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conference of Paris in 1856 these matters were brought forward and advanced measures were urged by the French representatives. There resulted the enunciation of the set of rules known as the declaration of Paris of 1856.
The Declaration of Paris as given by Hertslet, “Map of Europe by Treaty” (ii, p. 1282), is as follows:
The Plenipotentaries who signed the Treaty of Paris of the 30th of March, 1856 (No. 264), assembled in Conference,-Considering:
That Maritime Law, in time of War, has long been the subject of deplorable disputes;
That the uncertainty of the law and of the duties in such a matter, gives rise to differences of opinion between Neutrals and Belligerents which may occasion serious difficulties, and even conflicts;
That it is consequently advantageous to establish a uniform doctrine on so important a point;
That the Plenipotentaries assembled in Congress at Paris cannot better respond to the intentions by which their Governments are animated, than by seeking to introduce into international relations fixed principles in this respect;
The above-mentioned Plenipotentaries, being duly authorized, resolved to concert among themselves as to the means of attaining this object; and, having come to an agreement, have adopted the following solemn Declaration:
1. Privateering is, and remains abolished.
2. The Neutral Flag covers Enemy's Goods, with the exception of Contraband of War.
3. Neutral Goods with the exception of Contraband of War, are not liable to capture under Enemy's Flag.
4. Blockades, in order to be binding, must be effective, that is to say, maintained by a force sufficient really to prevent access to the coast of the enemy.
The Governments of the Undersigned Plenipotentaries engage to bring the present Declaration to the knowledge of the States which have not taken part in the Congress of Paris, and to invite them to accede to it.
Convinced that the maxims which they now proclaim cannot but be received with gratitude by the whole world, the undersigned Plenipotentaries doubt not that the efforts of their Governments to obtain the general adoption thereof, will be crowned with full success.
The present Declaration is not and shall not be binding, except between those Powers who have acceded, or shall accede, to it. Done at Paris, the 16th of April, 1856.
To this declaration all important States adhered except Mexico, Spain, and the United States. Spain and Mexico agreed, except to the abolition of privateering. The United States desired the exemption of all private property from seizure.
Protocol No. 24.-In addition to the Declaration of Paris of April 16, 1856, there was a protocol numbered 24 containing the following:
On the proposition of Count Walewski, and recognizing that it is for the general interest to maintain the indivisibility of the four principles mentioned in the declaration signed this day, the plenipotentiaries agree that the powers which shall have signed it, or which shall have acceded to it, can not hereafter enter into any arrangement in regard to the application of the right of neutrals in time of war, which does not at the same time rest on the four principles which are the object of the said declaration.
By the above agreement the powers are bound. As Count Walewski said in a letter to Count de Sartiges in May, 1856:
The plenipotentiaries assembled in the congress of Paris have come to an agreement on the terms of a declaration intended toʻsettle the principles of maritime law in so much as it concerns neutrals during
Herewith I have the honor to transmit to you a copy of that act, which fully meets the tendencies of our epoch, and at once puts an end to the useless calamities which a custom equally reprobated by reason and by humanity, superadded to those which fatally result from a state of war.
The congress have not overlooked the fact that their work, in order that it may prove complete, must secure the assent of all the maritime powers, since such governments only as shall have acceded to the arrangement can be mutually bound by it. On this score we attach peculiar value to the concurrence of the United States, that will not consent, we confidently trust, to hold off from a concert of action which defines a new and essential progress in international relations.
The determination of the congress of Paris defines the object which it is intended to attain. The clashing constructions given to the rights of neutrals have, up to the last year, proved a source of deplorable conflicts, whilst privateering inflicted on the commerce and navigation of nonbelligerent states an injury so much the more grievious as it gave room for the most calamitous excesses.
ATTITUDE OF UNITED STATES.
These, Count, are the events which, for our part, we are happy in striving to repel, and we feel convinced that the concurrence of the United States will not be with held in a question every way worthy of the philanthropic spirit of the American people; a question which at once, and in a high degree, concerns the development and the security of commercial transactions.
The plenipotentiaries sent to the congress have, as you may see in portocol No. 24, bound themselves, in the name of their respective governments, to enter, for the future, into no arrangement on the application of maritime law in time of war without stipulating for a strict observance of the four points resolved by the declaration. The concurrence which we solicit at the hands of those governments which were not represented in the Paris conferences can, consequently, apply to those principles only laid down in said declaration, and which are indivisible. (Senate Ex. Doc., 34th Cong., 1st Sess., No. 104, p. 2.)
Attitude of the United States. The attitude of the United States was thus expressed in President Pierce's message of December 4, 1854:
The proposition to enter into engagements to forego a resort to privateers, in case this country should be forced into a war with a great naval power, is not entitled to more favorable consideration than would be a proposition to agree not to accept the services of volunteers for operations on land. When the honor or rights of our country require it to assume a hostile attitude it confidently relies upon the patriotism, of its citizens, not ordinarily devoted to the military profession, to augment the Army and Navy, so as to make them fully adequate to the emergency which calls them into action. The proposal to surrender the right to employ privateers is professedly founded upon the principle that private property of unoffending noncombatants, though enemies, should be exempt from the ravages of war; but the proposed surrender goes but little way in carrying out that principle, which equally requires that such private property should not be seized or molested by national ships of war. Should the leading powers of Europe concur in proposing, as a rule of international law, to exempt private property upon the ocean from seizure by public armed cruisers as well as by privateers, the United States will readily meet them upon that broad ground.
