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Interpretation of the Greco-Turkish Agreement of 1 December 1926, Permanent Court of International Justice, Advisory Opinion, [1926] Publ. PCIJ, Series B, No. 16

Blanca Montejo[1]

Relevance of the case

The present case is of relevance mainly in the context of the evolution of the powers and competencies of international organizations under public international law. This case marks the first time that a court, the Permanent Court of International Justice (the PCIJ), seemingly articulated the basic elements of the implied powers doctrine, thereby opening the door to a series of decisions that would culminate in the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion on the Expenses case.1 By virtue of the present advisory opinion, the Court initiated a path towards consolidating the role of international organizations as international actors in their own right, with powers beyond those strictly attributed to them by their establishing treaties.2 The case is also relevant in that it recognized very early on the existence of an independent and separate international legal personality of international organizations. Drawing on principles of domestic law,3 the PCIJ articulated some of the main features of the international legal personality of international organizations that would then resonate with the International Court of Justice in its advisory opinion on the Reparations case.4

I. The facts of the case

After the First World War, the relationship between Greece and Turkey became extremely complex, particularly because of the traumatic consequences of the massive transfers of populations between the two countries that had occurred during the period of hostilities. The PCIJ was involved in a number of cases dealing with various aspects of that tense relationship.

In so far as it concerns the present case, it would suffice to note that a treaty was signed in 1923 in Lausanne to, among other things, regulate the orderly transfer of Greeks (Christians) in Turkey to Greece and Turks (Muslims) in Greece to Turkey.5

This ‘Treaty of Lausanne’ established a Mixed Arbitral Tribunal, with Greek and Turkish members, to deal with property issues ensuing from the transfer of populations from one country to another.6 In addition to the Treaty of Lausanne, a further agreement was entered into by Greece and Turkey, also in Lausanne, but known as the Convention for the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations of 1923 (the Convention), which created a Mixed Commission for the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations to facilitate emigration and to liquidate certain categories of property (the Mixed Commission).7

According to art. 12 of the Convention, the duties of the Mixed Commission were to supervise and facilitate emigration, and to carry out the liquidation of the movable and immovable property. Most importantly, the Mixed Commission would have full power to take the measures necessitated by the Convention and to decide all questions arising therefrom.8 The Convention was clear in that the decisions of the Mixed Commission would be taken by majority and that all disputes relating to property, rights, and interests which would be liquidated, would be settled definitely by the Commission.9 Declaration No. IX related to Muslim properties in Greece, also concluded in Lausanne in 1923, assigned additional powers to the Mixed Commission.10

The Mixed Commission, however, did not function well. As it is documented in detail by Ladas in his work on the exchange of minorities after the First World War,n the Mixed Commission became a highly ineffectual body which rendered the work of the Commission ‘practically nil?2 As a result, Greece and Turkey concluded yet another agreement on 1 December 1926, this time in Athens, to deal with difficulties in the implementation of the Treaty of Lausanne and Declaration No. IX (the Agreement of Athens)/3

The Agreement of Athens assigned further powers to the Mixed Commission^ and included a Final Protocol, which was concluded the same day. It was art. IV of that protocol that was brought to the Permanent Court for interpretation in the present case. Article IV provided as follows:

‘[a]ny questions of principle of importance which may arise in the Mixed Commission in connection with the new duties entrusted to it by the Agreement signed this day and which, when that Agreement was concluded, it was not already discharging, in virtue of previous instruments defining its powers, shall be submitted for arbitration

provided for in art. I, the entering into force of the Treaty would definitively re-establish peace between the parties and the respective nationals. The text of the Treaty of Lausanne can be found in L. Martin, The Treaties of Peace 1919-1923, Vol. II, New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1924.

  • 6 See art. 59 of the Treaty of Lausanne.
  • 7 See art. 11 of the Convention. The text of the Convention can be found at the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey (http://www.mfa.gov.tr).
  • 8 See art. 12 of the Convention. 9 Ibid.
  • 10 The text of Declaration No. IX can be found in the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey (http://www.mfa.gov.tr).
  • 11 S. Ladas, The Exchange of Minorities (New York, Macmillan 1932). 12 Ibid., p. 369.
  • 13 Accord entre la Grece et la Turquie en vue defaciliter lapplication de certaines dispositions du Traite de Lausanne et de la Declaration No IX annexee a ce Traite, 68 LNTS 11, 1927.
  • 14 Article 14 of the Agreement of Athens provided that ‘[it] shall be the duty of [the Mixed Commission] to apply the present Agreement’.

to the President of the Greco-Turkish Arbitral Tribunal sitting at Constantinople.

