|Signed||28 June 1919|
|Location||Paris Peace Conference|
|Effective||10 January 1920|
|Expiration||April 20, 1946|
|Expiry||July 31, 1947|
|Parties||League of Nations members|
|Depositary||League of Nations|
|Paris Peace Conference|
The Covenant of the League of Nations was the charter of the League of Nations. It was signed on 28 June 1919 as Part I of the Treaty of Versailles, and became effective together with the rest of the Treaty on 10 January 1920.
Early drafts for a possible League of Nations began even before the end of the First World War. The London-based Bryce Group made proposals adopted by the British League of Nations Society, founded in 1915.Another group in the United States—which included Hamilton Holt and William B. Howland at the Century Association in New York City—had their own plan. This plan was largely supported by the League to Enforce Peace, an organization led by former U.S. President William Howard Taft. In December 1916, Lord Robert Cecil suggested that an official committee be set up to draft a covenant for a future league. The British committee was finally appointed in February 1918; it was led by Walter Phillimore (and became known as the Phillimore Committee) but also included Eyre Crowe, William Tyrrell, and Cecil Hurst. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was not impressed with the Phillimore Committee's report, and would eventually produce three draft covenants of his own with help from his friend Colonel House. Further suggestions were made by Jan Christiaan Smuts in December 1918.
At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, a commission was appointed to agree on a covenant. Members included Woodrow Wilson (as chair), Colonel House (representing the U.S.), Robert Cecil and Jan Smuts (British Empire), Léon Bourgeois and Ferdinand Larnaude (France), Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando and Vittorio Scialoja (Italy), Foreign Minister Makino Nobuaki and Chinda Sutemi (Japan), Paul Hymans (Belgium), Epitácio Pessoa (Brazil), Wellington Koo (China), Jayme Batalha Reis (Portugal), and Milenko Radomar Vesnitch (Serbia).Further representatives of Czechoslovakia, Greece, Poland and Romania were later added. The group considered a preliminary draft co-written by Hurst and President Wilson's adviser David Hunter Miller. During the first four months of 1919 the group met on ten separate occasions, attempting to negotiate the exact terms of the foundational Covenant agreement for the future League.
During the ensuing negotiations various major objections arose from various countries. France wanted the League to form an international army to enforce its decisions, but the British worried such an army would be dominated by the French, and the Americans could not agree as only Congress could declare war.Japan requested that a clause upholding the principle of racial equality should be inserted, parallel to the existing religious equality clause. This was deeply opposed, particularly by American political sentiment, while Wilson himself simply ignored the question.
During a certain interval while Wilson was away, the question of international equality was raised once again. A vote on a motion supporting the "equality of nations and the just treatment of their nationals" was made, and was supported by 11 of the 19 delegates. Upon Wilson's return he declared that "serious objections" by other delegates had negated the majority vote, and the amendment was dismissed.Finally on April 11, 1919, the revised Hurst-Miller draft was approved, but without fully resolving certain questions as had been brought forth regarding matters such as national equality, racial equality, and how the new League might be able to practically enforce its various mandates.
The new League would include a General Assembly (representing all member states), an Executive Council (with membership limited to major powers), and a permanent secretariat. Member states were expected to "respect and preserve as against external aggression" the territorial integrity of other members, and to disarm "to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety". All states were required to submit complaints for arbitration or judicial inquiry before going to war.The Executive Council would create a Permanent Court of International Justice to make judgements on the disputes.
The treaty entered into force on 10 January 1920. Articles 4, 6, 12, 13, and 15 were amended in 1924. The treaty shares similar provisions and structures with the UN Charter.
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Article X of the Covenant of the League of Nations is the section calling for assistance to be given to a member that experiences external aggression. It was signed by the major Peacemakers (Allied Forces) following the First World War, most notably Britain and France. Due to the nature of the Article, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was unable to ratify his obligation to join the League of Nations, as a result of strong objection from U.S. politicians.
