A call for peace: City activities honor 85-year old treaty outlawing war

Sally Alice Thompson, left, and Dr. Hakim Zamir, center, release white doves symbolizing peace prior to the start of a presentation by former CIA agent turned peace activist Ray McGovern at Albuquerque Mennonite Church on Thursday. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Sally Alice Thompson, left, and Dr. Hakim Zamir, center, release white doves symbolizing peace prior to the start of a presentation by former CIA agent turned peace activist Ray McGovern at Albuquerque Mennonite Church on Thursday. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

An 85-year-old international agreement aimed at ending American and world wars – while unsuccessful – is still worth attention, Albuquerque City Councilors declared this month, naming Aug. 27 as Rededication to the Kellogg-Briand Treaty Day.

Also in honor of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in 1928, internationally known CIA agent turned peace activist Ray McGovern visited Albuquerque as part of his work fighting against “out-of-control military spending” and U.S. military policies that he said are undermining American security by causing the deaths of innocent people and fueling terrorism.

“The nation spends billions of dollars on bombs … that we don’t need,” he told a crowd of about 70 gathered Thursday afternoon for a reception hosted by the area chapter of Veterans for Peace. He urged nonviolent federal policies toward other nations.

City Council President Rey Garduño presented the city’s proclamation, part of which reads, “The City of Albuquerque encourages all citizens on this anniversary date of August 27th to rededicate their commitment to non-violence as the path to resolving international disputes.”

“That (the proclamation) was done not to dwell on war, but to wage peace,” Garduño said.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact, also known as the Pact of Paris for the city in which it was signed, was one of many international efforts to prevent another world war, but it had little effect in stopping the rising militarism of the 1930s or preventing World War II.

With the help of American peace advocates Nicholas M. Butler and James T. Shotwell, French Minister of Foreign Affairs Aristide Briand proposed a pact between the United States and France that would outlaw war between the two nations.

U.S. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg suggested that, rather than a bilateral agreement between the United States and France, the two nations instead invite all nations to join them in outlawing war.

On Aug. 27, 1928, 15 nations, including France, Germany, Japan and the United States, signed the agreement. Eventually, most established nations signed on.

Though the pact failed to end war, it laid a base upon which other peace agreements would be built, and remains in effect today.

Journal staff writer Charles D. Brunt contributed to this report.

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