4 Dec. 45

There remains the question, with which I shall not detain the Tribunal for long, whether these wars which were launched by Germany and her leaders in violation of treaties or agreements or assurances were also wars of aggression. A war of aggression is a war which is resorted to in violation of the international obligation not to have recourse to war, or, in cases in which war is not totally renounced, which is resorted to in disregard of the duty to utilize the procedure of pacific settlement which a state has bound itself to observe. There was, as a matter of fact, in the period between the two world wars, a divergence of opinion among jurists and statesmen whether it was preferable to attempt in advance a legal definition of aggression, or to leave to the states concerned and to the collective organs of the international community freedom of appreciation of the facts in any particular situation that might arise. Those holding the latter view argued that a rigid definition might be abused by an unscrupulous state to fit in with its aggressive design; they feared, and the British Government was for a time among those who took this view, that an automatic definition of aggression might become "a trap for the innocent and a signpost for the guilty." Others held that in the interest of certainty and security a definition of aggression, like a definition of any crime in municipal law, was proper and useful. They urged that the competent international organs, political and judicial, could be trusted to avoid in any particular case a definition of aggression which might lead to obstruction or to an absurdity. In May of 1933 the Committee on Security Questions of the Disarmament Conference proposed a definition of aggression on these lines:

"The aggressor in an international conflict shall, subject to the agreements in force between the parties to the dispute, be considered to be that state which is the first to commit any of the following actions:

"(1) Declaration of war upon another state;

"(2) Invasion by its armed forces, with or without a declaration of war, of the territory of another state;

"(3) Attack by its land, naval, or air forces, with or without a declaration of war, on the territory, vessels, or aircraft of another state;

"(4) Naval blockade of the coasts or ports of another state;

"(5) Provision of support to armed bands formed in its territory which have invaded the territory of another state, or refusal, notwithstanding the request of the invaded state, to take in its own territory all the measures in its power to deprive those bands of all assistance or protection."
The various treaties concluded in 1933 by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and other states followed closely that definition.