412 TRANSNATIONAL LAW & CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS [Vol. 20:411]
The U.S. representatives broke ran ks with the majority of states, arguing
against an international criminal court to prosecute Wilhelm II. The United
States signed the Tre aty of Peace on June 28, 1919, but the U.S. Senate
refused to ratify the Treaty of Peace in its original form.
On August 25, 1921,
the United States signed a separate peace treaty with Germany, which the
President ratified o n October 21, 1921,
under which the United States
assumed no responsibility to the League of Nations.
This prevented the
United States from becoming a State Party to the League of Nations.
Seventy-eight years later in Rome, the United State s again broke ranks
with the majority of states in treaty negotiations over the creation of an
international criminal court. In 1998, the United States was o ne of only seven
states th at voted against adopting the treaty that created the International
In 2000, the United States signed the Rome Treaty just as it
had signed the Treaty of Peace in 1919.
However, in 2002, the United States
sent a letter to the Secretary General informing the United Nations that it
did not intend to ratify the Rome Treaty and the United States assumed no
responsibility as a signatory.
Woodrow Wilson signe d the Treaty of Peace on June 28, 1919, and Bill
Clinton authorized the signature o f the Rome Treaty on December 31, 2000.
Both presidents saw value in the treaties that they authorized for signature.
However, Wilson urged the Senate to ratify the Treaty of Peace, while
Clinton did not seek ratification from the Se nate.
The Senate voted against
ratifying the Treaty of Peace in its original form and there is no indication
The United States was the first of the Allied and Associated Powers to sign the Treaty of Peace
on June 28, 1919. The Signing of the Treaty of Peace with Germany at Versailles on June 28th,
1919, at 5, Lansing Papers (on file with Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton
University, Princeton, NJ).
Treaty Restoring Friendly Relations, U.S.-Ger., Aug. 25, 1921, 3 Malloy 2596.
Peace Treaty with Germany is Signed: We Hold Versailles Compact Rights, But Assume No
League Obligations, N.Y. TIMES, Aug. 26, 1921, at 1.
M. Cherif Bassiouni, Negotiating the Treaty of Rome on the Establishment of an International
Criminal Court, 32 CORNELL INT‘L L.J. 443, 459 n.69 (1999); Philippe Kirsch & John T. Holmes,
The Birth of the International Criminal Court: The Rome Conference, 36 CAN. Y.B. INT‘L L. 3, 35
William J. Clinton, Statement on the Rome Treaty of the International Criminal Court,
reprinted in 3 PUB. PAPERS 2816–17 (Dec. 31, 2000) [hereinafter Clinton, Statement on the Rome
Treaty]; see also Sean D. Murphy, U.S. Signing of the Statute of the International Criminal
Court, 95 AM. J. INT‘L L. 392, 399 (2001).
Letter from John R. Bolton, Under Secretary of State, to U.N. Secretary General Regarding the
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Apr. 27, 2002), reprinted in 41 I.L.M. 1014
(2002); see also Jonathan Wright, U.S. Renounces Obligations to International Court, REUTERS,
May 6, 2002, at 2.
In his statement on the United States signing the Rome Treaty, President Clinton stated, ―I
will not, and do not recommend that my successor, submit the treaty to the Senate for advice and
consent until our fundamental concerns are satisfied.‖ Clinton, Statement on the Rome Treaty,
supra note 8, at 4817.