The Paris Protokoll of 1948




Pages: 1 to 10
Creation Date: 1956/01/01

The Paris Protokoll of 1948(1)

The principle that all addiction-producing substances should be underinternational control was generally acknowledged nearly forty-five years ago and has rarely been challenged. It has long been agreed that, ideally, the list of drugs under control should, at any given moment, faithfully reflect the preponderance of expert opinion on the addiction liability of established and newly developed drugs . 2 Nevertheless, the task of translating this principle into effective treaty provisions binding upon governments has taken many years, and indeed still goes on. In these efforts, the Paris Protocol of 19 November 1948 occupies a notable place.

Why has it proved-so difficult to devise an acceptable procedure for applying a non-controversial principle e The problem arises chiefly from the natural reluctance of governments to undertake obligations of uncertain scope and from the technical difficulty of establishing whether a drug is addiction- producing or not. New addiction-producing drugs are constantly being added to the physician's arsenal of analgesics, and since international conferences cannot remain in permanent session, some other way must be found to determine which new drugs are addiction-producing and to bring them under international control with a minimum of delay. Although there are many ways in which this n-,Light be done, governments have gradually been led, by considerations of administrative expediency, to delegate these far-reaching powers to international agencies.

It is only within the context of this larger development that the story of the Paris Protocol may be fully understood. it is proposed, therefore, to give some account of the solutions reached at the international conferences held in 1912, 1925 and 1931, before turning to the chain of events which culminated in the signing of the Paris Protocol during the third session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.


The Hague Convention

The problem of devising machinery whereby additional drugs might be brought under control at any time was first tackled by the framers of the Hague Convention. They decided that each Party should itself be the judge of which new drugs presented dangers similar to those of morphine or cocaine, and that each judgment should be based on " scientific research, generally recognized ". There was no provision for international action to propose the inclusion of a new drug. Thus the scope of the Convention was limited to a few substances specified by name and to " all new derivatives of morphine, of cocaine, or of their respective salts, and to every other alkaloid of opium, which may be shown by scientific research, generally recognized, to be liable to similar abuse and productive of like ill-effects ". 3

The following abbreviations for the titles of treaties will be utilized - the Protocol 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, will be referred to as the "Paris Protocol " ; the International Opium Convention signed at The Hague on 23 January 1912, as the " Hague Convention "; the International Opium Convention signed at Geneva on 19 February 1925 as the " 1925 Convention "; the Convention of 13 July 19.31 for limiting the manufacture and regulating the distribution of narcotic drugs as the " 1931 Convention "; and the Protocol of 11 December 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, as the " 1946 Protocol

Since 1931, it has also been agreed that the list should include, in addition, substances readily convertible into narcotic drugs.

The shortcomings of this solution are more obvious now than they were in 1912. It was probably not foreseen to what extent new narcotics would be developed and used medically, and that the addiction-producing effects of new drugs would be difficult to determine and sometimes would be established only after extended clinical use. It was also not expected that differences of expert opinion about the addictive nature of a drug might at any rate temporarily exist. The concept of "generally recognized scientific research" was, of course, too vague to be a good basis on which to decide whether or not to control newly developed dangerous drugs.

Article 14 (d) of the Hague Convention in Operation

When the treaty came into full operation after the First World War, difficulties arose almost immediatly. At its second session, the Assembly of the League of Nations, acting on a request of the representative of France, recommended unanmously that the Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opoim and Other Dangerous Drugs" extend their investigations to include not only the drugs mentioned in the Convention of 1912, but also all dangerous drugs of whatever origin which produce similiar effects, and to advise as to the desirability of convoking a further international conference ... with a view to drwawing up a convention for the suppression of the abuse of such drugs. 4

The Advisory Committee transmitted to governments a list of the drugs mentioned by the French representative, in order to obtain the observations of their health departments, and therefore postponed the question of calling a conference. When the comments had been received, it referred the matter to a mixed subcommittee of the Health Committee and the Advisory Committee " for consideration and report". 5

The mixed sub-committee, in due course, recommended that the provisions of the Hague Convention should be extended to four derivatives of ecgonine, but the Advisory Committee merely noted the sub-committee's report and discontinued its participation in the sub-committee's work. 6

Article 14 (d) of the Convention. Contracting Parties agreed to "apply the laws and regulations respecting the manufacture, import, sale or export of morphine, cocaine, and their respective salts" to such drugs.

League of Nations, Records of the Second Assembly, Geneva, 1921, p. 541

Advisory Committee on Traffich in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs. Reports to the Council, Second Session (April 1922), A.15:1922, p. 9, and Fourth Session (January 1923), C.37.1923.IV, p.4

The 1925 Convention

Later in 1924, at the Second Opium Conference, which met at Geneva (November 1924-February 1925), the British Government proposed an important modification in the provisions of the Hague Convention for controlling new drugs-namely, that an international authority (in this case, the Health Committee of the League, after consultation with the Office international d'Hygiène publique) should be empowered to declare that any narcotic drug was "liable to similar abuse and productive of like ill-effects ", as those already under control. Amended so that it would apply only to manufactured drugs, this proposal was adopted by the Conference, and the procedure was gradually filled out so as to provide that, in addition, (i) the Health Committee would recommend that the provisions of the Convention should apply to the drug concerned and would so inform the Council of the League of Nations, which would communicate this recommendation to Parties; (ii) Parties prepared to accept it would notify the Secretary-General, who would inform other Parties, and the Convention would apply to this drug among all Parties accepting the Health Committee's recommendation. 7

In the meantime, however, the representative of Egypt had proposed to the Conference that the decisions of the Health Committee should be made binding upon all Parties. The response to this proposal had been sharply unfavourable. Some of the comments were: "An unreserved surrender of sovereign authority" . . . "an entirely new precedent, the consequences of which we cannot foresee but which might be most dangerous in the future"..." it seems to me impossible for a sovereign State to accept as binding on it some future decision of a body constituted like the Office international d'Hygiène publique, or like any other consultative body, for that matter, without its having been consulted and having concurred in the recommendation made ". The Egyptian proposal was rejected by a vote of 17 to 2. 8

Advisory Committee, Report to the Council, Sixth Session (August 1924), A.32.1924.XI, p. 3 and Annex 5, p. 22. These derivatives were probably not subject to control under article 14 (d) of the Hague Convention on the ground that they had been discovered before 1912 and were thus not "new ". The procedure is nevertheless interesting because this is the first occasion on which an international body was consulted in this connexion and a recommendation was made. A similar procedure was soon to be incorporated in the 1925 Convention.


