League of Nations
The relations between the Assembly and the Council were not explicitly defined, and their competencies, with a few exceptions, were much the same. Each body might deal with any matter within the sphere of competence of the League or affecting the peace in the world. Particular questions or tasks might be referred either to the Council or the Assembly. Reference might be passed on from one body to another.
* 1 Constitutional organs
* 1.1 Secretariat
* 1.1.1 Organisation * 1.1.2 Competencies
* 1.1.3 Classification and distribution of documents
* 188.8.131.52 General indications
* 1.2 Assembly
* 1.2.1 Organisation of the First Assembly
* 184.108.40.206 President * 220.127.116.11 Honorary President * 18.104.22.168 Vice-Presidents elected by the Assembly * 22.214.171.124 Vice-Presidents ex officio as Chairmen of the Committees * 126.96.36.199 The Secretary-General of the League
* 1.2.2 Committee No.1 * 1.2.3 Committee No.2 * 1.2.4 Committee No.3 * 1.2.5 Committee No.4 * 1.2.6 Committee No.5 * 1.2.7 Committee No.6
* 1.3 Council
* 1.3.1 List of Council Sessions, 1920 * 1.3.2 Permanent Members of the Council * 1.3.3 Nonpermanent Members of the Council * 1.3.4 List of States Nonpermanent Members of the Council
* 1.4 Unanimity rule
* 2 Other bodies
* 2.3 Organisations arising from the Covenant
* 2.3.1 Health Organization
Permanent Mandates Commission
* 2.3.3 Economic and Financial Organization
* 2.3.4 Transit, Transport and Communications
International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation
* 2.3.6 Permanent Central
* 3 Protection of minorities * 4 Finances of the League * 5 Final Years of the League * 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References
The Permanent Secretariat, established at the seat of the League at Geneva, comprised a body of experts in various spheres under the direction of the General Secretary .
The principal Sections of the Secretariat were: Political; Financial
and Economics; Communications and Transit; Minorities and
Administration (Saar and Danzig); Mandates; Disarmament; Health;
The staff of the League's secretariat was responsible for preparing the agenda for the Council and Assembly and publishing reports of the meetings and other routine matters, effectively acting as the civil service for the League. The secretariat was often considered to be too small to handle all of the League's administrative affairs. For example, the total number of officials classed as members of the Secretariat was 75 in September 1924. The total staff, including all the clerical services, comprised about 400 persons.
Classification And Distribution Of Documents
In general, the League documents may be classified into the following categories: document on public sale, documents not on public sale, and classified, e.g., confidential and secret.
The specific feature of the documents emanating from the League of Nations was their classification according to the persons they were addressed to and not according to their subjects.
A – Documents addressed to the Assembly’s delegations and the Member States
C – Documents addressed to the Council Members
M – Documents addressed to all Member States
CL – Circular Letters addressed to the Council Members and to a certain group of Member States
Organisation of the
League of Nations
The Assembly consisted of representatives of all Members of the League. Each state was allowed up to three representatives and one vote. The Assembly had its sessions at Geneva and met on yearly basis on the first Monday of September according to the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly, adopted at Its Eleventh Meeting, 30 November 1920. A special session of the Assembly might be summoned at the request of a Member, provided a majority of the Members concurred.
The special functions of the Assembly included the admission of new Members, the periodical election on non-permanent Members of the Council, the election with the Council of the judges of the Permanent Court, and the control of the budget. In practice the Assembly had become the general directing force of League activities.
Organisation Of The First Assembly
The Plenary Meetings of the First Assembly were held from 15 November to 18 December in Geneva, Switzerland. At the opening session, there were 41 states (out of 42 Member states). Six states were admitted during the meetings and consequently were represented during the session (Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Finland and Luxembourg). In total, thirty one plenary meeting were held. The principal questions during the first session were: organization of the Secretariat, establishment of a new Organization to deal with Health question, new organism to deal with Communication and transit, and a new Economic and Financial Organization, admission of new Member states, relations between the Council and the Assembly, nomination of the non-permanent Members of the Council, establishment of the Permanent Court of International Justice, the first and second budgets of the League, conflict between Poland and Soviet Russia, repatriation of prisoners of war, etc.
M. Giuseppe Motta , Switzerland
Vice-Presidents Elected By The Assembly
The Assembly at its Fifth Plenary Meeting elected the six Vice-Presidents. Thirty nine states have taken part in the ballot, so the required majority was 20 votes.