The arbitrator’s awards shall be binding.’[2] [3]

A dispute arose concerning the interpretation of the Agreement of Athens, particularly concerning who were the beneficiaries of the Agreement^6 While the Greek delegation to the Mixed Commission proposed to bring the question to arbitration, as provided for in the Final Protocol, the Turkish delegation argued that no recourse could be had to arbitration before the Mixed Commission decided that it was unable to find a solution to the dispute.

The Mixed Commission reached a twofold decision/7 On the one hand, the matter would be brought to the President of the Greco-Turkish Arbitral Tribunal at Constantinople for arbitration, and the question of principle concerning the conditions of recourse to arbitration under the Final Protocol would be referred to the PCIJ for an advisory opinion. While no steps were ever taken to submit the actual dispute to arbitration, the Mixed Commission duly applied to the PCIJ through the agency of the League of Nations, for an advisory opinion.

II. The legal question

The formal legal question put before the Permanent Court was the interpretation of art. IV of the Final Protocol of the Agreement of Athens in so far as it concerned the conditions for appeal to the arbitrator. Significantly for the purposes of the present case, one should note that the PCIJ modified the formulation of the question addressed to it. While the Mixed Commission required the PCIJ’s opinion on the conditions to which submission of a question to the arbitrator were subject, the Court concluded that the differences of opinion actually related to the question for whom it was to decide whether these conditions were fulfilled and by whom/8 In other words, in the view of the Court, at stake was whether the Mixed Commission had the power (i) to determine whether a dispute was ripe for arbitration, and (ii) to submit such dispute to arbitration by the President of the Greco-Turkish Arbitral Tribunal. In considering the above, the Court also dwelled on whether the Mixed Commission had separate legal personality and, therefore, whether it had powers that could be exercised in its own right, that is, to the exclusion of those powers being exercised by the states parties to the Agreement of Athens.

III. Excerpts

[...]

In its written Memorial, the Turkish Government submitted that:

‘the right to resort to proceedings before the President of the Greco-Turkish Mixed Arbitral Tribunal provided for in Article IV of the Final Protocol of the said Agreement

  • (1) may be exercised by the Mixed Commission as such, that is to say that it has power to refer a question to the single arbitrator, whilst leaving the conduct of the proceedings to the interested Parties;
  • (2) may not be exercised separately or jointly by the two States signatories of the Agreement except after a vote by the Mixed Commission establishing that the conditions laid down by Article IV of the Final Protocol are fulfilled and declaring itself incompetent to deal with the question which has arisen within it, this decision finally settling the question of jurisdiction as between the two arbitral bodies and being binding upon the President of the Greco-Turkish Arbitral Tribunal.’

[...]

On the other hand, the submissions of the representative of the Greek Government are, in his oral statement, summarized as follows:

  • (1) that the Mixed Commission, as such, has no right to refer a matter to the arbitrator, since the two contracting Parties have given it no such right under Article IV of the Final Protocol of the Agreement of Athens which is purposely silent on the subject. At the utmost, the Commission might, perhaps, appear;
  • (2) that neither has the Mixed Commission the right to settle by a preliminary decision the question, should it arise, of the jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction of the arbitrator in each particular case—a question which must be exclusively reserved to the arbitrator himself, according to the basic principles of public international law;
  • (3) that the two Parties have the right jointly to have recourse to the arbitrator without such recourse being made subject to a previous decision of the Mixed Commission to the effect that the conditions laid down by Article IV of the Final Protocol are fulfilled. If the two Parties do not succeed in agreeing jointly to refer a matter to the arbitrator, either of them may do so unilaterally.

[...]

[T]he Court must observe that the conditions for this reference or submission are clearly defined by the actual terms of Article IV of the Final Protocol, so that in regard to this point no difference of opinion can be presumed to exist. According to this article, in order that a question may be submitted for arbitration to the President of the Greco-Turkish Mixed Arbitral Tribunal, it is necessary (1) that it should have arisen within the Mixed Commission; (2) that it should have arisen in connection with the new duties which were entrusted by the Agreement of Athens to that Commission and which the latter, when that Agreement was concluded, was not already discharging in virtue of previous instruments defining its powers; (3) that it should be a question of principle, and (4) that it should be of importance. There is no doubt that only when these four conditions are fulfilled can a matter be referred to the President of the Greco-Turkish Mixed Arbitral Tribunal.

