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INTERNATIONAL PRIZE COTRI-CONTENTIOX II OF THS SEC OSD EAGUE PEACE CONFERENCE AND ADDITIONAL PRUNCUL TEEREZO."
Par la 501 TL
AVEDICAX EURASST. No. 571.]
Berita Teazer. 20. SR: With referece to your insraetion of Chiccher last, No. 179. on the subject of the signing of the additional pracol to the International Prize Court Cenrentian. I hare the honor to transmit herewith er.closed copies, with threlations. of tiro foreign Office notes which I have lately received * in repir to the communication I ha-tened to make to the xcretary of sate for foreign affairs in pur suance of your izstructions.
The first dote states that the Imperial German Gorernment concurs in the view of the Gorert mert of the nited States of America that concerted action by the diplomatic representatires of Germany, the United States, France, and Great Britain is the most effectire method of influencing the signatory powers of the Prize Court Conrention, which have not yet signed the additional protocol, to accept the same, and that the imperial representatives hare accordingly received the same instructions as were issued to the representatives of the United States.
In the opinion of the German Gorernment it is considered possible that there may esist objections to the acceptance of the Additional Protocol arising from the apprehension that obligation to ratifr the Prize Court Convention might be construed from the signing of this protocol, and that in consideration thereof it would be advisable to cause it to be pointed out to the Gorernments in question by the representatives of the four powers that no such obligation is incurred, as a matter of course, inasmuch as the signing of the protocol would have no broader import than the signing of the Prize Court Convention had at the time. Therefore those Gorernments which hare not reached a decision as yet in regard to the ratification of the convention would also be able to sign the protocol without objection. The Imperial representatives hare been furnished with instructions to this effect. I have, etc.,
DAVID J. Hii
1 See Foreign Relations 1907. pp. 1253 and 1285 ; Charles' Treaties, vol. 3, p. 948. * See Foreigo Relations 1910, p. 631 ; Charles' Trcaties, rol. 3, PP. 248 and 202. I See Foreigo Relations, 1910, p. 635. (No. 1409 to Great Britain.) Not printed.
File No. 500.A2a/591a.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 19, 1911. Sir: On October 18, 1909, the Secretary of Statė transmitted an identic circular note 1 to the powers participating in the London Naval Conference 2 proposing that the Prize Court Convention be modified in such a way as to remove the constitutional objection to it on the part of the United States. Briefly stated, the objection to the convention in its actual [original] form consisted in the fact that an appeal might be taken from a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, and that the judgment of the Supreme Court might be modified or reversed on appeal. The Department was willing to submit the question involved in the judicial determination to the examination of the International Prize Court and to give effect to its findings provided the findings were in the form of an award of damages, leaving untouched or unaffected the validity of the judgment within the jurisdiction of the United States. The proposal of the United States was that the proceeding before the prize court should be de novo, and that the question involved in the controversy should be tried and determined both as to the law and the fact without reference to the national judgment.
As a result of negotiations, particularly with the original proposers of the Prize Court Convention, it was determined to draw up an additional protocol to be signed by the signatories of the original convention, to be ratified by them and the ratifications of the additional protocol and the original convention to be deposited at one and the same time at The Hague. The additional protocol was to form an integral part of the original convention and the convention was to be modified in accordance with the provisions of the additional protocol. As modified the Department believed that this Government could accept the prize court and participate in its beneficent operations.
On May 24, 1910, the Netherlands minister of foreign affairs transmitted the additional protocol to the signatories of the original convention with the request that their diplomatic representatives accredited to The Hague should be instructed to sign the protocol during the month of September, and on September 19, 1910, the protocol was signed by the United States, Germany, Argentine, Austria-Hungary, Denmark, Spain, France, Great Britain, Japan, Norway, Netherlands, and Sweden. Twenty-eight of the thirtyfour signatories of the Prize Court Convention have already ap. proved the protocol. The Dutch minister of foreign affairs stated that he had received no intimation of any objection to the additional protocol and he believed that it would be approved by the various signatories of the original convention during the course of the year,
The Department, however, is unwilling to transmit the additional protocol to the Senate, as it desires to do at the present session, or to request the approval of the original convention, unless informed
1 Foreign Relations 1910, p. 597.
2 The identic circular note was not presented to Nicaragua on account of the disturbed conditions in that State at the time. That omission is cured by the note here printed.
that all the signatories of the original convention have either approred the protocol or have expressed their intention to do so in the very near future, as the ratification of the protocol and the orig. inal convention, as well as the Declaration of London which supplements the original Prize Court Convention. would fail of their purpose unless the protocol were ratified by the signatories to the original convention. This Government is, however, exceedingly anxious to cooperate in the establishment and operation of the International Court of Prize, but feels that it must be assured of the ac. ceptance of its proposed modification as set forth in the additional protocol before it can take any steps toward securing the approval of the instruments by the Senate.
