The Covenant of the League of Nations

Ian Brownlie

in International Law and the Use of Force by States

Published in print March 1963 | ISBN: 9780198251583
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681332 | DOI:
The Covenant of the League of Nations

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This chapter is concerned with the Covenant of the League of Nations and the particular forms assumed by restrictions on resort to force which appeared in that instrument. The Covenant was unsatisfactory in some respects from the legal point of view. The most unfortunate term employed in the Covenant was ‘resort to war’ in Articles 12 and 16. Article 10 of the Covenant contained an undertaking by members to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all members of the League. The practice of the League invites two comments pertinent to this article. First, the attitude of members in the Council and Assembly during discussions of the Manchurian crisis would suggest that they did not accept the view that Article 10 was violated only if the attacking state formally annexed territory. Secondly, reference to the article was not entirely constant. Articles 11 to 17 were primarily concerned with machinery, either for effecting a peaceful settlement, or for imposing sanctions. In contrast, Article 10 stated a general principle that aggression was unlawful.

Keywords: League of Nations; peaceful settlement; territorial integrity; political independence; resort to war; aggression

Chapter.  5760 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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