Kellogg-Briand Pact

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search

The Kellogg-Briand Pact, also known as the Pact of Paris, after the city where it was signed on August 27, 1928, is an international treaty "providing for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy." It failed in this purpose, but is significant for later developments in international law.



Frank B. Kellogg, U.S. Secretary of State
Frank B. Kellogg, U.S. Secretary of State

The pact was proposed in 1927 by Aristide Briand, the French foreign minister and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, as a bilateral treaty between the United States and France outlawing war between the two countries. Briand thought it would both improve the cooled relations between the former allies and, more importantly, ensure that the United States would ally with France in the event of another European war.

Frank B. Kellogg, the US Secretary of State, wanted to avoid any involvement in another European War, and so was cool to the proposal. However, if he opposed the treaty he would be attacked in both Congress and the press by groups which favored such an agreement. Kellogg thus responded with a proposal for a multilateral pact against war open for all nations to become signatories.

Negotiations and ratifications

After negotiations, it was signed in Paris on August 27, 1928 by eleven states: Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Germany, India, the Irish Free State, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Four states added their support before it was proclaimed—Poland, Belgium, and France (in March), and Japan (in April). It was proclaimed to go into effect on July 24, 1929. Sixty-two nations ultimately signed the pact.

In the United States, the Senate approved the treaty overwhelmingly, 85-1. However, it did add a reservation 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 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 part of the supreme positive law, under Article VI of the United States Constitution.

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; the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, and the German invasion of Poland, were prime examples of this. However, 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 norm that the use of military force is presumptively 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 persons 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 have been forced to invoke the right of self-defense or the right of collective defense when using military action and have also been prohibited from annexing territory by force.

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

External links

Personal tools