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The Debate about a European Institutional Order among International Legal Scholars in the 1920s and its Legacy

  • JEAN-MICHEL GUIEU (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

The inter-war period is a forgotten moment in the debate about a European institutional order amongst legal scholars. Although the European Communities established in the 1950s did not derive directly from the institutional schemes of the 1920s, the earlier period played an important role in the building of a specifically European legal doctrine. The failure of the universalist League of Nations led a certain number of international jurists, particularly French ones, to support regional solutions as an alternative. A European legal framework was thus seen as a possible way of adapting international law to meet the goals of peace and stability.

La question d'un ordre institutionnel européen: Le débat international parmi les juristes pendant les années 1920 et ses suites

La période de l'entre-deux-guerres représente un moment crucial (quoique plutôt oublié) du débat entre juristes sur la question d'un ordre institutionnel européen. Même si les Communautés européennes établies dans les années 1950 ne tirent pas directement leur origine des schémas institutionnels des années 1920, cette période peut être considérée comme ayant joué un rôle important dans la construction d'une doctrine juridique européenne. L'échec des ambitions universalistes de la Société des Nations conduisit en effet un certain nombre de professeurs de droit international, particulièrement français, à soutenir des solutions régionales et européennes. L'organisation juridique de l'Europe fut alors envisagée comme une réponse possible en vue d'adapter le droit international aux nécessités du temps présent.

Internationale Rechtswissenschaftler und die Frage einer europäischen Institutionenordnung in den 1920er Jahren

Die Zwischenkriegszeit ist ein vergessener Moment in der Diskussion um eine europäische Institutionenordnung unter Rechtswissenschaftlern. Wenngleich die in den 1950er Jahren gegründeten Europäischen Gemeinschaften nicht direkt von den Institutionensystemen der 1920er Jahre abgeleitet waren, spielte der frühere Zeitabschnitt eine wichtige Rolle beim Aufbau einer speziell europäischen Rechtsdogmatik. Das Scheitern des universalistischen Völkerbunds führte dazu, dass eine Reihe internationaler, vor allem französischer Juristen stattdessen regionale Lösungen befürworteten. Ein europäischer Rechtsrahmen wurde daher als eine Möglichkeit zum Anpassen des internationalen Rechts betrachtet, um die Ziele Frieden und Stabilität zu erreichen.

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1 Sacriste Guillaume, Vauchez Antoine, ‘La “guerre hors-la-loi” (1919–1930). Les origines de la définition d'un ordre politique international’, Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 1512 (March 2004), 91.

2 On inter-war international law and jurists, see notably Grewe Wilhelm G., The Epochs of International Law (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2000); Koskenniemi Martti, The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870–1960 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001); Anghie Antony, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Sacriste Guillaume and Vauchez Antoine, ‘The Force of International Law: Lawyers’ Diplomacy on the International Scene in the 1920s’, Law and Social Inquiry, 32, 1 (2007).

3 Oppenheim L., ‘Les caractères essentiels de la Société des Nations’, Revue générale de droit international public, XXVI, 2, 1 (1919), 238.

4 Institute of International Law, resolution passed on 5 Oct. 1921, available at http://www.idi-iil.org/idiF/resolutionsF/1921_rome_02_fr.pdf (last visited 1 Oct. 2011).

5 See Guieu Jean-Michel, Le rameau et le glaive: Les militants français pour la Société des Nations (Paris: Presses de Sciences-Po, 2008), 308.

6 See Birn Donald S., The League of Nations Union 1918–1945 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), 269.

7 See Wintzer Joachim, Deutschland und der Völkerbund 1918–1926 (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh Verlag, 2006), 634.

8 Georges Scelle (1878–1961) was a French professor of public international law. In 1912 he was appointed to the Law Faculty of Dijon, where he remained for twenty years before joining the University of Paris (1933–1948). From 1922 to 1958 he was member of the Commission of Enquiry on International Labour Conventions and, for twenty years, member and vice-president of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (Geneva). On Scelle Georges see notably ‘The European Tradition in International Law: Georges Scelle’, European Journal of International Law, 1, 1 (1990), 193249.