For the text of the British proposal, see Records of the Second Opium Conference, II, p. 291; for the discussions, see ibid.,I, 222, 263, 273-5, 284-90, 357-8; II, 290-292, 295-6, 301, 304-5. The text of the final article reads as follows:

"In the event of the Health Committee of the League of Nations, after having submitted the question for advice and report to the Permanent Committee of the Office international d'Hygiène publique in Paris, finding that any narcotic drug to which the present Convention does not apply is liable to similar abuse and productive of similar ill-effects as the substances to which this Chapter of the Convention applies, the Health Committee shall inform the Council of the League accordingly and recommend that the provisions of the present Convention shall be applied to such drug.

"The Council of the League shall communicate the said recommendation to the Contracting Parties. Any Contracting Party which is prepared to accept the recommendation shall notify the Secretary-General of the League, who will inform the other Contracting Parties.

"The provisions of the present Convention shall thereupon apply to the substance in question as between the Contracting Parties who have accepted the recommendation referred to above."


Records of the Second Opium Conference, I, 284-288.

Article 8 of the 1925 Convention also contained a similar procedure for freeing from control preparations in which narcotic drugs were compounded with other medicaments in such a way that the resulting mixture did not produce addiction. In this instance, however, the Health Committee's decision was final. 9

Article 10 of the 1925 Convention constituted a considerable improvement over article 14 (d) of the Hague Convention. It set up an international authority to determine which additional drugs should be placed under control; it made it possible to extend the scope of international narcotics control, without formal amendment of the Convention to any narcotic drug "liable to similar abuse and productive of similar ill-effects" as those manufactured drugs designated by the Conference itself. It created machinery whereby Parties were informed of each Health Committee recommendation and of each acceptance by a Party of such a recommendation.

At the same time, experience with the more far-reaching control measures of the 1925 Convention, such as the system of import certificates and export authorizations and the submission to the Permanent Central Opium Board of more detailed statistical data, revealed the need for a procedure by which decisions to place new drugs under international control might be made immediately binding upon all Parties. Administrative problems are apt to arise if the scope of control varies from country to country.

For example, authorities responsible for issuing import certificates and export authorizations would have to know whether or not the system would be in effect vis-a-visanother country. Statistical controls might also be rather difficult to apply. What was even more serious, very dangerous drugs might remain uncontrolled in many countries because of official inertia or perhaps even on account of pressure against their control; and in all countries there would be some delay while authorities were weighing what action to take. Furthermore, there was no requirement for placing a new drug, no matter how dangerous it might be and no matter how rapidly unscrupulous manufacturers might be making it, under temporary national or international control during the considerable period required for the Health Committee to consult the Office international and to reach its decision.

The danger of undue delays in placing new drugs under control was dramatically revealed by the case of benzoyl-morphine. In 1928 the Advisory Committee learned that this ester of morphine, which did not yet fall within the scope of the Geneva Convention, was being manufactured in large quantities as a substitute for morphine. The need for control was so urgent that although the procedure of article 10 had been invoked, the Advisory Committee felt obliged to adopt a resolution drawing the attention of governments to the immediate necessity of placing the drug under control. 10


The text of Article 8 reads as follows:

"In the event of the Health Committee of the League of Nations, after having submitted the question for advice and report to the Permanent Committee of the Office international d'Hygiène publique in Paris, finding that any preparation containing any of the narcotic drugs referred to in the present Chapter cannot give rise to the drug habit on account of the medicaments with which the said drugs are compounded and which in practice preclude the recovery of the said drugs, the Health Committee shall communicate this finding to the Council of the League of Nations. The Council will communicate the finding to the Contracting Parties, and thereupon the provisions of the present Convention will not be applicable to the preparation concerned."


Advisory Committee, Report to the Council, eleventh session (April 1928), A.7.1928.XI, p. 10.

The slowness in bringing new drugs under control led Herbert May to propose in 1930 that the provisions of 1925 Convention should be applied to all alkaloids of um and the coca leaf and to the derivatives of all drugs mentioned in article 4 thereof, except for those found not be addiction-producing by the Health Committee, after consultation with the Office d'Hygiène publique,11The advisory Committee acknowledged the importance of making the procedure of article 10 more elastic and rapid, but could not recommend that a change be made in this procedure. Instead it proposed that the Health Committee should be asked to speed up the existing procedure and, if possible, to reduce its duration to six months.12

The 1931 Convention

The conference for the limitation of the manufacture of narcotic drugs met at Geneva from 27 May to 13 July 1931. Although it did not establish the system of direct limitation of manufacture which had been devised by the Advisory Committee, it adopted a plan of indirect limitation based on Parties' furnishing binding estimates of then medical and scientific needs for narcotics. The adoption of this scheme, however, made it more desirable than ever that drugs should be controlled on a uniform basis.13This seems to have been understood generally, for the arguments adduced at the 1924-25 conference against the application of mandatory controls to new drugs were not repeated.14

As regards the procedure for placing a new drug under control, most delegates to the conference were prepared to accept a German proposal whereby a new narcotic could not be manufactured unless the government found it to be of medical value and notified the Secretary-General accordingly, in order that the Health Committee make its finding as rapidly as possible. The representative of the United States of America proposed that during the "waiting period ", the system of import certificates and export authorizations should be put into operation. This approach was opposed on the ground that it would require the introduction of a world-wide control system which might have to be abandoned within two or three months. After the adoption of the German proposal, however, the United States delegation placed before the conference an amendment (the latter part of paragraph 1 of article 11 of the 1931 Convention) aimed at preventing the un-controlled manufacture of new narcotic drugs. It provided that unless the government itself found the drug unable to produce addiction or incapable of conversion into such a drug, it must limit manufacture to quantities required for domestic medical and scientific needs and for "export orders subject to the provisions of this Convention" (thus bringing into operation the system of import certificates and export authorizations). By a vote of 18 to (?) Conference accepted this amendment.15

The procedure of article 16 of the 1931 Convention consti tuted a tremendous gain over that of article l0 of the 1925 Convention. In addition to providing for the immediate and mandatory control of such drugs on the basis of a decision by an international body and for the imposition, in most cases, of national and international controls in the meantime, this article banned the manufacture of new narcotics which were not of medical or scientific value, and created a system of notifications which kept the Parties and international organs concerned informed of the status of each new drug from the time it was manufactured for trade anywhere in the world. It also provided that the same machinery created for deciding whether new drugs should be brought under control could be used for reviewing such decisions in the light of later scientific developments and that products not themselves addiction-producing, but only convertible into such drugs, should also be controlled. However, convertible drugs of this type which are widely used in medicine might be placed under less stringent controls. 17


For the text of Mr. May's proposal, see O.C.1347 or Advisory Committee Report and Draft (?) on the Limitation of the Manufacture of Narcotic Drugs, C.M.62.1931.XI, Annex 2, pp. 21-22.


