The Search for World Peace
III. Text of the Treaty of Mutual Assistance.
The High Contracting Parties, being desirous of establishing the general lines of a scheme of mutual assistance with a view to facilitate the application of Articles 10 and 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, and of a reduction or limitation of national armaments in accordance with Article 8 of the Covenant "to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations", agree to the following provisions:
The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare that aggressive war is an international crime and severally undertake that no one of them will be guilty of its commission.
A war shall not be considered as a war of aggression if waged by a State which is party to a dispute and has accepted the unanimous recommendation of the Council, the verdict of the Permanent Court of International Justice, or an arbitral award against a High Contracting Party which has not accepted it, provided, however, that the first State does not intend to violate the political independence or the territorial integrity of the High Contracting Party.
I. Pact of non-aggression ARTICLE 2.
The High Contracting Parties, jointly and severally, undertake to furnish assistance, in accordance with the provisions of the Present Treaty, to any one of their number should the latter be thobject of a war of aggression, provided that it has conformed to the provisions of the present Treaty regarding the reduction or limitation of armaments.
II. General assistance ARTICLE 3.
In the event of one of the High Contracting Parties being of opinion that the armaments of any other High Contracting Party are in excess of the limits fixed for the latter High Contracting Party under the provisions of the present Treaty, or in the event of it having cause to apprehend an outbreak of hostilities, either on account of the aggressive policy or preparations of any State party or not to the present Treaty, it may inform the Secretary-General of the League of Nations that it is threatened with aggression, and the Secretary-General shall forthwith summon the Council.
The Council, if it is of opinion that there is reasonable ground for thinking that a menace of aggression has arisen, may take all necessary measures to remove such menace, and in particular, if the Council thinks right, those indicated in sub-paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) of the second paragraph of Article 5 of the present Treaty.
The High Contracting Parties which have been denounced and those which have stated themselves to be the object of a threat of aggression shall be considered as especially interested and shall therefore be invited to send representatives to the Council in conformity with Articles 4, I5 and I7 of the Covenant. The vote of their representatives shall, however, not be reckoned when calculating unanimity.
Menace of aggression ARTICLE 4.
In the event of one or more of the High Contracting Parties becoming engaged in hostilities, the Council of the League of Nations shall decide, within four days of notification being addressed to the Secretary-General, which of the High Contracting Parties are the objects of aggression and whether they are entitled to claim the assistance provided under the Treaty.
The High Contracting Parties undertake that they will accept such a decision by the Council of the League of Nations.
The High Contracting Parties engaged in hostilities shall be regarded as especially interested, and shall therefore be invited to send representatives to the Council (within the terms of Articles 4, 15 and 17 of the Covenant), the vote of their representative not being reckoned when calculating unanimity; the same shall apply to States signatory to any partial agreements involved on behalf of either of the two belligerents, unless the remaining Members of the Council shall decide otherwise
Hostilities ARTICLE 5.
The High Contracting Parties undertake to furnish one another mutually with assistance in the case referred to in Article 2 of the Treaty in the form determined by the Council of the League of Nations as the most effective, and to take all appropriate measures without delay in the order of urgency demanded by the circumstances.
In particular, the Council may:
(a) Decide to apply immediately to the aggressor State the economic sanctions contemplated by Article I6 of the Covenant, the Members of the League not signatory to the present Treaty not being, however, bound by this decision, except in the case where the State attacked is entitled to avail itself of the Articles of the Covenant;
(b) Invoke by name the High Contracting Parties whose assistance it requires. No High Contracting Party situated in a continent other than that in which operations will take place shall, in principle, be required to co-operate in military, naval or air operations;
(c) Determine the forces which each State furnishing assistance shall place at its disposal;
(d) Prescribe all necessary measures for securing priority for the communications and transport connected with the operations;
(e) Prepare a plan for financial co-operation among the High Contracting Parties with a view to providing for the State attacked and for the States furnishing assistance the funds which they require for the operations;
(f) Appoint the Higher Command and establish the object and the nature of his duty.
