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fulcrum whereon to brace them- of the pundit: he will be far more uncompromisingly political than the politician. It may be added that, at least in the case of such Continental jurists as might be professors, the decision of an arbitration according to the wishes of their Government might very often and easily turn to a question of daily bread.

selves against their inevitable absorption. Such a fulcrum any system of international arbitration would unquestionably provide. The greater Powers through jealousy one of another, the smaller through the freemasonry of common danger, would in every possible case favour the weaker and less progressive Power at the expense of the greater. It is not disputed that this might in exceptional cases be desirable. But for one Denmark, whose painless extinction would be a calamity, there are half-a-dozen States, like Bulgaria, Persia, Morocco, or the Central American republics, whose absorption in larger units would be as welcome as it is ultimately certain. It may well be doubted whether it is wise to promote any agency which imports friction into the execution of the

world's destiny. But the bearing of this consideration is perhaps too remote for everyday politics. To return to our blue-book. It may be urged that, if the politicians of this world are biassed, its jurists still remain impartial, and that it is jurists, not politicians, whose aid Mr Olney invokes. There may no doubt be jurists so wedded to their jurisprudence as to see no considerations of expediency or patriotism beyond. Yet after all a jurist is a man and a countryman of his own country; in foreign lands, more perhaps than at home, great learning is often found linked with an almost fanatical patriotism. Moreover the jurist who is appointed an arbitrator becomes by that very fact a politician a politician with sudden power and often no experience to direct its exercise. Given the latent patriotism which is seldom absent, such a position will readily turn the head

The truth is, that there exists no code of morality in the dealings of nations. Some actions, indeed, such as assassination, are generally disavowed and reprobated, perhaps rather as blunders than crimes. But to lie in private life is despicable and in business often criminal: in diplomacy it is not merely blameless but commendable. Does any one think the worse of M. de Melidoff because he hoodwinked Sir Philip Currie; of Sir Henry Johnston, because he turned to account the unsuspicious hospitality of Major Serpa Pinto? The one gained an important diplomatic victory for his country; the other added a rich province to its dominion: they are extolled, not blamed, for their deceit. The moral judgment of the world, recognising that the motives of such action are impersonal and unselfish, acquits the agent of duplicity and honours him for his astuteness. To go back to a case more in point, would any one condemn Marshal M'Mahon for deciding the Delagoa Bay arbitration in what he conceived to be the interest of his own country? No one. And till the international code is far more stringent no one will ever condemn an arbiter on such grounds.

Setting this point of impartiality aside, there remains as inseparable a difficulty in the law which is to govern arbitration. There is no such body of principles as would enable jurists to settle interna

tional disputes with the remotest approach to method, coherency, and certainty. Mr Olney talks glibly of international law, but in truth international law is as hollow a fiction as international morality. Its rules have no sanction, no certain validity, and often no agreement between themselves. To take a case very much in point. The island of San Juan, at the south end of Vancouver Island, was contested, a quarter of a century back, by this country and the United States. The dispute was referred to the arbitrament of the first German Emperor, and he gave judgment in favour of the States, according to the so-called maxim of international law that the possession of the mainland carries with it the possession of the adjacent small islands. On this maxim any arbiter would be bound to give France the Channel Islands, if at any moment she cared to claim them. Consider another instance supplied by Mr Olney himself. In his criticism of the Hinterland doctrine he quotes from (apparently) Sir Robert Phillimore this piece of international law: "The accepted rule as to the area of territory affected by an act of occupation in a land of large extent has been that the crest of the watershed is the presumptive interior limit, while the flank boundaries are the limits of the land watered by the rivers debouching at the point of coast occupied." Why this should be the accepted rule heaven and the international lawyers only know. However, absurd and arbitrary as it may be, there is plainly some use in it, if it is generally accepted and generally applicable. But on this rule the United States might claim as part of the basin of the Oregon river very considerable parts of British Columbia which

may happen to be unoccupied, while Canada could retaliate by claiming large tracts of country watered by the tributaries of the St Lawrence. It will be answered that here the boundaries are fixed by treaty. But on the frontier of Alaska and Canada large tracts of unoccupied country might be claimed by the United States as within the watersheds of the Kewich-pak, Taku, and Stickeen rivers. On the rule Mr Olney quotes it appears that any arbiter would be bound to give these territories to the States, whereas they confessedly belong to our empire. It will be observed that in practice no arbiter would do this. But that makes the case no better for the rule. Either it would bind an arbiter or not. If it did, it would bind him to be unjust; if it did not, what is the use of it? In the one event it is noxious; in the other futile.

International law, in fine, is not law at all in the same sense that criminal law is law. It bears some resemblance to what is called case law that is, law which decides according to precedents. But its truest analogy is to laws of nature, which assert, not an obligation, but a necessary fact. The laws of motion are the statement, not of what a moving body ought to do, but of what in fact it does. So international law states what nations are in the habit of doing, without any idea of command or obligation such as is a characteristic of civil law. But taken even on this lower ground, international law is dubious and uncertain. The behaviour of a moving body is at least invariably the same as far as concerns the laws of motion. But a nation is in no way bound to follow the example of what other nations have done in like circumstances, so that the principles of

international law are ever in solution from one year to the next. In 1893, for example, France in the blockade of Bangkok modified the doctrine of contraband of war -in the first place by seizing contraband of war in time of nominal peace, and in the second by declaring exported rice to be contraband. Both proceedings were flagrantly at variance with the established maxims of international law; but what of that? No nation found it worth its while to challenge the decision, and what could the poor professors do? Nothing but make a note of the fact and modify their conceptions of contraband of war. It is very plain that no nation will ever submit to have affairs of moment regulated by the canons of so haphazard and impotent a science.

