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THE PUBLICATION OF TREATIES
The publication of treaties has a history of more than three thousand years, extending back to the earliest extant records of governmental affairs. Within a decade from the discovery of the art of printing, treaty material was presented to the public by means of movable types, and from that time on the printing of the archives of foreign relations has steadily increased in volume and in variety of method of presentation. The printing of such documents was first a private venture with official sanction; then a wholly private venture; next largely a governmental affair; and now the League of Nations Treaty Series is both the official and the nearly complete repository of conventional texts of all countries, whether members of the League or not. In the following pages a brief account of these developments is given.
Before writing was an art, kings and princes seem to have had among their entourage a 'human archive,' chosen for his retentive memory and having the duty of recalling word for word the agreements made by the authorities. Primitive people also used aids to memory, of which knotted cords, strung beads, etc., including wampum, were frequent examples. The units of these tokens served the same mnemonic purpose as in the religious practice of 'telling beads.' The next logical step toward recording treaties would naturally be the ceremonial exchange of these aids to memory, now become symbols of the transaction. These physical mementoes of treaty engagements were archival. Their existence among the effects of a ruler was proof that the
engagement was still valid, though the contract itself existed only in the memories of the elders, the 'human archive,' or others.
With the advent of writing, treaties naturally were recorded by that method. It may be assumed that the ceremonials of negotiation were well developed, and it would seem that the religious rites accompanying important acts among primitive peoples had the incidental purpose of insuring the conservation of the texts in the temples. There were, however, probably many exceptions to that rule, occasioned by the character of the engagements. The literary remains of the ancients show political treaties, that is, those dealing with state policy, deposited in the temples; boundary treaties on border pillars; and com
1 Vide “Note sur les traités de paix chez les peuples sauvages,” by Ferdinand Denis, printed in Émile Egger's Études historiques sur les traités publics chez les Grecs et chez les Romains (Paris, 1866), pp. 253–259. For early biblical accounts of treaty making, cf. the instance of Isaac and Abimelech, Gen. xxvi, 28-31, and that of Laban and Jacob, Gen. xxxi, 44-54; also Jean Dumont, Corps universel diplomatique (Amsterdam, 1726), i, pp. xxxiv-xxxvi.
mercial agreements published on the walls of public buildings. Almost all of the methods of ancient writing are represented in the examples extant.
The earliest remains of the ancient secular world give proof that the making of treaties was not only common, but that its technique was far advanced. The clay tablets found in the ruins of the residence of Amenophis IV (1375-58 B.C.) of Egypt, near Tell El-Amarna, provide at present the oldest diplomatic records, none of which is, however, a treaty text. The royal correspondence on the tablets, dating from the fifteenth century B.C., contains numerous references to alliances and treaties, of which several were renewals of earlier arrangements. By working out the dynastic relationships, Scala ascribes to the year 1450 2 an alliance between Thothmes IV and Karaindas of Babylonia. A tablet recording the early intercourse between Assyria and Babylonia contains this reference to the same period:
Cara-indas king of the land of Car-duniyas (Lower Chaldaea) and Assurbil-nisi-su king of Assyria a covenant between them with each other established; and a pledge with regard to the boundaries of a certain character to one another gave.3
More interesting than these bare references, however, is the constant evidence in the tablets that the diplomacy of the day was experienced. Burraburiyash, king of Babylonia, begged Amenophis IV of Egypt “to remember that, as long as there is an offensive and defensive alliance between them, the Canaanites are powerless to do much harm and may be easily driven off.” 4 In another letter the king of Alashiya begs Amenophis “not to make any treaty or league with the kings of Khatti (Kheta) and Shankhar, and promises that whatever gifts they may send to him he will pass on to the Egyptian king, together with the addition of a like amount from himself.” 5 Only a rather sophisticated diplomacy would have called forth such a proposal.
The earliest treaty text extant is that of the treaty of peace, alliance, and extradition between Rameses II of Egypt and the prince of the Kheta, supposed to be the Hittites. Two copies of it exist. The best text is inscribed on a wall of the temple of Karnak, that apparently being the public copy, for the text itself refers to the official copy as being engraved on a silver tablet. It is dated in the twenty-first year
? Thirty years later at least, according to Breasted's chronology.
3 Translation of Archibald Henry Sayce, in Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, ii (1873), pp. 120-121.
* Charles Bezold and Ernest Alfred Wallis Budge, The Tell El-Amarna Tablets in the British Museum with autotype facsimiles (London, 1892), p. xxxi; Charles Bezold, Oriental Diplomacy (London, 1893), no. 2, pp. 3-4.
5 Tell El-Amarna Tablets, p. xxxv; French translation by Alphonse J. Delattre in Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, xiii (1891), p. 545.
6 The other text was at the Ramesseum.
7 The best English translation is by James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, iii, pp. 163–174, accompanied by a documentary account of the war it ended; vide also “Treaty of peace between Rameses II. and the Hittites,” translated by Charles Wycliffe Goodwin, in Records of the Past, edited by Samuel Birch, iv, pp. 25-32. A French translation by Emmanuel de Rougé, "Traité entre Ramses II
of Rameses II, 1271 B.C., according to Breasted's chronology, and according to Budge, 1333 B.C.
