This paper sets out to examine the circumstances which gave rise to the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War signed at Paris in 1928 (referred to hereafter as "The Pact of Paris" or "the Treaty"). It will look at the terms of the Pact of Paris itself, and consider some of the effects of the Pact on International Institutions.
The Pact of Paris is a remarkably brief document, containing a short preamble and two clauses. By those clauses, 63 States renounced the use of war as an instrument of national policy but retained their right to wage wars of self-defence. This paper will focus on one relatively narrow issue raised by the Pact, namely: What effect, if any, in international law did the Pact of Paris have on the concept of a just, as opposed to an injust, war.
It will examine views expressed by some lawyers, politicians, diplomats, historians and authors of the effect of the Pact of Paris on the obligations owed to the international community by the adhering States.
The paper will chiefly concern itself with commentators' views of the lawfulness or otherwise of aggressive wars in the period from the end of World War I to 1 September 1939, when World War II effectively commenced with the invasion of Poland by Germany.
After World War II the International Military Tribunal met at Nuremburg and tried several former high ranking people in the National Socialist Government of Germany. That Tribunal handed down an historic and far-reaching decision which has had an important effect upon the way in which history has treated the Pact of Paris. The principles enunciated at Nuremburg additionally had an effect upon the International Military Tribunal for the Far East which sat in Tokyo, Japan, and continued for some two years after the Nuremburg trials had been completed.
This paper will examine and, if possible, attempt to identify the relevant International Law rules generally accepted by civilized nations as the appropriate law on aggressive wars as at I September 1939. Space does not permit treatment of the Si no-Japanese dispute concerning Manchuria nor will reference be made to any of the large volume of written commentary on the Pact of Paris which appeared after the commencement of World War II.
International attempts to cope with, or minimize, aggressive war will be reviewed, including the Covenants of the League of Nations and the English and American peace movements. In addition, the European Pacts of Geneva and Locarno and the Habana Conference will be examined.
The League of Nations proposals which, together with the Kel1ogg-Briand proposals, formed the basis for the Pact of Paris, will then be discussed, followed by an examination of the comments and reservations of the States involved in the Treaty.
There will then be an analysis of the Pact itself and of its Implications for the International law rules relating to war. Finally, a conclusion is expressed as to the perceived effect of the Pact of Paris on the legality of waging aggressive wars as at the outbreak of World War II.