[...]

In the eyes of the Court the meaning of this text [art. IV of the Final Protocol] is clear although, no doubt, a more satisfactory formula might have been found. It should, in particular, be noted that the article contains no express provision designed to settle the question by whom or when the questions with which the instrument deals may be referred to the President of the Greco-Turkish Mixed Arbitral Tribunal. But from the very silence of the article on this point, it is possible and natural to deduce that the power to refer a matter to the arbitrator rests with the Mixed Commission when that body finds itself confronted with questions of the nature indicated.

For, according to its very terms, Article IV of the Final Protocol expressly contemplates questions which may arise within the Mixed Commission; there can, therefore, be no doubt that only questions arising in the course of the deliberations of the Commission are contemplated. But, that being so, it is clear—having regard amongst other things to the principle that, as a general rule, any body possessing jurisdictional powers has the right in the first place itself to determine the extent of its jurisdiction—that questions affecting the extent of the jurisdiction of the Mixed Commission must be settled by the Commission itself without action by any other body being necessary.

[...]

According to the interpretation given above of Article IV of the Final Protocol, the right of reference can, however, only belong to the Mixed Commission; for it is a matter of determining the extent of its own competence. It follows logically that the Mixed Commission itself must also decide whether the various conditions required to make such reference possible are fulfilled; and it is simply necessary to add that, whatever the legal nature of these conditions may be, their appreciation and the decision whether they are duly fulfilled, both of which are left to the absolute discretion of the Commission, undoubtedly fall within the category of questions naturally arising in the course of the Commission’s deliberations.

In this connection it should be observed that the question whether a given matter is one of principle, and especially whether it is of some importance, is essentially a question of appreciation, and that it must therefore, in the nature of things, be left to the decision of the Mixed Commission itself, which, being acquainted with the many and various matters coming before it, is alone in a position to say whether a given question does or does not fulfil the conditions mentioned in Article IV. This being so, if the Commission, after having freely considered the matter, comes to the conclusion that the question at issue is not of the nature contemplated by Article IV of the Final Protocol, it must itself decide that question; only if the Commission considers that the requisite conditions for the reference of the question to the arbitrator are present is it the duty of that body to refer it to him. This would only not hold good if the article contained a provision imposing this duty, for instance, on the States which signed the Final Protocol, on the individual members of the Commission, or on a group of such members, or a provision authorizing them to refer a matter to the arbitrator. But no such provision is to be found in the article.

The decision as to the presence of the conditions required for the reference of a given question to the arbitrator must be taken by the Mixed Commission, which must apply the general rule governing the performance of its duties; if consequently there exists between the members of the Commission a difference of opinion as to whether these conditions have or have not been fulfilled, the Commission is to decide this point and the question whether it will refer the matter to the President of the Greco-Turkish Mixed Arbitral Tribunal, by a majority vote. As regards the arbitrator, once he is satisfied that a question submitted to him has been referred to him by a decision of the Mixed Commission, he must decide this question and he may not revert to a consideration of the question of the presence of the conditions required by Article IV of the Final Protocol. This appears from the actual terms of the article, which provides for two clearly differentiated jurisdictions, one to decide whether the conditions required for the reference to the arbitrator of a question of principle of some importance are or are not fulfilled, the other to give judgment on this question of principle on its merits, once it has been established that the required conditions are fulfilled. Accordingly, the Court considers that a negative conflict of jurisdiction cannot arise between the Mixed Commission and the arbitrator.

[...]

It follows, in the opinion of the Court, that the restriction placed by that article on the general powers of the Mixed Commission cannot constitute an impediment to the fulfilment by the latter of the important duties assigned to it, but must be construed in such a way as to accelerate and facilitate the progress made by that body with its work. Speed must be regarded as an essential factor in the work of the Mixed Commission, both in the interest of the populations with which its work is concerned and in that of the Greek and Turkish Governments.

[...]

