The Covenant of the League of Nations (Art. 1 to 26)
[The vertical rule indicates treaty text.]
Notes to Part I, Articles 1 to 26
On May 9, 1919, two days after receiving the draft treaty, the German
delegation transmitted to M. Clemenceau, the president of the peace
conference, a scheme for a League of Nations set forth in 66 articles
Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, v, 563,
765). The Allied and Associated Powers replied on May 22 that
“the proposals of the Covenant are much more practical than those of the
German Government”, and they declined discussion until the League had
been definitely constituted (
The German delegation returned to the issue in its counterproposals of
May 29 by offering to negotiate on the basis of the Covenant on
condition that Germany was admitted to the League as a power with equal
rights immediately on “signature” of the treaty (
ibid., vi, 818). It also offered certain
suggestions regarding economic matters which would “safeguard the
complete equality of rights and reciprocity for all nations”. If
admitted to the League, Germany was prepared to agree to the conditions
laid down in part V of the treaty regarding its military, naval, and air
forces and especially to the abolition of universal military service,
provided this signified “the initiation of a general limitation of the
armaments of all nations”. During the period of transition, Germany
would need more than 100,000 men (Art. 160) for the maintenance of
order, but it was prepared to dismantle its fortresses in the west and
establish a neutral zone. “The highest and most precious object of the
peace is to provide an assurance that this war has been the last of all
wars … Germany is ready to do all that lies in its power to contribute
to the attainment of this end.”
In their reply ok June 16, the Allies (the phrase is used for
convenience, instead of the somewhat cumbersome “Allied and Associated
Powers”) stated that it had never been their intention that “Germany or
any other power should be indefinitely excluded from the League of
Nations” and that they would support the application for membership of
“any State whose government shall have given clear proofs of its
stability as well as of its intention to observe its [Page 70]international obligations—particularly
those obligations which arise out of the Treaty of Peace” (
940). In the case of Germany, “a definite test” would be
necessary, the length of which would “largely depend upon the acts of
the German Government”. Finally, the Allies recognized that “the
acceptance by Germany of the terms laid down for her own disarmament
will facilitate and hasten the accomplishment of a general reduction of
armaments; and they intend to open negotiations immediately with a view
to the eventual adoption of a scheme of such general reduction”.
The Covenant of the League of Nations, which is also part I of the treaties of peace with Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungary, was an instrument independent of the treaty of peace with Germany after January 10, 1920, the date on which the treaty itself and the Covenant both entered into force. The incorporation of the Covenant in the treaties of peace insured that it should come into force as a part of them, but by the nature of the instrument, and particularly the stipulations of article 1 and of the Annex, all parties to the treaties of peace were not automatic members of the League of Nations and membership in the League of Nations was not identical with the signatories of the treaties. The parties of the first part to the treaty of peace with Germany were all included in the list of states eligible for original membership in the League of Nations, but Germany was not. Those which did not ratify the treaty might acquire conventional relationship with the Covenant by becoming members. Germany by its ratification of the treaty of peace was obligated by the terms of the Covenant toward all other parties to the treaty, non-reciprocally, whether or not they were members of the League of Nations.
In view of the independent life of the League of Nations under the Covenant, which is a voluminous study in itself, action and experience under it are not included here.
The treaty restoring friendly relations between the United States and Germany, signed at Berlin, August 25, 1921 and in force on November 11, 1921 with retroactive effect to July 2, 1921, stipulates in article II (2) “that the United States shall not be bound by the provisions of Part I of that Treaty [treaty of peace] nor by any provisions of that Treaty … which relate to the Covenant of the League of Nations, nor shall the United States be bound by any action taken by the League of Nations or by the Council or by the Assembly thereof, unless the United States shall expressly give its [Page 71]consent, to such action”. The Senate of the United States in its resolution of October 18, 1921 giving advice and consent to the ratification of the treaty restoring friendly relations stipulated “that the United States shall not be represented or participate in any body, agency or commission, nor shall any person represent the United States as a member of any body, agency or commission in which the United States is authorized to participate by this Treaty, unless and until an Act of Congress of the United States shall provide for such representation or participation”.
Part I of the treaty of peace was not printed as an annex of the treaty restoring friendly relations with Germany by the Department of State in Treaty Series 658, nor in 42 Stat. 1939. The entire treaty of peace with Germany, as well as the treaties with Austria and Hungary, was printed as a separate appendix in the volume compiled under resolution of the Senate of August 19, 1921 (S. Doc. 348, 67th Cong., 4th sess., serial 8167, Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–23, iii, 3329).
On April 18, 1946 the 21st session of the Assembly of the League of Nations adopted the following Resolution for the Dissolution of the League of Nations:
“The Assembly of the League of Nations,
“Considering that the Charter of the United Nations has created, for purposes of the same nature as those for which the League of Nations was established, an international organisation known as the United Nations to which all States may be admitted as Members on the conditions prescribed by the Charter and to which the great majority of the Members of the League already belong;
“Desiring to promote, so far as lies in its power, the continuation, development and success of international co-operation in the new form adopted by the United Nations;
“Considering that, since the new organisation has now commenced to exercise its functions, the League of Nations may be dissolved; and
“Considering that, under Article 3, paragraph 3, of the Covenant, the Assembly may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of action of the League:
“Adopts the following resolution:
“Dissolution of the League of Nations
“1. (1) With effect from the day following the close of the present session of the Assembly, the League of Nations shall cease to exist except for the sole purpose of the liquidation of its affairs as provided in the present resolution.
“(2) The liquidation shall be effected as rapidly as possible and the date of its completion shall be notified to all the Members by the Board of Liquidation provided for in paragraph 2.” …
The High Contracting Parties,
In order to promote international co–operation and to achieve international peace and security
by the acceptance of obligations not to resort to war,
by the prescription of open, just and honourable relations between nations,
by the firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the actual rule of conduct among Governments, and
by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another,
Agree to this Covenant of the League of Nations.
Note to I, Preamble
The text of an amendment to the Covenant was determined by a resolution adopted by the Assembly. It was then embodied in a protocol which was transmitted to member states for ratification.
The protocol opened by the Assembly for signature by members of the League on September 30, 1938, when ratified, would revise the Preamble to read as follows:
“In order to promote international cooperation and to achieve international peace and security
“by the acceptance of obligations not to resort to war,
“by the prescription of open, just and honorable relations between nations,
“by the firm establishment of the understanding of international law as the actual rule of conduct among Governments, and
“by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another,
“This Covenant has been adopted for the establishment of the League of Nations.”
[The paragraphs of the Covenant are numbered in accordance with a resolution of the Assembly adopted on September 27, 1926.]
1. The original Members of the League of Nations shall be those of the Signatories which are named in the Annex to this Covenant [Page 73]and also such of those other States named in the Annex as shall accede without reservation to this Covenant. Such accession shall be effected by a Declaration deposited with the Secretariat within two months of the coming into force of the Covenant. Notice thereof shall be sent to all other Members of the League.
2. Any fully self–governing State, Dominion or Colony not named in the Annex may become a Member of the League if its admission is agreed to by two–thirds of the Assembly, provided that it shall give effective guarantees of its sincere intention to observe its international obligations, and shall accept such regulations as may be prescribed by the League in regard to its military, naval and air forces and armaments.
Text of May 7:
Any fully self-governing State, Dominion or Colony not named in the Annex may become a Member of the League if its admission is agreed to by two-thirds of the Assembly, provided that it shall give effective guarantees of its sincere intention to observe its international obligations, and shall accept such regulations as may be prescribed by the League in regard to its military and naval forces and armaments.
3. Any Member of the League may, after two years’ notice of its intention so to do, withdraw from the League, provided that all its international obligations and all its obligations under this Covenant shall have been fulfilled at the time of its withdrawal.
