Fredrik Bajer

Nobel Lecture



Nobel Lecture*, May 18, 1909


The Organization of the Peace Movement

Yesterday was the seventeenth of May, Norway’s great day of national celebration1. Today’s date, the eighteenth of May, should sometime become an occasion of great international celebration, for on this day ten years ago the first Peace Conference opened at The Hague. I regard it as a good omen that the Nobel Committee has allowed me to present my address on this particular day.

There is no contradiction between a nation’s strong self-esteem and its will to internationalize itself (to use a current expression) with other peoples in order to promote better understanding – the supreme aim of peace. This concept of international understanding is what Alfred Nobel called “fraternity among nations”. It is not enough to cry out, “Lay down your arms”2; and this, incidentally, is not the same as “Away with armaments.” We must also shout, “Lift up your hearts!”

The address which I am about to give I have entitled “The Organization of the Peace Movement”. My role has not, in the main, been that of a propagandist, but rather that of an organizer whose work has been discharged behind the scenes.

I could, perhaps, have called my lecture “The Organization of Peace”. To describe briefly my understanding of the organization of peace, a structure which has been built on a foundation laid by the peace movement, I would compare it to a house of three stories.

The first story belongs to the peace associations. They hold an annual conference, known as “le congrès universel” or the international congress3. The next story is the Interparliamentary Union4, which generally also holds one meeting a year, the interparliamentary conference. Finally, the third story, which we hope will not be the last, is the intergovernmental peace conference5. An easy but less precise labeling of the situation is: there are peoples, parliaments, and governments. These three stories I shall now consider rather more closely.

In speaking of the peace movement, I could also use another metaphor. The distinguished Chairman referred in his introductory words to my being an old soldier, and I shall therefore use a military one. There are threecolumns marching forth: the international, the interparliamentary, and the intergovernmental. These three columns must maintain contact with one another. In battle, it is useless to attack alone, however courageous one may be; one has to maintain contact to the left and to the right; otherwise nothing of great moment can be achieved. This contact, this organization, is of the utmost importance if results are to be achieved in the peace movement.

I shall not deal in great detail with the subject of the mutual contacts required. Various proposals have been made. On many occasions, pacifists have expressed the wish that a bond of association be formed linking all those who work for the cause of peace, both individuals and institutions. To this end they have suggested the appointment of a common supreme authority. I do not believe, however, that this solution would be successful. I do not believe that such a joint supreme authority is desirable. And it would scarcely prove practical.

When the London International Peace Congress was under preparation in 1890, I studied its program6. Coincidentally, this was in the same place where I sat as a cadet in 1854. As a result of my study, I came to the conclusion that a common supreme authority was undesirable. I would rather propose a bureau somewhat similar to that which we have in the Universal Postal Union7. Strangely enough the same idea had been introduced previously, unbeknown to me. During the Paris World Peace Congress in 1878, the elderly Charles Lemonnier8 defended this concept against all the rest of those assembled. The others wanted to have a joint authority, but he maintained that there should be only a bureau as a common bond of association. I attempted to promote this idea in London. Although unsuccessful, I did not give up hope. I worked on, and I shall report briefly how the matter developed.

At the Congress in Rome on November 13, 1891, an International Peace Bureau was set up9. This bureau was, in my mind, originally intended as a sort of focus for the whole peace movement, forming a bond of association between all institutions and individuals who desired to cooperate for peace, and serving as a source of information. But it soon developed that the Interparliamentary Conference, which was held immediately afterward, would not agree to anything of this kind. In the following year, however, in 1892 in Bern, the conference explored the setting up of an interparliamentary bureau10. Since that time small rifts have appeared; a kind of dualism has asserted itself between the international and the interparliamentary work for peace. I believe that this dualism is in the process of being smoothed out, and the trend should rapidly gather momentum. The proposals which are adopted at [peace] congresses should be referred to the [interparliamentary] conferences, and in turn the congresses should strive to influence the people and to implement the decisions which are taken at the interparliamentary conferences. It would, moreover, be desirable for some persons to be members both of the Interparliamentary Council and of the Board of the World Peace Bureau (just as I am myself).

