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The tribunal shall ordinarily hold its sessions at ;

but it shall have power to fix its place of session else-
where, and to change the same from time to time, as cir-
cumstances may suggest.

The fifth provision is that any power, even though not
represented in the present conference, may have recourse
to the tribunal on such terms as may be prescribed by the

Provision sixth: The government of is charged

by the signatory powers, on their behalf, as soon as pos-
sible after the conclusion of this convention, to name a

permanent council of administration, at , composed

of five members and a secretary. This council shall or-
ganize and establish the central office, which shall be
under its control and direction. It shall make such rules
and regulations as may be necessary for the office; it
shall dispose of all questions that may arise in relation
to the working of the tribunal, or which may be referred
to it by the central office; it shall make all subordinate
appointments, may suspend or dismiss all employees, and
shall fix their salaries and control their expenditure.
This council shall select its president, who shall have
a casting-vote. The remuneration of the members shall
be fixed from time to time by accord between the signa-
tory powers.


Provision seventh: The signatory powers agree to
share among them the expenses pertaining to the admin-
istration of the central office and the council of adminis-
tration ; but the expenses incident to every arbitration, in-
cluding the remuneration of the arbiters, shall be equally
borne by the contesting powers.

From a theoretical point of view, I prefer to this our
American plan of a tribunal permanently in session : the
judges, in every particular case, to be selected from this.
Thus would be provided a court of any odd number be-
tween three and nine, as the contesting powers may desire.
But from the practical point of view, even though the Rus-
sian plan of requiring the signatory powers to send to the
tribunal a multitude of smaller matters, such as those con-
nected with the postal service, etc., is carried out, the great
danger is that such a court, sitting constantly as we pro-
pose, would, for some years, have very little to do, and
that soon we should have demagogues and feather-brained
' * reformers ' * ridiculing them as * ' useless, " 1 1 eating their
heads off," and "doing nothing"; that then demagogic
appeals might lead one nation after another to withdraw
from an arrangement involving large expense apparently
useless ; and in view of this latter difficulty I am much in-
clined to think that we may, under our amended in-
structions, agree to support, in its essential features as
above given, the British proposal, and, with some reser-
vations, the code proposed by the Russians.

Among the things named by the Russians as subjects
which the agreeing powers must submit to arbitration,
are those relating to river navigation and international
canals; and this, in view of our present difficulties in
Alaska and in the matter of the Isthmus Canal, we can
hardly agree to. During the morning Sir Julian came
in and talked over our plan of arbitration as well as his
own and that submitted by Russia. He said that he had
seen M. de Staal, and that it was agreed between them
that the latter should send Sir Julian, at the first moment
possible, an amalgamation of the Russian and British


plans, and this Sir Julian promised that he would bring
to us, giving us a chance to insert any features from
our own plan which, in our judgment, might be important.
He seemed much encouraged, as we all are.

Returning to our rooms, I found Count Miinster. As
usual, he was very interesting ; and, after discussing sun-
dry features of the Russian plan, he told one or two
rather good stories. He said that during his stay in St.
Petersburg as minister, early in the reign of Alexander
II, he had a very serious quarrel with Prince Gortchakoff,
the minister of foreign affairs, who afterward became the
famous chancellor of the empire.

Count Miinster had received one day from a professor
at Gb'ttingen a letter stating that a young German savant,
traveling for scientific purposes in Russia, had been seized
and treated as a prisoner, without any proper cause what-
ever; that, while he was engaged in his peaceful botaniz-
ing, a police officer, who was taking a gang of criminals
to Siberia, had come along, and one of hie prisoners hav-
ing escaped, this officer, in order to avoid censure, had
seized the young savant, quietly clapped the number of the
missing man on his back, put him in with the gang of
prisoners, and carried him off along with the rest; so
that he was now held as a convict in Siberia. The count
put the letter in his pocket, thinking that he might have
an opportunity to use it, and a day or two afterward his
chance came. Walking on the quay, he met the Emperor
(Alexander II), who greeted him heartily, and said, "Let
me walk with you. ' ' After walking and talking some time,
the count told the story of the young German, whereupon
the Emperor asked for proofs of its truth. At this Miin-
ster pulled the letter out of his pocket ; and, both having
seated themselves on a bench at the side of the walk, the
Emperor read it. On finishing it, the Emperor said:
' ' Such a thing as this can happen only in Russia. ' ' That
very afternoon he sent a special police squad, post-haste,
all the way to Siberia, ordering them to find the young
German and bring him back to St. Petersburg.