Greek history furnishes a more considerable and better known series of treaties, of which the earliest now extant seems to be the bronze tablet, found by Sir William Gell in 1813, containing an alliance between Elis and Heraea that was concluded probably between 588 and 572 B.C.' Thucydides was the first historian to give complete texts, but the earliest text quoted anywhere is the oath of the Amphictyons, the equivalent of a continuing treaty, which Barbeyrac in his history of ancient treaties assigns to 1496 B.C.
Barbeyrac 10 found 518 pieces set forth in the literary records before the Christian era. As his researches were largely confined to Greece and Rome, it may be assumed that the extant remains of treaty transactions in that period would total a thousand pieces. Treaties in the ancient world were, however, much less frequent than in modern times. The defeated state often disappeared, and the network of conventional peaceful relations, which is a salient feature of modern civilization, scarcely existed. This can be seen by comparing Barbeyrac's subject list of ancient treaties, giving sixty headings, et le Prince de Cheta," appears in Egger, op. cit., pp. 243-252; and in the Revue Archéologique, nouvelle série, xiii (1866), pp. 268-275; there is also one by François Chabas in his Voyage d'un Égyptien (Paris, 1866), pp. 332–340.
8 Budge, A History of Egypt (London, 1902), v, pp. 48–53.
• Rudolf von Scala, Die Staatsverträge des Altertums (Leipzig, 1898), no. 27; Coleman Phillipson, The International Law and Custom of Ancient Greece and Rome (London, 1911), ii, pp. 54-55; Edward Lee Hicks and George Francis Hill, A Manual of Greek Historical Inscriptions (new ed., Oxford, 1901), no. 9; Sir Charles Thomas Newton, The Collection of Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, ii (1883), plate 1, fig. 3, and no. clvii, pp. 14-16; Charles Michel, Recueil d'inscriptions grecques (Brussels, 1900), no. 1; etc.
10 Histoire des anciens traitez, partie i.
11 His list (Histoire des anciens traitez, preface, pp. xi-xii) follows: "Traitez, qui se rapportent à la religion, comme, pour l'intendance d'un temple, pour un droit d'asyle, pour la liberté de conscience, etc. Traitez de simple amitié. Traitez d'amitié et alliance. Traitez d'alliance offensive et défensive, ou défensive seulement. Traitez d'alliance égale, ou inégale. Confédération perpétuelle de plusieurs peuples. Conseils perpétuels établis entre ces sortes d'alliez. Décrets de ces corps, ou autres. Traitez, entre alliez, pour le commandement des armées, ou pour le choix d'un généralissime. Traitez des colonies, ou entre ceux qui les composoient, ou avec les habitans des pais, dans lesquels elles étoient venuës s'établir. Traitez pour terminer quelque différend; par des arbitres; par le sort; par des médiateurs; par un combat singulier; par un combat de plusieurs de part et d'autre, quelquefois en grand nombre; par un combat de bêtes contre bêtes; ou de quelque autre maniére. Traitez pour le réglement des limites, ou au sujet de quelque ville, ou de quelque pais, dont la propriété étoit contestée. Traitez, par lesquels une seule et même ville appartient, pour une certaine portion, à deux ou plusieurs princes. Traitez, qui regardent le commerce. Traitez de combourgeoisie entre deux ou plusieurs peuples. Droit de bourgeoisie accordé ou offert par un peuple à des étrangers, soit simples particuliers, ou grands, à des princes et des rois mêmes. Traitez d'hospitalité entre Rois, ou peuples. Traitez pour la liberté des mariages entre ceux de deux nations. Traitez de vente, cession, ou donation,
de quelque ville ou pais. Traitez pour le passage, ou pour une retraite d’armée. Traitez, par lesquels il étoit permis à un peuple, ou un roi, de recevoir les bannis, ou les réfugiez, venus de chez un autre. Traitez, pour se faire livrer quelcun. Traitez pour quelque entrevue des chefs de deux peuples, ou de deux armées. Traitez pour régler le tems
with one of the index volumes of a recent collection, such as the Nouveau recueil de traités, British and Foreign State Papers, Hertslet's Commercial Treaties, or even a national collection such as de Clercq's Recueil des traités de la France, any one of which will list hundreds of subjects.
