Neutrality and Peace

Neutrality and Peace

Neutrality and Peace

Neutrality and Peace


The favorable reception given the book I wrote in 1927, on The New Aspects of International Law, encourages me to publish now the lectures I had the honor to deliver at the University of Salamanca in November, 1933.

Like the former work, the present one is an attempt to clarify in the light of experience the rules of law already in existence, or in process of formation, upon one of the several aspects of international life.

The subject chosen this time is that of neutrality. My choice was influenced by considerations of two kinds--one of an occasional, the other of a general nature.

Having been invited to teach at the University of Salamanca, my attention was naturally drawn to the work of Franciscus Victoria who, at the beginning of the XVIth century, taught there with extraordinary brilliance.

The Master of Salamanca's inestimable merit lay in showing that international questions ought not to be examined solely from their legal angle; that it is not necessary to hold to the letter of the texts, nor to the immediate interest of the States. He raised the questions to which he devoted his attention to the eminence of cases of conscience; he examined them less as a jurist than as a theologian; he tried to decide them by appealing to the broadest ideas of human justice.

This is why his thought still remains true, and, in our day, still deserves to be used as a guide. His work was thus stamped with an imperishable character.

The enlightened and high-minded Victoria was in advance of his time; and in some respects, he is still in advance of ours. He was the great sower of ideas, and was certain of their fecundity; but he did not worry overmuch about when they would grow and yield the rich harvest he expected of them.

Time has justified his faith in human progress. Some of his ideas have already taken root in the conscience of the civilized world, and are to be found at the base of positive law. Others continue to gain adherents, and there is every indication that they, in their turn, will eventually triumph.

It seemed to me that it would be interesting to take one of these ideas in order to trace the route it travelled, and thus show the results of Victoria's teaching in present international relations

As a matter of fact, Victoria did not touch upon the situation of countries which do not take part in a war between other countries. But, although he did not speak of the condition of neutral states, he expressed with regard to them a precious and particularly fertile theory.

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