On the basis of the foregoing considerations, the Court feels obliged to observe that it is wrong to seek to attribute either to one of the members or to a group of Greek or Turkish members of the Mixed Commission, or again to one of the States signatories of the Final Protocol, the right to refer a question to the arbitrator, with a view to obtaining from him a decision, at all events as to whether a given question is to be regarded as a question of principle of some importance. Such a contention in fact is incompatible not only with the terms of Article IV of the Final Protocol, but also with the spirit which, as has been already pointed out, underlies all the relevant international instruments. [...]

Even leaving aside considerations based on the spirit of these international instruments, the same result is arrived at, for an individual member or a group among the Greek or Turkish members within the Commission has no power to take action outside the Commission, and the same applies as regards the neutral members. This would still hold good even if all the Greek or all the Turkish members of the Commission could be regarded as constituting governmental delegations within it, a conception which has however already been rejected by the Court; for to accord to individual members of an organization constituted as a corporate body any right to take action of any kind outside the sphere of proceedings within that organization, would be clearly contrary to an accepted principle of law. In the absence of an express provision, therefore, it is impossible to accept such an abnormal state of things.

In this connection, another observation of some importance should be made: the situation of the States signatory to the Final Protocol is altogether singular as regards matters concerning the exchange of Greek and Turkish populations; this singularity obviously arises from the special nature of the Convention of Lausanne concerning the exchange of populations, as well as of Declaration No. IX of Lausanne and the Agreement of Athens. For, according to the provisions of these instruments, it does not rest with the contracting States themselves to apply and carry out, each for its own part and in the exercise of its sovereign rights, the clauses governing the matter in question; the application and carrying out of these clauses are entrusted as a whole to the Mixed Commission which acts in the interests of the two contracting States. [...]

The Court, unanimously, is of opinion that to the question submitted to it as formulated at the beginning of this advisory opinion, the following answer should be given:

  • (1) It is for the Mixed Commission for the Exchange ofGreek and Turkish Populations alone to decide whether the conditions enumerated in Article IV of the Final Protocol annexed to the Agreement concluded at Athens on December 1st, 1926, between the Greek and Turkish Governments, for the submission of the questions contemplated by that article to the President of the Greco-Turkish Mixed Arbitral Tribunal sitting at Constantinople, for arbitration, are or are not fulfilled.
  • (2) The conditions contemplated by the said Article IV having been fulfilled, the right to refer a question to the arbitrator contemplated by that article belongs to the Mixed Commission alone.

IV. Commentary

The advisory opinion of the PCIJ addresses fundamental questions about the powers and competencies of international organizations. The impact of the decision of the PCIJ is twofold: on the one hand, the PCIJ strengthened the notion by which international organizations enjoy international legal personality independent from their members, and on the other, the PCIJ elaborated seemingly for the first time in history, the doctrine of implied powers of international organizations.[4]

The decision is interesting in that although the parties defined the dispute as an admissibility matter (the conditions for appeal), the Court redefined it as a jurisdictional one (who had the power to determine admissibility and resort to arbitration).[5] [6] [7] [8] For that reason, a case that was originally an international arbitration case actually became a case of relevance for international organizations.

For purposes of its analysis, the decision should be framed in its historical context. The early cases of the PCIJ had shown a certain hesitation on the part of the Court to establish a special status for international organizations beyond that of mere products of treaties.21 Only one year prior to this decision, in the Commission of the Danube advisory opinion, the PCIJ had concluded that powers of international organizations were limited by the functions bestowed on them by their ‘definitive statute’^ This notwithstanding, the PCIJ in the same decision recognized the ability of international organizations to exercise those functions which were not restricted by their statute, opening the door to further development^3

In this case, the PCIJ went one step further and attributed to the Mixed Commission powers that had not been explicitly recognized by any of the relevant treaties.[9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] Indeed, the PCIJ argued that while no provision gave express power to the Mixed Commission to submit disputes to arbitration, such power could be implied”

In supporting its decision, the Court employed a variety of legal arguments. The Court emphasized the importance of the ‘spirit’ underlying the various international instruments regulating the role of the Mixed Commission. The Court also made reference to the textual interpretation of art. IV of the Final Protocol (or rather to the silence of the provision in this regard) and it finally evoked general principles of law (impliedly referring to domestic laws)26 in support of the conclusion that the Mixed Commission was a ‘body corporate’ and thereby a separate legal entity from its members for all relevant purposes” Indeed, while the Court gave the ‘spirit’ underlying the Final Protocol a key role in arriving at a correct interpretation of its art. IV, it also considered that the text was a fundamental part of that reasoning. While acknowledging the deficient drafting of art. IV of the Final Protocol (and admitting that the article contained no express provision designed to settle the question at stake), the Court affirmed that the meaning of the text was clear.

