Mandate (international law)

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Historical mandate areas in Africa and the Middle East:
1. Syria (French),
2. Lebanon (French),
3. Palestine (British),
4. Transjordan (British),
5. Iraq (British),
6. Togoland (British),
7. Togoland (French),
8th Cameroon (British),
9th Cameroon (French),
10th Rwanda-Urundi (Belgian),
11th Tanganyika (British) and
12th Southwest -Africa (South African).

The term mandate (from Latin in manum datum “given”) describes in international law in the broader sense the mandate given to a state or confederation of states to represent the interests of a certain foreign territory under constitutional and international law. In a narrower sense, the term describes the responsibility for the administration of certain earlier parts of the Ottoman Empire as well as the former German colonies . The statutes of the League of Nations meant by mandate the "transfer of guardianship " over peoples who are not able to conduct itself, "the advanced nations."

Mandate areas

The colonies of the former German Empire in Africa and some territories of the former Ottoman Empire in Western Asia were transferred to the League of Nations after the end of the First World War and some of them went to the United Nations after the end of the Second World War . The German Reich and Turkey lost all rights and all state sovereignty in these territories. These came under the suzerainty of the League of Nations, but were transferred to the administration of the main powers of the Entente , France and Great Britain , which had also borne the greatest burden of war among the Allies, and other powers of the Allies.

In addition to France and Great Britain, there were other mandate powers: Australia ( Bismarck Archipelago , Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land ); Belgium ( Rwanda-Urundi ); Japan ( Kiau-Tschou , Karolinen , Mariana Islands , see Japanese South Sea mandate ); New Zealand ( Samoa ); South African Union ( German South West Africa , see also: Caprivizipfel ).

France received parts of Cameroon and Togo ( French Cameroon and French Togoland ) from the formerly German colonies and Lebanon and Syria ( League of Nations mandate for Syria and Lebanon ) as mandate areas from the former Ottoman territories.

Most of German East Africa came under British mandate administration as Tanganyika , the areas of Cameroon and Togo that were not under French mandate administration as British Cameroon and British Togoland ; of Iraq (see also: British Mandate of Mesopotamia ), Jordan and Palestine (see also: Mandatory Palestine ) as former parts of the Ottoman Empire.

The basis for the League of Nations mandates for the German Reich was the Treaty of Versailles of June 28, 1919. a. also recorded the German territorial losses. Germany had to give up all of its colonial possessions, which were placed under the mandate of the League of Nations (see above); In addition, it also had to cede parts of the Reich territory, some of which were also placed under the mandate of the League of Nations:

The Saar area was administered by France as a mandate power; Danzig became a Free City under the League of Nations mandate, parts of the sovereignty went to Poland ; the Memel area was occupied by French troops . France took over the administration. In 1923 troops from Lithuania marched in . The area was annexed by Lithuania .

The Mandate administration for the Ottoman Empire was regulated by the Treaty of Sèvres of August 10, 1920, which was revised in favor of Turkey in the Treaty of Lausanne of July 24, 1923. After the Second World War, Japan lost its mandate areas; these went as trust areas to the UN, which transferred the administration to the USA . Kiau-Tschou had already been returned to China in 1922 under pressure from the USA . With the dissolution of the League of Nations on April 18, 1946, the League of Nations mandates, which had not yet been granted independence, became the responsibility of the newly created UN and became its trust areas. The administration remained with the previous mandate powers except Japan.

Mandate administration of the League of Nations

Map of mandate areas
  • British mandate area
  • French mandate area
  • Belgian mandate area
  • Australian mandate area
  • Japanese mandate area
  • New Zealand Mandate Area
  • South African mandate area
  • Common mandate area
  • One of the consequences of its defeat in World War II that had German Empire in the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919 not only certain parts of its mainland European territory but also its entire colonial possessions cede. New Cameroon , which was only ceded by France to Germany in 1911 under the so-called Morocco-Congo Treaty , returned to French possession, and the remaining colonies were placed under the League of Nations. The League of Nations did not exercise its sovereignty directly in accordance with Article 2 of its statutes, but only had ultimate theoretical responsibility; the practical regulatory and administrative work was in the hands of various victorious states, the so-called “mandate powers”. In addition to the former German colonies, the city of Danzig and its surrounding area as well as the city of Rijeka and its surrounding area were also subordinated to the League of Nations .

    A large part of the Ottoman Empire, which was allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary and thus also stood on the loser's side, was placed under the supervision of the League of Nations or under the protection of certain victorious states. The partitioning of the multi-ethnic state, which had already been outlined in the Sykes-Picot Agreement on May 16, 1916 , was formalized on August 10, 1920 in the Treaty of Sèvres and finally enshrined on July 24, 1923 in the Treaty of Lausanne .

    The League of Nations saw it as its task to prepare its so-called “mandate areas” or “mandates” for independence. Greater Danzig and the Rijeka area were declared independent states in 1920. Danzig continued to be supervised by the League of Nations; the foreign policy interests of the metropolis and its environs should be represented by Poland , their defense should be ensured by Poland and Great Britain . A comparable special status under international law was not provided for any of the other mandate areas. The mandates remaining beyond 1920 were divided into three classes on the basis of their respective geographical location and the consideration that not all of these territories could be built up into viable independent states at the same time, with mandate class A having the highest autonomous status:

    United Nations Trust System

    On April 18, 1946, when the League of Nations was dissolved, formal sovereignty over its remaining mandate areas was transferred to the United Nations. According to Articles 75 to 91 of the statute of the United Nations that came into force on October 24, 1945, as before, only ultimate responsibility lay with the confederation; in practice, governmental power was still exercised by specific individual states. To symbolically reinforce the goal of building them into independent states, the mandates have now been designated as trust areas. In addition, the division into B and C areas has been given up, and the distinction between so-called “general trust areas” and “strategic areas” has now taken its place. While general trust areas were directly subordinate to the trust council created specifically for this task , indirectly to the general assembly , the overall supervision of strategic areas was carried out by the security council . Proponent of this division was the United States , which made a point of having the Pacific island groups assigned to them controlled by a body in which they have a right of veto . The trust areas and their development in detail:

    • The former B mandates of Cameroon and Togo remained divided between Great Britain and France. France released the parts of Cameroon and Togo it administered to independence in 1961, creating what is now sovereign Togo and what is now sovereign Cameroon. Great Britain had given the part of Togo under its administration back into independence in 1957, by enabling it to unite with the Gold Coast to form the sovereign Ghana . In 1961 Great Britain also gave up the part of Cameroon it administered; its south joined the meanwhile independent part of Cameroon, its north joined Nigeria, which had been sovereign since the previous year . Great Britain also released Tanganyika in 1961 . The following year Belgium released Rwanda-Urundi , from which the present-day states Rwanda and Burundi emerged .
    • The former C-mandate German South West Africa remained under the administration of the South African Union. The rigorously pursued plans of the Union and the Republic of South Africa , which emerged from it in 1962 , to "South Africanize" the country and in particular to extend apartheid policy to the trust territory, prompted the United Nations to withdraw the trust from the republic in 1966. The republic, which in the meantime regarded the area as an integral part of its national territory, successfully ignored this decision and for a long time with impunity. Only after a conviction by the International Court of Justice in 1971 was South Africa ready to seriously work towards the independence of what is now Namibia , which it actually only received in 1990.
    • The former C-mandate Western Samoa remained under the supervision of New Zealand, from which it was granted independence in 1962. Nauru and Papua New Guinea remained Australian government assumed and received their sovereignty in 1968 or 1975. The remaining former C mandates, originally Japanese administration had been subordinate, the United States have been entrusted to: the Caroline and Marshall Islands were 1,990 independent, which today Micronesia was , Palau 1994. The Northern Mariana Islands decided to join their protecting power on a permanent basis.

    Since Palau's release on October 1, 1994, no area has been under fiduciary management.


    • Wolfgang Schneider: The international legal mandate in a historical-dogmatic representation (= publications of the German Institute for International Affairs . B: Law and political science series. Vol. 2, ZDB -ID 500984-4 ). Abroad u. Heimat, Stuttgart 1926.
    • Manka Spiegel: The mandate under international law and its application to Palestine. Leuschner & Lubensky, Graz a. a. 1928.
    • Ernst Marcus: Palestine - a state in the making. International and constitutional study of the legal structure of the mandate country Palestine with special consideration of the law of the national homestead for the Jewish people (= Frankfurt treatises on modern international law. Issue 16, ZDB -ID 501739-7 ). Noske, Leipzig 1929, (at the same time: Heidelberg, University, dissertation, 1930).
    • Wolfgang Abendroth : The international legal position of the B and C mandates (= treatises from constitutional and administrative law including international law. 54, ZDB -ID 584226-8 ). Marcus, Breslau 1936, (Partly at the same time: Bern, Universität, Dissertation, 1935; republished in: Wolfgang Abendroth: Gesammelte Schriften. Volume 1: 1926–1948. Offizin, Hannover 2006, ISBN 3-930345-49-8 , p. 181 ff.).

    Web links

    Wiktionary: Mandate  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
    Wiktionary: Mandate area  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

    Individual evidence

    1. ^ Pfeifer, Wolfgang et al .: Mandat, das. In: Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Deutschen. In: Retrieved August 18, 2020 .
    2. Helmuth Stoecker (Ed.): Handbook of Contracts 1871–1964. Treaties and other documents from the history of international relations. Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, Berlin 1987, p. 22 f .; quoted from Johannes Glasneck, Angelika Timm : Israel. The history of the state since its inception. Bouvier, Bonn a. a. 1992, ISBN 3-416-02349-8 , p. 14.
    3. David L. Hoggan : The blind century - second part: Europe , Grabert Verlag , Tübingen 1984, ISBN 387847072X , p. 275 ( Online , PDF; 1.96 MB)