I wish, figuratively speaking, to pause for a moment at the lowest story of the structure of peace, that of the peace associations, and raise the question: Should they be political? Yes or no? This is a moot point. They should be political insofar as the cause of peace, like all else which concerns the activity of the state, also concerns politics. But they should not be party-political. A sign that a peace association is going adrift is its exclusion of other political parties, with whom it could collaborate effectively on most of the problems besetting the cause of peace. Leave well enough alone and let each have his own opinions about domestic policies! In this respect, the interparliamentary groups, in which all shades of political opinion meet, are good models. In the Danish Parliament, all members of the Lower House, without exception, are members of the interparliamentary group, and so are all but eleven members of the Upper House.

Now first of all, we have – and I again revert to the military metaphor – recruitment, so as to encourage membership in the peace associations. I am reminded of an incident that took place a good many years ago. A young man came up to me and said, “I have heard talk of this Nobel Peace Prize and I would very much like to have it. Can you tell me how I should set about it?” With the greatest of pleasure,” I replied. “Please sit down, and I will help you.” I then asked, “Are you a member of the peace association?” “No.” “Well, that is the first step!”

Once members have been brought into the association, they should then be informed and educated, for there is much to learn. On joining such a movement, one should not think that he is wiser than all those who have been working for it for a long time. One must be informed. Ordinary and annual meetings are arranged by the groups. At the national meetings which are held in most countries, representatives are chosen for the annual peace congresses. These representatives, in turn, receive further information. They return and report what they have heard. In this way a process of mutual education comes into operation.

One of the first documents that the Bureau in Bern sought to prepare was a set of statistics on the existing peace associations. Since it is difficult to obtain accurate data on the effective membership of these associations, it would not be amiss if at some time we could afford to appoint an inspector-general who would travel around to determine how many of the members included in the statistics are in fact active.

Propaganda is a topic of particular concern to peace associations. This is a matter of educating the population in general, and not least the voters. The voters elect the people’s representatives who will enter the interparliamentary groups forming the Interparliamentary Union. For this reason,. the peace associations have often approved their members’ asking prospective candidates if they, upon election, would join the interparliamentary groups. I believe that at present no further commitment is required, for election automatically brings membership, at any rate in Denmark.

With regard to the task of education, I shall touch on the question of literature. There are those who believe we have need of more literature, of a large international publishing house, of a great peace newspaper, or the like. I am rather skeptical about this idea. We already have an immense literature. I could name a whole series of excellent periodicals in England, America, France, and Germany; and in addition we all have in common La Correspondance bimensuelle11,with its factual announcements, issued by the Peace Bureau in Bern. No, it is not this that we need so much. Indeed; peace literature is almost exclusively read, though to good effect, by pacifists, while what is needed is the canvassing of those who have not so far been won to the cause. Up to now, we have had too much of what the French call “prêcher aux convertis” – preaching to the converted. We should direct special efforts toward those who still remain unconverted. In this connection, I got an idea not long ago from a bird called the cuckoo: It lays its eggs in other birds’ nests. I have, therefore, applied to the Danish Ministry of Justice for permission to deposit a sum of 1,000 kroner in the Public Trustee Office – this being the safest place to invest money in Denmark- the income from which will go to the person who, in the course of the preceding calendar year, has written for a national newspaper or journal the best article, in the opinion of a certain committee, in the cause of peace on an appropriate theme, such as “folkens förbrödrande” [fraternity among nations]. The articles in competition must have appeared in the daily press. As you can see, to obtain this prize the person concerned must first persuade an editor to accept his essay. The task of the committee which is to judge the articles is lightened by the fact that the press will have already rejected those efforts which are totally unacceptable. This experiment is to be made in Denmark and, if it succeeds, I hope that the example will be followed elsewhere.

