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The Legal Effects of Recognition

  • Philip Marshall Brown (a1)


No branch of international law has been so badly misunderstood and needlessly confused as that of the recognition of new states and new governments. Recognition has been the football of diplomats who have made it mean anything that suited their purpose. It has certainly been grossly abused as a weapon of diplomatic pressure and intervention. It has in many cases proved to be an insoluble puzzle to the courts whose decisions have been sometimes conflicting and confusing. It has been a plaything for the political scientists who have taken delight in posing abstract problems of a theoretical nature.



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* Italics throughout are by the author.

1 Revue de Droit International (1884), Vol. XVI, p. 333.

2 See lectures by Erich, “Naissance et Reconnaissance des Etats,” Académie de Droit International, The Hague, 1927.

3 See Gemma, “Les Gouvernements de fait,” Académie de Droit International, The Hague, 1924, p. 375.

4 See Malbone W. Graham, The League of Nations and the Recognition of States (Publication of University of California).

5 Foreign Relations of the U. S., 1913, p. 7.

6 See Larnaude, “Les Gouvernements de fait,” Revue Générale de Droit International Public (1921), p. 498.

7 Address before the Council on Foreign Relations, New York City, Feb. 6, 1931.

8 Published Works of Jefferson, Vol. III, p. 500.

9 This Journal, Supp., Vol. 25 (1931), p. 203.

10 See Second Annual Report of Emergency Advisory Committee, p. 79.

11 Ibid., p. 16.

12 Admission dans la Société des Nations et Reconnaissance de Jure,” Revue de Droit International et de legislation Comparie (1921), p. 321.

13 Lectures at the Hague Academy of International Law, 1932, Vol. IV.

14 Pelzer v. United Dredging Co., 118 Misc. Rep. 210, 195 N. Y. S. 675.

15 Russian Government v. Lehigh Valley R. R. Co., U. S. Dist. Ct., N. Y. (1919), 293 P. 133; Hudson’s Cases on International Law, p. 70.

16 Banque Industrielle de Moscou v. Banque Russe pour le Commerce et 1’Industrie, Trib. civ. Seine, May 20, 1921, 50 Clunet 533.

17 Banque Internationale de Commerce de Petrograd v. Goukassov, Great Britain, L.R., [1923] 2 K.B. 682.

18 17 Wallace 570, 21 L. Ed. 657.

19 Hudson’s Cases on International Law, p. 155; this Journal, Vol. 21 (1927), p. 161.

20 Scott’s Cases on International Law, p. 67.

21 Tinoco Arbitration, 1924, this Journal, Vol. 18 (1924), p. 147.

22 Luther v. Sagor, [1921] 3 K.B. 532; Hudson’s Cases, p. 131.

23 La Reconnaissance d’un Gouvernement de Facto par Etats Etrangers,” Rev. Gén. de Droit Int. Pub., p. 22.

24 Yrissari v. Clement, Great Britain, 1826, 3 Bing. 432; Scott’s Cases, p. 19.

25 State of Yucatan v. Argumedo, N. Y. Sup. Ct., 1915, 19 Misc. Reps. 547; 157 N. Y. S. 219.

26 O’Neill v. Central Leather Co., N. J. Ct. of Errors and Appeals, 1915, 87 N. J. Law, 552, 94 A. 789; Hudson's Cases, p. 163.

27 Bussian Government v. Lehigh Valley Railroad Co., U. S. Dist. Ct. of N. Y., 1919, 293 F. 133. See Hudson’s Cases, p. 70.

28 Sokoloff v. National City Bank, U. 8. Ct. App., N. Y., 1924, 239 N. Y. 158, 145 N. E. 917. See Hudson’s Cases, p. 113.

29 Max Wulfsohn et al. v. Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic, U. S. Ct. App., N. Y., 1923, 234 N. Y. 372. See Hudson’s Cases, p. 89.

30 Russian Reinsurance Co. et al. v. Francis B. Stoddard, Jr., Supt. of Insurance of the State of New York, et al. U. S. Ct. App., N. Y., 1925, 240 N. Y. 149. See Hudson’s Cases, p. 106.

31 Chronique en Clunet, 1891, p. 886, concerning the cases City Bank, Balfour, Williamson et Cie. et al., Royal Mail Steam Packet Co.; Matte et Ross c. Sociéte des Forges et Chantlers.

32 Hausner v. Banque Internationale de Commerce de Petrograd, 1924, Arréts du Trib. Fed. Suisse, Vol. 50, II, 507 (582). Cited by Habicht in this Journal, Vol. 21 (1927), p. 238.

33 The Court granted an injunction demanded by the Mexican Government. The United States of Mexico v. National Bank of Haverhill, this Journal, Vol. 17 (1923), p. 743.

34 M. Freund, “La involution Bolchévique et le Statut juridique des Busses,” Journal de Droit International Privé, 1924, p. 5.

35 André Prudhomme, ibid., p. 7.

36 See Resolutions adopted by the Inatitut de Droit International, this Journal, Supp., Vol. 30 (1936), p. 185. The author of the present article was gratified as Rapporteur of the Commission of the Institut concerning the Recognition of New States and New Governments to receive the almost complete confirmation of the views and conclusions here presented.

37 Ibid., p. 186.

38 Ibid., p. 187.

39 Ibid.

The Legal Effects of Recognition

  • Philip Marshall Brown (a1)


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