The Essentials of International Public Law and Organization

By Amos S. Hershey | Go to book overview

Or resolution, practical unanimity10 is necessary, though the majority may consider the motion binding upon its members. The results achieved at each session are collected into a procés-verbal (minutes) or Protocol. The body of articles or resolutions adopted are finally collected into a whole -- the Final or General Act, which is signed by the plenipotentiaries of the several States, with or without reservations.

294. Language. -- The official or customary language used at these Conferences was formerly French -- the language of diplomacy par excellence; but any delegate has a right to the use of his own mother tongue, and English is now regarded as equally valid or official as French.11


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Congresses and Conferences. -- * Baldwin, in 1 A. J. ( 1907), 565-78; Bluntschli, Arts. 12, 108-14; Bonfils or * 1 (3 Pt.) Fauchille, Nos. 796-815; * Buell, Int. Relations ( 1925), ch. 27; 3 Calvo, §§ 1674- 81; Despagnet, Nos. 484-88; 2 Fiore, Nos. 1216-24, and Int. Law Cod. ( 1918), Arts. 1211-50; Geffcken, in 3 Holtzendorff,

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cepted, particularly if they were unanimous. Often they were altered or modified and sometimes were altogether rejected or ignored by the Council of Four which usually passed upon them. In case of acceptance, they were incorporated into the treaties by the Drafting Committee. In any case the smaller powers were almost wholly excluded from participation in the decisions. It should also be mentioned that many of the major problems of the settlement, such as the French, Italian, and Japanese claims, were not referred to commissions, but discussed in secret council.

On the Organization of the Paris Peace Conference, see: * 1 Baker, Wilson and World Settlement ( 1922-23), chs. 10-11; House and Seymour, What Really Happened at Paris ( 1921), ch. 2; Tardieu, The Truth About the Treaty ( 1921), ch. 3; and * 1 Temperley, Hist. of the Peace Conference ( 1920-21), ch. 7 and pp. 497 ff.

10
By practical or quasi-unanimity is meant the agreement of nearly all the States, including all the more important ones. The continued and persistent opposition of a Great Power is nearly always fatal to a proposal, though it may not oppose its insertion in the Final Act; the opposition of several smaller or relatively unimportant States is, on the other hand, frequently ignored. Their legal rights remain unimpaired, for they are not bound to sign the Final or General Act, or they may withdraw from the deliberations of the Conference.
11
Thus the English and French texts of the Treaty of Versailles ( 1919) are both regarded as official -- a condition which has its disadvantages, inasmuch as there are instances of ambiguity or discrepancy.

In case of discrepancy between the meaning of two different texts, "each party is only bound by the text in its own language. Moreover, a party cannot claim the benefit of the text in the language of the other party." 1 Oppenehim, § 554, p. 704.

-430-

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