The First Khitomer Accords is a treaty first signed between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire in 2293. Despite a conspiracy that nearly ruined the conference before it could begin, the Accords started the process of reconciliation between two empires.
As both the Federation and the Klingon Empire expanded throughout the 23rd century, their borders grew closer and closer. Skirmishes broke out all along the border for much of the middle of the century, with both sides fighting for claim of various worlds. Most of these skirmishes would only involve a handful of ships at a time, and would lead to few lasting effects. Tensions ran high, and the two sides would face off in a long lasting cold war. Open war was fought briefly in 2267, but that short-lived conflict was resolved by the Organian Peace Treaty. While the treaty prevented open combat, the two sides were still hostile. A severe distrust still existed between them, and lasted until late in the 23rd Century.
Disaster at Praxis
Relations between the Federation and Klingon Empire took an interesting turn in 2293. The USS Excelsior, a Federation starship en route to Federation space after a three year assignment in the Beta Quadrant, encountered a subspace shock wave originating from the Klingon moon Praxis. Further investigation by the ‘’Excelsior’’ discovered that the moon had been nearly destroyed. The ‘’Excelsior’’ responded to a distress call from the moon, but the transmission had been interrupted by Klingon Brigadier General Kerla. He admitted that there had been an “incident” on Praxis, but that the Klingons had everything under control.
It would be later discovered that the moon had exploded due to over-mining and poor safety precautions. Praxis had been one of the Empire’s key energy-producers prior to the explosion, and the resulting subspace shockwave caused massive pollution in the atmosphere of the Klingon homeworld, Qo’noS. The Federation predicted that the planet would be depleted of oxygen within fifty Earth years. The Empire was ill prepared to cope with the situation. Their enormous military budget had already strained their resources, and the economic fallout caused by the catastrophe left the Klingons crippled. Chancellor Gorkon was forced to approach the Federation and bring an end to their cold war hostilities.
The Khitomer Conspiracy
Not everyone on both sides relished the idea of peace. Some feared the reduction in military. Others felt that a political solution was not as glorious as a military solution. Others just wanted to destabilize the region. A conspiracy formed among a number of high ranking officers and officials on both sides of the neutral zone to sabotage the peace talks. Chancellor Gorkon was assassinated during his rendezvous with the USS Enterprise-A to be escorted to Earth. CaptainJames T. Kirk and Doctor Leonard McCoy were arrested after failing to save the chancellor’s life. A military action was planned to rescue Kirk and McCoy, an action intended by the conspirators to provoke a war. The plan was rejected by the Federation President, who believed that the loss of two officers was an acceptable price for peace. The conference was relocated from Earth to Khitomer.
The ‘’Enterprise’’ raced to Khitomer, as well as the ‘’Excelsior’’, and waged a battle against Chang and his prototype bird-of-prey. Thanks to some ingenuity by the ‘’Enterprise’s’’ crew, Chang was defeated. An away team led by Captain Kirk beamed to the conference just in time to disrupt an assassination attempt on the Federation President and to arrest the remaining conspirators. This allowed the conference to progress as planned, with the Starfleet officers risking their lives to stop the conspiracy aiding the peace movement.
Terms of the Treaty
The Khitomer Accords, as initially signed, was not intended as an alliance. It was constructed as a friendship and non-aggression treaty. The Klingon and Federation governments negotiated an agreement that would end the hostility and distrust between their people.
As a result of the treaty, the Klingons agreed to relinquish the claim on a number of disputed systems in exchange for economic and environmental aid for Qo’noS. In addition both sides were granted an embassy in the others capital, the first time the two longtime enemies had a permanent diplomatic presence.
