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The Permanent Neutrality Treaties, 24 Yale Law Journal 217 (1915)


The present European war has thrown into sharp relief the status of those smaller governments which, although in nowise shorn of attributes of sovereignty within their own borders, have nevertheless been placed by virtue of most solemn inter-national guarantees in a position of perpetual neutrality towards all other Powers. They are not to wage offensive warfare, nor, if the obligations resulting from these guarantees are faithfully observed, may their territories be in any degree the theatre of hostilities. While the chief examples of this peculiar status,- Belgium, Luxemburg and Switzerland,-are plainly, by reason of restricted area and population, in no condition to cope with the greater powers surrounding them, it is not alone their lack of size or strength that has marked them out for permanent neutrality or neutralization, but rather their essential relation to the map of Europe and the many conflicting interests innate in its geographical outlines which have seemed to make neces-sary their fixed withdrawal from plans of rivalry or territorial ambition and the creation in this manner of certain inter-spaces destined for peace whatever may be the fate of their more powerful neighbors.

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