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Report No. 43

5.22. English practice as to neutrality legislation.-

The British practice on the subject of neutrality legislation1 does not favour general and permanent provisions of the nature which we find in South American countries2, but confines itself to dealing with the important matters, leaving other measures to be undertaken as and when a situation arises. Examples of such specific measures are furnished by the Foreign Enlistment Act, 1870 and by orders issued under the Customs Act which prohibit (without licence from the Board of Trade or other competent authority), the export of arms and other materials of war. But most measures adopted in England are of a temporary character.

For example, during the Spanish Civil War, the Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Munitions to Spain) Act, 1936, -w is passed, to prohibit the carriage of ammunitions to Spain. Section 2(5) of the Act- declared that the Act shall continue in force "until His Majesty by Order in Council Is pleased to declare that it is no longer necessary or expedient that it should continue in force." Another device is to pass statutory orders under a particular statute, such as the Treaty of Peace Act, 1919. Yet another device is to issue executive orders, circulars, instructions and departmental communications drawing attention to the provision of the Foreign Enlistment Act or other relevant law and its applicability in a particular situation which has arisen at the particular moment.

1. See Deak and Jessup Neutrality Laws, Regulations and Treaties, (1939), Vol. 1, Preface p. xv.

2. As to South American countries, see para 5.23, below.

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