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International Law and Society

ISSUE:  Autumn 1944

The key to understanding the functions fulfilled by any legal system, whether national or international, lies in the structure of its social background. Naturally, such a relationship is not a one-sided one. Yet primarily it is the specific character of the social group which impresses itself on the law. Merely in a secondary way, the law reacts back on its social environment. Fundamentally, social life expresses itself in two different group relation- ships: those of a society and those of a community. The relations between master and slave in slave-holding societies, between shareholders in modern commercial enterprises, or between the ruling class and the subjects of a totalitarian state offer instances of the former type; and those between the members of a family, blood brotherhood, or living church exemplify the latter. An examination of the legal systems

corresponding to these social relationships reveals two es-

sentially different types of law: the law of power and the law of co-ordination. The former mainly fulfils the function of making possible social co-existence and of adjusting diverging interests in accordance with the prevalent power relation between rulers and ruled. The task of the latter consists in contributing to the further integration of the community and is normally restricted to the enforcement in exceptional cases of the minimum standards regarded as indispensable by the community. Yet it cannot be emphasized strongly enough that, in reality, these pure types of society and community, and their corresponding types of law, always have a tendency to be blurred to a greater or lesser extent. A community will often be prepared to make use of the self-interest of its members as a vehicle of social action, and, equally, a society requires a modicum of fairness and mutuality. Then the law of reciprocity provides a meeting-ground for, and an intermediate stage between, the laws of power and of co-ordination.

By reference to these three basic types of law and by the analysis of the concrete relationship between them in any given legal system, it becomes possible to go beyond the current and highly abstract definitions of law and to analyze more closely the place of law in any particular social group. If international law partakes of the character of law, its functions can be made evident only by the correlation of international law to its own peculiar social environment. Two questions therefore arise: what is the nature of the social substratum of international law, and what are the dominant motive powers, determining the actions of groups in the international sphere?


To conceive international relations in terms of a community requires a certain sense of humour. Examples from the most recent past are not wanting, but compared with these, the period preceding the First World War has the advantage of being both near enough to be within everyone’s memory and knowledge, and yet sufficiently remote to appear as the responsibility of bygone generations.

After the Franco-German war of 1870-1871, France was isolated. The meeting in Berlin, in September, 1872, between the Emperors of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia made this situation apparent to the world at large. As was shown by the League of the Three Emperors, formed at Schoenbrunn in 1873, the German-Austrian Alliance of 1879, and the Alliance of the three Empires of 1881, Bismarck’s policy aimed at the maintenance and consolidation of the position achieved by Germany on the chessboard of Europe. Even on the basis of such a benevolent interpretation of Bismarck’s foreign policy, the peculiarities of the assumptions on which inter-state relations are based become evident. It is taken for granted that, at least for defensive purposes, every state has uppermost in its mind its own existence and survival and, in the case of a Greater Power, this means survival as a Greater Power. This interest major may not coincide with that of peace. If it does not, everything, including peace has to be subordinated to what appears to be the highest value: the survival of the Greater Powers as Greater Powers.

Bismarck’s system of defensive alliances reached its high watermark with the conclusion of the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia of 1887. Once the Treaty was allowed to lapse, in 1890, the alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary could no longer safely be regarded by Russia as in no circumstances being directed against herself. In accordance with the advice tendered to his king by an Indian philosopher nearly two thousand years ago, the Russian reaction was inevitable: “The enemy of your enemy is your friend.” Thus, in spite of the misgivings of republican and liberal Frenchmen over an alignment with the Czarist autocracy and of corresponding ideological qualms on the part of the rulers of Russia, the rapprochement between France and Russia and the alliance between both countries was a foregone conclusion. The German-Austrian alliance had produced its counter-alliance. Quite naturally. each side began to look round for additional allies, and states not yet finally committed to one or the other camp uneasily sat on the fence and, in this way, only increased the general uncertainty and distrust. Thus, in a state system which was composed of more than two states and which was already sufficiently closely integrated for no one state to be able to ignore such alignments, alliances and counter-alliances inevitably led to a balance of power. In such an atmosphere, and by the impetus of a general armament race, unavoidable in such a system, a major conflagration sooner or later became a certainty. The object of diplomacy was no longer to preserve peace, but, at the best, to postpone war, and to manoeuvre one’s own country into the best possible tactical position in the storm to come.

