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The said authorization does not extend to material for public transportation coming from the territory of neutral powers, and which belongs to said states or to their concessionaries, and which can be identified as such.
As so precise a rule had no great probability of adoption, the delegation of Luxemburg submitted an alternative proposition as follows:
The maintenance of pacific relations, and particularly of mercantile and industrial intercourse between the inhabitants of the belligerent states and those of neutral states, warrants special protection by the military and civil authorities. The belligerents will concede a sufficient period, at the opening of hostilities, so that the railway material belonging to neutral states and to their concessionaries may be carried to the country from which it came. The requisition of railway material belonging to neutral states or to their concessionaries shall not be made except to the extent that may be absolutely necessary. The quantity of railway material for which requisition is made and its use shall be reduced to the lowest minimum possible. Said material shall be returned in a brief period to the country of origin. When public railway material belonging to a neutral state or to its concessionary is requisitioned by a belligerent state any material of the belligerent state or of its concessionaries in the neutral territory may be seized as due compensation.
The Servian delegation deemed it proper to ask that the reciprocal right of the neutral state to seize the railway material of belligerents be exercised by each party at the same time and to an equal extent.
These propositions gave rise to an interesting debate in the subcommission and in the committee, and were supported by several addresses with full references and reasons by the delegate from Luxemburg, Mr. Eyschen. He did not propose to establish for neutral railway material an extension of time, such as is enjoyed by neutral vessels which the outbreak of the war surprises in an enemy port. Nor is the case identical, nor could the most urgent military necessities reconcile the practice under such a like principle. On the other hand, the fundamental justice is admitted of the rest of the proposition cited above, and the German delegate submitted to the comités de redaction and d'examen at the session of the 21st of August, 1907, a text which served as a basis for the article as it was finally adopted, and which contained the principle of compensation for the use of material of neutrals, which was not mentioned in the Luxemburg proposition. The article, drafted by the committee in the form which we shall copy later in full, passed without debate and met with unanimous approbation in the second commission and in the plenary session of the conference, to which it was in turn submitted.
22. Of all the propositions and amendments submitted concerning the condition of neutral persons in belligerent territory or in territory occupied by the belligerent, only four were adopted as rules, as we have seen, and only three related to the definition of a neutral and to the conditions by which he would lose the benefits of his neutrality, while the fourth related to railway material of neutrals in belligerent territory or in territory occupied by the belligerent, as a complement to article 54 of the rule of 1899 upon the laws and customs of war on land. In addition the commission submitted to the plenary conference two resolutions relating to the same subject.
The following is the final text of the four articles adopted:
ARTICLE 16. The nationals of a state which is not taking part in the war are considered as neutrals.
ARTICLE 17. A neutral can not avail himself of his neutrality: (a) If he commits hostile acts against a belligerent;
(6) If he commits acts in favor of a belligerent, particularly if he voluntarily enlists in the ranks of the armed force of one of the parties.
In such a case, the neutral shall not be more severely treated by the belligerent as against whom he has abandoned his neutrality than a national of the other belligerent state could be for the same act.
ARTICLE 18. The following acts shall not be considered as committed in favor of one belligerent in the sense of article 17, paragraph (6):
(a) Supplies furnished or loans made to one of the belligerents, provided that the person who furnishes the supplies or who makes the loans lives neither in the territory of the other party nor in the territory occupied by him, and that the supplies do not come from these territories;
(6) Services rendered in matters of police or civil administration.
ARTICLE 19. Railway material coming from the territory of neutral powers, whether it be the property of the said powers or of companies or private persons, and recognizable as such, shall not be requisitioned or utilized by a belligerent except where and to the extent that it is absolutely necessary. It shall be sent back as soon as possible to the country of origin.
A neutral power may likewise, in case of necessity, retain and utilize to an equal extent material coming from the territory of the belligerent power.
Compensation shall be paid by one party or the other in proportion to the material used, and to the period of usage.
23. The results which the conference reached upon the subject of neutral persons in the territory of belligerents was, as we have shown, rather limited. Important questions remained unsettled but it was indispensable to omit them in order to reach any general agreement. The articles adopted have no transcendent value from the point of view of a complete codification, although they clear up certain difficulties and convert into the form of written law certain commonly recognized principles.
The article in regard to railways — the only article saved in the chapter relating to foreign property — is useful to nations with land boundaries and is based on just terms, making the best equivalent for the necessities of war and in the interest and right of neutrals. Therefore, its acceptance brings great credit upon the delegation of Luxemburg. It is to be observed that the final redaction only relates to railway material coming from neutral states, belonging to the said states or to companies or private persons. It has no other purpose than to facilitate the return of the compensation or the payment for the use of the cars and locomotives of a country which may accidentally enter the other state through the occasions of ordinary traffic.
The foregoing brief review of propositions and principles, including some opinions contrary to the principles adopted in the conventions, will show not so much the irreconcilable disagreements which the conference encountered on this subject as the necessity of completing those principles and of solving the difficulties on another and more fruitful occasion.
24. From the rules adopted touching the rights and duties of neutral powers and persons in land warfare, the general comité de redaction drafted the convention which has given rise to this paper,
which convention is quoted herein textually together with the other agreements of the conference.
Having set forth and elucidated these matters, as they were considered and understood in the commissions and committees, it might now be appropriate to take up and consider the provisions of the convention in the light of recognized theories and of the practical cases which the diplomatic history of the principal nations of the world can show. As this, however, would greatly lengthen our paper, and is moreover within the reach of all the students of public international law, it seemed to us more interesting, because as yet not so well known, to give the internal history of the convention and what might be termed its international negotiation.
Nevertheless, we may state for the benefit of the readers who do not wish to make for themselves the comparative study of the theories and practice established up to this time, that the Second Peace Conference at The Hague, by its agreement on land neutrality, has done much to overcome the serious difficulties which have hitherto arisen, has adopted in each case the best theories, and has not departed from the progress already made except by improving upon it or clarifying some question. Would the same might be said of the labors of the conference in regard to the other problems submitted to it!
ANTONIO S. DE BUSTAMANTE.
THE CENTRAL AMERICAN PEACE CONFERENCE OF
The Central American Peace Conference which met at Washington on November 14 and adjourned December 20, 1907, in accordance with the protocol between the Republics of Costa Rica, Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, signed at Washington, September 17, 1907, is not only in accord with the general tendency of our times toward more helpful relations between neighboring nations, but is a direct outgrowth of a policy which has repeatedly led to similar conferences with a view to promote a better understanding and a more complete cooperation between the republics of Central America.
It was three centuries after its discovery by Columbus that Central America, or the Kingdom of Guatemala, severed the political ties which bound it to the mother country. On the 15th day of September, 1821, within a year after the separation from Spain, Central America was for a brief period annexed to Mexico under the Emperor Iturbide. The union with Mexico, however, was soon dissolved and the National Assembly which met in Guatemala on July 1, 1823, declared the unconditional independence of Central America, and later adopted the bases of a fundamental federal Central American constitution, which was duly promulgated at the City of Guatemala on November 22, 1824. The various constituent states also organized their respective state governments, and a federal government was duly inaugurated. It was, however, destined to be short lived.
1 The historical facts concerning the early attempts at union of the five Central American republics have been furnished by Mr. Francisco J. Yanes, Secretary of the International Bureau of the American Republics, and the account of the proceedings and results of the conference is based upon the Monthly Bulletin of the International Bureau of the American Republics for December, 1907, pages 1334-1373.