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1838, 1850, 1862, 1879, etc.), “or to influence the conduct of
such other State" (as in the Greek Blockades of 1827 and 1886, and the present Blockade of Crete).
The fact is, that the first of these two principles follows ex hypothesi from the very nature of Pacific Blockade. It is only a State immensely superior in power which can indulge in reprisals of any kind without provoking war. Reprisals of every form, including Pacific Blockade, are really a belligerent act, and necessarily constitute a casus belli, if the State against which they are directed could reasonably resist or retaliate. Hence the idea of a Pacific Blockade of the ports of one Great Power by another is absurd upon the face of it.
the face of it. Such a thing would inevitably be followed by immediate and complete hostilities on both sides. When, however, a Great Power or a combination of several Great Powers wish to coerce a comparatively insignificant State they can do so with the utmost impunity and knowing that there can be no material resistance. In such an event there is no need of a regular war.
Such was the case in 1886 and in every other recorded instance of “ Pacific Blockade." The fact, however, cannot reasonably be adduced as an argument against the legitimacy of this particular form of Reprisals or Coercion. If a complete war can be avoided by Pacific Blockade or any other means of redress, it is difficult to see that either International Law or the broadest principles of humanitarianism are in any way infringed. The one material objection is avoided if it is assumed that no Reprisals of any kind can be recognised as directly binding third parties.
Mr. Baty in his recent article in this Review* quotes numerous authorities to shew that Pacific Blockade is in fact not merely a casus belli, but actual Bellum, and he
*" The Institute of International Law on Pacific Blockade," L.M. & R., August, 1896.
appears to treat this as an argument against the validity of such a Blockade. The distinction is one without much difference. It takes two parties to make a war, and if a particular coercive act is sufficient to effect the object of one party without provoking counter hostilities on the part of the other, it is difficult to see in what respect such an act is opposed to International Law. The argument of Mr. Baty seems, on the contrary, to entirely justify Pacific Blockade, except as regards its name. If the act is to be regarded as an actual operation of war, it necessarily follows that a Blockade in the proper sense of the term is legally justifiable, even as against neutrals.
The political expediency or moral defensibility of the present Blockade of Crete need not be here discussed. The avowed object appears to have been much the same as in the case of the Greek affair of 1886, although in the present case the Powers have not succeeded in their object. In the Cretan affair, however, there are several novel points of interest. In the first place it is to be observed that the Powers are blockading territory nominally subject to Turkey as a means of coercing Greece. This aspect of the case has not, we believe, been previously discussed. Theoretically speaking, as the “ Blockade" is undertaken with the consent of the Porte, the case is not strictly one of “ Pacific Blockade" at all. Any State can, if
Any State can, if it chooses, close its ports to external commerce, subject, of course, to the risk of commercial or other retaliation. So far, therefore, as the Blockade operations are conducted by the Powers within the territorial waters of Crete, and with the consent of Turkey, the curious result above referred to seems to follow. On the other hand, if the overthrow of the Ottoman authority in Crete by the troops of Colonel Vassos or by the insurgents can be regarded as a fait accompli, then perhaps the affair may be treated as an ordinary case of Pacific Blockade.
The Government notification of the Blockade as published in the London Gazette of March 19th, 1897, is a somewhat curious document. It is dated from the Foreign Office, and runs as follows:
“ It is hereby notified that the Admirals in command of “the British, Austro-Hungarian, French, German, Italian, "and Russian naval forces have decided to put the Island of “Crete into a State of Blockade commencing on the 21st of “ March at 8 a.m.
“The Blockade will be general for all ships under the “Greek Flag."
“Ships of the six Powers, or neutral (sic) Powers, may “enter into the Ports occupied by the Powers and land “their merchandise, but only if it is not for the Greek troops
or the interior of the Island. These ships may be visited “by the ships of the International fleets.
The limits of the blockade are comprised between 23° 24' and 26° 30' longitude E. of Greenwich and 35° 48' "and 34° 45' north latitude."
It is observable that neutral (or as they should more properly be called quasi-neutral) vessels are not, as in 1886, entirely exempted from the Blockade.
This is a very serious omission, and it is rumoured that for this reason the United States Government has formally declined to recognise the Blockade. Probably, however, no restrictions on the vessels of any State other than the Great Powers or Greece were intended to be or will in fact be enforced. The Gazette notice reads as if it were a naval rather than a diplomatic composition. It is also noteworthy that no indication is officially given of the penalty for breach of Blockade. In 1886 the sole penalty was temporary “detention " without compensation, and this was the only sanction recognised as permissible by the Institute in 1887. One Greek vessel appears to have been sunk by an Austrian man-of-war, in the present Cretan affair, but no claim for
compensation has been made or suggested. What effect the formal declaration of war between Greece and Turkey will have upon Crete remains to be seen. Theoretically, perhaps, it should at once operate to dissolve the Blockade, but the Powers having occupied Crete will probably insist upon the Island being excluded altogether from the sphere of hostilities. It is quite certain, however, that the proposal to extend the Blockade to Greece itself must now be considered abandoned.
Costa Rica” Packet Arbitration.
British experience of arbitrations has, ever since the Alabama affair, been singularly unfortunate. The recent award of Professor de Martens in the case of the Costa Rica Packet, following on the Behring Sea success, entitles us to hope that the tide of British reverses has at last been stemmed.
The facts in the latest case occurred so long ago as 1891. Captain Carpenter, a British subject, and master of a New South Wales vessel called the Costa Rica Packet, in the course of a voyage in East Indian waters, came across a derelict Malay prahu on the High Seas laden with arrak and brandy, but with no person on board. Deeming it abandoned, he boarded the prahu, and sunk it after having removed the cargo, which he subsequently sold. On the arrival of his ship at Macassar, in November, 1891, Captain Carpenter was arrested by the Dutch authorities, detained in prison for a long period in spite of offers to give heavy bail, and after being subjected to great indignities was eventually released owing to the Macassar Court holding that it had no jurisdiction to try the case.
Demands for compensation were made and refused, but after protracted negotiations between the British and Dutch Governments the dispute was, by a Treaty of the
16th May, 1895, referred to the arbitration of Professor de Martens, the distinguished Russian jurist.
Professor de Martens made his award in writing on the 13th February, 1897,* declaring that the Dutch Government was liable for the acts complained of, and, estimating the damages by way of indemnity as follows: £3,500 to be paid to Captain Carpenter; £1,600 to the officers and crew of the Costa Rica Packet, and £3,800 to the owners of the ship, with interest at 5 per cent. from the 2nd of November, 1891, the date of the original arrest. The arbitrator also awarded £250 to the British Government by way of costs.
The reasons for the award are stated at length, and are very interesting. Professor de Martens begins by reciting: "that the right of sovereignty of the State on the sea “adjacent to the land is determined by the range of a
cannon at low water; that on the high sea even merchant ships constitute detached portions of the territory of the “State whose flag they carry, and consequently are only “judicially liable for acts committed on the high sea, to “their respective national authorities; that the State has “not only the right but the duty also to protect and
defend, by all the means authorised by International Law, "its subjects abroad, when they are the victims of arbitrary "proceedings or breaches of law committed to their “prejudice; that the Sovereignty of the State and the "independence of its judicial or administrative authorities
could not be upheld by the arbitrary suppression of the “ legal security which ought to be guaranteed as much to
strangers as to the subjects in the territory of all civilized “ countries."
The award then goes on to find as matters of fact that the prahu was seized by Captain Carpenter, “incontestably “outside the limit of the territorial sea of the Dutch Indies," See Times, 24th March, 1897.