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(1839-) at the Munich session of the Institut had secured the appointment of a commission to study "by what means there could be obtained a more universal, prompt, and uniform publication of treaties and conventions between the various states." 95 In 1885 Professor von Martitz communicated a memoir 96 on the subject to the Institut, and on September 11 that organization passed a favorable vote." In 1887 and 1888 the Institut did not find opportunity to consider a draft project of conclusions prepared by the learned German, who then, in furtherance of his proposal, published a bibliographic and suggestive article in the Revue de droit international et de législation comparée. 98
At the Hamburg meeting of the Institut in 1891 there was encouragement for the idea from two sources. The international convention of July 5, 1890, had created a union of fifty-one countries for the publication of customs tariffs; and a letter of August 27, 1891, addressed to the Institut by the Department of Justice and Police of the Swiss Confederation, had announced the willingness of that state to take the diplomatic initiative for the creation of such a union.99 On September 12, 1891, therefore, the Institut voted that a union should be formed.100 Professor von Martitz and Gustave Rolin-Jaequemyns, who by his own request was succeeded by Feodor Martens, were charged with preparing draft projects of a convention and of a règlement d'exécution. These documents, mainly the work of Mr. Martens, were presented to the Institut in behalf of its ninth commission at the session at Geneva, and were adopted on September 7, 1892.101
On October 4, 1892, the Swiss Federal Council, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, on its own initiative transmitted these draft projects and a covering note 102 proposing a conference to realize the project to "the governments of all civilized countries." The Federal Council also simultaneously transmitted with its circular note a programme of its own, defining the problems to be settled, and indicating the solutions to be given to questions of a political bearing. At Bern, on September 25, 1894, the conference met, with delegates of Germany, the Argentine Republic, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, the Independent State of the Kongo, Ecuador, the United States, France, Greece, Italy, Liberia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Rumania, Russia, Switzerland, Tunisia, and Venezuela present.103 The absentees, headed by Great Britain, were as significant as the attendants. The 95 Annuaire de l'Institut, vii, p. 285.
96 Revue de droit international, xviii, pp. 168 ff.
97 Annuaire de l'Institut, viii, p. 232.
98 Vols. xviii, p. 168; xix, pp. 126, 178.
99 Annuaire de l'Institut, xi, p. 321.
100 Ibid., xi, p. 328.
101 Ibid., xii, pp. 252, 237.
102 Archives diplomatiques, deuxième série, xlvi, p. 149.
103 The following states declared on September 25, 1894, that they adhered in principle to the creation of the union: Bolivia, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Haiti, Honduras, Japan, Luxemburg, Orange Republic, Paraguay, Persia, Siam, and Transvaal. Brazil, Denmark, and Mexico, in response to the invitation, stated that they desired to await the result of the conference before taking a decision.
delegations were simply the ministers or consuls general accredited at Bern, with the exception of those of Belgium and the Kongo and Switzerland. Aside from the Swiss representatives, the only avowed advocate of the proposition in the delegations was Chevalier Descamps of Belgium, who had stood as sponsor for the idea before the Institut de Droit International.
In the first session it appeared that the delegates were participating without full powers, and without instructions, except that they were not to bind their governments. All decisions were to be ad referendum, and particularly the decisions of the commission, in which consideration of projects was to be held, were not to be binding. In six sessions, closing on October 3, the conference studied the matter. The definite results was the following procès-verbal final:
The undersigned, delegates to the diplomatic conference concerning the creation of an international union for the publication of treaties, have taken cognizance of the programme prepared on this subject by the Swiss Federal Council.
The majority of the delegates not having the powers necessary to pronounce themselves even on the principle of the creation of an international union for the indicated purpose, the conference has not had to take a decision.
An exchange of views having, however, been had in the commission, the delegates, after having taken cognizance of the report presented in its name, have determined that it conforms to the opinions expressed, and consequently they will communicate it to their respective governments, as well as the documents and deliberations which relate to it. For the states which have not taken part in the conference, this communication is left in charge of the Swiss Federal Council.
Bern, October 3, 1894.104
The documents referred to consist of the draft project and règlement of the Institut de Droit International, the Swiss programme, a BelgianKongolese project, the final resolution above, and a "succinct exposition of the result of the labors of the commission, drawn up by Charles Soldan, Swiss delegate," which was virtually a report of the work accomplished.
