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Declaration II (1899). - A. Pearce Higgins, The Hague Peace Conferences and Other International Conferences concerning the Laws and Usages of War 
The Hague Peace Conferences and Other International Conferences concerning the Laws and Usages of War. Texts of Conventions with Commentaries, by A. Pearce Higgins, LL.D. (Cambridge University Press, 1909).
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Declaration II (1899).
Des Gaz Asphyxiants ou Délétères.
Les soussignés, Plénipotentiaires des Puissances représentées à la Conférence Internationale de la Paix à La Haye, dûment autorisés à cet effet par leurs Gouvernements,
S’inspirant des sentiments qui ont trouvé leur expression dans la Déclaration de Saint-Pétersbourg du 29 novembre (11 décembre), 1868,
Les Puissances contractantes s’interdisent l’emploi de projectiles qui ont pour but unique de répandre des gaz asphyxiants ou délétères.
La présente Déclaration n’est obligatoire que pour les Puissances contractantes, en cas de guerre entre deux ou plusieurs d’entre elles.
Elle cessera d’être obligatoire du moment où, dans une guerre entre des Puissances contractantes, une Puissance non-contractante se joidrait à l’un des belligérants.
La présente Déclaration sera ratifiée dans le plus bref délai possible.
Les ratifications seront déposées à La Haye.
Il sera dressé du dépôt de chaque ratification un procès-verbal, dont une copie, certifiée conforme, sera remise par la voie diplomatique à toutes les Puissances contractantes.
Les Puissances non-signataires pourront adhérer à la présente Déclaration. Elles auront, à cet effet, à faire connaître leur adhésion aux Puissances contractantes, au moyen d’une notification écrite, adressée au Gouvernement des Pays-Bas et communiquée par celui-ci à toutes les autres Puissances contractantes.
S’il arrivait qu’une des Hautes Parties contractantes dénonçât la présente Déclaration, cette dénonciation ne produirait ses effets qu’un an après la notification faite par écrit au Gouvernement des Pays-Bas et communiquée immédiatement par celuici à toutes les autres Puissances contractantes.
Cette dénonciation ne produira ses effets qu’à l’égard de la Puissance qui l’aura notifiée.
En foi de quoi, les Plénipotentiaires ont signé la présente Déclaration et l’ont revêtu de leurs cachets.
Fait à La Haye, le 29 Juillet, 1899, en un seul exemplaire, qui restera déposé dans les archives du Gouvernement des Pays-Bas et dont des copies, certifiées conformes, seront remises par la voie diplomatique aux Puissances contractantes.
Asphyxiating or Deleterious Gases.
The Undersigned, Plenipotentiaries of the Powers represented at the International Peace Conference at the Hague, duly authorized to that effect by their Governments,
Inspired by the sentiments which found expression in the Declaration of St Petersburg of the 29th November (11th December), 1868,
The Contracting Powers agree to abstain from the use of projectiles the sole object of which is the diffusion of asphyxiating or deleterious gases.
The present Declaration is only binding on the Contracting Powers in the case of a war between two or more of them.
It shall cease to be binding from the time when, in a war between the Contracting Powers, one of the belligerents shall be joined by a non-Contracting Power.
The present Declaration shall be ratified as soon as possible.
The ratifications shall be deposited at the Hague.
A procès-verbal shall be drawn up on the receipt of each ratification, of which a duly certified copy shall be sent through the diplomatic channel to all the Contracting Powers.
Non-Signatory Powers can accede to the present Declaration. For this purpose they must make their accession known to the Contracting Powers by means of a written notification addressed to the Netherland Government, and by it communicated to all the other Contracting Powers.
In the event of one of the High Contracting Parties denouncing the present Declaration, such denunciation shall not take effect until a year after the notification made in writing to the Government of the Netherlands, and forthwith communicated by it to all the other Contracting Powers.
This denunciation shall only affect the notifying Power.
In faith of which the Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Declaration, and affixed their seals thereto.
Done at the Hague, the 29th July, 1899, in a single copy, which shall be kept in the archives of the Netherland Government, and copies of which, duly certified, shall be sent by the diplomatic channel to the Contracting Powers.
Declaration prohibiting the use of asphyxiating or deleterious gases1 .
The question of the prohibition of new kinds of explosives was considered by the First Committee of the Conference of 1899, and the Russian delegate expressed the opinion that the use of asphyxiating gases was barbarous and on the same footing as the poisoning of a river. Captain Mahan, the United States naval delegate, opposed this view and gave the following reasons for voting against the prohibition: “(1) That no shell emitting such gases is as yet in practical use or has undergone adequate experiment; consequently, a vote taken now would be taken in ignorance of the facts as to whether the results would be of a decisive character, or whether injury in excess of that necessary to attain the end of warfare, of immediately disabling the enemy, would be inflicted. (2) That the reproach addressed against those supposed shells was equally uttered formerly against firearms and torpedoes, although each is now employed without scruple. Until we know the effects of such asphyxiating shells, there was no saying whether they would be more or less merciful than missiles now permitted. (3) That it was illogical and not demonstrably humane to be tender about asphyxiating men with gas, when all were prepared to admit that it was allowable to blow the bottom out of an ironclad at midnight, throwing four or five hundred men into the sea to be asphyxiated by water, with barely the remotest chance of escape. If, and when, a shell emitting asphyxiating gases has been successfully produced, then and not before, will men be able to vote intelligently on the subject2 .”
The British naval delegate (Admiral Sir John Fisher) supported the prohibition on the understanding that the vote was unanimous. When the question was reconsidered Captain Mahan declined to withdraw his negative vote and Sir Julian Pauncefote voted with him3 .
This Declaration remained unsigned by both Great Britain and the United States until the commencement of the Second Peace Conference, when Sir Edward Fry was instructed to sign it on behalf of the British Government4 , but the United States have not signed. It has been signed by all the other Powers represented at the First Peace Conference but not by those which were represented only at the Second.
[1 ]De Martens, Recueil Nouveau de Traités (2nd series), Vol. xxvi. p. 998; Parl. Papers, Misc. No. 1 (1899), pp. 81, 181; F. W. Holls, The Peace Conference at the Hague, p. 118.
[2 ]Parl. Papers, Misc. No. 1 (1899), p. 81; F. W. Holls, op. cit. p. 119.
[3 ]Parl. Papers, Misc. No. 1 (1899), pp. 181-2.
[4 ]Parl. Papers, Misc. No. 1 (1907), p. 26; La Deux. Confér. T. i. p. 89.