Next day Count Miinster called at the Foreign Office
on current business, when Gortchakoff came at him in
a great rage, asking him by what right he communicated
directly with the Emperor ; and insisting that he had no
business to give a letter directly to the Emperor, that it
ought to have gone through the Foreign Office. Gort-
chakoff reproached the count bitterly for this departure
from elementary diplomatic etiquette. At this Miinster
replied: "I gave the letter to the Emperor because he
asked me for it, and I did not give it to you because I
knew perfectly well that you would pigeonhole it and the
Emperor would never hear of it. I concede much in mak-
ing any answer at all to your talk, which seems to me
of a sort not usual between gentlemen." At this Gort-
chakoff was much milder, and finally almost obsequious,
becoming apparently one of Minister's devoted friends,
evidently thinking that, as Miinster had gained the confi-
dence of the Emperor, he was a man to be cultivated.

The sequel to the story was also interesting. The po-
licemen, after their long journey to Siberia, found the
young German and brought him to St. Petersburg, where
the Emperor received him very cordially and gave him
twenty thousand rubles as an indemnity for the wrong
done him. The young savant told Miinster that he had
not been badly treated, that he had been assigned a very
pleasant little cottage, and had perfect freedom to pursue
his scientific researches.

On my talking with the count about certain Russian
abuses, and maintaining that Russia, at least in court
circles, had improved greatly under Alexander III as re-
garded corruption, he said that he feared she was now
going back, and he then repeated a remark made by the
old Grand Duke Michael, brother of Alexander II, who
said that if any Russian were intrusted with the official
care of a canary he would immediately set up and main-
tain a coach and pair out of it.

At six o'clock our American delegation met and heard
reports, especially from Captain Mahan and Captain


Crozier, with reference to the doings in the subcommit-
tees. Captain Mahan reported that he had voted against
forbidding asphyxiating bombs, etc., evidently with the
idea that such a provision would prove to be rather harm-
ful than helpful to the cause of peace.

Captain Crozier reported that his subcommittee of
committee No. 2 had, at its recent meeting, tried to take
up the exemption of private property from seizure on
the high seas in time of war, but had been declared out
of order by the chairman, De Martens, the leading Rus-
sian delegate, who seems determined to prevent the sub-
ject coming before the conference. The question before
our American delegation now was, Shall we try to push
this American proposal before the subcommittee of the
second committee, or before the entire conference at a
later period? and the general opinion was in favor of the
latter course. It was not thought best to delay the arbi-
tration plan by its introduction at present.

In the evening dined with Minister Newel, and had a
very interesting talk with Van Karnebeek, who had al-
ready favorably impressed me by his clear-headedness
and straightforwardness; also with Messrs. Asser, mem-
ber of the Dutch Council of State, and Rahusen, member
of the Upper Chamber of the States General, both of
whom are influential delegates.

All three of these men spoke strongly in favor of our
plan for the exemption of private property on the high
seas, Van Karnebeek with especial earnestness. He said
that, looking merely at the material interests of the Neth-
erlands, he might very well favor the retention of the
present system, since his country is little likely to go into
war, and is certain to profit by the carrying trade in case
of any conflict between the great powers ; that, of course,
under such circumstances, a large amount of commerce
would come to Holland as a neutral power; but that it
was a question of right and of a proper development of
international law, and that he, as well as the two other
gentlemen above named, was very earnestly in favor of


joint action by the powers who are in favor of our pro-
posal. He thought that the important thing just now is
to secure the cooperation of Germany, which seems to be
at the parting of the ways, and undecided which to take.