Although Wilson had secured his proposal for a League of Nations in the final draft of the Treaty of Versailles, the U.S. Senate refused to consent to the ratification of the Treaty. For many Republicans in the Senate, Article X was the most objectionable provision. Their objections were based on the fact that, by ratifying such a document, the United States would be bound by international contract to defend a League of Nations member if it was attacked. Henry Cabot Lodge from Massachusetts and Frank B. Brandegee from Connecticut led the fight in the U.S. Senate against ratification, believing that it was best not to become involved in international conflicts. Under the United States Constitution, the President of the United States may not ratify a treaty unless the Senate, by a two-thirds vote, gives its advice and consent.
Article XXII referred to the creation of Mandate territories, which were given over to be administered by European powers. Though most Mandates were given to countries such as Britain and France, which possessed considerable colonial empires, the Covenant made the clear distinction that a Mandate territory was not a colony.
The Covenant asserted that such territories were "inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world" and so "the tutelage of such peoples should be entrusted to advanced nations who by reason of their resources, their experience or their geographical position can best undertake this responsibility" as a "a sacred trust of civilization".
Mandate territories were sorted into several sub-categories:
The League of Nations, abbreviated as LON, was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. It was founded on 10 January 1920 following the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War; in 1919 U.S. president Woodrow Wilson won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role as the leading architect of the League.
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League of Nations. These were of the nature of both a treaty and a constitution, which contained minority rights clauses that provided for the rights of petition and adjudication by the International Court.
The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to the war. The other Central Powers on the German side signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th president of the United States from 1913 to 1921. A member of the Democratic Party, Wilson served as the president of Princeton University and as the 34th governor of New Jersey before winning the 1912 presidential election. As president, he oversaw the passage of progressive legislative policies unparalleled until the New Deal in 1933. He also led the United States into World War I in 1917, establishing an activist foreign policy known as "Wilsonianism." He was the leading architect of the League of Nations.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2200A (XXI) on 16 December 1966, and in force from 23 March 1976 in accordance with Article 49 of the covenant. Article 49 allowed that the covenant would enter into force three months after the date of the deposit of the thirty-fifth instrument of ratification or accession. The covenant commits its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial. As of September 2019, the Covenant has 173 parties and six more signatories without ratification.
The San Remo conference was an international meeting of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council as an outgrowth of the Paris Peace Conference, held at Villa Devachan in Sanremo, Italy, from 19 to 26 April 1920. The San Remo Resolution passed on 25 April 1920 determined the allocation of Class "A" League of Nations mandates for the administration of three then-undefined Ottoman territories in the Middle East: "Palestine", "Syria" and "Mesopotamia". The boundaries of the three territories were "to be determined [at a later date] by the Principal Allied Powers", leaving the status of outlying areas such as Zor and Transjordan unclear.
Henry Cabot Lodge was an American Republican senator and historian from Massachusetts. A member of the prominent Lodge family, he received his PhD in history from Harvard University. As an undergraduate at Harvard, he joined Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. He is best known for his positions on foreign policy, especially his battle with President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 over the Treaty of Versailles. The failure of that treaty ensured that the United States never joined the League of Nations.
The Emirate of Transjordan, officially known as the Amirate of Trans-Jordan, was a British protectorate established on 11 April 1921.
The Fourteen Points was a statement of principles for peace that was to be used for peace negotiations in order to end World War I. The principles were outlined in a January 8, 1918, speech on war aims and peace terms to the United States Congress by President Woodrow Wilson. But his main Allied colleagues were skeptical of the applicability of Wilsonian idealism.
The Hay–Pauncefote Treaty is a treaty signed by the United States and Great Britain on 18 November 1901, as a legal preliminary to the U.S. building the Panama Canal. It nullified the Clayton–Bulwer Treaty of 1850 and gave the United States the right to create and control a canal across the Central American isthmus to connect the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. In the Clayton–Bulwer Treaty, both nations had renounced building such a canal under the sole control of one nation.