The technique of negotiation and of rendering treaties effective has remained extraordinarily stable in its essentials. The earliest forms and formalities of diplomatic intercourse are strikingly similar to those of modern negotiations; and the stages through which a treaty passes to completion, from the issuance of full powers to negotiating agents to the exchange of ratifications and the careful archival preservation of the text, seem not to have been really different among the ancients and under a modern constitutional democracy.12
Public documents in the original copies on the lighter writing materials have not reached us from any remote time. When rulers conquered each other in those days the archives of the vanquished became part of the booty. The ease with which parchments, vellums, papyri, and papers could be destroyed militated against the preservation of documentary traces of the rights and privileges of a defeated enemy. On the other hand, the finding and deciphering of epigraphical treaty records is relatively a modern activity. Barbeyrac at the beginning of the eighteenth century was able to make no considerable use of such material. As early as 1556, however, a brass tablet was found at Polcevera, Italy, on which was preserved an award by Roman senate commissioners in a boundary dispute between the Roman people and the Veturii in 116 B.C.,13 and since the sixteenth et le lieu du combat. Traitez pour avoir permission d'enterrer les morts. Traitez pour des otages. Traitez pour la rançon, pour l'échange, ou pour le relâchement des prisonniers. Traitez de trêve, courte ou longue, de trente, de quarante, de cinquante, et même de cent années. Traitez de capitulation, ou de composition. Traitez de paix, proprement dite, ou illimitée. Traitez pour des tributs, de différentes sortes. Privileges accordez, ou confirmez, à des villes ou nations, soit dépendantes ou indépendantes. Traitez entre les grands d'un roiaume, pour l'élection d'un roi. Traitez entre concurrens, pour la succession. Partage d'un roiaume par accord. Association à la couronne, ou par indivis, ou à condition de régner alternativement. Échange de roiaumes. Souveraineté déférée à un tyran. Approbation de celle dont il s'étoit emparé. Traitez avec des rebelles. Traitez entre un roi, et ses sujets justement soulevez contre lui. Liberté d'un peuple reconnuë par le souverain, dont il a secoué le joug. Traitez entre ceux des deux parties, dans une guerre civile. Abdication du gouvernement par un roi légitime, ou par un tyran. Traitez avec un tyran vaincu. Traitez pour s'engager à rétablir un roi dépouillé de la couronne. Testamens, par lesquels un roi instituë pour héritier quelque autre prince, ou quelque autre état. Traitez entre les grands d'une république, qui aspirent chacun à se rendre maitre du gouvernement. Traitez secrets, ou articles secrets d'un traité d'ailleurs public etc.”
This list was printed in Portuguese in the Quadro elementar (i, pp. xviii-xxü) of Santarem, who neglected to mention where he got it.
12 On Greek and Roman negotiation and treaties vide Coleman Phillipson, The International Law and Custom of Ancient Greece and Rome, i, pp. 375-419; Léon Larivière, Des traités conclus par Rome avec les rois étrangers (Paris, 1892).
13 Atti della società ligure di storia patria, iii, pp. 357–744 (Genoa, 1864). Cf. Pietro Bizzarri, Senatus populique Genuensis rerum domi forisque historiae atque annales, pp. 1-2 (Antwerp, 1579).
century such relics have steadily increased in number from almost every archaeological excavation.
The invention of printing occurred about the year 1450. By 1500 the printing of important documents in international relations was customary; a hundred years later it was generally authorized; by 1700 the compilation of collections was a regular pursuit of scholars, and treaties had taken a popular place in the plans of publishers; by 1800 the need for such information had both extended and narrowed, so that special current or historical as well as strictly national collections were numerous; by 1900 the bulk of such publications had become so great that an attempt to organize this field of knowledge by a bibliography was inevitable.14 Computations based on the contents of the books listed in this manual indicate that 30,000 treaties exist, of which number about one-fifth are at present effective. The negotiation of treaties has so increased that out of 629 made by the United States between 1789 and 1917, 51 fall within the administration running from 1913 to 1917.
Viewed bibliographically, it perhaps makes little difference whether treaties were both printed and published at the outset, but historically there is a significance in the distinction. It might reasonably be expected that documents of the importance of treaties would originally be printed solely for official use, as a convenient and accurate method of multiplying copies. Publication, that is, making them available to the general public, would then presumably follow private printing.
The earliest printed documents of treaty character found by the present investigator belie this theory. They were issued from the press long before the habit of printing archival material was developed and before printers to kings came into vogue; they were documents clearly published to satisfy a popular interest in their subject matter. A papal bull deposing the archbishop of Mainz, and another depriving him of his electoral vote, thus removing the elector upon whom the convocation of the electors of the Holy Roman Emperor devolved, were published as broadsides in 1461; the Golden Bull of Charles IV (January 10, 1356) was first printed in 1474; the peace of Arras of December 23, 1482, between Louis XI of France and Maximilian of Austria (Emperor Maximilian I, 1493–1519), providing for the marriage of Margaret of Austria to the French Dauphin, was published in 1483; and portions of the treaty of Picquigny of August 29, 1475, between Louis XI of France and Edward IV of England, providing for the marriage of the same Dauphin and Elizabeth of York, were published in 1485 or 1486. It is safe to conclude that public interest rather than official convenience caused publication in all these instances.
14 These antecedent accounts of the publication of treaties should be mentioned: Jean Dumont, Corps universel diplomatique, vol. i, preface; Georg Friedrich von Martens, “Discours préliminaire sur les différens recueils de traités publiés jusqu'à ce jour," in his Supplement au Recueil des principaux traités (vide supra, No. 92b), i, pp. iii –lxxiii; reprinted in Comte de Garden's Histoire générale des traités de paix (vide supra, No. 137c), i, pp. 272–319; Sir Thomas Duffus Hardy, Syllabus of the Documents Contained in “Rymer's Foedera,” prefaces, vols. i and ii.