Of the states interested in the project, only Brazil 105 was reported by the Swiss ministry of foreign affairs the next year as disposed to
104 The original French reads:
"Les soussignés, Délégués à la Conférence diplomatique concernant la création d'une Union internationale pour la publication des traités, ont pris connaissance du programme préparé à ce sujet par le Conseil fédéral suisse.
"La plupart des Délégués n'ayant pas les pouvoirs nécessaires pour se prononcer même sur le principe de la création d'une Union internationale à l'effet indiqué, la Conférence n'a pas eu à prendre de décision.
"Un échange de vues ayant toutefois eu lieu au sein de la Commission, les Délégués, après avoir pris connaissance du rapport présenté au nom de celle-ci, ont constaté qu'il est conforme aux avis énoncés, et en conséquence, ils le communiqueront à leurs Gouvernements respectifs, ainsi que les documents et délibérations qui s'y rattachent. Pour les Etats qui n'ont pas pris part à la Conférence, cette communication est laissée aux soins du Conseil fédéral suisse.
"Berne, le 3 octobre 1894."
Archives diplomatiques, deuxième série, lii, pp. 52-53. 105 Archives diplomatiques, deuxième série, lvii, p. 309.
sign a convention. Belgium - on the initiative, it may be conjectured, of Chevalier Descamps-was unwilling to allow the idea of a union for the publication of treaties to go by default without a further diplomatic effort. On October 1, 1895, the Belgian minister for foreign affairs transmitted to all governments the proposition of the Belgian and Kongolese delegates to the conference at Bern, together with a note, in which it was stated:
The draft annexed differs from the one presented by the Belgian delegates to the conference of Bern only in a single point.
The final paragraph of article II reads thus: "It is understood that it appertains to each government to appreciate in a sovereign manner what are the arrangements which, for reasons of which it remains the sole judge, would not be of a nature to be transmitted to the international bureau and published by it." In order to leave no doubt as to the meaning of this reserve, the expediency of which has been generally recognized, there have been stricken from the first paragraphs of articles 11 and 12 the words "engagement" and "obligation" which were there at first. The transmission of documents may henceforth be considered only as a spontaneous and voluntary act on the part of contracting countries.10
Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, the Kongo Free State, Egypt, the United States of America, Greece, Haiti, Hawaii, Japan, Mexico, Paraguay, Persia, Portugal, the Argentine Republic, and Serbia declared their acquiescence in the Belgian proposal before the end of the year 1896.107 Italy gave an assent conditional upon the acceptance of the plan by the other great powers. These states did not seem sufficient in number or in character to warrant proceeding with a project which would be useful only so far as there was general participation. In 1892 the British government inaugurated a Treaty Series as a sub-series of Parliamentary Papers.108 In 1908 the United States established a Treaty Series.109 Each of these consists of the publication of the separate treaties in pamphlet form and in all official languages, consecutively numbered. The British series is annual. By the American scheme the whole body of the country's treaties was numbered and the first one published in the series given its proper serial number, which proved to be 489. Subsequent treaties have been published after their proclamation, and preceding treaties are published with their assigned number when copies are required. These Anglo-Saxon precedents seem not to have been followed elsewhere, though obviously they meet very practically national demands for separate treaty texts. Publication of treaties by international coöperation is now an assured fact under the secretariat of the League of Nations.
Article XVIII of the Covenant of the League provides that
Every treaty or international engagement entered into hereafter by any Member of the League shall be forthwith registered with the Secretariat and shall as soon as possible be published by it. No such treaty or international engagement shall be binding until so registered.
106 Revue générale de droit international public, iii, pp. 587-588.
107 Ibid., p. 589.
108 Cf. No. IIII, supra.
109 Cf. No. 2013, supra.
Registration of treaties concluded subsequently to January 10, 1920, proceeds in accordance with these provisions, and the text of treaties registered is published in a series with the following title:
Société des Nations. Recueil des traités et des engagements internationaux enregistrés par le Secrétariat de la Société des Nations. Volume 1, numéro 1, septembre 1920- Publié comme supplément du Journal officiel
de la Société des Nations.
League of Nations. Treaty Series. Publication of treaties and international engagements registered with the Secretariat of the League. Volume 1, number 1, September, 1920-. Published as a supplement to the Official Journal of the League of Nations.
[London, Harrison & sons; Lausanne, Imprimeries réunies, 1920- .]
The first volume of this series contains the first forty treaties registered, printed in the original languages, and in French and English in case these were not the original languages of the treaty.