a STORY OF FAILURE
1921: Washington Naval Conference
1921: Temporary Mixed Commission on Armaments
1923: Draft Treaty of Mutual Assistance
1928: Kellogg-Briand Pact
1932: Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments (and click here for some good cartoons)
Article 8 of the League's Covenant gave the League the task of reducing armaments ‘to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations’.
Nations were anxious to find ways to cut the huge costs of armaments, as well as agreeing in principle with disarmament. (As President Roosevelt of the USA said in 1931: ‘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.’)
A start was made in at the
Washington Naval Conference of 1921,
Temporary Mixed Commission on Armaments
was set up by the
The Commission on Armaments
draft Treaty of
Mutual Assistance in 1923,
which proposed to make a war of aggression illegal; if a country was
attacked, all countries of the League would send troops to defend it.
It was discussed at the League’s Assembly
of September 1923.
But the Assembly rejected the draft treaty
after objections from
Therefore, the League set
Preparatory Commission for the
Disarmament Conference, being a Commission to prepare for a Conference on
the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments.
The size of the different countries’ armies
at this time was –
Faced with this, therefore, the French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand and the US Secretary of State Frank B Kellogg worked outside the League of Nations to persuade 65 nations to sign the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War, also known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact (August 1928), in which all the signatories agreed to condemn war as a means of settling disputes. At the time, it was looked on as a turning point in history, but in effect it achieved nothing. Of course everybody disapproved of an aggressive war – but the Pact said nothing about what would happen if a country was attacked. Although at the time it failed to prevent war, the United Nations Charter states 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’.
After six years of
for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments of 1932-37
(sometimes called the World
Disarmament Conference or Geneva
Disarmament Conference) eventually met in