- Geneva Protocol
The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, usually called the
Geneva Protocol, is a treaty prohibiting the first use of chemical and biological weapons. It was signed at Genevaon June 17, 1925and was entered into force on February 8, 1928.
It prohibits the use of
chemical weapons and biological weapons, but has nothing to say about production, storage or transfer. Later treaties did cover these aspects -- the 1972 Biological Weapons Conventionand the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.
A number of countries submitted reservations when becoming parties to the Geneva Protocol declaring that they only regarded the non-use obligations as applying to other parties and that these obligations would cease to apply if the prohibited weapons were used against them.
Although it is popularly believed that the German army was the first to use gas it was in fact initially deployed by the French. In the first month of the war, August 1914, they fired tear-gas grenades (
xylyl bromide) against the Germans. Chemical weapons were used by Germanyin Ypres, Belgiumin 1915 by releasing chlorine gas. The Treaty of Versaillesincluded some provisions that banned Germany from either manufacturing or importing chemical weapons. Similar treaties banned Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungaryfrom chemical weapons.
At the end of World War I, the Allies wanted to reaffirm the Treaty of Versailles, and the
United Statesintroduced the Treaty of Washington. The United States Senategave consent for ratification but it failed to enter into force. Franceobjected to the submarine provisions of the treaty and thus the treaty failed.
At the 1925 Geneva Conference for the Supervision of the International Traffic in Arms the French suggested a protocol for non-use of poisonous gases. Poland suggested the addition of bacteriological weapons. It was signed on June 17th.
Chemical weapons prohibitions
* [http://www.brad.ac.uk/acad/sbtwc/keytext/genprot.htm The text of the protocol]
* [http://www.sipri.org/contents/cbwarfare/cbw_research_doc/cbw_historical/cbw-hist-geneva-parties.html List of member states and reservations] by
* [http://www.firstworldwar.com/weaponry/gas.htm Weapons of War: Poison Gas]
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