Copies of the draft of the additional protocol and of the circular note of the Netherlands Government of May 24, 1910, are inclosed for the information of your Government, and I have the honor to ask that you will at once bring to its attention the matter of the adhesion of the Republic of Nicaragua to the additional protocol, and urge upon it the importance which this Government attaches to Vicaragua's acceptance of the additional protocol which will render the cooperation of the United States possible.
The Department will be gratified if you could receive by telegraph the advices of your Government as to its disposition to accept the protocol. Accept, etc.,
P. C. Knox.
The Secretary of State to the American Ambassador to Great
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, February 1, 1911. The Netherlands Government informs this Government that Great Britain is unable to ratify the additional protocol to the Prize Court Convention before the coronation. The ambassador is directed to ascertain whether the Department has been correctly informed, to express regret at the delay, and to inform the British foreign office that this Government desires to submit the protocol to the Senate during the present session.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, February 1, 1911. To the PRESIDENT:
I have the honor to submit for transmission to the Senate, if deemed proper, an additional protocol to the convention concluded at The Hague on October 18, 1907, providing for an International Prize Court. This convention, together with other acts of the Second International Peace Conference, held at The Hague from June 15 to October 18, 1907, was transmitted to the Senate by the President on February 27, 1908.
Consideration of that convention has, however, been postponed by the Senate, because by the terms thereof the proposed International Prize Court would sit as a court of appeal, and might thus pass upon decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, which are final under the provisions of the Constitution of the United States.
The additional protocol, now submitted, was suggested by the original proposers of the International Prize Court Convention, in order to remove the constitutional objection to the approval of that convention, and thus to permit the ratification of the convention, as amended by the additional protocol. By virtue of the additional protocol the original question at issue, not the national judgment, may be submitted to the judgment of the International Prize Court. It is hoped that it will be found to have accomplished that purpose.
The additional protocol is to be signed by all the signatories of the International Prize Court Convention, and is to form an integral part of that convention. It has already been approved by 29 of the 33 signatories of the convention, and it is confidently expected that it will be accepted by all.
The Government of the Netherlands has expressed a desire that the convention and the additional protocol should be ratified by the powers, and their ratifications of both be deposited at The Hague in the month of February, 1911. It has, therefore, become advisable that, if possible, action should be taken by the Senate during its present session.
It will be recalled that the Government of Great Britain objected to Article VII of the International Prize Court Convention on the ground that the law to be administered by the proposed court, in accordance with the provisions of that article, was not sufficiently clear and definite, and that, in order to secure an agreement upon the most important principles of law to be administered by the court, under that article, the British Government proposed a conference of representatives of the leading maritime powers at London.
This conference met there on December 2, 1908, and drafted in the French language a declaration concerning the laws of naval warfare, generally known as the Declaration of London, which was signed on February 26, 1909.
This Government was represented at that conference, and its delegates signed the declaration, which was transmitted to the Senate by the President on April 21, 1909. It is recommended that consideration of the declaration be postponed until a uniform translation of the French text is agreed upon by the United States and Great Britain.
The adoption of the additional protocol is deemed necessary to enable this Government to ratify the convention, and the early and simultaneous consideration, therefore, of the original convention and the additional protocol would appear advisable.
I am fully persuaded, as was my predecessor in his report to the President of February 26, 1908, submitting the Prize Court Convention, that the establishment of the International Court of Prize and
the services which it may be confidently expected to render in determining and safeguarding neutral rights in case of war will prove one “ of the greatest advances made towards the reasonable and peaceful regulation of international conduct," and will directly tend to diminish the probability of the extension of war to other powers than the belligerents already unhappily engaged therein. Respectfully submitted.
· P. C. Knox.
Resolution of the Senate, February 15, 1911.
IN EXECUTIVE SESSION,
Senate of the United States. Resolved (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring therein), That the Senate advise and consent to the ratification of the convention for an international prize court signed at The Hague on the 18th day of October, 1907, and at the same time to the ratification, as forming an integral part of the said convention, of the protocol thereto, signed at The Hague on the 19th day of September, 1910, and transmitted to the Senate by the President on the 20 day of February, 1911: Provided, That it is the understanding of the Senate and is a condition of its consent and advice that in the instrument of ratification the United States of America shall declare that in prize cases recourse to the International Court of Prize can only be exercised against it in the form of an action in damages for the injuries caused by the capture.
File No. 500.A2a/677.
LEGATION OF THE NETHERLANDS,
Bar Harbor, August 14, 1911. Mr. SECRETARY OF STATE: By order of my Government I have the honor to inform your excellency that the additional protocol to the convention relative to the creation of an International Prize Court has now been signed by all the States signatory to the said convention. Copies of the additional protocol will be placed at your excellency's disposal in the very near future. Be pleased, etc.,
Be predisposal of the car by alleation thea
CORONATION OF HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE V.
File No. 841.001G29/4.
The British Chargé d'Affaires to the Secretary of State. No. 236.]
Washington, November 28, 1910. SIR: By instruction of His Majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs I have the honor to transmit to you herewith a copy of a proclamation 2 by the King, in which the date of His Majesty's coronation is fixed for the 22d of June next.
* Charles' Treaties, p. 262.
* Not printed