The Paris Peace Conference was the formal meeting in 1919 and 1920 of the victorious Allies after the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers. Dominated by the leaders of Britain, France, the United States and Italy, it resulted in five controversial treaties that rearranged the map of Europe and imposed financial penalties. Germany and the other losing nations had no voice which gave rise to political resentments that lasted for decades.
The Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 was designed to liquidate the Ottoman Empire and virtually abolished Turkish sovereignty. Sèvres was imposed by the Allies of World War I on the Ottoman Empire. It was one of a series of treaties that the Central Powers signed with the Allied Powers after their defeat in World War I. Hostilities had already ended with the Armistice of Mudros. The treaty was signed on 10 August 1920, in an exhibition room at the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres porcelain factory in Sèvres, France.
A secret treaty is a treaty in which the contracting state parties have agreed to conceal the treaty's existence or substance from other states and the public. Such a commitment to keep the agreement secret may be contained in the instrument itself or in a separate agreement.
The Irreconcilables were bitter opponents of the Treaty of Versailles in the United States in 1919. Specifically, the term refers to about 12 to 18 United States Senators, both Republicans and Democrats, who fought intensely to defeat the ratification of the treaty by the Senate in 1919. They succeeded, and the United States never ratified the Treaty of Versailles and never joined the League of Nations.
The presidency of Woodrow Wilson began on March 4, 1913 at noon when Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated as president of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1921. Wilson, a Democrat who previously served as the governor of New Jersey, took office as the 28th U.S. President after winning the 1912 presidential election, gaining a large majority in the Electoral College and a 42% plurality of the popular vote in a four–candidate field. Wilson was re-elected in 1916, defeating Republican Charles Evans Hughes by a fairly narrow margin. He was the first Southerner to be elected president since Zachary Taylor in 1848, and just the second Democrat to be elected president since 1860.
The partition of the Ottoman Empire was a geopolitical event that occurred after World War I and the occupation of Constantinople by British, French and Italian troops in November 1918. The partitioning was planned in several agreements made by the Allied Powers early in the course of World War I, notably the Sykes-Picot Agreement, after the Ottoman Empire had joined the Ottoman–German Alliance. The huge conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was divided into several new states. The Ottoman Empire had been the leading Islamic state in geopolitical, cultural and ideological terms. The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after the war led to the domination of the Middle East by Western powers such as Britain and France, and saw the creation of the modern Arab world and the Republic of Turkey. Resistance to the influence of these powers came from the Turkish National Movement but did not become widespread in the other post-Ottoman states until the period of rapid decolonisation after World War II.
The Lodge Reservations, written by United States Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, the Republican Majority Leader and Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, were fourteen reservations to the Treaty of Versailles and other proposed post-war agreements. The Treaty called for the creation of a League of Nations in which the promise of mutual security would hopefully prevent another major world war; the League charter, primarily written by President Woodrow Wilson, let the League set the terms for war and peace. If the League called for military action, all members would have to join in.
The Racial Equality Proposal was an amendment to the Treaty of Versailles that was considered at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Proposed by Japan, it was never intended to have any universal implications, but one was attached to it anyway, which caused its controversy. Japanese Foreign Minister Uchida Kōsai stated in June 1919 that the proposal was intended not to demand the racial equality of all coloured peoples but only that of members of the League of Nations.
The Mandate for Palestine was a League of Nations mandate for British administration of the territories of Palestine and Transjordan, both of which had been conceded by the Ottoman Empire following the end of World War I in 1918. The mandate was assigned to Britain by the San Remo conference in April 1920, after France's concession in the 1918 Clemenceau–Lloyd George Agreement of the previously-agreed "international administration" of Palestine under the Sykes–Picot Agreement. Transjordan was added to the mandate after the Arab Kingdom in Damascus was toppled by the French in the Franco-Syrian War. Civil administration began in Palestine and Transjordan in July 1920 and April 1921, respectively, and the mandate was in force from 29 September 1923 to 15 May 1948.
The history of U.S. foreign policy from 1913–1933 concerns the foreign policy of the United States during World War I and much of the Interwar period. The administrations of Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover successively handled U.S. foreign policy during this period.