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Granada controlled the Isthmus of Panama in 1846. By the Treaty of 1867 with Nicaragua the United States guarantees “the neutrality and innocent use ” of routes of communication across the state of Nicaragua. The Nine Powers by the Convention of Constantinople, of Oct. 29, 1888, Great Britain making certain reservations, agree, by a conventional act upon “a definite system destined to guarantee at all times, and for all the powers, the free use of the Suez Maritime Canal.” 2 Full provisions for the maintenance of the neutrality of the canal were adopted at this time also.
(4) The Geneva Convention of 1864 neutralized persons and things employed in the amelioration of the condition of the sick and wounded in the time of war.3 At the present time hospital ships properly certified and designated by flags and by bands of color on the outside are neutralized by general practice. 4
§ 122. History Neutrality as now understood is of recent growth. In early times, and in general throughout the Middle Ages, the fear of retaliation alone deterred states from hostile action against belligerent states with which they were formally at peace. A belligerent in the prosecution of war might disregard the territorial, personal, or property rights in a neutral state without violation of the principles of public law then accepted. A gradual formulation of principles which gave the basis of a more equable practice came through the custom of making treaty provisions in regard to the conduct of one of the parties when the other was at war with a third state. Thus it was usually provided that no aid should be given to the third state. By the end of the seventeenth century that which had formerly been a matter of treaty stipulation became quite generally accepted as a rule of action. Grotius, in 1625, gives only about a fourth of a short chapter to the consideration of the duties of the neutral toward the belligerents and the balance of the same chapter to the duties of belligerents toward those not parties to the war. Grotius maintains that “it is the duty of those who have no part in the war to do nothing which may favor the party having an unjust cause, or which may hinder the action of the one waging a just war, ... and in a case of doubt to treat both belligerents alike, in permitting transit, in furnishing provisions to the troops, in refraining from assisting the besieged.”1 In Barbeyrac's note to Pufendorf, 1706, the discussion shows that the idea of neutrality is clearer, but still confused by the attempt to admit a variety of qualified forms by which a state may be neutral in some respects and not in others.2 Bynkershoek in 1737 said, “ I call those non hostes who are of neither party.”3 This statement of Bynkershoek furnishes a convenient starting-point for his successors. Vattel, in 1758, accepting this definition, also says that a state may give such aid as has been promised in a treaty of alliance previously made with one of the states, and still preserve exact neutrality toward the other state.1
1 Art. XV., Treaty of Jan. 21, 1867 ; Treaties of U. S., 1784.
2 Parl. Papers, 1889, Commercial, No. 2. See also Holland, “ Studies in Int. Law," p. 216.
8 Articles I. and II.; Appendix, pp. 395, 396.
1" De Jure Belli ac Pacis," Lib. III., C. XVI., iii., 1. 2 " Le Droit de la Nature et des Gens,” Liv. VIII., C. VI., vii., n. 2. 8" Quaestiones Juris Publici," I., ix, .
By Article XVII. of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and France, in 1778, “ It shall be lawful for the ships of war of either party, and privateers, freely to carry whithersoever they please the ships and goods taken from their enemies ; ... on the contrary, no shelter or refuge shall be given in their ports to such as shall have made prize of the subjects, people or property of either of the parties,” except when driven in by stress of weather. By Article XXII. of the same treaty, foreign privateers were not allowed to be fitted out or to sell their prizes in the ports of either party. In 1793 M. Genêt, the French minister, began to fit out privateers, to give commissions to citizens of the United States to cruise in the service of France against the British, and to set up prize courts in the French consulates. He justified himself under the provisions of the Treaty of 1778. His action threatened to bring the United States into war with Great Britain and led to the enunciation of the principles by the United States authorities, of which Canning in 1823 said, “ If I wished for a guide in a system of neutrality, I should take that laid down by America in the days of the presidency of Washington and the secretaryship of Jefferson.”2 The President's Proclamation of Dec. 3, 1793, declares that, in the war of France and the European powers, “ the duty and interest of the United States require that they should with sincerity and good faith adopt and pursue a con
1"Droit des Gens,” III., viii. 25 Speeches, 50.
duct friendly and impartial toward the belligerent powers.”i While the Proclamation does not mention “ neutrality,” the orders and instructions issued in accordance with it use the word. By the Act of Congress of June 5, 1794, and by subsequent acts codified in 1818,2 the United States assumed a position which marks an epoch in the history of neutrality. The principles then enunciated are the generally accepted rules of the present day. Great Britain passed similar enactments in 1819, and made these more definite and stringent by the Foreign Enlistment Act of 1870.3
§ 123. Declaration In recent years it has become customary to issue proclamations of neutrality, or to make known the attitude of the state by some public announcement. This method publishes to other states and to the subjects of the state issuing the announcement the position which the state will take during the hostilities. Ordinarily some specifications as to what may be done during the war accompany the proclamation.
In the war between the United States and Spain in 1898, practically all the leading states of the world made known their neutrality. Germany, according to the custom in that state for twenty years preceding, made no public proclamation, but the neutrality of the Empire was announced less formally by the Emperor in a speech before the Reichstag. The British proclamation of April 23, 1898, is, however, a very full statement of the principles which are to be observed during the hostilities. 1
11 Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 156.
2 U.S. Rev. Sts., SS 5281-5291, see Appendix, p. 417. For cases, see 1 Gould and Tucker, 990, and 2 ibid., 627.
8 33 and 34 Vict., c. 90, p. 560. See also 2 Lorimer, 490.
A clause from the Russian Declaration of April 18, 1898, is an example of the announcement of the general fact of neutrality: “It is with keen regret that the Imperial Government witnesses an armed conflict between two states to which it is united by old friendship and deep sympathy. It is firmly resolved to observe with regard to these two belligerents a perfect and impartial neutrality.”2
§ 124. Divisions The relations between neutrals and belligerents naturally fall into two divisions :
1. The relations between neutral states and belligerent states as states. These relations are determined by the respect for sovereignty, by international usage, and by treaties.
2. Relations between the states and individuals. These relations involve :
(1) Ordinary commerce.
(8) Prize and prize courts.
2 Proc. and Decrees during the war with Spain, p. 63. President Cleveland's neutrality proclamations as to the late war in Cuba are given in 29 U. S. Sts. at Large, 870, 881.