The Geneva Protocol restated the prohibition on use of poisonous gases previously laid down by the Versailles and Washington treaties and added a ban on bacteriological warfare. When they ratified or acceded to the protocol, some nations -- including the United Kingdom, France, and the USSR -- declared that it would cease to be binding on them if their enemies, or the allies of their enemies, failed to respect the prohibitions of the protocol. The American position is that the protocol does not apply to the use in war of riot-control agents and herbicides.
The Geneva Protocol was signed on June 17, 1925, and before World War II the protocol was ratified by many countries, including all the great powers except the United States and Japan. The protocol was ratified by the United States on January 22, 1975.
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