Ibid., p. 11.


Otherwise, the application, the estimate system, and the limitation of manufacture to a new (?) pose certain difficulties.


For the debates on this (?) see Records of the Conference for the Limitation of the Manufacturer of the Drugs, I, 168-171, 213-214, 242-244, 310 and 317.


Ibid., I 168, 213-214, 242


The text of article 11 is (?)

" 1. No trade in or manufacture or trade of any product obtained from any of the phenanthrene (?) of opium or from the ecgonine alkaloids of the coca left, not in use on this day's date for medical or scientific purposes shall take place in any country or territory unless and until it has been ascertained to the satisfaction of the government concerned that the product in question is of medical or scientific value.

"In this case (unless the government determines that such product it not capable of producing addiction or of conversion into a product capable of producing addiction) the quantities permitted to be manufactured, pending the decision hereinafter referred to, shall not exceed the total of the domestic requirements of the country or territory for medical and scientific needs, and the quantity required for export orders and the provisions of this Convention shall apply.

"2. Any High Contracting Party permitting trade in or manufacture for trade of any such product to be commenced shall immediately send a notification to that effect to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, who shall advise the other High Contracting Parties and the Health Committee of the League.

"3. The Health Committee will thereupon, after consulting the Permanent Committee of the Office international d'Hygiène publique, decide whether the product in question is capable of producing addiction (and is in consequence assimilable to the drugs mentioned in sub-group ( a) of group I), or whether it is convertible into such a drug (and is in consequence assimilable to the drugs mentioned in sub-group ( b) of group I or in group II).

"4. In the event of the Health Committee deciding that the product is not itself a drug capable of producing addiction, but is convertible into such a drug, the question whether the drug in question shall fall under sub-group ( b) of group I or under group II shall be referred for decision to a body of three experts competent to deal with the scientific and technical aspects of the matter, of whom one member shall be selected by the Government concerned, one by the Opium Advisory Committee of the League, and the third by the two members so selected.

"5. Any decisions arrived at in accordance with the two preceding paragraphs shall be notified to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, who will communicate it to all the Members of the League and to the non-member States mentioned in article 27.

"6. If the decisions are to the effect that the product in question is capable of producing addiction or is convertible into a drug capable of producing addiction, the High Contracting Parties will, upon receipt of the communication from the Secretary-General, apply to the drag the appropriate regime laid down in the present Convention according as to whether it falls under group I or under group II.

"7. Any such decision may be revised, in accordance with the fore going procedure, in the lights of further experience, on an application addressed by any High Contracting Party to the Secretary-General


See article 11; paragraph 4, provides a special procedure for determining the control regime to be applied to substances convertible addiction-producing drugs.

The foregoing procedure was not, however, without certain shortcomings. The nature of the national controls to be applied to new drugs during the period before a decision is taken by the Health Committee is rather obscure. Article 11, paragraph 1, simply states" and the provisions of this Convention shall apply ". The Convention contains two control regimes, and the conference decided that new drugs should be treated temporarily as if they fell under the more drastic of these regimes.18The Historical and Technical Study on the 1931 Convention prepared by the Secretariat of the League of Nations states that manufacture should be regulated in accordance with article 6,19 which limits it to the amounts required for domestic consumption, conversion (e.g., of morphine into codeine), export orders and stock maintenance.

A more important difficulty arose some years after the treaty came into force, as a result of the restricted scope of article 11. It may be applied only to substances "obtained from" the phenanthrene alkaloids of opium and the ecgonine alkaloids of the coca leaf and not in use on 13 July 1931. When pharmacologists began to synthesize narcotic drugs from common chemicals, it was impossible to apply to these new drugs the provisions of the 1931 Convention. Indeed a special decision of the Advisory Committee was thought necessary to interpret the treaty as applying to those derivatives of the alkaloids which were produced synthetically.20

Finally, there may be a question whether a procedure by which a technical decision taken by a national government is reviewed and perhaps reversed by an international organ is desirable. The Health Committee, or to-day the Word Health Organization, might have the embarrassing duty of finding a drug to be addiction-producing or convertible into an addiction-producing drug after a government had found to the contrary. Furthermore, it is possible that governments might temporarily, on the basis of different experiences, reach differing conclusions regarding a new drug.

One omission from the list of drugs placed under control by the terms of the 1931 Convention itself - paracodeine (dihydrocodeine) - gave concern to the Advisory Committee. Although paracodeine is not itself addiction-producing, it is readily convertible into dihydromorphine, of which paramorfan is a salt. It was in use on 13 July 1931. Thus it could not be brought under control by article 10 of the 1925 Convention (which applies only to addiction-producing substances) or by article 11 of the 1931 Convention.

The Advisory Committee considered the omission serious enough to require legal action, and a special draft protocol to place paracodeine under the scope of the 1931 Convention was prepared.21

The conference for the adoption of this protocol, however, could not be convened because of the Second World War.22


Records of the 1931 Conference, I, 243.


P. 156.


Advisory Committee, Report to the Council, seventeenth session

(Oct.-Nov. 1933), C.642.M.305.1933.XI, p. 4.


Advisory Committee, Report to the Council, 23rd session (June 1938), C.237.M.136.1938,XI., p. 8, and 24th session (May-June I 939),C.202.

M.131.1939.XI, p. 18.


Advisory Committee, Report to the Council, 25th session (May 1940),

C.125.M.114.1940.XI, p. 6.