In the course of the evening one of my European col-
leagues, who is especially familiar with the inner history
of the calling of the conference, told me that the reason
why Professor Stengel was made a delegate was not that
he wrote the book in praise of war and depreciating ar-
bitration, which caused his appointment to be so unfavor-
ably commented upon, but because, as an eminent pro-
fessor of international law, he represented Bavaria ; and
that as Bavaria, though represented at St. Petersburg,
was not invited, it was thought very essential that a well-
known man from that kingdom should be put into the gen-
eral German delegation.

On my asking why Brazil, though represented at St.
Petersburg, was not invited, he answered that Brazil was
invited, but showed no desire to be represented. On my
asking him if he supposed this was because other South
American powers were not invited, he said that he thought
not; that it was rather its own indifference and care-
lessness, arising from the present unfortunate state of
government in that country. On my saying that the Em-
peror Dom Pedro, in his time, would have taken the op-
portunity to send a strong delegation, he said: "Yes, he
certainly would have done so; but the present govern-
ment is a poor sort of thing. ' '

I also had a talk with one of the most eminent publicists
of the Netherlands, on the questions dividing parties in
this country, telling him that I found it hard to understand
the line of cleavage between them. He answered that it
is, in the main, a line between religious conservatives and
liberals; the conservatives embracing the Roman Catho-
lics and high orthodox Protestants, and the liberals those
of more advanced opinions. He said that 'socialism plays
no great part in Holland ; that the number of its repre-
sentatives is very small compared with that in many Eu-


ropean states ; that the questions on which parties divide
are mainly those in which clerical ideas are more or less
prominent; that the liberal party, if it keeps together,
is much the stronger party of the two, but that it suffers
greatly from its cliques and factions.

On returning home after dinner, I found a cipher des-
patch from the Secretary of State informing us that
President McKinley thinks that our American commis-
sion ought not to urge any proposal for 1 1 seconding pow-
ers ' ' ; that he fears lest it may block the way of the arbi-
tration proposals. This shows that imperfect reports
have reached the President and his cabinet. The fact is
that the proposal of ' ' seconding powers ' ' was warmly wel-
comed by the subcommittee when it was presented; that
the members very generally telegraphed home to their
governments, and at once received orders to support it;
that it was passed by a unanimous vote of the subcommit-
tee ; and that its strongest advocates were the men who are
most in favor of an arbitration plan. So far from in-
juring the prospects of arbitration, it has increased them ;
it is very generally spoken of as a victory for our delega-
tion, and has increased respect for our country, and for
anything we may hereafter present.

June 2.

This morning we sent a cipher telegram to the Secre-
tary of State, embodying the facts above stated.

The shoals of telegrams, reports of proceedings of so-
cieties, hortatory letters, crankish proposals, and peace
pamphlets from America continue. One of the telegrams
which came late last night was pathetic ; it declared that
three millions of Christian Endeavorers bade us "God-
speed, ' ' etc., etc.

During the morning De Martens, Low, Holls, and my-
self had a very thoroughgoing discussion of the Rus-
sian, British, and American arbitration plans. We found
the eminent Russian under very curious misapprehen-
sions regarding some minor points, one of them being that


he had mistaken the signification of our word "publicist" ;
and we were especially surprised to find his use of the
French word "publiciste" so broad that it would in-
clude M. Henri Eochefort, Mr. Stead, or any newspaper
writer ; and he was quite as surprised to find that with us
it would include only such men as Grotius, Wheaton,
Calvo, and himself.

After a long and intricate discussion we separated on
very good terms, having made, I think, decided progress
toward fusing all three arbitration plans into one which
shall embody the merits of all.

