THE COVENANT OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS
(Including Amendments adopted to December, 1924)
THE HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES,
In order to promote international co-operation and to achieve international
peace and security
by the acceptance of obligations not to resort to war,
by the prescription of open, just and honourable relations between
by the firm establishment of the understandings of international law
as the actual rule of conduct among Governments, and
by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty
obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another,
Agree to this Covenant of the League of Nations.
The original Members of the League of Nations shall be those of the
Signatories which are named in the Annex to this Covenant and also such of
those other States named in the Annex as shall accede without reservation
to this Covenant. Such accession shall be effected by a Declaration
deposited with the Secretariat within two months of the coming into force
of the Covenant. Notice thereof shall be sent to all other Members of the
Any fully self-governing State, Dominion or Colony not named in the Annex
may become a Member of the League if its admission is agreed to by
two-thirds of the Assembly, provided that it shall give effective
guarantees of its sincere intention to observe its international
obligations, and shall accept such regulations as may be prescribed by the
League in regard to its military, naval and air forces and armaments.
Any Member of the League may, after two years' notice of its intention so
to do, withdraw from the League, provided that all its international
obligations and all its obligations under this Covenant shall have been
fulfilled at the time of its withdrawal.
The action of the League under this Covenant shall be effected through the
instrumentality of an Assembly and of a Council, with a permanent
The Assembly shall consist of Representatives of the Members of the League.
The Assembly shall meet at stated intervals and from time to time as
occasion may require at the Seat of the League or at such other place as
may be decided upon.
The Assembly may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of
action of the League or affecting the peace of the world.
At meetings of the Assembly each Member of the League shall have one vote,
and may have not more than three Representatives.
The Council shall consist of Representatives of the Principal Allied and
Associated Powers, together with Representatives of four other Members of
the League. These four Members of the League shall be selected by the
Assembly from time to time in its discretion. Until the appointment of the
Representatives of the four Members of the League first selected by the
Assembly, Representatives of Belgium, Brazil, Spain and Greece shall be
members of the Council.
With the approval of the majority of the Assembly, the Council may name
additional Members of the League whose Representatives shall always be
members of the Council; the Council, with like approval may increase the
number of Members of the League to be selected by the Assembly for
representation on the Council.
The Council shall meet from time to time as occasion may require, and at
least once a year, at the Seat of the League, or at such other place as may
be decided upon.
The Council may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of
action of the League or affecting the peace of the world.
Any Member of the League not represented on the Council shall be invited to
send a Representative to sit as a member at any meeting of the Council
during the consideration of matters specially affecting the interests of
that Member of the League.
At meetings of the Council, each Member of the League represented on the
Council shall have one vote, and may have not more than one Representative.
Except where otherwise expressly provided in this Covenant or by the terms
of the present Treaty, decisions at any meeting of the Assembly or of the
Council shall require the agreement of all the Members of the League
represented at the meeting.
All matters of procedure at meetings of the Assembly or of the Council,
including the appointment of Committees to investigate particular matters,
shall be regulated by the Assembly or by the Council and may be decided by
a majority of the Members of the League represented at the meeting.
The first meeting of the Assembly and the first meeting of the Council
shall be summoned by the President of the United States of America.
The permanent Secretariat shall be established at the Seat of the League.
The Secretariat shall comprise a Secretary General and such secretaries and
staff as may be required.
The first Secretary General shall be the person named in the Annex;
thereafter the Secretary General shall be appointed by the Council with the
approval of the majority of the Assembly.
The secretaries and staff of the Secretariat shall be appointed by the
Secretary General with the approval of the Council.
The Secretary General shall act in that capacity at all meetings of the
Assembly and of the Council.
The expenses of the League shall be borne by the Members of the League in
the proportion decided by the Assembly.
The Seat of the League is established at Geneva.
The Council may at any time decide that the Seat of the League shall be
All positions under or in connection with the League, including the
Secretariat, shall be open equally to men and women.
Representatives of the Members of the League and officials of the League
when engaged on the business of the League shall enjoy diplomatic
privileges and immunities.
The buildings and other property occupied by the League or its officials or
by Representatives attending its meetings shall be inviolable.
The Members of the League recognise that the maintenance of peace requires
the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with
national safety and the enforcement by common action of international
The Council, taking account of the geographical situation and circumstances
of each State, shall formulate plans for such reduction for the
consideration and action of the several Governments.
Such plans shall be subject to reconsideration and revision at least every
After these plans shall have been adopted by the several Governments, the
limits of armaments therein fixed shall not be exceeded without the
concurrence of the Council.
The Members of the League agree that the manufacture by private enterprise
of munitions and implements of war is open to grave objections. The Council
shall advise how the evil effects attendant upon such manufacture can be
prevented, due regard being had to the necessities of those Members of the
League which are not able to manufacture the munitions and implements of
war necessary for their safety.
The Members of the League undertake to interchange full and frank
information as to the scale of their armaments, their military, naval and
air programmes and the condition of such of their industries as are
adaptable to war-like purposes.
A permanent Commission shall be constituted to advise the Council on the
execution of the provisions of Articles 1 and 8 and on military, naval and
air questions generally.
The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against
external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political
independence of all Members of the League. In case of any such aggression
or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall
advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.
Any war or threat of war, whether immediately affecting any of the Members
of the League or not, is hereby declared a matter of concern to the whole
League, and the League shall take any action that may be deemed wise and
effectual to safeguard the peace of nations. In case any such emergency
should arise the Secretary General shall on the request of any Member of
the League forthwith summon a meeting of the Council.
It is also declared to be the friendly right of each Member of the League
to bring to the attention of the Assembly or of the Council any
circumstance whatever affecting international relations which threatens to
disturb international peace or the good understanding between nations upon
which peace depends.
The Members of the League agree that, if there should arise between them
any dispute likely to lead to a rupture they will submit the matter either
to arbitration or judicial settlement or to enquiry by the Council, and
they agree in no case to resort to war until three months after the award
by the arbitrators or the judicial decision, or the report by the Council.
In any case under this Article the award of the arbitrators or the judicial
decision shall be made within a reasonable time, and the report of the
Council shall be made within six months after the submission of the
The Members of the League agree that whenever any dispute shall arise
between them which they recognise to be suitable for submission to
arbitration or judicial settlement and which cannot be satisfactorily
settled by diplomacy, they will submit the whole subject-matter to
arbitration or judicial settlement.
Disputes as to the interpretation of a treaty, as to any question of
international law, as to the existence of any fact which if established
would constitute a breach of any international obligation, or as to the
extent and nature of the reparation to be made for any such breach, are
declared to be among those which are generally suitable for submission to
arbitration or judicial settlement.
For the consideration of any such dispute, the court to which the case is
referred shall be the Permanent Court of International Justice, established
in accordance with Article 14, or any tribunal agreed on by the parties to
the dispute or stipulated in any convention existing between them.
The Members of the League agree that they will carry out in full good faith
any award or decision that may be rendered, and that they will not resort
to war against a Member of the League which complies therewith. In the
event of any failure to carry out such an award or decision, the Council
shall propose what steps should be taken to give effect thereto.
The Council shall formulate and submit to the Members of the League for
adoption plans for the establishment of a Permanent Court of International
Justice. The Court shall be competent to hear and determine any dispute of
an international character which the parties thereto submit to it. The
Court may also give an advisory opinion upon any dispute or question
referred to it by the Council or by the Assembly.
If there should arise between Members of the League any dispute likely to
lead to a rupture, which is not submitted to arbitration or judicial
settlement in accordance with Article 13, the Members of the League agree
that they will submit the matter to the Council. Any party to the dispute
may effect such submission by giving notice of the existence of the dispute
to the Secretary General, who will make all necessary arrangements for a
full investigation and consideration thereof.
For this purpose the parties to the dispute will communicate to the
Secretary General, as promptly as possible, statements of their case with
all the relevant facts and papers, and the Council may forthwith direct the
The Council shall endeavour to effect a settlement of the dispute, and if
such efforts are successful, a statement shall be made public giving such
facts and explanations regarding the dispute and the terms of settlement
thereof as the Council may deem appropriate.
If the dispute is not thus settled, the Council either unanimously or by a
majority vote shall make and publish a report containing a statement of the
facts of the dispute and the recommendations which are deemed just and
proper in regard thereto.
Any Member of the League represented on the Council may make public a
statement of the facts of the dispute and of its conclusions regarding the
If a report by the Council is unanimously agreed to by the members thereof
other than the Representatives of one or more of the parties to the
dispute, the Members of the League agree that they will not go to war with
any party to the dispute which complies with the recommendations of the
If the Council fails to reach a report which is unanimously agreed to by
the members thereof, other than the Representatives of one or more of the
parties to the dispute, the Members of the League reserve to themselves the
right to take such action as they shall consider necessary for the
maintenance of right and justice.
If the dispute between the parties is claimed by one of them, and is found
by the Council, to arise out of a matter which by international law is
solely within the domestic jurisdiction of that party, the Council shall so
report, and shall make no recommendation as to its settlement.
The Council may in any case under this Article refer the dispute to the