The Nature of the Problem

Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, a German pharmacologist reported the discovery of pethidine, a powerful synthetic analgesic with effects similar to morphine.23 Pethidine was the first of many such synthetic analgesics, and because-like most strong analgesics-it was addiction-producing, it created control problems of unusual complexity. After the war, these problems were explored. First of all, synthetic narcotics needed to be brought under international control, but as things stood this could be done only by means of article 10 of the 1925 Convention. A way had to be found to extend the control system of the 1931 Convention to cover them. Secondly, their provisional control, prior to a decision by the World Health Organization, presented a specially difficult problem. As yet, there was no way of delimiting these drugs in advance and it was often a time-consuming procedure for the governments of drug-manufacturing countries to determine definitely whether a new analgesic was addiction-producing or not. Thirdly, the whole concept of convertibility needed reappraisal. Modern chemistry could create narcotic drugs out of many common chemicals: was it practicable for all these to be placed under narcotics control? From this it followed that special control measures might have to be devised for these drugs, which could or might soon be manufactured illicitly with greater ease than the traditional narcotics, since it would no longer be necessary to smuggle opium or coca leaves over long distances for this purpose.


Eisleb, O. & Schaumann, O., "Dolantin, ein neuartiges Spasmolytikum und Analgetikum (chemisches und pharmakologisches)" (Pethidine, a new spasmolytic and analgesic (chemical and pharmacological)), in Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift, 16 June 1939, 65, pp. 967-968.

First steps towards the Paris Protocol

At its first session, in November-December 1946, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs 24 studied a memorandum of the Secretariat which proposed, inter alia, that a further procedure be developed for bringing new drugs under international control. The paragraph is perhaps worth quoting in full:

"Taking into account the experience gained with regard to the international control of new drugs under articles 10 and 11 of the 1925 and 1931 Conventions respectively, the Commission may desire the Secretariat to examine the possibilities of amending the relevant provision of the 1925 and 1931 Conventions with a view to establishing a procedure for controlling new drugs which would combine the advantages of the procedure under article 10 of the 1925 Convention (wider scope of application) with those of the procedure under article 11 of the 1931 Convention (the immediate effect and binding character of the decisions of the international technical organs)."25

The Commission agreed with the foregoing proposal, and the secretariat accordingly prepared a memorandum entitled "Study of Measures to be taken with a View to bringing under International Control Narcotic Drugs not covered by Conventions at present in Force ".26

In this memorandum, issued in July 1947, the Secretariat drew the Commission's attention to the following methods by which synthetic narcotics might be placed under mandatory full-scale international control: (1) amendment of article 10 of the 1925 Convention and of article 11 of the 1931 Convention; or (2) conclusion of a separate instrument. It was pointed out that the first method presented certain difficulties. Unless it contains provisions to the contrary, amendment of a multilateral treaty usually requires the unanimous consent of all States Parties to the original treaty. Moreover, amendment of the 1925 Convention (which contains no provisions for its amendment) to make decisions taken under article 10 immediately binding on Parties would hardly achieve the desired goal of extending to the drugs in question the control system of the 1931 Convention. Amendment of the 1931 Convention would perhaps be more straightforward, since article 33 defines the procedure to be followed. It might not, however, suffice to amend article 11, and the necessity of amending other articles where the term" drugs" was used-particularly article 1, which defines the substances under control-would have to be carefully considered.


After the war, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs assumed the functions of the Advisory Committee, and the World Health Organization those of the Health Committee of the League of Nations and the Office international d'Hygiène publique.


Memorandum of the secretariat on the terms of reference of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, III, 5, in Annex I of the report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its first session, p, 30. (Economic and Social Council, Official Records, Second Year, Fourth Session, Supplement No. 1).



The conclusion of a new instrument seemed the easier and quicker way of dealing with the situation. The unanimous acceptance of Parties to the 1931 Convention would not be needed, since it would contain its own provisions for entering into force as among those States who might accede to it. It might be drafted in such a way that Parties would be bound promptly to apply the control measures provided by the 1931 Convention to all drugs outside the scope of that instrument, including paracodeine.

The memorandum then set forth the following procedure by which this might be accomplished:

  1. A Party considering a narcotic drug outside the scope of the 1931 Convention to be "liable to similar abuse as the drugs specified in article 1, paragraph 2, of the 1931 Convention" notifies the Secretary-General, who notifies other Parties and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs;

  2. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs then decides ( a) whether the notification should be submitted to the World Health Organization for examination and opinion; 27 ( b) whether the drug should be placed under temporary control pending action by the World Health Organization (the Commission's recommendation to apply as between Parties accepting it);

  3. The World Health Organization makes a finding as to the addiction liability or the possibility of conversion, and the Commission then decides whether the drug should be assimilated to the regimes established under Group I or Group II of the Convention;

  4. The Commission's decision is notified to governments, and Parties apply the proper control regime immediately upon receipt of the notification.

It was pointed out that it might be necessary to exclude opium, coca leaf, and cannabis from the scope of the Protocol,28and that the same procedure by which drugs were placed under control might be used as regards requests for the revision of earlier decisions.


The Commission had been designated in this connection for the following reason: the memorandum had attempted to adhere to the procedure adopted by the 1931 Conference, except to simplify it where possible. The records of the conference showed that it had been intended to give a body of the League of Nations the first opportunity of examining a question of this nature. Furthermore, the decisions to be taken were of a dual nature-medical and scientific, on the one hand, and administrative and technical, on the other. Under the new organizational arrangement, among the possible organs these latter functions would have naturally devolved upon the Commission. (E/CN.7/106, pp. 43-44.)


The provisions of the 1931 Convention, and therefore of the Protocol, were not particularly suitable for application in their present form to these substances, and special control procedures for them have been included in other instruments.

Principles of New Protocol - Review of the Commission and the Council

At its second session (24 July - 8 August 1947), the Commission gave careful consideration to this memorandum, which was twice revised and re-issued to incorporate the Commission's decisions. 29 On the first afternoon of the session, the Commission heard, at a closed meeting, a technical report by the two experts of the United States Public Health Service on the serious addiction-producing effects inherent in amidone (methadone), one of the new synthetic analgesics. These effects were comparable to those produced by the most dangerous opiates. The experts warned that an able but unscrupulous chemist, with equipment and materials available on the open market, could secretly produce substantial quantities of this drug. They estimated that even one factory could flood the world with it and warned that many other types of synthetic narcotic might be easily developed from known formulae. The representative of the United States informed the Commission that amidone would be licensed in his country in less than two months and controlled as a dangerous drug. He cautioned, however, that this drug would soon be manufactured elsewhere and that in all probability some of it would be diverted into the illicit traffic.30