As a show of good faith, both the Federation and the Klingon Empire agreed to a reduction in arms, just as members of the conspiracy had feared. The treaty placed limits on certain classifications of starships. The most heavily restricted classification were Cruisers, which at the time included the Excelsior-class and Constitution-class. Because of the decision to limit the larger ships, the aging Constitution class was phased out in favor of the newer Excelsior class. Starfleet chose to make up for lost numbers by increasing the number of Miranda-class destroyers, as the Klingons did with the K’Vort-class and larger B’rel-class. Starfleet would eventually reclassify the Excelsior class as a multirole vessel a few decades later with agreement of the Klingons. The new classification of starship, in which the Klingons had access to as well, was intended not to be a warship, but a vessel capable of defense, exploration, and diplomacy. Both sides realized that this reclassification was a plot to circumvent the conditions of the treaty, but relations had improved to the point that they no longer feared attack from each other. Both sides were concerned with Romulan aggression in response to the now weakened navies.
Articles of the Treaty
Both Parties obligate themselves to desist from any act of violence, any aggressive action, and any attack on the other, either individually or jointly with other powers.
All previous treaties and agreements between the two Parties are nullified and superseded by the terms of this document, including the existence of a neutral zone.
The Governments of the two Parties shall institute full diplomatic relations with each other. A parcel of land shall be delivered on each of the capital worlds, which will serve as a center for government for each Party so that the other Party may establish an Embassy.
Should one of the Parties become the object of belligerent action by a third power, the other Party shall in no manner lend its support to this third power, and will lend whatever aid and assistance to the other Party it deems appropriate by the rules of its internal government.
Both Parties agree to provide humanitarian aid to each other.
Both Parties agree that any former grievances that had with the other are now forgotten. If any individual under the rule of one Party commits an act of revenge or retribution on the other Party, that individual will be extradited to stand trial under the laws of the aggrieved Party.
Both Parties agree to a restriction on the number of cruiser-type starships. This restriction may be relieved in the event that one or both Parties become the object of belligerent action by a third power. However, both Parties must agree to the revised terms.
Both Parties agree to the specifics of the following sections delineating conflict resolution, territorial definitions, trade laws, and all other provisions in this document.
An Uneasy Peace
Thanks to the end of hostilities between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, the Klingons were able to focus on repairing their infrastructure and recovering from the toll taken by the overemphasis on their war machine. Over the course of the next few decades, both sides experienced a culture shift. The Federation became less concerned with war, and starship designs began to reflect a return to exploration and diplomacy. Klingon culture faced a renaissance, with the majority of Klingon citizens seeking honor, rather than conquest.
But throughout the early 24th Century, the Romulan Star Empire had taken a more aggressive stance against both the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Poor handling of the Romulan aggression by both the Federation and Klingons threatened to unravel everything that they had gained in the time since Khitomer. In order to combat the Romulan aggression, the Klingon High Council chose to ignore Article VII of the original treaty, and increased construction of their formidable K’Tanga class cruisers. During this time, Klingon engineers began development of their first significantly new class of cruiser, the Vor’Cha.
Starfleet was naturally concerned by the reports of the new Klingon battleship, which intelligence reports suggested would easily outclass the Federation’s premier battleship, the versatile Ambassador-class. In order to prepare for an armed conflict with the Romulans, the Klingons, or both, the Federation began development of their own advanced starship, the famed Galaxy-class. But developmental problems would continue to delay the introduction of the Galaxy class, which alarmed Federation strategists. To counter the growing concern, additional Ambassador class ships were ordered, but in order to alleviate the concerns of the Federation Council, production was increased on the far more cost effective workhorse ships; the Excelsior-class, Miranda-class, and Constellation-class.
While the construction of additional ships by both sides, and the ignorance of Article VII of the Khitomer Treaty, was intended as a countermeasure against aggression from the other. But it resulted in another complex arms race. The Klingons increased patrols near their borders, and the Federation soon followed suit. No hostile actions took place, but for several years there were concerns in both governments that tensions caused by the Romulans might prompt a war between the Federation and the Klingons. Diplomats were recalled from the opposing embassies, and many felt that the hard fought peace would soon end.
