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essentially those of a common carrier. The money-order department adds another business function usually performed by bankers. The sole purpose of the Union is to perform useful public services which have no necessary connection with any purely political question, or with the jealousies or ambitions of governments. The general plan on which the business is carried on is more purely socialistic than any other function discharged by the governments. A vast amount of property is owned and used in the conduct of the business, the title to which is vested in the public. There are no stockholders to either direct the management or demand dividends. The people of each nation furnish to their government, by such method of taxation or contribution as the policy of the particular state dictates, all funds necessary for the accommodation and maintenance of the service within its territory. The rates of postage fixed by the Union for the international service as well as those of each local government for its domestic service, are intended to be sufficient to pay the actual cost of the service, without any return for the use of the postoffice buildings or other public property. The employees who perform the service are interested in the compensation they receive and the conditions under which the service is performed. The general public are interested in the efficiency of the service and the cost of it. The governments stand as the representatives of the whole people charged with the duty of securing the best possible service at a reasonable cost. Acting on these principles the nations have built up their domestic establishments, and by the convention above given they have combined to make the system universal. In this manner by far the greatest and most efficient business establishment that ever existed has been brought into being. Considering the magnitude of its operations and the numbers of people who are dependent on its service, the provisions of the convention appear to be very simple and concise. The appended regulations go into more minute details, but when the diverse circumstances affecting the service in different parts of the world are considered, the differences in language, in units of weight,
measure, distance and value, these also appear to be models of clearness and brevity.
The convention makes provisions for the settlement of controversies under it arising between members of the Union by arbitration in accordance with the provisions of Article 23.
By article 25 it is provided that congresses of plentipotentiaries shall be held as often as once in five years and oftener on demand of two-thirds of the governments, and simple administrative conferences are also provided for.
Proposals concerning the régime of the Union may also be made by any member and submitted to a referendum vote, when the proposal is supported by at least two administrations other than the one making the proposal. To become binding the vote must be unanimous if the proposition affects articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 18, 27, 28 and 29, and twothirds if it involves a modification of the other articles. If the proposal is merely one of interpretation not involving a matter subject to arbitration under article 23, an absolute majority of all determines the question.
Considered as a whole the convention accords with the principles of freedom and equality among the nations, and economy and efficiency in the service. By the latitude given for adaptation to exceptional conditions, and liberty to the governments concerned to adjust matters of interest to only two or a few of them, it avoids difficulties and inconveniences that would result from unnecessarily rigid rules. Its activities extend to people in every state of social and political organization, and the agencies employed must needs be adapted to every condition.
These among other considerations have induced the Congress of the United States to confer powers on a cabinet officer with the advice and consent of the President, which under the constitution are vested in the President and the Senate. It is provided by statute as follows:
"For the purpose of making better postal arrangements with foreign countries, or to counteract their adverse measures affecting our postal intercourse with them, the Postmaster-General, by and with the advice and consent of the President, may negotiate and conclude postal treaties
or conventions, and may reduce or increase the rates of postage on mailmatter conveyed between the United States and foreign countries."8
"The Postmaster-General shall transmit a copy of each postal convention concluded with foreign governments to the Secretary of State, who shall furnish a copy of the sa to the Congressional Printer for publication; and the printed proof-sheets of all such conventions shall be revised at the Post-Office Department."?
The Union as a governmental and business agency appears to be more firmly established and secure against attack than any other international institution or combination.
6 Revised Statutes of the United States $399. 7 Id. $400.
COMMON PROPERTY OF ALL NATIONS
The accepted doctrine of international law is that each nation has exclusive dominion over its lands, interior waters, and the sea along its coasts for a marine league from low water. Beyond this marginal strip of the sea no nation has exclusive rights, but the ocean is free to the ships of all nations. The expression “freedom of the seas” is more generally used as indicating the rights of all nations to its use than any phrase expressing property rights. But the human race dominates the earth, whether the surface be of land or water, and the conception of a right of property over anything susceptible of use grows with the realization of the uses to which it may be put and the advantages to be derived therefrom. The idea of private ownership of land is a development of advanced civilizaton in regions so densely peopled that it became necessary to apportion a dwelling place to each. The theory of paper titles to land, wholly without regard to use or occupancy, is a further extension of the idea of private ownership of the soil, and makes it a marketable commodity protected by positive law. This theory of ownershp is also adopted by the nations, each of which claims exclusive dominion over a definite portion of the land. Nations also have treated their ownership as a vendible commodity and have bought and sold great districts. It was by purchase that the United States acquired Louisiana, Florida, Alaska, portions of Mexico and other districts and islands. Although it is stated in the law books that title to the surface of the land carries with it, unless otherwise expressed, ownership of all beneath it to the center of the earth and of all above to the sky, this ownership is subject to more or less important qualifications. The elements and the wild things over which man has no actual mastery do not become
1 Taylor, Int. Law, 293. Bynkershoek De Dom. Mar. c. 2.
his property by coming on his land. Private ownership is also subject to the demands of public necessity. When needed for public use the state may exercise its powers of eminent domain and force the owner to give the land for its value in money. Common needs outweigh private interest. Thus far the community of nations has failed to evolve any law of eminent domain through which a nation may be required to give up its title to anything needed by all for their common use. Yet there are many places over which one nation now exercises exclusive sovereignty, to which the others need equal access and right. Primitive man lives only where he can obtain all things needed to sustain life. The indivdual or the family or small group supplies its wants from the immediate surroundings, but in the densely peopled and well developed states each person is dependent on the activities of great numbers of persons near and far for his food and clothing. Whole nations have become dependent on other nations for food, for clothing, for fuel and for materials for their industries. The whole world may be dependent on the mines of one country for a particular mineral, on the fields of another for a particular product, or on the forests of another for a gum, a nut or a wood. The countries having a monopoly of such products may be dependent on the markets of the whole world in which to dispose of their peculiar products and obtain their supplies. The whole world looks to a few countries for its supplies of coffee, tea, cotton, rubber, sugar, hemp, spices and drugs. These to reach some of the markets must be transported both by land and by sea. Nowhere is civilized man willing to be restricted to the use of the products of his own country, and much less to the products of the immediate locality in which he lives. The discovery of America and of the ocean routes to Asia put an end to the isolation of nations from each other which had existed from the beginning of time, so far as we know, and introduced all the distant peoples to each other. It is now perceived that the welfare of the people of each nation is dependent in some degree on intercourse with those of distant lands, and that the great laws of commerce, of justice and mutual help must be extended throughout the world for the