|The League of Nations Archives contains
a variety of visual material collections including caricatures,
poster collections, postcards and reproductions, and various photo
collections, including the League of Nations Collection. Jian
Liu, Kris Bell, and Robert Goehlert went to the League of Nations
Archives for two weeks and began scanning the League of Nations
Photo Collection. The League
of Nations Photo Collections includes photos of:
Personalities, Assemblies, Councils, Delegations, Commissions,
Conferences, the Secretariat, the Permanent Court of International
Justice, the Bureau International du Travail, and miscellaneous
The history of the League of Nations includes a variety of individuals,
including not only the delegates, but also individuals who worked
in the Secretariat, with the Permanent Court of International
Justice and the International Labor Organization. It also included
individuals who worked on various committees, boards, commissions,
and advisory bodies. This included not only politicians and
diplomats, but also scientists, artists, academics, and experts
in almost every field of endeavor. Many prime ministers and
foreign ministers were delegates to the League and involved
in its activities. While the United States was not a member,
were associated with the League.
In September of each year, an
Assembly of all the member states would meet
in Geneva. Each member state had one vote. Extraordinary sessions
could be called to deal with urgent matters. The President was
elected at the first meeting of the session, and held office
for the duration of the session. The decisions of the Assembly
had to be voted unanimously, except where the Covenant of the
Peace Treaties provided otherwise. As a general principle decisions
on questions of procedure were voted by majority, or in some
cases by a two-thirds majority. The Assembly dealt with such
matters as the budget, the admission of new members, all matters
affecting world peace, making amendments to the Covenant, and
electing non-permanent members to the Council. Each member
country was represented by a delegation to the Assembly, including
not more than three delegates
met on the third Monday in January,
the second Monday in May, and just before and after the Assembly
in September. The Council was originally composed of four permanent
members, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan, and four
non-permanent members to be elected every year by a majority
of the Assembly. The first non-permanent members appointed by
the Peace Conference and named in the Covenant were Belgium,
Brazil, Greece and Spain. With the approval of the majority
of the Assembly, the Council was able to appoint new permanent
and non-permanent members. In September 1926, Germany was admitted to the
League of Nations and given a permanent seat on the Council.
At the same time the number of non-permanent seats, already
increased to six in 1922, was again increased to nine. The period
of office was changed to three years. A tenth non-permanent
seat was created for three years in 1933, and in 1936 this seat
was continued in existence for another three years and an eleventh
non-permanent seat created for three years until 1939. The
permanent members of the Council fluctuated significantly during
the 1930's and the collapse of the Versailles system. The
Japanese stopped sending representatives to Council sessions in
February 1933 and the Germans followed suit in October
1933. The League established a permanent seat for the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in September 1934, but the
Italians withdrew from Council meetings in 1937. In response
to the Soviet invasion of Finland, the League expelled the
Soviet Union from the Assembly and Council in December 1939. Any member
of the League not represented on the Council was invited to
send a representative to sit on it at any meetings at which
matters especially affecting it were being discussed. A similar
invitation could be extended to states not members of the League.
individuals served on just a few councils, while
others sat on numerous ones.
Commission and Committee System of the
League was very complex. In addition to the principal
organ of the League, they performed most of the essential functions
of the League. To classify them is almost impossible.
They could be grouped by function or their legal status, i.e.
whether their existence was based upon the Covenant, Council,
Assembly, or international convention.
were held under the auspices of the
League. Often they were held to draft common policies
or procedures in areas such as economics, health, and disarmament.
In 1931 a special procedure for conferences was convened for
the purpose of drafting international conventions.
was a permanent organ
composed of the Secretary-General and a number of officials
selected from among all the member countries as well as the
United States. The other officials were appointed by the
Secretary-General with the approval of the Council. The
Secretariat developed over time into a unique form of international
administrative service that performed all kinds of functions
through its general and special sections.
There were sixty official
member nations that participated in the
activities of the League of Nations. The delegation from
each country could include three delegates and three substitutes.
Some countries also set up permanent delegations. Some consisted
of a single official and others included a sizeable staff, including
secretaries, experts, press secretaries, attaches, etc. Some
countries also had sections in their foreign offices for League
Court of International Justice (PCIJ)
Court of International Justice was created by an international
treaty. It was drafted in 1920 by a committee appointed
by the Council of the League. It was revised in 1929 and
again in 1936. The judges
were elected by the Council and the Assembly of the League for
a term of nine years. When the League was dissolved, the
Court was superseded by the International Court of Justice.
Labor Organization (ILO)
International du Travail (BIT)
created in 1919 as an autonomous organization. It
worked closely with the League of Nations from the beginning.
Its aim was to improve labor conditions through international
action. Membership of the League carried with it membership
of the organization. In 1946 the organization became a
specialized agency of the United Nations.
category includes photos of various groups of individuals,
the Museum of the League of Nations, the Palais Wilson, the
Palais de Nations, as well as photos of other buildings associated
with the League and the Radio Nations.
of Nations Archives, Palais des Nations, CH-1211, Geneva 10,
Center for the Study of Global Change, 201 N. Indiana Avenue,
Bloomington, Indiana, 47408-4001, USA
Last updated: October, 2002 - Send Comments to:
Chief, UNOG Registry, Records and Archives Unit, United Nations