The relations of states on such a footing with each other mav be described as a system of power politics. Scientifically used, the term signifies the typical forms of the behaviour of groups within a society as distinct from a community. Secondly, it implies that the relations between these groups are based on two fundamental assumptions: each group is not merely a means to an end, but an end in itself; and. at least for purposes of self-preservation, any measures required to achieve this object are justified. Thirdly, it means that the hierarchy between groups within such a system is measured by their political, economic, and military strength; that is to say, their weight in any potential or actual conflict.

In order to understand the origins and growth of world power politics, it is necessary to be aware of the three most powerful agencies behind the formation of this system. In constant interaction between each other, the trends towards disintegration, expansion, and centralization have produced our world society.

Whatever the shortcomings of the Middle Ages may have been, during that period Europe formed a commonwealth, based on common Christian values, on a common philosophical and scientific outlook, on a common code of honour, on a common architecture, and, amongst the educated, even on a common language. Under the combined onslaught of the disruptive spiritual, social, and economic forces of the Renascence, the medieval system succumbed. The absolutist states of Europe, fragments of the pyramidal structure of the medieval community, provided one of the few rallying points which were left. Internecine struggles among them and a period of apparent chaos brought to the surface those amongst the Leviathans who, by reason of power, geographical position, and shrewdness of their rulers, were best fitted to weather the turmoil of an age of revolution and transition.

The forces unloosed by tbe Renascence, however, were too vigorous and dynamic to allow themselves to be compressed within the compass of medieval Europe. The world was their field, and, in the process of the colonial and imperial expansion of the European powers, the European society of nations gradually engulfed the New World, Asia, and Africa. Though divided in their religious allegiances, the European states still shared a vast fund of values, cherished by Catholics and Protestants alike and ultimately derived both from Christianity and the rediscovery of antiquity. This tradition could be passed on to the newly discovered continents in which emigrants from Europe settled in considerable numbers. Yet though Europe was strong enough to open up and to subjugate other parts of the world, it could not force the rest of mankind to accept the Western way of life. At the most, the old civilizations of Asia were prepared to bide their time and, meanwhile, to study the means by which the West so successfully had defeated what they still considered to be their own superior ways of life. Thus, not much more than the overwhelming power of the Western states, the common technical devices of modern industry and finance and mutual commercial interests held together the emerging world society, ruled by the Western civilized nations, as, at least, they regarded themselves.

In the course of the continuous struggle for survival, European states and empires grew and decayed, but some of them succeeded in stabilizing themselves and in drawing additional strength from a newly emerging emotional force, modern nationalism. Based on discrepancies in economic and military power, the size of their population and national cohesion, a hierarchy between greater and smaller states developed. If the great wars of the past centuries in Europe are surveyed and judged by their results rather than by the intentions of the belligerents, it becomes obvious that their objective function has been continuously to test the claims of states to be regarded as Greater Powers and, in a rough-handed manner, to intensify the trend towards centralization and towards the creation of still greater states and empires.

In the nineteenth century, it was the Pentarchy of Austria-Hungary, France, Great Britain, Prussia (later Germany), and Russia which ruled over Europe. In 1919, the fate of the world was decided by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers: the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan. In the Peace Settlement to come, this function will be fulfilled by the United States of America, the Soviet Union, the British Commonwealth and Empire, and China.


The sceptic may he forgiven for doubting whether in a sphere so much permeated by power there is any scope for law whatsoever. Yet the same states which for more than four centuries have been immersed in the vortex of power politics themselves attest to the reality of international law. In the diplomatic notes of their foreign offices, they regularly complain of any violation of their rights under international customary law and under international treaties; they demand and make reparation for violations of international law; they conclude agreements for the settlement of their disputes, appear before international tribunals and courts as plaintiffs and respondents, and, still more important, ungrudgingly and in a most gentlemanly fashion, comply with international awards. In their practice, international judicial institutions, particularly the Permanent Court of International Justice, have built up an imposing system of case law, ranging over the whole field of international law.

What, then, are the functions fulfilled by law in the international society?

In a society in which power is the overriding consideration, it is not unnatural that, primarily, law should serve the purposes of those who wield power rather than restrain the mighty in the interest of the weak who may be in need of the law’s protection. A few examples may illustrate the ideological aspects of international law.