VICE-PRESIDENT COUNTRY VOTES AT THE FIRST BALLOT
HE Viscount Ishii Kikujirō Japan 32
HE Jonkheer Herman Adriaan van Karnebeek Netherlands 31
HE Dr. Honorio Pueyrredón Argentina 28
The Rt. Hon Sir
George Eulas Foster
HE M. Rodrigo Otávio (pt) Brazil 18
The sixth Vice-President was elected at a second ballot with 22 votes.
Vice-Presidents ex Officio As Chairmen Of The Committees
The Rt Hon
The Secretary-General Of The League
The Hon. Sir Eric Drummond
The General Committee of the Assembly was constituted of the President and the 12 Vice-Presidents with Sir Eric Drummond, the Secretary-General.
Constitutional questions Chairman: The Right Hon. A.J. Balfour (British Empire)
Technical Organisations Chairman: H.E. M Tittoni (Italy)
Permanent Court of International Justice
Chairman: H.E. M.
Organisation of the Secretariat and Finances of the League Chairman: H.E. M. Quinones de Léon (Spain)
Admission of New Members into the League Chairman: H.E. M. Huneeus Gana (Chile)
Mandates Questions, Armaments, and the Economic Weapon Chairman: H.E. M. Branting (Sweden)
The League Council acted as a type of executive body directing the
Assembly's business. The Council began with four permanent members
The United Kingdom , France, Italy, Japan) and four non-permanent
members which were elected by the Assembly for a three-year period.
The first four non-permanent members were
List Of Council Sessions, 1920
SESSION PLACE DATES
First Paris 16 January 1920
Second London 11 – 13 February 1920
Third Paris 12 – 13 March 1920
Fourth Paris 9 – 11 April 1920
Fifth Rome 14 – 19 May 1920
Sixth London 14–16 June 1920
Seventh London 9 – 20 July 1920
Eighth San Sebastian 30 July – 5 August 1920
Ninth Paris 16 – 20 September 1920
Tenth Brussels 20 – 28 October 1920
The first session of the Council was held in Paris at the Ministry of foreign Affairs (Salle de l’Horloge) on 16 January 1920. The following members of the League were represented: Belgium, Brazil, The British empire, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, and Spain. The French representative, Mr Léon Bourgeois, was elected as the first Chairman of the Council. The second session of the Council was held in London at St. James’s Palace on 11 Feb 1920. The following members of the League were represented: Belgium, Brazil, The British Empire, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, and Spain. The British Empire was represented by the right Honourable A.J. Balfour, who was elected as President. The Secretary General of the League, Sir Eric Drummond, was also present, and assisted in the preparation of the agenda and relevant documents. The third session of the Council was held at the Quai d’Osrsay in Paris on 13 Mar 1920. The following members of the League were represented: Belgium, Brazil, The British Empire, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, and Spain. In accordance with Art. VI of the Covenant, M. Zamoisky, ambassador of Poland in Paris, sat as a member during the discussion concerning Poland, namely the typhus in Poland. The fourth session of the Council was held at the Palais du Petit-Luxembourg in Paris on 9–11 April 1920. The following members of the League were represented: Belgium, Brazil, The British Empire, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, and Spain. The main issues discussed were: the status of Armenia, the protection of minorities in Turkey, the repatriation of prisoners of war in Siberia, and the question of Danzig. The fifth session of the Council was held at the Palaso Chigi in Rome on 15 May 1920. The President of the session was the Italian representative, Mr Tittoni. The main issues discussed were: the Traffic in Women and Children, the question of Eupen and Malmedy, prevention of disease in Central Europe, the International Committee of Jurists, and the Prisoners in Siberia. The second public meeting was held at the Capitol on 19 May 1920.
Permanent Members Of The Council
PERIOD PERMANENT MEMBERS NOTES
1920–1926 United Kingdom, France, Italy, Japan See Art. 4, Para I of the Covenant
1926–1933 United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan See Assembly Resolution of 8 Sep 1926, Official Journal, Special Supplement 43, p. 29 on Germany
1933–1934 United Kingdom, France, Italy On 27 Mar 1933 Japan announced its withdrawing, Official Journal, May 1933, p. 657; On 19 Oct 1933 Germany announced its withdrawing, Official Journal, Jan 1934, p. 16
1934–1937 United Kingdom, France, Italy, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics See Assembly Resolution of 18 Sep 1934, on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
1937–1939 United Kingdom, France, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics On 14 Dec 1939 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was excluded from the League under Art. 16, Para 4 of the Covenant
1939–1946 United Kingdom, France
Nonpermanent Members Of The Council
The number of nonpermanent members of the Council was set at four by Art. 4, Para I of the Covenant. They were to be selected by the Assembly from time to time at its discretion. The number of nonpermanent members of the Council was increased from four to six by Assembly resolution of 25 Sep 1922. In 1926 the membership was further increased to nine. In 1933 the number of nonpermanent seats on the Council was provisionally increased from nine to ten. A further increase to eleven was approved by the assembly in 1936.
