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When the rights of belligerents on the high seas outside territorial waters shall have been defined by international convention, it is hereby agreed and declared as a fundamental Covenant that no Power or combination of Powers shall have a right to overstep in any particular the clear meaning of the definitions thus established; but that it shall be the right of the League from time to time and on special occasions to close the seas in whole or in part against a perticular Power or Powers for the purpose of enforcing the international Covenants here entered into.


It is hereby covenanted and agreed by the Contracting Powers, that no treaty entered into by them shall be regarded as valid, binding, or operative until it shall have been published and made known to all the other States members of the League.

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It is further covenanted and agreed by the Contracting Powers that in their fiscal and economic regulations and policy no discrimination shall be made between one nation and another among those with which they have commercial and financial dealings.


Preliminary Peace Conference. 1. TERMS OF REFERENCE.

The Preliminary Peace Conference at the plenary session of the 25th January, 1919 (Protocol No. 2) decided to nominate a Commission to work out in detail the Constitution and functions of a League of Nations.

The terms of reference of this Commission were as follows:

The Conference, having considered the proposals for the creation of a League of Nations, resolved that,

"1. It is essential to the maintenance of the world settlement, which the Associated Nations are now met to establish, that a League of Nations be created to promote international co-operation, to ensure the fulfilment of accepted international obligations and to provide safeguards against war.

“2. This League should be treated as an integral part of the general Treaty of Peace, and should be open to every civilised nation which can be relied on to promote its objects.

“3. The members of the League should periodically meet in international conference, and should have a permanent organization and secretariat to carry on the business of the League in the intervals between the conferences.

“The Conference therefore appoints a Committee representative of the Associated Governments to work out the details of the constitution and functions of the League.”

This Commission was to be composed of fifteen members, i. e. two members representing each of the Great Powers (United States of America, British Empire, France, Italy and Japan), and five members to represent all the Powers with special interests. At a meeting of these latter Powers on the 27th January, 1919, Belgium, Brazil, China, Portugal and Serbia were chosen to designate one representative each. (See Annex 6 of Protocol No. 2.)


The Commission was therefore originally composed as follows: For the United States of America:

The President of the United States of America.

Honorable Edward M. House.
For the British Empire:

The Rt. Hon. the Lord Robert Cecil, K.C., M.P.
Lieutenant-General the Rt. Hon. J. C. Smuts, K.C., Minister of

Defence of the Union of South Africa.


For France:

Mr. Leon Bourgeois, former President of the Council of Ministers

and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Larnaude, Dean of the Faculty of Law of Paris. For Italy:

Mr. Orlando, President of the Council.

Mr. Scialoja, Senator of the Kingdom. For Japan:

Baron Makino, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Member of

the Diplomatic Council. Viscount Chinda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Pleni

potentiary of H.I.M. the Emperor of Japan at London. For Belgium:

Mr. Hymans, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister of State. For Brazil:

Mr. Epitacio Pessoa, Senator, former Minister of Justice. For China: Mr. V. K. Wellington Koo, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister

Plenipotentiary of China at Washington. For Portugal:

Mr. Jayme Batalha-Reis, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister

Plenipotentiary of Portugal at Petrograd. For Serbia: Mr. Vesnitch, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary

of H.M. the King of Serbia at Paris. A request of four other Powers-Greece, Poland, Roumania and the Czecho-Slovak Republic—to be represented on the Commission was referred by the Conference to the Commission for consideration. Upon the recommendation of the Commission the four following members took their seats on February 6th: For Greece:

Mr. Eleftherios Veniselos, President of the Council of Ministers. For Poland:

Mr. Roman Dmowski, President of the Polish National Commit

For Roumania:

Mr. Diamandy, Roumanian Minister Plenipotentiary.
For the Czecho-Slovak Republic:
Mr. Charles Kramar, President of the Council of Ministers.

3. FIRST REPORT OF THE COMMISSION. Between the date of its appointment and the 14th February, the Commission met ten times. As a result of these meetings the following draft Covenant of the League of Nations was adopted, and read as a preliminary report by the Chairman at a plenary session of the Conference on the latter date. (Protocol No. 3):


In order to promote international co-operation and to secure international peace and security by the acceptance of obligations not to resort to war, by the prescription of open, just and honorable relations between nations, by the firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the actual rule of conduct among governments, and by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another, the Powers signatory to this Covenant adopt this constitution of the League of Nations. .

ARTICLE I. The action of the High Contracting Parties under the terms of this Covenant shall be effected through the instrumentality of meetings of a Body of Delegates representing the High Contracting Parties, of meetings at more frequent intervals of an Executive Council, and of a permanent international Secretariat to be established at the Seat of the League.


