Defining International Aggression
The Search for World Peace

The United Nations Conference
on International Organization
Doc. 2 (ENGLISH)
G/14 (r)
May 5, 1945

Proposals of the Delegation of the Republic of Bolivia for the Organization of a System of Peace and Security

1. The Government of the Republic of Bolivia considers that the establishment of a lasting and just peace is founded on three postulates:

    a) The guaranty of a system of world security.
    b) The organization of a mechanism for international justice,
    c) The economic and social well-being of the great masses of the people

2. The great powers, who have borne the greatest sacrifices in this war and have brought about by their efforts its victorious conclusion, have the greatest responsibility in the maintenance of peace and of the system of world security. The duties of the great powers to remain watchful, added to their ability to take expedient defensive action in cases of threats to the peace, is therefore the principal guaranty of the system of security, especially for those countries which cannot insure this security by means of their own military and economic resources.

In virtue of the foregoing, the existence of a Security Council with permanent seats for the great powers deserves the unreserved support of the Government of Bolivia, particularly insofar as concerns the breadth of powers which will permit them to settle rapidly the disputes which might arise among members of the international community.

3. The system of security, to be effective, requires the cooperation of all the nations participating in the International Organization. The extension of the duties and rights of the International Organization to all sovereign states, in order to make them universal, would contribute to the efficacy of the system. In virtue of this, the sovereign states which at present are not members of the community of United Nations might be admitted to the Organization by means of a formal agreement which would bind them to the following:

    a) Submission to the principles, purposes, and duties of the Organization.
    b) Repudiation of the use of force as an instrument of international policy.
    c) Compliance with the specific conditions determined by the Organization for their admission.

4. World security is founded on the principle that a mere attempt at aggression is a policy contrary to good understanding, good neighborliness, and the purposes of lasting peace. This principle can be put into practice only if all nations, great and small, admit that an act of violence on their part should be immediately countered by collective measures.

To achieve this end, there must exist, in the Charter of the Organization, a double and reciprocal guaranty among its members: the first, concerning the territorial inviolability of the states, the legal validity of acquisitions of territory which may originate in acts of force or other means of compulsion not being recognized; and the second, concerning respect for the political independence of the states and the right which they possess to develop freely in their internal life, without the intervention of any other state.

As soon as the attitude of one state toward the guaranties expressed above affects the peaceful existence of another, displaying symptoms which foreshadow an act of aggression, the machinery of collective action should immediately be put into motion.

5. The efficacy of the security machinery is directly related to the need of designating the aggression as such and defining what is meant by "aggressor state", a point which should be considered in the Charter of the General Organization. A previous definition of typically aggressive acts is absolutely essential in order that states composing the international community may recognize what they should avoid in their international conduct so as not to give occasion for collective sanctions.

It is a foregone conclusion, in this connection, that an act of armed invasion typifies aggression by form, and should dictate the adoption of immediate sanctions without the need of previous consultation.

The definition of an aggressor is characterized by the commission of any one of the following acts:

    a) Invasion, by armed force, of a foreign territory.
    b) Declaration of war.
    c) An attack by land, sea, or air forces.
    d) Aid lent to armed bands for the purposes of invasion
    e) The intervention of a state in the internal or external policy of another.
    f) Refusal to submit the cause of belligerence to the procedures of peaceful solution.
    g) Refusal to comply with a decision pronounced by a court of international justice.

6. The extension of the powers of the Security Council to all controversies that might arise between member states of the Organization and between the latter and nonmember states eliminates paragraph 7 of Section A of Chapter VIII of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals which, by distinguishing matters that according to international law fall solely within the jurisdiction of a state, limits the effectiveness of the system of general security. In the opinion of the Government of Bolivia, no conflict should be excluded from the cognizance of the principal organs listed in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals if it cannot be settled by agreement of the parties involved.

From this point of view, all disputes of a political nature between two or more states should be referred to the Security Council for settlement by means of the procedures of investigation and conciliation as far as possible, and all litigation of a juridical nature should be submitted to the International Court of Justice.

7. Concerning military measures, the Military Staff Committee contemplated in paragraph 9 of Section B of Chapter VIII should be composed of the Chiefs of Staff of all the United Nations, or their representatives, by means of the creation of regional military organizations dependent on the Military Staff Committee in matters of advice and policy.

8. The purposes of the general International Organization should assure the rule of justice and law in international relations. Unless states submit completely to juridical norms, international justice cannot be attained; without an international justice duly organized and efficiently administered, lasting peace cannot be assured in the world.