There is another form of propaganda which I shall call the “letter movement”. I give it this name since it is directed at some higher authority which is to be influenced. As an old parliamentarian, however, I know that this method seldom has much effect. There are many members of parliament present here who know as well as I do that, if a man has not already been converted, it will require a great deal more than a letter of appeal to achieve conversion. Nevertheless, this type of propaganda has a special value, for it serves to convince those who sign the appeal, of the necessity for carrying on propaganda; so a corps of propagandists, if I may use the term, is thus trained. It is important, however, to find the right objective for such an appeal. It must not be anything remote; it must be something which can be envisaged by those to whom it is addressed, something which can be accomplished in the not too distant future. Let me give you an example. At the last Hague Conference, a step in the direction of compulsory arbitration of international disputes was proposed. In the end; thirty-two nations were persuaded to vote for arbitration12, and a proposal was then advanced – I believe its sponsor is among us today – that these nations be prevailed upon to unite. In most cases, of course, unanimity is required at diplomatic conferences, but in this instance a number of states could clearly unite with advantage, and others could later be added to their number.

This is the task, I think, of a letter movement. But it should be set up only in states where a significant response can be achieved, for a letter movement necessarily presupposes a strong organization. We have had such a letter movement on two occasions in Denmark when more than a quarter of the adult Danish population participated. Such an achievement, however, demands a really great effort and also a great deal of money. If an excellent organization had not already been in existence, these projects could scarcely have succeeded.

I shall touch quite briefly on another method, that of mutual international visits. Such visits have been made in the past, of course, and have proved to be of great value, particularly those between England and France and between England and Germany – the Scandinavians, of course, have been visiting in Paris for five years. This is a very costly method, and I am sure I may say that, while work and play may go together, there should not, however, be too much play. I believe that if this method is to be worthwhile, it should be pursued somewhat more assiduously than has hitherto been the case. The same applies also to conferences generally and to the interparliamentary conferences in particular, for they tend, as I have indicated, to resemble meetings of tourists rather than conclaves of jurists. Always we must bear in mind that law has to be substituted for power, that care must be taken to serve the interests of law. Naturally, business and pleasure can be readily combined, but a certain balance should exist, and the latter should not predominate over the former.

There is one criticism which cannot be leveled at interparliamentary conferences but which is applicable to a great extent to peace congresses: the meetings waste time. Peace congresses often start by dealing with some of the less important questions in excessive detail, so at the end there is no time to discuss the most important problems. One even occasionally sees, as I have seen at a congress in Milan, a chairman left with a number of proposals in his hand, like a handful of playing cards, saying, “You may just as well adopt all the resolutions without discussion – they are quite straightforward.”

The aspect of congresses and such meetings generally to which I attach the greatest importance is the discussion. That is why people assemble: to hear different opinions, rather than to pass resolutions. To read the report of a discussion in which arguments for and against are presented, in which a subject has been covered from different points of view, with new ideas advanced – this is far more instructive than to read a brief account of the resolution passed on the matter. Here we can learn something from the Swedes who, if they fail to reach agreement after discussing a matter, often conclude their meetings with a vote that “diskussionen är svar på frågan” [the discussion is a reply to the question].

One serious obstacle to the smooth working of congresses is the language barrier. At the first peace congress in Paris in 188913, only French was used. When the initial session had ended, the Englishmen got together and asked that everything be translated into their language. President Frédéric Passy14, however, said that he could not accede to this request because the Germans would then demand a German translation, and so on. It has since been agreed that speeches given in English will be translated into French and vice versa, and even into German and Italian when necessary. No doubt translations into Esperanto will also soon be in demand. If everyone understood Esperanto, this language could be used everywhere, but that is surely a long way off. I would have thought it possible to choose delegates for these larger conferences who, even if they could not speak the principal languages, could at least understand them or could have friends seated beside them who could keep them informed on essential points. It is quite unbelievable how much time is wasted otherwise. I ask your indulgence for making all these criticisms, but I wish to take this opportunity to express them while speaking to this gathering in the hope that my words will reach not only those present but also those farther afield. I have omitted to add that, although many decisions have been made at these congresses, the participants nevertheless accomplish too little. The congresses have now taken over the Peace Bureau at Bern for special services. This bureau has not become what I originally hoped it would: a central office for all, congresses, conferences, and so forth. It has been reserved mainly and almost exclusively for the world peace congresses. In this respect it is no doubt of great value, but it cannot accomplish everything asked of it. It is not a patient pack mule upon which everything possible may be loaded. When a matter cannot be brought to a conclusion at a congress, it is referred to the Bern Bureau, and the bureau then tries to find a solution. It circularizes proposals to appropriate institutions and individuals – for example, to the ministers of foreign affairs. Unfortunately, not many reply and those who do, confine themselves to an acknowledgment of receipt. Last time, only one foreign minister sent a really thoughtful reply such as might be expected from a friend of peace, and this was the Norwegian foreign minister.

The interparliamentary conference should, in my opinion, direct its particular attention to the preparation of the next Hague Conference, the diplomatic conference, the conference of governments. For this reason I proposed at Berlin last year15 that each of the different parliamentary groups should set up a commission which would list, on the one hand, those older questions which had received favorable consideration but. which had not been fully discussed at the 1907 Hague Conference, and, on the other, any new questions which they thought should be debated at the next conference. I had a suspicion at the back of my mind, however, that this measure would not succeed, since parliamentarians have much, almost too much, to do attending to their own affairs, with little time to spare for other matters such as this. Nevertheless, I wanted to make the proposal in order to emphasize the need for a different approach. Since it now appears that nothing has been done, the governments will have to make this analysis themselves. There are, as was pointed out at the Hague Conference, a great many problems which have to be studied nationally before they can usefully be studied internationally.

I now propose to discuss the third story, the peace conference at The Hague. The assembly is composed of a great many people, many of whom have never seen each other before. I prepared statistics for the first of the Hague Conferences, showing that there were 138 representatives in all. Of this number no less than seventy-seven were diplomats. With all due respect to diplomats, who can be good or even excellent, I feel that one can have too much of a good thing and that a smaller proportion of diplomats would be beneficial at future conferences. There were also thirty-six military officers, twenty-two from the army and fourteen from the navy. Of real politicians there were only thirteen, of whom twelve were experts on international law, six of them members of the Institut de droit international16. If you were to read the Proceedings, you would find that the remaining twenty-five were those who really carried the load. These were the men who presided over or chaired the different commissions. I have no similar figures for the last Hague Conference, the Proceedings of which have not as yet been published in their entirety. I believe, however, that an analysis would reveal like results. I mention this because I firmly believe that governments should see to it that future representation to Hague Conferences be such as to make them more fruitful.

An advantage that the Hague Conferences lack, in contrast to the peace associations and the Interparliamentary Union, is a bureau. The International Court of Arbitration at The Hague has its central office, but the conference itself has none. This was pointed out by an earlier winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, namely Dr. Gobat, who delivered his lecture here, to the best of my memory, on the eighteenth of July, 190617. The last Hague Conference has in the meantime expressed its opinion that a body should be established which could prepare for the work involved more effectively than has hitherto proved possible. I interpret the resolution taken at The Hague as confirming the desirability of setting up such a body within the next two years, one capable of carrying out preparatory work prior to the assembling of the next conference. Immediately, a number of difficulties arise. It becomes apparent, I believe, when this stage has been reached, that there will be a question as to who is to set the machinery in motion. No one government has been given this responsibility. Moreover, how is the commission itself to be constituted? It is of course impossible to call upon representatives from all states.

I would suggest a method which I think could work and which I shall designate by the Swiss term, the “Vorort” system18; it consists in yielding the presidency to each of the participant states in turn. Naturally, it would be an honor for the state which is appointed first. After all, up to the present, only Russia has had the presidency. It could, however, pass to another state whose government would appoint a commission and take the responsibility for the preparatory work.

A similar arrangement has already been introduced in the Nordic Interparliamentary Union, which was set up last year. Its council and its executive are elected by the three Scandinavian groups. The council consists of nine persons. The first two from each country are the president and the vice-president of each of the three groups, and a third member is then chosen from each of them-an elected member. I have had the honor of being elected for two years by the Danish group.

