§ 57. Mr. C. WILLIAMS
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will indicate to the House, giving examples, the type and nature of the various documents classified by the Foreign Office as treaties, conventions, agreements, and exchanges of notes, respectively
§ Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE (for Sir J. SIMON)
As the answer is long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
There is plenty of time left; could we not have the answer read? Otherwise, I should like to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.
§ Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE
I am sorry that I did not catch my hon. Friend's question at first. The answer occupies three closely typewritten pages. If the House desires it, I will, of course, read it.
§ Following is the answer:
§ International instruments dealing with matters of the highest political importance such as an alliance, a peace settlement, and in more recent times, the limitation of armaments and the renunciation of war have generally, but not invariably, been called treaties. The following may be quoted as examples: the Treaty of Versailles, 1919; the Treaty of Lausanne, 1923; the Treaty for the Renunciation of War, 1928; the Treaties for the Limitation of Naval Armaments of Washington, 1922, and London, 1930.
§ Other important matters, such as peace and friendship, general commercial relations, extradition and arbitration are often, though not invariably, made the subject of "treaties."
§ The term "Convention" is usually though not invariably applied to international instruments dealing with the less important political matters, commercial 1700 arrangements, and boundary settlements, and a large number of technical questions are so dealt with. Extradition forms the subject of conventions as well as of treaties. The following examples may be quoted: The Convention with France of 1904, regarding Newfoundland and West Africa; the Commercial Convention with Japan, 1925; the Convention of 1926 regarding the boundary between British Guiana and Brazil; the Copyright Convention of 1928; the Extradition Convention with Estonia, 1925.
§ The more important multilateral instruments concluded under the auspices of the League of Nations are generally called "Conventions."
§ "Agreements" generally supplement or amend existing treaties or conventions or deal with matters of technical or administrative interest. Some examples are: The Anglo-French Telegraphic Money Order Agreement supplementary to the Convention of 1882; the Agreement of 1920 modifying the Anglo-Persian Commercial Convention of 1903; the Agreement with Germany, 1928, regarding the taxation of shipping profits; the Agreement of 1929 with Ecuador relating to commercial travellers; and the Agreements with Austria and Hungary of 1930, for the Liquidation of Austrian and Hungarian Properties.
§ "Exchanges of Notes," as the term implies, do not differ in form from the ordinary official diplomatic correspondence between accredited diplomatic representatives and the Government to which they are accredited, but they are a recognised and frequently employed form of concluding international agreements. Agreements in this form generally though not invariably deal with nonpolitical matters of a technical or administrative nature and subsidiary points arising out of, or in some way connected with, existing treaties or conventions. As examples reference may be made to the Exchange of Notes of 13th April, 1931, regarding Documents of Identity for Aircraft Personnel; the Exchange of Notes of 15th December, 1931, regarding the regulations for the Administration of the New Hebrides; the Exchange of Notes on signature of Anglo-Guatemalan Commercial Treaty, 22nd February, 1928; the Exchange of Notes relating to Newfoundland supplementary to the Anglo-French Convention of 1904.1701
§ No definite rule, however, exists as regards the use of any of the foregoing types of treaty instruments, and numerous exceptions could be quoted to the classification outlined above.
§ The question whether the name "treaty," "convention," or "agreement" should be given to an agreement not in the form of an exchange of notes appears to have been determined as a mere matter of appreciation as to which name appears to be most suitable and convenient in all the circumstances of the case, and no inferences can be drawn with certainty from the name selected in any given case.
§ The binding effect of all four types of instruments is the same in international law, and the examples given above are instances selected from a very large number of instruments of each type. Moreover, the four terms dealt with above are not an exhaustive list of the expressions used to describe international agreements. There are others in general use such as Protocols and Acts.