International Congresses


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. International Congresses is Number 151 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Written by Sir Ernest Satow (1843–1929), a prominent British diplomat and scholar, the study is one of relatively few in the series issued under the name of an individual author. Following an introduction and a brief section on the general characteristics of international congresses, the bulk of the study is taken up with the analysis of 15 particular meetings, from the Congress of Vienna of 1814−15 to the Conference of Bucharest of 1913. Each of these congresses is analyzed with regard to different aspects: the place of meeting; the armistice preceding the congress; preliminaries and program; representation of the powers; election of the president; appointment of the secretariat; formation of committees; records; concluding treaty or final act; who signs, and order of signature; ratifications and their exchange; and accession or adhesion. The appendix contains the texts of a number of important international agreements referred to in the text. The study was a valuable resource for those diplomats involved in the organization and conduct of the Paris Peace Conference. Satow’s vast knowledge of diplomacy was reflected in his A Guide to Diplomatic Practice, a book first published in 1917 that remains in print and that is used by foreign ministries and embassies the world over.

Last updated: February 18, 2015