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Herman Adriaan Van Karnebeek

(b. 1874)


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(b. The Hague, 21 Aug. 1874; d. The Hague, 29 Mar. 1942)

Netherlandish; Minister of Foreign Affairs 1918–27 Van Karnebeek studied law in Utrecht, and his career was strongly influenced by his father, A. P. C. Van Karnebeek, a prominent statesman, diplomat, deputy, and Minister of Foreign Affairs. The father introduced the son as clerk to the first Peace Conference in The Hague (1899). At the second Peace Conference (1907) Van Karnebeek was assistant delegate. He worked at the Ministry of Colonial Affairs from 1901 till 1911. His administrative qualities and his experience at the peace conferences contributed to his appointment as burgomaster of The Hague (1911–18), which housed the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the World Court.

Not belonging to a political party, he became Minister of Foreign Affairs in three successive Cabinets, mainly composed of the major religious parties (1918–27). His first task was to prepare the reorganization of the ministry, replacing a passive policy of neutrality with a more active international stance. His diplomacy did much to restore the international prestige of the Netherlands, which had fallen because of its neutrality in the First World War. Like his father he was a strong advocate of international arbitration. In his view arbitration, collective security, and disarmament were strongly connected. In 1921 Van Karnebeek led the Dutch delegation to the disarmament conference in Washington. He also was chairman of the Second Assembly of the League of Nations.

His political career ended when a proposed treaty with Belgium was defeated in the Upper House in 1927. He was appointed Minister van Staat. In 1928 he became Governor of the province of South Holland. Nationally and internationally he continued to play a role in arbitration matters. From 1930 till 1932 he was chairman of the Association for the League of Nations and Peace. In 1935 he became a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and in 1936 chairman of the Carnegie-Foundation which administers the Peace Palace in The Hague.

Subjects: Politics.


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