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International Legitimacy and World Society$
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Ian Clark

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199297009

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297009.001.0001

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Versailles and Racial Equality, 1919

Versailles and Racial Equality, 1919

(p.83) 4 Versailles and Racial Equality, 1919
International Legitimacy and World Society

Ian Clark (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This is the exceptional case in that the proposal to include a racial equality clause in the League Covenant was rejected. On the other hand, this is another case where the norm was supported by a leading state (Japan), in conjunction with a wider world society movement. The drafting history casts doubts on Japanese motives for pressing the proposal, but the failure reflects the relative weakness of Japan as a normative sponsor. While opposition to the clause certainly came from Britain, in response to pressure from parts of the empire, President Wilson's own position was ambiguous, and he certainly was not prepared to risk the Treaty of Versailles (and the League Covenant) to include it. There was a widespread pressure to hold a Pan-African Congress at Paris to coincide with the settlement. However, the Japanese delegate Baron Makino expressed a number of interesting normative arguments in support of the clause, appealing to the blurring of the distinction between international and world society brought about by the principle of collective security.

Keywords:   collective security, international society, Japan, League Covenant, Baron Makino, Pan-African Congress, racial equality, Versailles Treaty, Woodrow Wilson

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