9 Georges Scelle, ‘La troisième Assemblée de la Société des Nations’, L'Europe nouvelle (7 Oct. 1922), 1257.

10 On the origins of the Institute of International Law, see Abrams Irwin, ‘The Emergence of the International Law Societies’, The Review of Politics, 19, 3 (1957), 361–80.

11 Annuaire de l'Institut de Droit international, vol. 29 (1922), 80.

12 ‘Covenant of the League of Nations’, available online at http://avalon.law.yale.edu/twentieth_century/leagcov.asp (last visited 1 Oct. 2011).

13 Charles de Vischer (1884–1973) was professor at the Law Faculty of Ghent and moved to the Catholic University of Louvain in 1931. After the First World War he also became legal adviser to the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

14 Alejandro Álvarez (1868–1960) was a Chilean professor of law. He co-founded the American Institute of International Law in 1912. He became enormously influential in Europe and the Americas. In 1932 he was a nominee for the Nobel Peace prize.

15 See Obregón Liliana, ‘Noted for Dissent: The International Life of Alejandro Álvarez’, Leiden Journal of International Law, 19 (2006), 1006. See also Landauer Carl, ‘A Latin American in Paris: Alejandro Álvarez's Le droit international américain’, Leiden Journal of International Law, 19 (2006), 957–81.

16 Annuaire (1922), 133 ff.

17 Unfortunately, at this point, the historical record of the proceedings at the conference is too vague for the historian to conclude in greater detail what caused this about turn. This remains an area inviting much further scrutiny.

18 Henig Ruth, The League of Nations (London: Haus Publishing Ltd., 2010), 85.

19 Report by René Cassin submitted to the Congress of the International Federation of League of Nations Societies, Warsaw, 3–8 July 1925, CAT 7–230, International Labour Office Archives, Geneva.

20 Orue y Arregui, ‘La Sociedad de Naciones y eus actuales problemas. Universalismo e igualdad contra descentralizacion y desigualdad’, Revista de Législation (1927), 420–422, cited in De Orúe y Arregui J. R., ‘Le régionalisme dans l'organisation internationale’, Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law, vol. 53 (1935), 15.

21 Nicolas Politis (1872–1942) had been professor of international law in Paris prior to the First World War. During the inter-war period he served successively as Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Greek representative to the League of Nations and Greek Ambassador to France.

22 ‘La Pan-europa et la Société des Nations’ (summary of the speech made by Mr. Politis in Vienna, 3 Oct. 1926)’, Politis Papers, Box 214, League of Nations Archives, Geneva.

23 Georges Scelle, ‘La crise de la SDN’, La Dépêche (18 May 1926), 1.

24 Ibid., 1.

25 Scelle Georges, Une crise de la Société des Nations: La réforme du conseil et l'entrée de l'Allemagne à Genève (mars-septembre 1926) (Paris: PUF, 1927), 252.

26 Review of Alejandro Álvarez, La Réforme du Pacte de la Société des Nations sur des bases continentales et régionales, Revue générale de droit international public (1926), 550.

27 Union juridique internationale (UJI), Séances et travaux (1926), 179.

28 Ferdinand Larnaude (1853–1942) was professor of public law and dean of the law faculty at the University of Paris. He had been one of the two French representatives (with Léon Bourgeois) to the commission on the League of Nations (chaired by Wilson) at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

29 Albert Geouffre de Lapradelle (1871–1955) was professor of international law at the Paris faculty of law and a legal adviser to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1919–1934).

30 UJI (1926), 239.

31 Ibid., 288.

32 For the continuing influence of Verdross on post-war German debates on European law, see the contribution by Bill Davies in this special issue.

33 Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894–1972) published his programmatic book Paneuropa in 1923 and launched his pan-European movement at the same time in Vienna. In his mind a continental Europe gradually evolving into a federation would be able to win back the world power status it had enjoyed until 1914.

34 Politis, ‘La Pan-europa’.

35 See Fleury Antoine, Jílek Lubor, eds., Le Plan Briand d'Union fédérale européenne: Perspectives nationales et transnationales avec documents (Berne: Peter Lang, 1998), 610; Bariéty Jacques, ed., Aristide Briand, la Société des Nations et l'Europe 1919–1932 (Strasbourg: Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2007), 543.

