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P. 0. NEW YORK
N.Y., AS seconn
NEW YORK, JULY 19, 1916
ENGLAND’S TABOLITION OF THE. DECLARATION OF LONDON
(According to William Bayard Hale, the brilliant American historian and ‘publicist, America has lost caste among nations, be-
cause she has failed to defend her sovereign rights against the encroachments of England. This conviction is borne home to us
by the significant conversation between,Dr. Hale and the Imperial German Chancellor. “There was,” Dr. Hollweg reminded
Dr. Hale, “another declaration of independence which history will record as of import no less significant than the document
Signed at Philadelphia, July 4, 1776-a manifesto issued by the great Powers
people of whatever clime who set sail upon its bosom on lawful errands. . I
If we renounce the Declaration of London we might as well renounce the Declaration
of the world of the freedom of God's ocean to his .
This proclamation of the freedom of the seas is.
of Independence. Both are essential to safeguard the integrity of the United States.)
known as the Declaration of London."
THE Declaration of London ‘Concerning the Laws of
Naval Warfare was drawn up at a conference held in
1909 at the initiative of the British Government which sent
out a circular to the various Powers. To England thus is
due the praise for having taken the lead in an effort on the
part of the whole civilized world toiraise the laws of naval
war from their mist of obscure custom and place them on a
clear legal basis. England suggested the subjects to be dis-
cussed and England gathered together the monumental com-
pilation which put -the existing customs andusages on record
in a Red Book prepared for the purpose of assisting the
conference. This Red Book was the fountain from which
Howed the lucid and enlightened tenets which form the
Declaration‘ of London, than which there is no higher
authority in international law. ‘ . -
The Declaration was put into final shape and received the
unanimous approval and signature of the Governmwts PM‘
ticipating iri the conference, among whom Engkmd Stmd
paramount. England was made the trustee, as it were, of
thisnhighest code of international legislation. England was
designated to become the repository of the final ratilications .
from the various legislative bodies of ‘the signatory powers..
These ratifications were delayed onyaccount of various cir-
cumstances. iOnly two powers came to a decision, the
United States and Great Britain. The ratilicationof the
Congressuof the United States, pronounced under ddte of
April 24, 1912, now reposes in the hands of England, the
trustee.‘ ‘ ' ' ' I ' A
And how did Great Britain, the upholder and
international 1'aw"stand‘in the matter of this child of hers,
the Declaration of London?‘ She disowned it. The House
of Lordscould not bring themselves to recognize a code of-
law so high-principled. ’ i
That was the end of the Declaration of London for the
time being, “but what happened at the beginning of the W211‘
, of London.
when the British Government which had put its name to the A ‘
Declaration was asked by Mr.‘Wilson to acknowledge its
signature, and when the German Government which had put
its name to the Declaration was asked ‘by Mr. Wilson to
acknowledge its signaturei’ Great Britain repudiated the
high principles enunciated in the Declaration of London and
made out a new draft containing only those provisions con- '
venient to herself. The German Government honored its’
signature by an unreserved acceptance of the termsto which
it had pledged itself. ‘ A 1
As time went on England came more and more to realize'
that law imposes not only rights but also duties and that itl
So when thelg
new draft was presented she again repudiated the debt and ,
is apt to be a hindrance to lawless conduct.
by a repetition of this process of attrition the Declaration of
London was so whittled down that only one stroke was nec-
essary to kill this darling child of Great Britain’s love of
right and championship of law. ’
Qn June 29th a cable from London said:
“Lord Robert Cecil, Minister of Blockade,.announced in the House
of Commons yesterday that the French and British Governments had
decided to discontinue the partial enforcement. of the Declaration
He said that he hoped that the other Allied Govern-
ments would agree. The orders under the Declaration of London
would be withdrawn in an Order in Council soon to be Lssued. At
the same time a statement of the reasons for the action would be
given out." i - '
England gives no reason for changing the law, except her,
own convenience. If she wishes to justify her action before
the court of civilization she would do well to adopt the
words of Major Steward L. Murray, when he speaks of his
country’s conception of international law in The Future
Peace of the Anglo-Saxons: T
. “Let us put aside at once as childish all talk of international law
as any protection. There is no such thing as international law for
the thing so miscalled is merely international custom, and a. new
custom can be added at any time by any nation powerful enough.
To break through so-called international law is no more than for
an individual to break through the conventionalities of social inter-
course. International law is nothing but a collection of conventional-
ities of international intercourse, and how far any nation chooses
to conform thereto is merely a matter of power and expediency."