The Court attributed to ‘the very silence of the article on this point’ the power to refer a matter to the arbitrator by the Mixed Commission” In concluding its reasoning, the PCIJ sustained that as a general rule, any body possessing jurisdictional powers has the right to determine the extent of its own jurisdiction” echoing the general principle of competence de la competence.[15]

The PCIJ added further that the Mixed Commission enjoyed such powers to the exclusion of its members. According to the PCIJ, the Mixed Commission was an international organization that had been conferred a series of powers with regard to the subject matter of the Convention and the Agreement of Athens. The conferring of such powers, in the view of the Court, entailed the actual relinquishment of the same by the states parties.

The PCIJ concluded that although the power to submit a ‘dispute’ in the sense of art. IV of the Final Protocol to arbitration was not provided for, it should be considered an implied power of the Mixed Commission to the extent that the exercise of such power was consistent with the ‘spirit’[16] of the relevant treaties. The object and purpose of the Mixed Commission, as well as its effectiveness, justified the decision of the Court.

Ironically, the Mixed Commission proved to be a very inefficient body, marked more by its dysfunction than by its efficacy and the implied powers wished for by the Court were ultimately never exercised.

While the decision of the PCIJ is a fundamental milestone in the crystallization of the doctrine of implied powers, some authors have assessed the performance of the Court in critical terms. In Reisman’s assessment, for instance, the choice for the Court was simple: either opt for an interpretation that would remove the impasse with some theoretical ‘but improbable’ risk of abuse by the President of the Greco-Turkish Arbitral Tribunal or elect an interpretation that would reinforce the paralysis, rendering the Mixed Commission essentially insignificant.[17] [18] According to Reisman, the latter seemed to have happened, resulting in a decision reflective of ‘a general misperception of the nature of the problem before it’”

Reisman’s assessment of the Court’s stance in this case is partly correct in that it identifies a misperception in adjudicating the ‘problem before it’. Indeed, the case dealt ultimately with the clarification of a poorly drafted dispute resolution clause of a treaty between two states. In refusing to confer any meaning to the word ‘arbitration’ of that clause, the Court ventured itself into a rather complex articulation of the powers of the Mixed Commission consistent with the ‘spirit’, rather than with the text, of the underlying treaties. The interpretation process followed by the Court is questionable under the principles of arts. 31 and 32 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, more so, in that it did not seem to resort—at least not explicitly—to supplementary means of interpretation”

This notwithstanding, it seems clear that the present case marked a change of mind in the Court, which had already been signaled in the Commission of the Danube advisory opinion” According to the Court, although no provisions expressly indicated the power of the Mixed Commission to submit disputes to arbitration, such a power could be implied. In employing a teleological interpretation of the relevant treaties, the Court found justification to strengthen the powers of the Mixed Commission at the expense of the states parties to the Agreement of Athens and the President of the Greco-Turkish Arbitral Tribunal based in Constantinople”

