Peace Treaty of Versailles (Articles 400 - 427: Procedure) (28 June 1919)
The agenda for all meetings of the Conference will be settled by
the Governing Body, who shall consider any suggestion as to the
agenda that may be made by the Government of any of the Members or
by any representative organisation recognised for the purpose of
The Director shall act as the Secretary of the Conference, and
shall transmit the agenda so as to reach the Members four months
before the meeting of the Conference, and, through them, the non-
Government Delegates when appointed.
Any of the Governments of the Members may formally object to the
inclusion of any item or items in the agenda. The grounds for such
objection shall be set forth in a reasoned statement addressed to
the Director, who shall circulate it to all the Members of the
Items to which such objection has been made shall not, however, be
excluded from the agenda, if at the Conference a majority of two-
thirds of the votes cast by the Delegates present is in favour of
If the Conference decides (otherwise than under the preceding
paragraph) by two-thirds of the votes cast by the Delegates present
that any subject shall be considered by the Conference, that
subject shall be included in the agenda for the following meeting.
The Conference shall regulate its own procedure, shall elect its
own President, and may appoint committees to consider and report on
Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Part of the present
Treaty, all matters shall be decided by a simple majority of the
votes cast by the Delegates present.
The voting is void unless the total number of votes cast is equal
to half the number of the Delegates attending the Conference.
The Conference may add to any committees which it appoints
technical experts, who shall be assessors without power to vote.
When the Conference has decided on the adoption of proposals with
regard to an item in the agenda, it will rest with the Conference
to determine whether these proposals should take the form: (a) of
a recommendation to be submitted to the Members for consideration
with a view to effect being given to it by national legislation or
otherwise, or (b) of a draft international convention for
ratification by the Members.
In either case a majority of two-thirds of the votes cast by the
Delegates present shall be necessary on the final vote for the
adoption of the recommendation or draft convention, as the case may
be, by the Conference.
In framing any recommendation or draft convention of general
application the Conference shall have due regard to those countries
in which climatic conditions, the imperfect development of
industrial organisation or other special circumstances make the
industrial conditions substantially different and shall suggest the
modifications, if any, which it considers may be required to meet
the case of such countries.
A copy of the recommendation or draft convention shall be
authenticated by the signature of the President of the Conference
and of the Director and shall be deposited with the Secretary-
General of the League of Nations. The Secretary-General will
communicate a certified copy of the recommendation or draft
convention to each of the members.
Each of the Members undertakes that it will, within the period of
one year at most from the closing of the session of the Conference,
or if it is impossible owing to exceptional circumstances to do so
within the period of one year, then at the earliest practicable
moment and in no case later than eighteen months from the closing
of the session of the Conference, bring the recommendation or draft
convention before the authority or authorities within whose
competence the matter lies, for the enactment of legislation or
In the case of a recommendation, the Members will inform the
Secretary-General of the action taken.
In the case of a draft convention, the Member will, if it obtains
the consent of the authority or authorities within whose competence
the matter lies, communicate the formal ratification of the
convention to the Secretary-General and will take such action as
may be necessary to make effective the provisions of such
If on a recommendation no legislative or other action is taken to
make a recommendation effective, or if the draft convention fails
to obtain the consent of the authority or authorities within whose
competence the matter lies, no further obligation shall rest upon
In the case of a federal State, the power of which to enter into
conventions on labour matters is subject to limitations, it shall
be in the discretion of that Government to treat a draft convention
to which such limitations apply as a recommendation only, and the
provisions of this Article with respect to recommendations shall
apply in such case.
The above Article shall be interpreted in accordance with the
In no case shall any Member be asked or required, as a result of
the adoption of any recommendation or draft convention by the
Conference, to lessen the protection afforded by its existing
legislation to the workers concerned.
Any convention so ratified shall be registered by the Secretary-
General of the League of Nations, but shall only be binding upon
the Members which ratify it.
If any convention coming before the Conference for final
consideration fails to secure the support of two-thirds of the
votes cast by the Delegates present, it shall nevertheless be
within the right of any of the Members of the Permanent
Organisation to agree to such convention among themselves.
Any convention so agreed to shall be communicated by the
Governments concerned to the Secretary-General of the League of
Nations, who shall register it.
Each of the Members agrees to make an annual report to the
International Labour Office on the measures which it has taken to
give effect to the provisions of conventions to which it is a
party. These reports shall be made in such form and shall contain
such particulars as the Governing Body may request. The Director
shall lay a summary of these reports before the next meeting of the
In the event of any representation being made to the International
Labour Office by an industrial association of employers or of
workers that any of the members has failed to secure in any respect
the effective observance within its jurisdiction of any convention
to which it is a party, the Governing Body may communicate this
representation to the Government against which it is made and may
invite that Government to make such statement on the subject as it
may think fit.
