The Nobel Peace Prize 1919

Remarks at the Award Ceremony by Anders Johnsen Buen*, President of the Norwegian Parliament, on December 10, 1920

The letter from the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament reads as follows: “The Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament has the honor of announcing herewith its decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 1919 to the President of the United States of America Mr. Woodrow Wilson and that for 1920 to Mr. Léon Bourgeois, president of the French Senate and president of the Council of the League of Nations.”

Today, Gentlemen, as the Norwegian Parliament meets to present the Nobel Peace Prize for the first time since the World War I1, it is with the conviction that the great ideal of peace, so deeply rooted in the hopes for survival of the nations, will gain fresh ground in the minds of men as a result of the recent tragic events.

As the name of President Wilson comes to the fore on this occasion as the recipient of the Peace Prize, I know that the award is accompanied by the thanks of the people of Norway, because in his celebrated Fourteen Points2 the President of the United States has succeeded in bringing a design for a fundamental law of humanity into present-day international politics. The basic concept of justice on which it is founded will never die, but will steadily grow in strength, keeping the name of President Wilson fresh in the minds of future generations.

[In a final brief paragraph, President Buen refers to Léon Bourgeois, the laureate for 1920.]

* Mr. Buen addressed these remarks to the Parliament at an official session on December 10, 1920, doing so after the Nobel Committee had announced its decision and after the diplomatic representatives of the two absent laureates had been officially admitted to the meeting. He then gave the Nobel diplomas and medals to the two ministers. No presentation speech, in the usual sense of the term, was made. The translation is based on the Norwegian text in Forhandlinger i Stortinget (nr. 502) for December 10, 1920 [Proceedings of the Norwegian Parliament].

1. World War I (1914-1918).

2. Wilson’s framework for peace discussions – eight points involve more or less specific territorial and political problems, and six deal with general principles of international relations: “open covenants”, “freedom of navigation”, removal of economic barriers, reduction of armaments, adjustment of colonial claims, and – most famous – “a general association of nations”.

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


Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1919

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