Permanent Mandates Commission

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oversight body of the league of nations.

The Geneva-based commission was established in 1919 under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations to supervise the administration under the mandate system of fifteen mandated territories including four in the Middle EastFrance's Lebanon and Syria and Britain's Palestine and Iraq. It required annual reports from mandatory governments and advised the Council of the League of Nations on policy regarding the mandates. The Commission, however, exercised little supervisory authority, and three of the mandates in the Middle EastLebanon, Syria, and Palestinewere generally run autonomously, much like colonies.

Most members of the commission were representatives of colonial powers: Great Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Japan. Only two members were non-colonial states: Switzerland and Norway. Citizens of the mandates could appeal to the commission but only through their mandatory high commissioner. The commission repeatedly rejected Palestinian Arabs' appeals for the right to self-determination and tolerated France's delays in granting autonomy to Syria and Lebanon. However, the commission granted independence to Iraq in 1932. The commission existed until 1946, when the United Nations replaced it with its Trusteeship Council as the Mandate System became the trusteeship system.

see also mandate system.


Henkin, Louis, et al. International Law: Cases and Materials, 2d edition. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Group, 1987.

Hurewitz, J. C. The Struggle for Palestine. New York: Schocken, 1976.

Lesch, Ann M. Arab Politics in Palestine, 19171939: The Frustrations of a Nationalist Movement. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1979.

Moore, John Norton, ed. The Arab-Israeli Conflict, Vol. 3. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1974.

elizabeth thompson