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BOARD OF EDITORS OF THE AMERICAN JOURNAL
OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
CHARLES NOBLE GREGORY, State University of Iowa.
The American Society of International Law was founded in 1905, but it was not until 1906 that a definite organization was effected.
While the necessity of such a society was felt by many, no serious steps were taken until the summer of 1905. It occurred to some of the members of the Mohonk Lake conference on international arbitration, that a society devoted exclusively to the interests of international law as distinct from international arbitration might be formed and that the members of the Mohonk conference would supply a nucleus membership. Accordingly a call was issued to the members present at the conference and as the result of the call and meeting of those interested a committee was appointed with Oscar S. Straus as chairman and James B. Scott as secretary, to consider plans for a definite organization and for the publication of a journal exclusively devoted to international law as the organ of the Society. On December 9, 1905, a meeting of the committee was held at the residence of Oscar S. Straus in New York City, and as the result of favorable reports of the members present it appeared feasible to proceed immediately to the definitive organization of the Society. Accordingly a call was issued by the chairman for a meeting of those interested in international law and its popularization, to be held at the New York Bar Association, on Friday, January 12, 1906.
At this meeting it was decided to organize upon a permanent basis a society of those interested in the spread of international law with its ideals of justice and therefore of peace; a constitution was adopted; officers were elected and the Society took its place, it is hoped, permanently among the learned and influential societies of the world.
The aim and scope of the Society as well as its internal organization will sufficiently appear from the prospectus and constitution which are here printed in ful:
PROSPECTUS THE AIM AND SCOPE OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW From the very beginning of our national existence the people of the United States have been keenly interested in the common law of nations. In an ordinance of 1781, passed before the recognition of Independence, Congress professed obedience to the laws of nations “according to the general usages of Europe,” and in the act of admission to the family of nations the new republic recognized International Law as completely as International Law recognized the new republic. Nor was this formal acceptance of International Law the passing fancy of the moment. The Constitution of the United States proclaimed it as an existing system and solemnly conferred upon Congress the power to punish “offenses against the law of nations.” It is therefore the law of the land by Constitutional enactment, as well as by the necessities of the case, and the general government as well as courts of justice have invariably and unhesitatingly declared that “International Law is a part of our law, and must be ascertained and administered by the courts of justice of appropriate jurisdiction as often as questions of right depending upon it are duly presented for their determination.” (The Paquete Habana, 1899, 175 U. S., 677, 700.)
If it be borne in mind that the course of recent events has not only given to our country a more prominent and influential position in the family of nations than it had previously enjoyed, but has brought government and people into closer and more intimate relations with the Spanish-American states in the western world and the peoples of the eastern, it is at once evident that Government and people are fundam ntally and constitutionally interested in International Law, and that a correct understanding of the system as a whole is an essential element of good citizenship.
Thus to state the problem is to prove it and to make manifest to the American people the fundamental importance of a correct understanding of those principles of International Law which our country is called upon to observe in its foreign relations, and to administer as municipal law in our domestic tribunals. The establishment of new and more effective agencies to promote the study of these principles and to extend their influence at home and abroad is a duty incumbent upon enlightened citizenship.
Profoundly impressed by these considerations, the American Society of International Law was organized at New York on the twelfth day of January of the present year, and it is believed that the influence of an association of publicists and others organized to represent these interests of our people would count for much in the formation of a sound and rational body of doctrine concerning the true principles of international relations. It is equally certain that the publication of a journal devoted to the exposition of those principles would offer a ready and valuable means of communication between jurists and students of International Law on the one hand, and the scientific and lay public on the other. The absence of any organization in the United States having for its first and sole object the promotion of these purposes, and the lack in the English-speaking world of any periodical devoted exclusively to International Law indicate the need of such a society.
American publicists, such as Kent, Marshall, Story, Wheaton, Halleck, Lieber, Lawrence, Dana, Field, Woolsey and Wharton—not to mention those among the living—have made many and varied contributions to the science of International Law. It is too plain for argument that the existence of such an organization with annual and special meetings and the publication of a periodical exclusively devoted to International Law will not only furnish a nucleus and incentive but also a means of communication. It would likewise seem equally clear that the Society and Journal would necessarily and directly foster the study of International Law and promote the establishment of international relations upon the basis of law and justice.
Your coöperation in the work of the Society is earnestly requested.
Name This Society shall be known as the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW.
Object The object of this Society is to foster the study of International Law and promote the establishment of international relations on the basis of law and justice. For this purpose it will coöperate with other societies in this and other countries having the same object.