The representatives of States recognised as aggressors under the provisions of Article 4 of the Treaty shall not take part in the deliberations of the Council specified in this Article. The High Contracting Parties who are required by the Council to furnish assistance, in accordance with sub-paragraph (b), shall, on the other hand, be considered as especially interested, and, as such, shall be invited to send representatives, unless they are already represented, to the deliberations specified in sub-paragraphs (c), (d), (e) and (f).
Measures of assistance ARTICLE 6.
For the purpose of rendering the general assistance mentioned in Articles 2, 3 and 5 immediately effective, the High Contracting Parties may conclude, either as between two of them or as between a larger number, agreements complementary to the present Treaty exclusively for the purpose of their mutual defence and intended solely to facilitate the carrying out of the measures prescribed in this Treaty, determining in advance the assistance which they would give to each other in the event of any act of aggression.
Such agreements may, if the High Contracting Parties interested so desire, be negotiated and concluded under the auspices of the League of Nations.
III. Complementary defensive agreements ARTICLE 7.
Complementary agreements, as defined in Article 6, shall, before being registered, be examined by the Council with a view to deciding whether they are in accordance with the principles of the Treaty and of the Covenant.
In particular, the Council shall consider if the cases of aggression contemplated in these agreements come within the scope of Article 2 and are of a nature to give rise to an obligation to give assistance on the part of the other High Contracting Parties. The Council may, if necessary, suggest changes in the texts of agreements submitted to it.
When recognised, the agreements shall be registered in conformity with Article 18 of the Covenant. They shall be regarded as complementary to the present Treaty, and shall in no way limit the general obligations of the High Contracting Parties nor the sanctions contemplated against the aggressor State under the terms of this Treaty.
They will be open to any other High Contracting Party with the consent of the signatory States.
The States parties to complementary agreements may undertake in any such agreements to put into immediate execution, in the cases of aggression contemplated in them, the plan of assistance agreed upon. In this case they shall inform the Council of the League of Nations, without delay, concerning the measures which they have taken to ensure the execution of such agreements.
Subject to the terms of the previous paragraph, the provisions of Articles 4 and 5 above shall also come into force both in the cases contemplated in the complementary agreements and in such other cases as are provided for in Article 2 but are not covered by the agreements.
In order to facilitate the application of the present Treaty, any High Contracting Party may negotiate, through the agency of the Council, with one or more neighbouring countries for the establishment of demilitarised zones.
The Council, with the co-operation of the representatives of the parties interested, acting as Members within the terms of Article 4 of the Covenant, shall previously ensure that the establishment of the demilitarised zone asked for does not call for unilateral sacrifices rom the military point of view on the part of the High Contracting Partics interested.
IV. Demilitarized zones ARTICLE 10.
The High Contracting Parties agree that the whole cost of any military, naval or air operations which are undertaken under the terms of the present Treaty and of the supplementary partial agreements, including the reparation of all material damage caused by operations of war, shall be borne by the aggressor State up to the extreme limits of its financial capacity.
The amount payable under this article by the aggressor shall, to such an extent as may be determined by the Council of the League, be a first charge on the whole of the assets and revenues of the State. Any repayment by that State in respect of the principal money and interest of any loan, internal of external, issued by it directly or indirectly during the war shall be suspended until the amount due for cost and reparations is discharged in full.
The High Contracting Parties, in view of the security furnished them by this Treaty and the limitations to which they have consented in other international treaties, undertake to inform the Council of the League of the reduction or limitation of armaments which they consider proportionate to the security furnished by the general Treaty or by the defensive agreements complementary to the general Treaty.
The High Contracting Parties undertake to co-operate in the preparation of any general plan of reduction of armaments which the Council of the League of Nations, taking into account the information provided by the High Contracting Parties, may propose under the terms of Article 8 of the Covenant.
This plan should be submitted for consideration and approved by the Governments, and, when approved by them, will be the basis of the reduction contemplated in Article 2 of this Treaty.
The High Contracting Parties undertake to carry out this reduction within a period of two years from the date of the adoption of this plan.
