27 MARCH 1909, Page 3

The Declaration on the Laws of Naval Warfare drawn up

by the recent International Conference in London was published on Monday. An agreement has at last been reached on the subject of contraband. Three lists have been drawn up of absolute and conditional contraband, and of articles which in no circumstances can be considered contraband. It will be an infinite boon for shippers to know exactly what is contraband and what is not. Of course the agreement is a compromise, but nearly all the raw materials of great British industries are included. The Declaration removes several of the obstacles in the way of the establishment of the International Prize Court recommended by the Hague Conference. But on some points the delegates could reach no conclusion. Thus, the question whether the domi- cile or the nationality of an owner should determine the character of his cargo is left unsettled; and the conversion of merchant ships into warships on the high seas has not been prohibited. The British delegates report that as regards the first point there are hopes that the British view that the character of cargoes (whether " neutral " or "enemy ") should be determined by the owner's .domicile will . eventually be accepted. As regards the second point they hold out no prospect of an agreement. '