296 Breaches of Sea-Law by England. above all Swedish vessels were forced to endure, are simply legion. As has been confirmed in numberless public reports and private letters, these vessels are often repeatedly stopped at intervals of a few hours in one day, in order that they may again and again be subjected to examination and to the searching of their passengers and their freight, and to interminable questions. It is little less than a wonder that all these nations should so patiently endure these insolent liberties on the part of England. One would imagine that they were dependent upon her not only in a political but also in a moral sense. It is not difficult to comprehend that the export trade of the United States which consists chiefly of cotton (some $ 12 500 000 per annum), 1 copper, wood, lard, petroleum, wheat, cotton-seed and tobacco, must suffer to an appreciable extent under these knavish tricks, whose chief purpose is the disruption of trade with and between neutral lands. In a cablegram of October 29th, 1914, from Washington via London, "Reuter" reports that the British Ambassador had delivered two notes to the American Department of State, in which it was stated that cargoes of cotton would not be condemned. It was not the intention of the British Government to place cotton as contraband upon the list that was then in course of preparation. So far as mineral oils and other wares listed as contraband were concerned, England would condemn no shipment when the ship's papers made it clear that the port of destination was neutral. Only when goods were consigned "to order" would England undertake an examination (see the foregoing). The American shippers are at the same time recommended to direct their shipments to neutral governments or to other certified consignees. 2 1 The agricultural paper, "Farmers' Fireside and Bulletin," of the 27th of January, 1915, calculated that the American farmer has already lost half a milliard of dollars through England's proceedings. It remarks drastically: "When we pray for peace and send out millions of dollars' worth of warmaterial, we are either fools or hypocrites,—perhaps both." 1 An estimate of English naval policy by the well-known French exponent of international law, M. Bonfils, is interesting. He says: "The principal source of the strength and well-being of England is her trade by sea. All means, even illegal means, seem good to her when it is a question of safeguardding the basis of her greatness. Her only motive in action is her" self-seeking
The North Sea as a Zone of War. 297 V. The Declaration of the North Sea as a War Zone. At last England,—to use a distinctly English phrase,— decided to "go the whole hog." The English Admiralty issued the following proclamation under the date of November 3rd, 1914: "In view of the indiscriminate laying of mines by German ships under neutral flags, the whole North Sea must be regarded as a war zone. From the 5th of November on, all ships which sail from the northern point of the Hebrides through the Faroe Islands to Iceland, do so at their own risk, unless they observe the directions of the Admiralty. The merchant vessels of all nations for Norway, the Baltic, Denmark and the Netherlands are advised to go by way of the Channel to Dover. There a safe way will be indicated to them from Great Britain to Fame Island, from which the safest route possible to the light-ship "Lindesnâs" will be indicated to them, towards the Norwegian coast. From here on it will be necessary to sail as close as possible along the coast." (retranslation.) Through this measure, which England now endeavored to put into forcible operation, the rights of neutrals, according to which contraband upon neutral ships must be proved to have at least an enemy destination, were absolutely disregarded. A fictive traffic blockade of the export trade of neutral foreign countries was hereby declared. Pursuant to Article 18 of the Declaration of London which corresponds entirely to the view maintained in the Declaration of Paris of 1856, "it is absolutely forbidden for the blockading forces to bar access to neutral ports or coasts." This action on the part of Great Britain is the more unheard-of since it is not one single neutral harbor, nor the harbors of one single neutral state which are closed by this measure, but almost all the ports of all the neutral European states. material interest. Her presumption grows with her power. If she felt herself strong enough to allow free play to all her daring plans, it would plainly appear that her care for her position as a naval power was the foundation of her naval law. In order to enlarge her trade she feels herself constrained to proclaim unjust ordinances against neutral peoples." A severe but just judgment from the mouth of a brother-in-arms !