4. In addition to the above arrangements guaranteed by or arising out of the general treaty, there would probably be a periodical congress of delegates of the parliaments of the States belonging to the league, as a development out of the existing Interparliamentary Union. A regular staple of discussion for this body would be afforded by the reports of the interstate conference and of the different international bodies. The congress would thus cover the ground that is at present occupied by the periodical Hague Conference and also the ground claimed by the Socialist International.
For the efficient conduct of all these activities it is essential that there should be a permanent central meeting-place, where the officials and officers of the league would enjoy the privileges of extra-territoriality. Geneva is suggested as the most suitable place.
PREVENTION OF WAR
The covenants for the prevention of war which would be embodied in the general treaty would be as follows:
(1) The members of the league would bind themselves not to go to war until they had submitted the questions at issue to an international conference or an arbitral court, and until the conference or court had issued a report or handed down an award.
(2) The members of the league would bind themselves not to go to war with any member of the league complying with the award of a court or with the report of a conference. For the purpose of this clause, the report of the conference must be unanimous, excluding the litigants.
(3) The members of the league would undertake to regard themselves, as ipso facto, at war with any one of them acting contrary to the above covenants, and to take, jointly and severally, appropriate military, economic and other measure against the recalcitrant State.
(4) The members of the league would bind themselves to take similar action, in the sense of the above clause, against any State not being a member of the league which is involved in a dispute with a member of the league.
(This is a stronger provision than that proposed in the Phillimore Report.)
The above covenants mark an advance upon the practice of international relations previous to the war in two respects: (i) In insuring a necessary period of delay before war can break out (except between two States which are neither of them members of the league); (2) In securing public discussion and probably a public report upon matters in dispute.
It should be observed that even in cases where the conference report is not unanimous, and therefore in no sense binding, a majority report may be issued and that this would be likely to carry weight with the public opinion of the States in the league.
THE COVENANT OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS IN THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES