« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
DISCUSSION AND NOTES.
General.-Of the three declarations, the first received an unanimous affirmative vote. The second was opposed by Captain Mahan, representing the United States. The third was opposed by Great Britain and the United States, while Portugal abstained from voting.
History shows that it has been customary to put any new means of war under the ban for a time. At one time early in the twelfth century the Lateran Council denounced the crossbow. Later, those who used gun powder were denied quarter. The bayonet was looked upon as a barbarous instrument. Such means of warfare are no longer prohibited.
The use of poisoned bullets or weapons, the use of small explosive bullets (less than 400 grammes), and the use of arms and projectiles which cause unnecessary suffering are, however, prohibited.
The object of war is peace. The use of barbarous methods, the practice of treachery, and the unnecessary aggravation of suffering tends rather to prolong the war than to basten peace. Instruments of war are not unlawful because they entail suffering, but because the suffering entailed bears no proportionate relation to the attainment of the end of war, viz, the bringing of the enemy to terms of surrender.
In Maine's International Law, being lectures delivered in 1887, there is a summary mentioning the attitude toward new inventions for warlike purposes. He says that
One of the most curious passages of the history of armament is the strong detestation which certain inventions of warlike implements have in all centuries provoked, and the repeated attempts to throw them out of use by denying quarter to the soldiers who use them. The most unpopular and detested of weapons was once the crossbow, which was really a very ingenious scientific invention. The crossbow had an anathema put on it, in 1139, by the La ran Council, which anathematized artem illam mortifera et Deo odibilem. The anathema was not without effect. Many princes ceased to give the crossbow to their soldiers, and it is said that our Richard I revived its use with the result that his death by a crossbow bolt was regarded by a great part of Europe as a judgment. It seems quite certain that the con
THE USE OF BALLOONS.
135 / demnation of the weapon by the Lateran Council had much to do with the continued English employment of the older weapon, the longbow, and thus the English successes in the war with France. But both crossbow and longbow were before long driven out of employment by the musket, which is in reality a smaller and much improved form of the cannon that at an earlier date were used against fortified walls. During two or three centuries all musketeers were most severely, and as we should now think most unjustly, treated. The Chevalier Bayard thanked God in his last days that he had ordered all musketeers who fell into his hands to be slain without mercy. He states expressly that he held the introduction of firearms to be an unfair innovation on the rules of lawful war. Red-hot shot was also at first objected to, but it was long doubtful whether infantry soldiers carrying the musket were entitled to quarter. Marshal Mont Luc, who has left Memoirs behind him, expressly declares that it was the usage of his day that no musketeer should be spared (p. 138).
A (1). The use of balloons.-At The Hague in 1899 the following declaration was made:
To prohibit the launching of projectiles and explosives from balloons or by other similar methods.
This probibition was adopted by the United States for a period of tive years. The vote of the Hague committee was at first for perpetual prohibition of this method of conducting hostilities, but it was limited to five years.
The use of balloons was by this declaration prohibited only in case of “launching of projectiles and explosives.” It was admitted that it was allowed for certain purposes by Article 29 of the Second Convention, which, speaking of those who shall not be treated as spies, says:
To this class belong likewise individuals sent in balloons to deliver dispatches and generally maintain communication between the various parts of an army or territory.
This position in regard to balloons is a decided step in advance from that taken by Prussia in 1870. Bismarck maintained that an Englishman would properly be subject to arrest and trial by court-martial “ because he had spied out and crossed our outposts and positions in a manner which was beyond the control of the outposts, possibly with a view to make use of the information thus gained to our prejudice.” Though persons captured from balloons were severely treated and imprisoned, none were executed as spies, though some were condemned to death. (Parliamentary Papers, LXXII, 1871.)
Such persons as go in balloons lack the essential elements of spies, i. e., "acting secretly or under false pretenses. Persons in balloons can not, if they would, act secretly or under false pretenses. They are in full view. To such persons is now conceded the status of prisoners of war, and the making of observations by means of balloons is as legitimate as any other warlike operation.
There arise, however, certain questions in regard to the control of the use of balloons because of the increasing development of this means of locomotion.
It is reported that of the 64 balloons sent up from Paris in 1870–71 two were lost at sea, five were taken by the enemy, and the remainder accomplished in some degree their mission. Such a result of the use of balloons would warrant the continuance of their use.