List Of States Nonpermanent Members Of The Council
NONPERMANENT MEMBER PERIOD NOTES
Belgium 1920–1927, 1937–1940
Chile 1926–1929, 1934–1937
China 1920–1923, 1926–1928, 1931–1934, 1936
Czechoslovakia 1923–1927, 1932–1935
Dominican Republic 1938–1939
El Salvador 1926
Greece 1920, 1938–1939
Iran 1928–1931, 1937–1939
New Zealand 1936–1939
Peru 1929–1932, 1937–1939
Roumania 1926–1929, 1935–1939
South Africa 1939
Spain 1920–1926, 1928–1937
Sweden 1923–1926, 1936–1939
Yugoslavia 1929–1932, 1938–1939
Unanimity was required for the decisions of both the Assembly and the Council , except in matters of procedure and some other specific cases, such as the admission of new Members. This general regulation concerning unanimity was the recognition of national sovereignty.
The League sought solution by consent and not by dictation. However, in case of the dispute, the consent of the parties to the dispute was not required for unanimity. Where the reference of a dispute was made to the Assembly, a decision required the consent of the majority only of the Assembly, but including all the Members of the Council.
The Covenant implied the establishment of auxiliary bodies for
various questions of a more or less technical character. The League
oversaw the Permanent Court of International Justice, the
International Labour Organization
PERMANENT COURT OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE
Permanent Court of International Justice
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION
International Labour Organization
The ILO, although having the same Members as the League and subjected to the budget control of the Assembly, was an autonomous organisation with its own Governing Body, its own General Conference and its own Secretariat. Its constitution was different from that of the League: representation had been accorded not only to Governments but to representatives of employers and workers’ organisations.
ORGANISATIONS ARISING FROM THE COVENANT
The Covenant left a broad discretion to the Council and the Assembly in constituting the auxiliary organs. The accomplishment of the numerous tasks delegated to the League necessitated the creation of two main types of auxiliary bodies: • Technical organizations dealing with finance and economics, transit, and health; and • Advisory committees, dealing with military questions, disarmament, mandates, traffic in women and children, intellectual cooperation etc.
The League's health organization had three bodies, a Health Bureau,
containing permanent officials of the League, an executive section the
General Advisory Council or Conference consisting of medical experts,
and a Health Committee. The Committee's purpose was to conduct
inquiries, oversee the operation of the League's health work, and get
work ready to be presented to the Council. This body focused on
ending leprosy , malaria and yellow fever , the latter two by starting
an international campaign to exterminate mosquitoes . The Health
Organization also worked successfully with the government of the
Since the beginning of its work, the League has been called upon, as one of its political, administrative and humanitarian duties, to exercise a sort of indirect guardianship over certain people not yet able to stand by themselves. Indeed, the Art. 22 of the Covenant entrusted the mandate to administer these territories to "advanced nations" who "can best undertake this responsibility". The principle of the "well-being and development" was to be the guideline of all the Powers governing native people.
The Mandate Commission
Supervision and execution of the Mandates
Results of the Mandate system
Economic And Financial Organization
After the end of the war, the economic and financial conditions in all European countries were close to total collapse. Within this context, the League organized a large conference in Brussels in September – October 1920. The goal was to find a solution to monetary problems and facilitate the circulation of goods and funds. Following the conference the League established an Economic and Financial Organisation, including several Committees (Financial, Economic, Fiscal, Statistical). During the following years the League assisted many European countries: Austria, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, etc. The Fiscal Committee discussed several general issues related to double taxation and tax evasion. The works of the Economic Committee comprised the treatment of foreign nationals and enterprises, abolition of the prohibition and restrictions on imports and exports, unification of customs nomenclature, bill of exchange, unification of statistical methods, trade policy, veterinary medicines, international industrial agreements, problems of coal, sugar problems, issue of smuggling in general and alcohol, in particular, and indirect protectionism. In October 1929 the Great Depression started in the USA and soon contaminated Europe. In 1933, the LON organized a new Economic Conference in London to find a common solution to the protection of national economies. The conflict between the international political goals of the major powers and their views on economic welfare prevented from any concerted solution.
