The Search for World Peace
LEAGUE OF NATIONS
Geneva, May 25th, 1933.
CONFERENCE FOR THE REDUCTION AND LIMITATION OF ARMAMENTS
COMMITTEE ON SECURITY QUESTIONS
EUROPEAN SECURITY PACT.
52. - This Pact (Annex IV) consists of two separate chapters. The first is exclusively devoted to the obligation not to resort to war, and the second to the subject of mutual assistance.
53. - States will have the option of assuming the obligations provided for in both these chapters or of limiting their commitments to the obligations in Chapter I.
54. - The Pact is solely concerned with security in the strict sense of the term. Consequently, while its provisions contemplate various international conventions such as the Convention of September 26th, 1931 to Improve the Means of Preventing War, and the Financial Assistance Convention of October 20th, 1930, it makes no reference to the organisation of procedures for the pacific settlement of disputes, and hence does not mention the General Act of Arbitration of September 26th, 1928.
55. - The Committee's conception is that for the present this Pact, one of the main objects of which is to facilitate the development of mutual assistance, can only be in the nature of a regional agreement, if the accession of a sufficient number of countries is to be secured. The Committee contemplates the conclusion of such a Pact within a European frame-work. In the present circumstances it would appear that Chapter I should concern all the European countries parties to the Pact of Paris and Chapter II all the States of continental Europe.
56. - This Chapter consists of two Articles. Its sole object is to prevent States from resorting to war, with or without a declaration.
It is not concerned with mutual assistance.
57. - Article 1 provides for the undertaking not to resort to force in any circumstances. It reproduces in full a text already approved by the Political Commission on March 3rd, 1933.
58. - Article 2 provides for the undertaking to accede to the General Convention to Improve the Means of Preventing War of September 26th, 1931.
59. - The Committee felt that the undertaking not to resort to force could usefully be supplemented by accession to the Convention of September 26th, 1931, which is calculated to enhance the efficacy of the action taken by the Council of the League of Nations to prevent the outbreak and development of an armed conflict.
60. - As the Convention of September 26th, 1931 is independent of the Convention for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments and will come into force as soon as ratifications or accessions have been received, it has been specified that accessions given in virtue of Chapter I of the European Security Pact, which would itself form part of the Convention for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments, would only take effect as from the entry into force of the Disarmament Convention.
61. - Various members of the Committee proposed the omission of Article 2 on the ground that it would not be advisable to establish a compulsory connection between accession to the present Pact and accession to the Convention on the Means of Preventing War. In their view that Convention, which was concluded in 1931, no longer corresponds to the development of international law at the present time. Acts such as the unanimous acceptance by the Political Commission of the Conference of an undertaking not to resort to force, or President Roosevelt's recent message condemning among other practices the use of armed forces outside the national territory do not seem to be such as to authorise a distinction between an invasion and an act of aggression committed in violation of the Pact of Paris, which seems to be allowed by the Convention. Moreover, the maintenance of Article 2 would make it more difficult if not impossible for States not Members of the League to accede to Chapter I. This should be avoided, more especially since that Chapter contains the condemnation of resort to force.
62. - This Chapter originally contained an Article reproducing the provisions of the Act regarding the definition of the aggressor and the Act on the determination of aggression. It seems preferable to await the decisions taken on those two acts. In consequence the Article in question has been provisionally omitted.
63. 1. - This Chapter of the European Security Pact, which concerns the organisation of mutual assistance, is not designed to create in itself obligations upon States to provide mutual assistance. The Committee's intention is that it should simply increase the efficacy of the mutual assistance obligations established by other treaties, whether particular or general. It would thus serve to determine and strengthen the value of the assistance to be given, under Article 16 of the Covenant of the League, to a State victim of aggression.
64. - Several members of the Committee would have preferred that the other conception be adopted - that of a treaty making assistance compulsory. Other delegations which would have preferred a treaty of that kind stated that such a treaty would at present stand little chance of securing a sufficient number of accessions, and they therefore thought that for the time being it was better to be content with the much more modest achievement aimed at by Chapter II.
65. - 2. The importance of Chapter II lies principally in the three following points:
66. - a) Determination of cases of aggression.