9. For the application of justice among nations, the constitutional Charter of the Organization should specify clearly the means of eliminating evidently unjust situations which may exist or might arise in spite of the noble purposes which inspired the action of the United Nations in the present war.

10. The maintenance of a peaceful good-neighborliness among states depends on the adoption of regular procedures for the adoption or adjustment of international agreements on the enforcement of which a better order in the community of nations depends.

When international agreements create unjust situations, or maintain a state of affairs which is onerous to one of the parties, and when its prolonged existence can endanger harmony among the members of the community of nations, it should be deemed necessary to eliminate such situations.

Such coordinated planning is not inconsistent with respect for and faithful fulfilment of international treaties, which is the norm of juridical tradition and has deserved, does deserve, and will deserve at all times the fullest support of the Republic of Bolivia in its international conduct.

The lasting nature of international instruments regulating the harmonious life of states, however, is not consistent with the development of new circumstances and new conditions which may differ fundamentally from those which gave rise to the agreements. Hence they should continually be perfected in the light of the evolution of conditions created by the dynamics of history.

These readjustments are necessary to strengthen the spirit of cooperation among countries.

Any international treaty which implicitly carries the clause "rebus sic stantibus" can be revised by agreement of the parties; and only when such an agreement is impossible and there exists a grave threat to international peace and harmony, should the mode of revision be decided by the International Court in all that concerns juridical questions, and by the Security Council in cases of a political nature which are not susceptible to settlement of a juridical nature.

The Security Council should then be able to propose the application of procedures of investigation and conciliation for a satisfactory readjustment.

11. The International Court of Justice provided for in Chapter VII of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals should be organized on the basic principles of the Statute of the Permanent Court of the Hague, with modifications necessary for the due effectiveness of its judicial action. This Court should have universal jurisdication and competence in all disputes of a juridical nature which may arise in the life of international relations.

Decisions pronounced by the said Court should be of a binding nature for the parties, none of them being able to refuse compliance under penalty of being designated an aggressor state.

Besides its judicial functions, the Court should also have those of advising on legal matters both the International Organization and its member states.

12. The Government of Bolivia considers that the maintenance of permanent peace and the development of international good-neighborliness depend on insuring positive conditions of well-being for the great masses of the peoples represented in the future Organization, by means of the raising of the standard of living in the less favored nations, the protection of the international rights of man, the perfecting of social security, the provision of material opportunities for work, and the solution of problems of health, population, and others of the same nature.


In view of the preceding considerations, the Bolivian Delegation has the honor to submit for consideration to the United Nations Conference on International Organization, the following proposed additions and amendments to the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals

Chapter I. Purposes

1. To maintain international peace and security, under the rule of justice; and to that end to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, as well as to

suppress all threats or acts of aggression and to bring about by peaceful means the settlement of international situations and disputes.

2. To develop friendly relations among nations and to take appropriate measures o strengthen universal peace, in conformity with the provisions stated in the preceding paragraph.

Chapter II. Principles

1. The Organization is based on the principles of the sovereign equality of all states which pursue peace and justice in relations between member states.

3. All members of the Organization shall be bound to settle their disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace, security, and justice are not endangered.

4. All members of the Organization shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the Organization. All threats or acts of violence committed by any state to the detriment of any other state shall be considered as acts of aggression committed against all the other members of the Organization.

5. All members of the Organization shall guarantee to each other that the inviolability of their territories shall be respected, and shall not grant any legal recognition to territorial acquisitions which may have been obtained through the use of force or of other means of coercion. They shall likewise offer to each other the same guarantees concerning respect for their political independence and the right for each to develop freely without the intervention of other states in its internal or external affairs.

6. All members of the Organization agree that any threat or act of violence committed by one state to the detriment of another, in defiance of the above-mentioned guaranties, will suffice to qualify that state as an aggressor and for the immediate adoption of the collective security measures contemplated for the maintenance of international peace and harmony.

Chapter III. Membership

1. Membership of the Organization should be open to all sovereign states. States which are not at the moment members of the Organization shall be able to enter it by means of a formal undertaking to respect the principles, purposes, and duties contained in the Charter, to repudiate the use of force as an instrument of national policy and to comply with the special conditions set by the Organization for their admission.

Chapter V. The General Assembly

Section B. 1. The General Assembly should have the right to consider the general principles of cooperation in the maintenance of international peace, security, and justice.

