Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

eastern district of New York, the court directed a verdict for the defendant on the ground that, “because the acts of defendant were those of a military commander, representing a de facto government in the prosecution of a war, he was not civilly responsible therefor.” Judgment was rendered for the defendant and on appeal was affirmed by the circuit court of appeals on the ground "that the acts of the defendant were the acts of the Government of Venezuela, and as such are not properly the subject of adjudication in the courts of another government.” 26 U. S. Ap. 573. An appeal was then taken to the Supreme Court of the United States. This court, Chief Justice Fuller delivering the opinion, rendered the following decision :

* Every sovereign state is bound to respect the independence of every other sovereign state, and the courts of one country will not sit in judgment on the acts of the government of another done within its own territory. Redress of grievances by reason of such acts must be obtained through the means open to be availed of by sovereign powers as between themselves.

“ Nor can the principle be confined to lawful or recognized governments, or to cases where redress can manifestly be had through public channels. The immunity of individuals from suits brought in foreign tribunals for acts done within their own states, in the exercise of governmental authority, whether as civil officers or as military commanders, must necessarily extend to the agents of governments ruling by paramount force as matter of fact. Where a civil war prevails, that is, where the people of a country are divided into two hostile parties, who take up arms and oppose one another by military force, generally speaking foreign nations do not assume to judge of the merits of the quarrel. If the party seeking to dislodge the existing government succeeds, and the independence of the government it has set up is recognized, then the acts of such government from the commencement of its existence are regarded as those of an independent nation. If the political revolt fails of success, still if actual war has been waged, acts of legitimate warfare cannot be made the basis of individual liability. United States v. Rice, 4 Wheat. 246; Fleming ". Page, 9 How. 603; Thorington v. Smith, 8 Wall. 1; Williams r. Bruffy, 96 U. S. 176; Ford . Surget, 97 U. S. 594; Dow 1. Johnson, 100 U. S. 158; and other cases.

“ Revolutions or insurrections may inconvenience other nations, but by accommodation to the facts the application of settled rules is readily reached. And where the fact of the existence of war is in issue in the instance of complaint of acts committed within foreign territory, it is not an absolute prerequisite that that fact should be made out by an acknowledgment of belligerency, as other official recognition of its existence may be sufficient proof thereof. The Three Friends, 166 U. S. 1.

“In this case, the archives of the State Department show that civil war was flagrant in Venezuela from the spring of 1892; that the revolution was successful; and that the revolutionary gorvernment was recognized by the United States as the government of the country, it being, to use the language of the Secretary of State in a communication to our minister to Venezuela, “ accepted by the people, in the possession of the power of the nation and fully established.'

“That these were facts of which the court is bound to take judicial notice, and for information as to which it may consult the Department of State, there can be no doubt. Jones v. United States, 137 U. S. 202; Mighell v. Sultan of Jahore, (1894) 1 Q. B. 149.

“ It is idle to argue that the proceedings of those who thus triumphed should be treated as the acts of banditti or mere mobs.

“We entertain no doubt upon the evidence that Hernandez was carrying on military operations in support of the revolutionary party. It may be that adherents of that side of the controversy in the particular locality where Hernandez was the leader of the movement entertained a preference for him as the future executive head of the nation, but that is beside the question. The acts complained of were the acts of a military commander representing the authority of the revolutionary party as a government, which afterwards succeeded and was recognized by the United States. We think the Circuit Court of Appeals was justified in concluding that the acts of the defendant were the acts of the Government of Venezuela, and as such are not properly the subject of adjudication in the courts of another government.'

“ The decisions cited on plaintiff's behalf are not in point. Cases respecting arrests by military authority in the absence of the prevalence of war; or the validity of contracts between individuals entered into in aid of insurrection; or the right of revolutionary bodies to vex the commerce of the world on its common highway without incurring the penalties denounced on piracy; and the like, do not involve the questions presented here.

“ We agree with the Circuit Court of Appeals, that “the evidence upon the trial indicated that the purpose of the defendant in his treatment of the plaintiff was to coerce the plaintiff to operate his waterworks and his repair works for the benefit of the community and the revolutionary forces,' and that it was not sufficient to have warranted a finding by the jury that the defendant was actuated by malice or any personal or private motive;' and we concur in its disposition of the rulings below. The decree of the Circuit Court is affirmed."

Underhill v. Hernandez (1897), 168 U. S. 250, aflirning 26 U. S. App.

573, 13 C. C. A. 51, and 65 Fed. Rep. 577.

3. LEGISLATIVE POWER.

(1) RIGHTS OF PROPERTY.

$ 180.

“In my opinion all questions touching the title of lands in this State, or any other State, must be tried and decided in the manner prescribed by the Constitutions and laws of the land.”

Mr. Jay, Sec. for For. Aff., to Mr. de Lotbiniere, Jan. 29, 1789, 4 MS.

Am. Let. 81. See the case of William Crooks, Moore, Int. Arbitrations, I. 415.

Whether the authorities of Cuba, in disposing of property in the island, proceeded regularly or irregularly would depend wholly upon the laws in force there.

Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hernandez, March 29, 1856, 45 MS. Dom.

