• Description

Significant hope was vested in the League of Nations (LON) when it was established after World War I. As declared during its first council meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland, in January 1920, "humanity at large looks towards the League for the solution of the tremendous problems arising out of the War." Stemming from this was the mandate system, which was enshrined in Article 22 of the Covenant of the LON. The mandate system was intended to be a deviation from prior colonial practices. In contrast to colonialism, during which there was no formalized international supervisory power over the colonizers, various powers were delegated to oversee the administration of the territories of the former Ottoman, and German powers. The territories which belonged to the vanquished powers would be placed "in trust" under the administration of various mandatory powers. The mandatory powers had to adhere to the principles in Article 22. Additionally, the LON was supposed to supervise the various powers designated to ensure that the territories 'unable to stand by themselves' were duly guided towards self-government. Three categories of mandates were prescribed. The "A" mandated territories were deemed to the closest to the attainment of self-government, in contrast to the "B" and "C" mandates that were deemed to be further remote from civilization. Regarding the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain was allotted an "A" mandate over Palestine and Iraq; France was similarly given a mandate over Syria and Lebanon. These territories were deemed incapable of governing themselves by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and were thus placed under the administration of more capable powers with the objective of leading them towards eventual self-government.