Kellogg-Briand Pact

Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Frank B. Kellogg, standing, with representatives of the governments who have ratified the Treaty for Renunciation of War (Kellogg-Briand Pact), in the East Room of the White House

The Kellogg-Briand Pact was developed to outlaw was. It started as a bilateral French-American accord, but 14 nations signed up immediately and 62 eventually signed. The treaty marked the high point of idealism in the pursuit of peace.

The anti-war feelings that followed the end of World War I coalesced around an effort to outlaw war. Two of the leaders of the movement were Dr. Nicholas Butler, President of Columbia University, and Professor James Shotwall. They worked hard to develop support for the idea. While visiting France, Shotwall convinced the French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand of the importance of outlawing war. Briand then wrote a direct appeal to the American people to accept the idea.

President Coolidge and Secretary of State Kellogg were unhappy with this direct appeal to the American people. They were also concerned that the pact would result in tying the United States into some sort of indirect alliance with the French.

The United States made a counterproposal to make this a multilateral treaty involving many nations who would outlaw war.
The French, after initially rejecting the idea, agreed. On August 27, 1928, representatives of 15 nations met in Paris and signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact. All of the major powers, except Russia, signed this agreement, alternately known as the Pact of Paris.

The treaty had two main provisions. It renounced war as an instrument of national policy and stated that nations should resolve their disputes by pacifist means. The agreement was the high point in the peace movement. After its ratification by the Senate (85 to 1) as well as the ratification of other states, President Hoover announced that the treaty was now in force. He stated: "I dare predict that the influence of the Treaty for the Renunciation of War will be felt in a large proportion of all future international acts."

Within 12 years, all of the signatories were involved in the world's largest war in history.