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Kellogg-Briand Pact Overview

Outlawing War As An Instrument of National Policy

In 1928 U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French Minister of Foreign Affairs Aristide Briand proposed that all nations join them in signing a pact outlawing war as an instrument of national policy and called upon all signatories to settle their disputes by peaceful means.

On August 27, 1928, fifteen nations signed the pact at Paris. Later, an additional forty-seven nations followed suit, so the pact was eventually signed by most of the established nations in the world. The U.S. Senate ratified the agreement by a vote of 85–1. The lone dissenter refused to sign only because he felt the pact did not go far enough to assure the end of war. This law, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, is still in effect today both nationally and internationally and U.S. law today, yet extraordinarily few people are aware of it.

David Swanson the author of When the World Outlawed War contends that in order for people to comply with this law they need to know about it and that is why he suggests working for a national holiday. The important thing that he stresses is that this was a time when millions of people affected policy. It was also a time when many women’s, peace, and labor organizations were started, that still exist today, and pushed for the enactment of this law. Veterans for Peace continues to pursue peace on a global level and as part of that effort is actively involved in educating the public on the unlawfulness of war.

The name Kellogg should be familiar to most Minnesotans as Kellogg Boulevard in downtown St. Paul is named after him. Frank Kellogg was the only Minnesotan to ever win the Nobel Peace prize. Abolishing war as an instrument of national policy is incorporated into the statement of purpose of Veterans for Peace. Adding to this that the co-author of this unique treaty renouncing war was Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg, from Minnesota, who had also won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role getting the treaty enacted, it only seems fitting that our Twin Cities VFP chapter take a leading role in this project

Thus we decided to begin a petition drive to declare a national holiday on August 27 to honor the Kellogg-Briand Pact.

David Swanson explaining Kellogg-Briand Pact