Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
Display paragraphs in this book containing:
First Pub. Date
New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
Pub. Date
Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
700 of 1105



MEDIATION. In international law, mediation is an act the object of which is to reconcile the disputes of nations. Three kinds of amicable negotiations, however, are distinguished: 1, a third power tenders its good offices to terminate the international dispute; 2, or a third power is selected to make impartial proposals of settlement, the other parties reserving the right of accepting or rejecting them; 3, or it is constituted judge or arbitrator to pronounce a sentence founded on the principles of justice and equity and binding on both parties. So we have tender of good offices, mediation, arbitration; each one of these methods has rules, and implies rights and duties for each power.


—The tender of good offices generally springs from a spontaneous sentiment; its object is to prevent violence, by engaging the contending parties to come to an understanding and settle their rights, to offer or accept reasonable satisfaction. This is the first step toward mediation.


—Mediation is a commission conferred and accepted for the purpose of conciliation, to procure peace, by softening reproach, calming resentment, and enlightening minds. Its tendency is to effect a compromise of opposing claims, to smooth difficulties raised by interest, self-esteem or passion, and it may lead to arbitration.


—Arbitration consists in the choice of one or several judges selected by common consent to decide the dispute and pronounce a sentence which, executory like a treaty, is to serve as a law and rule.


—We may remark that the processes of arriving at a settlement of disputes between nations are identical with those applied to the disputes of individuals; but we should not be astonished at this; nations are nothing more than agglomerations of individuals, and these agglomerations can not have, really and logically, other laws than those which govern the individuals composing them. Natural right flows from the same sources. Its principles apply, therefore, to nations as well as to individuals. Vattel could therefore say, with the concurrence of all civilized peoples: "Justice is even more necessary among nations than among individuals, because injustice has more terrible consequences in the disputes of these powerful political bodies. Each nation should therefore render to others what belongs to them, respect their rights, and leave them to the peaceful enjoyment of them. But the difference consists in this, that in civil society there are powers charged with enforcing respect for the rights of each one of its own members, while between free and sovereign nations there is no superior judge on earth before whom they can be summoned to appear in order to await from him the settlement of their disputes." Hence the creation, by the force of things, of this rôle of third powers tendering their good offices, or chosen as mediators, or accepted as arbitrators.


700 of 1105

Return to top