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A secret treaty is a treaty between nations that is not revealed to other nations or interested observers. An example would be a secret alliance between two nations to support each other in the event of war. The opposing nations would be unaware of the treaty and therefore unable to add it to their calculations, which could obviously result in a difficult situation for the party that declared war when they are suddenly confronted with the troops of two or even three nations. Secret treaties were common before the First World War, and many blamed them for helping spark that conflict. Other noted secret treaties include the sections of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that divided Eastern Europe and the Quadripartite Agreement on intelligence matters between the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Australia.

At the Paris peace conference resulting in the Treaty of Versailles, Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points were put into place. One of these points was that no secret treaties should be made, and that all of these treaties should be made through the League of Nations. This was broken in December 1935, with the Hoare-Laval Pact.

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