One difficulty we found, of which neither our State De-
partment nor ourselves had been fully aware. Our origi-
nal plan required that the judges for the arbitration tri-
bunal should be nominated by the highest courts of the
respective nations ; but De Martens showed us that Russia
has no highest court in our sense of the word. Then, too,
there is Austria-Hungary, which has two supreme courts
of equal authority. This clause, therefore, we arranged
to alter, though providing that the original might stand
as regards countries possessing supreme courts.

At lunch we had Baron de Bildt, Swedish minister at
Rome and chief of the Swedish delegation at the confer-
ence, and Baron de Bille, Danish minister at London and
chief delegate from Denmark. De Bille declared him-
self averse to a permanent tribunal to be in constant ses-
sion, on the ground that, having so little to do, it would be
in danger of becoming an object of derision to the press
and peoples of the world.

We were all glad to find, upon the arrival of the Lon-
don " Times," that our arbitration project seemed to be
receiving extensive approval, and various telegrams from
America during the day indicated the same thing.

It looks more and more as if we are to accomplish some-
thing. The only thing in sight calculated to throw a cloud
over the future is the attitude of the German press
against the whole business here ; the most virulent in its
attacks being the high Lutheran conservative and re-


ligious! journal in Berlin, the " Kreuz-Zeitung. " Still,
it is pleasant to see that eminent newspaper find, for a
time, some other object of denunciation than the United

June 3.

In the afternoon drove to Scheveningen and took tea
with Count Miinster and his daughter. He was somewhat
pessimistic, as usual, but came out very strongly in favor
of the American view as regards exemption of private
property on the high seas. Whether this is really because
Germany would derive profit from it, or because she
thinks this question a serviceable entering wedge between
the United States and Great Britain, there is no telling
at present. I am sorry to say that our hopes regarding
it are to be dashed, so far as the present conference is
concerned. Sundry newspaper letters and articles in the
" Times" show clearly that the English Government is
strongly opposed to dealing with it here and now ; and as
France and Russia take the same position, there is no
hope for any action, save such as we can take to keep
the subject alive and to secure attention to it by some
future conference.



June 4.

WE have just had an experience which ' ' adds to the
gaiety of nations. ' ' Some days since, representa-
tives of what is called "the Young Turkish party" ap-
peared and asked to be heard. They received, generally,
the cold shoulder, mainly because the internal condition
of Turkey is not one of the things which the conference
was asked to discuss; but also because there is a suspi-
cion that these "Young Turks" are enabled to live in
luxury at Paris by blackmailing the Sultan, and that their
zeal for reform becomes fervid whenever their funds
run low, and cools whenever a remittance comes from
the Bosphorus. But at last some of us decided to give
them a hearing, informally; the main object being to get
rid of them. At the time appointed, the delegation ap-
peared in evening dress, and, having been ushered into
the room, the spokesman began as follows, very impres-
sively :

"Your Excellencies, ve are ze Young Turkeys."
This was too much for most of us, and I think that, dur-
ing our whole stay at The Hague thus far, we have never
undertaken anything more difficult, physically, than to
keep our faces straight during the harangue which fol-

Later, we went with nearly all the other members of
the conference to Haarlem, in a special train, by invita-
tion of the burgomaster and town council, to the "Fete



Hippique ' ' and the * * Fete des Fleurs. ' ' We were treated
very well indeed, refreshments being served on the grand
stand during the performances, which consisted of hui>-
dle races, etc., for which I cared nothing, followed by a
procession of peasants in old chaises of various periods,
and in the costumes of the various provinces of the Neth-
erlands, which interested me much. The whole closed
with a long train of fine equipages superbly decorated
with flowers.

Discussing the question of the immunity of private
property, not contraband of war, on the high seas, I find
that the main argument which our opponents are now
using is that, even if the principle were conceded, new and
troublesome questions would arise as to what really con-
stitutes contraband of war; that ships themselves would
undoubtedly be considered as contraband, since they can
be used in conveying troops, coal, supplies, etc.

June 5.