Note to I, 1
The protocol opened for signature on September 30, 1938 would, when
ratified, revise article 1 to read as follows:
COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF LEAGUE OF NATIONS MEMBERSHIP
|Afghanistan||Sept. 26, 1934|
|Albania||Dec. 17, 1920|
|Argentine Republic||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Australia||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Austria||Dec. 15, 1920|
|Belgium||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Bolivia||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Brazil||Jan. 10, 1920–June 13, 1928|
|Bulgaria||Dec. 16, 1920|
|Canada||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Chile||Jan. 10, 1920–May 31, 1940|
|China||July 16, 1920|
|Colombia||Feb. 16, 1920|
|Costa Rica||Dec. 16, 1920–Dec. 31, 1926|
|Cuba||Mar. 8, 1920|
|Czechoslovakia||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Denmark||Mar. 8, 1920|
|Dominican Republic||Sept. 29, 1924|
|Ecuador||Sept. 28, 1924|
|Egypt||May 26, 1937|
|Estonia||Sept. 22, 1921|
|Ethiopia||Sept. 28, 1923|
|Finland||Dec. 16, 1920|
|France||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Germany||Sept. 8, 1926–Oct. 20, 1935|
|Greece||Mar. 30, 1920|
|Guatemala||Jan. 10, 1920–May 25, 1938|
|Haiti||June 30, 1920–Apr. 7, 1944|
|Honduras||Nov. 3, 1920–July 9, 1938|
|Hungary||Sept. 18, 1922–Apr. 9, 1941|
|India||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Iran (Persia)||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Iraq||Oct. 3, 1932|
|Ireland (Irish Free State)||Sept. 10, 1923|
|Italy||Jan. 10, 1920–Dec. 9, 1939|
|Japan||Jan. 10, 1920–Mar. 26, 1935|
|Latvia||Sept. 22, 1921|
|Liberia||June 30, 1920|
|Lithuania||Sept. 22, 1921|
|Luxembourg||Dec. 16, 1920|
|Mexico||Sept. 12, 1931|
|Netherlands||Mar. 9, 1920|
|New Zealand||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Nicaragua||Nov. 3, 1920–June 26, 1938|
|Norway||Mar. 9, 1920|
|Panama||Nov. 25, 1920|
|[Page 75]Paraguay||Jan. 10, 1920–Feb. 23, 1935|
|Peru||Jan. 10, 1920–Apr. 7, 1941|
|Poland||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Portugal||Apr. 8, 1920|
|Rumania||Sept. 14, 1920–July 9, 1942|
|El Salvador||Mar. 10, 1920–Aug. 8, 1939|
|Siam (Thailand)||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Spain||Jan. 10, 1920–May 7, 1941|
|Sweden||Mar. 9, 1920|
|Switzerland||Mar. 8, 1920|
|Turkey||July 18, 1932|
|Union of South Africa||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Union of Soviet Socialist Republics||Sept. 18, 1934–Dec. 14, 1939|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (British Empire)||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Uruguay||Jan. 10, 1920|
|Venezuela||Mar. 3, 1920–June 10, 1940|
|Yugoslavia (Serb-Croat-Slovene State)||Feb. 10, 1920|
The Albanian regime set up after the Italian coup d’état of April 7, 1939 gave a notice of intention to withdraw that was not accepted at its face value by the Secretary-General and was referred by the Council to the Assembly, which did not consider the question at its session in December 1939. Albania was subsequently retained in the budget for a token annual payment.
Austria, after the occupation by Germany on March 13, 1938, was the subject of a notice by Germany to the Secretary-General on March 18 that Austria had “ceased to be a member of the League of Nations” from the promulgation of a federal law dated March 13. The Assembly in 1938 decided that this communication was not a notice of withdrawal; it made no claim for payment by Austria of budgetary contributions after March 18, 1938.
The French Government at Vichy gave a two years’ notice of withdrawal on April 19, 1941 (Doc. C.26.M.23. 1941). On April 15, 1943 General Henri-Honoré Giraud and on April 16 General Charles de Gaulle, acting for the groups which joined to form the French Committee of National Liberation, addressed telegrams to the chairman of the Supervisory Commission and the Secretary-General, respectively, in which they were requested “to be good enough to consider that the said notification made under foreign pressure can have no effect and that consequently France continues to be a Member of the League of Nations” (Doc. C.8.M.8. 1943; see also file 500.C001/1525 and 500.C001/1527).[Page 76]
Honduras, Hungary, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Peru were in arrears in their contributions to the League budget at the expiration of their membership. After 1940 all failed to keep up the annuities under the consolidated arrears contracts.
China, which was unwilling to accept articles 156–158 relating to Shantung by signing the treaty of peace with Germany, became a member of the League of Nations by signing and ratifying the treaty of peace with Austria, which entered into force on July 16, 1920.
Rumania’s membership in the League resulted from its ratification of the treaty of peace with Hungary on September 4, 1920.
Ecuador ratified no treaty of peace but took up membership in the League of Nations in September 1934 as a consequence of its being named an original member in the annex.
The parties of the second part of the treaties of peace with Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungary were admitted to the League of Nations in virtue of article 1 of the Covenant as follows:
|Austria||December 15, 1920|
|Bulgaria||December 16, 1920|
|Hungary||September 18, 1922|
|Germany||September 8, 1926|
Germany, Italy, and Japan, the signatories to the treaty of September 7, 1940 establishing the totalitarian “Axis”, withdrew from membership in the League of Nations in order to gain freedom from the obligations of the Covenant under the following circumstances:
On February 24, 1933 the Assembly of the League of Nations adopted a resolution that found against Japan in the “Manchuria Incident” which began on September 18, 1931. The Committee of Inquiry, headed by the Earl of Lytton, had incorporated in its report detailed suggestions for the orderly reconciliation of the complex relations between China and Japan, and that program of reformation and reorganization was repeated in the resolution adopted by the Assembly in February 1933. Japan alone voted against the resolution, its vote not counting under article 15, paragraph 10, of the Covenant. The Assembly of the League simultaneously set up under a further resolution a Far East Advisory Committee to follow events and to concert action to maintain non-recognition of the existing regime in Manchuria. On March 27 the Japanese Government telegraphed to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations that the “gross errors” in the Assembly showed a failure to grasp realities in the Far [Page 77]East, exhibited a misapprehension of the “spirit of Japan”, and that the “challenge” of Japan’s recognition of “Manchukuo” cut “away the ground for the stabilization of the Far-Eastern situation”. Since the Japanese Government realized that there was “an irreconcilable divergence of views, dividing Japan and the League on policies of peace”, the Government, carrying out a rescript of the Emperor, believed that “there remains no room for further collaboration”. For such reasons, Japan gave notice of an intention to withdraw from the League, which became effective on March 27, 1935.
Germany was admitted as a member of the League of Nations and voted to a permanent seat on the Council on September 8, 1926, following an extensive period of political rapprochement. The adoption of the plan of the First Committee of Experts (Dawes Plan) on reparation in 1924 led, by a series of political negotiations, to the proposals which culminated in the Locarno settlement of October 16, 1925, the several instruments of which entered into force upon the admission of Germany to the League.
An important development in 1925 was the organization of the Preparatory Commission for the disarmament conference, which included Germany as a member. The Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments began on February 2, 1932. On December 3, 1932 the Governments of France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany subscribed to a common declaration divided into three parts, in the first of which the Governments of France, Italy, and the United Kingdom assured Germany “equality of rights in a system which would provide security for all nations”. Adolf Hitler came to power on January 30, 1933 and thereafter negotiations in the conference to find a formula for the limitation of land armament to which France and Germany would agree made little headway. The German Minister for Foreign Affairs on October 14, 1933 sent to the Bureau and the General Commission of the conference a telegram in which he stated that “the German Government is accordingly compelled to leave the Disarmament Conference”. The reasons given to justify this conclusion were that the conference “will not fulfill what is its sole object—namely, general disarmament”; that the sole cause was “the unwillingness on the part of the highly armed states to carry out their contractual obligation to disarm”; and that “this renders impossible the satisfaction of Germany’s recognized claim to equality of rights”, a condition on which its continuance in the conference hinged.[Page 78]
The president of the conference, with the approval of the General Commission, replied that he was “unable to accept” the reasons given for the “grave decision” of the German Government. The program then under study provided for the realization of equality of rights which Germany demanded.
