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Neutrality and Peace

The View of a Small Power

Courtesy Reuters

WHEN the world was preparing in 1898 for the first Peace Conference at The Hague, the Norwegian Government put forward as one plank of their country's program a claim to obtain permanent neutrality, this to be formally recognized by all foreign governments. A petition supporting this program was quickly signed by fifty thousand names. Four years later, in 1902, the same claim was unanimously adopted by the Storting. At that time, however, the union with Sweden still prevailed, so that Norway could not carry on an independent foreign policy; and the Government and the Riksdag of Sweden refused to agree with the Norwegian desire. The question therefore did not appear on the agenda of the Hague Conference nor did it attract attention in any of the international discussions of the day. But the program was in keeping with the traditions of Norwegian policy, and it even helped to strengthen Norway in her

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