Membership Members may be elected on the nomination of two members in regular standing by vote of the Executive Council under such rules and regulations as the council may prescribe.
Each member shall pay annual dues of five dollars and shall thereupon become entitled to all the privileges of the Society including a copy of the publications issued during the year. Upon failure to pay the dues for the period of one year a member may, in the discretion of the Executive Council, be suspended or dropped from the rolls of membership.
Upon payment of one hundred dollars any person otherwise entitled to membership may become a life-member and shall thereupon become entitled to all the privileges of membership during his life.
A limited number of persons not citizens of the United States and not exceeding one in any year, who shall have rendered distinguished service to the cause which this Society is formed to promote, may be elected to honorary membership at any meeting of the Society on the recommendation of the Executive Council. Honorary members shall have all the privileges of membership but shall be exempt from the payment of dues.
Officers The officers of the Society shall consist of a president, nine or more vice-presidents, the number to be fixed from time to time by the Executive Council, a recording secretary, a corresponding secretary and a treasurer, who shall be elected annually, and of an executive council composed of the president, the vice-presidents, ex officio, and twenty-four elected members whose term of office shall be three years, except that of those elected at the first election, eight shall serve for the period of one year only and eight for the period of two years, and that any one elected to fill a vacancy shall serve only for the unexpired term of the member in whose place he is chosen.
The recording secretary, the corresponding secretary and the treasurer shall be elected by the Executive Council from among its members. The other officers of the Society shall be elected by the Society, except as hereinafter provided for the filling of vacancies occurring between elections.
At every annual election candidates for all the offices to be filled by the Society at such election shall be placed in nomination by a Nominating Committee of five members of the Society previously appointed by the Executive Council, except that the officers of the first year shall be nominated by a committee of three appointed by the chairman of the meeting at which this Constitution shall be adopted.
All officers shall be elected by a majority vote of members present and voting. All officers of the Society shall serve until their successors are chosen.
Duties of Officers 1. The president shall preside at all meetings of the Society and of the Executive Council and shall perform such other duties as the council may assign to him. In the absence of the president at any meeting of the Society his duties shall devolve upon one of the vice-presidents to be designated by the Executive Council.
2. The secretaries shall keep the records and conduct the correspondence of the Society and of the Executive Council and shall perform such other duties as the council may assign to them.
3. The treasurer shall receive and have the custody of the funds of the Society and shall disburse the same subject to the rules and under the direction of the Executive Council. The fiscal year shall begin on the first day of January.
4. The Executive Council shall have charge of the general interests of the Society, shall call regular and special meetings of the Society and arrange the programmes therefor, shall appropriate money, shall appoint from among its members an Executive Committee and other committees and their chairmen, with appropriate powers, and shall have full power to issue or arrange for the issue of a periodical or other publications, and in general possess the governing power in the Society, except as otherwise specifically provided in this Constitution. The Executive Council shall have the power to fill vacancies in its membership occasioned by death, resignation, failure to elect, or other cause, such appointees to hold office until the next annual election.
Nine members shall constitute a quorum of the Executive Council, and a majority vote of those in attendance shall control its decisions.
5. The Executive Committee shall have full power to act for the Executive Council when the Executive Council is not in session.
6. The Executive Council shall elect a chairman who shall preside at its meetings in the absence of the president, and who shall also be chairman of the Executive Committee.
Meetings The Society shall meet annually at a time and place to be determined by the Executive Council for the election of officers and the transaction of such other business as the council may determine.
Special meetings may be held at any time and place on the call of the Executive Council or at the written request of thirty members on the call of the secretary. At least ten days' notice of such special meeting shall be given to each member of the Society by mail, specifying the object of the meeting, and no other business shall be considered at such meeting.
Twenty-five members shall constitute a quorum at all regular and special meetings of the Society and a majority vote of those present and voting shall control its decisions.
All resolutions which shall be offered at any meeting of the Society shall, in the discretion of the presiding officer, or on the demand of three members, be referred to the appropriate committee or the council, and no vote shall be taken until a report shall have been made thereon.
This Constitution may be amended at any annual or special meeeting of the Society by a majority vote of the members present and voting But all amendments to be proposed at any meeting shall first be referred to the Executive Council for consideration and shall be submitted to the members of the Society at least ten days before such meeting.
Adopted January 12, 1906.
ELIHU Root, President.
The object of this Society is to foster the study of international law and promote the establishment of international relations on the basis of law and justice. This is the one aim and purpose. The fundamental