollsThe peace conference at The Hague, and its bearings on international law and policy → online text (page 7 of 39)