Miller Center

Remarks Upon Proclaiming the Treaty for the Renunciation of War (Kellog-Briand Pact) (July 24, 1929)

Herbert Hoover

IN APRIL 1928, as a result of discussions between our Secretary of State of the United States and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, the President directed Secretary Kellogg to propose to the nations of the world that they should enter into a binding agreement as follows:

"Article 1--The high contracting parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.

"Article 2--The high contracting parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means."

That was a proposal to the conscience and idealism of civilized nations. It suggested a new step in international law, rich with meaning, pregnant with new ideas in the conduct of world relations. It represented a platform from which there is instant appeal to the public opinion of the world as to specific acts and deeds.

The magnificent response of the world to these proposals is well indicated by those now signatory to its provisions. Under the terms of the treaty there have been deposited in Washington the ratifications of the 15 signatory nations--that is, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Irish Free State, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Union of South Africa, and the United States of America.

Beyond this the Treaty has today become effective also with respect to 31 other countries, the Governments of which have deposited with the Government of the United States instruments evidencing their definitive adherence to the Treaty. These countries are: Afghanistan, Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, [p.234] Liberia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Portugal, Peru, Rumania, Russia, Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Siam, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey.

Moreover, according to information received through diplomatic channels, the instruments of definitive adherence of Greece, Honduras, Persia, Switzerland, and Venezuela have been fully completed according to their constitutional methods and are now on the way to Washington for deposit.

I congratulate this assembly, the states it represents, and indeed, the entire world upon the coming into force of this additional instrument of humane endeavor to do away with war as an instrument of national policy and to obtain by pacific means alone the settlement of international disputes.

I am glad of this opportunity to pay merited tribute to the two statesmen whose names the world has properly adopted in its designation of this Treaty. To Aristide Briand, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, we owe the inception of the Treaty and to his zeal is due a very large share of the success which attended the subsequent negotiations. To Frank B. Kellogg, then Secretary of State of the United States, we owe its expansion to the proportions of a treaty open to the entire world and destined, as I most confidently hope, shortly to include among its parties every country of the world.

Mr. Stimson has sent forward today a message of felicitation to M. Briand and to the people of France for whom he speaks. I am happy, Mr. Kellogg, to extend to you, who represented the people of the United States with such untiring devotion and with such a high degree of diplomatic skill in the negotiations of this Treaty, their everlasting gratitude.

We are honored here by the presence of President Coolidge under whose administration this great step in world peace was initiated. Under his authority and with his courageous support you, Mr. Kellogg, succeeded in this great service. And I wish to mark also the high appreciation in which we hold Senators Borah and Swanson for their leadership during its confirmation in the Senate.

May I ask you who represent governments which have accepted this Treaty, now a part of their supreme law and their most sacred obligations, to convey to them the high appreciation of the Government of the United States that through their cordial collaboration an act so auspicious for the future happiness of mankind has now been consummated. 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. The magnificent opportunity and the compelling duty now open to us should spur us on to the fulfillment of every opportunity that is calculated to implement this Treaty and to extend the policy which it so nobly sets forth.

I have today proclaimed the Treaty to the American people in language as follows:

"Whereas a Treaty between the President of the United States of America, the President of the German Reich, His Majesty the King of the Belgians, the President of the French Republic, His Majesty the King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Emperor of India, His Majesty the King of Italy, His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, the President of the Republic of Poland, and the President of the Czechoslovak Republic, providing for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy and that the solution of disputes among Parties shall never be sought except by pacific means, was concluded and signed by their respective Plenipotentiaries at Paris on August twenty-seven, 1928,

"And whereas it is stipulated in the said Treaty that it shall take effect as between the High Contracting Parties as soon as all the several instruments of ratification shall have been deposited at Washington,

"And whereas the said Treaty has been duly ratified on the parts of all the High Contracting Parties and their several instruments of ratification have been deposited with the Government of the United States of America, the last on July twenty-fourth, 1929;

"Now, therefore, be it known that I, Herbert Hoover, President of the United States of America, have caused the said Treaty to be made public to the end that the same and every article and clause thereof may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof.

"In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

"Done in the city of Washington this twenty-fourth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and twenty-nine and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and fifty-fourth."