The use of balloons has has been most commonly for purposes of observation and the carriage of dispatches. With the further development of wireless telegraphy, it may be possible that the usefulness of balloons may be extended as means for transmitting and receiving messages. It is also stated that the movements of submarine boats may be detected at a greater depth from the balloon. Whatever may be the fact in such cases, it is practically provided for in the regulation adopted for warfare on land, which admits such uses and regards the persons engaged in such operations, if captured, as prisoners of war, and not as spies. In fact, such a use of balloons is regarded as a legitimate act of war.
The sole question, then, is in regard to the use of balloons or similar methods as means for the launching of projectiles and explosives.
Holls in The Peace Conference at The Hague (p. 95) says of the action of the committee having the matter in charge:
On the subject of balloons the subcommittee first voted a perpetual prohibition of their use, or that of similar new machines for throwing projectiles or explosives. In the full committee, on motion of Captain Crozier, the prohibition was unanimously limited to cover a period of five years only. The action taken was for humanitarian reasons
LAUNCHING PROJECTILES FROM BALLOONS.
alone, and was founded upon the opinion that balloons, as they now exist, form so uncertain a means of injury that they can not be used with accuracy. The persons or objects injured by throwing explosives may be entirely disconnected from the conflict, and such that their injury or destruction would be of no practical advantage to the party making use of the machines. The limitation of the prohibition to five years' duration preserves liberty of action under such changed circumstances as may be produced by the progress of invention.
In speaking of the proposition to restrict the period which the regulation in regard to the launching of projectiles from balloons should run, Captain Crozier said that he had originally voted for the regulation without limitation of time. He showed that the subcommittee had manifested a spirit of tolerance in regard to those methods tending to increase the efficacy of the means of carrying on war and a spirit of restricting of those methods which, without being necessary from the point of view of efficacy, seem to cause unnecessary suffering. No limit had been imposed on the perfecting of artillery, powder, explosives, and guns. Explosive bullets had been prohibited altogether, as had the launching of projectiles from balloons. His general conclusion was that it was the purpose to preserve efficacy at the risk even of increasing suffering if that was indispensable.
Captain Crozier admitted that the restriction on explosive bullets was a limitation which would be in the direction of a lessening of the suffering of war. It seemed difficult to him to justify, by humanitarian motives, the employment of balloons for the launching of projectiles and explosives. The lack of practical knowledge in regard to the possible use of balloons and the possible develop- . ment of control through new inventions made uncertain the consequences of the use of this agency in war. It might be so developed as to make it the deciding factor in a critical moment of a conflict by concentrating the destruction of life and property in such a way as to bring to an end a struggle that otherwise must be long continued. (Conference Internationale de la Paix, 2° Partie, p. 75.) The possibilities of the development may be such as to make its use for launching projectiles and explosives a most economie and humane means of warfare. If all or many of the
possibilities which some think reside in the balloon are realized, it certainly should not be a prohibited means of warfare, because it may lessen, rather than increase, the sufferings incident to war. The use of the balloon or other means of aerial navigation for launching projectiles or explosives should therefore not be permanently prohibited.
Many of the objections which have been urged against balloon warfare have been urged against torpedoes, mines, etc. It is admitted also that at the present time balloons are not fully dirigible. Their motion is uncertain. The point at which projectiles or explosives launched from a balloon may fall is uncertain. Injury might be done to noncombatants when aimed at combatants. The limited weight of the projectile or explosives which a balloon might carry is not a serious practical objection that might not be overcome. Yet there are too many objections to allow the unrestricted use of balloons and other similar new methods of launching projectiles and explosives until the means of aerial navigation are under reasonable control, and only when under control should they be thus used. This is a demand which neutrals and noncombatants may properly make. This is a demand which on dinary grounds of humanity may properly be made, because only when under control can the military objects sought in the use of such means be attained. How long it will be before the means of aerial navigation are developed to a degree which will give a reasonable control can not be known at present. That they may sometime be thus developed is not improbable. This being the case, while there should not be a permanent prohibition, there should be a temporary prohibition of the “ launching of projectiles and explosives from balloons and other similar new methods."
The length of time for which the prohibition should run may conveniently be made five years, as this gives a reasonable period for development.
This will also give time for the development of rules for the government of the use of this agency. Such rules have already received consideration and discussion, and