China’s New Vassal
How the War in Ukraine Turned Moscow Into Beijing’s Junior Partner
IN 1907 the conflicting interests of large and small states, both requiring representation on the bench, prevented the creation of a Permanent Court of Arbitral Justice. In 1920, Mr. Root, a member of a Committee of Jurists appointed by the Council of the League of Nations, suggested a formula which reconciled these conflicting interests. As a result, the Permanent Court of International Justice, now commonly known as the World Court, came into being. In 1926 an apparent conflict of interests between the United States, not a member of the League, and some forty other states, members of the League and parties to the treaty creating the Court, prevented the United States from becoming a party to the Court treaty. The differences in this case turned upon the Court's function in rendering advisory opinions. Once more Mr. Root (serving again as a member of a similar Committee of Jurists) has suggested a formula which reconciles these conflicting interests or shows that no conflict really exists. The way now seems cleared for American participation in the work of this most effective instrument for the judicial settlement of international disputes.
The reservations adopted by the United States Senate on January 27, 1926, though communicated to the other Powers somewhat in the form of an ultimatum, in reality constituted an offer from the United States to lend its support to the Court on certain conditions. The fifth reservation grew out of the fear that the power of the Council and Assembly of the League to request advisory opinions might be exercised in a manner detrimental to American interests. But the other Powers -- usually referred to as the Signatory States -- feared that if they accepted the American offer unconditionally the United States might exercise its power to prevent the rendering of advisory opinions so as to destroy or cripple the functioning of what had proved a highly useful device. Until Mr. Root clarified the issue it was generally believed that the difference was one of substance; in reality it was one of procedure.
In the light of Mr. Root's part in the history of the World Court, and having regard to his personality, it is not surprising that on his most recent mission to Europe he should have been received with the greatest consideration. The minutes of the fifty-fourth session of the Council of the League at which the question of American adherence to the Court Statute was discussed contain many references to the happy circumstance that Mr. Root was among those jurists who had accepted the Council's invitation to examine questions relating to the Court. The chairman of the Committee of Jurists, Mr. Scialoja -- who at the time was also president of the Council -- declared it one of the greatest honors he had ever received to be participating with Mr. Root in the work of the committee. The president of the Court, Mr. Anzilotti, hailed Mr. Root as the "spiritual father of the Court." Even more striking was the deference paid to the American statesman's views in the committee discussions. Mr. Root did not speak often; when he did his words were almost invariably accepted as final, and on several occasions when he had spoken in opposition to a proposition the chairman passed at once to the next item in assurance that the matter was settled.
In the present account only the fifth American reservation needs close attention. It reads:
"The Court shall not render any advisory opinion except publicly after due notice and hearing or opportunity for hearing to all states concerned; nor shall it without the consent of the United States, entertain any request for an advisory opinion touching any dispute or question in which the United States has or claims an interest."
The Senate also declared that these reservations must be accepted by an "exchange of notes." Secretary Kellogg accordingly wrote forty-four separate but identical notes to the States which had already accepted the Court Statute, and a copy of the reservations was also sent to the Secretary-General of the League. Naturally enough the recipients of Secretary Kellogg's note felt that they had a common interest in the matter, so that only twenty-three answered him directly and of these only five unconditionally accepted the Senate's conditions. Moreover, the states in question had become accustomed to a new method of conducting diplomatic business, a method which the United States has from time to time tasted by participating in the Pan American Union and in various international conferences, but which it still looks upon as a sort of exotic dish and not as a staple article of diet. The method is that of joint conference for discussing matters of common interest. Naturally enough, then, the agency which those states have created to facilitate the application of the method, the Council of the League of Nations, called a conference of the Signatory States. The United States was asked to participate. But the United States declined, and the Conference met at Geneva in 1926 without the benefit of having an American representative present to explain what the reservations meant and how they were to be applied. Secretary Kellogg declared that they were "plain and unequivocal."