The High Contracting Parties undertake, in accordance with the provisions of Article 8, paragraph 4, of the Covenant, to make no further increase in their armaments, when thus reduced, without the consent of the Council.
VI. Disarmament ARTICLE 12.
The High Contracting Parties undertake to furnish to the military or other delegates of the League such information with regard to their armaments as the Council may request.
The High Contracting Parties agree that the armaments determined for each of them, in accordance with the present Treaty, shall be subject to revision every five years, beginning from the date of the entry into force of this Treaty.
Nothing in the present Treaty shall affect the rights and obligations resulting from the provisions of the Covenant of the League of Nations or of the Treaties of Peace signed in 1919 and 1920 at Versailles, Neuilly. St. Germain and Trianon, or from the provisions of treaties or agreements registered with the League of Nations and published by it at the date of the first coming into force of the present Treaty as regards the signatory or beneficiary Powers of the said Treaties or agreements.
Maintenance of existing treaties
The High Contracting Parties recognise from to-day as ipso facto obligatory, the jurisdiction of the Permanent Court of International Justice with regard to the interpretation of the present Treaty.
Compulsory jurisdiction of the Court ARTICLE 16.
The present Treaty shall remain open for the signature of all States Members of the League of Nations or mentioned in the Annex to the Covenant.
States not Members shall be entitled to adhere with the consent of two-thirds of the High Contracting Parties with regard to whom the Treaty has come into force.
Signature ARTICLE 17.
Any State may, with the consent of the Council of the League, notify its conditional or partial adherence to the provisions of this Treaty, provided always that such State has reduced or is prepared to reduce its armaments in conformity with the provisions of this Treaty.
Partial adhesion ARTICLE 18 |1|.
[The present Treaty shall be ratified and the instruments of ratification shall be deposited as soon as possible at the Secretariat of the League of Nations.
It shall come into force:
In Europe when it shall have been ratified by five States, of which three shall be permanently represented on the Council ;
In Asia when it shall have been xatified by two States, one of which shall be permanently represented on the Council;
In North America when ratified by the United States of America;
In Central America and the West Indies when ratified by one State in the West Indies and two in Central America;
In South America when ratified by four States;
In Africa and Oceania when ratified by two States.
With regard to the High Contracting Parties which may subsequently ratify the Treaty, it will come into force at the date of the deposit of the instrument.
The Secretariat will immediately communicate a certified copy of the instruments of ratification received to all the signatory Powers.
It remains understood that the rights stipulated under Articles 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8 of this Treaty will not come into force for each High Contracting Party until the Council has certified that the said High Contracting Party has reduced its armaments in conformity with the present Treaty or has adopted the necessary measures to ensure the execution of this reduction, within two years of the acceptance by the said High Contracting Party of the plan of reduction or limitation of armaments.]
Ratification. ARTICLE 19 |1|.
[The present Treaty shall remain in force for a period of fifteen years from the date of its first entry into force.
After this period, it will be prolonged automatically for the States which have not denounced it.
If, however, one of the States referred to in Article 18 denounces the present Treaty, the Treaty shall cease to exist as from the date on which this denunciation takes effect.
This denunciation shall be made to the Secretariat of the League of Nations, which shall, without delay, notify all the Powers bound by the present Treaty.
The denunciation shall take effect twelve months after the date on which notification has been communicated to the Secretariat of the League of Nations.
When the period of fifteen years referred to in the first paragraph of the present Article has elapsed, or when one of the denunciations made in the conditions determined above takes place, if operations undertaken in application of Article 5 of the present Treaty are in progress, the Treaty shall remain in force until peace has been completely re-established.]
Source: League of Nations, Text of the Treaty of Mutual Assistance, Records of the Fourth Assembly, Minutes of the Third Committee, League of Nations Official Journal (Special Supplement No. 16), 1923, pp. 203-206.
Editorial Note: This is a true copy of the above-referenced original document. This document is reproduced in Benjamin B. Ferencz's work "Defining International Aggression - The Search for World Peace", Vol. 1, as Document No. 2 (b).
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