Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/162

This page needs to be proofread.


The Legal S&onthly Analysis of Leading Legal Events "We believe it will be the prevailing feeling of the country that, in his answer to the British note protesting against the exemption of American coastwise shipping from Panama Canal tolls, Sec retary Knox has interpreted his duty as requiring him to be the defensive coun sel in a bad cause rather than the states man seeking in a broad way a basis of settlement that would be honorable and satisfactory to both parties at issue." 1 Secretary Knox's reply to Earl Grey's note was an attempt to prove that the British objections rest upon a mere imaginary contingency, rather than upon actual discrimination against British shipping through the tolls fixed by Presi dent Taft. It is a question of fact, he held, and it is not necessary to discuss an issue which has not yet arisen. This opinion of the Secretary of State has evidently been received with defer ence in some quarters, and Senator Root has been criticized for arguing principles without determining whether there are facts to which the principles apply. An example of Secretary Knox's keen sense of fact was perhaps afforded by his statement that foreign shipping would not suffer in consequence of the exemption of American shipping, as the rate of $1.25 per ton established by the President had been the rate calculated by Prof. Emory R. Johnson on the basis of non-exemption of American coast wise trade. If Mr. Knox had desired to present a more thorough analysis of the facts, he could have shown that Professor Johnson's conclusion was that "if tolls were levied alike upon American and foreign ships, it would apparently ^Boston Transcript, Jan. 24, 1913.

World

be possible to make the canal self-sup porting during the first decade, but that it would not be possible to secure from foreign shipping alone revenues sufficient for that purpose. Of course we should get all the traffic would bear. His esti mate of gross revenue for 1915 was $12,600,000, made up of $1,200,000 on coast-to-coast American shipping, $864,000 from American shipping carrying foreign commerce, and $10,536,000 from foreign shipping. If we remit $1,200,000 of American tolls, either we must assess that sum upon foreign shipping or face a serious deficit in canal opera tion." 2 The situation was made even clearer in Professor Johnson's address before the Chicago City Club Feb. 6. The evasive treatment of the question by Secretary Knox and the continued indifference of the Senate disappoint those who would like to see the nation carefully living up to its treaty obligations. Even Senator Root's eloquent demand for arbitration in the Senate Jan. 21 can hardly be said to have expressed the views of even a substantial minority in the Senate. To turn from this aspect of our national life, which can hardly be said to show our unbounded faith in the principle of legal settlement of international disputes, we may perhaps find satisfaction in several other for example latest legal the reform developments. of procedure. Take • The New York Code practice is likely to be simplified by the enactment of a short practice act to be supplanted by rules of court, in accordance with the approved doctrine. New York procedure has not been so much in need of reform as that of some other states. » New York Times Dec. 11, 1912.