The Council of the United Federation of Planets, more commonly known as the Federation Council or the Federation Ground Council, is the legislature of the Federation government. A unicameral body, the Council is comprised of one Federation Councillor from every Federation Member State. The Council convenes in the Federation Council Chambers on Floor One of the Palais de la Concorde in Paris, Earth.
In accordance with the Articles of the Federation, sessions of the full Council of the United Federation of Planets were presided over by the President of the United Federation of Planets (barring special circumstances, such as the President being off-planet), who stood at a podium near the north wall while the councilors sat in seats arranged in rising rows of twenty. The podium determined who could speak to the Council for the record, and recognized speakers could only address the Council from the speaker's floor, located in the center of the room between two sets of seats for the councilors. Councilors had computer terminals at their work stations that they could use to silently contact one another or those outside the chambers, and lights on each terminal to indicate a desire to address the Council. No one could speak who had not been recognized by the podium.
The Federation Council conducted its business during sessions that convened once every six months, with three-week intervals. According to the Articles of the Federation, all Federation Councilors had to be present at the beginning of a session in order to participate in future meetings of the Council; those who were not present had to wait until the next session convened in six months. (DS9 novel: Bajor: Fragments and Omens)
Elevation to the Federation Council was determined by each Member State. The Republic of Bajor, for instance, determined its Federation Councilor by having him or her nominated by the First Minister and then confirmed by the Chamber of Ministers. The Andorian Empire's councilor was determined by which political party held the majority of seats in the Parliament Andoria, while Betazed's councilor was popularly elected. Membership in the Council was of course a great honor, and as of 2267, only T'Pau of Vulcan had ever refused a seat. (ST novel: Articles of the Federation; DS9 novels: Bajor: Fragments and Omens, Andor: Paradigm; TOS episode & novelization: Amok Time)
The Council conducted much of its business by dividing itself into numerous sub-councils with jurisdiction over specific areas of import to the Federation; the Security Council, for instance, had jurisdiction over areas of Federation security. Membership in sub-councils was determined by the President, who nominated a councilor for a sub-council who was then confirmed by the full Council. Some of the sub-councils, such as the Security and Judiciary Councils, were permanent, while others were created on an as-needed basis; the councilors from the five founding Member States were automatically appointed to the permanent sub-councils. During sub-council sessions, members of the sub-council could speak without having to be recognized by the sub-council chair; sub-council sessions were usually presided over by the chair of the sub-council rather than the President, though the President retained that option. The President was generally expected to solicit the active participation of the appropriate sub-council in determining executive policies; as such, there was far less separation of powers between the Council and the Presidency than in many traditional Earth governments.
List of sub-councils
- Federation Security Council
- Federation Archaeology Council
- Federation External Affairs Council
- Federation Intelligence Council
- Federation Judiciary Council
- Federation Science Council
- Federation Technology Council
After the first Federation delegation arrived at the Orion homeworld of Rigel VIII (Botchok) on reference stardate 0/9101.13 (c. 2163), the ambassadors became confused by the complexity, intrigue and chaos of the Botchok Planetary Congress. Learning how unimportant it actually was, the Federation Council nevertheless requested the embassy keep pressing for the required treaties and do what it could increase the Congress's legitimacy.
The Botchok Planetary Congress passed the Orion Neutrality Act stardate 1/5105 (c. 2222), following the first clash between the Klingon Empire and the Federation, and required that Starfleet ships in Orion space give notice, itineraries, schedules, and locations to the Orions. The Federation Council was outraged, fearing that information on Starfleet missions would be leaked straight to the Klingons, and saw the alleged neutrality as a screen to conceal smuggling operations, pirate raids and covert dealings with them.
