The Protection of Nationals: A Study in the Application of International Law

The Protection of Nationals: A Study in the Application of International Law

The Protection of Nationals: A Study in the Application of International Law

The Protection of Nationals: A Study in the Application of International Law

Excerpt

It is not perhaps unnatural that, in the long course of the development of the conception of law as among sovereign states, there should have come to prevail one of those easy simplifications of thinking by which ends are identified with means; and that it has come to be rather usually assumed that, for the attainment of the ideal of international legality, the customary legal process of induction and deduction from the data presented by decided cases is not only indispensable but of itself determinative. But those familiar at first-hand with the routine by which Foreign Offices reach their decisions as to the action to be taken, on one case and another of the multitude daily requiring to be dealt with, have quite generally, I think, felt that the traditional legal process does not by any means work to a definite and calculable result, but that often the logical mechanism reveals the working of some unacknowledged and perhaps variable factors modifying its operation. And those holding such a doubt as to the definitiveness of the mechanism cannot but feel that we lack a full and competent understanding of our own international conduct--of its motivating reasons and impulses, and hence of its tendencies and foreseeable consequences-- unless we can satisfactorily explore and make evident these ignored and even unconscious modifying influences.

This is the problem to which Dr. Dunn has addressed himself in the present study of the institution of diplomatic protection of citizens abroad, with particular reference to Mexico. Having been for a number of years a member of the Solicitor's Office of the Department of State, or associated with international claims commissions, he approaches this subject not in the manner of the archaeologist seeking to reconstruct from the survivals the features of a ruined city, but rather as a citizen who has been at home in its streets and byways. From actual responsible experience, he is moved to inquire into the occasion and the nature of those variations of the compass which he had himself found dis-

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