While war was not imminent, many historians feel that it would have been inevitable had things continued to escalate. However, in 2344 a Romulan strike force attacked a Klingon colony on Narendra III. The Ambassador class USS Enterprise-C was patrolling nearby when they detected the distress signal. Racing to Narendra III, the Enterprise engaged the Romulan ships, despite being outnumbered. Ultimately the ship was lost with only a handful of survivors, and the Romulans took many prisoners following their raid on the colony. The Klingons had mobilised reinforcements and were able to run off the Romulan ships, but they were too late to save the Enterprise. The colonists recounted the story of the Enterprise’s sacrifice in the defense of the Klingon colony to the High Council. The Klingons considered it an honorable death, and promised that the crew of the lost Federation ship would have a place in Sto’Vo’Kor. Tensions between the Klingons and the Federation relaxed, and both sides reopened diplomatic relations.
Amendment to the Treaty
With the Federation and the Klingons once again talking, they could start to put aside their animosity and work towards a relationship of trust and friendship. The Romulans were still considered a threat by both sides. Khitomer became the target of a Romulan attack in 2346, leading to the death of over 4,000 colonists. The USS Intrepid was first on the scene after the Romulan ships had escaped, hoping to provide aid to the wounded. But they were shocked to find that there were only two survivors from the site of the raid. This attack would go on to be known as the Khitomer Massacre.
In the aftermath of the attack, the Klingons had had enough of the Romulans and were prepared to put a stop to their aggression. The Federation intervened and offered a counter proposal to war. They argued that the only reason that the Romulans were able to enjoy so many successes against both sides is because they had convinced the Federation and the Klingons to focus on each other. Separate, the Romulans would be able to divide and conquer, but together, they would be too formidable for even the Romulans to defeat. Earth had faced a similar crisis with the Romulans in the mid-22nd century, resulting in the Earth-Romulan War, but by forming allies with their neighbors they became strong, eventually leading to the formation of the Federation itself. They reasoned that peace between the two parties was disadvantageous to the Romulans, but an alliance would be devastating. The Klingons agreed, and in 2347 Khitomer was selected to host an amendment to the original Khitomer Accords.
Terms of the Revised Treaty
The revised treaty would have a lasting effect on galactic politics for the rest of the 24th Century. In addition to putting aside animosities and setting provisions for diplomatic relations, the revisions would secure friendship between the two former rivals and herald in a new era of cooperation.
The new articles would eliminate the arms restrictions imposed by each side in the original accords, and provide for the mutual defense if either side were attacked by a third party. Each side would be granted open borders. Open trade between the Federation and the Klingons would usher in a period of economic prosperity for both sides.
Articles of the Revised Treaty
Repeal of Article VII.
Should one of the Parties become the object of belligerent action by a third power, the other Party will come to the aid of the first Party, providing military, economic, and humanitarian aid as necessary. This Article nullifies and supersedes Article IV.
Both Parties will grant unrestricted open borders to the other Party for the purposes of peaceful cooperation, trade, and scientific exploration. Restricted access to either Party in the event of military action by one Party against a third Party is allowed the discretion of the government of the second Party.
Federation-Klingon War (2372-2373)
In 2372, Klingon Chancellor Gowron elected to withdraw from the Khitomer Accords. This was in response to the Federation Council’s condemnation of his invasion of the Cardassion Union. Strictly speaking, the treaty did not require the Federation to join their Klingon allies in the invasion because the Cardassians did not initiate the conflict. However, the Starfleet chose to provide aid to the Cardassians by rescuing the escaping Detapa Council, who Gowron was convinced were infiltrated by the Founders. This act, and the Federation Council’s official condemnation of the invasion, caused Gowron to withdraw from the treaty and to attack Deep Space 9. This spark ignited the Federation-Klingon War (2372-2373).
Eventually, after months of fighting, General Martok of the Klingon Empire was exposed as a changeling. A ceasefire was agreed to restore the peace, but the Khitomer Accords were not reinstated until after the Cardassian Union joined the Dominion. Once again, the two allies were standing side-by-side, ready to face the real threat.
As of 2392, the Khitomer Accords were still in effect. However, the growing conflict with the Gorn, and the Federation’s resistance to coming joining the Klingons in the fight, strain the relations between the two powers once again.