On October 19 the German Government gave notice of its intention to withdraw from the League—a notice which became effective October 21, 1935. Immediately upon the giving of that notice Germany absented itself from League of Nations activities, progressively took a hostile attitude toward that institution, and finally openly exerted its influence to block League undertakings.
The Fascist Government of Italy had cooperated to a limited extent at Geneva for some years before the members of the Council of the League on October 7, 1935 found that the Italian Government had violated article 12 of the Covenant by invading Ethiopia. This finding eventually brought sanctions into operation under article 16, paragraph 1. The application of the sanctions which were employed did not prevent Italy from occupying Ethiopia and replacing the Ethiopian Government with a regime of its own. The sanctions were lifted on July 15, 1936. On December 11, 1937.the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs telegraphed to the Secretary-General that “in consequence of the decisions of the Grand Council of Fascism I hereby inform you that Italy withdraws from the League of Nations on December 11, 1937/XVI”. Italy thereafter fulfilled its formal obligations, such as the payment of budgetary contributions, but without any participation in the activities of the League up to the date of the maturity of its notice of withdrawal on December 10, 1939.
The action of the League under this Covenant shall be effected through the instrumentality of an Assembly and of a Council, with a permanent Secretariat.
- The Assembly shall consist of Representatives of the Members of the League.
- The Assembly shall meet at stated intervals and from time to time as occasion may require at the Seat of the League or at such other place as may be decided upon.
- The Assembly may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of action of the League or affecting the peace of the world.
- At meetings of the Assembly each Member of the League shall have one vote, and may have not more than three Representatives.
- The Council shall consist of Representatives of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, together with Representatives of four other Members of the League. These four Members of the League shall be selected by the Assembly from time to time in its discretion. Until the appointment of the Representatives of the four Members of the League first selected by the Assembly, Representatives of Belgium, Brazil, Spain and Greece shall be members of the Council.
- With the approval of the majority of the Assembly, the Council may name additional Members of the League whose Representatives shall always be members of the Council; the Council with like approval may increase the number of Members of the League to be selected by the Assembly for representation on the Council.
Note to I, 4 (1, 2)
Germany was named as a permanent member of the Council on September 4, 1926, with approval by the Assembly on September 8. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was so named by the Council on September 15, 1934, with approval by the Assembly on September 18.
The number of members of the Council selected by the Assembly was increased, by application of the second clause of this paragraph, from 4 to 6 on September 25, 1922, from 6 to 9 on September 8, 1926, from 9 to 10 on October 9, 1933, and from 10 to 11 on October 8, 1936. The decisions of 1933 and 1936 were provisional.
The protocol opened for signature on September 30, 1938, when ratified,
would revise paragraphs 1 and 2 of article 4 to read as follows:
The Council held 107 sessions between January 16, 1920 and December 14, 1939. At the 21st ordinary session of the Assembly, Geneva, April 8–18, 1946, which decided the cessation of the League, the following resolution was adopted:
“The Assembly, with the concurrence of all the members of the Council which are represented at the present session,
“decides that, so far as required, it will, during the present session, assume the functions falling within the competence of the Council.”
2 bis. The Assembly shall fix by a two-thirds majority the rules dealing with the election of the non-permanent Members of the Council, and particularly such regulations as relate to their term of office and the conditions of re-eligibility.
Note to I, 4 (2 bis)
The foregoing paragraph came into force on July 29, 1926 in accordance with the provisions of article 26.
3. The Council shall meet from time to time as occasion may require, and at least once a year, at the Seat of the League, or at such other place as may be decided upon.
4. The Council may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of action of the League or affecting the peace of the world.
5. Any Member of the League not represented on the Council shall be invited to send a Representative to sit as a member at any meeting of the Council during the consideration of matters specially affecting the interest of that Member of the League.
6. At meetings of the Council, each Member of the League represented on the Council shall have one vote, and may have not more than one Representative.
1. Except where otherwise expressly provided in this Covenant or by the terms of the present Treaty, decisions at any meeting of the Assembly or of the Council shall require the agreement of all the Members of the League represented at the meeting.[Page 81]
Note to I, 5 (1)
The protocol opened for signature on September 30, 1938, when ratified, would revise paragraph 1 to read as follows:
“Except where otherwise expressly provided in this Covenant, or by agreements conferring certain powers on the League of Nations, decisions at any meeting of the Assembly or of the Council shall require the agreement of all the Members of the League represented at the meeting.”
2. All matters of procedure at meetings of the Assembly or of the Council, including the appointment of Committees to investigate particular matters, shall be regulated by the Assembly or by the Council and may be decided by a majority of the Members of the League represented at the meeting.
3. The first meeting of the Assembly and the first meeting of the Council shall be summoned by the President of the United States of America.
- The permanent Secretariat shall be established at the Seat of the League. The Secretariat shall comprise a Secretary General and such secretaries and staff as may be required.
- The first Secretary General shall be the person named in the Annex; thereafter the Secretary General shall be appointed by the Council with the approval of the majority of the Assembly.
- The secretaries and staff of the Secretariat shall be appointed by the Secretary General with the approval of the Council.
- The Secretary General shall act in that capacity at all meetings of the Assembly and of the Council.
- [The expenses of the Secretariat shall be borne by the Members of the League in accordance with the apportionment of the expenses of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union.]
- The expenses of the League shall be borne by the Members of the League in the proportion decided by the Assembly.
Note to I, 6 (5)
The foregoing paragraph superseded the original provision and came into force August 13, 1924 in accordance with the provisions of article 26.
Two amendments adopted by the Assembly and opened for signature on October 5, 1921 were in effect withdrawn as a result of a [Page 82]resolution of the Assembly of September 30, 1922. They provided for the addition of the following paragraph to article 6 and the insertion of an annex to the Covenant in the subjoined language:
“The allocation of the expenses of the League set out in Annex 3 shall be applied as from January 1st, 1922, until a revised allocation has come into force after adoption by the Assembly.”
“III: Allocation of the Expenses of the League
“States [and] Units Payable
“Albania 2, Argentina 35, Australia 15, Austria 2, Belgium 15, Bolivia 5, Brazil 35, British Empire 90, Bulgaria 10, Canada 35, Chile 15, China 65, Colombia 10, Costa Rica 2, Cuba 10, Czecho–Slovakia 35, Denmark 10, Esthonia 5, Finland 5, France 90, Greece 10, Guatemala 2, Haiti 5, Honduras 2, India 65, Italy 65, Japan 65, Latvia 5, Liberia 2, Lithuania 5, Luxembourg 2, Netherlands 15, New Zealand 10, Nicaragua 2, Norway 10, Panama 2, Paraguay 2, Peru 10, Persia 10, Poland 15, Portugal 10, Salvador 2, Roumania 35, Serb–Croat–Slovene State 35, Siam 10, South Africa 15, Spain 35, Sweden 15, Switzerland 10, Uruguay 10, Venezuela 5.”
- The Seat of the League is established at Geneva.
- The Council may at any time decide that the Seat of the League shall be established elsewhere.
- All positions under or in connection with the League, including the Secretariat, shall be open equally to men and women.
- Representatives of the Members of the League and officials of the League when engaged on the business of the League shall enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities.
- The buildings and other property occupied by the League or its officials or by Representatives attending its meetings shall be inviolable.