The first four reservations and the first half of the fifth caused little trouble, but the latter part of the last reservation was not as clear to the Europeans as it apparently was to the State Department. They suggested a compromise formula which was not acceptable to the United States. Their suggestions were set forth in a Final Act adopted by the Conference and embodied in a Draft Protocol. Twenty-four states eventually replied to Mr. Kellogg's note in the terms of this Final Act. These replies were received in the latter part of 1926 and early in 1927. For a time no further move was made by the United States.
Meanwhile the question whether requests for advisory opinions required unanimity or merely a majority vote continued to agitate the members of the League. The Assembly of 1928 adopted an innocuous resolution recommending that the Council make a study of the question when possible. At the same time, however, another resolution was adopted suggesting that in view of the fact that in accordance with the Statute the entire bench of the Court must be reëlected in 1930, the time was ripe for an examination of that Statute in the light of eight years of practical experience. Responsive to this resolution, the Council on December 13, 1928, decided to invite a group of expert jurists to undertake this task. Mr. Root was among those invited.
The Committee was called to meet in Geneva on March 11, 1929, but before its sessions opened two events of major importance occurred. On February 19 Secretary Kellogg addressed notes to the forty states which had ratified the Court's Protocol of Signature. This note was in reply to the various communications made by these states to the United States in 1926 and 1927. It is a noteworthy document couched in the most courteous and sympathetic terms. Mr. Kellogg reviewed the situation and declared:
The Government of the United States desires to avoid in so far as may be possible any proposal which would interfere with or embarrass the work of the Council of the League of Nations, doubtless often perplexing and difficult, and it would be glad if it could dispose of the subject by a simple acceptance of the suggestions embodied in the Final Act and draft Protocol adopted at Geneva on September 23, 1926. There are, however, some elements of uncertainty in the bases of these suggestions which seem to require further discussion . . . it appears that the Protocol submitted by the twenty-four governments in relation to the fifth reservation would not furnish adequate protection to the United States. . . . Possibly the interest of the United States thus attempted to be safeguarded may be fully protected in some other way or by some other formula. The government of the United States feels that such an informal exchange of views as is contemplated by the twenty-four governments should, as herein suggested, lead to agreement upon some provision which in unobjectionable form would protect the rights and interests of the United States, as an adherent to the Court Statute, and this expectation is strongly supported by the fact that there seems to be but little difference regarding the substance of these rights and interests.
This note was also transmitted to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, who had communicated to the State Department the invitation to the 1926 conference. It was received while the Council of the League was in session and was regarded as a matter of the highest importance. On Sir Austen Chamberlain's proposal the whole question of American adherence was referred to the Committee of Jurists.
This much appears in the documentary record; but simultaneously other matters were under way. Before leaving the United States, Mr. Root had made a trip to Washington and had discussed the question of American adherence with Secretary Kellogg and with certain members of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate whose colleague in the Senate he had been for many years.
By the time Mr. Root reached Geneva he had definitely formulated a project. There were then gathering in Geneva the persons who formed the Council of the League of Nations, which began its fifty-fourth session in Geneva on March 4. Many of these persons were old friends of Mr. Root; to all of them he was of course well known. In meeting them informally it was natural that the question of American adherence to the Court should form a topic of conversation. It appeared that his plan for the application of the fifth reservation would be acceptable in principle to these persons, and presumably to the governments which they represented. Then followed the action of the Council just alluded to and the Committee of Jurists became seized of the whole problem of American adherence in an atmosphere of friendly and sympathetic understanding which had not been wholly possible at earlier stages.
The question of American adherence was the first item on the agenda. The chairman stated that he understood Mr. Root had formulated an informal suggestion as a basis for the solution of the problem and the "Root Plan," as it was called, was circulated to the members of the committee.