36 Sacriste Guillaume and Vauchez Antoine, ‘Le plan Briand d'Union fédérale européenne ou l'impossible autonomie du constitutionnalisme européen des années 1920’, in Pécout Gilles, ed., Penser les frontières de l'Europe du XIXe au XXe siècle (Paris: Editions Rue d'Ulm, 2004), 155–6.

37 Deák Francis, ‘Can Europe Unite?’, Political Science Quarterly, 46, 3 (1931), 428–9.

38 Louis Le Fur (1870–1943) was a French professor of international law and legal philosopher. In 1896 he defended a thesis on Federal State and Confederation of States. He taught successively at the universities of Strasbourg, Rennes and Paris.

39 Louis Le Fur, ‘Les conditions d'existence d'une Union européenne’, Revue de Droit international (1930), 81.

40 See Dréau Christophe Le, ‘Quelle Europe? L'Europe franco-britannique: Les projets d'union franco-britannique (1938–1940)’, in Rücker Katrin and Warlouzet Laurent, Which Europe(s)? New approaches in European Integration History (Brussels; P. I. E. Peter Lang, 3rd edition, 2008), 39 ff.

41 See Meltz Renaud, Alexis Léger, dit Saint-John Perse (Paris: Flammarion, 2008), 314 ff.

42 Sacriste and Vauchez, ‘The Force of International Law’, 95.

43 Larnaude, in UJI (1926), 225.

44 Ibid., 238–9.

45 Mirkine-Guetzevitch Boris and Scelle Georges, L'Union européenne (Paris: Librairie Delagrave, 1931), 5.

46 Fauchille Paul, Traité de droit international public, vol. 1, Pt 1 (Paris: Rousseau & Compagnie, 1922), 39.

47 Speech by Nicolas Politis, in UJI (1926), 233.

48 Scelle, Une crise, 225.

49 Séfériadès Stélio, ‘Principes généraux du droit international de la paix’, Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law, 34 (1930), 278.

50 Walther Schücking (1875–1935) was a German professor of international law and the first German judge at the Permanent Court of International Justice (1930–5). He also joined the progressive liberal party (deputy in the Reichstag from 1920 to 1928) and became involved with the pacifist movement. See ‘The European Tradition in International Law: Walther Schücking’, European Journal of International Law, 22, 3 (2011), 723–808; Bodendiek Franck, Walther Schückings Konzeption der internationalen Ordnung (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2001).

51 Schücking Walther, ‘Le développement du Pacte de la Société des Nations’, Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law, vol. 20 (1927), 442.

52 José Ramon De Orúe y Arregui, ‘Le régionalisme dans l'organisation internationale’, ibid., vol. 53 (1935), 90.

53 Mirkine-Guetzevitch and Scelle, L'Union européenne, 9.

54 Ibid., 26.

55 de la Brière Yves, ‘L'Union continentale européenne’, Revue de droit international et de législation comparée, 12, 1 (1931), 6.

56 Ibid., 9.

57 Ibid., 8.

58 Scott James Brown, ‘American Background to Briand's Vision of a United Europe’, The American Journal of International Law, 24, 4 (1930), 738.

59 Lambert Jacques, ‘Les Etats-Unis d'Europe et l'exemple américain’, Revue générale de droit international public, 36, 4–5 (1929), 404.

60 On the sociological federalism of Georges Scelle, see Thierry Hubert, ‘The European Tradition in International Law: Georges Scelle’, European Journal of International Law, 1, 1 (1990), 193209; Beaud Olivier, ‘Aperçus sur le fédéralisme dans la doctrine publiciste française au XXe siècle’, in Revue d'histoire des facultés de droit et de la science juridique, 24 (2004), 165204.

61 Koskenniemi, The Gentle Civilizer of Nations, 327.

62 Georges Scelle, ‘Anticipations d'ordre juridique sur un éventuel fédéralisme européen’, L'Europe nouvelle (28 Sept. 1929), 1297.

63 Mirkine-Guetzevitch and Scelle, L'Union européenne, 26.

64 Joseph Barthélemy (1874–1945) was a French professor of constitutional law at the Law School in Paris and at the École libre des Sciences Politiques. He also was deputy from 1919 to 1928 (representing the centre right).

65 Joseph Barthélemy, ‘Le problème de la souveraineté des Etats et la coopération européenne’, Revue de droit international (1930), 435.

