About the Author: Priscilla Linn is the Curator for the U.S. Diplomacy Center.
If only it were possible to outlaw war by decree. This large pen represents world leaders' hopes for peace when they signed the anti-war Kellogg-Briand Pact on August 27, 1928. The Pact never lived up to its expectations, and the pen is a reminder just how elusive the quest for peace can be.
The Pact originated with French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand, who convinced Secretary of State Frank Kellogg to join him in the peace effort in 1927. Ten years after the end of World War I (1914-1918), they agreed to condemn war as a solution to international disputes. Diplomats from 16 nations originally signed the agreement in 1928, and 62 ultimately ratified it. Although both Kellogg and Briand won the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts, the Pact failed since there were no provisions to enforce it.
Secretary Kellogg received this pen from the mayor of Le Havre, France while en route to the signing ceremony in Paris. Words in Latin on the pen read, "Si Vis Pacem Para Pacem," or "If You Want Peace Prepare for Peace." The signers dipped it in the ink holder that Benjamin Franklin used to sign the Treaty of Alliance with France in 1778, the agreement that helped gain the American colonies' independence from Britain.
Tell us what you think. Is it important to save the pens that sign treaties? Why do you think this pen was saved? What do you think about creating a pact for peace with no means to enforce it?
About the U.S. Diplomacy Center
The U.S. Diplomacy Center (USDC) collects artifacts that tell the story of all aspects of American diplomacy, its history, practice and challenges. The scope of the collections includes items that represent the activities, events and people who engaged in American diplomacy from the 18th century to the present.
The USDC is actively seeking artifacts for the collections that represent the range of work on global issues at American embassies and consulates overseas, including objects which represent the challenges and dangers diplomats sometimes face in simply trying to do their jobs.