This draft project was based on the Final Act and Protocol of the 1926 Conference of Signatories. It asked for no concession from the Signatory States which they had not at that time indicated their willingness to accept. In Article 4 of the 1926 Protocol the Signatory States had indicated an acceptance of the fifth Senate reservation and suggested a method of applying it; in Article 7 they had, in providing a right of withdrawal, expressly referred to their acceptance of the fifth reservation. The Root Plan merely threw these statements into bolder relief. While not suggesting any new concessions on the part of the Signatory States, the project at the same time made no attempt to depart from the Senate reservations. In other words, the underlying theory was, to use the words of Mr. Kellogg's note of February 19, 1929, that there was "but little difference regarding the substance of these rights and interests" of the United States. The difficulty was seen to lie in the attempt to arrive at a general abstract formula which in advance would envisage and provide for every theoretical case which might arise. Hence the efforts which had been made on both sides to frame a definition of "claim" and "interest" and to solve the much mooted problem of whether unanimity was necessary in requesting an advisory opinion. The Root Plan shifted the controversy from the field of the theoretical and abstract to the concrete. Mr. Root pointed out the impossibility of finding a satisfactory general definition. The word "interest" has many meanings in popular use. Thus the United States has an "interest" in the preservation of all rules of international law. It has an "interest" in the prosperity of all countries which are customers for its products. But these are not the "interests" which the fifth reservation was intended to safeguard. What definition would include all which we wished to include and exclude all which we were willing to exclude? Obviously it was not sufficient to refer to "legal interests" -- the Monroe Doctrine is a matter of policy, not of law, and yet the Senate undoubtedly wishes to cover our interest in that Doctrine. The question thus resolved itself into one of procedure, and the Root Plan is a procedural device.
In much of the popular consideration of the fifth reservation attention has been focussed on the prohibitory phrase -- "the Court shall not entertain any request for an advisory opinion touching any dispute or question in which the United States has or claims an interest." It seems sometimes to have been overlooked that this prohibition is coupled with the words "without the consent of the United States" -- words which clearly imply that such consent would not always be withheld. The Root Plan is also a device for manifesting that consent.
The Signatories in 1926 had drawn a distinction between disputes to which the United States was a party, and other disputes or questions. As to the first category they suggested that the jurisprudence of the Court offered sufficient guarantees. In other words, they agreed in principle that the Court should not render an advisory opinion in such cases without the consent of the United States. The first paragraph of the Root Plan stated this condition flatly. The second paragraph made the same stipulation for questions or disputes to which the United States is not a party but in which the United States has or claims an interest. The third paragraph states: "The manner in which shall be made known whether the United States claims an interest and gives or withholds its consent shall be as follows." Two situations are then envisaged. First (paragraph four) it is stated that "whenever in contemplation of a request for an advisory opinion it seems desirable, the Council or Assembly may invite an exchange of views with the United States and such exchange of views shall proceed with all convenient speed." Second (paragraph five) it is provided that "whenever a request for an advisory opinion comes to the Court, the Registrar shall notify the United States thereof among other states mentioned in the now existing article 73 of the Rules of Court stating a reasonable time limit fixed by the president within which a written statement by the United States concerning the request will be received." It will be noted that this paragraph serves also to perpetuate one of the articles of the Rules of the Court (revised after the adoption of the Senate Reservations) which insures the publicity of advisory opinions. According to paragraph six, if within this time limit the United States claims an interest and asserts that it has not consented to the submission of the question, all proceedings before the Court are stayed to permit of an immediate exchange of views between the United States and "the proponents of the request," that is, the Council or Assembly. The seventh and final paragraph of the original Root draft is a description of what may occur in the course of this exchange of views. It reads as follows:
If after such an exchange of views either while a question is in contemplation or after a question has gone to the Court, it shall appear (1) that no agreement can be reached as to whether the question does touch an interest of the United States within the true meaning of the second paragraph of this article; and (a) that the submission of the question is still insisted upon after attributing to the objection of the United States the same force and effect as attaches to a vote against asking for the opinion given by a Member of the League of Nations either in the Assembly or in the Council; and if it also appears that the United States has not been able to find the submission of the question so important for the general good as to call upon the United States to forego its objection in that particular instance, leaving the request to be acted upon by the Court without in any way binding the United States; then it shall be deemed that owing to a material difference of view regarding the proper scope of the practice of requesting advisory opinions the arrangement now agreed upon is not yielding satisfactory results and that the exercise of the powers of withdrawal provided in Article 7 hereof will follow naturally without any imputation of unfriendliness or of unwillingness to coöperate generally for peace and goodwill.
