The series of treaties, signed at Washington in 1914, that established permanent commissions of inquiry. They are named after William Jennings Bryan, the US Secretary of State at the time. Such inquiries were designed to resolve differences between the United States of America and a large number of foreign states. The treaties were not all identical, but had the following key feature in common: the high contracting parties agreed (1) to refer all disputes that diplomatic methods had failed to resolve to a Permanent International Commission for investigation and report, and (2) not to begin hostilities before the report was submitted. See also inquiry.