This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
In analogy to the rule that the courts of a state by whose law a contract is governed do not regard
5 Blackburn Bobbin Co. v. Allen , 2 K. B. 467, 3 A. L. R. 11 [affirming (1018), 1 K. B. 5401.
6 Furness v. Muller, 232 Fed. 186.
7 Columbus Railway, Power & Light Co v. Columbus, 240 U. S. 309, - L. ed. - [affirming, 253 Fed. 4991.
8 Columbus Railway, Power & Light
Co. v. Columbus, 249 U. S. 399, - L. ed. - [affirming, 253 Fed. 499],
9 Commercial Cable Co, v. Philipp Bauer Co., 160 N. Y. Supp. 450, 102 Misc. 699 [reversing, 165 N. Y. Supp. 399, 100 Misc. 663].
10 Davison Chemical Co v. Baugh Chemical Co., 133 Md. 203, 3 A. L. R. 1, 104 Atl. 404.
as a discharge, impossibility due to the change of a law of a foreign state, or due to the act of such state,1 it has been said in a number of cases that the courts of a country by whose law a contract is governed will not regard a war between other nations, to which such nation is not a party, as a discharge.2 A contract governed by English law for exporting barley from Russia, has been held not to be discharged by an order from the Russian government as a war measure forbidding the export of such article.3 A contract which is regarded as governed by English law for exporting hemp from the Philippines is not discharged or suspended by a delay due to the war between the United States and Spain.4 A contract for the sale of goods which can be obtained only from Germany, is said not to be discharged by the fact that its performance was rendered practically impossible by the outbreak of war between England and Germany, to which the United States was not at that time a party.5 In some of these cases the result may be explained on the theory that the contract did not require the performance of any act which was rendered impossible by the war, and that the adversary party was free to perform in any way that he saw fit.6 In a case of this sort, the fact that one of the parties had expected a means of performance which eventually proved impracticable, should probably not operate as a discharge if he was free by the contract to perform in some other way. In other cases, however,7 the contract can by its terms be performed only by the act which is rendered impossible by the outbreak of the war. This rule probably stands on the same basis as the rule that a change of foreign law or the act of a foreign government is not a discharge of a contract the performance of which is not governed by the law of such foreign government. If one of these rules is right, the other probably is. It would seem difficult to justify the result which is reached in some of these cases on any theory of impossibility. It would seem difficult to justify the arbitrary exception of the change of foreign law or the act of a foreign government which renders performance impossible. In reaching this result, the courts have probably been influenced by the theory which some courts have adopted in determining the law which controls a contract, namely, that discharge is to be determined by the law of the place where the contract was made and the last act of performance was to be done, and not by the law of the place where the parties had agreed to perform the act, the performance of which has been rendered impossible by such change of foreign law or by the act of such foreign state.
1See Sec. 2701.
2 Blight [Bright] v. Page, 3 Bos. & P. 205, note; Standard Silk Dyeing Co. v. Roessler & Hasslacher Chemical Co., 244 Fed. 250; Ashmore v. Cox , 1 Q. B. 436; Ducas v. Bayer, 163 N. Y. Supp. 32; Richards v. Wreschner, 156 N. Y. Supp. 1054, 174 App. Div. 484.
A hostile blockade operates as a suspension of a contract which requires transportation through the lines of a blockading squadron, but not as a discharge of such contract. Palmer v. Lorillard, 16 Johns. (N. Y.) 348
(obiter); Ogden v. Barker, 18 Johns, (N. Y.) 87.
3 Blight [Bright] v. Page, 3 Bos. & P. 295, note.
4 Ashmore v. Cox , 1 Q. B. 436. 5 Standard Silk Dyeing Co. v. Roessler & Hasslacher Chemical Co., 244 Fed. 250.
6 Standard Silk Dyeing Co. v. Roess-ler & Hasslacher Chemical Co., 244 Fed. 250.
7 See, for example, Blight [Bright] v. Page, 3 Bos. & P. 295, note.
War does not suspend interest on a debt due from a citizen of one of the belligerent powers to a neutral, at least if it is possible to remit the amount of the debt to the creditor.8 Interest can be recovered, in such cases, even in the courts of such belligerent country.9