Mandated Territories

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mandated Territories


the general term for the former German colonies and certain Turkish possessions which the League of Nations, after the defeat of Germany and Turkey in World War I, placed under the government of the victorious countries on the basis of special commissions, or mandates. The mandate system was instituted in accordance with Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. It was, in fact, a veiled form of colonial domination by the imperialist powers and covered up their redistribution of the colonial possessions taken from Germany and Turkey.

Subject to inclusion in the mandate system were colonies and territories “which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the states which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world.” The formal transfer was supposed to be carried out by the League of Nations, but in fact the mandate system consolidated a division of colonies that favored Great Britain and France and that had been carried out by them before the end of World War I.

The mandated territories were subdivided into groups A, B, and C. Group A mandates were formally organized as states with their own citizenship and administration, but in fact all rights in legislation, domestic policy, and foreign relations were held by the governing state, the mandatary, which was also given the power to determine when the particular territory would be “capable of governing itself.” Included in this group were Iraq, Palestine, and Transjordan (for which Great Britain was the mandatary), as well as Syria and Lebanon (mandatary, France).

Mandated territories in group B were to be directly governed by the mandatary, which was to observe certain conditions. These territories included part of the Cameroons and part of Togo and Tanganyika (Great Britain, mandatary), another part of the Cameroons and another part of Togo (France), and Ruanda-Urundi (Belgium).

Mandated territories in group C were governed entirely by the laws of the mandatary “as integral portions of its territory.” In other words, these territories were annexed by the mandataries. Included in this group were Southwest Africa (mandatary, the Union of South Africa), German New Guinea (Australia), Western Samoa (New Zealand), Nauru (Australia, Great Britain, and New Zealand, collective mandataries), and the Caroline, Mariana, and Marshall islands in the Pacific Ocean (Japan).

The colonial dominion of the mandataries over territories in groups B and C was, in fact, unrestricted. Under the Covenant of the League of Nations, the slave trade and trade in weapons and alcohol were formally prohibited in these territories. In addition, the states holding the mandates were obliged to “guarantee freedom of conscience and religion, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals,” and were prohibited from building fortifications and military and naval bases and from providing the native inhabitants with military training.

The USSR never recognized the mandate system and sharply condemned it. After World War II the mandate system was replaced by the UN trusteeship system.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the end, fourteen mandated territories were set up across the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific.
A scholarly eccentric whose nitpicking drove his PMC colleagues mad, he nevertheless did more than anyone to "establish the principle that mandatory powers were 'not sovereign' in the mandated territories".
After the war, the Treaty of Versailles set up a new system of mandated territories under the newly formed League of Nations.
Palestine by then remained the only one of the formerly Mandated Territories not to become an independent state.
What sets this story apart from others is that it unfolds against the backdrop of a growing Zionist movement in the Mandated Territories of Palestine, an influx of Jewish immigrants and an outflow of Arab refugees to neighbouring lands.
(56) This was based upon the common-law doctrine that every person born in the King's dominions (excluding protectorates and mandated territories) was a natural-born British subject.
(118) Paul Hymans, a Belgian who was the first President of the League of Nations, wrote (while still the Belgian foreign secretary), "I shall not enter into a controversy--though it would certainly be very interesting--as to where sovereignty in mandated territories resides.
Because sovereignty over the mandated territories was never clearly spelled out, the system itself was open to interpretation.
(10) Article 22 makes it clear that the mandates are a "trust" arrangement in which the "beneficiaries" are the peoples of the mandated territories themselves.
As such, her presence in waters close to the Japanese Mandated Territories would not draw any attention to itself.
The constitutional question lapsed thereafter for several years, being revived by the Mandatory only when neither side really wanted it and Palestine, exceptionally among mandated territories, remained to the end without representative institutions.