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The question then arises whether those interested in international political science should not study and promote judicative conciliation, as well as arbitration and strictly judicial action. As has been said, an arbitral tribunal, though in most respects voluntary and conciliative, is in one respect obligatory and compulsive, since nations which agree to arbitrate thereby bind themselves in honor to each other and to the society of nations to accept the award, whether they believe it to be just or unjust, and whether or not they believe they are violating their own proper self-interest and the interest of the society of nations in so doing. Nations are cautious about so submitting to an external judgment, and therefore arbitration may, in the long run, possibly be found to be useful principally for settling disputes between nations which are of minor importance. A court of the society of nations would seem to imply a compulsive form of organization of the society of nations and to involve, in the long run, the transformation of the society of nations into a federal state in which the nations would be member-states, with a federal legislature, executive and constabulary in addition to the federal court. This seems clearly to be beyond the range of practical politics, even if its desirability should be granted. Undoubtedly so far as the society of nations can be said to have any organization, or any constitution, at the present time, the prevailing principle of that organization is cooperation through the wholly voluntary coherence of the nations, based on the perception and belief that it is for their self-interest to cohere and cooperate. The society of nations thus conceived of as existing exercises, and is expected by the nations to exercise, only an advisory influence, conciliating the nations by its advice given through organs which it constitutes or sanctions. It would seem wise, therefore, to study the imperfect conciliative processes of the present cooperative federation of nations with a view to perfecting them, having in mind that it may be found necessary to relegate arbitration to the position of a minor and subsidiary process of pacific settlement, and to postpone the plans for the establishment of a court until it shall become evident that the nations of the world are ready to form themselves into a federal state and provide themselves with a federal legislature and executive, as well as a federal court, and with a federal constabulary to enforce the federal laws, the federal executive action and the judgments of the federal court. Such a study would involve the acceptance of judicative conciliation as a major process of the cooperative organization of the nations, and this process would be studied along with the other two major processes of negotiative conciliation and regulative conciliation.
Even through the gloom which the present war has cast over the whole world we see cooperative organization-now partly turned to war uses and partly directed toward peaceful control of the material and human forces of the universe to the mutual benefit of the nations and their people making wonderful progress everywhere. In the industrial world, before the war, cooperation already had become firmly established. Great industrial societies and groups were organized in all the nations on the voluntary and cooperative basis and settled their disputes by conciliative processes through conciliative organs. Each progressive nation itself cooperated in the cooperative industrial organization and sanctioned and encouraged, or instituted, all kinds of processes and organs of conciliation. After the war, it seems far more likely that the principles of cooperative organization will extend themselves into the society of nations and convert that society into a more perfect cooperative union, than that the nations will dissolve their present imperfect cooperative organization and revert to a mere aggregation of competitive, struggling and warring units. Their self-interest in cooperation, seen more clearly as the result of the great war, will drive them, it may reasonably be hoped, to more perfect coherence and cooperation through processes and organs of conciliation instituted or sanctioned by the will and judgment of all of them assembled in general conference.
In what has been said it has not been the purpose to speak dogmatically and to advocate any diminution on the part of the members of the Society for Judicial Settlement of International Disputes in the pressure for the settlement of international disputes by arbitration, or to weaken the enthusiasm of those members who demand the establishment of a court of the society of nations. Arbitration is an established process. If nations can settle their disputes peaceably by arbitration, by all means let us encourage them to do so. If a court of the society of nations can be established without converting the society into a federal state, or if we believe such conversion is practicable and desirable, let us press for the establishment of the court. All that is intended to be said in this paper is that in the great work of promoting the judicial settlement of international disputes we should not overlook the possibilities which lie in judicative conciliation, both in its imperfect form of "inquiry" under the definition of Article IX of the Hague Convention for Pacific Settlement and in its perfect form of judicative conciliation as manifested in the settlement of the North Sea Incident. It is always wise to hold fast to all that has proved itself good in many instances; therefore, we must hold fast to arbitration. It is also wise sometimes to plan for a revolutionary change. Therefore, we may plan for a court of the society of nations; though the burden is in that case on us. But it is certainly also wise to hold in mind and consider carefully that which has proved good even in one case; for it may be that, if carefully studied and more generally applied, it will be found useful in many other cases.