Transit, Transport And Communications
The rapid growth in communications and transit, by land, sea and air, has led to rapidly expanding technical activities of the League regarding those issues. The introduction of mass production systems organized into assembly lines and based on standardized models, hugely contributed to the development of transport and communications. The LON created its Organisation for Communication and Transit in 1921. Its General Conference included all Member States while the Committee had 18 members. The conferences of Barcelona 1921, and Geneva 1923 concluded with conventions on the international regulation of maritime ports, waterways, and railroads. Technical assistance was provided to Member states as well as help with arbitration disputes concerning transit. The Organisation for Communication and Transit accomplished useful works and made laws that will be retained in the future work of the United Nations.
International Committee On Intellectual Cooperation
Main article: International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation
League of Nations
The International Commission for Intellectual Cooperation was created
in 1922. Its first president,
The supervision of the traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs may be considered as one of the most important social and humanitarian activity of the League. Before the creation of the League, there existed an international Convention – the Hague Convention of 1912 – that never entered into force.
The signatories of the
Treaty of Versailles
The Geneva Convention of 1925 supplemented and extended that of The
Hague. It rendered the import certificates compulsory, and provided
for more effective supervision of production and international trade.
The Convention further provided for the setting up of a Permanent
In 1931 the Assembly summoned a Conference that deliberated in favor of limiting the national manufacturing of narcotics as the only way to make sure that no margin was left for illicit traffic.
Advisory Committee On The Traffic In Women And Children
The rapid development of international transport during the 19th century, not only increased the number of emigrants, but also enabled traffickers of women to organize their despicable trade on more ambitious, almost worldwide lines. By 1910 the states undertook to punish traffickers, even if they had committed offenses in other countries. The league joined its efforts to those of private organizations and governments. An enquiry was held and the league set to work to secure an extension of state obligations. In 1921 a convention was adopted strengthening the measures against trafficking. The Committee on the Traffic in Women and Children was created. The annual reports of governments, combined with those of big private organizations working on parallel lines, enabled the committee to carry on its work of coordination and supervision.
The league has considered the problem of slavery and set about
securing information from various governments since 1922. Few years
later, a convention was drawn up in view of hastening the total
abolition of slavery and the slave trade. The
Commission For Refugees
In 1921 they helped to assist the approximately 1.5 million people
who fled the Russian Revolution of 1917. In April 1920, there were
more than half a million prisoners of war , most of them in
The Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments of 1932–1934 (sometimes World Disarmament Conference or Geneva Disarmament Conference) was an effort by member states of the League of Nations, together with the U.S., to actualize the ideology of disarmament. It took place in the Swiss city of Geneva, ostensibly between 1930 and 1934, but more correctly until May 1937.
The first effort at international arms limitation was made at the
Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907, which had failed in their primary
objective. Although many contemporary commentators (and Article 231 of
the Treaty of Versailles) had blamed the outbreak of the First World
War on the war guilt of Germany, historians writing in the 1930s began
to emphasize the fast-paced arms race preceding 1914. Further, all the
major powers except the US had committed themselves to disarmament in
Treaty of Versailles
A preparatory commission was initiated by the League in 1925; by 1931, there was sufficient support to hold a conference, which duly began under the chairmanship of former British Foreign Secretary Arthur Henderson. The motivation behind the talks can be summed up by an extract from the message President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent to the conference: "If all nations will agree wholly to eliminate from possession and use the weapons which make possible a successful attack, defences automatically will become impregnable and the frontiers and independence of every nation will become secure."
The talks were beset by a number of difficulties from the outset. Among these were disagreements over what constituted "offensive" and "defensive" weapons, and the polarization of France and Germany. The increasingly military-minded German governments could see no reason why their country could not enjoy the same level of armaments as other powers, especially France. The French, for their part, were equally insistent that German military inferiority was their only insurance from future conflict as serious as they had endured in the First World War. As for the British and US governments, they were unprepared to offer the additional security commitments that France requested in exchange for limitation of French armaments.
