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

means at its disposal” was argued. In the solution of this question, con- 
sideration was given to the fact that the State had done everything that 
it would have or could have done had the claimant been one of its own 
nationals, which is all that the law and custom of nations require to be done 
on behalf of an alien. The defendant State was not responsible, under its 
promise, when the means available proved ineffective. In the Alabama 
claims the question of guilt was one of the three main points of the argu- 
ment. The greatest effort known in international procedure was made in 
this case to determine the scope of the phrase “due diligence”. The Wash- 
ington rules were drafted in very ambiguous language, attributing responsi- 
bility if the neutral State should fail to exercise due diligence to prevent 
the violation of international obligations within its jurisdiction. However, 
they did not specify what degree of diligence such duty involved. In the 
decision, no principles of international law were applied; it was merely 
confined to the application of the usual principles of guilt under private 
jurisprudence. The British doctrine of diligentia quam in suis rebus, where- 
by failure to use due diligence would consist in not taking the steps usually 
resorted to for the safety of the nation and its citizens, was rejected. How- 
ever, the degree of guilt was not estimated by the amount of the damage, 
but by the extent and apparent imminence of the danger involved. This 
construction has been followed in the resolution of the Institute of Inter- 
national Law in 1875, in the Thirteenth Hague Convention and in the de- 
cision of the Hague Court in connection with the Casa Blanca deserters. 
When dealing with the obligation of neutral States, the Institute refers to 
manifest negligence. The Hague Convention provides that the State should 
use oll the means at tts disposal to prevent the violation of its international 
duty of neutrality within its jurisdiction. In order to determine the re- 
sponsibilities of the German Government, the decision goes into the willful 
neglect of its agents. 
This is as far as we have gone as regards the question of guilt. This is 
established : either by the failure to use all the necessary means, or those 
which the State should usually have at its disposal, or those which the State 
actually has at its disposal, to prevent the violation of international law. The 
distinction is quite important. The first case involves absolute responsibility ; 
while the second only entails a relative responsibility, because it is in a way 
subject to the circumstances of the case and of the State in question. This 
difference was clearly pointed out at the 1927 session of the Institute of 
International Law by professors Strisower, De Visscher and Politis. Pro- 
fessor Strisower, who was the reporter, proposed that the responsibility of 
the State for acts resulting in damage to private individuals should depend 
upon its failure to adopt the measures that it is usually advisable to adopt 
under the circumstances in order to prevent or repress such acts. As regards

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