By reproducing certain clauses of the Act defining Aggression, the European Pact facilitates the decision as to the cases in which the assistance provided for by Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations is due to the State to which it has been promised.
67. - b) Reinforcement of the system of sanctions in Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations.
68. - This is secured in that the recommendation with regard to the effective military, naval or air force, to be made by the Council of the League under Article 16, paragraph 2 of the Covenant, instead of being merely optional, become obligatory when voted unanimously by the Members of the Council with the exception of the representatives of the parties involved in the conflict.
69. - On the other hand, the States signatories have the option to determine in respect of which States, exclusively, they are assuming this obligation, as well as the nature and extent of the assistance they undertake to furnish.
70. - c) The necessary distinction between the conceptions of assistance and belligerency is established. Acts of assistance performed in application of Article 16 of the Covenant are not to be regarded as acts of war.
71. - 3. Relation between the provisions of Chapter II and the League Covenant.
The Committee has not thought it necessary to point out that the European Security Pact cannot affect the rights and duties of Members of the League under the Covenant; for the Convention for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments will contain an article establishing that principle, and that article will apply to the European Security Pact, which will form an integral part of that Convention.
72. - Moreover, so far from weakening the Covenant, the European Security Pact — as has already been said — tends to strengthen it, by defining and amplifying certain of the obligations it involves.
73. - The question that might arise is how far Members of the League who are not parties to the European Security Pact would be affected by the provisions of that Pact which define and develop the obligations contained in certain Articles of the Covenant of the League of Nations.
74. - The Committee considered that the provisions of the European Security Pact could obviously only be applied in conflicts between States parties to that Pact. Nevertheless, in such cases the organs of the League of Nations and the other Members of the League would be called upon to apply them. The provisions proposed for Article 6, moreover, removes any doubt on this point.
75. - Article 3. - This article indicates that, in accordance with the spirit of the Covenant of the League of Nations, the aim pursued by the European Pact is an essentially practical one. The purpose is, not to inflict a penalty properly so-called on an aggressor State, but to restore peace by putting a stop to aggression and settling its consequences.
76. - Article 4. - It has already been said that the European Pact does not itself create any obligation of assistance. Article 4 indicates the first case in which assistance is due. It is due in virtue of general or particular treaties concluded between the parties. These treaties must have been published by and registered with the Secretariat of the League of Nations. The Committee was not in favour of establishing a discrimination between treaties already concluded and those that might be concluded in future, which are mentioned in Article 11. The purpose of the obligation in regard to publicity and registration is to permit of supervision over these treaties, which must obviously be in keeping with the requirements of Article 20 of the Covenant of the League of Nations.
77. - Article 5. - This article indicates the second case in which assistance is due, i.e. the assistance provided for by the Covenant of the League of Nations. This case has a wide application.
78. - Article 6. - This article reproduces, with a single change, the definition of the aggressor which is given in the Act regarding this definition (Part I).
79. - The fourth of the facts mentioned in that Act, namely the establishment of a naval blockade of the coasts or ports of another State, has not been included. It was thought that this fact should not be regarded as in all cases involving the obligation to provide assistance.
80. - It should be noted that this article contains a reservation as regards the agreements in force between the parties — a reservation which was already included in the Act defining the aggressor.
This reservation gave rise to observations in the Committee. It seemed likely to permit of the application of the European Pact being reconciled with that of the Convention of September 26th, 1931, on the Means of Preventing War; for, even in cases in which there might be obligations of assistance, the duty of the international organs would still be to prevent war. If, for example, an act of aggression by one State against another State has not in fact led to the creation of a state of war, the existence of obligations of assistance will clearly not have the effect of preventing a settlement which would conclude the conflict by putting an end to the aggression without a state of war having arisen and without assistance having come into play. With regard to this point attention must be drawn to the point of view of certain members of the Committee referred to in Chapter I.
81. - A proposal was also made to introduce here a certain element of elasticity, by making the assistance contingent upon the gravity of the facts, or by empowering the Council, by a majority vote, to bring the assistance to an end. The Committee did not adopt the suggestion.
