Invitation to the Governments signatories to The Hague convention to enter into arbitration treaties.

To the Diplomatic Officers of the United States accredited to the governments signatories to The Hague Convention for the pacific settlement of international disputes.

Gentlemen: By Article XIX of the convention for the pacific settlement of international disputes, concluded at The Hague on July 29, 1899, the signatory governments reserved to themselves the right of concluding agreements, with a view to referring to arbitration all questions which they shall consider possible to submit to such treatment.

Under this provision certain agreements have already been concluded, notably that between France and Great Britain.

The long-standing views of the United States concerning the settlement of international disputes by arbitration, to which it has given practical effect in numerous instances, are too well known to need restatement. Repeated expressions to them have been given both by the executive and the legislative branches of the Government.

As long ago as June 17, 1874, the House of Representatives by a unanimous vote gave expression to its opinion that “differences between nations should, in the interest of humanity and fraternity, be adjusted, if possible, by international arbitration.” It was therefore “Resolved, That the people of the United States, being devoted to the policy of peace with all mankind, enjoying its blessings and hoping for its permanence and its universal adoption, hereby through their Representatives in Congress recommend such arbitration as a rational substitute for war.”

The President, in his last message to the Congress of the United States, on December 7, 1903, stated:

There seems good ground for the belief that there has been a real growth among the civilized nations of a sentiment which will permit a gradual substitution of other methods than the method of war in the settlement of disputes. It is not pretended that as yet we are near a position in which it will be possible [Page 9]wholly to prevent war, or that a just regard for national inerest and honor will in all cases permit of the settlement of international disputes by arbitration; but by a mixture of prudence and firmness with wisdom we think it is possible to do away with much of the provocation and excuse for war, and at least in many cases to substitute some other and more rational method for the settlement of disputes. The Hague Court offers so good an example of what can be done in the direction of such settlement that it should be encouraged in every way.

Moved by these views, the President has charged me to instruct you to ascertain whether the Government to which you are accredited, which he has reason to believe is equally desirous of advancing the principle of international arbitration, is willing to conclude with the Government of the United States an arbitration treaty of like tenor to the arrangement concluded between France and Great Britain, on October 14, 1903.

I inclose herewith a copy of both the English and Frencha texts of that arrangement. Should the response to your inquiry be favorable, you will request the government to authorize its minister at Washington to sign the treaty with such plenipotentiary on the part of the United States as the President may be pleased to empower for the purpose.

I am, gentlemen, etc.,

John Hay.

Agreement between the United Kingdom and France providing for the settlement by arbitration of certain classes of questions which may arise between the two Governments. Signed at London October 14, 1903.

The Government of His Britannic Majesty and the Government of the French Republic, signatories of the Convention for the pacific settlement of international disputes, concluded at the Hague on the 29th July, 1899;

Taking into consideration that by Article XIX of that Convention the High Contracting Parties have reserved to themselves the right of concluding Agreements, with a view to referring to arbitration all questions which they shall consider possible to submit to such treatment,

Have authorized the Undersigned to conclude the following arrangement:—

Article I.

Differences which may arise of a legal nature, or relating to the interpretation of Treaties existing between the two Contracting Parties, and which it may not have been possible to settle by diplomacy, shall be referred to the Permanent Court of Arbitration established at the Hague by the Convention of the 29th July, 1899, provided, nevertheless, that they do not affect the vital interests, the independence, or the honour of the two Contracting States, and do not concern the interests of third Parties.

Article II.

In each individual case the High Contracting Parties, before appealing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, shall conclude a special Agreement defining clearly the matter in dispute, the scope of the powers of the Arbitrators, and the periods to be fixed for the formation of the Arbitral Tribunal and the several stages of the procedure.

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Article III.

The present Agreement is concluded for a period of five years, dating from the day of signature.

(l. s.)
(l. s.)
Paul Cambon.
  1. Not printed.