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Some of the current spate of writing about outer space is so highly imaginative as to discourage serious students of international organization and law from pursuing detailed studies of very real problems which now confront the UN. Antarctic possibilities are only slightly less fabulous and some of the problems there raised may be even more immediate. There are those who are troubled by the difficulty of mastering a new massive subject matter some of which is shrouded in unfamiliar scientific terminology and some of which is imprisoned in official security classifications. Actually these difficulties are no greater here than elsewhere. A study of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) like Codding's required familiarity with pulse radionavigation systems as well as voting procedures; the political and legal delegates to the recent Geneva Conference on the Law of the Sea were also required to deal with hydrography and ichthyology. The dark shadow of secret archives clouds the crystal ball for many a student of international relations who wishes to edge up on the contemporaneous scene. When charged with inadequacies, the present writers will not “take the Fifth” but will plead guilty.
When I first heard this account of my father’s early motivation to take up international law I cannot remember, but it surfaces again, I believe, in the Columbia University oral history. His experience in the trenches in France towards the end of the First World War was the key. He was in the infantry, carrying a light machine gun, and fought through a number of the terminal battles with the American Expeditionary Forces. Although he was shipped back at the end of the war as a West Point candidate, he mustered out at the earliest opportunity to resume civilian life and complete his undergraduate degree at Hamilton College.
For the first time the International Court of Justice has squarely faced and ruled upon the right of a third state to intervene in a case to which two other states are parties. The litigation was the Case Concerning the Continental Shelf (Tunisia/Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), Application of Malta for Permission to Intervene, Judgment of April 14, 1981. The Court unanimously denied permission to intervene, but three judges appended separate opinions which contain matters of considerable interest.