After learning of these developments, the Commission adopted a motion proposed by the representative of China that "it is urgent to take immediate action to bring the manufacture and distribution of amidone and other synthetic drugs under international control".31 The Paris Protocol was concluded within sixteen months.32

The Commission agreed that the best way of achieving its goal was to prepare a separate instrument.33As regards the procedure suggested by the secretariat, the Commission adopted it subject to the following modifications:

  1. To ensure that no addiction-producing drugs should be excluded from the Protocol, it was decided to use the term "drugs" instead of "narcotic drugs "34

  2. It was decided that, in order to save time, notifications of drugs should be transmitted by the Secretary-General to the World Health Organization at the same time as they were forwarded to the Commission.35

  3. It was decided that the World Health Organization rather than the Commission should decide whether a drug should be assimilated to the control regime of group I or II of article I of the 1931 Convention.36

The Commission adopted a resolution approving a second re-draft of the above-mentioned memorandum incorporating these modifications and recommended to the Economic and Social Council that the secretariat should prepare a draft protocol for circulation to all governments concerned.37


As E/CN.7/80/Rev.1 and E/CN.7/80/Rev.2.


See report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its Second Session, E/575, pp. 13-15.


Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Second Session, Summary Record of the Second Meeting, E/CN.7/106, p. 12.


The two dates were 24 July 1947 and 19 November 1948.


E/575, p. 15.


E/CN.7/106, pp. 16-17.


E/CN.7/106, pp. 42-45, 89-90.


E/CN.7/106,pp. 17-20. This decision constituted a departure from the procedure of article 11, paragraph 4, of the 1931 Convention, which had provided for the government concerned and the Advisory Committee to set up a small committee for the purpose. (In this connexion, see the explanation given in E/CN.7/106,pp. 90-91.)


E/CN.7/106, p. 93; E/575, p. 15.

The Commission also recommended that the draft protocol be transmitted to the Interim Commission of the World Health Organization for its comments.38

On 13 August 1947, the Council, which as it happened was meeting simultaneously with the Commission, adopted a resolution carrying out this recommendation of the Commission. In acting immediately, without requiring the usual six weeks' notice for inclusion of an item on its agenda, the Council granted a request for urgent action conveyed in a letter of the Chairman of the Commission.39

The Secretary-General prepared the draft protocol, and in December 1947 and January 1948 copies were forwarded to the governments concerned for their comments.40

Meanwhile, during the second session of the General Assembly, at meetings of the Third Committee, several representatives expressed support for the Protocol and called attention to the urgent need for its conclusion.41

By the time the Commission reconvened for its third session (3-22 May 1948), twenty-six replies had been received, of which only seven contained observations on the draft Protocol.42 Two Governments-those of the United Kingdom and the United States-suggested important changes in the procedure which the Commission had recommended at its previous session. Both changes related to the central problem faced by the framers of the Protocol-to find a way of placing new addiction-producing drugs under control rapidly, yet without delaying unduly the manufacture and distribution of new therapeutic agents.43 The United States proposed the temporary limitation by all parties of the manufacture and distribution of a new drug suspected of being addiction-producing to quantities needed for purposes of research from the time when it was notified by a Party until the World Health Organization had made its finding. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, considered that it would be preferable, in order to expedite matters, for the Commission on Narcotics Drugs to take the necessary decision regarding the placing of new drugs under international control.

The United States proposal was supported by the following arguments: the fact that a State had notified a new drug would amount to prima facie evidence that it was at least potentially dangerous, and the temporary waiting period would enable Parties to perfect and put into operation control plans, especially to limit manufacture and distribution to medical and scientific needs, beforelarge quantities of the drug had been manufactured. However, this scheme clearly entailed some delays in making new drugs available to the medical profession, and would run counter to existing laws in several countries. It was also implied that the procedure might be exploited for commercial advantage, since if a new drug-perhaps even one which was obviously not addiction-producing - were notified, its manufacture for trade might be delayed for a period of months.44


E/529, p. 4.


See document E/529 for the text of this letter, the special report of the Commission on this subject and the text of the Commission's resolution. The short debate of the Council appears in the Official Records of the fifth session, pp. 230-231.


By circular note CN.33.1947.NARCOTICS.


See A/C.3/SR.54, 55 and 62 for these comments.


The texts of these observations were reproduced, in part, in E/798, pp. 7-18, and in E/CN.7/115, Adds. 1-2.


This problem is not made any easier by the fact that usually the therapeutic effects of a drug are more readily, and therefore more rapidly, determined than the addiction-producing effects or the conversion liability.

The United Kingdom considered that the Commission could act more rapidly than the World Health Organization, especially if a decision of the relevant body of experts required confirmation by the Executive Board and the World Health Assembly. The representative of the World Health Organization, however, assured the Commission that findings could be made promptly, and many members were reluctant to take responsibility for what amounted to a technical decision.

The Commission therefore decided not to change this provision, but in order to go part of the way towards solving the difficulty which had given rise to these proposals, it strengthened the complementary provision for placing new drugs under provisional control pending action by the World Health Organization. It decided that the Commission's power to place new drugs under provisional control should be mandatory rather than recommendatory.45

That available information regarding a new drug should be submitted both by the Party notifying it and by Parties receiving notifications was proposed respectively by the Philippines and the United Kingdom. The Commission decided that a provision regarding the notifying Party should be included in the Protocol itself, while as regards other Parties, a clause in the Final Act or in a resolution by the General Assembly would suffice.46

Colombia proposed that the Protocol should require the periodic publication of a list of addiction-producing drugs, preparations and patent medicines, but the Commission decided it that was unnecessary to refer to this task in the Treaty.47

Various changes in the final clauses were also suggested and accepted by the Commission, particularly for the procedures for adherence and entry into force, denunciation and application to territories.48

The Commission incorporated its decisions in a revised draft of the Protocol which, with very minor drafting changes (except for the clauses regarding territorial application and denunciation), was adopted without further modification.49It concluded its work on the draft instrument by proposing to the Economic and Social Council the adoption of a resolution which would: (i) request the Secretary-General to forward the new draft, as approved by the Council, to governments for their comments; (ii) recommend that the General Assembly approve the Protocol after taking into account any new observations received from governments and fix the earliest possible date during the third session when the Protocol might be opened for signature; and (iii) recommend to Members that their delegates to the forthcoming Assembly should be given the necessary full powers to adhere to the Protocol.50

In June 1948, the secretariat sent copies of the revised text of the draft Protocol to governments and requested them to submit their observations in time for the seventh session of the Economic and Social Council, which was to begin on 19 July 1948.51 No observations were, however, received early enough for submission to the Council.52


E/798 contains the Commission's decisions; E/CN.7/155, pp. 18-23, 30-55 contains the summary records of the Commission's debates on this question.


