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INTERNATIONAL UNIONS AND THEIR
The dominant note of political development during the nineteenth century was undoubtedly nationalism, and the political forces of the century, intricate and involved as their action was, may be understood and analyzed with the greatest clearness from the point of view of the struggle for complete national existence and unity which was going on in all the principal countries of the earth. Nations are readily personified, and there is a unity and sequence in their action which makes it appear very concrete when compared with other political influences and movements. Thus, when toward the end of the century, after the great struggles in the United States, Germany, and Italy had been decided in favor of the national principle, it seemed as if the latter were bound to exercise an almost exclusive sway over the future destinies of humanity, as if the twentieth century would be taken up with a fierce economic and military competition among the nationalities who had achieved a complete political existence. Under such conditions, international or diplomatic action would have had for its main function the maintenance of a political balance or equilibrium which would prevent the undue aggrandizement of any one state or nation. Such indeed had been the original and continuing purpose of diplomatic action.
Yet notwithstanding the definiteness and energy with which the action of nationalism asserted itself in nineteenth century politics, nevertheless the force of its current was all the time diminished and its direction modified by that other great principle of social and political combination which we may call internationalism, and which comprises those cultural and economic interests which are common to civilized humanity. During the Middle Ages the unity of civilization rested largely upon a cultural and religious basis. In our own age, such bonds of union have been powerfully supplemented by the growing solidarity of the economic world, as well as by the
need of experimental and applied science to utilize the experience and knowledge of all countries. The existence of such an underlying economic unity of the civilized world has been borne in upon the nations with greater force every succeeding year. The development of the facilities for communication, bringing with them a great increase in the intercourse and exchange of commodities among nations, first convinced the latter of the need of international arrangements of an administrative nature. The inconveniences and delays caused at the point of transit from one national territory to another by the existence of different administrative methods and harassing regulations were such a serious impediment to the natural currents of trade that they could not long be tolerated. It was thus that a strong demand arose for the regulation of the international telegraph and postal service, of arrangements with respect to the transfer of freight on railways and similar economic activities. It is not difficult to see the impulse toward joint international action which would arise from economic relations such as these.
Other economic activities, such as manufactures, insurance, etc., while they also felt the importance of international economic relations, were not so directly and inevitably affected as were the transportation interests. Yet in this field another principle became powerfully active, inducing nations to seek for a co-operative basis in matters of national industry and economic enterprise. This principle is found in the need of raising the level of competition. It was soon discovered that after a nation had within its territory introduced some improvement in the condition of its industries and its labor such as required an additional expenditure of money, its industries might, at least temporarily, be seriously threatened by the competition of those countries in which such regulations as the above had not as yet been adopted. The industrial interests which might at first have opposed the introduction of such measures of protection now became eager partisans of the extension of these regulations to competing nations by means of treaties and administrative arrangements. The international movement for the improvement of industrial and social conditions therefore found powerful support, not only among men who had originally favored such reform, but among those interests which through its introduction in certain
nations had been placed in a position of disadvantage in international competition. This is the ground for international action in matters affecting agriculture, labor, sugar production, and similar economic interests. Closely allied to this movement and preceding it in time is the movement for the international protection of patents and copyrights.
A third cause for international action is found in the situation under which a number of nations find themselves threatened by conditions existing in less civilized countries, and also where the instrumentalities and processes of their economic activities extend upon and beyond the seas where individual national jurisdiction ceases. Thus the protection of public health against the importation of epidemics and the protection of sub-marine cables in high sea areas became the subject-matter of international agreement and international administrative action.
Civilized nations, being desirous to arrange their affairs in the most scientific and effective fashion, feel the need of making use of experience and knowledge wherever it may be found. The recognition of the fact that no people has a monopoly of the best scientific and administrative processes has lead the nations to seek opportunities for the exchange of experience and the knowledge of methods such as are afforded by congresses of experts in various fields of public activity. Many of the unions formed more directly for administrative purposes also incidentally subserve the end of constituting a center for the exchange of reliable information.