When we met in Copenhagen on the fourteenth of September last year to constitute the council, we agreed to establish the presidency in such a way that one man could not be reelected president time after time, and to do it by using the so-called “Vorort” system. This year it is Sweden which presides and which is therefore responsible for convening the meeting of delegates, which number forty-five in all, including the three triads already mentioned. They are to meet in Stockholm this year on the twenty-seventh of August, or perhaps a little later. Next year Norway has the presidency, and it is up to the Norwegian group to decide whether an assembly of delegates or a conference will be convened and how it is to be organized. The following year, 1911, Denmark will assume the leadership, the presidency, the “vorort”. A similar method is used in Switzerland when the peace associations of the various cantons hold their joint annual meeting. The presidency passes from state to state, in turn: Bern, Neuchâtel, Lucerne, and so on. At each annual meeting, the “Vorort” for the following year is named.

Before I proceed with my observations on the Hague Conferences, I want to comment on a term which I have not originated but have adopted from someone else. This is the word “pacigérance” or “waging peace” in contrast to “belligérance” or “waging war”. I have taken it from a famous and distinguished Belgian writer, Baron Descamps19, who is at present Belgium’s minister of science and art. In 1898 he wrote an excellent book in which he developed the legal principles which should apply to neutral and non-neutral states in time of war and which he calls “pacigérat” or “pacigérance”. According to French etymology, however, “pacigérat” must signify a condition, a legal status; whereas “pacigérance” denotes an action, an activity, something to be done, performed. Later Descamps used the word “pacigérat” only in the former sense.

I requested and received his permission to borrow the word pacigéraance and to use it in another sense. Waging war we understand, but not waging peace, or at any rate less consciously so. It should, however, be better understood, and we should direct the attention of states to the matter of “waging peace” with other states; this should be one of the ways by which we seek to further the cause of peace and in particular to put the results of the Hague Conferences to practical use. I am convinced that this work will gain increasing momentum.

We have long possessed the art of war and the science of war, which have been evolved in the minutest detail. Warfare has been marvelously developed. It will soon be impossible to raise it to further heights. Indeed, whenever a new idea is developed, as for example ballooning, warfare immediately takes possession. On the other hand, the waging of peace as a science, as an art, is in its infancy. But we can trace its growth, its steady progress, and the time will come when there will be particular individuals designated to assume responsibility for and leadership of this movement. There are in most states one or two ministers of war, one of whom is the minister of naval affairs. I would not wish on any account to abolish them; as long as the status of international law is no better than it is at present, we cannot very well do without them. But I feel convinced, and I venture even to prophesy in this regard, that the time will come when there will also be a minister of peace in the cabinet, seated beside the ministers of war.

Among the problems confronting the waging of peace, “pacigérance”, I would return to one already mentioned, that of obtaining agreement between the states whose delegates at The Hague voted for compulsory arbitration of international disputes on the seventh of October, 1907.