On stardate 1/1811.07 (c. 2192), Orion colonists arrived at Talna III, hoping to re-establish their Colony there, but found it now settled by Federation colonists, who turned them away. The Botchok Planetary Congress protested to the Federation Council, who resolved that prior settlers (i.e., the Federation colonists) had the right to refuse later immigrants (the returning Orions). Although the Federation claimed to uphold the rights of prior inhabitants, unoccupied ruins were not enough to claim those rights. The Orions were incensed by the outcome. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
After the Federation's own Rigel Demilitarized Zone Commission defined the Orion Neutrality Area on stardate 1/9806.29, the Federation found many slave-trading Orion Colonies now within its borders. This was against Federation law, and popular opinion went against the Orions. In a unanimous vote on stardate 2/0001.11, the Federation Council imposed heavy sanctions on Orion businesses, ports and shipping interests that dealt in slaves, while individual members and independent worlds made outright boycotts. After Captain Christopher Pike investigated and made a shocking report on the Orion slave trade, the Federation Council officially endorsed the boycott on stardate 2/0103.13. Soon after, the Council passed the First Amendment to the Articles of Federation n stardate 2/0105.01, finally banning the Orion slave trade in the Federation and outside the Orion Neutrality Area. These actions forced the BPC to follow suit. (FASA RPG modules: The Federation, Cadet's Orientation Sourcebook, Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update; FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
In 2271, the Federation Council, which at the time consisted of 120 delegates, met to discuss whether or not to maintain the controversial peace-keeping force on Djana. A security breach resulted in the kidnapping of Uhura and Ambassador Sarek, although the intended primary target, Ambassador Ewu, was not taken. His aide Umul betrayed him and, when the kidnapping failed, took him hostage and overloaded Ewu's personal shield. The resulting explosion killed Umul, but Ewu managed to break free before the explosion and received only non-fatal injuries. (TOS - The Lost Years novel: The Lost Years)
In 2286, the Federation Council (or possibly the Federation Judiciary Council) met to serve as the jury in a special court-martial of Federation Starfleet Admiral James T. Kirk, Captain Montgomery Scott, Commanders Nyota Uhura, Pavel Chekov, Leonard McCoy, and Hikaru Sulu following their hijacking and destruction of the USS Enterprise. The Council dropped all but one charge after the group was responsible for saving Earth from an alien Probe, demoting Kirk to the rank of captain and granting him command of the newly re-designated USS Enterprise-A. (TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: The Voyage Home)
- Whether this was the full Council or the Judiciary Council is unknown. Star Trek IV implies that the Council met in a building in San Francisco. The Star Trek: Voyager episode "In the Flesh" lists the Federation Council among buildings recreated in San Francisco. Author Keith R.A. DeCandido has admitted to having ignored this reference, mainly due to how difficult it would be for the President and Council to work together if they are separated by nine hours' worth of time zones. The episode did not specify whether or not the Federation Council chambers recreated by Species 8472 in their reproduction of San Francisco were the Council's primary meeting space; thus, the possibility remains that the Council maintains a standard alternate meeting location in San Francisco, possibly when the Palais is unavailable.
When Federation colonists from Bensonia settled the neighboring Prime Directive–protected world of Hodunk in the late 23rd century, the scientists there protested to the Federation Council, where the matter sat under consideration. (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)
In 2366, the Council was called into emergency session when a Romulan defector provided information on a possible Romulan invasion fleet arming near Nelvana III. They determined that the crew of the USS Enterprise-D, the Starfleet ship on site, should assume that anything Romulan Admiral Alidar Jarok said was a lie. (TNG episode: "The Defector")
In 2370, two Hekaran scientists proved that conventional warp drive was fundamentally damaging the space-time continuum. In response, the Federation Council imposed a warp 5 "speed limit" on all Federation vessels and vessels within UFP territory except in dire circumstances. This law was removed when improvements in warp drive were achieved. (TNG episode: "Force of Nature"; ST novel: Articles of the Federation)
Two years later, the Federation Council condemned the Klingon Empire's invasion of the Cardassian Union following a civilian uprising and agreed to provide twelve industrial replicators to help rebuild the devastated Cardassian industrial base. Later that year, Chancellor Gowron sent a message to the Council, telling them that the Klingon Empire would not give up their captured Cardassian planets and to withdraw Federation forces from the Archanis sector. (DS9 episodes: "The Way of the Warrior", "For the Cause", "Broken Link")
In 2374, the Council sent a message to Grand Nagus Zek of the Ferengi Alliance that Starfleet Ensign Nog was to deliver. Jake Sisko believed it might have been a proposal for an alliance between the Ferengi Alliance and the Federation. (DS9 episode: "Valiant")
In 2375, Starfleet Admiral Matthew Dougherty claimed that the Federation Council had been responsible for the decision to forcibly relocate the Ba'ku from their world in cooperation with the Son'a. (TNG movie: Star Trek: Insurrection)
The Council denied this, and Dougherty was branded a rogue, receiving blame for the operation after it was made public. The relocation was eventually suspected to be the work of the rogue cabal known as Section 31. (DS9 - Section 31 novel: Abyss)
Later that year, the Federation Council was responsible for the decision not to give the Founders the cure to the morphogenic virus that threatened to drive their species to extinction, as they felt it would give the Dominion the upper hand in the war. Shortly thereafter, the Council accepted the peace treaty in which the Dominion agreed to leave the Alpha Quadrant and return sovereignty to the Cardassian Union and Breen Confederacy, which it had annexed, and in which the Federation and its allies agreed to occupy and rebuild the devastated Cardassian Union. (DS9 episodes: "The Dogs of War", "What You Leave Behind")
List of councillors
|Interstellar states||Detapa Council, Assembly (Cardassian Union) • Economic Congress of Advisors (Ferengi Alliance) • Federation Council • Klingon High Council • Imperial Senate, Praetorate, Tricameron (Romulan Star Empire) • Organian Council of Elders|
|Federation members||Parliament Andoria • Chamber of Ministers (Bajor) • Quorum of Bole (Bolarus) • United Earth Parliament • Martian Parliament • Zamestaad (Mestiko) • Triexian Curia (Triex) • Trill Senate • Grand Moot (Vissia Prime) • Vulcan Council|