If no statement is received within a reasonable time from the
Government in question, or if the statement when received is not
deemed to be satisfactory by the Governing Body, the latter shall
have the right to publish the representation and the statement, if
any, made in reply to it.
Any of the Members shall have the right to file a complaint with
the International Labour Office if it is not satisfied that any
other Member is securing the effective observance of any convention
which both have ratified in accordance with the foregoing Articles.
The Governing Body may, if it thinks fit, before referring such a
complaint to a Commission of Enquiry, as hereinafter provided for,
communicate with the Government in question in the manner described
in Article 409.
If the Governing Body does not think it necessary to communicate
the complaint to the Government in question, or if, when they have
made such communication, no statement in reply has been received
within a reasonable time which the Governing Body considers to be
satisfactory, the Governing Body may apply for the appointment of
a Commission of Enquiry to consider the complaint and to report
The Governing Body may adopt the same procedure either of its own
motion or on receipt of a complaint from a Delegate to the
When any matter arising out of Articles 410 or 411 is being
considered by the Governing Body, the Government in question shall,
if not already represented thereon, be entitled to send a
representative to take part in the proceedings of the Governing
Body while the matter is under consideration. Adequate notice of
the date on which the matter will be considered shall be given to
the Government in question.
The Commission of Enquiry shall be constituted in accordance with
the following provisions:
Each of the Members agrees to nominate within six months of the
date on which the present Treaty comes into force three persons of
industrial experience, of whom one shall be a representative of
employers, one a representative of workers, and one a person of
independent standing, who shall together form a panel from which
the Members of the Commission of Enquiry shall be drawn.
The qualifications of the persons so nominated shall be subject to
scrutiny by the Governing Body, which may be two-thirds of the
votes cast by the representatives present refuse to accept the
nomination of any person whose qualifications do not in its Opinion
comply with the requirements of the present Article.
Upon the application of the Governing Body, the Secretary-General
of the League of Nations shall nominate three persons one from each
section of this panel, to constitute the Commission of Enquiry, and
shall designate one of them as the President of the Commission.
None of these three persons shall be a person nominated to the
panel by any Member directly concerned in the complaint.
The Members agree that, in the event of the reference of a
complaint to a Commission of Enquiry under Article 411, they will
each, whether directly concerned in the complaint or not, place at
the disposal of the Commission all the information in their
possession which bears upon the subject-matter of the complaint.
When the Commission of Enquiry has fully considered the complaint,
it shall prepare a report embodying its findings on all questions
of fact relevant to determining the issue between the parties and
containing such recommendations as it may think proper as to the
steps which should be taken to meet the complaint and the time
within which they should be taken.
It shall also indicate in this report the measures, if any, of an
economic character against a defaulting Government which it
considers to be appropriate, and which it considers other
Governments would be justified in adopting.
The Secretary-General of the League of Nations shall communicate
the report of the Commission of Enquiry to each of the Governments
concerned in the complaint, and shall cause it to be published.
Each of these Governments shall within one month inform the
Secretary-General of the League of Nations whether or not it
accepts the recommendations contained in the report of the
Commission- and if not, whether it proposes to refer the complaint
to the Permanent Court of International Justice of the League of
In the event of any Member failing to take the action required by
Article 405, with regard to a recommendation or draft Convention,
any other Member shall be entitled to refer the matter to the
Permanent Court of International Justice.
The decision of the Permanent Court of International Justice in
regard to a complaint or matter which has been referred to it in
pursuance of Article 415 or Article 416 shall be final.
The Permanent Court of International Justice may affirm, vary or
reverse any of the findings or recommendations of the Commission of
Enquiry, if any, and shall in its decision indicate the measures,
if any, of an economic character which it considers to be
appropriate, and which other Governments would be justified in
adopting against a defaulting Government.
In the event of any Member failing to carry out within the time
specified the recommendations, if any, contained in the report of
the Commission of Enquiry, or in the decision of the Permanent
Court of International Justice, as the case may be, any other
Member may take against that Member the measures of an economic
character indicated in the report of the Commission or in the
decision of the Court as appropriate to the case.
The defaulting Government may at any time inform the Governing Body
that it has taken the steps necessary to comply with the
recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry or with those in the
decision of the Permanent Court of International Justice, as the
case may be, and may request it to apply to the Secretary-General
of the League to constitute a Commission of Enquiry to verify its
contention. In this case the provisions of Articles 412, 413, 414,
415, 417 and 418 shall apply, and if the report of the Commission
of Enquiry or the decision of the Permanent Court of International
Justice is in favour of the defaulting Government, the other
Governments shall forthwith discontinue the measures of an economic
character that they have taken against the defaulting Government.
