International Arbitration, from Athens to Locarno

By Jackson H. Ralston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXV
THE HAGUE PEACE CONVENTIONS OF 1899 AND 1907

221. Preliminary . -- The Hague Peace Conference of 1899 resulted in the taking of an important further step in the line of arbitrations between nations. Before 1899, while there had been numerous instances of references to arbitration, such a thing as an all-around agreement to arbitrate between a considerable number of nations, with certain partial exceptions in South America, was unknown. The Convention of 1899, signed by twenty-six states, declared that

with the object of facilitating an immediate recourse to arbitration for international differences, which it has not been possible to settle by diplomacy, the Signatory Powers undertake to organize a permanent Court of Arbitration, accessible at all times and operating, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure inserted in the present Convention.

Practically the same language was employed in the Convention of 1907. The differences between the two conventions, the later one having been signed by forty-four nations, are not great, except in arrangement and such alterations as were necessary because of the fact that the first related to a court to be established and the second to what may be styled "a going concern." We might add that some changes were based upon developments arising in connection with the four cases which between the periods named had been referred to The Hague. The term, "Delegates," as representing a nation, referred to in the first, is dropped in the second convention. The language of the second Convention is imperative as forbidding members of the Permanent Court from acting as agents, counsel, or advocates, except on behalf of the power which appointed them members of the court. The reason for this prohibition is to be found in the fact that M. Beernaert of Belgium, a member of the Permanent Court, acted as counsel for Mexico in the Pious Fund case, while Renault, another member of the Permanent Court, acting on behalf of his own nation, France, was challenged in the Venezuela Preferential case. By the earlier Convention it was left to the tribunal to decide what languages should be employed before it, but by the later one the tribunal was given power to act only if the question was not settled by the compromis.

We should note further, however, that the earlier Convention provided without limitation that in default of other agreement each party

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