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For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office

Washington, D.C. 20402 - Price $1.75

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The study of International Law has been an important part of the curriculum at the Naval War College since its founding in 1884. From 1894 to 1900, certain lectures given on International Law together with the situations studied were compiled and printed, but with very limited distribution. Commencing in 1901, however, the first formal volume of the Naval War College's “Blue Book” series was published.

This book represents the fifty-ninth volume in the series as numbered for cataloging and reference purposes. The present volume is written by Professor William T. Mallison, Jr. of The George Washington University National Law Center who occupied the Charles H. Stockton Chair of International Law at the Naval War College during the 1960-1961 academic year. It is considered that Professor Mallison's book presents an orderly, objective and concise discussion of the laws of naval warfare with special emphasis on submarines.

The opinions expressed in this volume are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the United States Navy or the Naval War College. The fact of publication does not imply endorsement of content but indicates merely that the subject treated is one which merits attention.

Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy
President, Naval War College


The historic function of the laws of war has been to impose restraints upon international violence in the common interest of the community of the states. This study provides analysis of some of the more important juridical issues arising in naval warfare. These issues concern the submarine, but the significance of a number of them extends beyond the juridical control of submarine warfare.

The major claims arise in four principal categories in Chapters II through V: the lawfulness of particular combatants, areas of operation, objects and methods of attack, and weapons. In each functional category a central object is to focus juridical analysis upon some of the actual fact situations in warfare where the laws of war are applicable. The issues concerning the long-distance surface naval blockade considered in Chapter III provide context for the appraisal of submarine operational areas. The problems concerning the lawfulness of particular objects and methods of attack in Chapter IV are relevant also to surface and aerial naval warfare. Some of the weapons juridically appraised in Chapter V transcend naval warfare and raise issues concerning the juridical control of strategic aerial bombardment.

The writer believes that this study will perform a constructive task if it assists naval officers in understanding the practical importance of the laws of war and, in particular, the basic consistency between considerations of humanity and those of military efficiency. In the same way, the writer hopes there will be a constructive role for the study in assisting international lawyers to appreciate the capacity of the laws of war to at least minimize the destruction of human and material values in situations of international coercion.

In order to determine the modern adequacy of the laws of war in performing their humanitarian functions, certain future projections must be made. A dichotomy projecting general and limited wars appears to cover the two principal alternatives in a world where international coercion has not yet been eliminated. The two World Wars provide the principal general war experience in which the juridical control of submarines has been attempted. Since 1945 the only actual experience concerning international coercion has been with limited war or hostilities. It seems probable that such limited coercion is of future as well as contemporary signifi

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