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INTERRUPTION OF SUBMARINE CABLE SERVICE. 19

A recent English writer has correctly understood the attitude of the United States, as practice of the United States has shown. He says: "According to the Naval War Code of the United States, a cable entering a neutral's territory may not be touched. It is safe except when it is outside the three miles line or in the belligerent's territorial waters."

The cutting of the cable.-It has been shown that the United States naval officer, as an act of courtesy, made a protest against the hostile use of the cable connecting the belligerent and the neutral territory; that the neutral declined to assume any responsibility; that the service rendered by this cable was of the nature of unneutral service; that the owners of the cable are not entitled to any damages on account of the interruption of the service, or because of injury to the means of such unneutral service, and that the Naval War Code of the United States does not support this claim.

It may be said that the nature of submarine telegraphic cable service is such as to be of the greatest importance in the time of war and that the belligerent may take measures to protect himself from its improper use. These measures may be proportioned in severity to the dangers which such improper use may entail upon the belligerent.

In general, the penalty for the performance of unneutral service is the confiscation of the agency of such service. This being the case, a cable guilty of unneutral service may become liable to the penalty. Undoubtedly the liability to such a penalty is necessary in order to secure effective supervision of a cable by the owners or by state authorities, or when this supervision can not be secured to bring about the voluntary closing of the line liable to such penalties, unless the owners prefer to run the risk of injury to or confiscation of the cable property in case it comes within the power of the injured belligerent.

Practice, general principles, and opinion alike support the position that a cable connecting one belligerent and a neutral territory and rendering unneutral service is liable to interruption by the other belligerent at any point

outside of neutral jurisdiction. War will often make such interruption a reasonable necessity.

In the "situation" under consideration the United States naval officer would be fully justified in cutting the cable at any point outside neutral jurisdiction.

SITUATION II.

A revolutionary outbreak occurs in a South American state.

The officer in command of a United States ship of war lying in the harbor of the capital city of the South American state is asked by a messenger from the President of that state whether he will receive the President and his cabinet on board the ship of war in case they are in serious danger of personal injury from attack by the insurgents.

What should be the reply of the officer?

SOLUTION.

The commander of the ship of war should reply that his Government discountenances the practice of granting asylum on board of ships of war, and also that the regulations of the service allow the grant of asylum only under extreme and exceptional circumstances, of which he as commander must judge in the actual emergency should such emergency unfortunately arise in regard to the President and his cabinet while he remains in port. The commander could in no case promise asylum for a future time of which the conditions could not be foretold.

NOTES ON SITUATION II.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF PROMISING ASYLUM.

Article 308 of the United States Naval Regulations, 1900, provides as follows:

"The right of asylum for political refugees has no foundation in international law. In countries, however, where frequent insurrections occur, and constant instability of government exists, usage sanctions the granting of asylum; but even in the waters of such countries officers should refuse all applications for asylum except when required by the interests of humanity in extreme or exceptional cases, such as the pursuit of a

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refugee by a mob. Officers must not directly or indirectly invite refugees to accept asylum."

It is held by some that this article of the Naval Regulations does not apply to a "Situation" like the one proposed, that an officer of the United States should extend to the officers of the constituted government of the state in which they may be as much courtesy as possible, and that to promise asylum under the circumstances would be in accord with practice and would be good policy.

The argument in favor of the grant of asylum is somewhat as follows:

The officer in command of the United States ship of war desires to extend so much courtesy to President and officials of the state in which he is as may be possible, believing that this is merely a temporary uprising against the constituted authority and that the officers of the government are entitled to this courtesy. He has in mind the case of General Savasti, who was received during the revolution of 1895, when the regular government of Ecuador was overthrown and no government had been established.

He believed that an officer of the constituted state was not in the category of those who should be refused when following article 308 of the Naval Regulations of 1900, as outlined in the second sentence, which states that "officers should refuse all applications for asylum except when required by the interests of humanity in extreme or exceptional cases, such as the pursuit of a refugee by a mob." He maintains that the circumstances under consideration constitute an exceptional case in which the interests of humanity demand that he shall grant the application even more than in such case of pursuit as mentioned in the Regulations. He further maintains that this is in no sense an invitation, direct or indirect, but merely a reply to a question which demands a reply and to which he would give an affirmative reply even should he read to the foreign minister Regulation 308, which provides for just such an extreme and exceptional

case.

It has been said that:

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'As to whether the degree of humanity involved justifies the granting of an asylum the commanding officer

SECRETARY OLNEY'S LETTER.

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on the spot must be the judge and can be guided only by international precedents and Naval Regulations."

The officer maintains that the Regulations do not forbid an affirmative reply, and that the international precedents and authorities also sanction his action as it affects the officials of the constituted government.

Hall, speaking of harboring criminals and nonpolitical offenders, says of political refugees:

"The case is again different if a political refugee is granted simple hospitality. The right to protect him has been acquired by custom. He ought not to be sought out or invited, but if he appears at the side of the ship and asks admittance he need not be turned away, and so long as he is innoxious the territorial government has no right either to demand his surrender or to expel the ship on account of his reception."

And in a note

"Something more may be permitted, or may even be due, in the case of the chiefs, or of prominent members of a government overturned by revolution. They retain a certain odour of legitimacy. In 1848 the admiral commanding the British Mediterranean Squadron detached a vessel to take the pope on board in case refuge were needed; and in 1862, on the outbreak of revolution in Greece, a British frigate escorted a Greek man of war with the King and Queen on board, out of Greek waters and received them so soon as some slight danger of mutiny appeared.""

He also cites the letter of Secretary Olney to Mr. Tillman, minister to Ecuador, September 25, 1895, in which Mr. Olney says:

"I note your statement that the family of the late minister of war came to your residence on the seventeenth of August seeking shelter, and that, at the date you write, they were still inmates of your house. You add that General Savasti himself joined them on the following night, and still remains your guest, quite ill. The shelter thus given by you to one of the prominent members of the overturned government, and as it appears

1 Int. Law, p. 203, 4th ed.

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