CONVENTION (VII) RELATING TO THE
CONVERSION OF MERCHANT SHIPS INTO
Signed at The Hague, 18 October 1907
INTRODUCTORY NOTE: When during the Franco-German war of 1870 the King of Prussia, as President of the North German Confederation, ordered the creation of a volunteer navy by inviting the owners of private German vessels to make them part of the German navy, the question was raised whether this scheme violated the Declaration of Paris by which the signatories had engaged themselves not to employ privateers. While in the following decades the principle was generally admitted that merchant ships might be incorporated into the regular navy, several questions remained unresolved. The signatories of the present Convention, concluded at the Second Hague Peace Conference, although agreeing on the general principle, were unable to settle all the questions that gave rise to controversy. In particular, they could not agree on the question whether conversion might be performed in a harbour of the converting state only or also on the high seas (see preamble). Nor could they resolve the question of whether it was permissible to reconvert a vessel that had been converted into a warship during the war into a merchantman before the war ended.
ENTRY INTO FORCE: 26 January 1910.
AUTHENTIC TEXT: French. The English translation below is reprinted from Scott, Hague Conventions, pp. 146–150. It reproduces the translation of the United States Department of State. The marginal titles added to the Convention have no official character.
TEXT PUBLISHED IN: Conférence internationale de la Paix, 1907, pp. 647–649 (French); Les deux Conférences de la Paix, pp. 127–129 (French); Scott, Hague Conventions, pp. 146–150 (Engl.); Scott, Les Conventions de La Haye, pp. 146–150 (French); Scott, Les Conférences de La Haye, pp. 72–74 (French); Martens, NRGT, 3ème série, Vol. Ill, pp. 557–579 (French, German); Deltenre, pp. 306–313 (Engl., French, German, Dutch); GBTS, 1910, No. 11, Cd. 5115 (Engl., French); BFSP, Vol. 100, 1906–1907, pp. 377–389 (French); CTS, Vol. 205, pp. 319–331 (French); Wilson-Tucker, pp. Lxxni-Lxxvni (Engl.); AJIL, Vol. 8, 1908, Vol. 2, Suppl., pp. 133–138 (Engl., French); Friedman, pp. 338–341 (Engl.); Roberts and Guelff, pp. 95–101 (Engl.); Ronzitti, pp. 111–119 (Engl., French); Droit des conflits armés, pp. 1109–1114 (French); Genet, pp. 522–523 (French); Mezhdunarodnoe pravo, Vol. Ill, p. 143 (Russ.); Korovin, p. 388 (Russ.); Revista de Derecho Internacional y politico exterior, Cronica, Ano III, 1907, pp. 88–89 (Span.); Arellano, p. 374 (Span. — extract); Bricefio, pp. 219 (Span.- extracts); Bustamante, pp. 320- 324 (Span.); Ceppi, pp. 360–361 (Span. — extract); ICRC website: www.org/ihl.nsf (Engl., French, Span.).