Let. 177.

The United States will take no part in the contentions between citizens of the United States in regard to the interoceanic route by way of Nicaragua. “ The law of the country must regulate all questions of this nature. If grants are made, its judicial authority in the event of disputed claims must determine the rights of the parties. The United States can only insist, that treaty stipulations be fairly executed, and that good faith be observed toward all those deriving rights from the local government."

Mr. Cass, Sec. of State, to Mr. Lamar, min. to Central America, Jan. 2,

1858, MS. Inst. American States, XV. 288.

“ It is an established principle of international law that every State has the right to regulate the conditions upon which property within its territory, whether real or personal, shall be held and transmitted." It is prima facie a question for the courts.

Mr. Gresham, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hoxtun, December 20, 1893, 194 MS.

Dom. Let. 598.

Transactions depending upon the rules of international law are to be decided in accordance with those rules as they existed at the time when the transaction took place.

Mortimer v. N. Y. Elevated Railroad Co. (1889), 6 N. Y. Supp. 898.

[blocks in formation]

(2) INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY.

$ 181.

The Government of the United States cannot with propriety ask

the Government of another country to suspend the Local regulation.

operation of its laws in order that a citizen of the United States may have further time in which to secure in such country a patent for his invention.

Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Mann, Dec. 27, 1884, 153 MS.

Dom. Let. 515; Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Russell,
Feb. 7, 1885, 154 MS. Dom. Let. 188.

“Your letter of the 26th ultimo, with the enclosures, has been examined in this Department with the care which your own merits, as well as the importance of the subject deserves.

“The question that arises is, how far the Government of the United States can officially interfere to insist upon a construction given by a British court to a British municipal statute being reversed by the British executive. I feel bound to say at the outset that this Gorernment cannot so interfere. The point in dispute does not arise under a treaty, nor does it fall under the general range of international obligations, as interpreted by ourselves and Great Britain. Were a British subject to lose a suit brought by him before one of our courts for the maintenance of alleged patent rights, we would peremptorily repel any attempt on the part of the British Government to induce this Department to interfere by giving by executive warrant relief which was refused by the court before whom such suit was brought. The only possible cases for such interference are those of torts wrongfully inflicted by the opposing government as an unprovoked assailant; and even in such cases where there is a local independent judiciary to be appealed to, there is no diplomatic interposition unless it should appear that on appealing to such judiciary, justice was denied.

“I cannot see that your case presents these features. No tort was inflicted on you by Great Britain so as to impair rights belonging to you by the law of nations. You went to England voluntarily to obtain privileges which are exclusively the products of British statutes. To obtain such privileges you appealed to the British chancery division of the English high court of justice, by which alone, under British legislation, could the relief you sought be granted.

“ The elaborate adverse opinion of Mr. Justice Sterling given on February 23, 1887, has been examined in this Department with care, and I have to inform you that in the judgment of this Department the decision made by Mr. Justice Sterling is not one in which such error can be found as will justify diplomatic intervention. The decision is simply an interpretation of British local legislation by the court, by which that legislation is to be judicially applied, and to which you yourself properly appealed for this purpose.

Your present method of redress is either the presentation of an amended case, so as to avoid the difficulties stated by Mr. Justice Sterling, or an appeal from the latter's decision to the appellate tribunal appointed in such case.”

Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Avery, May 4, 1887, 164 MS. Dom.

Let. 78.

The rule that the validity of patents in the United States is a question to be determined by the courts is applicable not only to litigation by private parties, but also to litigation in which the Government of the United States is interested. Hence the United States may properly intervene as a party in a suit brought by alien patentees against an American company for the use of a process which is employed by such company in manufacturing, under contract, articles for the use of the Government of the United States.

Mr. Adee, Acting Sec. of State, to Mr. Patenôtre, French minister, July

23, 1897, For. Rel. 1897, 137-141. The Navy Department may withhold its approval of a voucher for the

payment to the Carnegie Steel Company of a sum of money which is claimed as royalty for the use of the Harvey process in the manufacture of armor plate for naval vessels till the right of the Harvey Steel Company to collect from the Government a royalty for the use of the process is determined in a suit pending in the Court of Claims. (Griggs, At.-Gen., March 14, 1901, 23 Op. 422. Affirmed by Beck, Acting At.-Gen., Aug. 23, 1901, 23 Op. 495.)

As to the registration of trade-marks in the Argentine Republic, see For. Rel. 1899, 5-6.

In a despatch of January 9, 1894, Mr. Denby, United States minister at Peking, enclosed a copy of a note which he had addressed to the Tsung-li-Yamên, asking that a proclamation be issued reprobating the practices of counterfeiting or fraudulently imitating trade-marks on American piece goods, and directing all officials to arrest and punish persons found guilty of the offense. He communicated to the Yamên a copy of the proclamation then lately issued by taotai at Tien-tsin, warning all wholesale and retail dealers at that place not to change the trade-marks on American goods.

For. Rel. 1894, 134.

A patent for a spinning machine granted, by the Chinese Government June 17, 1898, to one of its own subjects, was bought by two American missionaries and an Englishman. The purchasers

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »