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Bryan Treaties

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Beginning in 1913, U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan negotiated a number of bilateral treaties for the "Advancement of Peace." The basic aim of these bilateral treaties was to prevent war by interjecting a conciliation process into a dispute between parties to the treaty. Each signatory nominated two members, one a national and one a foreign citizen, to a permanent commission. These four would then choose a fifth member who could not be a national of either state. The commission would review the underlying facts to the dispute and issue a report on the controversy within one year. Until the report was issued the parties agreed to refrain from resorting to hostilities. It was hoped that this process and the inherent delay in issuing a report would lessen tension and preclude resort to armed force to settle the dispute, although each was free to do so after the report was issued. Eventually forty-eight of these treaties were concluded, but few disputes were ever submitted to any of the commissions.


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