82. - Article 7. Article 7 refers to the assistance furnished in virtue of Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. The first paragraph of Article 7 obliges States to carry out the recommendations referred to in Article 16, paragraph 2, when such recommendations have been adopted unanimously by the Members of the Council other than the representatives of the Countries parties to the dispute.
83. - Apart from this, it in no way affects the system of Article 16 and does not restrict the freedom of the parties if the unanimity in question is not secured.
84. - The object of paragraphs 2 and 3 is to determine in advance the assistance which will be supplied both as regards the form and extent of the assistance. Thus, States will indicate to what State they would supply this assistance, and they will also indicate, in a table, their contribution, i. e. the material or the effectives, or both, which will represent their contribution. These two questions will be settled by negotiations.
85. - The purpose of paragraph 4 is to dissociate the notions of assistance and belligerence.
86. - Article 8. - This article, in its first paragrah, contemplates the possibility of assuming the obligations provided for in paragraphs 2 and 3 of article 7 after the entry into force of the European Pact. In the same way as the obligations entered into previously to the entry into force of the Pact will have necessitated negotiations, the obligations entered into subsequently will require an agreement between the signatories of Chapter II.
87. - The second paragraph lays down a similar procedure for the extension to another area of obligations already assumed.
88. - Article 9. - This article is inserted "pour mémoire". It relates to the hypothesis of material or effectives being placed at the disposal of the League of Nations. If this hypothesis should be realised, the necessary provisions would have to be drawn up and inserted in this article.
89. - Article 10. - This article places the parties to the European Security Pact under the obligation of acceding to the Convention on Financial Assistance of October 2nd, 1930.
90. - Article 11. - The purpose of this article is to introduce into the system of the Pact the treaties of mutual assistance which may be concluded in future. This provision is intended both to unify the practice of mutual assistance, while rendering it more effective, and to provide guarantees against possible deviations from the policy of assistance.
91. - Article 12. - This article indicates that States may accept the obligations of the two Chapters of the Pact, or of Chapter I only.
92. - Article 13. - The first paragraph of this article provides the possibility for all European States who may not have signed the Pact to accede thereto whenever they wish.
93. - In virtue of the second paragraph, which refers to Article 7 (paragraphs 2 and 3), a new acceding State must conclude agreements concerning the determination of the States to which assistance will be promised and concerning the nature and extent of this assistance.
94. - The purpose of the text drawn up by the Committee to replace the present text of Article 6 of the Draft Convention is to determine the legal position, with regard to the annexes to which it refers, of the States which are parties to the General Convention but not parties to the said annexes. It determines the effect of the European Security Pact in regard to the signatories of the general Convention. These clauses are sufficiently explicit, and call for no comment.
ANNEX IV. Draft Convention submitted by the United Kingdom Delegation (Conf.D. 157)
Article 6 (and Annexes)
EUROPEAN SECURITY PACT.
The High Contracting Parties (....) have agreed upon the following provisions:
Art. 1. Being desirous of promoting the cause of disarmament and with a view thereto of encouraging a spirit of mutual confidence among the nations of Europe by a declaration forbidding resort to force in the circumstances in which the Pact of Paris forbids any resort to war,
The High Contracting Parties solemnly reaffirm that they will in no circumstances resort among themselves to force as an instrument of national policy.
Art. 2. The High Contracting Parties undertake to accede, if they have not already done so, to the General Convention to Improve the Means of Preventing War, signed at Geneva on September 26th, 1931, such accession to take effect as from the date of the entry into force of the Convention for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments.
Recognising that it is important for the maintenance of peace and the success of the efforts they have undertaken for the reduction and limitation of armaments, that a State victim of aggression should receive prompt assistance, the High Contracting Parties have further agreed upon the following provisions:
Art. 3. The purpose of assistance is to bring about the cessation of the aggression and to ensure a just settlement of its consequences.
Art. 4. Assistance shall be due by any High Contracting Party having assumed the obligation to assist another under treaties published by and registered with the Secretariat of the League of Nations, in accordance with the conditions and procedure laid down in those treaties.
Art. 5. Assistance is also due in the cases indicated in the Covenant of the League of Nations.