It will be noted that the project frankly faces the issue, describes the several possible contingencies, and is wholly self-explanatory. It is based on the theory that as a matter of practical application the United States and the "proponents of a request" for an advisory opinion would in the vast majority of cases reach an agreement. And although the word "theory" is used, it must be remembered that this is not the suggestion of a theoretician but of a practical statesman with wide experience in international affairs. Although it is necessary to supply an ultimate safeguard for the United States, Mr. Root's project, as he himself explained, provides for an eventuality which in practice would probably not arise. One cannot appreciate the proposal without fully realizing this practical aspect. The nature of the ultimate safeguard is suggested by the provisions in the Final Act and Protocol of 1926 which gave the Signatory States the right to restore the status quo ante by withdrawing their acceptance of the American conditions.
In some quarters it has been suggested that if the United States exercised this right of withdrawal it would be put in an unfavorable light before the public opinion of the world. Assuming the improbable hypothesis that the exchange of views did not lead to agreement, there might be some (though remote) basis for the suggestion, if our withdrawal were based upon our objection to an opinion being rendered in a particular case. But that is not the basis of the Root Plan. We would be withdrawing because the failure to agree had revealed "a material difference of view regarding the proper scope of the practice of requesting advisory opinions." Thus our withdrawal would not be due to pique aroused by a particular situation, but to the revelation that the whole advisory procedure was something quite different from what it is now believed to be. If such a situation should develop, the withdrawal would indeed "follow naturally" and no other motives could fairly be imputed to the United States.
In addition to the provision just described, an incidental safeguard is supplied by adopting the suggestion of the 1926 conference that an adverse vote of the United States should have the same force and effect as that of any member of the Council or Assembly. Regardless of the ultimate solution of the question of unanimity or majority in requesting advisory opinions, this provision puts the United States on a footing of legal equality with the other states. Meanwhile the definitive solution is avoided because this provision is merely a subsidiary guaranty and not the essential basis of the plan.
One may sum up the Root Plan somewhat as follows: The United States will adhere to the Court upon the assurance that advisory opinions will not be rendered without our having an opportunity to make known any objection. The United States believes that it will be possible in each specific case as it arises either for the United States to agree that the opinion may be rendered or for the Council or Assembly to agree that the request will be withdrawn. If this mutual confidence is misplaced, it may as well be recognized that the proposed coöperation is impossible and the United States will withdraw from the Court, effective before the advisory opinion is rendered. In other words, so long as we are a "member" of the Court no opinion can be rendered without our consent. It would have to be a very serious divergence of view which would induce the Council or Assembly to choose to cause the withdrawal of the United States rather than to refrain from requesting an opinion.
The Root Plan met with no opposition in the Committee. Its essential principles were accepted as soon as the members had had an opportunity to study the draft. Certain newspapers have ignorantly been referring to the "English Plan" of Sir Cecil Hurst, which is described as adopted and endorsed by Mr. Root. Such a description is inaccurate and misleading. What actually happened was this: Mr. Root presented to the Committee of Jurists a draft project without the slightest desire or idea of submitting an ultimatum. The members of the Committee accepted the draft as a basis for discussion and then proceeded in the usual and normal way to consider the exact drafting of the project which would best express the common objects in view. Sir Cecil Hurst was one of four members of the Committee who formally prepared fresh drafts. Of these four drafts that of the English member of the Committee seemed the most satisfactory to Mr. Root and to the other members of the committee and it in turn became the basis for discussion. Other suggestions were made for its improvement, notably by M. Van Eysinga of Holland, M. Scialoja of Italy (the chairman), M. Politis of Greece, and M. Raestad of Norway. As a preliminary step, the chairman appointed a subcommittee consisting of himself, Mr. Root, Sir Cecil Hurst and M. Politis. This subcommittee reported substantial agreement on the main outlines, subject to some further drafting improvements. The whole matter was then turned over to Mr. Root and to Sir Cecil Hurst for final drafting and the Committee as a whole proceeded to the consideration of the other main item on its agenda -- the general revision of the Court Statute.
