Defining International Aggression
The Search for World Peace

Annex 4
Draft Treaty of Disarmament and Security Prepared by an American Group


Chapter I. - Outlawry of Aggressive War.

Article 1. — The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare that aggressive war is an international crime. They severally undertake not to be guilty of its commission.

Article 2. — A State engaging in war for other than purposes of defence commits the international crime described in Article 1.

Article 3. — The Permanent Court of International Justice shall have jurisdiction, on the complaint of any Signatory, to make a judgment to the effect that the international crime described in Article I has or has not in any given case been committed.

Chapter II. - Acts of Aggression.

Article 4. The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare that acts of aggression, even when not amounting to a state of war, and preparations for such acts of aggression, are hereafter to be deemed forbidden by international law.

Article 5. In the absence of a state of war, measures of force by land, by sea or in the air taken by one State against another and not taken for the purpose of defence against aggression or for the protection of human life shall be deemed to be acts of aggression.

General or partial mobilisation may be deemed to be preparation for an act of aggression.

Any Signatory which claims that another Signatory has violated any of the terms of this Declaration shall submit its case to the Permanent Court of International Justice.

A Signatory refusing to accept the jurisdiction of the Court in any such case shall be deemed an aggressor within the terms of this Declaration.

Failure to accept the jurisdiction of the Court within four days after notification of submission pf a claim of violation of this Declaration shall be deemed a refusal to accept the jurisdiction.

Article 6. The Court shall also have jurisdiction on the complaint of any Signatory to make a judgment to the effect that there has or has not in any given case been committed a violation of international law within the terms of Article 4.

Article 7. The Court shall, in any case, have the power to indicate, if it considers that circumstances so require, any provisional measures which ought to be taken to reserve the respective rights of either party.

Pending the final decision, notice of the measures suggested shall forthwith be given to the parties.

Chapter III. - Sanctions.

Article 8. In the event of any High Contracting Party having been adjudged an aggressor pursuant to this Declaration, all commercial, trade, financial and property interests of the aggressor shall cease to be entitled, either in the territory of the other signatories or on the high seas, to any privileges, protection, rights or immunities accorded by either international law, national law or treaty.

Any High Contracting Party may in such case take such steps toward the severance of trade, financial, commercial and personal intercourse with the aggressor and its nationals as it may deem proper, and the High Contracting Parties may also consult together in this regard.

The period during which any such economic sanction may be continued shall be fixed at any time by the Court at the request of any Signatory.

In the matter of measures of force to be taken, each Signatory shall consult its own interests and obligations.

Article 9. If any High Contracting Parties shall be adjudged an aggressor by the Permanent Court of International Justice, such Power shall be liable tor all damage to all other High Contracting Parties resulting from its aggression.

Chapter IV. - Decrees of the Permanent Court.

Article 10. The High Contracting Parties agree to accept the judgment of the Permanent Court of International Justice as to the fulfilment or violation of the contracts of this Declaration.

Any question arising under this Declaration is ipso facto within the jurisdiction of the Court.

Article 11. If a dispute arising under this Declaration shall be submitted to the Permanent Court of International Justice, it is for the Court to decide as to its jurisdiction and also whether or not its degree has been complied with.

Article 12. The High Contracting Parties, recognising that excessive armaments constitute a menace of war, agree to participate in the Permanent Advisory Conference on Disarmament decided upon by the Fifth Assembly of the League of Nations.

Article 13. The present Declaration shall be ratified. The ratifications shall be deposited as soon as possible with the Secretary-General of the League of Nations.

Any Signatory to this Declaration desiring to withdraw therefrom may give notice thereof to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations. Such notice shall take effect one year from the date of deposit thereof and only as to the Signatory so withdrawing.

Notice of each ratification and of each withdrawal shall be communicated by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations to each Signatory hereto.


1. The Assembly unanimously declares its approval of the Declaration Outlawing Aggressive War which was prepared by the Third Committee of the Assembly and submitted to the Assembly for its approval.

2. The said Declaration shall be submitted within the shortest possible time to the Members of the League of Nations for adoption in the form of a protocol duly ratified and declaring their recognition of this Declaration. It shall be the duty of the Council to submit the Declaration to the Members

The said protocol shall likewise remain open for signature by States not Members of the League of Nations.

3. As soon as this protocol has been ratified by the majority of the Members of the League the said Declaration shall go into force.


1. The Assembly, having considered the Report of the Temporary Mixed Commission and having also considered the replies of the various Governments commenting on the proposed Treaty of Mutual Assistance, reaffirms the principles set forth in Resolution XIV of the Third Assembly.

2. Furthermore, the Assembly is of the opinion that all the Nations of the world, whether or not Members of the League of Nations, should agree:

    (a) to limit or reduce their armaments to the basis necessary for the maintenance of peace and national security;

    (b) to study the ways and means for future reduction of armaments either as between all Nations or as between any two of them.

