@@HANS J MORGENTHAU International Affairs - The Resurrection of Neutrality in Europe
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@@HANS J MORGENTHAU International Affairs - The Resurrection of Neutrality in Europe

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new policy of neutrality, and on May 14, the League Council voted a 
resolution which reads: "The Council of the League of Nations . . . takes 
note that Switzerland, invoking her perpetual neutrality, has expressed 
the intention not to participate any longer in any manner in the putting 
into operation of the provisions of the Covenant relating to sanctions 
and declares that she will not be invited to do so."" After his return to 
Sweden, Sandler, who had reported to the Council on the Swiss question, 
praised this resolution as "the most positive result" of the 101st session 
of the Council and expressed the conviction that it and the debates 
preceding it were not at all prejudicial to eventual steps by other members 
of the League, but rather had strongly reinforced the attitude that 
Sweden had taken in the Committee of Twenty-eight.'2 
This optimism, however, did not prevail in the public opinion of the 
countries concerned. The representatives of the Great Powers in the 
Council of the League, as well as the report submitted to the Council 
on the Swiss question, laid the greatest stress upon Switzerland's unique 
position and the therefore singular character of the recognition of Switzer- 
land's integral neutrality within the framework of the League, which 
other members could not invoke as a precedent.'3 The formal recognition 
of a neutral status within the framework of the League, restricted to one 
state, must of necessity prejudice the position of other states which 
thought that they had already attained the same legal status by unilateral 
declarations. Therefore, public opinion, especially in the Scandinavian 
countries, demanded with increasing vigor the formal recognition by the 
League of Nations of complete freedom of action for the respective states 
with reference to the application of sanctions.14 This demand found official 
expression in the resolution which the so-called Oslo Powers-Denmark, 
Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg- 
11 League of Nations, Official Journal, May-June, 1938, p. 369; cf., also, New 
York Times, January 31, May 1, 5, 15, 17, 1938; Neue ZIrcher Zeitung, January 31, 
February 1, March 16 and 17, April 22, May 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 
1938. On the problem of Switzerland's neutrality, see Rappard, "Switzerland in a 
Changing Europe," Foreign Affairs (July, 1938), p. 679; Schindler, "La Neutralite 
Suisse de 1920 a 1938," Revue de droit international et de legislation compare (1938), 
p. 433; Dollot, "La Crise de neutrality permanent. La Neutralite Suisse," Affaires 
4trangeres (1938), p. 396; Morgenthau, "The End of Switzerland's 'Differential' 
Neutrality," Amer. Jour. of Internat. Law (1938), p. 558; London Times, July 3, 
12 Neue Zurcher Zeitung, May 20, 1938; cf. also ibid., May 8, 1938, on the attitude 
of the Swedish press. 13 See Morgenthau, loc. cit., pp. 561, 562. 
14 See the resolutions adopted by the Norwegian Parliament on May 31, 1938, 
and the Swedish Parliament on June 17, 1938 (New York Times, June 1, 1938; 
Neue Zircher Zeitung, June 3, 1938). Cf. the reports in Neue Zuircher Zeitung, May 
8 and 27, June 21, September 12, 1938. 
adopted at a conference held in Copenhagen on July 23 and 24, 1938,15 
and from which the following paragraph may be quoted: "Convinced 
that their countries ought to continue their cooperation in the work of 
the League of Nations, the Foreign Ministers state that their Govern- 
ments are determined for the future to keep to the course which they 
have drawn for themselves by their declarations according to which 
under present conditions and the practice followed during the last years 
the system of sanctions has acquired a non-compulsory character. They 
are of the opinion that this non-compulsory character of sanctions should 
apply not only to a particular group of States, but to all members of the 
League. They are convinced that it is in the interests of the League itself 
-that this liberty of decision is formally acknowledged. In this spirit they 
are preparing for the discussion of the report put before the Assembly by 
the Committee of Twenty-eight." 
The interested states, however, did not completely succeed in carrying 
through their purpose. The Nineteenth Assembly of the League of Na- 
tions, in its meeting of September 30, 1938, did not vote on a resolution 
expressly recognizing the non-compulsory character of Article 16 of the 
Covenant. Rather it confined itself to taking note of the declarations made 
during the session by the different governments, and to transmitting them 
to the members of the League. Nevertheless, as the great majority of 
those declarations were more or less in accord with the standpoint of the 
small European states,18 and as the system of collective security laid down 
in Articles 10, 11, and 16 of the Covenant had suffered a complete and 
evidently definite breakdown during the Czechoslovakian crisis, there 
can be no doubt that the neutrality of the small European states within 
the framework of the League is now firmly established, if not as a matter 
of legal wording, certainly as a matter of legal practice. 
This marks the final step in a development away from collective secu- 
rity-a development which within the League was promoted from the 
very beginning by the group of small European states (Denmark, Nor- 
way, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland),"7 and of which these states, 
16 New York Times, July 23, 24, 25, 1938; Neue Zurcher Zeitung, July 25 and 
29, 1938. 
16 League of Nations, Journal of the 19th Session of the Assembly, 3rd, 4th, 5th 
Plenary Meeting; New York Times, September 11, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, October 1, 
1938; Neue Zfircher Zeitung, September 9, 14, 18, 22, October 2, 1938. 
17 These states form the specific group of European neutrals within the League of 
Nations which have here pursued on the whole an identical policy. This group has 
been joined from time to time by Belgium, the Baltic states, Finland, and Spain, 
which, however, cannot be considered as permanent members of the group, owing 
to their particular international positions. As to the policy of the small countries 
within the League of Nations, see Rappard, "Small States in the League of Na- 
tions," Polit. Sci. Quar. (1934), p. 544. 
ironically enough, have themselves become the victims. They share with 
the Great Powers the responsibility for many of the fundamental mis- 
takes which have been made at Geneva, and they were among the first 
to suffer from them. These small countries have justly been called "the 
traditional European neutrals,"'8 "the professional neutrals," for which 
neutrality has the character of a "constitutional dogma."'9 The policy 
of these states, from the inception of the League until our day, has 
unalterably centered upon one goal: to keep themselves, within the 
League, aloof from the power politics of the great nations and from the 
military entanglements that might result therefrom-that is, to continue 
the traditional policy of neutrality. However, membership in the League 
and the carrying out in spirit and letter of Articles 10, 11, and 16 of the 
Covenant is not compatible with the traditional neutrality of the small 
European countries.20 From the political point of view, the new order of 
the League presented itself as an alliance of everybody with everybody, 
which directly continued the victorious alliance of the World War, des- 
tined to safeguard the status quo created by the peace treaties and aimed 
18 Jessup, Neutrality; Its History, Economics, and Law, Vol. 4 (New York, 1936), 
p. 179. 
19 Paul de Lapradelle, in International Studies Conference: La Sgcurit4 collective 
(Paris, 1936), p. 432. 
20 Cf. Alvarez, L'Organisation international (Paris, 1931), p. 156; Barandon, 
Le Systbme de la SociNte des Nations pour la prevention de la guerre (Geneve-Paris, 
1933), pp. 344 et seq.; Borchard,