Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 69.djvu/152

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than four members, who must be learned in international law. If a dispute occurs the disputants select two of these four from each country, or others not permanent members. These parties choose an umpire, and the settlement is to progress according to stipulated arrangements of procedure. So by this conference a world tribunal was established.

Strange to say, the nations did not submit any cases for arbitration in this court until the year 1902. To the present time five cases have been submitted. The first was the Pious Fund Case, 1902. This concerned a dispute over the disposition of a fund created for the support of certain missions in Mexico. In 1697 the Jesuits in Mexico had collected a fund for their monastic and missionary enterprises. After the abolition of the order of Jesuits in 1768, the government seized the property of the Pious Fund, but distributed its income among the missions concerned. After California became a part of the United States, these annual payments were not made to the missions in California. Our government protested on the part of the missions concerned, but to no avail. Finally, both departments of state concluded to let the matter be judged by the Hague Tribunal, and there the award was given to the claimants of the United States. Mexico was asked to pay the arrears and to continue the regular annual payments. Another case was between Venezuela, on the one hand, and a number of European countries and the United States, on the other. The chief facts of the case are the following: Owing to numerous revolutions in Venezuela, the government was heavily in debt and was unable to meet its financial obligations to European and American creditors. Venezuela disagreed as to the amount to be paid and wanted time to reorganize her finances. Several of the European countries brought pressure to bear on Venezuela with little success. Finally, it was decided to arbitrate the claims at The Hague. This was accomplished in February, 1904. The claims in the aggregate did not amount to very much, but the precedent was very important. Decisions in the other three cases have not yet been rendered.

Fully as important as the cases which have been submitted to the Hague Tribunal is the recent agreement of Norway and Sweden. In drawing up the final terms which provided for the peaceful separation of Norway and Sweden, those two powers agreed for a period of ten years to submit to the Hague Tribunal all matters of dispute, except those which affect the independence, integrity and vital interests of either. Similar treaties of arbitration have been drawn up by the other powers, but this treaty differs from the others in one important respect. In the other treaties either party decides whether the point in dispute is of vital interest or not. In the case of Norway and Sweden, the Hague Tribunal decides whether the point in dispute is of such vital importance as can not be decided justly by the tribunal.