This second phase of the Committee's work was that for which it was originally called into being and it was a matter requiring long and detailed discussion. The Root-Hurst plan -- which suggests an interesting parallel to the Root-Phillimore plan which served as a basis for the work of the committee of jurists which framed the original statute in 1920 -- had been accepted in principle and was not for the moment a subject of general concern. The drafting, however, required time: the views of several persons had to be consulted and both Mr. Root and Sir Cecil Hurst were meanwhile constantly occupied with the other work of the Committee. The fact that the final draft was not presented to the Committee until some six days later was therefore due to the natural causes suggested above and not to any opposition which was "discovered" by some representatives of the American press who were impatiently waiting for the climax of the story.
It will be recalled that the original Root project dealt only with the crucial second half of the fifth reservation. This was intended, however, eventually to form merely one part of an entire re-draft of the whole Protocol of 1926. Accordingly, when the matter was finally referred back to the full committee an entire protocol had been prepared on the basis of a draft prepared by Mr. Root and discussed with Sir Cecil Hurst as co-reporter on the whole topic. This revised protocol as eventually adopted by the committee opens with an article which declares that the Signatory States "accept the special conditions attached by the United States in the five reservations mentioned above [in the preamble] to its adherence to the said Protocol [of December 16, 1920] upon the terms and conditions set out in the following articles." It has already been pointed out that the 1926 Protocol had suggested this acceptance of the five reservations, but it is now made definite and certain. This acceptance is of cardinal importance and the rest of the new protocol must be read in reference to it. When the protocol fails to deal with a reservation, that reservation is accepted in toto. Thus there is a flat acceptance of the first reservation which declares that adherence to the Court shall not be taken as involving any connection with the League and of the third reservation which provides that the United States will pay a fair share of the expense of the Court as determined by Congress.
Article 2 expressly provides for the participation of the United States in the election of judges. The reason for stating this expressly instead of leaving it to be derived from the general acceptance is the desire to make clear that the vote of the United States shall be counted in determining the absolute majority required by the Statute. This apparent excess of caution is traceable to the European distinction between majority (plurality) and "absolute majority" which they are always solicitous to specify, and also to the fact that this provision in effect constitutes an amendment to Article 10 of the original Statute.
Article 3 covers the latter part of the fourth reservation which provided that the Statute of the court shall not be amended without the consent of the United States. This is expressly covered because the Signatories wished to give expression to the usual rule that the Statute, being in effect a treaty, could not be amended without the consent of all the contracting states.
Article 4 is responsive to the first part of the fifth reservation and declares that "The Court shall render advisory opinions in public session after notice and opportunity for hearing substantially as provided in the now existing articles 73 and 74 of the Rules of the Court." The 1926 Protocol had confined itself on this subject to stating that "The Court shall render advisory opinions in public session." The new text takes an idea from the original Root draft and perpetuates the procedure now outlined in the Rules. It will be noted later that the proposed amendments to the Statute would further perpetuate these same provisions -- an additional bit of evidence that the other Powers have no thought of endeavoring to secure secret opinions from the Court. Not the slightest objection was raised to these provisions.
