Iraq: the End of a Mandate

IN THE case of Iraq we now have the full life history of a mandate from birth to death. With the report of the Permanent Mandates Commission to the Council of the League on the termination of the British mandate the formal cycle of the functions of the Commission was rounded out, and a new and striking addition was made to the jurisprudence of the mandates system. Not only were the general conditions for the termination of mandates laid down by the Commission, but in addition the particular case of Iraq was examined and a report rendered both as to Iraq's general fitness and as to the guarantees of good conduct that must be internationally imposed upon her. To the Commission, in its vitally important rôle of adviser to the Council on mandate matters, fell the major share of these labors and of the responsibility attaching to them; but these responsibilities, it is to be feared, the Commission was more eager to evade than to meet squarely.

It is the clear implication of Article 22 of the Covenant, as has been recognized by many commentators, that the mandate was to be regarded as a temporary institution, having as its purpose the bringing to maturity of peoples "not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world" and ending when that purpose had been attained. There is, however, no precise statement to that effect nor is provision made for any machinery for its realization. In consequence, objections have been raised in certain quarters to the conception that mandates are temporary. These objections, although they seem baseless even for the B and C mandates, could certainly not be held to apply to the A mandates. The Palestine mandate may well, for political reasons, be of relatively long continuance, but the French representative has already informed the Mandates Commission that the termination of the Syrian mandate is under consideration.[i]

The British request for the termination of the mandate for

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