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"Our own Government has always refused to enforce such contractual obligations on behalf of its citizens by an appeal to arms. It is much to be wisht that all foreign governments would take the same view.”
All these antecedents worked to bring about the resolution of the Third Pan American Congress held at Rio by which it was recommended to the governments represented to consider the advisability of submitting to The Second Hague Peace Conference the question of the forcible collection of public debts and in general the means that tend to diminish among the nations conflicts of pecuniary origin which, to tell the truth, has in a measure complicated the problem, extending it to all branches of money claims whatever be their origin. 47
It may be added that this view of the Argentine proposition as one of policy and the manner in which it was advanced as an American doctrine destined to rule in this continent, are what have given it emphasis and a peculiar character and to them is due the name flattering for us with which it is generally known in Europe and in America and of which we make use in referring to it to avoid the inconvenient paraphrases that we have used in certain parts of this article.
"In an article published in the North American Review for October 15, 1906, with the title "International Law and the Drago Doctrine," Professor George Winfield Scott writes as follows:
"Dr. Drago merely sought to have the United States adopt, as supplementary to its Monroe Doctrine policy, a further policy to the effect that the public debt (of an American State) cannot occasion armed intervention, nor in anywise the actual occupation of the territory of American nations, by an European power.' "Dr. Drago called attention to the fact that the collection of loans by force implies territorial occupation to make it effective; that territorial occupation means the suppression of the governments of the countries on which it is imposed; that there was considerable European expression in favor of establishing colonies in South America; and that he feared, under the guise of' financial interventions,' the yearnings evidenced by that expression might be suddenly stimulated and gratified.
"Without commenting on the grounds, or lack of grounds, for such anxiety or on the wisdom of the proposal, attention is called to the difference between the proposition originally urged by Dr. Drago and the question formulated for discussion at Rio de Janeiro. Senor Drago proposed a question of policy for the Pan-American States. The resolution under consideration at Rio de Janeiro involved the submission to the next Hague Conference of a question of law."
Let us review the ideas expounded thus far and the conclusions drawn from them.
We have noted the difference that exists between ordinary contracts in which the State acts as a legal person acquiring rights and accepting definite obligations in respect of certain specified individuals. These contracts go to the tribunals or courts of claims in case of failure on the part of the government to execute them; in case of denial of justice the common and accepted principles of international law, which there is no occasion here to review, obtain for these contracts.
Debts arising from domestic or foreign loans through the emission of bonds of a fixed interest constitute what is technically called public debts properly speaking or national debts. This does not and cannot give rise to judicial action as has been explained, because the bonds that constitute it are put into circulation like paper money and payments are made on the same or are suspended by virtue of acts of sovereignty perfectly characterized as such.
We said that the Argentine note of December 29, 1902, referred to such public debts and to no other. Because it is the collection of such debts manu militari which give rise to most grave consequences.
The isolated claims of individuals arising from ordinary contracts can indeed always be disposed of with more or less difficulty, avoiding by means of payment the action which though unjust, a foreign government might take to compel it.
In the case of public debts, properly so called, the same cannot happen because the suspension of the payment always brings with it a profound disturbance of the finances and economic resources of the debtor country. Thus occasion is given for intervention, and at times intervention for indefinite periods, the double control of Egypt, the commissions of Turkey, the subordination in fact of the local government to the creditor nation so frequently repeated in recent history. This is what the Argentine Republic sought to avoid. Its doctrine is in consequence before all and above all a statement of policy. If judicially the public debt cannot be an object of international compulsion, as every consideration leads us to believe, there is no reason why the European nations should attempt recovery in this manner in South America, But if it should
be proven on the contrary that coercion is legitimate and in accordance with law, we shall continue to maintain that violent methods of recovery are not applicable to us, because they either represent from the outset, or may ultimately involve, the subordination and conquest which the traditional policy of both Americas forever exclude.
LUIS M. DRAGO.
BOARD OF EDITORS OF THE AMERICAN JOURNAL
OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
CHARLES NOBLE GREGORY, State University of Iowa.
ROBERT LANSING, Watertown, N. Y.
JOHN BASSETT MOORE, Columbia University.
DAVID J. HILL, The Hague, European Editor.
JAMES BROWN SCOTT, George Washington University.
THE NATIONAL ARBITRATION AND PEACE CONGRESS AT NEW YORK
The great meeting of the National Arbitration and Peace Congress held last April in New York, over which Mr. Andrew Carnegie was the presiding genius, was eminently successful in arousing public interest and enlightening public opinion in regard to the questions to be considered, and the position thereon to be taken by the United States, at The Second International Peace Conference, now in session at the Hague.
The opening gun was fired on Sunday, April 14th, when a number of distinguished speakers identified with the religious side of the movement, addressed the congregations of many of the churches, inviting and urging the co-operation of all classes and denominations. During the following three days a series of meetings was held, each covering a special phase of the movement, the programme for the meetings being: International Views of the Peace Movement; Women's Relation to the Peace Movement; Young People's Meeting; Commercial and Industrial Aspects of the Peace Movement; The University Meeting; Wage Earners in Re
lation to the Peace Movement; Legislative and Judicial Aspects of the Peace Movement. The whole programme closed with a public dinner on Wednesday evening, the 17th.
A direct message of good will was sent by the President and among the speakers during the sessions were: Honorable Elihu Root, whose address is referred to more particularly later; Honorable Richard Bartholdt, who discussed the possibilities of an international legislative congress; Baron d'Estournelles de Constant, who addressed the Young People's meeting and several others and conferred the cross of the Legion of Honor upon Mr. Carnegie; Honorable Charles E. Hughes, the Governor of New York; Honorable John W. Foster; Mr. Andrew Carnegie, Chairman of the Congress, who advocated an international police force; Mr. William T. Stead, Baron Descamps, "Maarten Maartens," Prof. Munsterberg, Honorable Oscar S. Straus, Mr. James W. Van Cleave, Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, Dr. Chas. W. Eliot, Prof. Felix Adler, Honorable James Bryce, Mr. Samuel Gompers, and Honorable William Jennings Bryan, who was the last speaker at the regular meetings.
The resolutions adopted by the Congress called for a permanent international union and conference; a court open to all nations of the world; a general treaty of arbitration; a commission of inquiry to examine questions which are not considered proper subjects for arbitration; immunity of private property at sea from capture; and the limitation of armaments. In the words of the editor of the Outlook,
The resolutions adopted were rational enough to appeal to any critic and they fitly define the atmosphere of the Congress - an enthusiasm for justice.
As the representative of the national government particularly charged with the responsibility of directing the efforts of the United States delegation at the Hague conference, Mr. Root was listened to with peculiar interest and his presentation of the difficulties to be encountered, the progress to be expected, and the real measure of the benefits to be derived from international peace conferences, and incidentally from such meetings as the Peace Congress in New York, entitles his address to a lasting place in the history of the great movement for the evolution of peace. The closing words of his address were as follows:
Many lovers of their kind, certain that the principles which they see so clearly ought to be accepted of all men, are unmindful of the many differences which divide the nations in the competition for trade and wealth, for honor and prestige; unmindful that the selfishness and greed and willingness to do injustice which have marked all human history still exist in the world; unmindful that because of these the instinct of self-protection engenders distrust and suspicion among