Article 5 covers the second half of the fifth reservation and reproduces the essence of the original Root Plan. The Root Plan provided that whenever a request for an advisory opinion was contemplated by the Council or Assembly, either of those bodies could bring about an exchange of views with the United States. It further provided that whenever a request came to the Court, the Registrar should give notice to the United States which by a claim of interest could bring about a stay of proceedings pending an exchange of views. This double-barrelled safeguard of American interests is maintained but the first barrel is given greater range. The final text opens with a phrase taken from the fifth reservation -- "With a view to ensuring that the Court shall not without the consent of the United States entertain any request for an advisory opinion touching any dispute or question in which the United States has or claims an interest" -- and goes on to provide that whenever a proposal for requesting an opinion is "before the Council or the Assembly," the Secretary-General shall inform the United States. This language is carefully chosen to preserve a certain measure of elasticity -- on the one hand to avoid putting this machinery into operation because of some unofficial and informal suggestion that an opinion might be asked, and on the other hand to allow it to operate without waiting for such a matter to be definitely on the agenda. As explained in the Committee debates, "before" means under serious consideration.
It should also be noted that under Article 5 the United States is to designate the channel of communication, i.e., notice may go through our legation at Berne, or direct to Washington, or in any other way this Government may prefer. While Mr. Root in his preliminary proposal had refrained from putting this definite obligation on the Secretary-General he declared that "his own draft had suffered from his anxiety to avoid interfering in any way with the procedure and work of the Council." Since Sir Cecil Hurst appeared to think that the Council might welcome such a provision, he felt that his own anxiety had been groundless and he accepted the suggestion at once. It is hardly conceivable that if the body which originates a request for an advisory opinion wishes to know whether the United States has any objection to it before the step is taken, this Government should refuse to indicate whether or not the question "touches" its "interests" and whether or not it consents to the submission. The article accordingly goes on in the terms of the original Root Plan to provide that upon such notice given "if desired, an exchange of views as to whether an interest of the United States is affected shall proceed with all convenient speed." The italicized words were omitted from the text published in the press; they are of great importance since they indicate the object of the exchange of views. It was, however, realized that a suggestion for requesting an advisory opinion might not come "before" the Council until the last day or days of its session, which usually lasts only a week. At such times a critical situation might develop which would make the request quite essential to the maintenance of peace but which would not leave time for an immediate exchange of views with the United States. Such an eventuality is covered by the second paragraph of the article which is based on the fifth paragraph of the original Root Plan. This paragraph is, however, an additional safeguard to the United States since it is couched in general terms and requires the Registrar of the Court in all cases to notify the United States whenever a request for an opinion comes to the Court. As the Root Plan suggested, a time limit is fixed within which a written statement by the United States concerning the request will be received. If the United States advises the Court that its interests are affected, proceedings are stayed till the exchange of views takes place as already described. Although the various possibilities which may arise in such exchange of views are not set out as they were in the original Root Plan, they are of course implicit since they were merely statements of fact.
The article then proceeds with the familiar provision that "there shall be attributed to an objection of the United States the same force and effect as attaches to a vote against asking for the opinion given by a member of the League of Nations in the Council or in the Assembly." This applies both when the matter is before one of these bodies and when it is before the Court; that is, it applies in determining both whether the request shall be made and whether the request should be granted. The article concludes by a condensed statement of the final paragraph of the original Root Plan to the effect that if in the exchange of views no agreement is reached and "the United States is not prepared to forego its objection, the exercise of the powers of withdrawal provided for in Article 8 hereof will follow naturally without any imputation of unfriendliness or unwillingness to coöperate generally for peace and goodwill."
It thus appears that every essential feature of the original Root Plan is fully preserved; the notice, the stay of proceedings before the Court, the exchange of views, and the ultimate possibility of withdrawal.
Article 6 is a repetition of the fifth article of the 1926 Protocol, providing that this new protocol shall have the same force and effect as the original Statute of the Court. To clarify the status of later adherents it is added that any future signature of the Protocol of December 6, 1920, shall be deemed an acceptance of the provision of the present protocol.
