The League Covenant and the Kellogg Pact

September 8, 1930

Report Outline
Proposed Changes in the Covenant of the League
Sanctions of the League of Nations Covenant
Proposed Supplements to the Kellogg Pact

At The Eleventh Assembly of the League of Nations, convening at Geneva, September 10, 1930, one of the most important subjects to be called up for discussion and action by representatives of the member nations is the proposed revision of the Covenant of the League to bring it into harmony with the Kellogg Pact.

Since the League was established, January 10, 1920, with the coming into force of the Treaty of Versailles, there have been two important series of amendments to its Covenant. By the first of these “judicial settlement” was added to the means for pacific adjustment of disputes provided in the Covenant, following the establishment of the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague. The second series of amendments was adopted in 1926, in connection with the admission of Germany to the League with a permanent seat on the Council. The new series of changes now proposed, at the end of the League's first decade, would eliminate from the Covenant all recognition of the right of nations to “resort to war” as a means of settling disputes between them. According to the report of the committee that prepared the amendments: “States have in all circumstances lost the right to make war in order to secure the settlement of their disputes.”

The Covenant of the League, in its present form, falls far short of outlawing war. Not only does it admit the right to engage in what has been called “private war,” in the event of failure to settle an existing dispute by the means provided in the Covenant, but it envisages the possibility of “public war” against a nation which fails to carry out its obligation to exhaust every other means of settlement before resorting to armed force. The amendments now awaiting the action of the Assembly would make every resort to private war an offense against all members of the League, but they do not touch the provisions of the Covenant which hold the threat of public war against a “covenant-breaking” state.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Oct. 20, 1930  League of Nations—Eleventh Assembly
Sep. 08, 1930  The League Covenant and the Kellogg Pact
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Oct. 08, 1929  The League of Nations-Tenth Assembly
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