The Members engage to apply conventions which they have ratified in
accordance with the provisions of this Part of the present Treaty
to their colonies, protectorates and possessions which are not
(1) Except where owing to the local conditions the convention is
(2) Subject to such modifications as may be necessary to adapt the
convention to local conditions.
And each of the Members shall notify to the International Labour
Office the action taken in respect of each of its colonies,
protectorates and possessions which are not fully self-governing.
Amendments to this Part of the present Treaty which are adopted by
the Conference by a majority of two-thirds of the votes cast by the
Delegates present shall take effect when ratified by the States
whose representatives compose the Council of the League of Nations
and by three-fourths of the Members.
Any question or dispute relating to the interpretation of this Part
of the present Treaty or of any subsequent convention concluded by
the Members in pursuance of the provisions of this Part of the
present Treaty shall be referred for decision to the Permanent
Court of International Justice.
The first meeting of the Conference shall take place in October,
1919. The place and agenda for this meeting shall be as specified
in the Annex hereto.
Arrangements for the convening and the organisation of the first
meeting of the Conference will be made by the Government designated
for the purpose in the said Annex. That Government shall be
assisted in the preparation of the documents for submission to the
Conference by an International Committee constituted as provided in
the said Annex.
The expenses of the first meeting and of all subsequent meetings
held before the League of Nations has been able to establish a
general fund, other than the expenses of Delegates and their
advisers, will be borne by the Members in accordance with the
apportionment of the expenses of the International Bureau of the
Universal Postal Union.
Until the League of Nations has been constituted all communications
which under the provisions of the foregoing Articles should be
addressed to the Secretary-General of the League will be preserved
by the Director of the International Labour Office, who will
transmit them to the Secretary-General of the League.
Pending the creation of a Permanent Court of International Justice
disputes which in accordance with this Part of the present Treaty
would be submitted to it for decision will be referred to a
tribunal of three persons appointed by the Council of the League of
FIRST MEETING OF ANNUAL LABOUR CONFERENCE, 1919.
The place of meeting will be Washington.
The Government of the United States of America is requested to
convene the Conference.
The International Organising Committee will consist of seven
Members, appointed by the United States of America, Great Britain,
France, Italy, Japan, Belgium and Switzerland. The Committee may,
if it thinks necessary, invite other Members to appoint
(1) Application of principle of the 8-hours day or of the 48-hours
(2) Question of preventing or providing against unemployment.
(3) Women's employment:
(a) Before and after child-birth, including the question of
(b) During the night;
(c) In unhealthy processes.
(4) Employment of children:
(a) Minimum age of employment;
(b) During the night;
(c) In unhealthy processes.
(5) Extension and application of the International Conventions
adopted at Berne in 1906 on the prohibition of night work for women
employed in industry and the prohibition of the use of white
phosphorus in the manufacture of matches.
The High Contracting Parties, recognising that the well-being,
physical, moral and intellectual, of industrial wage-earners is of
supreme international importance, have framed, in order to further
this great end, the permanent machinery provided for in Section l
and associated with that of the League of Nations.
They recognise that differences of climate, habits, and customs, of
economic opportunity and industrial tradition, make strict
uniformity in the conditions of labour difficult of immediate
attainment. But, holding as they do, that labour should not be
regarded merely as an article of commerce, they think that there
are methods and principles for regulating labour conditions which
all industrial communities should endeavour to apply, so far as
their special circumstances will permit.
Among these methods and principles, the following seem to the High
Contracting Parties to be of special and urgent importance:
First. The guiding principle above enunciated that labour
should not be regarded merely as a commodity or article of
Second. The right of association for all lawful purposes by
the employed as well as by the employers.
Third. The payment to the employed of a wage adequate to
maintain a reasonable standard of life as this is understood in
their time and country.
Fourth. The adoption of an eight hours day or a forty-eight
hours week as the standard to be aimed at where it has not already
Fifth. The adoption of a weekly rest of at least twenty-four
hours, which should include Sunday wherever practicable.
Sixth. The abolition of child labour and the imposition of
such limitations on the labour of young persons as shall permit the
continuation of their education and assure their proper physical
Seventh. The principle that men and women should receive equal
remuneration for work of equal value.
Eighth. The standard set by law in each country with respect
to the conditions of labour should have due regard to the equitable
economic treatment of all workers lawfully resident therein.
Ninth. Each State should make provision for a system of
inspection in which women should take part, in order to ensure the
enforcement of the laws and regulations for the protection of the
Without claiming that these methods and principles are either
complete or final, the High Contracting Parties are of opinion that
they are well fitted to guide the policy of the League of Nations;
and that, if adopted by the industrial communities who are members
of the League, and safeguarded in practice by an adequate system of
such inspection, they will confer lasting benefits upon the wage-
earners of the world.