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III

THE COVENANT OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS

REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON THE
LEAGUE OF NATIONS

I. TER^S 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 cooperation, 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 civilized 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.)

2. CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMISSION

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

Plenipotentiary 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, Rumania and the Czccho-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 Committee.

For Rumania:

Mr. Diamandy, Rumanian Minister Plenipotentiary. For the Czechoslovak 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):

[The draft Covenant of the League of Nations was published in International Conciliation, March, 1919, Special Bulletin, and is therefore not reproduced here.]

4. SUBSEQUENT MEETINGS OF THE COMMISSION

The draft Covenant of the 14th February, was made public in order that discussion of its terms might be provoked. A great deal of constructive criticism followed upon its publication. Further suggestions resulted from hearings of representatives of thirteen neutral states before a Committee of the Commission on the 2oth and 21st March.

These various recommendations were taken under advisement by the Commission which held meetings on the 22nd, 24th, and 26th March, and on the 10th and nth April. At the meeting of the 10th April, a delegation representing the International Council of Women and the Suffragist Conference of the Allied countries and the United States were received by the Commission.

5. FINAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION

At the meetings of the 10th and nth April the Commission agreed definitively on the following text of the Covenant to be presented to the Conference:

COVENANT OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS

[As Adopted at the Plenary Session of the Peace Conference, at Paris, April 28, 1919]

In order to promote international cooperation and to achieve 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 High Contracting Parties agree to this Covenant of the League of Nations.

Article 1

The original Members of the League of Nations shall be those of the Signatories which are named in the Annex to this Covenant and also such of those other States named in the Annex as shall accede without reservation to this Covenant. Such accession shall be effected by a Declaration deposited with the Secretariat within two months of the coming into force of the Covenant. Notice thereof shall be sent to all other Members of the League.

Any fully self-governing State, Dominion or Colony not named in the Annex, may become a Member of the League if its admission is agreed to by two-thirds of the Assembly, provided that it shall give effective guarantees of its sincere intention to observe its international obligations, and shall accept such regulations as may be prescribed by the League in regard to its military and naval forces and armaments.

Any Member of the League may, after two years' notice of its intention so to do, withdraw from the League, provided that all its international obligations and all its obligations under this Covenant shall have been fulfilled at the time of its withdrawal.

ARTICLE II

The action of the League under this Covenant shall be effected through the instrumentality of an Assembly and of a Council, with a permanent Secretariat.

Article in

The Assembly shall consist of Representatives of the Members of the League.

The Assembly shall meet at stated intervals and from time to time as occasion may require at the Seat of the League, or at such other place as may be decided upon.

The Assembly may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of action of the League or affecting the peace of the world.

At meetings of the Assembly each member of the League shall have one vote, and may have not more than three Representatives.

ARTICLE IV

The Council shall consist of Representatives of the United States of America, of the British Empire, of France, of Italy, and of Japan, together with Representatives of four other Members of the League. These four Members of the League shall be selected by the Assembly from time to time in its discretion. Until the appointment of the Representatives of the four Members of the

League first selected by thcAssembly, Representatives of

shall be members of the Council.

With the approval of the majority of the Assembly, the Council may name additional Members of the League whose Representatives shall always be members of the Council; the Council with like approval may increase the number of Members of the League to be selected by the Assembly for representation on the Council.

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