But even though international arbitration could be impartial and governed by fixed laws, it would still remain a most hazardous experiment to regulate its application by treaty. Its value, like mercy's, lies in being unstrained in displaying itself as a work of friendship and confidence between nations. The recent arbitration of the islet of Trinidad has doubtless thus had a bracing effect on the friendship between this country and Brazil, though it would have been very much the reverse had Brazil been the defeated suitor. But such possibilities of good effect would disappear when amenity hardened into sworn obligation. On the contrary, such a treaty would probably do far more to estrange two nations than to conciliate. Even were any system of arbitral law existent, which it is not, decisions would often be unjust, since what is just in lawbooks is hardly the likelier on that account to be just in life. even if decisions were just in every


case, they would not be thought so by the defeated nation. In cases where public attention had been centred on any question, an adverse award would infallibly arouse the bitterest feeling. At present, when an international dispute is compromised, both nations usually feel that they have been defrauded: this was certainly notable in the case of Lord Salisbury's AngloFrench Siam agreement early this year.

But when the arrangement

is a diplomatic one, disappointment and malevolence are stifled. We are defrauded, if at all, by our own countrymen, whom, indirectly, we have appointed to represent us; the arrangment is in a measure our own act, and we cannot complain of it. But to be arbitrated out of our own by a foreigner! It could only lead to the bitterest outburst against the successful litigant, and also the nation of the arbitrator, until in time no nation that wished to avoid general hatred would ever consent to find an arbiter for an important case at all.

Now, if it happened three or four times, as between us and the United States, that the latter Power was successful, it would probably begin to increase and multiply its occasions for arbitration. It would be very difficult to blame it, when it found it had the best of the bargain, for doing all it could to better that best. The inevitable result would be that when we found ourselves invariably, or almost invariably, defeated on arbitration, there would arise an occasion when we felt we had given away enough. Even with Lord Salisbury's very tentative treaty, such a moment might very conceivably come. What would happen then? The refusal to arbitrate would mean a breach of the treaty, probably an

act of war, and into that war we should enter with the appearance of being most impudently and cynically in the wrong. A dozen diplomatic surrenders would cost us less. They would bear, at least, a certain appearance of spontaneity. Moreover, they would go to a certain extent unnoticed, while the very appointment of arbiters would challenge public attention on both sides to an otherwise insignificant dispute, and be the fruitful parent of exasperations of all kinds. To conclude such a treaty of arbitration, in fine, would not be to avoid occasions of war but to invite them.

The present deterrents from war among civilised States are twodiplomacy and armaments, tact and fear. A treaty of arbitration would tend to destroy both the one and the other. Lord Salisbury's draft treaty, it will be remembered, was to come into action "on the appearance of any difficulty between the two Powers, which, in the judgment of either of them, cannot be settled by negotiation." The tendency of this could only be to bring diplomacy into a greater or less disuse. Supposing the United States found, as they certainly would, that to submit a question to propitious arbiters was the directest road to the complete realisation of any demand, they would naturally lose all taste for the give-and-take of diplomacy. The same would be the experience of any other nation with which we might enter upon the same relations. Negotiation would become more and more discredited and obsolete as a method of conciliating the lesser international differences. There suddenly would burst from the blue sky some question of national honour and integrity which the meekest State on earth could not

commit to the arbitrament of an alien. It would find the diplomatic machine rusty and in disrepair. The habit of mutual concessions would be lost, at Washington if not in London, and there would be nothing for it but


War-supposing the arbitration treaty to have been in existence some years, which is perhaps not exceedingly likely would find armaments in much the same state as diplomacy. Unless we had taken to concluding arbitration treaties all round Europe, our own would doubtless be much the less inefficient of the two. But probably even our own would have been permitted to fall away to a greater or less extent in dependence upon arbitration. Granted war in any case, a state of unreadiness on both sides would not perhaps be a very ponderable addition to the calamity. It would, however, mean the hasty expenditure of money, and consequently a vast addition to the cost of the business, and it would also mean great additional hardship and suffering to those who waged either on our behalf. If we must have war, it would probably be best to make it as cheap and as humane as the nature of the pastime allows. It must also be remembered that the decline of armaments is not only an aggravation of war when it comes, it is also a direct provocation to it. That this is so, as between a well-armed Power and an ill-armed one, is obvious beyond demonstration. But it is so, too, as between two ill-armed Powers, especially if they be democracies. When our people see the nations of the Continent armed to the teeth-the whole of their manhood trained to war and their fleets increasing yearly round their shores then they realise what war would

mean. It is a peace demonstration, undertaken on less solemn grounds

whose significance cannot escape the dullest. Where armaments rust the apprehensions of war go to sleep, and it is the easier for a democracy to rush hot-headed into wanton hostilities. It might fairly be argued that the bellicose spirit lately displayed by the people of the United States is due in part to this irresponsible ignorance.

There are no doubt causes freedom or national self-esteemfor which a nation not only will, but ought to, fight and stake its very being on the issue. But arbitration will never prevent the operation of these motives: it would be a dark day for the world if it ever did. To prevent wars

than these, the present means are sufficient. After all, nations do not go to war by accident; the pretext of a war is only once in a dozen times its cause. There are some things a people finds it worth while to suffer anything for, and other things which it does not. It will fight for the first, arbitration or no arbitration; and it needs no such shackles, so long as it appreciates what war involves, to prevent it from fighting for the others. Were arbitration as simple as it would in practice be found baffling, and as soothing as it would be found exasperating, there is no word to be added to this. Modern war is its own deterrent.

Printed by William Blackwood and Sons.

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