Dissenting Voices: The Secretariat of the League of Nations and the Drafting of Mandates, 1919–1923

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This analysis explores the criticism about the creation of mandates in the League of Nations, particularly in the Secretariat; there, a number of officials questioned the organisation’s stance on this matter. Their critical views showed the crucial importance of the early debates in shaping the League’s nature and revealed the existence of a core group of eminent Secretariat members whose beliefs objected to the principles underlying the draft mandate provisions and the League’s tacit assent in their approval. These opinions highlighted administrative shortcomings in the League’s structure, particularly the Secretariat’s role and the ambiguous attitude of the secretary general, and foresaw the detrimental consequences that the mandates system would have for the League’s reputation. Some Secretariat members, who envisaged a more assertive role for the institution, vigorously challenged views on the League’s helplessness in the international post-war context that have come to predominate in current scholarship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-463
Number of pages24
JournalDiplomacy and Statecraft
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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