Having given up the morning of the 5th mainly to work
on plans of arbitration, mediation, and the like, I went
to the meeting, at the ' ' House in the Wood, ' ' of the third
great committee of the conference namely, that on ar-

The session went off satisfactorily, our duty being to
pass upon the report from the subcommittee which had
put the various propositions into shape for our discus-
sion. The report was admirably presented by M. Des-
camps, and, after considerable discussion of details, was
adopted in all essential features. The matters thus dis-
cussed and accepted for presentation to the conference
as a whole related :

(1) To a plan for tendering "good offices."

(2) To a plan for examining into international differ-

(3) To the "special mediation" plan.

The last was exceedingly well received, and our dele-
gation has obtained much credit for it. It is the plan of

II. 19


allowing any two nations drifting into war to appoint
* ' seconding nations, ' ' who, like * ' seconds " in a duel, shall
attempt to avert the conflict ; and, if this be unsuccessful,
shall continue acting in the same capacity, and endeavor
to arrest the conflict at the earliest moment possible.

Very general good feeling was shown, and much en-
couragement derived from the fact that these preliminary
matters could be dealt with in so amicable and business-
like a spirit.

Before the meeting I took a long walk in the garden
back of the palace with various gentlemen, among them
Mr. van Karnebeek, who discussed admirably with me
the question of the exemption of private property from
seizure on the high seas. He agreed with me that even
if the extreme doctrine now contended for namely, that
which makes ships, coal, provisions, and very nearly
everything else, contraband be pressed, still a first step,
such as the exemption of private property from seizure,
would be none the less wise, leaving the subordinate
questions to be dealt with as they arise.

I afterward called with Dr. Holls at the house of the
burgomaster of The Hague, and thanked him for his
kindness in tendering us the concert last Saturday, and
for various other marks of consideration.

On the whole, matters continue to look encouraging as
regards both mediation and arbitration.

June 6.

In the morning Sir Julian Pauncefote called, and again
went over certain details in the American, British, and
Kussian plans of arbitration, discussing some matters
to be stricken out and others to be inserted. He declared
his readiness to strike out a feature of his plan to which
from the first, I have felt a very great objection namely,
that which, after the tribunal is constituted, allows the
contesting parties to call into it and mix with it persons
simply chosen by the contestants ad hoc. This seems to
me a dilution of the idea of a permanent tribunal, and a


means of delay and of complications which may prove un-
fortunate. It would certainly be said that if the contes-
tants were to be allowed to name two or more judges from
outside the tribunal, they might just as well nominate all,
and thus save the expense attendant upon a regularly con-
stituted international court chosen by the various gov-

Later in the day I wrote a private letter to the Secre-
tary of State suggesting that our American delegation
be authorized to lay a wreath of silver and gold upon the
tomb of Grotius at Delft, not only as a tribute to the man
who set in motion the ideas which, nearly three hundred
years later, have led to the assembling of this conference,
but as an indication of our gratitude to the Netherlands
Government for its hospitality and the admirable pro-
vision it has made for our work here, and also as a sign
of good- will toward the older governments of the world on
the occasion of their first meeting with delegates from the
new world, in a conference treating of matters most im-
portant to all nations.

In the evening to Mr. van Karnebeek's reception, and
there met Mr. Eaffalovitch, one of the Eussian secre-
taries of the conference, who, as councilor of the Eussian
Empire and corresponding member of the French Insti-
tute, has a European reputation, and urged him to aid
in striking out the clause in the plan which admits judges
other than those of the court. My hope is that it will dis-
appear in the subcommittee and not come up in the gen-
eral meeting of the third great committee.

June 8.

The American delegation in the afternoon discussed at
length the proposals relating to the Brussels Conference
rules for the more humane carrying on of war. Consid-
erable difference of opinion has arisen in the section of
the conference in which the preliminary debates are
held, and Captain Crozier, our representative, has been
in some doubt as to the ground to be taken between these


opposing views. On one side are those who think it best

Online LibraryAndrew Dickson WhiteAutobiography of Andrew Dickson White (Volume 2) → online text (page 26 of 54)