The Geneva Negotiations: Problems and Prospects

  • Edward M. Spiers
Chapter

Abstract

Chemical warfare has always evoked profound feelings of repugnance. Ever since the emergence of sizeable chemical industries in the nineteenth century, international gatherings have sought to proscribe the military use of poisonous and asphyxiating weapons (the Brussels Convention of 1874 and the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907). On 17 June 1925 twenty-eight states signed the Geneva Protocol, prohibiting the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices, as well as ‘illogical’ methods of warfare. Some one hundred states have since adhered to the Protocol, although several have qualified their ratifications, insisting that they only applied to their relations with other parties to the Protocol and would cease to be binding if an enemy state failed to respect the prohibitions of the Protocol. A standard of international law was thereby established, albeit one which has been breached on several occasions. The Protocol permitted the development, production, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons and contained no machinery to investigate alleged violations. It also enabled states to reserve the right to retaliate in kind and so was little more than a no first use agreement. Strenuous efforts have been made since 1968 to devise a more comprehensive agreement with mechanisms to detect violations and verify compliance.

Keywords

Toxicity Europe Radar Assimilation Expense 

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Notes and References

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© Edward M. Spiers 1986

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