The Senate and the Multilateral Treaty

September 10, 1928

Report Outline
The Treaty-Making Power
The Versailles Treaty Contest
The Senate and the World Court
Negotiation of the Multilateral Treaty
Questions for Senate Consideration

The multilateral treaty for renunciation of war signed at Paris, August 27, 1928, by representatives of fifteen nations is, by its terms, to take effect between them as soon as all their several instruments of ratification shall have been deposited at Washington.1 Within a fortnight after the ceremony at Paris, thirty-three nations, including Soviet Russia, had announced their intention of adhering to the treaty1 When it has been ratified by the fifteen original signatories, the treaty is to remain open as long as may be necessary for adherence by all the other powers of the world and is to come into effect between these powers and the other signatories immediately upon the deposit of their instruments of ratification. Unless ratified by all of the fifteen original signatories, however, in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements, the treaty will have no binding force between them or any of the other nations adhering to its terms

The Senate of the United States, which shares with the President the treaty-making power, will be asked by the President to grant its consent to ratification of the multilateral treaty during the short session of the Seventieth Congress, which convenes December 3, 1928. Secretary of State Kellogg, in his note of June 23, 1928, to the fourteen nations which subsequently joined the United States in signing the treaty, asked them to accept, without qualification or reservation, the form of treaty now suggested by the United States. Now that the treaty has been signed in the form suggested by the United States, the Senate will likewise be asked to accept it without qualification or reservation.

Prospects of Multilateral Treaty in Senate

In view of the initiative taken by the United States in the negotiation of the treaty, Great Britain and France have decided to withhold ratification until the terms of the treaty have been approved by the American Senate. Others of the fifteen original signatories, recalling the treatment accorded the Versailles treaty by the Senate, will probably follow a similar course. The Treaty of Versailles came into force upon adhesion by the three principal Allied and Associated Powers, without ratification by the United States. To the coming into force of the multilateral treaty, on the other hand, its ratification by the Senate, without reservations or amendments which would prove unacceptable to the other original signatories, is a first essential.

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