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Treaty relating to the Use of Submarines and Noxious Gases in Warfare. Washington, 6 February 1922.
Article 1. The Signatory Powers declare that among the rules adopted by civilized nations for the protection of the lives of neutrals and noncombatants at sea in time of war, the following are to be deemed an established part of international law:
(1) A merchant vessel must be ordered to submit to visit and search to determine its character before it can be seized.
A merchant vessel must not be attacked unless it refuses to submit to visit and search after warning, or to proceed as directed after seizure.
A merchant vessel must not be destroyed unless the crew and passengers have been first placed in safety.
(2) Belligerent submarines are not under any circumstances exempt from the universal rules above stated; and if a submarine cannot capture a merchant vessel in conformity with these rules the existing law of nations requires it to desist from attack and from seizure and to permit the merchant vessel to proceed unmolested.