The talks broke down and Hitler withdrew Germany from both the
Conference and the
League of Nations
Committee For The Study Of The Legal Status Of Women
In 1935, the
League of Nations
To conduct this study, the Committee for the Study of the Legal
Status of Women was appointed to design a questionnaire to submit to
three scientific institutes: the Institut de Droit Comparé and the
Institut de Droit Penal in Paris and the Institute of Private Law at
Rome. The Institute de Droit Comparé was enlisted to study women's
franchise, access to educational facilities and similar questions. The
Institut de Droit Penal was assigned questions of penal and criminal
laws related to women, and the Institute of Private Law focused on
divorce, domicile rights and similar questions. Additionally, after
much discussion, the Committee agreed to employ interested women's
organizations who had already been conducting studies on the legal
status of women for some time. While the work was left incomplete
because of the outbreak of the Second World War, the study provided a
foundation upon which the
The first meeting of the Committee of Experts for the Study of the Legal Status of Women Around the World was held in Geneva on 4 April 1938. They met again in January 1939 before disbanding. The members were Mme. Suzanne Bastid of France, professor of law at the University of Lyon; M. de Ruelle of Belgium, legal adviser for the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration; Mme. Anka Godjevac of Yugoslavia, adviser of the Yugoslav delegation at the 1930 Codification Conference; Mr. H. C. Gutteridge of the United Kingdom, professor of comparative law at the University of Cambridge. Gutteridge was elected chair of the Committee; Mlle. Kerstin Hesselgren of Sweden, member of the Second Chamber of the Swedish Reichstag and Rapporteur of the Committee; Ms. Dorothy Kenyon of the United States, doctor of law, member of the New York Bar and legal adviser to a number of national organizations; M. Paul Sebasteyan of Hungary, counselor and head of the Treatise Division the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Mr. McKinnon Wood of the United Kingdom who served as Secretariat of the Committee.
PROTECTION OF MINORITIES
The work of drawing up draft treaties for the protection of
minorities in the States of Eastern Europe was entrusted with the
Commission on New States set up at the Peace Conference at Paris on 1
The ten treaties containing provisions concerning minorities:
I. The Treaty of 28 June 1919, between the Principal Allied and
Associated Powers and Poland, (signed at Versailles, 28 June 1919), in
force from 10 January I920, placed under the guarantee of the League
of Nations, 13 February 1920.
II. 2. The Treaty of 10 September 1919, between the Principal Allied
and Associated Powers and Czechoslovakia, placed under the guarantee
of the League of Nations, 29 November 1920.
III. The Treaty of 10 September 1919, between the Principal Allied
and Associated Powers and the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and
Slovenes, placed under the guarantee of the League of Nations, 29
IV. The Treaty of 9 December 1919, between the Principal Allied and
Associated Powers and Romania, placed under the guarantee of the
League of Nations, 30 August 1920.
V. The Treaty of 10 August 1920, between the Principal Allied Powers
FINANCES OF THE LEAGUE
League of Nations
The total authorized League budgets for the four years 1921–1924 gave an average of 22 757 769 gold francs per year, equivalent to 4 391 187 American dollars. This figure covered not only the League of Nations but also the cost of the Permanent Court of International Justice and the International Labour Organisation .
The average share of the budget for this period was:
League of Nations: 2 178 445 American dollars at par;
International Labour Organisation: 1 350 675 American dollars;
Permanent Court of International Justice: 386 000 American dollars.
FINAL YEARS OF THE LEAGUE
Since the critical setbacks in 1933, the League’s political cooperation became more and more ineffective. Conversely, the technical activities continued to grow.
Thus the Council decided to evaluate the separation of technical and political activities. Committee presided by an Australian Stanley Bruce concluded that fundamental reforms were needed. However, these proposals come to an abrupt halt due to the resignation of the Secretary General, J. Avenol, and the outbreak of the Second World War.
Following the German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, the Secretariat prepared plans for withdrawal. The rapid advance of German armies in 1940 put pressure on the LON to transfer certain activities according to invitations by some government. While the Secretary General stayed in Geneva to symbolize the League’s continuity and Swiss neutrality, the main activities were located elsewhere.
The High Commissioner for Refugees and the Treasury of the
Secretariat were based in London; the
Neither the Assembly nor the Council could meet after December, 1939, so the rest of the League was administered by a Control Commission.
* Article X of the Covenant of the
League of Nations
* ^ Grandjean, Martin (2017). "Analisi e visualizzazioni delle reti
in storia. L\'esempio della cooperazione intellettuale della Società
delle Nazioni". Memoria e Ricerca (2): 371–393. doi :10.14647/87204
. See also: French version (PDF) and English summary.
* ^ A B C D E F
League of Nations
* Archer, Clive (2001). International Organizations. Routledge. ISBN
* Baumslag, Naomi (2005). Murderous Medicine: Nazi Doctors, Human
Experimentation, and Typhus. Praeger. ISBN 978-0-275-98312-3 .
League of Nations
* v * t * e
LEAGUE OF NATIONS
* Covenant of the
League of Nations
TREATY OF VERSAILLES
* War guilt