The number and extent of the lines of international activity already entered upon are surprising. It is not so much the case that nations have given up certain parts of their sovereign powers to international administrative organs, as that they have, while fully reserving their independence, actually found it desirable, and in fact necessary, regularly and permanently to co-operate with other nations in the matter of administrating certain economic and cultural interests. Without legal derogation to the sovereignty of individual states an international de facto and conventional jurisdiction and administrative procedure is thus growing up, which bids fair to become one of the controlling elements in the future political relations of the world.
In order to give an adequate account of these important movements, a monographic study of each of them would be necessary. No more will be attempted in the present paper than to give an indication of the main historical facts concerning the formation of these various unions and the conclusion of the conventions upon which they rest. Special attention will be given to the initial difficulties in the way of reaching such agreements, and to the manner in which those existing were, as a matter of fact, arrived at. The diplomatic and administrative agencies employed in the formation of these unions or created for their purposes will be reviewed, as well as the influence of private initiative and associated effort in bringing about joint action by the governments. We shall also note the functions attributed to the international organs, and the main administrative principles and methods established. The present paper will be confined to a brief account of the various international unions from these points of view. A more thoroughgoing analysis, critical and comparative, of the arrangements and institutions thus established, viewed in their relation to general international law and to the administrative systems of the individual states, will be given in a later paper.1
The Telegraphic Union. (L'Union des administrations télégraphiques.) The first important international administrative union to be established was the Telegraphic Union. From 1849 on, treaties had been made between individual European states concerning telegraphic communication. In 1850, a German-Austrian tele
1 General references: Poinsard, L., Le droit international au XXe siècle. 1907. Moynier, G., Les bureaux internationaux. Geneva, 1892. Kazanski, P., The General Administrative Unions of States (in Russian). Odessa, 1897. Kazanski, "Die allgemeinen Staatenvereine," in Jahrb. d. internat. Vereinigung, Vol. VI. Berlin, 1904. Descamps, Les offices internationaux. Brussels, 1894. Lavollée, "Les unions internationales," in Rev. d'hist. dipl., I, 331. De Seigneau, in Ann. de l'Inst. de droit internat. XX 59, 97. Fiore, "L'organisation juridique de la société internat." in Rev. de dr. int. 1899. de, Tratado de derecho internacional público. Völkerr. 282. Frank, Les Belges et la paix. Rev. de dr. internat. privé (ed. by Darras) will give special attention to international administration. Poinsard, Droit International Conventionnel, 1894.
P. 105, 209. Olivart, Marqués Vol. II. Madrid, 1903. Ullmaññ, Brux., 1905. The newly founded
graph union was established; and through the convention of October 4, 1852, at Paris, all Continental states which at that time had state telegraphs regulated the mutual relations of their services. Through such conventions as these the international relations in this matter were made more satisfactory, without, however, securing that uniformity and regularity which the interests of the various nations really demanded. The desire for a universal treaty and union concerning telegraph administration led to the convening of a conference at Paris in 1865. Twenty states were represented upon this occasion, each state being represented by its diplomatic agent at Paris, assisted by an expert delegate. The conference, therefore, had the double character of a diplomatic congress and a meeting of expert representatives of the various administrations. The results of the work of the conference were, in accordance with this double character, divided into a convention, or treaty, signed by the diplomatic representatives, and a règlement, by which the administrative details were regulated, and which was signed by the expert delegates. These conventions resulted in a great simplification of the international service as well as in a considerable reduction in the tariff rates. The discussions of the conference are of exceptional interest as it constitutes the first important attempt to arrange for permanent co-operation between sovereign states in administrative matters. Many difficulties of local opposition had to be overcome before an agreement could be reached. As a precedent for international action, the conference of Paris must be accorded a very high importance. The Telegraphic Union which was formed at this conference embraced all the states there represented, to which were added during the subsequent three years, eight further states and colonies.
The first regular conference of the Union took place at Vienna in June, 1868. The double nature of the conference, composed as it was of diplomatic and technical representatives, was preserved on this as well as on subsequent occasions. Five further members were admitted at this time, including the telegraph administration of British India. The most important act of the conference of 1868 was the establishment of an international bureau having its seat at Berne, and acting as a central organ of the Union. At the conference at Rome in 1871, representatives of important private