3. The Assembly is further of the opinion that reciprocal agreements between two or more neighbouring countries for the establishment of demilitarised zones would facilitate the security necessary to progressive disarmament.

4. In order to facilitate the reduction and limitation of armaments, the Assembly requests the Council to call a Permanent Advisory Conference upon disarmament which shall meet periodically at intervals of not less than once every three years.

Invitations to participate in this Permanent Conference shall be sent to all Nations whether Members of the League or not.

The said Conference should from time to time consider the further codifying of the principles of international law, particularly in relation to acts of aggression and preparations for such acts.

In this regard the Conference should take into account matters upon the security of the Powers represented and the steps taken toward disarmament.

The recommendations of the Conference shall be submitted to the Powers for their adoption, and shall also be transmitted to the Permanent Court of International Justice.

The said Conference should publish periodical reports concerning the actual conditions of the armaments of the Powers.

The said Conference should advise the Powers concerning measures to be taken to ensure the carrying-out of the principles of the present Resolution, and it may prepare draft treaties for the establishment of dernilitarised zones and for the further promotion of disarmament and peace.

5. The said Conference should appoint a Permanent Technical Committee.

6. The said Conference or its Permanent Technical Committee should give advice on technical questions to the Permanent Court of International Justice at the request of said Court.

7. The expenses of the said Conference and of its agencies should be borne by the Powers in the proportions of their respective budgets for defence.


1. Considering that, by the terms of Article 8 of the Covenant of the League of Nations:

    "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 warlike purposes",

the Assembly, in order to facilitate the carrying out of the said engagement, requests the Council to set up a Commission charged with the duty of making the necessary official examinations and reports.

2. The said Commission shall proceed under such regulations as the Council and the Assembly shall from time to time approve.

3. Subject to such regulations, the members of the Commission shall be entitled, when they deem it desirable, to proceed to any point within the territory of any Member of the League or to send sub-commissions or to authorise one or more of their members so to proceed on behalf of the Commission.

4. The Members of the League will give all necessary facilities to the said Commission in the performance of its duties.

5. All reports made by the said Commission shall be communicated to the Members of the League.


The Assembly, taking account of the provisions of the Declaration Outlawing Aggressive War, is of opinion that:

1. Powers which have ratified the said Declaration may, subject to the following provisions, conclude, either as between two of them or as between a larger number, agreements complementary to the said Declaration, exclusively for the purpose of their mutual defence and intended solely to facilitate the carrying-out of the measures prescribed in said Declaration, 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 Council.

2. Complementary agreements as defined in the preceding paragraph shall, before being registered, be examined by the Council with a view to deciding whether they are in accordance with the principles of said Declaration and of the Covenant.

In particular, the Council shall consider if the cases of aggression contemplated in those agreements 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 the 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 said Declaration and shall in no way limit the general obligations of the High Contracting Parties nor the sanctions contemplated against an aggressor under the terms of the said Declaration.

They will be open to any other High Contracting Party to said Declaration with the consent of the Signatory States.

3. In all cases of aggression, for which provision is made in the agreement constituting a defensive group, the High Contracting Parties which are members of such group may undertake to put into operation automatically the plan of assistance agreed upon between them; and in all other cases of aggression or menace or danger of aggression directly aimed at them, they will consult each other before taking action, and will inform the Council of the measures which they are contemplating.

4. The Council, taking into account the reports and opinions of the Commission set up under Resolution B of this Assembly, shall, at any time when requested, consider summarily whether: (a) the armaments of any State are in excess of those fixed under the provisions of any agreement relating to reduction or limitation of armaments; or (b) the military or other preparations of any State are if such a nature as to cause apprehension of aggression or an eventual outbreak of hostilities.

5. If the Council shall, upon such request, be of the opinion that there is reasonable ground for thinking that a menace of aggression has arisen, the parties to the defensive agreements hereinbefore mentioned may put into immediate execution the plan of assistance which they have agreed upon.

6. If the Council shall, upon such request, not be of the opinion that a menace of aggression has arisen, a public report to the effect shall be made, and in such case no State shall be under any obligation to put into execution any plan of assistance to which it is a party; but any Member of the League, believing itself to be threatened with a menace of aggression, notwithstanding the fact that the Council has not been of such opinion may forthwith notify the Council to that effect, and such Member shall thereupon have full liberty of action in military or other preparations for defence, subject, however, to the limitations as to armament which are imposed by any treaty now in force.

Source: League of Nations, Draft Treaty of Disarmament and Security Prepared by an American Group, Records of the Fifth Assembly, Minutes of the Third Committee, League of Nations Official Journal (Special Supplement No. 26), 1924, pp. 169-172.
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. 3 (b).

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Published online by Equipo Nizkor - 26 March 2013