Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

members are appointed by the crown.

The finances are directly under the control of the crown. Such colonies, of which the Straits Settlement is an example, are in the English system designated as "crown colonies." In England the general supervision of affairs pertaining to these dependencies is under the colonial office, whose head is the colonial secretary, a member of the English cabinet.

India.-Because of its immense size and special importance, as well as because of the peculiar conditions due to the small English population contrasted with the enormous native population, the government of the dependency of India is organized on a system separate from that of other crown colonies. Radical innovations have been introduced within the last few years by the government of India Act of 1915, as amended by acts in 1916 and 1919, innovations apparently intended to give to native Indians a greater share in the responsibilities of their government. The system in existence at present (1922) provides for the representation of India's interests and administration in Great Britain by a Secretary of State for India, who is a member of the British cabinet. He is assisted in England by a council appointed by him, at least half of whose members must have resided ten years or more in India and must not have returned to England from India over five years before the date of their appointment. In India itself, the source of both executive and legislative power is the Governor General in council. The Governor General is appointed by the Crown. His Executive Council consists of eight members appointed by the Crown for a term of five years, of whom at least two must be natives, and at least three must have had ten years or more of service in India. In addition to the Governor General and his council, India is provided with a legislative body of two chambers, the Council of State, and the Legislative Assembly. The Council of State is composed of sixty members, not more than twenty of whom may be nominated officials. The Legislative Assembly is composed of one hundred and forty-four members, of whom twenty-six are nominated by the Governor

General and one hundred and three are elected. The Council's term is five years; the Legislative Assembly's is three years. This legislative body of the two chambers has the power, under certain restrictions, to make laws throughout British India for all persons whether native or British. In addition to the above bodies, a chamber of Princes is constituted with advisory powers covering the interests of the native states in India.

The above framework of government for India is, as stated, the result of legislation passed by the British parliament within the last few years. Its changes from the former more autocratic form are undoubtedly due to widespread agitation among native Indians for a greater degree of self-government. It may be considered as representing the degree to which Great Britain is at present willing to yield to this agitation, but it is after all a temporary form, subject to change by British legislative enactment at any time such change seems advisable.

The Belgian Congo.-A most remarkable example in modern times of a government of a dependency organized and operated for the sole advantage of its ruler is to be noted in the case of the Belgian Congo. Leopold II, king of Belgium, personally financed explorations into Africa in the region of the Congo River, and finally, by virtue of these explorations and of various treaties arranged by his agents, managed, about 1885, to have recognized as a new state what is commonly called the Congo Free State. The main boundaries of the new state, to include about 900,000 square miles of territory, were determined by a series of treaties with other powers between 1885 and 1895. The Belgian parliament in 1885 authorized Leopold to be the chief of the new state and declared that the union between Belgium and the Congo Free State should be exclusively personal. This authority and declaration left Leopold at liberty to organize the government as he wished. He proceeded to create an absolute monarchy with himself as king, empowered to decree arbitrarily the civil and criminal codes of laws. The king and all the high officials of the new state resided at Brussels; a governor-general appointed by,

and responsible to, the king resided in the African state and had absolute control over all the civil and military administration. As enormous wealth in rubber and ivory was revealed in the state, a system of forced labor was decreed by the king, and natives were required to dispose of the rubber and ivory they obtained to the king's agents at the king's price. Such decrees opened the way to inhuman treatment of the natives by Leopold's agents, until conditions made continuance of such a government impossible. In 1908 the Belgian parliament annexed the Congo, making it a direct dependency, organizing a government in which the final authority was held by the Belgian government, and at once taking steps to correct the worst abuses under the old administration.

Mandates.-A new experiment in the government of dependencies was inaugurated in the allied policy toward the Central Powers' surrendered colonies after the World War. Article twenty-two in the Covenant of the League of Nations explains the nature and purposes of Mandates and mandatory government.

a

ARTICLE 22. To those colonies and territories which, as consequence of the late war, have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the states which formerly governed them, and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilization and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant.

The best method of giving practical effect to this principle is that the tutelage of such peoples should be intrusted to advanced nations who, by reason of their resources, their experience or their geographical position, can best undertake this responsibility, and who are willing to accept it, and that this tutelage should be exercised by them as Mandatories on behalf of the League.

The character of the mandate must differ according to the stage of the development of the people, the geographical situation of the territory, its economic conditions and other similar circumstances.

Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.

Other peoples, especially those of Central Africa, are at such a stage that the Mandatory must be responsible for the administration of the territory under conditions which will guarantee freedom of conscience and religion, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, the prohibition of abuses such as the slave trade, the arms traffic, and the liquor traffic, and the prevention of the establishment of fortifications or military and naval bases and of military training of the natives for other than police purposes and the defense of territory, and will also secure equal opportunities for the trade and commerce of other Members of the League.

There are territories, such as Southwest Africa and certain South Pacific islands, which, owing to the sparseness of their population or their small size, or their remoteness from the centers of civilization, or their geographical contiguity to the territory of the Mandatory, and other circumstances, can best be administered under the laws of the Mandatory as integral portions of its territory, subject to the safeguards mentioned above in the interests of the indigenous population.

In every case of mandate, the Mandatory shall render to the Council an annual report in reference to the territory committed to its charge.

The degree of authority, control or administration to be exercised by the Mandatory shall, if not previously agreed upon by the Members of the League, be explicitly defined in each case by the Council.

A permanent Commission shall be constituted to receive and examine the annual reports of the Mandatories, and to advise the Council on all matters relating to the observance of the mandates.

It is impossible yet to decide whether this mandatory system is going to be administered in the spirit and with the high ideals indicated in the above article. Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the German overseas dependencies were allotted among the allies, important assignments being as follows:-German Southwest Africa to the (British) Union of South Africa; German East Africa divided between Belgium and Great Britain; Togoland and the Cameroons divided between France and Great Britain; the Islands of the Pacific divided between Japan (to the north) and Great Britain (to the south). Parts of the former territory of Turkey were similarly allotted: Mesopotamia and Palestine to Great Britain; Syria to France. A mandate over Armenia was offered to the United States but was refused by this government. The undoubted weakness of the League of Nations machinery has made it questionable whether the supervision exercised by it over the allotted mandates will be effective. Apparently the mandates will rapidly become direct dependencies.

IV. THE UNITED STATES AND ITS DEPENDENCIES Policy of the United States toward Dependencies.—The policy of the United States toward its dependent possessions hardly permits such possessions to be classified strictly under any one of the aforementioned categories.

Constitutional Power.—Under the constitution (Art. 4, Section 3, clause 2) the Congress of the United States is given "power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory and other property belonging to the United States." This clause has been subject to interpretation as changing conditions demanded. Congress has assumed under it the right to acquire new territory, to govern territory, to admit territory to statehood, and to sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of, public lands.

The Northwest Ordinance.—The Northwest Ordinance of 1787, confirmed by the Congress of 1789, which was an ordinance to provide an organized government for the vast region west of Pennsylvania, east of the Mississippi River, north of the Ohio River, and south of Canada, served as the basis of the territorial policy of the United States from its inception to the Spanish War.

« AnteriorContinuar »