- The Members of the League recognise that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations.
- The Council, taking account of the geographical situation and circumstances of each State, shall formulate plans for such reduction for the consideration and action of the several Governments.
- Such plans shall be subject to reconsideration and revision at least every ten years.
- After these plans shall have been adopted by the several Governments, the limits of armaments therein fixed shall not be exceeded without the concurrence of the Council.
- The Members of the League agree that the manufacture by private enterprise of munitions and implements of war is open to grave objections. The Council shall advise how the evil effects attendant upon such manufacture can be prevented, due regard being had to the necessities of those Members of the League which are not able to manufacture the munitions and implements of war necessary for their safety.
- The Members of the League undertake to interchange full and frank information as to the scale of their armaments, their military, naval and air programmes and the condition of such of their industries as are adaptable to war-like purposes.
Text of May 7:
The Members of the League undertake to interchange full and frank information as to the scale of their armaments, their military and naval programmes and the condition of such of their industries as are adaptable to war-like purposes.
A permanent Commission shall be constituted to advise the Council on the execution of the provisions of Articles 1 and 8 and on military, naval and air questions generally.
Text of May 7:
A permanent Commission shall be constituted to advise the Council on the execution of the provisions of Articles 1 and 8 and on military and naval questions generally.
The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League. In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.
- Any war or threat of war, whether immediately affecting any of the Members of the League or not, is hereby declared a matter [Page 84]of concern to the whole League, and the League shall take, any action that may be deemed wise and effectual to safeguard the peace of nations. In case any such emergency should arise the Secretary General shall on the request of any Member of the League forthwith summon a meeting of the Council.
- It is also declared to be the friendly right of each Member of the League to bring to the attention of the Assembly or of the Council any circumstance whatever affecting international relations which threatens to disturb international peace or the good understanding between nations upon which peace depends.
[The Members of the League agree that if there should arise between them any dispute likely to lead to a rupture, they will submit the matter either to arbitration or to inquiry by the Council, and they agree in no case to resort to war until three months after the award by the arbitrators or the report by the Council.
[In any case under this Article the award of the arbitrators shall be made within a reasonable time, and the report of the Council shall be made within six months after the submission of the dispute.]
- The Members of the League agree that, if there should arise between them any dispute likely to lead to a rupture, they will submit the matter either to arbitration or judicial settlement or to inquiry by the Council, and they agree in no case to resort to war until three months after the award by the arbitrators or the judicial decision, or the report by the Council.
- In any case under this Article the award of the arbitrators or the judicial decision shall be made within a reasonable time, and the report of the Council shall be made within six months after the submission of the dispute.
Note to I, 12 (1–2)
The foregoing two paragraphs came into force on September 26, 1924 in accordance with the provisions of article 26.
[The Members of the League agree that whenever any dispute shall arise between them which they recognise to be suitable for submission to arbitration and which cannot be satisfactorily settled by diplomacy, they will submit the whole subject-matter to arbitration.
[Disputes as to the interpretation of a treaty, as to any question of international law, as to the existence of any fact which if established [Page 85]would constitute a breach of any international obligation, or as to the extent and nature of the reparation to be made for any such breach, are declared to be among those which are generally suitable for submission to arbitration.
[For the consideration of any such dispute the court of arbitration to which the case is referred shall be the Court agreed on by the parties to the dispute or stipulated in any convention existing between them.
[The Members of the League agree that they will carry out in full good faith any award that may be rendered, and that they will not resort to war against a Member of the League which complies therewith. In the event of any failure to carry out such an award, the Council shall propose what steps should be taken to give effect thereto.]
- The Members of the League agree that, whenever any dispute shall arise between them which they recognize to be suitable for submission to arbitration or judicial settlement, and which cannot be satisfactorily settled by diplomacy, they will submit the whole subject matter to arbitration or judicial settlement.
- Disputes as to the interpretation of a treaty, as to any question of international law, as to the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach of any international obligation, or as to the extent and nature of the reparation to be made for any such breach, are declared to be among those which are generally suitable for submission to arbitration or judicial settlement.
- For the consideration of any such dispute, the court to which the case is referred shall be the Permanent Court of International Justice, established in accordance with Article 14, or any tribunal agreed on by the parties to the dispute or stipulated in any convention existing between them.
- The Members of the League agree that they will carry out in full good faith any award or decision that may be rendered, and that they will not resort to war against a Member of the League which complies therewith. In the event of any failure to carry out such an award or decision, the Council shall propose what steps should be taken to give effect thereto.
Note to I, 13 (1–4)
The foregoing four paragraphs came into force on September 26, 1924 in accordance with the provisions of article 26.[Page 86]
The Council shall formulate and submit to the Members of the League for adoption plans for the establishment of a Permanent Court of International Justice. The Court shall be competent to hear and determine any dispute of an international character which the parties thereto submit to it. The Court may also give an advisory opinion upon any dispute or question referred to it by the Council or by the Assembly.
Note to I, 14
The undertaking in the first sentence in this article has been fulfilled. The Council on February 13, 1920 appointed an Advisory Committee of Jurists to report a scheme to it. The draft statute prepared by the committee, June 16–July 24, 1920, was revised and finally approved by the Council on October 28. It was then submitted to the first session of the Assembly of the League for consideration and was approved by it. The Statute was attached to a protocol of signature dated December 16, 1920, ratification of which constituted adoption of the plan. The Statute entered into force in September 1921. The Court met in a preliminary session on January 30, 1922.
The Senate of the United States on January 27, 1926 advised and consented to the ratification of the protocol of signature subject to five reservations, some of which were unacceptable to the states signatories to the protocol. On September 14, 1929 a conference of states signatories to the protocol opened for signature a protocol for the accession of the United States. The Senate of the United States on January 29, 1935, by vote of 52 to 36, failed to adopt a resolution approving ratification of the protocol of accession by the United States. The Permanent Court of International Justice continued in being under a protocol for the revision of the Statute dated September 14, 1929, which entered into effect on February 1, 1936.
The 21st ordinary session of the Assembly of the League of Nations on April 18, 1946 adopted this resolution:
“That the Permanent Court of International Justice is for all purposes to be regarded as dissolved with effect from the day following the close of the present session of the Assembly [April 19, 1946], but without prejudice to such subsequent measures of liquidation as may be necessary.”
[If there should arise between Members of the League any dispute likely to lead to a rupture, which is not submitted to arbitration in [Page 87]accordance with Article 13, the Members of the League agree that they will submit the matter to the Council. Any party to the dispute may effect such submission by giving notice of the existence of the dispute to the Secretary General, who will make all necessary arrangements for a full investigation and consideration thereof.]
1. If there should arise between Members of the League any dispute likely to lead to a rupture, which is not submitted to arbitration or judicial settlement in accordance with Article 13, the Members of the League agree that they will submit the matter to the Council. Any party to the dispute may effect such submission by giving notice of the existence of the dispute to the Secretary-General, who will make all necessary arrangements for a full investigation and consideration thereof.
Note to I, 15
The foregoing paragraph came into force on September 26, 1924 in accordance with the provisions of article 26.
2. For this purpose the parties to the dispute will communicate to the Secretary General, as promptly as possible, statements of their case with all the relevant facts and papers, and the Council may forthwith direct the publication thereof.
3. The Council shall endeavour to effect a settlement of the dispute, and if such efforts are successful, a statement shall be made public giving such facts and explanations regarding the dispute and the terms of settlement thereof as the Council may deem appropriate.
4. If the dispute is not thus settled, the Council either unanimously or by a majority vote shall make and publish a report containing a statement of the facts of the dispute and the recommendations which are deemed just and proper in regard thereto.
5. Any Member of the League represented on the Council may make public a statement of the facts of the dispute and of its conclusions regarding the same.