The United States Government wished to extend the provision of the Declaration of Paris, saying:
The injuries likely to result from surrendering the dominion of the seas to one or a few nations which have powerful navies arise mainly from the practice of subjecting private property on the ocean to seizure by belligerents. Justice and humanity demand that this practice should be abandoned, and that the rule in relation to such property on land should be extended to it when found upon the high seas.
The President therefore proposes to add to the first proposition in the “declaration” of the congress at Paris the following words: “And that the private property of the subject or citizens of a belligerent on the high seas shall be exempted from seizure by public armed vessels of the other belligerent, except it be contraband." Thus amended, the Government of the United States will adopt it, together with the other three principles contained in that “declaration."
I am directed to communicate the approval of the President to the second, third, and fourth propositions, independently of the first, should the amendment be unacceptable. The amendment is commended by so many powerful considerations, and the principle which calls for it has so long had the emphatic sanction of all enlightened nations in military operations on land, that the President is reluctant to believe it will meet with any serious opposition. Without the proposed modification of the first principle, he can not convince himself that it would be wise or safe to change the existing law in regard to the right of privateering. (Senate Ex. Doc., 34th Cong., 1st sess., No. 104, p. 13.)
It was well understood, as shown by the discussions, that the principles set forth in the Declaration of Paris were advanced opinions. Protocol No. 22 of the session of April 8, 1856, relates that
M. le Comte Walewski propose au Congrès de terrniner son oeuvre par un déclaration qui constituerait un progrès notable dans le droit international, et qui serait accueillie par le monde entier avec un sentiment de vive reconnaissance.
Le Congrès de Westphalie, ajoute-t-il, a consacré la liberté de conscience, le Congrès de Vienne l'abolition de la Traite des noirs et la liberté de la navigation des fleuves.
Il serait vraiment digne du Congrès de Paris de poser les bases d'un droit maritime en temps de guerre, en ce qui concerne les neutres. Les 4 principes suivants atteindraient complétement ce but:
1. Abolition de la course;
2. Le pavillon neutre couvre la marchandise ennemie, excepté la contrebande de guerre;
3. La marchandise neutre, excepté la contrebandede guerre, n'est pas saisissable même sous pavillon ennemi;
4. Les blocus ne sont obligatoires qu'autant qu'ils sont effectifs.
Ce serait certes là un beau résultat auquel aucun de nous ne saurait être indifférent.
The Declaration of Paris certainly does not meet with that general approval which its promoters had anticipated, and as time passes it becomes more and more in need of revision. As Duboc says:
ABOLITION OF PRIVATEERING.
La Declaration de Paris n'établit donc, à tout prendre, qu'un régime précaire, non sans danger pour les belligérants, non sans péril pour les neutres. Aussi beaucoup parmi ses partisans et parmi sas adversaires pensent-ils qu'elle n'est las définitive. Tandis que ceux-ci demandent qu'on la dénonce, ceux-là prétendent qu'on la compléte. Les premiers estiment qu'on aresserré les droits des belligérants dans des limites trops restreintes, les autres, qu'on leur accorde encore des libertés excessives. Ces derniers prétendent parfaire le droit maritime et assurer définitivement la sécurité des neutres en supprimant toute confiscation de la propriete ennemie. (Le Droit de la Guerre Maritime,
There are many differences of opinion in regard to the pbraseology of the Declaration of Paris. Some prefer a more explicit definition, others would retain the general terms. (Perels, Seerecht, section 49, I.) Thonier in a recent work
says: Malgré le progrès immense qu'elle a réalisé, en faisant passer de la doctrine dans la pratique la liberté du commerce neutre, la declaration fe Paris présente cependant quelques lacunes. Elle n'a pas osé aller jusqu'au bout dans la voie des réformes libérales et déclarer, ainsi que le proposaient les États-Unis, l'inviolabilité de la propriéte privée sur la mer.
Elle est même inférieure à la Déclaration russe de 1780, en ce qui regarde le blocus, par l'absence de prescriptions concernant le rapprochement des forces bloquantes, ce qui permet les blocus por
croisière. Enfin, elle garde le silence au sujet de la contrebande de guerre, dont il y aurait eu si grand intérêt à donner une définition précise et énumération. (De la Notion de Contreband de Guerre, p. 39.)
1. “ Privateering is and remains abolished.”—It might with good reason perhaps be contended that in the first place the term “declaration” is not properly applicable to the action taken by the plenipotentiaries on April 16, 1856, and known as the Declaration of Paris.
The provisions of the so-called “declaration "are, however, of great importance.
The plenipotentiaries, according to the terms of the Declaration, consider that maritime law in time of war has long been the subject of deplorable disputes.” To avoid some of the disputed points they hope to establish "a uniform doctrine” and “having come to an agreement” have adopted the “ solemn declaration.”
A serious objection was at the time raised against this Declaration, to the effect that of the plenipotentiaries who