The Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States was a treaty signed at Montevideo on 26 December 1933, at the Seventh International Conference of American States. At this conference, President Franklin Roosevelt and United States Secretary of State Cordell Hull declared American oppostion to armed intervention in inter-American affairs, attempting to reverse the perception of Yankee imperialism, the so-called Good Neighbor Policy. The convention was signed by 19 states, 3 with reservations.

Article 1 sets out the criteria for statehood:

The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

Article 3 of the Montevideo Convention states,

The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states. Even before recognition the state has the right to defend its integrity and independence, to provide for its conservation and prosperity, and consequently to organize itself as it sees fit, to legislate upon its interests, administer its services, and to define the jurisdiction and competence of its courts. The exercise of these rights has no other limitation than the exercise of the rights of other states according to international law.

This latter concept is known as the Declarative Theory of Statehood.

The remaining articles set out various rights and duties of states.

The Montevideo is a regional American convention; but the principles contained in this article have been generally recognised as an accurate statement of customary international law.

Some have questioned whether these criteria are sufficient. According to the Constitutive Theory of Statehood, a state exists only insofar as it is recognized by other states.

Founders of "non-territorial" micronations commonly assert that the requirement in the Montevideo Convention of a defined territory is in some way wrong-headed, for largely unspecified reasons.

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Adapted from the Wikipedia article, "Montevideo Convention", used under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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