International Law – Meaning of the Term “Declaration of War” as Used in a Time Charter

A time charter provided that either party should have a right to cancel “if war is declared against any present NATO countries. . . .” Respondent-owners, having invoked this clause shortly after the Suez crisis erupted into open warfare, contended that a speech delivered by Egyptian President Nasser constituted a declaration of war. The speech in question, which was delivered to a large public gathering in Cairo, broadcast throughout Egypt and subsequently published, declared in part, “We shall fight as we have always said in a total war.” It urged the people to “fight and never surrender.” In libels for breach of the charter, held, libels dismissed. The speech constituted a “declaration of war” within the intended meaning of the cancellation clause. Navios Corporation v. The Ulysses II, (D.C. Md. 1958) 161 F. Supp. 932.