The document presented here is the archival copy of the Protocol for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which was adopted by resolution of the Assembly of the League of Nations at its fifth session on October 1, 1924, and opened for signature by member states on the following day. The last four pages of the document contain the dated signatures of the ambassadors of 19 countries that adhered to the protocol. They included France, Belgium, and other European countries, Ethiopia, and several countries in Latin America. Article 10 of the Covenant of the League of Nations stipulated that the members of the League would “undertake to respect and preserve against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all members of the League.” France, which feared a revival of German power after World War I, sought stronger and more precise commitments from other powers, Great Britain in particular, to action in the face of external aggression. The protocol, negotiated mainly by the governments of Prime Ministers Ramsay MacDonald of Britain and Édouard Herriot of France, required signatory states to submit international disputes to the Permanent Court of International Justice or to a Committee of Arbitrators. Any state that resorted to war without having submitted a dispute to these mechanisms would be labeled an aggressor and made subject to economic sanctions imposed by the League. Signatory states also were bound to provide military assistance to a country attacked by an aggressor. Fearful of entangling commitments in continental Europe, Britain in the end chose not to sign the protocol, and the French and British eventually turned to the Locarno Pact of 1925 as an alternate means of pursuing collective security in Europe. This document is preserved in the archives of the League, which were transferred to the United Nations in 1946 and are housed at the UN office in Geneva. They were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2010.
References: James W. Garner, “The Geneva Protocol for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes,” American Journal of International Law 19, number 1 (January 1925).
Institution: United Nations Office at Geneva Library