In a system of power politics, peace is but the interval between major wars. The equilibrium of force on which it rests is formulated in legal terms in the peace treaty, and the non-war period lasts as long as the states which have been victorious in the preceding struggle are able and willing to maintain the order established at the peace conference. If there were no peace treaty, the victors would either have to fight to the finish and incorporate the countries of the defeated enemies into their own territories or keep them under some kind of semi-permanent occupation. It therefore saves strenuous exertions if it is possible to obtain the consent of the vanquished to more limited measures which may equally well serve the purpose of maintaining the hegemony established by the force of arms. If this can be achieved, the settlement is no longer based on mere force. The signature of the vanquished and the contractual character of the obligations undertaken by him endow the peace treaty with the sanctity of law. While in the national law of any civilized state the free consent of the parties to a contract is a condition of its validity, in international law nothing short of actual physical threat to or coercion of the actual persons of the plenipotentiaries invalidates an international treaty.

If a state desires to break an international engagement, international law offers convenient excuses of a quasi-legal character such as the principles of self-preservation or self-defence, or the principle that a treaty does not cover situations which, at the time of the conclusion of the contract, neither party could possibly have contemplated. Thus, in countries in which the currency had lost practically all its value, it was rightly held that a serious inflation affected the very basis of contracts, and that a party could not be asked to perform its contract merely in order to receive valueless paper in exchange. Yet there is all the difference between a situation in which independent courts judge the submissions of the parties concerned and either pronounce the contract to be terminated or adjust it to changed circumstances, and the position which exists in international law. Here, in the absence of agreements to the contrary, states are not bound to submit their disputes to tribunals or courts, and they remain judges in their own causes. This means that allegation stands against allegation, and it mainly becomes a question of propagating public opinion both at home and abroad whether the unilateral action taken is considered as a breach of treaty or as a well-justified act. The measures taken by Russia in 1871 regarding the Black Sea clauses in the Peace Treaty of 1856, by Austria-Hungary in 1908 regarding the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or the denunciation by the Third Reich of the Locarno Treaties and the Non-Aggression Pact with Poland bear out this point.

Equally, devices such as intervention, pacific blockades, or reprisals are very often merely unjustified acts of violence in time of peace or of resort to war under the disguise of measures taken in accordance with the international law of peace. Though examples could be multiplied, it may suffice to recall the reprisals ordered by Great Britain against Greece in 1847 in the case of Don Pacifico or the Italian bombardment of Corfu in 1923. Though abuse of law is not a phenomenon unknown even in the laws of civilized communities, the absence of organs which can automatically investigate the legality of measures of self-help means that any state which is sufficiently powerful may with impunity cloak its high-handed action in the garment of law and thus mock the very name of international law.

The significance of the abuses to which the absence of an automatic judicial review of such unilateral acts lays open international law may be challenged on the ground that these examples magnify beyond proportion occasional and regrettable exceptions, and that the emphasis on these instances does not do justice to the higher standards with which, at most times, the majority of states unhesitatingly conform. Even granting this argument, the predominance of the law of power in international law rests on much deeper foundations. It goes down to the very root of international customary law, to the conception of state sovereignty. Any change in the status quo, territorial or otherwise, depends on the consent of the states concerned, and any matter which, by customary or treaty law, is not subject to international law, is within the exclusive domestic jurisdiction of the sovereign state. What this means becomes clear if we enumerate merely two or three of the topics which, in accordance with international law, states have a right to reserve to their national jurisdiction: access to raw materials and markets and questions of migration. In a society which is as dynamic as modern society in its internal and external aspects, such a state of affairs is only tolerable on one condition: if states are willing to compromise and to agree voluntarily to make concessions which, in fairness and justice, they can be asked to grant. If this should not be the case, a state is faced with a difficult alternative. It must either resign itself to the refusal of its demands on the part of other states, or it must be able to lend weight to its request by the threat or application of pressure, By building international law on the foundation of national sovereignty and by their jealous guardianship of this apparently priceless possession, states make quite sure that, in the international sphere, the rule of law remains subject to the overriding rule of force.

