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importance between them. We need not dilate on the paramount necessity of preserving intact the absolute inviolability of the dominions of States if our system of International Law is not to be shaken to its foundations. Once let it be established that for reasons of expediency, or as a so-called peaceful measure of self-redress, a State is entitled to invade the dominions of another, a principle of anarchy will be admitted into politics totally inconsistent with the fundamental postulate of International Law, based, as it is, on the territorial independence of nations. That a new law might be worked out on the new lines indicated by the admission of such a principle is possible. That, for our familiar circle of Powers, each developing its genius and energies in its own fashion, we might have in exchange the autocracy of a clique of diplomatists, or the supremacy of a dominant State, might be an advantage to the world, though opinions will doubtless differ as to the immediate desirability of such a metamorphosis. But the system of law which has been worked out on the basis of the territorial independence of nations with such elaboration and, on the whole, with such deeply beneficial results, would have vanished for ever, in the process of substituting a world-empire, or a set of tribal sovereignties, for the territorial sovereignty with the conception of which the fabrics of that system is bound up. And in the chaos which would ensue, much would happen of a more serious character than the trivial or conjectural dangers which induce politicians to permit their armed forces to act in foreign territory with a self-approving consciousness that they are the instruments of preventing alarming disturbances, that they are not at war, and are only improving upon that most ridiculous of all pretensions, “a pacific blockade.” The support which is accorded to the notion of the "hegemony of the Great Powers" -- which inevitably implies the more
immediate dictatorship of the greatest-by persons who
Whether a return to the system of Imperial Rome or
Only it is desired to emphasize the fact that, whether difficult or easy, the transition to either plan would be accompanied by the total and entire failure of International Law to accommodate itself on any terms to the new conditions.
The principle of territorial independence has lain at the root of the public law of the world since the days of Hugo de Groot, and so long as no substitute for our present Law
of Nations has been worked out, no steps can be tolerated which would render that law at once inapplicable by falsifying its fundamental assumption. So we have to consider whether the principle of territorial sovereignty is seriously impaired by the recognition of the legality of landing troops or sailors, though in small numbers, in foreign dominions upon emergency. Unbiassed consideration-unless an admiration of the system by which various forms of human activity can exist and develop side by side, each in unquestioned security, can be termed a prejudicewill probably lead to the conclusion that it is. In the first place, the spectacle of a foreign military force exercising authority, under whatever circumstances and for whatever purposes, on the soil of a State, is enough to create, in the minds of the subjects of the latter, an impression that their own Government is not really independent. They feel that it has not that unlimited authority which they have attributed to it, but that it is liable, upon occasion, to the interference of foreign officials, and that not as an act of war, which everyone can understand, but as a measure of public order taken, to all appearance, in the exercise of some regular reserve jurisdiction.
The mass of the population do not draw delicate distinctions. Foreigners, they notice, step in and keep order when matters come to a head. The inevitable conclusion is that, when it suits them to do so, they will step in
The authority of the State is at once lowered, if not undermined, in the estimation of the unreflective body over whom its maintenance is of the utmost importance. Besides this, although the symbolic influence of the absolute immunity of territory upon the populace is surely, in these days, important enough—there is a further consideration of practical gravity. This lies in the unfortunate tendency of armed forces, when once they have obtained a footing on land to remain there. Examples, not few nor unimpressive,
of this danger are the commonplaces of history. That
It may be objected that these instances are all concerning
prolongation of its visit, would remain the same if such States as Corea and Tunis—not to speak of Siam-had absolutely no rights at all. And the most narrow interpreters of the scope of International Law will scarcely refuse to these nations the right to exist.
To turn to the other side of the question, foreigners who visit a strange country have usually the option of remaining at home; they go, as a matter of fact, prepared to take the risks of travel and those of residence in a land of unfamiliar customs and uncertain tranquillity; or, if they rely on their knowledge of the place, and on their own favourable opinion of its safety, they can blame themselves alone, if their opinion turns out to be incorrect, and their knowledge limited. Such residents abroad have probably some idea that their own Government will do what it can to induce the authorities of the foreign State to treat them fairly, but they cannot expect that it will furnish them with direct protection by the use of force in the actual territory of the latter.
As to the protection of consulates similar remarks apply. These offices are, to a large extent, mere business agencies, and no harm can be done to them so serious as to justify the step of taking the duty of protecting them out of the hands of the territorial authority. The risk of confusing the limits of State jurisdiction which arises when organised bodies of foreign troops take it upon them to enforce order in a disturbed district, makes the advantages of such a proceeding seem small in comparison. The immediate effects of the presence of the force may be beneficial, but the ultimate results are anarchic.
Besides, foreign detachments might work without objection, under the supervision and at the orders of the executive authorities of the place. In this case they might be accompanied by the latter, or in some other open way make it clear that their action is