Courtesy Reuters
Foreign Affairs From The Anthology: From the Archives: International Institutions
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The United States and the New International Court

IF THERE is one feature of American foreign policy that has remained constant during the last half-century it would seem to be our support of the idea of a permanent international court of justice. When Secretary John Hay directed our delegates to the first Hague Conference to propose the establishment of such a tribunal, he traced the growth of an "almost continuous movement of thought in this direction since 1832," when the Senate of Massachusetts had adopted a resolution on the subject; and it was in no small measure due to the efforts of the American delegates that the panel known as the Permanent Court of Arbitration was set up in 1899. Eight years later President Roosevelt wanted "to see the Hague Court greatly increased in power and permanency," and Secretary Root instructed our delegates to the second Hague Conference to endeavor "to bring about a development of the Hague tribunal into a permanent tribunal." But no agreement could be reached as to the method of selecting the judges, and it has remained for the Permanent Court of International Justice, established during the last two years, to achieve that result. This new Court is quite obviously in line with what our government has been standing for during the administrations of Presidents McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson, and the all but universally favorable comment on its organization seems sufficient indication of its fulfilment of American hopes.

But the Government of the United States has had no part in setting up the new Court, and we are now confronted with the necessity of deciding what share we shall have in maintaining it. The problem is not without its difficulties, and these must be clearly understood if the administration is to have the assistance of an informed opinion in meeting them.

Secretary Hughes has called attention to the fact that under the present constitution of the Permanent Court of International Justice the United States has no voice in the election of the judges. In a statement

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