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The claims of France growing out of the Civil War were also settled by a mixed commission which met in 1880–84. They aggregated about $35,000,000. The amount actually awarded was $625,566.35, i. e., less than 2 per cent of the amount demanded. Many of the claims are said to have been fraudulent and others were greatly exaggerated. Most of the awards were for injuries inflicted by the armies of the United States, i. e., presumably for violations of the laws of warfare.5
The claims of the citizens of the United States against Mexico, presented to the mixed commission which met in July, 1869, and continued in session until January, 1876, amounted to the enormous sum of $470,000,000. The actual amount awarded was $4,000,000 or less than one per cent. The claims of citizens of Mexico against the United States amounted to $86,000,000. They received $150,000.51
The mixed commissions which adjudicated the claims against Venezuela at Caracas during the summer of 1903, awarded 2,313,711 bolivars to claimants of the United States out of 81,410,952 which were demanded; 1,974,818 to Spanish claimants who had demanded 5,307,626; 2,975,906 to Italian claimants who had asked for 39,844,258; 2,091,908 to German claimants who had demanded 7,376,685; 9,401,267 to British claimants instead of 14,743,572 as demanded; and 10,898,643 to Belgian claimants who had only demanded 14,921,805 bolivars. 52 The demands of French claimants, which amounted to nearly $8,000,000 were cut down to $685,000.53
Besides being excessive in amount, it is believed that many of these claims are bottomed on fraud and tainted with illegality and injustice. It is notorious that the sums received by a government are often far below the face value of the loan and many of the claimants for losses during civil war or insurrection are not above a well-grounded suspicion of having themselves been engaged in unneutral or insurrectionary acts.
In view of the ill-founded character of many, if not most, of such claims and of the danger to the peace and safety of the states of Latin America resulting from their forcible collection by leading European powers, the United States would be fully justified even in advancing a step beyond the Drago Doctrine and declaring formally to the world that it could not see with indifference any attempt at the forcible collection of private claims of a pecuniary nature on the Western Continent.54 The Monroe Doctrine, at least in its present form, forbids the further acquisition, colonization, or permanent occupation of American territory by any European power, and it is believed that such a declaration would not only be in harmony with the spirit of that doctrine but that it would lend strength to the principle of non-intervention.
50 Moore, ii, pp. 1133 ff., 1156 ff. 51 Moore, ii, pp. 1319 ff.
52 These figures are taken from Latané's excellent article on “The Forcible Collection of International Debts" in the Atlantic Monthly for October, 1906, p. 546.
68 This is based on a statement in the Outlook (1906), vol. 82, p. 104.
In view, however, of the fact that some of these claims may be wellfounded and that the judicial tribunals in certain portions of Central America are notoriously inadequate for the impartial and effective administration of justice, and because of the frequency of revolutions due mainly to fraudulent elections, it might be well to couple this declaration with another, insisting that all such claims be submitted to fair and impartial arbitral tribunals or mixed commissions composed of representatives from both the creditor and debtor nations.55
The United States has no desire to become a "debt collecting agency" for European creditors or to establish a protectorate over the states of Latin America. For these reasons our government should avoid, if possible, the responsibility of an ex parte decision regarding the validity of these claims, although the assumption of such a burden would be preferable to their forcible collection by European powers. Our insistence upon arbitration in the case of the famous boundary dispute between Great Britain and Venezuela in 1895, points the way toward what is at once the easiest and most equitable settlement of such disputes.
AMOS S. HERSHEY.
54 The wisdom of such a course is greatly strengthened by the decision of the Hague tribunal rendered on February 22, 1904, which granted the contention of the allies that they were entitled to preferential treatment in consequence of their coercion of Venezuela. For a recent thoroughgoing criticism of this decision, see a long article by M. Mallarmé in the Revue Générale D. I. P. for 1906, pp. 423-500.
s Professor F. de Martens suggests the Hague tribunal as a suitable court for the arbitration of these claims, but in view of its decision in the Venezuela case, it would perhaps be better to retain the present system of mixed commissions.
INSURGENCY AND INTERNATIONAL MARITIME LAW
War in the full sense, according to international law, can exist only by declaration or recognition of belligerency by a state. War in the material sense of an actual contest of armed forces may and does often exist without such declaration or recognition. However desirous a party using armed force within a state and in opposition to it may be to be regarded as a belligerent, such a party has not the legal capacity to raise itself to a belligerent status. This status can be gained only by action of the parent state or of a foreign state. An armed contest may, nevertheless, exist and of this fact others must often take notice.
Between the struggle of individual with individual, and of state with state, there is a form of struggle varying according to the circumstances, but usually an armed struggle between organized groups or parties within a state for public political ends which has received the name of insurrection.
