Kellogg-Briand Pact

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps

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The Kellogg-Briand Pact, also known as the Pact of Paris, was a treaty that attempted to outlaw war (46 Stat. 2343, T.S. No. 796, 94 L.N.T.S. 57). The treaty was drafted by France and the United States, and on August 27, 1928, was signed by fifteen nations. By 1933 sixty-five nations had pledged to observe its provisions.

Kellogg-Briand contained no sanctions against countries that might breach its provisions. Instead, the treaty was based on the hope that diplomacy and the weight of world opinion would be powerful enough to prevent nations from resorting to the use of force. This soon proved to be a false hope; though Germany, Italy, and Japan were all signatories, the treaty did not prevent them from committing aggressions that led to WORLD WAR II.

The origin of the Kellogg-Briand Pact was a message that the French foreign minister, Aristide Briand, addressed to the citizens of the United States on April 6, 1927, the tenth anniversary of the United States' entrance into WORLD WAR I. In this message Briand announced France's willingness to join the United States in an agreement mutually outlawing war. Such an agreement, Briand stated, would "greatly contribute in the eyes of the world to enlarge and fortify the foundation on which the international policy of peace is being erected." Briand's overture to the United States was part of a larger campaign that France was waging to form strategic alliances that would improve its national security. In addition, Briand was influenced by recent conversations with Nicholas Murray Butler and James Thomson Shotwell, U.S. academics who were leaders in the burgeoning U.S. political movement to outlaw war, also known as the outlawry movement.

Initially, Briand's offer generated little reaction in the United States. The U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT made no response, apparently considering Briand's statement to be simply an expression of friendship. Not until certain leaders in the peace movement, notably Butler, began to generate widespread public support for Briand's proposal did the government become involved. But by the middle of June 1927, France and the United States had begun diplomatic

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conversations aimed at reaching the sort of agreement Briand had proposed in his address.

On June 20 the State Department received the Draft Pact of Perpetual Friendship between France and the United States, written by Briand and transmitted through the U.S. ambassador in Paris...

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