Geneva Protocol
The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, usually called the Geneva Protocol, is a treaty prohibiting the first use of chemical and biological weapons. It was signed at Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 on June 17, 1925 and entered into force on February 8, 1928. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on September 7, 1929.

It prohibits the use of chemical weapons and biological weapons, but has nothing to say about production, storage or transfer. Later treaties did cover these aspects—the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention
Biological Weapons Convention
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the...

 and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention
Chemical Weapons Convention
The Chemical Weapons Convention is an arms control agreement which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. Its full name is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction...


A number of countries submitted reservations when becoming parties to the Geneva Protocol, declaring that they only regarded the non-use obligations as applying to other parties and that these obligations would cease to apply if the prohibited weapons were used against them.


Chemical weapons were used by the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 in Ypres
Ypres is a Belgian municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Ypres and the villages of Boezinge, Brielen, Dikkebus, Elverdinge, Hollebeke, Sint-Jan, Vlamertinge, Voormezele, Zillebeke, and Zuidschote...

, Kingdom of Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 in 1915, when chlorine gas was released. The Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 included some provisions that banned Germany from either manufacturing or importing chemical weapons. Similar treaties banned the First Austrian Republic
First Austrian Republic
The Republic of Austria encompasses the period of Austrian history following the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye of September 1919, the settlement after the end of World War I which put an end to the Republic of German Austria, continuing up to World War II...

, the Kingdom of Bulgaria
Kingdom of Bulgaria
The Kingdom of Bulgaria was established as an independent state when the Principality of Bulgaria, an Ottoman vassal, officially proclaimed itself independent on October 5, 1908 . This move also formalised the annexation of the Ottoman province of Eastern Rumelia, which had been under the control...

, and the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary (1920–1946)
The Kingdom of Hungary also known as the Regency, existed from 1920 to 1946 and was a de facto country under Regent Miklós Horthy. Horthy officially represented the abdicated Hungarian monarchy of Charles IV, Apostolic King of Hungary...

 from chemical weapons.

Three years after World War I, the Allies wanted to reaffirm the Treaty of Versailles, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 introduced the Treaty of Washington
Washington Naval Treaty
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was an attempt to cap and limit, and "prevent 'further' costly escalation" of the naval arms race that had begun after World War I between various International powers, each of which had significant naval fleets. The treaty was...

. The United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 gave consent for ratification but it failed to enter into force. The French Third Republic
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

 objected to the submarine provisions of the treaty and thus the treaty failed.

At the 1925 Geneva Conference for the Supervision of the International Traffic in Arms the French suggested a protocol for non-use of poisonous gases. The Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic
The Second Polish Republic, Second Commonwealth of Poland or interwar Poland refers to Poland between the two world wars; a period in Polish history in which Poland was restored as an independent state. Officially known as the Republic of Poland or the Commonwealth of Poland , the Polish state was...

 suggested the addition of bacteriological weapons. It was signed on June 17.

State parties

To become party to the Protocol, state parties must deposit an instrument with the government of France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (the depository power). Thirty-eight states originally signed the Protocol. France was the first signatory to ratify the treaty, on 10 May 1926. El Salvador, the final signatory to ratify the treaty did so on 26 February 2008. As of November 2010, 137 states have ratified, acceded to, or succeeded to the treaty.
Party Date of deposition Reservations Notes
 Algeria Binding only with regards to states who have ratified or acceded to the protocol.
Ceases to be binding in regards to any enemy state which does not observe the prohibitions of the protocol.
 Antigua and Barbuda Succeeded
Succession of states
Succession of states is a theory and practice in international relations regarding the recognition and acceptance of a newly created sovereign state by other states, based on a perceived historical relationship the new state has with a prior state...

 from the United Kingdom.
Withdrawn 1986.
 Austria Signatory.

Does not constitute recognition of, or diplomatic relations with Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 Barbados Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
Withdrawn 1997. Signatory.
 Brazil Signatory.
 Kingdom of Bulgaria
Withdrawn 1991. Signatory.
 Burkina Faso
Withdrawn in 1991 as regards biological agents and in 1999 as regards chemical agents. Signatory.
 Cape Verde
 Central African Republic
Withdrawn 1991. Signatory.
 Mainland China
 Costa Rica
 Côte d'Ivoire
 Independent State of Croatia
 Cyprus Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 Czech Republic Succeeded from Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 Denmark Signatory.
 Dominican Republic
 Egypt Signatory.
 El Salvador Signatory.
 Equatorial Guinea
Withdrawn 1991. Signatory.
 Ethiopia Signatory.
Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 Finland Signatory.
 Early Modern France
Withdrawn 1996. Signatory.
 The Gambia Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 Germany Signatory.
 Greece Signatory.
 Grenada Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 Holy See
 Indonesia Succeeded from the Netherlands.
 Republic of Ireland
Withdrawn 1972.
 Jamaica Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 Japan Signatory.


Withdrawn in 2002 as regards bacteriological and toxin agents.
 Latvia Signatory.
 Lesotho Succeeded from the United Kingdom.

 Lithuania Signatory.
 Luxembourg Signatory.
 Malta Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 Mauritius Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 Mongolia Withdrawn 1990.
 Netherlands Ceases to be binding as to the use of chemical weapons in regards to any enemy state which does not observe the prohibitions of the protocol. Withdrawn 1995. Signatory.
 New Zealand
Withdrawn 1989.
 Nicaragua Signatory.
 Niger Succeeded from France.
 Norway Signatory.
 Pakistan Succeeded from the United Kingdom and "British India".
 Papua New Guinea
Succeeded from Australia.
 Poland Signatory.
Withdrawn 2002. Signatory.
 Kingdom of Romania
Withdrawn 1991. Signatory.
Withdrawn 2000. Succeeded from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
 Rwanda Succeeded from Belgium.
 Saint Kitts and Nevis Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 Saint Lucia Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 Saudi Arabia
 Serbia Succeeded from Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 Sierra Leone
 Slovakia Succeeded from Czechoslovakia.
 Solomon Islands
Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 South Africa
Withdrawn 1996.
Withdrawn 1992. Signatory.
 Sri Lanka
 Sweden Signatory.
 Switzerland Signatory.
 Tonga Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 Trinidad and Tobago Succeeded from the United Kingdom.
 Turkey Signatory.
 Ukraine Succeeded from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
 United Kingdom
Withdrawn in 1991 as regards biological agents and in 2002 as regards chemical agents. Signatory.
 United States Signatory.
 Uruguay Signatory.
 Venezuela Signatory.

Chemical weapons prohibitions

Date Name Effect
1675 Strasbourg Agreement The first international agreement limiting the use of chemical weapons, in this case, poison bullets.
1874 Brussels Convention on the Law and Customs of War Prohibited the employment of poison or poisoned weapons, and the use of arms, projectiles or material to cause unnecessary suffering.
1899 1st Peace Conference at the Hague European Nations prohibited "the use of projectiles whose sole purpose is the release of asphyxiating or harmful gases"
1907 2nd Peace Conference at the Hague The Conference added the use of poisons or poisoned weapons.
1919 Treaty of Versailles Prohibited poison gas in Germany (Added by E.Arms)
1922 Treaty of Washington Failed because France objected to clauses relating to submarine warfare.
1925 Geneva Protocol Prohibited the use of "asphyxiating gas, or any other kind of gas, liquids, substances or similar materials"
1972 Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention No verification mechanism, negotiations for a protocol to make up this lack halted by USA in 2001
1993 Chemical Weapons Convention Signed Comprehensive bans on development, production, stockpiling and use of Chemical Weapons, with destruction timelines.

External links

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