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a fundamental principle of present-day international law that obliges every state not to interfere in any way in the internal affairs of any other state, not to impose its own social or governmental order or its ideology on any other state, and to respect the sovereignty of all other states. Nonintervention is an important condition for peaceful coexistence and cooperation among nations.
The principle of nonintervention was laid down by the revolutionary bourgeoisie during the Great French Revolution to counter attempts by the European monarchies to reestablish the monarchical system in France through armed intervention. But the bourgeoisie defended these principles only to the extent that it found them suitable. The wars of the Directory and especially of Napoleonic France and the entire policy that underlay them demonstrated that the bourgeoisie defies or flouts its own proclaimed principles whenever self-interest dictates. The Holy Alliance, which was formed in 1815 after the fall of Napoleon for the purpose of defending feudal absolutist regimes and suppressing revolutionary and national liberation movements, made intervention in the domestic affairs of other states its official policy for many years.
The position taken by the United States on the question of the principles of relations between the countries of Europe and America, which was declared in 1823 and came to be called the Monroe Doctrine, was formally directed against the threat of intervention in Latin America by the Holy Alliance. But in reality, as its actual application demonstrated, the Monroe Doctrine became the basis of the US claim to unhindered intervention in the domestic affairs of Latin American countries. The most flagrant violation of the principle of nonintervention was the armed intervention organized by the imperialist powers against the young Soviet state. This intervention was in fact supported by the League of Nations, which was formed after World War I. During the Spanish People’s National Revolutionary War (1936–39), the Western powers connived with intervention by fascist Germany and Italy against the Spanish Republic but hid behind an ostensible policy of nonintervention. This policy of collusion with fascist aggression, which was clearly expressed in the Munich Agreement of 1938, encouraged the preparation of the subsequent aggression against the USSR.
The UN Charter, which took effect in October 1945, sees nonintervention as one of the most important principles underlying the actions of the UN and its members (par. 7, art. 2). At the same time, the possibility of applying military and nonmilitary sanctions against a state whose actions represent a threat to peace, a disruption of peace, or an act of aggression is recognized, even if such sanctions intrude into the sphere of internal jurisdiction of this state (arts. 39–42).
Despite the UN Charter and numerous UN resolutions, the principle of nonintervention has been violated many times by the imperialist powers in support of the forces of domestic reaction in a number of countries. The methods of direct armed intervention are frequently employed as for example in the imperialist interventions in Korea, Guatemala, Lebanon, Jordan, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
The USSR and the other socialist states have consistently fought for adherence to the principle of nonintervention. At the 20th session of the UN General Assembly (September-December 1965), the USSR initiated the Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty, which was adopted by the Assembly. The principle of nonintervention is invariably included in interstate agreements signed by the socialist countries.
A. I. IOIRISH