6. If a report by the Council is unanimously agreed to by the members thereof other than the Representatives of one or more of the parties to the dispute, the Members of the League agree that they will not go to war with any party to the dispute which complies with the recommendations of the report.
7. If the Council fails to reach a report which is unanimously agreed to by the members thereof, other than the Representatives of one or more of the parties to the dispute, the Members of the League reserve to themselves the right to take such action as they shall consider necessary for the maintenance of right and justice.[Page 88]
8. If the dispute between the parties is claimed by one of them, and is found by the Council, to arise out of a matter which by international law is solely within the domestic jurisdiction of that party, the Council shall so report, and shall make no recommendation as to its settlement.
9. The Council may in any case under this Article refer the dispute to the Assembly. The dispute shall be so referred at the request of either party to the dispute, provided that such request be made within fourteen days after the submission of the dispute to the Council.
10. In any case referred to the Assembly, all the provisions of this Article and of Article 12 relating to the action and powers of the Council shall apply to the action and powers of the Assembly, provided that a report made by the Assembly, if concurred in by the Representatives of those Members of the League represented on the Council and of a majority of the other Members of the League, exclusive in each case of the Representatives of the parties to the dispute, shall have the same force as a report by the Council concurred in by all the members thereof other than the Representatives of one or more of the parties to the dispute.
1. Should any Member of the League resort to war in disregard of its covenants under Articles 12, 13 or 15, it shall ipso facto be deemed to have committed an act of war against all other Members of the League, which hereby undertake immediately to subject it to the severance of all trade or financial relations, the prohibition of all intercourse between their nationals and the nationals of the covenant-breaking State, and the prevention of all financial, commercial or personal intercourse between the nationals of the covenant-breaking State and the nationals of any other State, whether a Member of the League or not.
Note to I, 16 (1)
The Assembly on October 5, 1921 adopted proposals of amendment which, except as noted, have since been pending for ratification:
“Should any Member of the League resort to war in disregard of its covenants under Articles 12, 13 or 15, it shall ipso facto be deemed to have committed an act of war against all other Members of the League, which hereby undertake immediately to subject it to the severance of all trade or financial relations and to prohibit all intercourse at least between persons resident within their territories [Page 89]and persons resident within the territory of the covenant-breaking State and, if they deem it expedient, also between their nationals and the nationals of the covenant-breaking State, and to prevent all financial, commercial or personal intercourse at least between persons resident within the territory of that State and persons resident within the territory of any other State, whether a Member of the League or not, and, if they deem it expedient, also between the nationals of that State and the nationals of any other State whether a Member of the League or not.”
[The above amendment was adopted by the Assembly on September 27, 1924 to supersede the amendment of that paragraph, which, as adopted on October 5, 1921, was in the following language: “… which hereby undertake immediately to subject it to the severance of all trade or financial relations, the prohibition of all intercourse between persons residing in their territory and persons residing in the territory of the covenant-breaking State, and the prevention of all financial, commercial or personal intercourse between persons residing in the territory of the covenant-breaking State and persons residing in the territory of any other State, whether a Member of the League or not.”]
“It is for the Council to give an opinion whether or not a breach of the Covenant has taken place. In deliberations on this question in the Council, the votes of Members of the League alleged to have resorted to war and of Members against whom such action was directed shall not be counted.
“The Council will notify to all Members of the League the date which it recommends for the application of the economic pressure under this Article.
“Nevertheless, the Council may, in the case of particular Members, postpone the coming into force of any of these measures for a specified period where it is satisfied that such a postponement will facilitate the attainment of the object of the measures referred to in the preceding paragraph, or that it is necessary in order to minimize the loss and inconvenience which will be caused to such Members.”
2. It shall be the duty of the Council in such case to recommend to the several Governments concerned what effective military, naval or air force the Members of the League shall severally contribute to the armed forces to be used to protect the covenants of the League.[Page 90]
Text of May 7:
It shall be the duty of the Council in such case to recommend to the several Governments concerned what effective military or naval force the Members of the League shall severally contribute to the armed forces to be used to protect the covenants of the League.
Note to I, 16 (2)
An amendment adopted by the Assembly on September 21, 1925 provided for the deletion of the words “in such case” and was submitted to member states. It did not come into force.
3. The Members of the League agree, further, that they will mutually support one another in the financial and economic measures which are taken under this Article, in order to minimise the loss and inconvenience resulting from the above measures, and that they will mutually support one another in resisting any special measures aimed at one of their number by the covenant-breaking State, and that they will take the necessary steps to afford passage through their territory to the forces of any of the Members of the League which are co-operating to protect the covenants of the League.
4. Any Member of the League which has violated any covenant of the League may be declared to be no longer a Member of the League by a vote of the Council concurred in by the Representatives of all the other Members of the League represented thereon.
Note to I, 16 (4)
In November 1939 the Soviet Union made demands on Finland for the transfer of certain strategic points in Finnish territory and the cession of a Finnish area claimed to be a strategic menace to Leningrad while in the possession of a foreign state. Finland proposed examining the claims under the treaty of non-aggression concluded between the two states on January 21, 1932 and stipulated to be in force until December 31, 1945. The Soviet Union unilaterally denounced the treaty and on November 30 attacked Finland. The Finnish Government appealed to the League under article 15 of the Covenant, requesting that the Assembly consider the matter. The Assembly convened December 11, the Soviet Union declining to attend. On December 14 the Assembly found that the Soviet Union, “by the aggression which it has committed against Finland”, “has failed to observe not only its special political agreements with Finland but also Article 12 of the Covenant of the League of Nations and the Pact of Paris”. By refusing to be present at the Assembly’s examination of the dispute under article 15, the Soviet Union had [Page 91]“failed to observe one of the League’s most essential covenants for the safeguarding of peace and the security of nations” and had “by its own action placed itself outside the Covenant”. The Assembly therefore recommended “the Council to pronounce upon the question” of “what consequences should follow from this situation”. The Council on the same day, for the reasons set forth by the Assembly and in virtue of article 16, paragraph 4, of the Covenant, found “that, by its act, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has placed itself outside the League of Nations. It follows that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is no longer a Member of the League.” The resolution was adopted unanimously, with China, Greece, and Yugoslavia abstaining and with Iran and Peru absent.
- In the event of a dispute between a Member of the League and a State which is not a Member of the League, or between States not Members of the League, the State or States not Members of the League shall be invited to accept the obligations of membership in the League for the purposes of such dispute, upon such conditions as the Council may deem just. If such invitation is accepted, the provisions of Articles 12 to 16 inclusive shall be applied with such modifications as may be deemed necessary by the Council.
- Upon such invitation being given the Council shall immediately institute an inquiry into the circumstances of the dispute and recommend such action as may seem best and most effectual in the circumstances.
- If a State so invited shall refuse to accept the obligations of membership in the League for the purposes of such dispute, and shall resort to war against a Member of the League, the provisions of Article 16 shall be applicable as against the State taking such action.
- If both parties to the dispute when so invited refuse to accept the obligations of membership in the League for the purposes of such dispute, the Council may take such measures and make such recommendations as will prevent hostilities and will result in the settlement of the dispute.
Text of May 7:
If both parties of the dispute when so invited refuse to accept the obligations of membership in the League for the purposes of such [Page 92]dispute, the Council may take such measures and make such recommendations as will prevent hostilities and will result in the settlement of the dispute.
Every treaty or international engagement entered into hereafter by any Member of the League shall be forthwith registered with the Secretariat and shall as soon as possible be published by it. No such treaty or international engagement shall be binding until so registered.
Note to I, 18
Treaty Series: Publication of Treaties and International Engagements Registered With the Secretariat of the League of Nations was issued beginning September 1920.
Registrations through December 1945 numbered 4834, which were published in 205 volumes. A ninth index volume completed the series in 1946.
