Suggestion for the League to preserve peace in Europe

strongly resembling the NATO Foundation Treaty from 1849

The documentary set consists of a report by Lord Beauvale (English Ambassador to Austria) dated August 29, 1840, with an enclosed proposal and memorandum by Count Ficquelmont (Austrian Ambassador to Russia) sent to Lord Palmerston (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) from Kynžvart. Documents are kept by The National Archives in London, in the Foreign Office. The proposal was rejected by Palmerston; in his opinion peace in Europe was sustainable even without the creation of a League that would limit the ambitions of the UK. At least, the foundation of the defensive alliance without a commitment to future peace was proposed to Palmerston at the end of October by Prussian king Frederick William IV of Prussia, whose ambassador Count Moltzan was present at Kynžvart in August 1840. The Rhine crisis was eventually ended in a different way by the French King Louis Philippe, who removed from office his reactionary government, opening the door to the conclusion of the Second London Convention in 1841. However, Metternich’s vision of "the insurance company against war" was thus not realised.


Suggestion for a League to preserve peace in Europe - content

Article I

The four courts expressly undertake a mutual commitment to not to grant a request for the use of force against any European state in any case without addressing other signatory courts of the present agreement beforehand in order to obtain (if it can be done), with their help, the redress of grievances they might have, by way of conciliation.

Article II

In case of such request, the four courts undertake to gather together in the town appointed to them by the power that had made the request in order to make a common decision to prevent an outbreak, and, after becoming aware of the facts, they shall hasten to destroy any cause of war using all the moral influence to obtain security or reparation depending on the circumstances for the threatened or prejudiced party.

Article III

If, despite their effort, an aggressive power insists on its encroachment projects towards others and shows itself to be willing to assert them by the use of force, in such and in any other case, they shall feel called to save their common defence. In such case, they shall perceive an attack against one of them as an attack against all powers and they shall make all the effort necessary and use all their means to confront them.

Article IV

To leave no doubt about the true intention of the courts, they declare that if the peacekeeping were threatened by the act of a signatory power of the present agreement, the others shall be obliged to fulfil the commitments they undertook in the previous articles, and they shall fulfil them in the same manner like if such act were committed by a power that would remain a foreign one.

Article V

In case no request had been made but it was common knowledge that peace in Europe was threatened to be disturbed, the signatory powers of the present act reserve the right to gather together in the state capital of one of them to take into consideration the means to preserve the blessings of peace in Europe gathering their advice and, if needed, their effort for a purpose if desirable.

Article VI

The four courts that wish to offer Europe the same security they aim to assure for themselves agreed to communicate the present agreement to other European courts inviting them to join it, provided that all ruling and all resolutions to be taken in accordance with the provisions of this act shall be reserved exclusively to the powers that were its original signatories.

Original Document