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Kellogg-Briand Pact

Kellogg-Briand Pact (brēäNˈ) [key], agreement, signed Aug. 27, 1928, condemning "recourse to war for the solution of international controversies." It is more properly known as the Pact of Paris. In June, 1927, Aristide Briand, foreign minister of France, proposed to the U.S. government a treaty outlawing war between the two countries. Frank B. Kellogg, the U.S. Secretary of State, returned a proposal for a general pact against war, and after prolonged negotiations the Pact of Paris was signed by 15 nations—Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, the Irish Free State, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, and the United States. The contracting parties agreed that settlement of all conflicts, no matter of what origin or nature, that might arise among them should be sought only by pacific means and that war was to be renounced as an instrument of national policy. Although 62 nations ultimately ratified the pact, its effectiveness was vitiated by its failure to provide measures of enforcement. The Kellogg-Briand Pact was given an unenthusiastic reception by many countries. The U.S. Senate, ratifying the treaty with only one dissenting vote, still insisted that there must be no curtailment of America's right of self-defense and that the United States was not compelled to take action against countries that broke the treaty. The pact never made a meaningful contribution to international order, although it was invoked in 1929 with some success, when China and the USSR reached a tense moment over possession of the Chinese Eastern RR in Manchuria. Ultimately, however, the pact proved to be meaningless, especially with the practice of waging undeclared wars in the 1930s (e.g., the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, and the German occupation of Austria in 1938).

See R. H. Ferrell, Peace in Their Time (1952, repr. 1968).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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