The 'Tomed Incident' between the United Federation of Planets and the Romulan Star Empire in 2311 that cost thousands of lives and led to the signing of the 'Treaty of Algeron' which banned Federation research into, or use of, any cloaking device. This treaty led to the withdrawal of the Romulan government from interstellar affairs until 2364. (Even though they're constantly slinking around trying to cause trouble). What if the Klingons or any other race with cloaking technology joined the UFP? Would they be required to relinquish that tech or be denied membership?

We know there have been 'exceptions' to the treaty's cloaking restrictions. Most notably for the Defiant and cloaked space-mines. Are there also 'exceptions' within the treaty for new member states as well?

I added that last paragraph to more fully develop the question.

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    I don't see how this question could be construed as being primarily opinion-based. No opinion necessary. This should have a very quantifiable canon answer. This is no more opinion based than other valid discoverable question. Richard almost answered it below citing the Treaty of Algeron.
    – Morgan
    Apr 20, 2014 at 5:02
  • I flagged it as "opinion based" because any answer is guesswork without having the terms of the (fictional) treaty in front of you.
    – Valorum
    Apr 20, 2014 at 7:20
  • @Richard To paraphrase Kirk; Some people's guesses are more accurate than other's facts. Is there no more information about the 'Treaty of Algeron' that can be used to draw a reasonable conclusion? Is it then just a couple of vague statements about it's existence, no Federation cloaking tech, a boundary zone was agreed and nothing else? No follow-on explanation about the Treaty, no comment from show producers or writers, no TV Tropes, nothing?
    – Morgan
    Apr 20, 2014 at 7:53
  • I've drawn a reasonable conclusion but it's still a pure guess. The additional canon (books, etc) have more detail about the treaty but it's all pure conjecture by the authors.
    – Valorum
    Apr 20, 2014 at 7:58
  • @Richard So this 'treaty' that holds such sway over the entire Star Trek storyline is actually only comprised of 3 declarative in canon sentences and nothing else? I find that hard to believe with such a mature and fleshed out universe.
    – Morgan
    Apr 20, 2014 at 8:21

2 Answers 2


Without knowing the specific terms of the Treaty of Algeron it's impossible to determine whether a race joining the Federation would be obliged to give up the use of cloaking technology but the answer is yes (probably).

If we go by the few canon quotes that we're given in the episode "The Pegasus";

Picard : That's what this is all about? A cloaking device? In the Treaty of Algeron the Federation specifically agreed not to develop cloaking technology.

and "These are the Voyages";

RIKER: What do you know about the Treaty of Algeron?
TROI: 2311, it redefined the Romulan Neutral Zone.
RIKER: It also outlawed the use of cloaking technology on Starfleet vessels.

then the Federation seems to be barred from developing and using cloaking technology.

Any race that joins the United Federation of Planets would almost certainly have to agree to be bound by any existing treaties. This would presumably include the Treaty of Algeron. To add weight to this, we learn in DS9 : "Profit and Lace" that the Bajoran government have outlawed cloaks. It's not clear whether this decision was taken before or after petitioning for Federation membership but it seems likely that aligning your laws with Federation treaties would be a first step to membership.

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    That's assuming that the Klingons + Federation couldn't renegotiate the terms of the treaty. The Klingons only have cloaking technology because the Romulans gave it to them in exchange for Klingon battleships. So they must have their own pre-existing technology exchange agreement with the Romulans. Apr 20, 2014 at 2:30
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    Most treaties have "what if" clauses built in. Without seeing the terms of the treaty, we have no idea what the Romulans said should happen if the Klingons joined the Federation. They must have thought about it though...
    – Valorum
    Apr 20, 2014 at 7:18
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    @Richard Your addition of the Bajoran government's decision regarding the tech supports your 'guess' that any new Federation members would also be required to comply with, and subject to, 'the treaty'. This is a valid and supported answer based on canon. Thanks for the time and effort it took to research and present it.
    – Morgan
    Apr 20, 2014 at 8:38
  • @Lèsemajesté the romulans gave cloaking technology to the klingons? What is your source for this?
    – JMFB
    Sep 1, 2015 at 14:36
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    @JMFB: See the bottom of the Appendices section. Sep 1, 2015 at 15:31

In my opinion, the Klingon empire is very "nationalistic". I have a hard time seeing them becoming fully integrated into the Federation. For an example of their cultural insularity, see Sirella's reaction to Dax joining the house of Martok in DS9's You Are Cordially Invited.

Given that, however, I do think that the Klingons could ultimately become a Federation member state, with citizens participating in Starfleet, etc. I would guess that in such a situation, the Klingons would maintain a semi-autonomous domestic government in command of a special Klingon defense force, which would be used only for policing Klingon territory. It would probably be composed of traditional Klingon vessels, complete with cloaking devices.

I'm sure that at that point, Starfleet would have access to the theory of cloaking technology, but I doubt they would equip it to their ships without Romulan permission.

My guess is that the Treaty of Algernon would eventually be revised. It seems that at the end of DS9, the Romulans and the Federation were undergoing a sort of detente. And, with Cardassia occupied and presumably out of the game for the foreseeable future, a Klingon-Federation union would represent a drastic shift in power. The Romulans would have to change their political stance in order to function.

EDIT: As an interesting aside, note that we can see from TOS's Enterprise Incident that the Romulans originally got cloaking technology from the Klingons. It would be strange indeed if the Klingons gave up their signature technology while the Romulans continued to use it.

  • Between the political events of Nemesis and the destruction of Romulus in Star Trek 2009, It is likely that the Tal Shiar and/or the military would take over, which would probably lead to a much more insular and paranoid Romulan Empire.
    – Xantec
    Apr 20, 2014 at 0:59
  • @Xantec, yes, but consider two things. First, the apparent age difference between old Spock as seen in Trek 2009 and Spock seen in TNG's Unification. To me, he seems about twenty human-years older. It would take about 50 actual years for a Vulcan to age that much, so I think at least 40 years must have passed between the end of DS9 and the destruction of Romulus, giving the Klingons ample time to join the Federation, and the Romulans ample time to react.
    – mindoftea
    Apr 20, 2014 at 1:46
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    Also consider the state of Romulus at the end of Nemesis. Shinzon had clearly conducted a purge of the Senate, and likely also the military and the Tal Shiar, leaving Commander Donatra seemingly one of the most powerful military figures in the Empire. She is clearly somewhat friendly to the Federation at the end of Nemesis and would seem to be the most likely candidate to lead a rebuilt Romulan military, leading to a potentially more Federation-friendly Romulus.
    – mindoftea
    Apr 20, 2014 at 2:00
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    @mindoftea The Romulans got cloaking technology from the Klingons? What's your source for this? I thought it was the other way around. I just read the transcript for the episode you cited, it does not say anywhere that Romulans got their claoking technology from the Klingons.
    – JMFB
    Sep 2, 2015 at 4:59
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    @JFMB Huh, you may be right. It's been a while and I don't recall. I'll rewatch the episode tomorrow and see if I can figure it out.
    – mindoftea
    Sep 8, 2015 at 1:05

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