chapter  11
18 Pages

Against the Hague Conventions

Promoting new rules for neutrality in the Cold War
WithWolfgang Mueller

This chapter focuses on a communist attempt to change the laws of neutrality during the Cold War period and to formulate guidelines for permanently neutral states in time of peace. Using communist documents, declarations, textbooks and treatises on international law, it analyses how key communist states and actors promoted permanent neutrality and assesses the ideological and political motivations behind their efforts. Beginning with the communist 're-discovery' of neutrality after 1949, the chapter explores why the initiative did not succeed. In communist eyes, neutrality was more progressive than capitalism but less progressive than socialism. Despite communist and left-wing criticism, the Hague conventions served as the starting point for developing the communist canon of neutral duties. A major step toward modifying the norms enshrined by the Hague conventions was made by the Soviet-sponsored International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL). Inadequate and unbeloved as the Hague conventions on neutrality were among communists, they still reflected a common denominator in the Cold War world.