Courtesy Reuters

TWENTY-FIVE years ago the first international Peace Conference met at The Hague, having been called by the Czar as a "happy presage for the century about to open." Its chief accomplishment was the 1899 Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, in which twenty-five states recognized the "solidarity which unites the members of the society of civilized nations" and undertook "to use their best efforts to insure the pacific settlement of international differences." A procedure for such settlement was elaborated, but at that time no state was willing to agree to resort to it before going to war.

That was a quarter of a century ago. Today we seem a century removed from the first Hague Conference. A first step was taken at the second Hague Conference in 1907, when the delegates of forty-four states "admitted the principle of compulsory arbitration." But the effort to outlaw war was only begun when

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  • MANLEY O. HUDSON, Professor of International Law in the Harvard Law School; member of the Secretariat of the League of Nations, 1919-24
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