The Secretary of State to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (Taft)


My Dear Mr. Chief Justice:

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I am very glad to learn of what you said to Lord Balfour, Lord Robert Cecil and others with respect to the necessity of having some provision by which this Government can have a voice in the election of judges of the International Court. Of course it would be impossible to have this Government participate in the maintenance of the Court so long as it did not have an appropriate opportunity to join in the election of judges.

The present plan was worked out to give the large States, through the Council, and the small States, through the Assembly, of the League of Nations, the opportunity to vote that they desired and thus to avoid the difficulties hitherto encountered in providing for the election of judges. This was a happy solution so far as the members of the League were concerned, and it is a difficult one to change because neither the large Powers nor the small Powers would be willing to surrender the effective participation they now enjoy respectively.

The only suggestion that I can make at this time, and it is merely a personal one, is based upon an analogy to the treaties we are now negotiating in respect to mandates. There you will remember, doubtless, that the guarantees of the mandates run only to States, and nationals of States, who are members of the League of Nations. I have provided in the treaties recognizing the mandates that the United [Page 3] States and Its nationals shall have the same rights with respect to these guarantees as though the United States was a member of the League of Nations. Perhaps it could be arranged that the United States should have a vote for judges of the International Court although the United States is not a member of the League of Nations and exactly with the same effect as though it were a member.

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Faithfully yours,

Charles E. Hughes