E/798, pp. 10, 12-13.


E/798, p. 10.


E/CN.7/155, p. 23.


E/798, pp. 13-19.


The final text of the substantive articles (1-4) of the Paris Protocol has been reproduced at the end of the present article.


E/798, pp. 1-2.

The special report of the Commission on the draft Protocol 53 including the revised text of the Protocol and the draft resolution, were examined on 22-23 July 1948 by the Social Committee 54of the Economic and Social Council and on 3 August by the plenary Council.55Apart from one minor drafting change, the substantive clauses were approved without modification. A debate developed, however, over the territorial clause, during which some delegations proposed that it should be deleted, while others considered that this would greatly delay ratification by metropolitan countries. A new clause, also acceptable to the metropolitan powers, was eventually adopted by the Committee, and the Council rejected a proposal to delete it by a vote of 11 to 3, with 4 abstentions.56

The Council, by a vote of 15 to 2, with 1 abstention, adopted the draft resolution proposed by the Commission after including in it two further recommendations to the General Assembly: (i) to urge all states to adhere to the Protocol as soon as possible; and (ii) to urge states to take as soon as might be the necessary steps to extend the application of the Protocol to territories for whose foreign relations they were responsible-subject, where necessary for constitutional reasons, to the consent of the governments of those territories.57

On 25 August 1948, a third circular note on the Protocol was addressed to governments, communicating a third draft of that instrument embodying the changes made by the Council.

Not many more comments of a substantial character were received from governments. Sweden urged that the decisions the Commission on Narcotic Drugs placing new drugs under temporary international control should be limited to recommendations to governments. The Netherlands also favoured this idea, but agreed that the acceptance of preliminary decisions by the Commission would, in general, create no difficulties. Several other countries stated that they had no observations to submit.58

When the General Assembly convened in September 1948, the Third Committee gave priority to consideration of the draft Protocol, discussing it at three meetings on 29 and 30 September 1948. 59

The discussion revolved mostly around the territorial clause. A proposal, which, in effect, would have reversed the Council's decision on this point, was rejected on a roll-call vote by 25 to 17, with 11 abstentions.60The territorial clause was then adopted by a vote of 33 to 8, with 12 abstentions, and the Committee concluded its examination of the draft instrument by unanimously adopting it.61


C.N.62.1948 NARCOTICS, dated 9 June 1948.


See, in this connexion, E/AC.7/SR.43, p. 6. The Council was meeting in Geneva, and replies began to reach New York during the month of July. They were published in E/1056, issued in September 1948.




See E/AC.7/SR.43-45; also report of the Social Committee to the Council, E/902.




E/902, pp. 1-3, summarizes the debate in the Social Committee; and E/SR.189, pp. 4-14, contains a record of the Council's discussion.


E/SR.189, p. 14; the resolution was numbered 159 1 (VII) in the Council series.


E/1056; United Nations registry file SOA 323/2/01 contains some unpublished replies.


86th to 88th meetings, see A/C.3/SR.86-88 for the summary records of these meetings.


A/C.3/SR.87, p. 5.

The Committee then turned to the draft resolutions which the General Assembly would adopt at the same time as the Protocol. After a short discussion, it agreed on a draft resolution whereby the General Assembly would: (i) register its approval of the Protocol; (ii) urge Member States and invite non-member States to sign or accept it as soon as possible; (iii) urge Member States not signing or accepting it to communicate their reasons to the Secretary-General, and (iv) urge States having territories for which they bore international responsibilities to take the necessary measures to extend the application of the Protocol to such territories and to send the Secretary-General a list of those territories to which the Protocol had not been applied as of 31 August 1949, together with the reasons why the necessary declaration had not been made.62

The penultimate step in the long chain of events by which the Paris Protocol was enacted took place on 8 October 1948, when the draft instrument was brought before the 150th plenary session of the General Assembly. Although the question of the territorial clause was again raised, the occasion was rather one for summation than detailed consideration.

During the course of the proceedings, the representative of the Lebanon drew attention to the extraordinary speed with which the Protocol had been brought into being, and emphasized that this had been possible only through the utilization of the machinery of the United Nations. The representative of the USSR called the Protocol "a certain step forward in the . . . struggle waged to-day against the widespread use of narcotics ". The representative of the United States expressed gratification that the Protocol was acceptable to all representatives, for otherwise, there might be gaps in the network of narcotics control. Again, the representative of China termed the Protocol a "turning-point in the campaign against the ever present danger of the abuse of narcotic drugs and of drug addiction.63

The Protocol and its accompanying resolutions were then unanimously approved by the highest body of the United Nations.

The Secretary-General arranged that the ceremony at which the plenipotentiaries of Governments would affix their signatures to the Protocol should take place at the Palais de Chaillot on 19 November 1948. At 4 p.m. on that day, forty-seven plenipotentiaries from forty-six countries convened to affix their signatures to the Protocol. Mr. H. Laugier, Assistant Secretary-General in charge of the Department of Social Affairs, welcomed the plenipotentiaries on behalf of the Secretary-General and reviewed briefly the events. He concluded with the following statement:

"To-day marks the end of the first phase of the effort by the United Nations, working as an organization, to bring synthetic drugs under international control. The next step must lie with individual Governments and it is now for them so to act that the Protocol may come into force at the earliest possible date. But in addition to this, one final but vitally important factor remains: it is that the successful control of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs is above all else dependent upon international co-operation. This fact was emphasized by every representative who took part in the debate in the General Assembly, where it was stated again and again that the provisions of the Protocol must be universally applied if the dangers from these drugs to which I have already referred are to be averted. I therefore trust that all States will scrupulously apply the provisions of the Protocol at all times, in the spirit as well as the letter of the General Assembly's resolution of 8 October."


Ibid, p. 6.


The text appears in A/666, p. 2.


A/SR.150, 1-26.

