Great Britain and the Creation of the League of Nations: Strategy, Politics, and International Organization, 1914-1919

By George W. Egerton | Go to book overview

9

Dilemmas of Security

The League of Nations, as it emerged from the peace conference, embodied a multifaceted approach to the promotion of international peace, cooperation, and security. The league provided for the first time permanent political institutions to facilitate peaceful resolution of international disputes. It established new agencies and coordinated many already in existence to further international cooperation in nonpolitical or "functional" areas. It set forth a new code of principles, rights, and obligations to regulate the behavior of nations in international relations. Members pledged to seek agreement on arms limitation, to respect each other's territorial integrity and political independence, and to recognize that any war or threat of war was a matter of concern to the whole league. Each member possessed the "friendly right" to bring any threatening circumstance to the attention of the league. Clear procedures were spelled out on how disputes of a legal or political nature were to be dealt with by the league. Resort to war was forbidden until these procedures had been exhausted. Provision was made for the establishment of a permanent court of international justice. A mandates system was instituted with the league assigned indirect authority to monitor the transition away from traditional imperialism. Finally, the league pledged members to resist collectively any aggression against another member's territory or independence or any resort to war in violation of the procedures stipulated for peaceful resolution of disputes.

Most of the themes written into the covenant had a long history

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