Chapter VII. An International Court of Justice

3. The Statute of the International Court of Justice shall be based on the existing Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice, which is appended as an annex to this Covenant, with the amendments which may be made to them. The decisions of this Court shall be of a binding and final nature in all disputes of a juridical nature which it may not have been possible to solve by other peaceful means. All states which refuse to comply with these decisions shall be declared aggressor states.

Chapter VIII. Arrangements for the Maintenance of International Peace and Security Including Prevention and Suppression of Aggression.

Section A. 1. The Security Council should be empowered to investigate any dispute or situation which may lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute, and to propose the means which it considers necessary and to determine the measures which will be chosen in order to prevent the continued existence of the dispute or situation from endangering international peace, security, and justice.

2. The Security Council shall recommend the revision of all international treaties or agreements whose continued existence would endanger a good understanding between states or would destroy international harmony. Where the agreement of the parties concerned cannot be obtained, the Security Council shall decide on the expediency of the said revision and shall promote the use of the peaceful means provided for in paragraph 3.

2. Any state, whether member of the Organization or not, may bring any such dispute, situation, or agreement of the sort indicated in the preceding paragraphs to the attention of the General Assembly or of the Security Council.

3. The parties to any dispute the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace, security, and justice should obligate themselves, first of all, to seek a solution by direct negotiation, investigation, and conciliation, in matters of a political nature, or by judicial settlement in disputes of a juridical nature, or by other peaceful means of their own choice.

7. Paragraph 7 of Section A of Chapter VIII of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals should be suppressed.

Section B. 2. In general the Security Council should determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and should make recommendations or decide on the measures to be taken to maintain or restore peace and security. If the nature of the acts investigated entails designating a state as an aggressor as indicated in the following paragraph, these measures should be applied immediately by collective action.

3. A state shall be designated an aggressor if it has committed any of the following acts to the detriment of another state.

    a) Invasion of another state's territory by armed forces.
    b) Declaration of war.
    c) Attack by land, sea, or air forces, with or without declaration of war, on another state's territory, shipping, or aircraft.
    d) Support given to armed bands for the purpose of invasion.
    e) Intervention in another state's internal or foreign affairs.
    f) Refusal to submit the matter which has caused a dispute to the peaceful means provided for its settlement.
    g) Refusal to comply with a judicial decision lawfully pronounced by an International Court.

9. The Committee should be composed of the Chiefs of Staff of the permanent members of the Security Council or their representatives, but this should not be construed as excluding the possibility of its being expanded to include the Chiefs of Staff or their representatives, of all members of the Organization, by the creation of subsidiary military organs in the geographical areas of their respective nationalities, to act in an advisory capacity.

Section C. 1. Nothing in the Charter of the Organization should preclude the existence of regional systems, arrangements, or agencies which might co-operate in dealing with such matters relating to the maintenance of international peace, security, and justice, provided that the activities of such regional systems, arrangements or agencies are consistent with the purposes and principles of the Organization. The Security Council should encourage settlement of local disputes through such regional systems, arrangements or agencies, and should not overlook the adoption of such means as it may consider appropriate for the maintenance of world peace or the suppression of an act of aggression.

2. The Security Council should, where appropriate, utilize the cooperation of such regional system, arrangements, or agencies, for enforcement action under its authority. In no case should such regional systems arrangements, or agencies be able to adopt measures of sanction, whether economic or military, without the expressed authority of the Security Council.

Chapter IX. Social and Economic Problems

Section B. The Economic and Social Council should consist of representatives of eighteen members of the Organization. The states which should be represented for this purpose should be elected by the General Assembly for terms of three years. Each state should have one representative, who should have one vote. Decisions of the Economic and Social Council should be taken by simple majority vote of those present and voting. A procedure should be established to give adequate representation in the Economic and Social Council to the organized labor of the world.

Section C.

    b. to make recommendations, on its own initiative, with respect to international economic and social matters, preferably relative to insuring the well-being of the populations of the member states of the Organization and the solution of humanitarian problems of an international nature.

    c. to achieve concerted action destined to promote the economic development, the industrialization, and the raising of the standard of living of the less favored nations as well as the protection of the international rights of men, the perfecting of social security and the provision of the material opportunities for work, the solution of problems of health and population and others of a similar nature.

Source: Proposals of the Delegation of the Republic of Bolivia for the Organization of a System of Peace and Security, The United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, April 25-June 26 1945, Doc. 2, G/14(r), May 5, 1945, pp. 577-586.
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. 17 (c).

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