The Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed by Germany, France and the United States in August 1928. The Kellogg-Briand Pact is an international agreement in which states promised not to use war to solve their foreign problems.
Signatories and adherents
Dark green: original signatories
Green: subsequent adherents
Light blue: territories of parties
Dark blue: League of Nations mandatesadministered by parties
After negotiations, the pact was signed in Paris at the French Foreign Ministry by the representatives from Australia, Belgium, Canada,Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, British India, the Irish Free State, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. It was provided that it would come into effect on July 24, 1929. By that date, the following nations had deposited instruments of definitive adherence to the pact: Afghanistan, Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Denmark,Dominican Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, the Netherlands,Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Romania, the Soviet Union, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, Siam,Spain, Sweden, and Turkey. Eight further states joined after that date: Persia, Greece, Honduras, Chile, Luxembourg, Danzig, Costa Rica and Venezuela.
In the United States, the Senate approved the treaty overwhelmingly, 85–1, with only Wisconsin Republican John J. Blaine voting against. While the U.S. Senate did not add any reservation to the treaty, it did pass a measure “interpreting” the treaty which included the statement that the treaty must not infringe upon America’s right of self defense and that the United States was not obliged to enforce the treaty by taking action against those who violated it.
Effect and legacy
The 1928 Kellogg–Briand Pact was concluded outside the League of Nations, and remains a binding treaty under international law. In the United States, it remains in force as federal law (see U.S. Const. art. VI). One month following its conclusion, a similar agreement, General Act for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, was concluded in Geneva, which obliged its signatory parties to establish conciliation commissions in any case of dispute.
As a practical matter, the Kellogg–Briand Pact did not live up to its aim of ending war, and in this sense it made no immediate contribution to international peace and proved to be ineffective in the years to come. It did not prevent U.S. intervention in Central America, the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the Italian invasion of Abyssinia in 1935, and theGerman and Soviet Union invasions of Poland. Nevertheless, the pact is an important multilateral treaty because, in addition to binding the particular nations that signed it, it has also served as one of the legal bases establishing the international norms that the threat or use of military force in contravention of international law, as well as the territorial acquisitions resulting from it, are unlawful.
Notably, the pact served as the legal basis for the creation of the notion of crime against peace — it was for committing this crime that the Nuremberg Tribunal sentenced a number of people responsible for starting World War II.
The interdiction of aggressive war was confirmed and broadened by the United Nations Charter, which states in article 2, paragraph 4, that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” The consequence of this is that after World War II, nations are expected to invoke the right of self-defense or the right of collective defense when using military action and are not supposed to annex territory by force. This has not however prevented many cases such as the annexation of Tibet by China.
- ^ Kellogg–Briand, What do they know .
- ^ Treaties record, UK: FCO .
- ^ Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928, Yale University .
- ^ “John James Blaine“. Dictionary of Wisconsin History. Accessed Nov. 11, 2008.
- ^ Text in League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. 93, pp. 344–363.
- ^ Article 2, Budapest Articles of Interpretation (see under footnotes), 1934
- ^ Article 5, Budapest Articles of Interpretation (see under footnotes), 1934
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the U.N.