Article 7 merely provides for ratification and deposit of the instrument of ratification in the archives of the Secretariat of the League. This is in accord with the provisions of the former Protocol of 1920. It will be recalled that a similar disposition has recently been accepted by the Senate in advising and consenting to the Slavery Convention. This article also specifies that the present protocol "shall come into force as soon as all states which have ratified the protocol of December 16, 1920, and also the United States, have deposited their ratifications." This follows the rule of unanimity already expressed.
The last article is similar to Article 7 of the Protocol of 1926 providing for the right of withdrawal which the Senate stipulated for in the fourth reservation. It is noteworthy that the withdrawal of the United States becomes effective as soon as notified to the Secretary-General of the League, whereas the other states must get a majority of not less than two-thirds, all of whom must notify the Secretary-General within one year from notice given by one of their members. It should also be noted that the United States may withdraw at any time and not merely on some occasion when there is a disagreement regarding advisory opinions as described in Article 5.
Such is the Protocol of 1929 which accepts the five reservations of the Senate and suggests the method of their application. It seems quite obvious that had the other Signatory States flatly accepted these reservations in 1926 some such plan of procedure would have had to be worked out subsequently. Its preparation in advance enables all parties to enter into the arrangement with a clear understanding of its mode of operation and thus there is eliminated the likelihood of future misunderstanding. Through Mr. Root's ingenious but simple formula the legitimate desires of all parties have been met and there seems to be no reason to anticipate any honest opposition. The unanimity of Council and Committee members in Europe seems to ensure the acceptance of the protocol there, and since the terms laid down by the Senate in 1926 have been met in every substantial respect it would seem that no Senator who voted for adherence at that time would have reason to vote against it now.
A word should be said about the procedure for bringing the protocol into effect. In the United States, if it is true that the protocol is merely an acceptance of the five reservations, the President has already received authority to ratify. It would seem likely, however, that Mr. Hoover would wish to lay the whole matter again before the Senate.
In Europe the project must, of course, go first to the Council of the League, for it is technically merely a recommendation of a Committee of Jurists appointed by the Council to give its advice to that body. The Council meets early in June and there seems to be no doubt that it will act promptly and favorably on the project. The report adopted by the Committee recommends that the draft should then be communicated officially to the United States by the Secretary-General in replying to the Secretary of State's note dated February 19, 1929. At the same time it should be communicated to all the states which signed the original Court Protocol of December 16, 1920. Then, the Committee report suggests, it should be communicated to the Assembly which meets the last of August, since the proposal for constituting the Committee of Jurists originated in that body, and in order that the Assembly (in which practically all the Signatory States are represented) should also be enabled to endorse the plan. A further reason for this reference to the Council and Assembly is that the new draft protocol contains stipulations regarding action by both of those bodies in requesting advisory opinions, i.e. in exchanging views with the United States. It is then hoped that delegates to the Assembly will have been furnished with full powers so that the signature and ratification of the new protocol can be completed without delay.
The other part of the work of the Committee of Jurists is perhaps of less general interest in the United States, but should nevertheless be noted.[i] The amendments aim at enabling the Court to handle promptly the ever increasing volume of business referred to it. Thus it is suggested that the Court should be in constant session except for judicial holidays and that the judges should pursue no other occupation. Another important group of suggested amendments aims to perpetuate the judicial nature of advisory opinions by transposing into the Statute certain provisions which are now found in the Rules.
Two groups may object to the adoption of the Root Plan. The first group opposes American entry into the World Court on any conditions. This group was equally opposed to the reservations adopted by more than two-thirds of the Senate in 1926. The other group might be hostile through fear of some vague eventualities, no matter how unlikely their occurrence. The Root Plan effectually protects the interests of the United States in any eventuality and proceeds on the assumption that it is worth while trying out something which gives every promise of satisfactory and successful operation.
[i] See page 670.