I would also mention another matter which in my opinion could be further refined. All who have followed later developments know that last year-I believe it was on the twenty-third of April – a so-called “entente” was concluded among the North Sea Powers and among the Baltic Sea Powers, whereby they guaranteed each other’s coastal areas20. There is, however, an extraordinary definition in this agreement, namely, that the North Sea ends where the Baltic begins. But the agreement does not state where the North Sea does in fact end. Since the whole question remains obscure, I believe that it is desirable to try to bring these two “entente groups”, that for the North Sea and that for the Baltic, into a closer association. A first step has to be taken; there is a need to “treatify”, if I may coin this expression, the waterways – the French call them “canaux interocéaniques” – which connect the two seas. These are the Sound, the Great Belt, and the Little Belt. Clearly, when such waterways are concerned, it is necessary to define precisely what rights and duties are invested in those who use them. To use a logical approach to the problem, I would say: Let us begin with one waterway; for example, the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, the North Sea-Baltic Canal. There is no doubt that Germany exercises control of it. If we then turn to the Little Belt, I believe it would be natural to say: This is both a Danish and a German coastal area; so Denmark and Germany have to agree on what is to happen to it. And, by analogy, a similar situation must exist in the case of the Sound. The Sound has, however, already been the subject of a treaty, the treaty of 1857 (concerning the toll levy)21. This treaty, I believe, should be interpreted so that it relates only to politico-commercial circumstances and not to strategic ones. I believe that great master of international law, Bluntschli22, is right when he says that, when two states border on the open sea and also have overlapping coastal areas, they are then obliged to support each other in the event of war. It would be of tremendous importance and would also affect Danish domestic affairs, if the Sound could be “treatified” in such a way that in. the event of war between powers inside or outside the Baltic, the Sound would remain open as a commercial waterway but be closed to the warships of belligerent powers. The warships would then have to be diverted to the Great Belt, which in any case is the only available route for large warships whose draft is too deep to allow them to pass through the Sound. In time of war, ships sail in squadrons. It is thus no sacrifice to use the Great Belt, which is a passageway through which, both in time of peace and of war, all types of shipping ought to be able to sail. The Baltic must not become a “closed sea”. Indeed, this is a matter which merits very detailed study in view of the many important and intricate problems involved. I do not in any way pretend to have found the answer; but I should mention that I have spoken to many experts about it, and they have agreed with the idea that the Sound be prohibited to the warships of belligerent powers in wartime so that it can then remain an assured commercial seaway. I might mention that as early as 1887 I wrote a treatise on this subject published in the Danish naval officers’ journal, the Journal of Naval Affairs. I also offered a resolution about it which was accepted at the Lucerne Peace Congress in 1905. It is one of my pet subjects, and therefore, I should not like to let pass this opportunity of reiterating my views. I believe that it is of particular significance at present. Norway may be geographically somewhat remote, but as a seafaring nation with a large merchant fleet she is nevertheless interested in seeing the Sound closed [to warships] in case of war between powers within or without the Baltic.

I wish, finally, to touch on a question which was recently raised in the Danish Parliament but which has received relatively little attention. Fourteen members of Parliament, with Mr. Sveistrup23 as their spokesman, submitted a proposal that the cause of peace be supported by a very substantial monetary grant. There are now very few people. who believe that the cause of peace should be entirely unsupported by government funds. It seems to me that the cause of peace serves international political ends, ends which also strongly affect the domestic affairs of a state, to such an extent that the state should supply funds for its support. In this connection, Norway led the way as early as 1890 by granting traveling expenses for its delegates to the interparliamentary conferences. Denmark has also been generous of late. But on this last occasion, an appropriation of no less than a quarter-million kroner was proposed. This caused considerable astonishment, but the present Danish president of the Council, Neergaard24, was on the whole favorably disposed and said that when the purpose for which the funds were to be used had been specified in greater detail, he would not oppose the motion. He referred particularly to the interparliamentary delegate meetings of which our Nordic delegates are a part. I hope this matter will be discussed there also.

What I have called “pacigérance” is clearly part of the larger struggle for civilization which is progressing on an increasingly broad front: it is civilization’s battle between rule by law and rule by power. In this context, pacifists should stress more and more that it is the rule of law for which they are fighting. It is quite usual to maintain that treaties become just so much wastepaper when war breaks out. This is a military concept that pacifists should not tolerate. We should do everything within our power to insure that the idea of law conquers. What contributes largely to the confusion of ideas is the accepted division of the world into major powers and small states. We understand a “power” to be a state which has a large population and well-developed armed forces, army and navy, and so on. This is comparable to believing that a great man is a very tall and big man. By a great man, however, we mean a man who, because of his spiritual gifts, his character, and other qualities, deserves to be called great and who as a result earns the power to influence others. By the same token it must follow that the state we now call a small state is in reality a power if it plays such a role in the development of civilization that it marches in the front ranks and wins victories in the fight for law which surpass those of the so-called great powers.

I do not think that I dare tire my distinguished audience any longer. I have touched on various matters, many of which would have merited discussion as separate topics. I ask you to forgive me for a lecture which has been rather fragmentary. It is true that I have kept a thread running through it with my metaphor of the three stories and the three columns, but apart from that I have expressed random thoughts which I must characterize as details and which may seem, for the most part, of quite secondary importance. If this is so, I would recall, turning again to the military, the words of that great general, Frederick II of Prussia25. Very fond of expressing himself in French, he once said, in another context naturally, that one should not turn up one’s nose at details, that details should be noted and attended to, for they constitute the first step to victory.

