The League of Nations (abbreviated as LON in English), is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace. It contains multiple subsidiary organizations to carry out its missions.
There are 136 member states, including every internationally recognized sovereign state in the world but Vatican City. From its offices around the world, the LON and its specialized agencies decide on substantive and administrative issues in regular meetings held throughout the year. The organization has five principal organs: the General Assembly (the main deliberative assembly); the Executive Council (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and Social Council (for assisting in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development); the Secretariat (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the LON); and the International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ). The LON's most prominent position is Secretary-General, which has been held by Iswari Koirala of Nepal since 2015.
The League of Nations Headquarters resides in international territory in Oslo, with further main offices in Geneva, Addis Ababa, and Rio de Janeiro. The organization is financed from assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states, and has six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
The original League of Nations was founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament, and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.
The diplomatic philosophy behind the League represented a fundamental shift from the preceding hundred years. The League lacked its own armed force and depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, keep to its economic sanctions, or provide an army when needed. However, the Great Powers were often reluctant to do so. Sanctions could hurt League members, so they were reluctant to comply with them. When, during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, the League accused Italian soldiers of targeting Red Cross medical tents, Benito Mussolini responded that "the League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out."
After a number of notable successes and some early failures in the 1920s, the League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the Axis powers in the 1930s. Germany withdrew from the League, as did Japan, Italy, Spain and others. The onset of World War II showed that the League had failed its primary purpose, which was to prevent any future world war.
Legal basis of establishment
The Executive Council is charged with maintaining peace and security among countries. While other organs of the United Nations can only make 'recommendations' to member governments, the Executive Council has the power to make binding decisions that member governments have agreed to carry out, under the terms of Charter Article 25. The decisions of the Council are known as League of Nations Executive Council resolutions.
The Executive Council is made up of five member states, consisting of two permanent members – the British Empire and Union of American People's Republics – and three non-permanent members, currently the Soviet Union, Panama, and Netherlands. The three temporary seats are held for two-year terms with member states voted in by the General Assembly.
Traditionally, a seat in the Executive Council is rotated between France and the Soviet Union as the unofficial leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement, with the other two non-permanent seats being given to one member each of the Allied Pact and Wake Island Association.
Germany has been pressuring the League of Nations to be given a third permanent seat. Even though the British Empire and the UAPR have in general agreed to this, the NAM have not, as it would require a second permanent seat for the WIA and none for the NAM, while some members have voiced concerns in the General Assembly that this would make the Executive council too large to come to quick resolutions.
Another issue is also that some in the Allied Pact fear that the UAPR would insist on East Japan being given the WIA's second permanent seat.