Unification of Conventions on Narcotic Drugs


Unification of Conventions on Narcotic Drugs




Pages: 26 to 27
Creation Date: 1950/01/01


Unification of Conventions on Narcotic Drugs

As soon as the first international instrument for the control of narcotic drugs came into force, some provisions of existing conventions had become obsolete while some others had not worked satisfactorily in practice. However, the international control machinery did work, but its complexity made more and more difficult its adaptation to constantly changing conditions. The unification of the existing instruments therefore became a necessity. This simplification could not be achieved simply by a reduction in the number of control bodies, but the problem was to create a system of clearly defined international obligations flexible enough to adapt itself to changing conditions without undue delay. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs during its third session asked the Secretary-General to prepare the way for this new convention. Therefore, the Secretariat drew up monographs intended to facilitate the work of the representatives of the Governments and, at its fourth session, the Commission studied this documentation and decided "to request the Secretary-General to eventually publish general preparatory documentation on the single convention in printed form, in view of its permanent value and interest to scholars and officials" (document E/1361).

The Secretariat presents, in this issue of the Bulletin, the three following studies which are part of the monographs mentioned above.


Outline of General Principles on which the New Single Convention might be Based

I. Terms of reference.

II. Objectives of the new convention.

III. Scope of the new convention.

IV. Limitation of production to medical and scientific world requirements.

V. International control.

Control of International Trade

I. Historical survey.

II. The case for a new consideration of the idea of a clearing house system.

The International Control Authority

I. The present organization of international control of narcotic drugs.

II. Some problems which have a bearing on the planning of a future control system.

III. General principles on which the new control machinery may be based.

IV. Outline of the future structure of the international control authority.


"1912 Convention"

International Opium Convention, signed at The Hague, 23 January 1912

"1925 Convention"

International Opium Convention, signed at Geneva, 19 February 1925.

"1931 Convention"

International Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs, signed at Geneva, 13 July 1931.

"1936 Convention"

The Convention of 1936 for the Suppression of the Illicit Traffic in Dangerous Drugs.

"1925 Agreement"

Agreement concerning the Manufacture or Internal Trade in, and Use of Prepared Opium, signed at Geneva, 11 February 1925.

"1931 Agreement"

Agreement for the Control of Opium-smoking in the Far East, signed at Bangkok on 27 November 1931.

"1946 Protocol"

Protocol of 1946 amending the Agreements, Conventions and Protocols on Narcotic Drugs, concluded at The Hague on 23 January 1912; at Geneva on 11 February 1925 and 19 February 1925 and 13 July 1931; at Bangkok on 27 November 1931, and at Geneva on 26 June 1936.

"1948 Protocol"

Protocol, signed at Paris on 19 November 1948, bringing under international control drugs outside the scope of the Convention of 13 July 1931 for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the Protocol signed at Lake Success on 11 December 1946.

"1939 Draft"

Draft of the Principal Articles which might be embodied in a Convention for Limiting and Controlling the Cultivation of the Opium Poppy and the Production of Raw Opium and Controlling Other Raw Materials used in the Manufacture of Opium Alkaloids. (League of Nations document C. 175.-M. 104.1939.XI.)

"1925 Conference"

Conference that drafted and adopted the 1925 Convention. This Conference is referred to as the "Second Opium Conference of 1925" whenever it is necessary to distinguish it from the "First Opium Conference of 1925" which resulted in the 1925 Agreement.

"1931 Conference"

Conference that drafted and adopted the 1931 Convention.

"Advisory Committee"

Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs, of the League of Nations.

"Historical and Techical Study of the 1931 Convention"

Refers to the official commentary on the 1931 Convention, the "Historical and Technical Study by the Opium Traffic Section of the Secretariat of the League of Nations", official number C.191.M.136.-1937.XI, Geneva, October 1937.

"Annual Report" denotes the Annual Report of a Government under the 1931 Convention (as amended by the 1946 Protocol).



Commission on Narcotic Drugs created under Resolution 9 (I) of the Economic and Social Council of 16 and 18 February 1946.


Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.


International Control Authority planned to replace the PCB and SB under a new unified Convention. (Without capitalization, "international control authority" may refer to any present or future organ of international control, according to the context.)

L of N

League of Nations.


The Permanent Central Board created under Article 19 of the 1925 Convention. Often known as the Permanent Central Opium Board (PCOB).


The Supervisory Body created under Article 5 of the 1931 Convention.


United Nations.


World Health Organization.