The Soviet Union and International Law: A Study Based on the Legislation, Treaties and Foreign Relations of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics

By T. A. Taracouzio; Soviet Union Bureau of International Research of Harvard University and Radcliffe College | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
DIPLOMACY

THE study of the principles of international law relative to diplomatic representation, as followed by non-communist nations, is based on materials derived from three main sources: custom, national legislation, and treaty provisions. An analysis of the Soviet practice reveals only one difference: as a logical result of the class differentiation between capitalists and proletariat, preached by the communists, custom loses its importance in shaping the Soviet law on diplomatic agents. This leaves national legislation and treaties the most important sources when the Soviet law on the subject is analyzed.

In the beginning, the Soviet laws dealing with diplomatic agents were merely attempts to discontinue the practices of the preceding governments in Russia. Such was the Decree of the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of November 26, 1917, which, while not containing any general provisions, recalled the ambassadors, ministers and other members of the Russian Foreign Service abroad who did not respond to the Soviet offer to continue their work under the direction of the new Régime.1

Legislation of the R.S.F.S.R.

Of much greater moment was the Decree of the Council of the Peoples' Commissaries of the R.S.F.S.R. of June 4, 1918, by which the centuries old traditional division of diplomatic agents into different ranks was disavowed by the Soviets as obsolete and not in conformity with the generally recognized principle of the equality of states. This decree is of great importance from the point of view of the historical development of Soviet international law. Having abolished the principles of the Congress of Vienna, embodied in the old imperial laws of Russia, it introduced the new principle of equality of diplomatic agents as regarded not only

Abolition of Diplomatic Ranks

____________________
1
Sobr. Uzak. i Rasp. R.S.F.S.R., 1917- 1918, p. 59.

-165-

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The Soviet Union and International Law: A Study Based on the Legislation, Treaties and Foreign Relations of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Chapter I - Introductory 1
  • Chapter II - Soviet Theory of International Law In General 12
  • Chapter III - Sovereignty 26
  • Chapter IV - Territory 48
  • Chapter V - Persons 80
  • Chaptier VI - Persons 123
  • Chapter VII - Diplomacy 165
  • Chapter VIII - Consular Service 207
  • Chapter IX - Treaties 235
  • Chapter XI - War 311
  • Chapter XII - Conclusion 343
  • Appendices *
  • Bibliography 481
  • Index 511
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