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TERMINATION OF WAR
116. METHODS OF TERMINATION.
§ 116. Methods of Termination War may come to an end, (1) by the complete submission of one of the parties to the conflict or by conquest, (2) by the cessation of hostilities between the parties to the conflict, or (3) by a treaty of peace duly concluded.1
The object of war in early times was often conquest, and the conflict ended only with the submission of one of the parties. This end is at present usually disavowed, and the object of war is proclaimed to be some purpose that will meet with as little disapproval as possible. The conditions under which the war will be brought to an end will be in some measure determined by the object for which the war was undertaken.
§ 117. By Conquest Conquest in the complete sense, as in the case of the debellatio of the Romans, is not now common. This
1 Heffter-Geffcken, “ Droit Int.," II., $$ 176–190.
implies a submission of one of the parties without condition. There have been examples of absorption of the sovereignty of the vanquished state in recent times, as in the Prussian Decree of Sept. 20, 1866, by which conquered Hanover, Hesse, Nassau, and Frankfort were incorporated into the Prussian state. Similarly, some of the Italian states were absorbed by the kingdom of Italy after the Treaty of Villafranca, 1859, and Madagascar became a part of France in 1896.
Conquest is held to be complete when the fact is evident from actual, continued, and recognized possession. All of these evidences may not be present in a given case, but if the intention and the fact of the conquest and the submission are fully shown, it is sufficient to constitute validity.1
§ 118. By Cessation of Hostilities Certain wars have terminated by the simple cessation of hostilities Cases of such termination are rare. Such a method leaves in doubt the relations of the parties to the conflict, and occasions inconvenience to all states which may have intercourse with the contestants. The war between Sweden and Poland in 1716, and also the war between France and Spain in 1720, came to an end in this way. The war between Spain and her American colonies ceased in 1825, but no diplomatic relations were established with them till 1840, and the independence of Venezuela was not recognized till 1850. After the hostilities between France and Mexico, 1862–1867, no diplomatic relations were
1 Case of Hesse Cassel, Hall, $ 204, p. 588.
entered into till 1881. It is only fair to neutrals that a declaration of the conclusion of hostilities should be made.
$ 119. By Treaty of Peace War is most often terminated by a treaty of peace, which is usually a diplomatic agreement upon the manner of cessation of hostilities and upon the conditions of the reëstablishment of friendly relations. In recent years such treaties have often been preceded by preliminary agreements. These are sometimes preceded by an armistice in order that the terms may not be changed from day to day by the current fortunes of war, as was the case in the discussions pending the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. In the war between China and Japan, in 1894–1895, an agreement for the suspension of hostilities was made on March 30, 1895, but the treaty of peace was not signed till April 17th. These preliminary agreements may sometimes be made through the friendly offices of a third power, as in the protocol of Aug. 12, 1898, in regard to the suspension of hostilities between Spain and the United States. The ambassador of France acted for Spain. These preliminary agreements can be concluded only by those persons delegated for the purpose, and they are as binding as any international agreement in the matters upon which they touch.
A treaty of peace usually covers, (1) the cessation of hostilities, (2) the subjects which have led to war,
1 30 U. S. Sts. at Large, 1742.
2 The Treaty of Ghent, Dec. 24, 1814, between U. S. and Great Britain is a marked exception. See Treaties of U. S., 399; Wheaton, “Hist. Int. Law,” 585 ; Schurz, “Henry Clay," I., pp. 105 et seq.
(3) agreements for immunity for acts done during the war without sufficient authority or in excess of authority. Such acts might otherwise become bases for civil or criminal process. Acts not consequent upon the existence of war, but such as are actionable under the ordinary laws of the state, as for violation of private contract, ordinary debts, etc., are not included unless there is a direct stipulation to that effect. This immunity is commonly called amnesty. (4) Provision for the release of the prisoners of war is often included. (5) The renewal of former treaties is provided for in many peace agreements. (6) Special provision may be made for cession of territory, indemnity, boundaries, or other contingent points.1
A treaty of peace is usually held to be effective from the date of signature, or from the date set in the treaty. Provisions fixing the time at which hostilities shall cease at different points are common. Acts of war committed after the conclusion of peace or after the official notice of the termination of hostilities, are void.2 The Treaty of Frankfort, 1871, provides that maritime captures not condemned at the conclusion of the war are not good prize.
“ The general effect of a treaty of peace is to replace the belligerent countries in their normal relation to each other.”3 In case of no stipulations to the contrary, the doctrine of uti possidetis applies, by which the
1 Treaty between Spain and U. S., Dec. 10, 1898; 30 U. S. Sts. at Large, 1754.
2 Case of Swineherd, 1801, 1 Kent Com., 173, note (6); “Sophie," 1 Kent Com., 174; 6 C. Rob., 138.
8 Hall, $ 198, p. 579.
property and territory in the actual possession of either of the belligerents at the conclusion of the war vests in the one having possession.
Private rights suspended during the war revive on the conclusion of peace. Though it was once held that debts could be confiscated during war, this is now nowhere maintained. In such cases the obligation revives on the conclusion of peace, and by the Statute of Limitations the period of the war is not reckoned in the time specified as the period at which debts become outlawed. 1 Treaties of U. S., 386.
2 Lawrence, $ 239.