Though this description of international law as a law of power may be grudgingly conceded as a correct appraisal of pre-1914 international law, it may be held that such an analysis does scant justice to the developments of international law in the post-1919 period, and to its particular achievements, the League of Nations and the Kellogg Pact. It would be too easy to refute such an objection by an all-too-long list of notorious failures of the Geneva system and of the numerous breaches of the Pact of Paris for the Renunciation of War. What, however, cannot be passed over in silence, is the fact that the drafters of both these collective treaties failed to face exactly that issue which could not be shirked: state sovereignty. Quite apart from the absurd interpretation of the unanimity principle under Article 11 of the League Covenant, which, in the case of the Manchukuo conflict, was held to require the inclusion of the aggressor, the crux of the matter is how a collective system deals with disputes which states are not prepared to settle on the basis of existing international law. Short of a unanimous report on the part of the League Council, an aggressor need not fear any collective action whatsoever. Even if the required unanimity should be reached—Article 15 mercifully provides that, in counting the unanimous vote, the parties to a dispute may be ignored—all that happens is the compulsory application of economic sanctions. Yet as the sanctions experiment in the Italo-Abyssinian conflict and the non-application of the oil sanction have shown, in the absence of willingness on the part of the League members to apply military sanctions, this merely means that the aggressor, and not the League of Nations, decides on the economic or military character of any particular sanction. Furthermore, if the issue relates to a matter which international law has reserved to the domestic jurisdiction of a state—usually those questions over which states consider it worthwhile to fight—, the League Council is precluded from making any recommendation at all. To select merely one more instance, the procedure for revision visualized in Article 19 of the Covenant is grotesque. If a treaty has become inapplicable —whatever this may mean—or if the continuance of certain international conditions endangers the peace of the world, the League Assembly may advise member states to reconsider the position. If the member states do so, all is well; if not, they are under no further obligation, and the League can do no more.

It can at least be said in favour of the League of Nations that it attempts to solve the problem of world order by a threefold positive approach: the pacific settlement of international disputes, collective security, and disarmament.

The Pact of Paris, however, limits itself to the outlawry of war on paper. Just as no constitution-maker has yet succeeded in preventing revolution by prohibiting it, so the fate of this treaty was a foregone conclusion. Less known is the diplomatic correspondence preceding and accompanying the conclusion of the Pact. Kellogg himself affirmed that the Pact did not prevent a signatory state from resorting to war in self-defence, and that each state had to decide for itself whether such a situation had arisen. Thus it was left to every aggressor to determine for himself whether his action amounted to self-defence, and to each signatory to see, in whatever light it chose, the aggression on the part of any other signatory state. In this connection, it is well to remember that, at the outbreak of the Italo-Abyssinian War, the withdrawal of Abyssinian troops to a zone of twenty miles behind the Abyssinian frontier was cited by Mussolini as irrefutable proof of the Abyssinian intention to attack what was once Italian East Africa.

Whoever is naive enough to believe it, may think that all these shortcomings of the League of Nations and of the Kellogg Pact have been regrettable oversights and blunders on the part of the statesmen concerned and of their professional advisers. To hold this view implies a very poor opinion of the intellectual capacities of those responsible for the fates of nations. Together with the notorious reservations of national honour and vital interests in tbe arbitration treaties of the pre-1914 era, these all-too-obvious loopholes in the collective agreements of the post-1919 period appear to suggest a different interpretation. Steeped as foreign offices are in the traditions of power politics, and imbued, as they are, with their duty of serving the interests of their own countries first and last, these guardians of national sovereignty and of national interest may or may not believe in the possibility of a true international community. In any case, they consider it to be their task to save their countries from the follies and the “idealism” of public opinion and, if necessary, of their own political heads. Though, in form, they may sometimes have had to give way to the pressure of public opinion in the democracies and to the necessity of honouring election pledges, in substance, they have always succeeded in re-introducing through the backdoor all the reservations required for the undiminished survival of national sovereignty. If public opinion does not permit them to play power politics in the polished forms of the eighteenth century or in the more brutal ways of the nineteenth century, the same game can be played in the twentieth-century style of power polities in disguise. It has been the misfortune of international law, as applied in the twenty years between the First and Second World Wars, to provide the technical ways and means for the achievement of these objects.


Is international law, then, merely a pious fraud, at which the augurs smile? To rest content with an unqualified answer in the affirmative would be as unrealistic and unscientific as is the attitude of those who choose to ignore the ideological functions fulfilled by international law. As long-as there is a system of world power politics, international law will have to serve its purposes. Yet international law is not only a law of power. It is also a lawr of reciprocity, and even traces of the law of co-ordination are not entirely lacking.