The Constitution of the United States distinctly provides that Congress shall have power to provide for the calling forth of the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions. (Art. 1, $ 8.)
The government also recognizes that insurrections may exist in foreign states as in Article 308 of the Regulations for the Government of the Navy of 1905:
The right of asylum for political or other refugees has no foundation in international law. In countries, however, where frequent insurrections occur, and constant instability of government exists, usage sanctions the granting of asylum; but even in the waters of such countries, officers should refuse all applications for asylum except when required by the interests of humanity in extreme or exceptional cases, such as the pursuit of a refugee by a mob. Officers must not directly or indirectly invite refugees to accept asylum.
The United States and other governments have admitted that insurrections were actually in existence. The United States in its relations to Cuba has frequently been called upon to consider the nature of insurrectionary conflicts. President Grant, in his first message of December 6, 1869, speaking of the struggle in Cuba, says:
But the contest has at no time assumed the conditions which amount to a war in the sense of international law, or which show the existence of a de facto political organization of the insurgents sufficient to justify a recognition of belligerency.
It is generally held that an insurrection does not "amount to a war in the sense of international law," but, as President Grant maintains, each nation is its own judge when to accord the rights of belligerency, either to a people struggling to free themselves from a government they believe to be oppressive or to independent nations at war with each other.
The long struggle in Cuba, from 1868 to 1878, seems to have had, even from a foreign point of view, many of the characteristics of war. Such formal public documents, as Presidents' Messages, though addressed to Congress rather than to foreign powers, mention “the pending struggle," "bloodshed in Cuba," "disturbed condition of the island of Cuba,” "insurrection," "contest," "deplorable strife in Cuba,” "contending forces," "ruinous conflict," and other terms which indicate that the government did admit that the status of the island of Cuba was not that of peace. The Message of President Hayes, of December 2, 1878, stated that the Spanish government has officially announced the termination of the insurrection in Cuba and the restoration of peace throughout that island.
President Grant's Message, of December 7, 1875, often quoted since that time, discusses quite fully the reasons for not recognizing the belligerency of the "body of people” attempting to free themselves from Spain.
While conscious that the insurrection in Cuba has shown a strength and endurance which make it at least doubtful whether it be in the power of Spain to subdue it, it seems unquestionable that no such civil organization exists which may be recognized as an independent government capable of performing its international obligations and entitled to be treated as one of the powers of the earth.
In a former message to Congress I had occasion to consider this question, and reached the conclusion that the conflict in Cuba, dreadful and devastating as were its incidents, did not rise to the fearful dignity of war. Regarding it now, after this lapse of time, I am unable to see that any notable success or any marked or real advance on the part of the insurgents has essentially changed the character of the contest. It has acquired greater age, but not greater or more formidable proportions.
Applying to the existing condition of affairs in Cuba the tests recognized by publicists and writers on international law, and which have been observed by nations of dignity, honesty, and power when free from sensitive, or selfish and unworthy motives, I fail to find in the insurrection the existence of such a substantial political organization, real, palpable, and manifest to the world, having the forms and capable of the ordinary functions of government toward its own people and to other states, with courts for the administration of justice, with local habitation, possessing such organization of force, such material, such occupation of territory, as to take the contest out of the category of a mere rebellious insurrection or occasional skirmishes and place it on the terrible footing of war, to which a recognition of belligerency would aim to elevate it.
Other Presidents of the United States have admitted the status of insurrection and commented upon its consequences. President Cleveland, in his Message of December 2, 1895, mentioned certain possible conditions which may exist and certain obligations which may result and yet there may not be war, but only insurrection. He said:
Cuba is again gravely disturbed. An insurrection, in some respects more active than the last preceding revolt, which continued from 1868 to 1878, now exists in a large part of the eastern interior of the island, menacing even some populations on the coast. Besides deranging the commercial exchanges of the island, of which our country takes the predominant share, this flagrant condition of hostilities, by arousing sentimental sympathy and inciting adventurous support among our people, has entailed earnest effort on the part of this government to enforce obedience to our neutrality laws and to prevent the territory of the United States from being abused as a vantage ground from which to aid those in arms against Spanish sovereignty.
President McKinley followed closely the opinions of the Messages of President Grant. In his Message of December 6, 1897, President McKinley said:
Of the untried measures there remain only: Recognition of the insurgents as belligerents; recognition of the independence of Cuba; neutral intervention to end the war by imposing a rational compromise between the contestants, and intervention in favor of one or the other party.
The courts of the United States would necessarily recognize such domestic insurrections as are mentioned in Art. I, 98, of the Constitution. The courts have also recognized the existence of insurrection