Twelve plenipotentiaries signed the Protocol without reservation to acceptance; the others signed subject to confirmation by national legislatures. Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States made declarations applying the provisions of the Protocol to certain territories for whose foreign relations they bore the responsibility. At the close of the ceremony, Mr. Laugier affixed the seal of the United Nations to the Protocol.64

The Paris Protocol was, in a very real sense, the necessary complement of article 11 of the 1931 Convention. It made it possible to place all manufactured narcotic drugs under mandatory world-wide control, which had considerable effect even in countries where the Protocol itself was not in force.

The Protocol, however, left two problems partly solved or unsolved. It did not go so far as the 1931 Convention, which required governments, as soon as they began to manufacture for trade certain categories of drug, to place them under national control. The period between the commencement of manufacture and action by the Commission or the World Health Organization, as the case might be, left the door open, legally speaking, for abuses. This period might last a year or so, but in view of the fact that the Commission and the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Drugs Liable to Produce Addiction generally meet in spring and autumn respectively, the period need not be longer than six months, provided that the addiction-producing effects of a new analgesic are studied promptly. If a new analgesic were developed and placed in use by a country which did not possess facilities for testing its addiction-producing effects, the World Health Organization might have difficulty in reaching a rapid decision, and the Commission's role would be crucial.

In point of fact, this situation has not been exploited by traffickers, probably because governments and most drug manufacturers are aware of the problem and have a genuine desire to protect public health. However, if a way can be found to delimit in advance the substances which are liable to produce addiction-for example, by their chemical formulae or by reference to the possible relationship between strongly analgesic properties and addictive qualities-or if a very serious control problem were to develop, a plan to place any drug notified under temporary control would probably be adopted. Such a plan would complete the circle of legal world-wide controls on all addiction-producing drugs.65

The framers of the Protocol did not attempt to clarify the concept of convertibility. The need for such clarification has been brought about by new developments in chemistry and pharmacology that have made it increasingly unrealistic to attempt to control in the traditional way all substances convertible into addiction-producing drugs. But the Protocol, which was designed to complement the provisions of the 1931 Convention could hardly deal with this question without complicating the situation as regards the other instrument. There are many factors to be weighed-the ease with which convertibility can be effected, the usefulness of the substance for, say, industrial purposes, and the feasibility of controlling it from the administrative or technical standpoints. In this connexion, too, the possibility of further scientific advances has to be borne in mind. Probably as much flexibility as possible is needed to allow a decision to be taken on the basis of the special circumstances surrounding each case.


See E/CN.7/152 for the Summary Record of the ceremony.


It may be noted that the Commission on Narcotic Drugs is already considering this possibility favourably for inclusion in the draft Single Convention. The possibility of circumscribing substances liable to produce addiction by chemical formulae is being studied by the World Health Organization and the Secretariat.

The World Health Organization has already attempted to clarify the meaning of the term" convertible" as used in the narcotic treaties. On 17 May 1954, the seventh World Health Assembly adopted an interpretation whereby a substance would be considered as convertible "where the ease of conversion and the yield obtained constitute a risk to public health, and that in cases where there is uncertainty as to whether a substance will fall under this definition, the substance will be considered as ' convertible ' rather than as ' not convertible ' "66


Ratification and Implementation

Despite the unanimous approval of the General Assembly and the special resolution calling for speedy and universal adherence, the Paris Protocol has hitherto had only a moderately successful record in terms of numbers of actual ratifications. The Protocol came into force on 1 December 1949, and there were, on 1 March 1956, forty-seven States Parties,67as compared with fifty-six States Parties to the 1946 Protocol and approximately seventy States Parties to the 1931 Convention. Of the eleven principal drug-manufacturing countries listed in article 6, however, all have become Parties to the instrument. Furthermore, judged on the basis of popular coverage, the great majority of the world's inhabitants live in countries or territories where the Protocol is in force.68

The international bodies interested in narcotics control have done all they could to increase the number of Parties. In 1952 and 1954, the Economic and Social Council, on the proposal of the Commission, adopted resolutions calling for governments which had not already done so to adhere to the Protocol.69 In 1955, the Council asked the Secretary-General to invite the governments concerned to report on the steps taken in pursuance of its resolution of the previous year.70The Permanent Central Opium Board and the Drug Supervisory Body have also, on several occasions, emphasized the importance of States becoming Parties to the Paris Protocol.71 However, a number of countries which signed the Protocol have still to ratify it.72


Seventh World Health Assembly, WHA7.7, 17 May 1954.


These include the following States: Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Burma, Byelorussian SSR, Canada, Ceylon, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Union of South Africa, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom, United States of America, Viet Nam, Yemen and Yugoslavia.


Declarations made under article 8 of the Protocol have extended its application to most of the non-self-governing territories of adhering metropolitan countries. In terms of population, the largest gaps are in east central Europe and South America.


Resolutions 436 G (XIV) and 548 H I (XVIII).


Resolution 588 D I (XX).

In 1953, the Secretariat tried to set out the extent to which governments had assimilated the new synthetic drugs to their national control systems for narcotic drugs by surveying the national legislations. The results were published under the title A Survey of the Synthetic Narcotic Drugs, their Salts and Preparations placed under national control in the various countries and territories.73It was found, for example, that pethidine was controlled in at least forty-eight countries, in fifteen of which the Protocol was not in force at the time. The corresponding figures for methadone were forty and ten. For the other drugs, the figures were somewhat lower. In view of the incompleteness of the information at the secretariat's disposal, it is likely that decisions taken under the Protocol are widely and rather rapidly translated into terms of national legislation, and it would appear that many countries which have not acceded to the Protocol nevertheless co-operate in applying its provisions within their territories.74

Another survey of this situation was carried out recently by the secretariat of the Permanent Central Opium Board. It was found that all but three of the forty-one States that have not yet become Parties to the Paris Protocol have submitted estimates of their needs for synthetic drugs to the Drug Supervisory Body. The situation is about the same as regards the relevant statistics on trade, manufacture and consumption furnished to the Board. It is also known that about two-thirds of these States have placed one or more synthetic drugs under national narcotics controls.75

More than thirty drugs have been placed under control by virtue of the Paris Protocol-a larger number than are controlled under all other instruments combined.76 On 9 and 12 January 1950, the first group of twelve drugs was notified to the Secretary-General by the Government of the United States, and on 5 March 1951, the date on which the Secretary-General for the first time communicated to governments a notification under article 1, paragraph 4, of the Protocol, or shortly thereafter, the World Health Organization's decision to place these substances under international control began to become effective for Parties.77 A second notification was communicated to governments on 15 May 1952, and thereafter on an average of once a year.78At its sixth session, the Commission invoked the provisions of article 2 of the Protocol by placing two new drugs under provisional control,79 but the Expert Committee on Drugs Liable to Produce Addiction of the World Health Organization has carried out its functions so expeditiously that no occasion has arisen to repeat this procedure.


