Full text: Responsibility of states for damage caused in their territory to the person or property of foreigners

the will and activities of the State, and they are of the same character as 
court decisions or administrative measures.” (Cour Permanente de Justice 
[nternationale, Arret No. 7 du 23 mai 1906. Publications, série A, No. 7, 
p. 19.) 
(b) This question of responsibility arising from the acts of the legis- 
lative body comprises all of the more or less important issues which have 
come up at this time in connection with lands and mineral resources. The 
laws relating to title to property and oil reserves have originated, both in 
Europe and in America, very important international controversies. At this 
time it might be well to mention the discussion between the United States 
and Mexico, arising out of the Mexican Constitution of 1917,! the litigation 
between Hungary and Roumania pertaining to agrarian interests? and the 
discussion between the United States and Japan in connection with the real 
property laws of the State of California.? Soviet legislation is another 
great problem which involves, not only the conflict of municipal legislative 
acts, but the inconsistencies of two systems of government which could not 
axist within the same civilization. 
« Article 27 of this Constitution reserves to Mexican citizens, either by birth or 
naturalization, and to Mexican corporations, the right to acquire land, waters and their 
afffuents, and concessions for the exploitation of mines, water power or mineral fuel 
reserves. Several of the laws enacted for the regulation of this Constitutional provi- 
sion gave rise to claims from the Government of the United States, based on the con- 
tention that rights acquired prior to the Constitution of 1917 and prior to the enact- 
ment of said laws, would be greatly impaired if not totally destroyed thereby. In this 
~onnection, the foreign offices of both governments exchanged lengthy and very interest- 
ing correspondence. The Mexican Government maintained that the exercise of sover- 
eignty over its territory fully justified its legislation, and denied that it impaired in 
any way the rights already acquired by aliens; while the United States contended, on 
its part, that this legislation violated international laws because it disregarded, by 
actual confiscation of property, the rights already acquired by foreign subjects. (Official 
correspondence exchanged between the governments of the United States and Mexico 
in connection with the laws regulating Section 1 of Article 27 of the Mexican Consti- 
tution.—Mexico—Foreign Relations Press—1926.) 
* This question covered the expropriations by the Roumanian Government, in pursu- 
ance of its agrarian law, to the detriment of Hungarian nationals, both with and with- 
out options, who were land owners of Transylvania and other sections of the former 
Kingdom of Austria-Hungary annexed under the Treaty of Trianon. (L’Arret du 
Janvier 1927 du T. A. M. Roumano-Hongrois dans les Affaires. Dites Agraires et le 
Droit International, par Georges Scelle.) 
"The legislature of the State of California passed a law in connection with the 
rights, privileges and restrictions applying to alien nationals and to certain companies, 
firms and corporations in respect of property within the State, and stipulated the lapse 
of title thereto under certain circumstances. The law provided that all foreigners eli- 
gible for citizenship under the laws of the United States could acquire, hold, use, trans- 
fer and inherit real estate in like manner and form as American citizens. Other aliens 
would be entitled to these rights in the manner and form established by treaties made 
with their respective governments. Japan objected to this law, claiming that it im- 
paired the rights and privileges afforded to its citizens by the commercial and maritime 
treaties in force. Also, Japan rejected the suggestion to have the matter referred to 
the courts in charge of determining whether treaty provisions are to supersede laws 
enacted contrary to them. The correspondence relating to this incident is very interest- 
ing from the point of view of the relationship between the international and the municipal 

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