Permanent Neutrality Working Group:  

Peace, Security & Justice

Working Group Members

Can 'permanent neutrality' with the three pillars of faith, freedom, and foreign policy reduce the tensions between the USA and Russia, also reconciling America's differences with China to provide security, peace, and justice in the 21st century? 


Notions of Neutralities, Herbert Reginbogin

Marshall Breger, J.D.

Herbert R. Reginbogin, Ph. D.

Professor Breger is a Law Professor,  an expert in Foreign Relations Law, and the Middle East Peace Process. 

Professor Reginbogin's expertise is in International Relations, Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy.  His most recent book, on which he was both a co-editor and contributor, is Permanent Neutrality: A Model for Peace, Security and Justice.

Feb. 11, 2020

The Catholic University of America


The Holy See and Vatican City (State):

Permanent Neutrality

Workshop  Subjects:


The Lateran Treaty signed February 11, 1929, with Italy recognizing the Vatican City as an independent state under the sovereignty of the Holy See. What have been the consequences and the results since Vatican City (State) was created 91 years ago as a permanently neutral state?


The range of issues that the Holy See embraces through the pontificates beginning with Pius XI (1922-1939), Pius XII (1939-1958) through John Paul II (1978-2005) to Pope Francis (2013-current) is broader than many states engage. The analysis of the Holy See policy does not easily fit within standard methods of international relations scholarship or the foreign policy critiques used for secular states.


A group of scholars will discuss the changing style and the substance of Holy See diplomacy, in particular since the creation of Vatican City (State). The analysis will be framed in terms of the international system each faced, their conception of the role of the Church in the world, and the pastoral and policy vision which informed each pope’s ministry into the 21st century.

1:00 – 3:00    First Session 


1:00 - 1:10     Prof. Marshall Breger, CUA      

                        Introduction and Overview  


1:10 - 1:30     Prof. Kurt Martens, CUA

                       The Holy See and Neutrality in the Aftermath of WWI: The Consequences of the Treaty of  Versailles

                       and Other Peace Treaties


1:30 – 1:55    Prof. Gerald P. Fogerty, S.J., University of Virginia

                       The Lateran Treaty and Neutrality: Political and Theological Considerations


1:55 – 2:20     Prof. Piotr Kosicki, University of Maryland 

                        No Neutrality in Ideology: The Holy See and the Cold War 


2:20 – 2:45     Prof. Arpad v.Klimo, CUA

                        The Holy See Efforts to Secure the Departure of Cardinal Mindszenty: Diplomacy in a Cold War Context


2:45 – 3:10     Discussion  


3:10 – 3:30     Intermission

3:10 – 5:35     Second Session


3:30 – 3:55     Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming, (USHMM)        

                        The Vatican and the Third Reich 


3:55 – 4:20     Prof. Pascal Lottaz, Waseda University, Tokyo 

                        The Vatican During WWII in Japan and Asia 


4:20 - 4:45      Prof.Thomas J. Reese, S.J. of the Berkley Ctr. for Religion at Georgetown 

                         Positive Neutrality as a Vatican Negotiating Tool 


4:45 – 5:10     Prof. Herbert Reginbogin, CUA

                        The Vatican and Permanent Neutrality in the 21st Century: Faith, Freedom, and Foreign Policy     


5:10 - 5:45      Discussion|Final Remarks



This is a free event.  For information or disability accommodations, contact

Recent Event

December 15, 2019


"The Neutrals and the Bomb"  (Conference)

National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

The conference was organized in association with the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, the Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, and The Catholic University of America's Institute for Policy Research.

View the event

The International Conference on a new Security Architecture for Europe and Asia was a great success!

This conference brought together policy makers, academics, and practitioners from around the globe to discuss an old idea; security through neutrality. What used to be common place even for the United States is only a distant memory today. Nevertheless, the paradigm holds intuitive appeal for Europe and Asia. In four panels and a key note speech, this conference will introduce the main operative concepts that modern neutrals use to engage with the international community, and how they might be useful in parts of the world that do not currently deploy them.


Would a security architecture that involves ‘permanent neutrality’ help to reduce tension between the American Eagle, the Russian Bear, and the Chinese Dragon? Would the international community be receptive to more permanent neutrals? How would the China or the USA react to Taiwan as a permanent neutral, providing security, peace, and justice in the region?  What if it was part of an East-Asian neutral security architecture that included the two Korean States?  Could neutral buffer zones be beneficial to the neutral countries themselves while also serving the international community?


        These questions are not hypothetical; local stakeholders are already actively exploring them, as this conference showed.

(l to r) Professors Pascal Lottaz, Glenn Dieson, and Heinz Gaertner, Brookings Fellow Michael O'Hanlon, and Hsiu-lien (Annette) Lu discuss Neutral Solutions to Current Affairs at the conferenrence

(l to r) Professors Herbert Reginbogin, Gunther Hauser, Terrence Hopmann, and Oliver Bange, Michael Tsai and Moderator Michael O'Hanlon discuss Neutral Security Architecture(s) at the conference.

(l to r) Professors Herbert Reginbogin, Stephen Neff, Pascal Lottaz and Marshall Breger discuss Neutrality and International Law at the conference.

Video of the Conference: 
(Access video by panel headings)

Dr. Herbert Reginbogin, Andrew Abela, Provost of The Catholic University of America, and Invocation by. Fr. Eugene Hemrick

For millennia, neutral strategies have been part of international life. While some fought, others did not. For the young United States, neutrality used to be a key pillar of its Foreign Policy for 150 years from Washington’s proclamation of neutrality to the four neutrality laws that Congress passed in the 1930s under Roosevelt. Where did that go? Was the entire approach no more than a welcome excuse to practice isolationism while the young nation built itself? Was it perhaps a well-intended experiment with pacifism? Most relevant today, is neutrality morally justifiable in the face of pure evil like a terrorist threat and power-hungry dictatorships?

During the long nineteenth century, neutrality became an integral part of International Law. This panel will explore the progress of neutrality as a practical policy and analyze the changing nature of the rights and duties of neutrals on land and on the sea. What are the implications for the Post-WWII American-led liberal world order? How did the concept move from the realm of strategy to that of law and was it successful? Can modern neutrals still build upon the provisions of old or are those days gone?

The Cold War is dead. Long live the Cold War. As tensions in East and West are rising, new hot-spots of Great Power rivalry are forming. The looming confrontation between NATO and Russia have produced a frozen conflict in Ukraine and Georgia, with more violence to come, unless a permanent solution can pacify the region. In Asia, the situation in the Pacific is also increasingly volatile with China’s new-found self-confidence in its economic power and the seemingly unstoppable militarization of the South China Sea. Taiwan will take center stage in the coming years as mainland China claims its territory, while a staunchly democratic local population fights for its right to self-determination at a geostrategic cross-road. Could neutrality hold the key to peaceful solutions in both cases? What role could permanent neutrality play in a reunified Korea? The potential of permanent neutrality as a way to deliver security guarantees and socio-economic benefits to all players in the grand-game of Power Politics will be the focus of this panel.

To offer new perspectives, this session will look ahead and discuss how neutral solutions could benefit the global security environment and national economies. With the end of the Pax-Americana and the re-emergence of a multi-polar world, what would a global security architecture look like that was built on pillars of neutral conduct? Furthermore, what could be the new roles of permanently neutral members of the international community? What are the economic implications and what would it mean for humanitarianism if permanent neutrality became a major paradigm again in the twenty-first century? Home
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