The Assembly may from time to time advise the reconsideration by Members of the League of treaties which have become inapplicable and the consideration of international conditions whose continuance might endanger the peace of the world.
- The Members of the League severally agree that this Covenant is accepted as abrogating all obligations or understandings inter se which are inconsistent with the terms thereof, and solemnly undertake that they will not hereafter enter into any engagements inconsistent with the terms thereof.
- In case any Member of the League shall, before becoming a Member of the League, have undertaken any obligations inconsistent with the terms of this Covenant, it shall be the duty of such Member to take immediate steps to procure its release from such obligations.
Nothing in this Covenant shall be deemed to affect the validity of international engagements, such as treaties of arbitration or regional understandings like the Monroe doctrine, for securing the maintenance of peace.[Page 93]
- To those colonies and territories which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilisation and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant.
- The best method of giving practical effect to this principle is that the tutelage of such peoples should be entrusted to advanced nations who by reason of their resources, their experience or their geographical position can best undertake this responsibility, and who are willing to accept it, and that this tutelage should be exercised by them as Mandatories on behalf of the League.
- The character of the mandate must differ according to the stage of the development of the people, the geographical situation of the territory, its economic conditions and other similar circumstances.
- Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognised subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.
- Other peoples, especially those of Central Africa, are at such a stage that the Mandatory must be responsible for the administration of the territory under conditions which will guarantee freedom of conscience and religion, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, the prohibition of abuses such as the slave trade, the arms traffic and the liquor traffic, and the prevention of the establishment of fortifications or military and naval bases and of military training of the natives for other than police purposes and the defence of territory, and will also secure equal opportunities for the trade and commerce of other Members of the League.
- There are territories, such as South-West Africa and certain of the South Pacific Islands, which, owing to the sparseness of their population, or their small size, or their remoteness from the centres of civilisation, or their geographical contiguity to the territory of the Mandatory, and other circumstances, can be best administered under the laws of the Mandatory as integral portions of its territory, [Page 94]subject to the safeguards above mentioned in the interests of the indigenous population.
- In every case of mandate, the Mandatory shall render to the Council an annual report in reference to the territory committed to its charge.
- The degree of authority, control, or administration to be exercised by the Mandatory shall, if not previously agreed upon by the Members of the League, be explicitly defined in each case by the Council.
- A permanent Commission shall be constituted to receive and examine the annual reports of the Mandatories and to advise the Council on all matters relating to the observance of the mandates.
Note to I, 22
Article 22 in this form was included in the final report of the Commission on the League of Nations, which was approved on April 28, 1919, two months before the signing of the treaty of peace. It was, therefore, drafted without cognizance of the precise territories to which paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 would relate.
The territories which came under the regime set up by this article were 3 former parts of the Ottoman Empire and 7 former overseas possessions of Germany referred to in part IV, section I, of the treaty of peace. Those 10 territorial areas were originally administered under 15 mandates.
The “A” mandates (art. 22, par. 4) were allocated at a meeting of the Supreme Council held at San Remo, Italy, on April 25, 1920 and attended by the representatives of the British Empire, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States (in the capacity of an observer). This decision read in part (file 763.72119/9869, document I.C.P. 106):
“(a) To accept the terms of the Mandates Article as given below with reference to Palestine, on the understanding that there was inserted in the procès-verbal an undertaking by the Mandatory Power that this would not involve the surrender of the rights hitherto enjoyed by the non-Jewish communities in Palestine; this undertaking not to refer to the question of the religious protectorate of France, which had been settled earlier in the previous afternoon by the undertaking given by the French Government that they recognized this protectorate as being at an end.
. . . . . . .
“(c) [Translation] The mandatories chosen by the Principal Allied Powers are: France for Syria, and Great Britain for Mesopotamia and Palestine.[Page 95]
“In reference to the above decision the Supreme Council took note of the following reservation of the Italian Delegation:
“[Translation] The Italian Delegation, considering the great economic interests which Italy as an exclusively Mediterranean power possessed in Asia Minor, reserves its approval of the present resolution until the regulation of Italian interests in Asiatic Turkey.”
Paragraph (b) of the resolution, with only drafting changes and an elaboration of the boundary clause, became articles 94–97 and article 132 of the Treaty of Sèvres, as follows:
“Article 94. The High Contracting Parties agree that Syria and Mesopotamia shall, in accordance with the fourth paragraph of Article 22, Part I (Covenant of the League of Nations), be provisionally recognised as independent States subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone.
“A Commission shall be constituted within fifteen days from the coming into force of the present Treaty to trace on the spot the frontier line described in Article 27, II (2) and (3). This Commission will be composed of three members nominated by France, Great Britain and Italy respectively, and one member nominated by Turkey; it will be assisted by a representative of Syria for the Syrian frontier, and by a representative of Mesopotamia for the Mesopotamian frontier.
“The determination of the other frontiers of the said States, and the selection of the Mandatories, will be made by the Principal Allied Powers.
“Article 95. The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust, by application of the provisions of Article 22, the administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory to be selected by the said Powers. The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.[Page 96]
“The Mandatory undertakes to appoint as soon as possible a special Commission to study and regulate all questions and claims relating to the different religious communities. In the composition of this Commission the religious interests concerned will be taken into account. The Chairman of the Commission will be appointed by the Council of the League of Nations.
“Article 96. The terms of the mandates in respect of the above territories will be formulated by the Principal Allied Powers and submitted to the Council of the League of Nations for approval.
“Article 97. Turkey hereby undertakes, in accordance with the provisions of Article 132, to accept any decisions which may be taken in relation to the questions dealt with in this Section.
“Article 132. Outside her frontiers as fixed by the present Treaty Turkey hereby renounces in favour of the Principal Allied Powers all rights and title which she could claim on any ground over or concerning any territories outside Europe which are not otherwise disposed of by the present Treaty.
“Turkey undertakes to recognize and conform to the measures which may be taken now or in the future by the Principal Allied Powers, in agreement where necessary with third Powers, in order to carry the above stipulation into effect.”
The Italian reservation was superseded by a tripartite agreement between the British Empire, France, and Italy respecting Anatolia, signed at Sevres August 10, 1920 (United Kingdom, Treaty Series No. 12 (1920); 113 British and Foreign State Papers, p. 797). Areas in which the special interests of the three states existed were recognized and bounded, and the three states undertook “to render diplomatic support to each other in maintaining their respective positions” in those areas. The mandatories were to enjoy vis-à-vis the other contracting parties the same rights and privileges in the mandates as were enjoyed in the special areas. The agreement was to go into force with the treaty of peace signed with Turkey at Sevres on August 10, 1920; but that treaty did not go into force. Instead, the treaty of peace which Turkey signed at Lausanne on July 24, 1923 (28 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 11) included the whole of Anatolia in Turkey and left no possibility for areas of special interest within its defined boundaries.
Article 16 of this treaty of July 24, 1923, which came into force on August 6, 1924, reads as follows: [Page 97]
“Turkey hereby renounces all rights and title whatsoever over or respecting the territories situated outside the frontiers laid down in the present Treaty and the islands other than those over which her sovereignty is recognised by the said Treaty, the future of these territories and islands being settled or to be settled by the parties concerned.
“The provisions of the present Article do not prejudice any special arrangements arising from neighbourly relations which have been or may be concluded between Turkey and any limitrophe countries.”
The United States was not a party to this treaty of peace with Turkey,
but it was represented at Lausanne by an observer of ambassadorial rank
for the reason that “it will be practically impossible for the Allies to
conduct negotiations without dealing with matters in which this
Government is interested”. The following position was taken: “To permit
the Allies to conclude their negotiations without any attempt to present
Department’s views or to obtain assurances for protection of American
interests would leave this Government with a fait
accompli so far as the relations between the Allies and the
Turks were concerned.” Therefore, “American observers will be present
during the course of the negotiations, ready at any opportune or
critical moment to interpose the necessary word for our protection”
Relations, 1923, ii, 886).
