John P. McMahon was a student at Georgetown University Law Center when he wrote this article, which won the Lucius Eastman Arbitration Library contest in 1970. He is now on the staff of the Judge Advocate General's Corps. The fully footnoted paper is to appear in the July issue of the Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce. The author has contented to publication of the paper here without the footnotes. He has prepared a brief bibliography of materials related to the Convention and the Act which follows the paper. The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Judge Advocate General's Corps or of any other government agency.
Commercial arbitration is generally regarded as a desirable means of resolving disputes arising out of international trade transactions. Arbitration of international trade disputes does have advantages, but it is of real value only to the extent that agreements to arbitrate will be enforced against a recalcitrant party and that what has begun as an arbitration does not ultimately end up in litigation before a court of law. Arbitration is speedier, more efficient and economical and better suited to the settlement of disputes involving parties of diverse nationalities only so long as specific performance of an agreement to arbitrate will be readily ordered and arbitral awards receive the benefit of summary enforcement proceedings and are not extensively reviewed.