In the rules regarding diplomatic immunities or regarding territorial waters, the working of the principle of reciprocity becomes apparent. At a time when, in these spheres, international law was still in a formative stage, states had the choice whether to interpret restrictively the rights of immunity granted to the representatives of foreign states or whether to give them a liberal construction. If, in the interest of their own untrammelled sovereignty, they had preferred the former course, there was nothing to prevent them from taking such a line. In this case, however, they could not expect a more generous treatment for their own representatives in foreign countries than they themselves were prepared to grant to other states. Actually, states did not act in such a short-sighted manner. Thus an international customary law grew up which derived its strength and authority from the automatic working of the principle of reciprocity. In most civilized countries it received added support from national statutes, codifying the rules of international common law, and from the national courts, sustaining international law by their liberal construction of these statutes. Or, to turn to the question of the sea frontier, states found it necessary and opportune to subject to their exclusive control a belt of the high sea next to their own coast line. If they made exaggerated claims regarding the width of their own territorial waters, they were bound to be met by the same argument whenever they demanded the benefits of the freedom of the high sea in waters bordering on the coasts of other states. Thus, at a time when the range of shore batteries extended to about three miles, a rule of customary law crystallized, fixing at this distance the limits of territorial waters.

Though peace treaties offer an example par excellence of treaties likely to be used in the interest of the law of power, the normal function of international treaties consists in giving concrete expression to the principle of reciprocity in spheres in which, on a basis of mutuality, states desire to limit the exercise of their unfettered national sovereignties. States are likely to do so only when, in their view, the benefits to be derived from the restriction of the exclusive domestic jurisdiction of other states appear to outweigh or, at least, to balance the disadvantages resulting from a restriction of their own freedom. Thus crime constitutes a menace to any human society. If, by simply leaving the country in which punishment threatens them, criminals could manage to escape punishment or, if without risk, criminals could operate on an international scale, criminal justice would be outwitted by the most dangerous types of lawbreakers. Extradition treaties provide an easy means of solving the problem. Similarly, in the spheres of transit, of transport, of communications on land, sea, and in the air, of the protection of economic interests abroad such as copyright or trademarks, or of international trade, treaties on the basis of reciprocity make normal life at least bearable in a world of sovereign states.

It is not by accident that all this evidence of the working of the principle of reciprocity is taken from spheres which, from the point of view of power politics, are either merely peripheric or completely irrelevant. Yet if states wish to behave in a rational manner even in the realm of political issues, they can meet on the common denominator of reciprocity. An outstanding example is offered by a comparison between the Minorities Treaties of the post-1919 period with the Geneva Convention of 1922 between Germany and Poland regarding Upper Silesia. The states which had been unilaterally burdened in 1919 and after with obligations in favour of national, racial, and religious minorities, not unnaturally considered these clauses to form an intolerable burden on their still new—and, therefore, rather touchy— national sovereignties. When, however, after the division of Upper Silesia between Germany and Poland, both states were induced to accept far-reaching restrictions of their national sovereignties on both sides of a highly artificial border, it was found that the complicated experiment, laid down in more than COO Articles of the Convention, worked exceedingly well. Each of the parties soon found that, if, under the Convention, it favoured a liberal interpretation of its own rights, in due course the same construction would be demanded by the other side. In accordance with the principle of reciprocity, and with the assistance of the international organs entrusted with the supervision of the execution of the Convention, an equilibrium was soon established which secured a reasonable continuation of social and economic life in the divided district.

It may sound paradoxical, but it is no more than logical that the principle of reciprocity may even be found at work in the spheres of the laws of war and neutrality. Once the trump cards of power politics have been played, and the issue is left to be decided in terms of force, even for the achievement of the objects of war, the unlimited application of the means of destruction may prove to be unnecessary. As long as a certain balance of strength exists between the belligerents, there is a limited scope for the mutual application of rules of chivalry and human decency. Conventions regarding prisoners of war and the treatment of wounded and sick soldiers, as well as the work of the International Red Cross, bear out this statement. Similarly, in the relations between belligerents and neutrals, an equilibrium tends to be reached, when the advantages to be derived from interference with neutral rights are outbalanced by the risk that an outraged neutral may ally itself with a more scrupulous opponent. Nevertheless, an express reservation must here be made. This analysis applies to wars fought for limited purposes, such as the Crimean War or the Franco-German War of 1870-1871; that is to say, to wars which are waged between powers who still have in common the minimum of common values associated with the notion of civilized states. In wars, however, such as the Napoleonic Wars or the First and Second World Wars, which are wars to the finish, the weaker side has a tendency, in favour of short-range advantages to be gained by the violation of international law, to forsake the limitations imposed on it by international customary and treaty law. Germany’s resort in the First World War to unrestricted submarine warfare and to the use of poison gas proves the strength of such a temptation. Still less scope is there for the principle of reciprocity, if, as in this war, the Fascist states not only challenge a particular system of power politics, but world civilization as such and, intentionally and indiscriminately, flout international law with the express purpose of widening still further the already existing gulf between their nations and the rest of the world. Yet even then international law is far from being helpless and, in the punishment of war crimes and in the outlawry of the gangster governments, it provides means of redress for the horrors committed by mechanized barbarism.


