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The General Principles Governing the Termination of a Mandate

  • Luther Harris Evans (a1)


The problem of the withdrawal of the mandates system from a territory subject to a League of Nations mandate under Article 22 of the Covenant has aroused considerable academic controversy for a decade. Not until quite recently, however, did the problem receive a comprehensive investigation and solution by official organs of the League of Nations. The present article has the purpose of setting forth the pertinent facts of this investigation, and the general principles adopted as a result thereof, governing termination of mandates.



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1 The C mandates were approved by the Council on Dec. 17, 1920; the B mandates were approved on July 20, 1922; the Palestine and Syria (A) mandates went into effect on Sept. 29, 1923; and the first “decision” on Iraq was made by the Council on Sept. 27, 1924.

2 Permanent Mandates Commission, Minutes, hereafter cited at P. M. C. Minutes, 3, pp. 311–312.

3 P. M. C. Minutes, 5, pp. 177–178.

4 The recommendations of the commission differed considerably in wording from the resolution finally adopted by the Council. The commission proposed that the obligations and rights concerned should have the same validity “as if the mandatory Power were sovereign.” The cessation of a mandate was referred to as follows: “in the event of the cessation of a mandate or of its transfer—however improbable this may be—to a fresh mandatory Power”, etc. P. M. C. Minutes, 6, pp. 171–172; Official Journal, 1925, pp. 1513–1514.

5 P. M. C. Minutes, 6, pp. 171–172; ibid., 7, p. 6; Official Journal, 1925, p. 1511.

6 See Minutes of the Sixth Committee, Official Journal, Spl. Supp. No. 81, pp. 18–31, for the whole discussion here described, which began on Sept. 13 and ended on Sept. 18, 1929.

7 Minutes, ibid.. pp. 31–32.

8 Official Journal, 1924, pp. 1346–1347.

9 Ibid., 1926, pp. 187–192.

10 Official Journal, 1926, pp. 550–551; League of Nations Treaty Series, XLVII, pp. 427ff; Cmd. 3503.

11 Ibid., pp. 502–503.

12 Ibid., 1929, p. 1838.

13 P. M. C. Minutes, 16, p. 17.

14 Ibid., pp. 17–20.

15 Ibid., p. 203.

16 Official Journal, 1930, p. 77.

17 For text of M. Van Rees’ note, see P. M. C. Minutes, 18, pp. 170–174.

18 P. M. C. Minutes, 18, pp. 170–174.

19 P. M. C. Minutes, 18, p. 43. It will be noted that the members of the subcommittee were nationals of non-mandatory states, as follows : The Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, and Portugal, respectively.

20 Ibid., p. 158.

21 For text of Count de Penha Garcia’s report, see P. M. C. Minutes, 19, pp. 173–176.

22 P. M. C. Minutes, 19, pp. 153–156, 205.

23 Official Journal, 1931, pp. 183, 184–186.

24 For text, see P. M. C. Minutes, 20, pp. 195–201.

25 For text, see ibid., pp. 201–203.

26 The word “state” in this connection means little more than “state” in the United States, and the reference is primarily to the “states” of Syria.

27 P. M. C. Minutes, 20, p. 202.

28 For text of his report, see ibid., pp. 203–210.

29 Ibid., pp. 149–156, 177–187, 189, for the commission’s discussion.

30 P. M. C. Minutes, 20, pp. 228–229.

31 P. M. C. Minutes, 20, p. 229.

* As, for example, those which enforce recognition of the rights referred to in Articles 13 and 14 of the Palestine mandate.

32 Official Journal, 1931, p. 2048.

33 Ibid., p. 2049.

34 Ibid.

35 Article 10 of the Covenant reads as follows: “The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League. In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.”

36 Official Journal, 1931, p. 2051.

37 Ibid.

38 Ibid., p. 2052.

39 Ibid., pp. 2052–2053.

40 Ibid., p. 2054.

41 Official Journal, 1931, p. 2053.

42 Ibid., p. 2049.

43 Ibid.

44 M. Grandi referred, by way of example, to “freedom of conscience and religion, prevention of the establishment of fortifications or military and naval bases, the securing of equal conditions for the trade and commerce of other Members of the League.” These provisions were stipulated in paragraphs 4 and 5 of Article 22, according to M. Grandi. In this matter, the Italian representative was in error. These provisions and certain others are in paragraph 5 (relative to territories under B mandate), but are not in paragraph 4 (relative to territories under A mandate).

45 Official Journal, 1931, pp. 2049–2050.

46 Official Journal, 1931, p. 2050.

47 Ibid., p. 2051.

48 Ibid., pp. 2052–2053. Compare this view with Lord Lugard’s “walk or run” argument in his note to the 20th session of the Mandates Commission, quoted above.

49 Ibid., p. 2052.

50 Ibid., p. 2053.

51 Ibid., p. 2054.

52 Official Journal, 1931, p. 2046.

53 Ibid., p. 2050.

54 Ibid., p. 2051.

55 Ibid., 2053.

56 Ibid.

57 Ibid., p. 2052.

58 Ibid.

59 Ibid., p. 2053.

60 Ibid.

61 Ibid., pp. 2055–2056, 2058.

62 Official Journal, Spl. Supp. No. 92, pp. 35–36.

63 Special Report by His Majesty’s Government… on the Progress of Iraq during the Period 1920–1931 (Colonial No. 58, 1931).

64 P. M. C. Minutes, 20, p. 160.

65 Official Journal, 1931, p. 2058.

66 P. M. C. Minutes, 21, pp. 223–225.

67 Official Journal, 1932, pp. 471–479; the text of the resolution is at p. 474.

68 For the text of the declaration, see Official Journal, 1932, pp. 1347–1350. For the Council discussion, see ibid., pp. 1213–1216.

69 Official Journal, 1932, p. 1483.

* The Assembly on Oct. 3, 1932, unanimously admitted Iraq to the League of Nations (Verbatim Record of the Thirteenth Ordinary Session of the Assembly, Sixth Plenary Meeting). The report of the Sixth Committee of the Assembly, upon which the Assembly acted, stated that Iraq had comphed with the conditions prescribed by the Council and also with the provisions of the Covenant (Official No. A.42.1932. VII).—ED.

The General Principles Governing the Termination of a Mandate

  • Luther Harris Evans (a1)


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