66 Ibid., 473.

67 Ibid., 422.

68 Ibid., 428.

69 Ibid., 421.

70 See for instance Breuer Martin and Weiss Norman, eds., Das Vertragswerk von Locarno und seine Bedeutung für die internationale Gemeinschaft nach 80 Jahren (Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 2007).

71 Mobilised on 3 Aug. 1914, Georges Scelle was promoted to lieutenant in Oct. 1917 and then posted at the headquarters of the 8th army as a legal expert (1917–8).

72 Scelle Georges, Le pacte des Nations et sa liaison avec le traité de Paix (Paris: Librairie du recueil Sirey, 1919), 6; Scelle, ‘Une ère juridique nouvelle’, La paix par le droit (July-Aug. 1919), 297–8.

73 See similar references to ‘ius gentium’ in Karin Van Leeuwen's article in this special issue.

74 Le Fur, ‘Philosophie’, 580, 582.

75 Mirkine-Guetzevitch and Scelle, L'Union européenne, 28.

76 Joseph Barthélemy, paper at the Comité national d'études sociales et politiques, 6 July 1931, Crise économique – Union européenne (Paris, 1931), 6.

77 Georges Scelle, ‘Essai relatif à l'Union européenne’, Revue générale de droit international public (1931), 11.

78 Barthélemy, ‘Le problème’, 440.

79 Extract from a speech by Louis Le Fur, in UJI (1930), 163.

80 Scelle, ‘Anticipations d'ordre juridique’, 1297.

81 Barthélemy, ‘Le problème’, 437.

82 UJI (1930), 195–204.

83 ‘Un projet d'union fédérale européenne’, Le Temps (31 Aug 1930), 1.

84 Marie-Renée Moutou, ‘La Société des Nations et le Plan Briand d'Union européenne’, in Fleury and Jilek, Le Plan Briand, 246.

85 Frankowski Feliks, ‘L'idée de souveraineté dans les relations internationales’, Revue de droit international, 13 (1934), 504.

86 Arregui, ‘Le régionalisme’, 90.

87 Speech by Le Fur, in UJI (1937), 49.

88 Scelle Georges, ‘Le problème du fédéralisme’, Politique étrangère, 5 (1940), 161.

89 Beaud, ‘Aperçus’, 185–6.

90 Mouskhély Michel and Stefani Gaston, L'Europe face au fédéralisme (Strasbourg-Paris: F.-X. Le Roux, 1949).

91 Clara Isabel Da Silva de Melo Serrano, ‘François de Menthon and his Project for a Federal Constitution of the “United States of Europe” (June 1948)’, in Guieu Jean-Michel and Le Dréau Christophe, eds, Le ‘Congrès de l'Europe’ à La Haye (1948–2008) (Brussels: PIE-Peter Lang, 2009), 299310.

92 Monnet Jean, Mémoires (Paris: Fayard, 1976), 352.

93 Monnet wrote in his Mémoires: ‘An accident brought into my office . . . a young law professor whom I did not know’ (Monnet, Mémoires, 349). See also Cohen Antonin, ‘Le plan Schuman de Paul Reuter. Entre communauté nationale et fédération européenne’, Revue française de science politique, 48, 5 (1998), 646.

94 Cohen, ‘Le plan Schuman’, 657.

95 See Lindseth Peter L., Power and Legitimacy: Reconciling Europe and the Nation-State (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 96–8.

96 Cohen, ‘Le plan Schuman’, 658.

97 Koskenniemi, The Gentle Civilizer, 345–6.

98 Vayssière Bertrand, Vers une Europe fédérale? Les espoirs et les actions fédéralistes au sortir de la Seconde Guerre mondiale (Bruxelles: Peter Lang, 2006), 278.

99 Pistone Sergio, The Union of European Federalists (Milano: Giuffrè Editore, 2008), 62.

100 Cohen Antonin, ‘La constitution européenne: Ordre politique, utopie juridique et guerre froide’, Critique internationale, 26 (Jan. 2005), 126.

101 Bailleux Julie, ‘Comment l'Europe vint au droit: Le premier congrès international d'études de la CECA (Milan-Stresa 1957)’, Revue française de science politique, 60, 2 (2010), 302.

102 Ibid., 307.

103 Ibid., 312.

The author would like to thank the editors and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the initial manuscript.

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