Aimez donc ces détails! Ils ne sont pas sans gloire.
Ce sont les premiers pas menant à la victoire.

I must now thank you for the attention you have shown, and I wish to offer special appreciation to the Head of this State26 who has honored the lecture with his presence. And last but certainly not least, my thanks to those to whom I owe the privilege of standing here today: the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament.

* The laureate, having missed the presentation ceremony of December 10, 1908, because of illness, delivered this lecture on May 18, 1909, in the auditorium of the Norwegian Nobel Institute. This translation is based on the Danish text in Les Prix Nobel en 1908.

1. Norway’s Independence or Constitution Day.

2. The novel of this title (Die Waffen nieder, 1889) by Bertha von Suttner, recipient of the Peace Prize for 1905, had had great influence on the peace movement and by 1909 had become a slogan for many pacifists.

3. The peace societies or associations scattered throughout the world had held international peace congresses intermittently since 1843. In 1889 their representatives met in a “Universal Peace Congress” in Paris at almost the same time the first Interparliamentary Conference, composed of parliamentarians from different nations, met in the same city. Both were presided over by Frederic Passy. An unofficial connection was thus established between the two groups, and it became customary thereafter for the international peace congresses and the interparliamentary conferences to meet periodically (almost annually in fact) at practically the same time in the same city. The peace congresses were variously called “international”, “universal”, or “world”- terms often used interchangeably.

4. Founded in 1888 and composed of members of the parliaments of various nations.

5. Two international Peace Conferences, to which many governments sent delegates, had been held at The Hague, one in 1889 and one in 1907.

6. The second regular Universal Peace Congress met in London, July 14-19, 1890.

7. The Universal Postal Union (first called the General Postal Union) was initiated by 22 nations meeting in an International Postal Congress in Bern in 1874.

8. Charles Lemonnier (1806-1891), French pacifist; founded the International League of Peace and Liberty (Ligue internationale de la paix et de la liberté) in 1867 at Geneva.

9. Held in Rome, November 11-16, 1891, the Congress set up the Bureau international permanent de la paix in Bern as a permanent office to conduct the business of the peace congresses and to serve as a general clearinghouse for the peace movement.

10. The fourth Interparliamentary Conference, held in Bern, August 29-31, 1892, created its own central office, the Bureau interparlementaire.

11. A bimonthly newsletter concerning current developments in the peace movement and any new literature on peace.

12. Of the 44 nations represented, 32 voted for, 9 voted against, and 3 abstained.

13. The first of the regularly held congresses. See fn. 3, p. 190.

14. Frédéric Passy (1822-1912), co-recipient of the Peace Prize for 1901.

15. The Interparliamentary Conference was held in Berlin, September 17-19, 1908.

16. Institute of International Law, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1904.

17. The date is correct; Albert Gobat shared the prize for 1902 but delivered his lecture in 1906.

18. The “Vorort” (a term derived from vorderster Ort – in this case, “first canton”) system was that used by the early Swiss Confederation; in this system any canton could be designated as the Vorort, which held the presidency of the Diet and accepted the responsibility of administering federal affairs between sessions of the Diet.

19. Édouard Eugène François Descamps (1847-1933), Belgian statesman and jurist, who wrote Le Pacigérat (Brussels, 1898).

20. See Arnoldson’s lecture, fn. 2, p. 179.

21. Sixteen powers were represented at the Conference of Copenhagen in 1857; in return for a lump-sum compensation Denmark agreed to discontinue the collection of Sound dues which she had collected since the 15th century from foreign ships using the Sound.

22. Johann Kaspar Bluntschli (1808-1881), Swiss legal scholar and statesman.

23. Poul Sveistrup (1848-1911), Danish social statistician, politician, and peace worker.

24. Niels Neergaard (1854-1936), Danish historian and statesman; prime minister (1908-1909; 1920-1924).

25. Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great (1712-1786), king of Prussia (1740-1786).

26. King Haakon VII.

From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1901-1925, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972

To cite this section
MLA style: Fredrik Bajer – Nobel Lecture. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Mon. 6 Feb 2023. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.