Art. 6. A State shall be considered as having resorted to war within the meaning of Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, subject to the agreements in force between the parties in conflict, when it is the first to have committed one of the following acts:
(1) declaration of war on another State;
(2) invasion by its armed forces, even without declaration of war, of the territory of another State;
(3) attack by its land, naval or air forces, even without declaration of war, on the territory, ships or aircraft of another State;
(4) support given to armed bands which, having been formed in its territory have invaded the territory of another State, or refusal to take in its own territory, notwithstanding the request of the invaded State, all the measures in its power to deprive the said bands of all help or protection.
Art. 7. Each of the High Contracting Parties undertakes to participate immediately to the extent determined hereafter, in the execution of any recommendations which the Council of the League of Nations may make in pursuance of Article 16, paragraph 2, of the Covenant of the League, when such recommendations have been adopted unanimously, excluding the votes of the Parties to the dispute.
The assistance thus promised shall be due by a Contracting State to the Contracting States situated in a particular area. (This clause will be completed after negotiations on the subject).
This immediate assistance shall consist in the contributions specified in the table annexed to the present agreement. (The contents of this table will be settled after negotiations on the subject).
The High Contracting Parties undertake not to regard as acts of war acts performed with a view to providing this assistance.
Art. 8. If after the entry into force of the present pact a High Contracting Party which has not yet assumed an obligation within the meaning of paragraphs 2 and 3 of the preceding article desires to assume such obligation, it shall be allowed to do so by agreement between the States bound by the present Chapter.
Similarly, if a High Contracting Party desires to extend the obligation assumed by it in a given area to another area it shall be allowed to do so by agreement between the States bound by the present Chapter.
Art. 9. (Pour mémoire. Should material or effectives be placed at the disposal of the League of Nations, a clause would be inserted relating to the employment of these effectives and material for the assistance provided for in the present pact).
Art. 10. Such of the High Contracting Parties as are members of the League of Nations undertake to accede, if they have not already done so, to the Convention for Financial Assistance, signed at Geneva on October 2nd, 1930, such accession to take effect as from the date of the entry into force of the Convention for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments.
Art. 11. Any treaty which may be concluded with a view to laying down fresh obligations of assistance in case of aggression shall be included in the present pact after being published by and registered with the Secretariat of the League of Nations.
Art. 12. The High Contracting Parties shall state on signing the present pact whether their signatures apply
a) to the pact as a whole (Chapter I and Chapter II)
b) or only to the provisions of Chapter I.
Art. 13. European States which are not signatories of the present pact may accede to it under the same conditions. States bound by the obligations of Chapter II shall determine by common agreement with the State adhering to the said Chapter the methods of application of paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 7.
Article 6 of the Convention.
The High Contracting Parties recognise that the provisions of Annex Y of the present Convention are likely to contribute to the maintenance of peace, and accordingly agree to base thereon any decisions which they may have to take, particularly in the Permanent Disarmament Commission, with a view to preventing any breach of the Pact of Paris by a Power which has signed Annex Y, determining the responsibility should such a breach occur and fixing the consequences.
The High Contracting Parties agree to refrain from any action which might hamper the application of the measures to be taken in the cases provided for by Articles IV, V and VI of Annex Y and not to recognise any de facto situation brought about by the breach of an international obligation on the part of a State recognised as the aggressor in application of the provisions of the said annex.
The High Contracting Parties Members of the League of Nations also undertake to comply with the provisions of Article VI of the said annex as regards the application of Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations to the signatories of the said annex.
The High Contracting Parties Members of the League and signatories of the Convention for Financial Assistance signed at Geneva on October 2nd, 1932, likewise undertake to comply with the provisions of Article VI of the said annex as regards the application of that Convention.
Source: League of Nations, Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments, Committee on Security Questions, Conf.D./C.G./108.(a), Geneva, May 25, 1933, pp. 1-9.
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. 12.
The digital publication and distribution of this work by Equipo Nizkor has been authorised by the author on a not-for-profit basis. This is a free distribution electronic edition prepared by Equipo Nizkor.
This electronic edition may not be copied or reproduced in any format or by any means without the express consent of Equipo Nizkor.
© 2013 Equipo Nizkor