For the Drug Supervisory Body, see the 1954 and 1955 statements (E/DSB/12, p. 11; E/DSB/13, p. 6), and for the Permanent Central Opium Board, the 1954 and 1955 reports (E/OB/10, p. 17, and E/OB/11, p. 16).


The following are the twenty-two signatories which have not yet ratified: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, San Marino, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela.




E/CN.7/260, pp. 5-9, 21-25.


E/OB-DSB/W.66, pp. 3-4.


These include about thirty synthetic drugs which are listed in the present issue of the Bulletin in the article "Development of Synthetic Narcotic Drugs ". In addition to these, two derivatives of opium alkaloids have been brought under international control by virtue of article 1 of the Paris Protocol:

Drugs controlled under the 1931 Convention are placed either in Group I, a strict control regime for drugs such as morphine, or in Group II, a milder control regime for drugs such as codeine, which are widely used and merely convertible into addiction-producing drugs.

Futhermore, the following derivatives of opium alkaloids have been brought under international control since 1946 by virtue of article 11 of the 1931 Convention:

Finally, the myristyl ester of benzylmorphine and its salts have been found to be convertible into an addiction-producing drug by the World Health Organization and the question of the control regime to be applied to these has not yet been determined by the body of three experts provided for in article 11, paragraph 4, of the 1931 Convention. In the meantime, the drug is being controlled as if it fell under group I.

The foregoing account of how the Paris Protocol came into being has shown that that instrument was concluded when the time was ripe for this step forward. It has had considerable success in forestalling any large-scale abuse of the array of new addiction-producing analgesics that have come into medical use during the past ten years. However, it would be dangerous to assume that there is no longer need for concern. As has been pointed out on several occasions in the Commission,80the Protocol is not a final solution of this new problem. It will doubtless be necessary to keep abreast of the difficulties which the widespread use of synthetic narcotics for medical purposes have created.


Control applies in respect of each Party only from the moment of receipt of the Secretary-General's notification.


E/CN.7/260, p. 2.


E/1998,paragraphs 62-66.


For the most recent occasion, see the following statement contained in the report of the Commission on its tenth session:

"While the Commission considers that this protocol constitutes a very valuable interim measure, it believes that in preparing the provisions of the new convention, it must pay particular attention to certain special aspects of synthetic narcotics which have created new dangers or at least have accentuated existing ones. As far as narcotics control is concerned, synthetic narcotics differ from natural ones mainly in the following respects:

"(a) Although it is generally considered feasible to place under a rigid control regime the plants from which the raw materials of natural narcotics are obtained as well as these materials themselves, it seems hardly possible to subject the chemicals from which the synthetic narcotics are made and which are widely used outside the drug industry, to the traditional measures of narcotics control;

"(b) Although the number of natural narcotics is not very large, there could theoretically be an unlimited number of synthetic narcotics;

"(c) Although it has been possible to define in advance the naturally occurring chemical groups which are potentially addiction-producing, i.e., the products obtained from the phenanthrene alkaloids of opium and ecgonine alkaloids of the coca leaf, and to subject them to provisional control, it has not yet been found possible to apply a similar procedure to synthetics." (E/2768, paragraph 91.)



The States Parties to the present Protocol,

Considering that the progress of modern pharmacology and chemistry has resulted in the discovery of drugs, particularly synthetic drugs, capable of producing addiction, but not covered by 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,

Desiring to supplement the provisions of that Convention and to place these drugs, including their preparations and compounds containing these drugs, under control in order to limit by international agreement their manufacture to the world's legitimate requirements for medical and scientific purposes and to regulate their distribution,

Realizing the importance of the universal application of this international agreement and of its earliest possible entry into force,

HAVE RESOLVED to conclude a Protocol for that purpose and have agreed upon the following provisions:



Article 1

1. Any State Party to the present Protocol which considers that a drug which is or may be used for medical or scientific purposes and to which the Convention of 13 July 1931 does not apply, is liable to the same kind of abuse and productive of the same kind of harmful effects as the drugs specified in article 1, paragraph 2, of the said convention, shall send a notification to that effect, with all material information in its possession, to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit it immediately to the other States Parties to the present Protocol, to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the Economic and Social Council and to the World Health Organization.

2. If the World Health Organization finds that the drug in question is capable of producing addiction or of conversion into a product capable of producing addiction, this organization shall decide whether the drug shall fall:

  1. Under the regime laid down in the 1931 Convention for the drugs specified in article 1, paragraph 2, group I, of that convention; or

  2. Under the regime laid down in the 1931 Convention for the drugs specified in article 1, paragraph 2, group II, of that convention.

3. Any decision or finding in accordance with the preceding paragraph shall be notified without delay to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit it immediately to all States Members of the United Nations, to non-member States Parties to this Protocol, to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Permanent Central Board.

4. Upon receipt of the communications from the Secretary-General of the United Nations notifying a decision under paragraph 2 ( a) or ( b) above, the States Parties to this protocol shall apply to the drug in question the appropriate regime laid down by the 1931 Convention.

Article 2

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs, upon receipt of the notification from the Secretary-General of the United Nations in accordance with paragraph 1 of article 1 of this protocol, shall consider as soon as possible whether the measures applicable to drugs specified in article 1, paragraph 2, group I, of the 1931 Convention should provisionally apply to the drug in question, pending receipt of the decision or finding of the World Health Organization. If the Commission on Narcotic Drugs decides that such measures should provisionally apply, this decision shall be communicated without delay by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the States Parties to this protocol, the World Health Organization and the Permanent Central Board. The said measures shall thereupon be applied provisionally to the drug in question.

Article 3

Any decision or finding taken under article 1 or article 2 of this Protocol may be revised in the light of further experience, in accordance with the procedure provided in this chapter.



Article 4

The present Protocol does not apply to raw opium, medicinal opium, coca leaf or Indian hemp as defined in article 1 of the International Convention relating to Dangerous Drugs signed at Geneva on 19 February 1925, or to prepared opium as defined in chapter II of the International Opium Convention signed at The Hague on 23 January 1912.