The League would be made up of a General Assembly (representing all member states), an Executive Council (with membership limited to major powers), and a permanent secretariat. Member states were expected to "respect and preserve as against external aggression" the territorial integrity of other members, and to disarm "to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety." All states were required to submit complaints for arbitration or judicial inquiry before going to war. The Executive Council would create a Permanent Court of International Justice to make judgements on the disputes.
Major objections came from France and Japan. France wanted the League to form an international army to enforce its decisions, but the British worried such an army would be dominated by the French, and the Americans could not agree since only Congress could declare war. Makino and Chinda requested that a clause upholding the principle of racial equality should be inserted, parallel to the existing religious equality clause. This was deeply opposed, particularly by Americans, and Wilson simply ignored the question. While Wilson was away, a vote on a similar motion (supporting "equality of nations and the just treatment of their nationals") was supported by 11 of 19 delegates, but Wilson declared that "serious objections" by other delegates negated the majority vote, and the amendment was dismissed.
The treaty entered into force on 10 January 1920. Articles 4, 6, 12, 13, and 15 were amended in 1924. The treaty shares similar provisions and structures with the UN Charter.