Any picture of the functions fulfilled by international law would be incomplete, if its most promising aspect, the rules and institutions in the border-zone between the laws of reciprocity and of co-ordination, did not receive due attention.

In the sphere of the law of international rivers, national and international courts have developed the conception of an international river community, characterized by the common interest of all riparian states in the navigability of such rivers and by their absolute equality in the rights and duties of the members of such a regional community. By the Barcelona Convention of 1921, the benefits of this principle, which the Congress of Vienna had limited to riparian states, were extended to all the signatories of this multilateral treaty. Whereas the insistence on national sovereignty over certain parts of such rivers reduces their value for all to a vanishing point, the change of emphasis from an atomistic approach to one of partnership on the basis of an international convention transforms international society law into a law of co-ordination; and the concomitant restriction of national sovereignty on a basis of reciprocity makes possible freedom of communications and, within a narrow field, a regional community.

On a larger scale, and with equal success, the Universal Postal Union has solved the problem of how, in a world of sovereign states, to achieve the object of the best possible postal services all over the world. As has been convincingly shown by Sir Alfred Zimmern, a comparison of its history with that of the International Telegraphic Union reveals the secret of the success of the Postal Union. Recause of their political, military, and economic importance, cables became an issue of power politics and of the diplomatic struggles between the foreign offices, while postal communications were left in the hands of professional experts and enthusiasts. Not being obsessed by notions such as national interest and prestige, the postmasters set out to build up an organization and a system which, from a functional point of view, would best serve this purpose. Contrary to all the traditions of national sovereignty, but in accordance with common sense, they treated the world as if it formed one single territory. The efficiency of the service which they provided assured the observance of the regulations made by the Union, and even universality of membership was achieved, as only at the risk of its own inconvenience could a state dare to stay outside or to withdraw from its orbit.

Limitation of space prohibits more than a reference to the international law of co-ordination at work in the international anti-drug campaign or in the concerted action of the Western states in favour of refugees from totalitarian oppression. Yet it is impossible not to say at least a few words on the International Labour Organization. In this international institution, the functional principle has found a—so far—unique expression. In addition to the government representatives, its constituent bodies contain, on a footing of complete equality, delegates of both the employers and workers. The Organization was created partly as a counter-move against the Rolshevist bogy of 1919 and partly owing to the pressure of the working-class movement in the countries of the Allied and Associated Powers. They realized— and the Preamble to Part Thirteen of the Peace Treaty of Versailles expressly admits it—that “the failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions of labour is an obstacle in the way of other nations which desire to improve the conditions in their own countries.” By giving expression to the antagonism and possible alignments between horizontal groups, the significance of the vertical division between the sovereign states was reduced to manageable proportions. If, nevertheless, the organization has not had the same spectacular success as the Universal Postal Union, the reason is not far to seek. The International Labour Conferences may adopt any amount of draft conventions or recommendations for the improvement of labour conditions, but the decision whether these proposals are to be adopted remains as of old with each individual member state.

Finally, a splendid possibility to give life to the law of co-ordination in the inter-state sphere remains to be mentioned: UNRRA. In the Agreement establishing the United Nations Rehabilitation and Relief Administration, its functions are defined as giving to the population of the liberated countries “aid and relief from their sufferings, food, clothing, and shelter, aid in the prevention of pestilence and in the recovery of the health of the people,” and as making preparations “for the return of prisoners and exiles to their homes and for assistance in the resumption of urgently needed agricultural and industrial production and the restoration of essential services.” It will depend on the countries which will have to provide the supplies and resources, and on the Administration itself, whether they will mar the effects of their assistance by a repetition of the policies pursued after the last war, that is to say, by making assistance to countries dependent on the compliance with political conditions. Should they succeed in resisting the temptation of short-range politics, this international institution may be able to contribute its measured share in bringing about the transformation of our existing international society into a world community, and in changing the emphasis from the international law of power to those of reciprocity and coordination.


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