Date of Award
Master of Arts
W. Neil Franklin, H. B. Butcher
Introduction: One precept of modern international law that eventually gained universal recognition was the right of each state to act as its own interpreter of compacts to which it was a party. This fact arose from necessity, because until recently there was no international tribunal, possessing the attributes of a court of law, competent to pass upon the validity or the construction of treaties in a manner of binding finality. Hence, whenever there have arisen cases involving treaties, each state concerned has acted in the dual capacity of litigant and judge. This situation might easily be regarded as a weakness in the conduct of international affairs since it affords no adequate guarantee of an objective or equitable interpretation of treaties. Indeed, it was partly in an effort to correct this weakness and to supply the needed agency that efforts have been made during the early part of the twentieth century to establish international tribunals. The most recent of these attempts, and perhaps the most successful one, resulted in the creation of the Permanent Court of International Justice. This tribunal is more nearly a court, in the true sense of the word, than have been its predecessors, inasmuch as it possesses permanency and a fixed personnel -- two characteristics that the Hague Court lacked. But even here the principles of nationality are neither ignored nor completely transcended. Article 38 of the organic Statute of the Permanent Court provides that in framing its decisions and opinions, the Court shall apply, among other things, "international conventions," the teachings of the world's most highly qualified publicists, and the judicial decisions and law of the leading nations.
Gass, Edmund Cody, "The Interpretation of Early American Treaties by the Supreme Court of the United States. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1931.