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the plans of his brother-in-law, Emperor William II, at any price nor in any place. Hence the amazing happenings recently in Hellas, namely the surrender at the behest of Germany of fortresses which had cost millions to build, together with an immense amount of artillery and munitions and other war paraphernalia, all intact. Likewise the surrender also of a part of the richest territory of Greece to her bitterest enemy, Bulgaria. And, finally, the transportation of about 8,000 Greek troops as prisoners of war to Germany, a country with which Greece is at peace.
The publication recently by some Greek officers of the secret agreements with Germany shows that the surrender of the fortresses with their munitions was prearranged for the purpose of strengthening the military situation in Macedonia of the Central Powers. Admiral Countouriotis, who is now a member of the provincial government in Salonica, stated recently that this surrender was done without the knowledge of the Greek Cabinet, of which he was a member at that time, but that it was the work of the King himself and carried out with the knowledge only of his Prime Minister and another member of the Cabinet (Mr. Gounaris), who is the principal tool of the Court. It should be noted that this proceeding is also contrary to the express provision of the Constitution (Article 99) according to which no foreign army can remain in Greece, nor can it go through her territory without a law, which means that the assent of the Legislature was absolutely necessary in this case.
In consequence of the system of absolute monarchy inaugurated in Greece by King Constantine no other authority is now left in that illfated country,- at least in the part still under his rule, - except that of the King himself, every vestige of other authority has been totally suppressed. All the safeguards provided by the Constitution for the liberty of the press, the expression of public opinion in mass meetings, security of property and personal liberty have been entirely brushed aside.
Certainly neither the warriors of the war of Greek Independence nor subsequent generations ever imagined that Hellas, the cradle of liberty, would, nearly a century after her emancipation from Turkish tyranny, be transformed into an Asiatic or African sultanate. But
King Constantine evidently forgets that Nemesis, who, according to tradition, is of Hellenic origin, cannot indefinitely witness the ruin of a nation to satisfy the personal policy of its monarch. In a recent interview (March 15, 1917) with the correspondent of the Havas News Agency, Mr. Venizelos predicted: “In the impossible event of Germany being victorious, King Constantine will set up an unbridled autocracy, but if Germany, as I am certain, is finally vanquished, King Constantine, who stepped down from a constitutional throne to become a mere party leader, will have to submit to the consequences of the defeat of his policy just as any other party leader when beaten.”
THEODORE P. ION.
THE DESTRUCTION OF NEUTRAL PROPERTY ON
IN 1785 Prussia ratified a treaty with the United States providing in its twenty-third article 1 that in case of war between the contracting powers:
All merchant and trading vessels employed in exchanging the products of different places, and thereby rendering the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of human life more easy to be obtained, and more general, shall be allowed to pass free and unmolested; and neither of the contracting Powers shall grant or issue any commission to any private armed vessels, empowering them to take or destroy such trading vessels or interrupt such commerce. Prussia put this principle in force in 1866, in the war with Austria, on a basis of reciprocity, and again in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, although on the latter occasion the order was withdrawn as a measure of reprisal against France Germany voted in favor of the proposition for the general immunity of enemy private property at sea introduced by the United States at the Second Hague Conference.4
Prussia was also a signatory of the Armed Neutrality of 1800 5 and of the Declaration of Paris of 18566 which provided among other things for the immunity of enemy goods on neutral ships and of neutral goods on enemy ships. German publicists have always been among
Malloy, Treaties, p. 1484; Moore, Digest of International Law, 7: 461.
2 Prussian Royal Order, May 19, 1866, Gesetz-Sammlung für die Königlichen Preussischen Staaten, 1866, p. 238; Moore, 7: 467.
3 Ordinance of North German Union, July 18, 1870, Bundesgesetzblatt, 1870, p. 485; repealed by German Ordinance, Jan. 19, 1871, Reichesgesetzblatt, 1871, p. 8; F. Perels, Das internationale öffentliche Seerecht der Gegenwart, 2d ed., Berlin, 1903,
* Deuxième conférence internationale de la paix, Actes et documents, 3: 834; Naval War College publications, 13: 126.
6 Convention, Prussia and Russia, 1800, Martens, Recueil des principaut traités, 7: 188; Moore, 7: 560.
6 Martens, Nouveau Recueil Général de Traités, 15: 791; Moore, 7: 562.
the foremost in advocating the freedom of the seas and the melioration of the situation of innocent private property thereon in time of war.?