The disposition of the former Turkish territories was not included in
the American interests involved.
The colonies renounced by Germany in favor of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers under article 119 of the Treaty of Versailles were administered under “B” and “C” mandates as described in paragraphs 5 and 6 of article 22. On May 7, 1919 the territories referred to were allocated to mandatories for administration under the terms of article 22 by a decision of the representatives of the United States, France, Great Britain, and Italy. The decision read (file 180.03401/149):
“(1) Togoland and Cameroons. France and Great Britain shall make a joint recommendation to the League of Nations as to their future.
“German East Africa. The mandate shall be held by Great Britain.
“German South West Africa. The mandate shall be held by the Union of South Africa.[Page 98]
“The German Samoan Islands. The mandate shall be held by New Zealand.
“The Other German Pacific Possessions South of the Equator excluding the German Samoan Islands and Nauru, the mandate shall be held by Australia.
“Nauru. The mandate shall be given to die British Empire.
“German Islands North of the Equator. The mandate shall be held by Japan.”
Certain changes in this rough allocation were made.
France and Great Britain by a declaration of July 10, 1919 arranged to delimit frontiers in the Cameroons and Togoland eastward and westward respectively for mandatory administration.
Owing to their stability and proximity to the Belgian Congo, the native kingdoms of Ruanda and Urundi were detached from the former German East Africa, which under British mandate was named Tanganyika. The mandate of the two kingdoms was assigned to Belgium.
The deposits at Nauru had been exploited by a German corporation, the Pacific Phosphate Company, which was taken over by the British, Australian, and New Zealand Governments under an agreement of July 2, 1919. In virtue of that agreement the British Empire’s mandate was assigned to Australia for 5-year periods.
The former Turkish territory of Mesopotamia was designated as an “A” mandate on April 25, 1920 but was not strictly administered as such owing to the prompt setting up of the government of Iraq under King Feisal. With that government the designated mandatory, the United Kingdom, concluded a treaty of alliance on October 10, 1922 (35 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 13). An organic law of July 10, 1924 (League of Nations, Official Journal, 1924, p. 801) and a unilateral undertaking by the British representative on the Council of the League of Nations on September 27, 1924 (ibid., p. 1346) to apply the principles of article 22 of the Covenant to Iraq further defined its status within the mandatory system. The British Government made the usual annual reports required of mandatories. A treaty of January 13, 1926 (47 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 419) for revision of the alliance of 1922 stipulated for consideration every four years whether Iraq should be put forward for admission to the League. The frontier with Turkey was determined by a treaty between Turkey and the United Kingdom and Iraq, which was there recognized “as an in [Page 99]dependent state”, signed at Angora on June 5, 1926 (64 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 379). After various negotiations the British Government on November 4, 1929 informed the League of Nations that it would recommend Iraq for admission to the League in 1932 (League of Nations, Official Journal, 1929, p. 1838). A fresh treaty of alliance, signed at Baghdad on June 30, 1930 and in force from October 3, 1932 for 25 years (132 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 363), replaced the treaties of October 10, 1922 and January 13, 1926. A special report by the mandatory gave the Permanent Mandates Commission evidence that the progress of Iraq during the period 1920–31 satisfied the de facto conditions requisite for termination of the mandate. On May 19, 1932 the Council of the League adopted the conditions to be met for its termination (League of Nations, Official Journal, 1932, pp. 1212, 1347), which were ratified by Iraq in July (ibid., pp. 1483, 1557). Admission to the League was unanimously voted by the Assembly on October 3, 1932, at which date the mandated status of Iraq terminated.
The “A” mandate of Syria and Lebanon underwent an evolution bringing the two entities involved to the verge of independence. The mandate provided for an organic law, which was promulgated only on May 14, 1930 (League of Nations, Official Journal, 1930, p. 1099). This law embodied constitutions of the Lebanese Republic and the State of Syria, organic regulations of the Sanjak of Alexandretta, and organic statutes of the Governments of Latakia and the Jebel Druse. The Sanjak of Alexandretta, having been placed under a statute by decision of the Council on May 29, 1937 (ibid., 1937, pp. 329, 580), was transferred to Turkey by an arrangement between France and Turkey of June 23, 1939, in force on July 13 (ibid., 1939, p. 356). France signed treaties of friendship and alliance with Lebanon at Beirut on November 13, 1936 and with Syria at Damascus on December 22, 1936 (France, Ministère des affaires étrangères, Rapport à la Société des Nations sur la situation de la Syrie et du Liban (année 1936), pp. 201, 229). These treaties were to come into force, along with new organic statutes of the Jebel Druse and the Aluite (Latakia), upon the admission of Syria and Lebanon to the League of Nations. France delayed the ratification of the treaties while the Alexandretta matter was being settled and the arrangements for admission to the League were being completed. After the surrender of France in June 1940 the Free French National Committee, which was later succeeded by the French Committee of National Liberation, took over the administration of the [Page 100]territories from the Vichy French forces with the aid of British contingents. On June 8, 1941 the commander of the Free French forces in the Middle East, in the name of the committee, assumed the powers, responsibilities, and duties of the representative of France in the Levant and as such informed the people of Syria and the Lebanon that “I come to put an end to the mandatory regime and proclaim you free and independent”. On September 7, 1944 the Department of State extended formal recognition to both. Lebanon and Syria signed the Declaration by United Nations, April 12, 1945 and are Members of the United Nations.
The “A” mandate for Palestine contained two special provisions:
- The mandatory was to “be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on the 2nd November, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
- Article 25 of the mandate permitted the mandatory to withhold application of such provisions of the mandate as were inapplicable to the existing local conditions in the territory of the mandate east of the River Jordan, which is inhabited by an Arab population not concerned with the establishment of a Jewish national home. The applicable parts of the Palestine mandate were recited in a decision of September 16, 1922, which provided for the separate administration of Trans-Jordan. The government of that territory was, subject to the mandate, formed by the Emir Abdullah, brother of King Feisal of Iraq, who had been at Amman since February 1921. That status was not altered by an agreement between the United Kingdom and the Emirate concluded on February 20, 1928 (League of Nations, Official Journal, 1928, p. 1574) which recognized the existence of an independent government in Trans-Jordan and defined and limited its powers. The ratifications were exchanged on October 31, 1929.
The texts of the mandates and decisions of the Council of the League of Nations of equivalent value are published in various separate documents issued by the Secretariat. The texts of mandates are quoted in the preambles of the treaties and conventions which the United States concluded with mandatory states (see p. 101 ff.). All the texts are compiled in Manley O. Hudson, International Legislation, [Page 101]i, 42–126 (Washington, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace).
The mandates under which the various territories have been administered were submitted by the mandatory governments to the Council of the League of Nations in accordance with paragraph 8 of article 22. The terms were reviewed by the Council, in some cases revised on its recommendation, and finally approved by it. The following table gives the pertinent data for each territory:
DATA ON MANDATED TERRITORIES1
|Mandate||Mandatory||Terms defined by Council||Population (1931)||Area sq. mi.|
|Palestine||United Kingdom||July 24, 1922||1,035,154||9,010|
|Trans-Jordan||United Kingdom||Sept. 16, 1922||305,584||15,444|
|Syria and Lebanon||France||July 24, 1922||2,656,596||62,163|
|Cameroons||France||July 18, 1922||2,186,015||165,928|
|Cameroons||United Kingdom||July 18, 1922||774,585||34,236|
|Ruanda–Urundi||Belgium||July 20, 1922||3,450,000||20,541|
|Tanganyika||United Kingdom||July 20, 1922||5,063,660||374,085|
|Togoland||France||July 18, 1922||725,580||20,077|
|Togoland||United Kingdom||July 18, 1922||293,671||13,240|
|Islands, North Pacific||Japan||Dec. 17, 1920||73,027||830|
|Nauru||British Empire (Australia acting)||Dec. 17, 1920||2,692||8.43|
|New Guinea and Islands||Australia||Dec. 17, 1920||392,816||93,000|
|South-West Africa||South Africa||Dec. 17, 1920||242,290||322,393|
|Western Samoa||New Zealand||Dec. 17, 1920||46,023||1,133|
The United States concluded treaties or conventions with mandatory states defining rights of its nationals in several of the mandated territories. These instruments stipulated that the United States should receive copies of the annual reports which mandatories by article 22, paragraph 7, were obligated to make to the League of [Page 102]Nations. The rights defined are equivalent to those possessed by members of the League of Nations.
