Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 27 >> Siam to The Growth And Con >> Treaties_P1

Treaties

treaty, power, law, nations, character and agreements

Page: 1 2 3 4 5

TREATIES. A treaty is an agreement or compact between two or more independent sovereign states for the settlement of their current interests or controversies, or for the of increasing,. modifying or determin ing their respective rights, duties and obliga tions, between themselves, or between each, and the subjects of the other. A treaty is some what similar to a contract in private law, an important difference being that its enforcement depends largely on the good faith of the con tracting parties, and the fact that in case of a dispute the parties can settle it in only two ways; by agreement, or by an appeal to force. The term treaty includes various transactions between states, such as treaties of peace, con ventions and agreements of a political or com mercial character. The term is, however, usu ally restricted to the more important interna tional agreements of a general character — to those covering several subjects such as a treaty of alliance, peace or commerce.

Treaties as a Source of International Law. —Treaties are an important source of inter national law, for a special agreement between two nations may work so well that other na tions will enter into such an agreement, and the principle or practices involved may finally be accepted by all nations as a part of the common law of nations. Or a considerable number of important nations may declare for a new set of rules binding on themselves, which later may be adopted by others, as for ex ample, the Declaration of Paris made in 1856, providing for new maritime rules referring to privateering, blockades, contraband, etc. Trea ties entered into by a large number of powers, which .redistribute territory, make or unmake dynasties and states, and set up a new balance of power, are also important sources of in ternational law. Examples are the Treaty of Westphalia, 1648; Peace of Paris, 1763; Con gress of Vienna, 1815, and the Peace of Ver sailles, 1919.

The Right to Make Treaties.— The right to make a treaty is one of the essential and determining attributes of sovereignty. Semi

sovereign or dependent states are easily recog nized because of the fact that this right has been abridged or destroyed. Even sovereign and independent states may voluntarily restrain or modify this faculty by treaties of alliance or confederation with other states. Dependent states, restricted with respect to their right to make important international agreements, often retain power to make, unrestricted, certain treaties of a commercial character, or an extra dition or naturalization treaty. Members of federal states are usually forbidden to make independent treaties, except those of a minor character. The States' of the United States are forbidden by the Constitution to enter into treaty relations with foreign states or make agreements with each other except by the con sent of Congress.

The treaty-making power, or the agent to whom the power is given to negotiate a treaty varies in individual countries. Ordinarily, in monarchical countries, it is vested in the Crown, but the approval of the legislative body may be necessary for ratification. In other words, power to negotiate and power to ratify are two separate steps. In states having a republican form of government the power to negotiate is usually exercised by the executive council. In the United States the treaty-making power is vested by the Constitution in the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, two thirds of the members present concurring. The preliminary negotiations leading up to the treaty and the drafting of the instrument, have in practice been in the hands of the President, usually acting through the Secretary of State, or through special envoys. The framers of the Constitution probably intended that the Senate should share in these preliminary nego tiations, by giving advice as well as consent. The House of Representatives also may have a share in the treaty-making power, if legisla tion is necessary to carry it into effect, in which case its consent must be obtained.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5