Meetings of the Body of Delegates shall be held at stated intervals and from time to time as occasion may require for the purpose of dealing with matters within the sphere of action of the League. Meetings of the Body of Delegates shall be held at the Seat of the League or at such other place as may be found convenient and shall consist of representatives of the High Contracting Parties. Each of the High Contracting Parties shall have one vote but may have not more than three representatives.


The Executive Council shall consist of representatives of the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan, together with representatives of four other States, members of the League. The selection of these four States shall be made by the Body of Delegates on such principles and in such manner as they think fit. Pending the appointment of these representatives of the other States, representatives of

shall be members of the Executive Council. Meetings of the Council shall be held from time to time as occasion may require and at least once a year at whatever place may be decided on, or failing any such decision, at the Seat of the League, and any matter within the sphere of action of the League or affecting the peace of the world may be dealt with at such meetings.

Invitations shall be sent to any Power to attend a meeting of the Council at which matters directly affecting its interests are to be discussed and no decision taken at any meeting will be binding on such Power unless so invited.


All matters of procedure at meetings of the Body of Delegates or the Executive Council including the appointment of Committees to investigate particular matters shall be regulated by the Body of Delegates or the Executive Council and may be decided by a majority of the States represented at the meeting.

The first meeting of the Body of Delegates and of the Executive Council shall be summoned by the President of the United States of America.


The permanent Secretariat of the League shall be established at which shall constitute the Seat of the League. The Secretariat shall comprise such secretaries and staff as may be required, under the general direction and control of a Secretary-General of the League, who shall be chosen by the Executive Council; the Secretariat shall be appointed by the Secretary-General subject to confirmation by the Executive Council.

The Secretary-General shall act in that capacity at all meetings of the Body of Delegates or of the Executive Council.

The expenses of the Secretariat shall be borne by the States members of the League in accordance with the apportionment of the expenses of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union.


Representatives of the High Contracting Parties and officials of the League when engaged on the business of the League shall enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities, and the buildings occupied by the League or its officials or by representatives attending its meetings shall enjoy the benefits of extraterritoriality.


Admission to the League of States not signatories to the Covenant and not named in the Protocol hereto as States to be invited to adhere to the Covenant requires the assent of not less than two-thirds of the States represented in the Body of Delegates and shall be limited to fully self-governing countries including Dominions and Colonies.

No State shall be admitted to the League unless it is able to give effective guarantees of its sincere intention to observe its international obligations, and unless it shall conform to such principles as may be prescribed by the League in regard to its naval and military forces and armaments.


The High Contracting Parties recognize the principle that the maintenance of peace will require the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations, having special regard to the geographical situation and circumstances of each State; and the Executive Council shall formulate plans for effecting such reduction. The Executive Council shall also determine for the consideration and action of the several governments what military equipment and armament is fair and reasonable in proportion to the scale of forces laid down in the programme of disarmament; and these limits, when adopted, shall not be exceeded without the permission of the Executive Council.

The High Contracting Parties agree that the manufacture by private enterprise of munitions and implements of war lends itself to grave objections, and direct the Executive Council to advise how the evil effects attendant upon such manufacture can be prevented, due regard being had to the necessities of those countries which are not able to manufacture for themselves the munitions and implements of war necessary for their safety.

The High Contracting Parties undertake in no way to conceal from each other the condition of such of their industries as are capable of being adapted to war-like purposes or the scale of their armaments, and agree that there shall be full and frank interchange of information as to their military and naval programmes.

ARTICLE IX. A permanent Commission shall be constituted to advise the League on the execu. tion of the provisions of Article VIII and on military and naval questions generallyl


The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and preserve as against externaaggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all States members of the League. In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Executive Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.


Any war or threat of war, whether immediately affecting any of the High Contracting Parties or not, is hereby declared a matter of concern to the League, and the High Contracting Parties reserve the right to take any action that may be deemed wise and effectual to safeguard the peace of nations.

It is hereby also declared and agreed to be the friendly right of each of the High Contracting Parties to draw the attention of the Body of Delegates or of the Executive Council to any circumstances affecting international intercourse which threaten to disturb international peace or the good understanding between nations upon which peace depends.

ARTICLE XII. The High Contracting Parties agree that should disputes arise between them which cannot be adjusted by the ordinary processes of diplomacy, they will in no case resort to war without previously submitting the questions and matters involved either to arbitration or to inquiry by the Executive Council and until three months after the award by the arbitrators or a recommendation by the Executive Council; and that they will not even then resort to war as against a member of the League which complies with the award of the arbitrators or the recommendation of the Executive Council.

In any case under this Article, the award of the arbitrators shall be made within a reasonable time, and the recommendation of the Executive Council shall be made within six months after the submission of the dispute.

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