In view of this record, the recent decisions of the German Supreme Prize Court in the cases of the Glitra 8 and the Indian Prince appear to be an interesting departure from German traditions.
The Glitra was a British vessel, part of whose cargo was Norwegian. She was met by a German submarine on October 20, 1914, and sunk with her cargo. The Norwegian owner of the cargo brought action in the German prize court for compensation for his property, claiming that as it was exempt from capture by Article 3 of the Declaration of Paris, it must be paid for if destroyed. The claim was refused by the prize court and on appeal to the Supreme Prize Court the decision was affirmed. In brief, the court argued that the destruction of enemy vessels was legal. Although the question of the responsibility of the belligerent for neutral property destroyed on an enemy vessel had been discussed at the London Naval Conference, no decision was reached. Article 114 of the German Prize Code, which was believed by the claimants to provide for compensation in such cases, was held to apply only to innocent goods destroyed on neutral vessels. The court then concluded:
Thus obliged to revert to the most general legal principles in connection with the general laws of war, it is absolutely evident that a claim in favor of the neutral does not exist, if the destruction of the prize was justified by the circumstances. (Prize Ordinance, Art. 112.)
Since seizure is a legal act, there is no legal basis whatever upon which to found an injury to the goods, which the neutrals have, moreover, themselves caused by entrusting their property to an endangered ship. Therefore, since seizure is a legal act of war, there is no legal basis for establishing the injury to the goods, even if they are lost through an act of war directed against the ship, when owing to the circumstances, such an act must necessarily also be directed against
· Perels, op. cit. p. 200; H. Wehberg, Capture in War on Land and Sea, trans. J. M. Robertson, London, 1911, is throughout an appeal for the abolition of prize right.
& The Glitra, Ober prisengericht, Berlin, July 10, 1915, Zeitschrift für Völkerrecht, 9: 399; this JOURNAL, 10: 921.
9 The Indian Prince, Oberprisengericht, Berlin, May 15, 1916, this JOURNAL, 10: 930.
In regard particularly to the condition of naval war, however, Article 3 of the Declaration of Paris gives protection neither in general nor specifically to neutral property against the actions of the belligerents due to the necessities of war. The purpose of Article 3 of the Declaration of Paris was to extend protection to neutral property in an enemy ship which under the prize law as it existed prior to the Declaration was subject to capture. What the necessities of war demand must be allowed to take place, whether neutral property is on board the ship or not. If, according to Article 2 of the Declaration of Paris, the neutral flag protects enemy property, this does not mean that, vice versa, neutral property protects the enemy ship, and protects it, indeed, not only against destruction, but also in many cases against every exercise of prize law.
The case of the Indian Prince was almost parallel. It also was a British vessel captured and destroyed by the German cruiser Kronprinz Wilhelm. Nationals of several neutral states, including the United States, owned portions of the cargo, and claims for compensation were made as in the previous case, the Americans putting in special claims on the basis of the treaty of 1828 between Prussia and the United States reviving Articles 12 and 13 of the treaties of 1785 and 1799 respectively.10 The treaties were held inapplicable 11 and the decision in the case of the Glitra was affirmed. Explaining its reasons in greater detail, the court said:
The question here is whether the commander is compelled by international law to refrain from sinking an enemy vessel when he has a legal right to do so, because its destruction would mean the loss of the neutral goods on board, especially if it is impossible for him to bring the vessel in. After repeated examination the court must con
10 Malloy, pp. 1499, 1481, 1491.
11 Article 12 of the treaty of 1785 providing for "free ships free goods" was held to have no application. Art. 13 of the treaty of 1799, which provides for the preemption rather than confiscation of contraband articles, states that "no such articles carried in the vessels or by the subjects or citizens of either party, to the enemies of the other, shall be deemed contraband so as to induce confiscation or condemnation and loss of property to individuals.” The American owner of the cargo claimed that the alternative referred to goods belonging to "subjects or citizens" and on the high seas in enemy vessels. The court pointed out that, in the first place, the English version was a mistranslation of the French which read “à bord des vaisseaux des sujets ou citoyens de l'une des parties," and hence would furnish no grounds at all for a claim for goods on enemy vessels. Even taking the English version, the court thought it could only refer to actual carriage by the “subjects or citizens,” that is, transportation in vessels owned by them.