The conventions concluded with respect to “A” mandated territories were signed after the negotiation of the Treaty of Lausanne of July 24, 1923 and state in the preamble that by that treaty concluded “with the Allied Powers Turkey renounces all her rights and titles over” the area concerned.
The convention and protocol defining the rights of the United States of America and of its nationals in Iraq was signed with the United Kingdom and Iraq, at London, January 9, 1930; in force February 24, 1931 (Treaty Series 835; 47 Stat. 1817; Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1923–37, iv, 4335). The assent of the United States was required by article 6 to “any change in the rights of the United States” as defined in the convention in case of the termination of the special relations existent between the United Kingdom and Iraq in accordance with the treaty of alliance of 1922 and the treaty of 1926, both of which were schedules to the convention. Article 7 of the convention provided for its ceasing to have effect upon the termination of those special relations, which, as between the United Kingdom and Iraq, occurred with the entry into force on October 3, 1932 of the superseding treaty of alliance of June 30, 1930. A treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and Iraq signed at Baghdad, December 3, 1938 and in force June 19, 1940 (Treaty Series 960) supplants the provisions of the convention “so far as commerce and navigation are concerned” as a consequence of negotiations stipulated by article 7 of the convention to be entered into “on the termination of the said special relations” between the United Kingdom and Iraq.
The mandate of France with respect to Syria and the Lebanon came into force on September 29, 1923. On April 4, 1924 the United States concluded with France a convention concerning rights in Syria and the Lebanon, in force July 13, 1924, (Treaty Series 695; 43 Stat. 1821; (Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1923–37, iv, 4169).
The mandate of the United Kingdom with respect to Palestine came into force on September 29, 1923. On December 3, 1924 the United States concluded a convention defining the rights of nationals in Palestine with the United Kingdom; in force December 3, 1925 (Treaty Series 728; 44 Stat. 2184; Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1923–37, iv, 4227).
The conventions of the United States concerning “B” mandates held by Belgium and France recognize the assignment of administration [Page 103]under the mandate to the respective mandatory and in their preambles state that “the benefits accruing under the aforesaid Article 119 of the Treaty of Versailles were confirmed to the United States by the treaty between the United States and Germany, signed August 25, 1921”. These instruments are as follows:
The convention defining the rights of nationals in the Cameroons with France, signed at Paris, February 13, 1923; in force June 3, 1924 (Treaty Series 690; 43 Stat. 1178; Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1923–37, iv, 4153).
The convention defining the rights of nationals in Togoland with France, signed at Paris, February 13, 1923; in force June 3, 1924; (Treaty Series 691; 43 Stat. 1790; Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1923–37, iv, 4160).
The treaty concerning rights in the territory of Ruanda–Urundi with Belgium, signed at Brussels, April 18, 1923, and protocol signed at Brussels, January 21, 1924; in force November 18, 1924; (Treaty Series 704; 43 Stat. 1863; Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1923–37, iv, 3954).
The other conventions concerning “B” mandates were concluded in view of the facts that “His Britannic Majesty has accepted a mandate for the administration of part of the former German colony” and that the two Governments were “desirous of reaching a definite understanding as to the rights of their respective Governments and of their nationals in the said territory”. These instruments are:
The convention defining the rights of nationals in the Cameroons with His Britannic Majesty, signed at London, February 10, 1925; in force April 8, 1926 (Treaty Series 743; 44 Stat. 2422; Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1923–37, iv, 4235).
The convention defining the rights of nationals in East Africa (Tanganyika) with His Britannic Majesty, signed at London, February 10, 1925; in force April 8, 1926 (Treaty Series 744; 44 Stat. 2427; Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1923–37, iv, 4239).
The convention defining the rights of nationals in Togoland with His Britannic Majesty, signed at London, February 10, 1925; in force July 8, 1926 (Treaty Series 745; 44 Stat. 2433; Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1923–37, iv, 4244).
A single treaty was concluded by the United States with respect to a “C” mandate:
Treaty with Japan regarding rights of the two Governments and [Page 104]their respective nationals in former German islands in the Pacific Ocean north of the Equator, and in particular the Island of Yap, signed at Washington, February 11, 1922; in force July 13, 1922 (Treaty Series 664; 42 Stat. 2149; Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–23, iii, 2723).
Subject to and in accordance with the provisions of international conventions existing or hereafter to be agreed upon, the Members of the League:
- will endeavour to secure and maintain fair and humane conditions of labour for men, women, and children, both in their own countries and in all countries to which their commercial and industrial relations extend, and for that purpose will establish and maintain the necessary international organisations;
- undertake to secure just treatment of the native inhabitants of territories under their control;
- will entrust the League with the general supervision over the execution of agreements with regard to the traffic in women and children, and the traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs;
- will entrust the League with the general supervision of the trade in arms and ammunition with the countries in which the control of this traffic is necessary in the common interest;
- will make provision to secure and maintain freedom of communications and of transit and equitable treatment for the commerce of all Members of the League. In this connection, the special necessities of the regions devastated during the war of 1914–1918 shall be borne in mind;
- will endeavour to take steps in matters of international concern for the prevention and control of disease.
- There shall be placed under the direction of the League all international bureaux already established by general treaties if the parties to such treaties consent. All such international bureaux and all commissions for the regulation of matters of international interest hereafter constituted shall be placed under the direction of the League.
- In all matters of international interest which are regulated by general conventions but which are not placed under the control of international bureaux or commissions, the Secretariat of the League shall, subject to the consent of the Council and if desired by the parties, collect and distribute all relevant information and shall render any other assistance which may be necessary or desirable.
- The Council may include as part of the expenses of the Secretariat the expenses of any bureau or commission which is placed under the direction of the League.
The Members of the League agree to encourage and promote the establishment and co-operation of duly authorised voluntary national Red Cross organisations having as purposes the improvement of health, the prevention of disease and the mitigation of suffering throughout the world.
- Amendments to this Covenant will take effect when ratified by the Members of the League whose Representatives compose the Council and by a majority of the Members of the League whose Representatives compose the Assembly.
- No such amendment shall bind any Member of the League which signifies its dissent therefrom, but in that case it shall cease to be a Member of the League.
Note to I, 26
Amendments were adopted by the Assembly and opened for signature in three protocols on October 5, 1921 which would replace the provisions of article 26 by the following:
“Amendments to the present Covenant the text of which shall have been voted by the Assembly on a three-fourths’ majority, in which there shall be included the votes of all the Members of the Council represented at the meeting, will take effect when ratified by the Members of the League whose Representatives composed the Council when the vote was taken and by the majority of those whose Representatives form the Assembly.
“If the required number of ratifications shall not have been obtained within twenty-two months after the vote of the Assembly, the proposed amendment shall remain without effect.[Page 106]
“The Secretary-General shall inform the Members of the taking effect of an amendment.
“Any Member of the League which has not at that time ratified the amendment is free to notify the Secretary-General within a year of its refusal to accept it, but in that case it shall cease to be a Member of the League.”
- See also League of Nations, The Mandates System: Origin—Principles—Application (1945. vi.A.1).↩