  • [1] Political Affairs Officer, Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations. Please note that theviews expressed herein are exclusively those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of theUnited Nations. 1 Certain Expenses of the United Nations, Advisory Opinion, [1962] ICJ Rep 151. 2 Only one year before this opinion, the PCIJ concluded that international organizations were inherently limited in their powers by the scope of their establishing legal instruments (see Jurisdiction of theEuropean Commission of the Danube between Galatz and Braila, 1927, PCIJ, Series B, No. 14). 3 For an interesting discussion on this aspect, see E. Lauterpacht, Collected Courses of The HagueAcademy of International Law (1976), pp. 404-6. 4 Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations, Advisory Opinion, [1949] ICJRep 174. 5 The Treaty of Lausanne was concluded, on 24 July 1923, by the British Empire, France, Italy, Japan,Greece, Rumania, and the Serb-Croat Slovene State, on the one hand, and Turkey, on the other. As
  • [2] The official text of the Agreement of Athens is in French. The text reproduced above is the translationby the Registry used by the PCIJ in its opinion.
  • [3] S. Ladas (n. 11), pp. 531-2. 17 Ibid. p. 534. 18 See Interpretation of the Greco-Turkish Agreement of 1 December 1926, 1928, PCIJ, Series B, No.16, p. 15.
  • [4] J. Klabbers, ‘Global Governance Before the ICJ: Re-reading the WHA Opinion’, (2009) 13 MaxPlanck Yearbook of United Nations Law 1, 15.
  • [5] See for an interesting discussion on the concepts of admissibility and jurisdiction, J. Paulsson,‘Jurisdiction and Admissibility’, in Liber Amicorum in honor of R. Briner Global Reflections onInternational Law, Commerce and Dispute Resolution (Paris, ICC Publishing 2005), pp. 602-17.
  • [6] See Competence of the ILO to Regulate the Conditions of Labour of Persons Employed in Agriculture andCompetence of the ILO to Examine Proposalsfor the Organization and Development of Methods of AgriculturalProduction, 1922, PCIJ, Series B, Nos. 2 and 3, Competence of the International Labour Organization toRegulate, Incidentally, the Personal Work of the Employer, 1926, PCIJ, Series B, No. 13, and Jurisdiction of theEuropean Commission of the Danube between Galatz and Braila (n. 2).
  • [7] See Jurisdiction of the European Commission of the Danube between Galatz and Braila (n. 2), p. 64.
  • [8] Ibid, p. 67.
  • [9] V. Engstrom, ‘Implied Powers of International Organizations: On the Character of a Legal Doctrine’,(2003) 14 Finnish Yearbook of International Law 129.
  • [10] 25 The Court further found that only the Mixed Commission and not the states parties to the relevanttreaties could exercise those powers.
  • [11] See W. W. Bishop, Collected Courses of The Hague Academy of International Law (1965), p. 92.
  • [12] 27 See E. Lauterpacht (n. 3), pp. 404-6.
  • [13] 28 The Court went one step further and affi rmed that there could be ‘no doubt’ that only questions arising in the course of the deliberations of the Commission were contemplated by art. IV.
  • [14] 29 This conclusion would appear to be more akin to the ‘inherent powers’ doctrine than to the doctrineof implied powers. See in this regard, as cited by Klabbers in n. 19 above, F. Seyersted, Common Lawof International Organizations (Leiden: Brill 2008), pp. 65-70; and J. Klabbers, ‘On Seyersted and hisCommon Law of International Organizations’, (2008) International Organizations Law Review 381-90.
  • [15] See H. Waldock, Collected Courses of The Hague Academy of International Law (1962), p. 60.
  • [16] See for a detailed recount of the Court’s reliance on the ‘spirit’ of a number of provisions involved in thecase, J.P. Fockema Andreae, An Important Chapter From the History of Legal Interpretation (Leyden, Sijthoff1948). See also V. Engstrom, Constructing the Powers of International Institutions (Martinus Nijhoff 2012).
  • [17] W. M. Reisman, Collected Courses of The Hague Academy of International Law (1996), pp. 57-82.
  • [18] Ibid., p. 63. 34 This is particularly so given Ladas’s description of the object and purpose of art. IV of the FinalProtocol. According to Ladas, ‘the provision for reference to the arbitrator was included in the Agreementof Athens in order to do away with the difficulties that had repeatedly arisen in the Mixed Commissionwhenever a question of principle of some importance caused a difference of opinion ... To avoid thesedeadlocks seemed to be the principal consideration which inspired the adoption of art. IV of the FinalProtocol.’ See Ladas (n. 11), p. 538. 35 See Jurisdiction of the European Commission of the Danube Between Galatz and Braila, (n. 2), pp. 64and 67. 36 Indeed, by virtue of this opinion, the latter was deprived of the power to examine his own competence.This risk did not materialize, however, since the Mixed Commission, as had happened in the past, was unable toreach agreement to transmit the question to the President of the Arbitral Tribunal for arbitration. Ultimately, thedispute was resolved upon the intervention of two particularly proactive commissioners. See for further details,Ladas (n. 11), pp. 539-45. It is also interesting (and disheartening) to read Ladas’s account of the aftermath of thedecision at p. 539: ‘The opinion was communicated to the Council of the League of Nations, which took note ofit on September 8, 1928, and ordered it communicated (sic) to the President of the Mixed Commission. In themeantime the new negotiations for the final liquidation of all pending questions were begun at Angora [nowknown as Ankara], and the opinion of the Court did not serve any practical purpose.’
 
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