ABCD Chart of Territorial Cession after War
by Richard W. Hartzell
[Line Drawing #1]
This line drawing is described as follows: On the line there are three dots, labeled A, B, and C respectively. On the right end of the line is a diamond shape, labeled D.
We can use this simple line drawing to discuss territorial cessions which are the result of war.
Point A represents acquirement of the territory by conquest, or “cession by conquest.” In other words, historically speaking most countries traditionally recognized that overrunning another country’s territory with military forces was directly equivalent to “annexation.” However, in the post-Napoleonic period this came to be re-defined as merely “military occupation.” As we now recognize, there are different stages of “military occupation,” and Point A marks the beginning of the “belligerent occupation” of the entire territory. Military government is in effect.
This customary norm of international law was more precisely codified in the Hague Conventions of 1907, which stipulated that "the occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct."
Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. In layman’s terms, Point A often corresponds to the point in time when local military troops surrender.
Point B represents “cession by treaty.” In the post-Napoleonic period “cession by conquest” must be confirmed with a “cession by treaty” in order to make a valid determination of what the final (political) status of the territory should be.
Point C marks the end of the military government of “the (principal) occupying power.” Military government must be supplanted by some other legal arrangement for local government in order for the territory to reach a “final (political) status.”
Area D marks the onset of a “final status” after going through the period of military occupation. Alternatively, this is called the final status under the law of occupation.
The following diagram provides a convenient summary for the
territorial cessions of
[ Diagram #1]
Referring back to Line Drawing #1, the significance of the periods of time from Point A to Point B, from Point B to Point C, and from Point A to Point C are given as follows:
Point A to Point B marks the
period of “belligerent occupation.”
During this period, in the case of
Point B to Point C marks the
period of “friendly occupation,” or what in today’s terminology we would call
the “civil affairs administration of a military government.” During this
period, in the case of
Point A to Point C is called the “interim status” under the law of occupation. The conquering power has a right to displace the preexisting authority, and to assume to such extent as may be deemed proper the exercise by itself of all the powers and functions of government. The local populace passes under a “temporary allegiance” to the conqueror.
Area D is the “final status” under the law of occupation. In a general way, the rule may be stated that final status is achieved when the (principal) occupying power’s military government has “relinquished the occupied territory to the lawful government of the area.”
Notes: Line Drawings for comparative examples of (1) territorial cessions during peacetime, and (2) military occupation where there is no resulting territorial cession in a post-war peace treaty, would be different.
Analysis for Taiwan
Examination of the ABCD Chart provides a structured analysis
for the situations of
In the San Francisco Peace Treaty (SFPT) of
For Taiwan, it is important to clarify
that while this interim
status condition under SFPT persists there is
as long as the final (political) status of the
In summary, under the provisions of the SFPT, United States
Military Government authority over
Persons in the modern era are perhaps more familiar with the military
The Republic of China on Taiwan
The continued existence of the “Republic of China” in
In the Insular Cases the US Supreme Court held that even
without any actions by the US Congress, "fundamental rights" under
the US Constitution apply in all unincorporated territories. However, with no
action by the
Specifically, the Taiwanese people have been forced to
accept ROC citizenship without any internationally recognized legal basis, and
males are subject to military conscription in violation of the Geneva
Conventions. The Taiwanese people are living under the ROC Constitution, and in
their daily lives they are singing the ROC national anthem, raising the ROC
flag, and recognizing an ROC national father. The ROC on
Hence, as of late Spring, 1952, in order to conform to the
provisions of the Senate-ratified SFPT, and to support and defend the
Constitution of the
We are now in the 21st century. In order to deal with this long series
of oversights in handling the
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