« PreviousContinue »
V-CURRENT NOTES ON INTERNATIONAL
The War Between Turkey and Greece. Several points of interest to Students of International Law arose in connection with the recent war between Greece and Turkey, though the absence at present of authoritative information precludes comment upon some of them. It is noteworthy that contemporaneously with the order to Edhem Pasha to advance into Greece, an Iradé was formally issued by the Porte,* recalling the Ottoman minister from Athens, intimating that the Greek minister at Constantinople had received his passports, and requiring all Greek subjects in the Turkish Empire to leave the country within 15 days. The last-mentioned point evoked a protest from the Greek Government, which denounced it to the Great Powers as “ contrary to the principles of modern civilization," and with a praiseworthy consistency refused to retaliate by issuing a similar order to Ottoman subjects in Greece.
The French, Russian, and British Ambassadors resolved to grant joint protection to Greek residents in Turkey, and the French Minister went so far as to immediately issue letters of protection to various persons. At the same time the three ministers presented to the Porte a Collective Note, protesting against the Decree of Expulsion. Shortly afterwards the Porte replied, resenting foreign interference in the matter, and claiming that the step was necessary for the maintenance of public order.Ş A few days later, however, the Turkish Government consented to the Ambassadors according protection to Greek subjects, and
* Times, 19th April.
Times, 29th April.
+ Times, 23rd and 24th April.
issued a decree postponing the expulsion for a further 15 days.* In spite of this, it appears that the original order was actually enforced in a considerable number of cases in spite of the protests of the Ambassadors.t The armistice, however, following upon the offer of mediation made by the Great Powers, postponed indefinitely the question of general expulsion.
There seems to be no doubt that the Ottoman Decree was an extreme measure not justified by modern practice. Theoretically, no doubt, a State can at any time expel aliens resident in its territory, and in case of outbreak of war even detain them and confiscate their property. Even so recently as 1803 Napoleon made prisoners of war all British subjects travelling in France; but such an exceptionally harsh instance is hardly to be quoted as a precedent. Prussian subjects in France, at the commencement of the Franco-German war, were permitted to remain, though it is true that later on the permission was in part rescinded owing to the exigencies of the war. I
There is at all events no modern precedent for an immediate general order such as that issued by the Porte, and it is in some respects a pity that the intervention of the armistice prevented a definite enforcement upon the Ottoman Government of the views of the Ambassadors.
It would appear that a more or less “ effective” blockade of the Gulfs of Volo and Arta was maintained by the Greek fleets during the greater part of the war. A British steamer loaded with oil was prevented from entering the Port of Volo, and it is stated that an Austrian Lloyd steamer proceeding to the same place with 72 Turkish
Times, 6th May.
† Times, 8th May. See the excellent notes in Halleck's “ International Law," 3rd edition, Vol. I., p. 531 et seq., by Sir Sherston Baker.
§ Times, 14th May.
seamen on board was captured by a Greek Torpedo Boat. *
The Greek fleet seems in one or two instances to have exceeded the limits of modern usage as regards the bombardment of unfortified seaport towns and villages, but in most cases it would appear that the places in question were at all events occupied by bodies of Turkish troops, or used as temporary store places for provisions and munitions of war.t.
It is difficult at present to judge of the accuracy of the reports of pillage, incendiarism and ill-treatment of prisoners by Turkish troops in Epirus and Thessaly; but there certainly seems to have been some basis for the charges.
The usual Royal Proclamation in Council was published in the London Gazette on the 4th May, at which date curiously enough the war was for all practical purposes nearly over. The Proclamation sets forth fully the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act, and warns British subjects against any infringement of it, and concludes by a general direction to all persons to observe towards the belligerents the “ duties of neutrality," and not to do any acts “in violation or contravention of the Law of Nations."
Another Order appearing in the same number of the Gazette, was directed by the Foreign Secretary to the Lords of the Admiralty, requiring the enforcement of the
24 hours rule” as regards belligerent ships in British territorial waters. In view of the fact that the Turkish vessels never left the Dardanelles and the Greek fleet was never more than a day's sail from Athens, the order was quite superfluous. The good work, however, done by the
Foreign Legion" with the Greek army, made it evident that as regards most of the Constitutional European States
* Times, 20th May.
their respective Foreign Enlistment Laws were, except in flagrant cases of violation, permitted to be more honoured in the breach than in the observance.
Cuban Expeditions and U.S. Neutrality. The question as to whether our own Foreign Enlistment Act applies to expeditions fitted out to assist insurgents was not argued in the recent case of R. v. Jameson, 65 L.J.M.C., 218, and appears to have been tacitly settled in the affirmative both in that case and in the earlier one of R. v. Sandoval, 16 Cox 206. The analogous United States Statute has, however, on this point recently been the subject of express judicial interpretation in the case of U.S. v. The Three Friends, 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 495, in connection with a filibustering expedition to assist the Cuban Insurgents. The American Statute makes it an offence to fit out a vessel to be employed “in the service of any foreign prince or state, “or of any colony, district, or people to cruise or commit “ hostilities against the subjects, citizens, or property of “any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or
people with whom the U.S. are at peace.” The Supreme Court (Harlan, C.J., dissenting) held that the Cuban Insurgents, though not recognised as belligerents, are “a colony, district, or people" within the meaning of the Statute.
The sympathy of a certain section of American citizens with the Cuban rebels has given rise to a very important judgment of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Wiborg v. The United States, 163 U.S. Sup. Ct. Rep. 632. The case arose out of the sailing, in November, 1895, from Philadelphia, of a Danish steamer, the Horsa, under the Danish flag and with a Danish captain. A body of men went on board a tug loaded with arms and boarded the
Horsa, which had previously by arrangement gone 30 or 40 miles out to sea. Once on board, they distributed arms, were officered and drilled, and eventually disembarked to effect an armed landing on the Cuban coast. The Court held that the prisoners, being the captain and two mates of the Horsa, were guilty of providing or preparing the means for a military expedition or enterprise within the meaning of the U.S. Foreign Enlistment Act (Revised Statutes, sect. 5286) since providing or preparing the means of transportation for such an expedition is one of the forins of provision or preparation within the Statute.
The question of a somewhat similar expedition to Cuba came before the Federal Court in the still more recent case of United States v. O'Brien, 75 F. 900.
The Court dealt very exhaustively with the whole subject of violation of neutrality by foreign enlistment or equipping expeditions. With reference to the Statute above-mentioned, the conclusions laid down were very interesting and may be summarized shortly as follows: (1) It being lawful for individuals to go abroad to enlist, they may go in any number, and in any way they see fit, by regular lines of steamers, by chartering a vessel, or in any other manner, either separately or associated, provided always, that they do not go as a military expedition, or set on foot, or begin within the jurisdiction a military expedition or enterprise to be carried on from the United States or provide or prepare the means therefor.
(2) If the owner of a vessel provides and furnishes her knowing that she is to be used for the transportation to a foreign country of an organised body of men, intending to act together in a concerted military way, and with arms, he is guilty of a violation of the Statute.
(3) It is no offence against the laws of the United States to transport to a foreign country arms, ammunition, and materials of war, either alone or together, in the same ship