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Book Review


16 University of Chicago Law Review 199 (1948)


This is probably the most exhaustive study of recognition ever published. It is first of all to be noticed that recognition presupposes a congeries of independent states with no superstate in existence. Acknowledgment of the impossibility of a superstate, in which the author had great faith, must have caused him some regret. The work is divided into four parts. Part I discusses the legal nature of recognition and whether it fulfills a declaratory function, as the Institute of International Law supposes, or a constitutive function, as most authors assume. The author leans toward the constitutive view, since no state can have international intercourse without prior recognition. As a matter of fact, it is believed that while recognition is constitutive in that sense, it is also declaratory in assuming the prior existence of the state recognized. The reviewer would go further than the author in insisting upon its legal characteristic. There is responsibility not only to the parent state for premature recognition, but to the new state for tardy recognition. The fact that recognition is both legal and political at the same time should not cause astonishment, for that is true of many international acts. The reason why the legal characteristic has been overlooked is that few cases are known in which responsibility has been claimed, it being difficult to put a money value on such a delinquency. But that there is a duty to recognize a new state, regardless of one's wishes in the matter, cannot be doubted.

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