The first article concerned secret reservations when making peace treaties, the second inheritance of states by exchange, purchase or donation and the third the abolition of standing armies. The fourth covered external debt with regard to the affairs of a state, the fifth was the controversial banning of intervention in the constitutions of other states and the sixth concerned dishonourable stratagems in war. Kant divides them in the following way: the first, the fifth and the sixth are to be stopped at once whilst the second, third and fourth can be postponed being put into effect. In my earlier posting I questioned whether Kant had provided clear and good reasons for this division suggesting that his account of it marked a low point in the exposition of Perpetual Peace.
In response Tim suggested a number of considerations that make it worth revisiting my verdict. The first article concerns secret reservations and, in a sense, it is less than clear when these are at work though the general indictment of them is evident in terms of peace (but difficult to relate to questions of publicity). With five and six (non-intervention and dishonourable stratagems) these practices are, Tim suggests, ones that would, if allowed, make everyone insecure. Due to that it is a good idea to end them immediately. The aim is to increase general security in doing so though, it needs to be pointed out, that six, involving as it does secretive conduct, is, like the first article, intrinsically difficult to evaluate in practice. Only the ban on intervention in the constitution and affairs of other states is one that can be clearly measured though there are good reasons for viewing it as controversial.
If we turn to the three articles that Kant gives a right to postponement of, then, in these cases, Tim suggests, we have always got something intrinsically public in view. The purchase of a state occurred publicly and in accordance with norms held by those engaged in the practice. Invalidating the present status of the state in question now would add to insecurity. Standing armies and public debt are also intrinsically public and the point of that would be that progress with regard to these matters would be itself public. So other states can tell what you are doing here and whether you are moving towards the desired end but, in the interim, immediate implementation would create more problems than postponement.
Tim's account is better than the explicit one provided in the text where Kant appeals only to a kind of possession in "good faith" that held with regard to the articles that can be given postponement referring to a kind of public opinion holding (although Tim's account does, at one point, refer to this). The problem here is why this reference to public opinion should be thought to have normative standing? The only rationale appears to be the one Tim makes explicit: security/stability of the general system of states. Since public undermining in an immediate sense of articles 2-4 would increase instability there is a case in public reason for delay.
The substantial problem with this reconstruction is that the description of the need for immediate implementation of the fifth article concerning non-intervention doesn't really fit. Whilst the presumption that allowing intervention into the affairs of other states would create instability is not, prima facie, unreasonable, there is a problem with it. This is that certain kinds of states may possess constitutions that make them more likely to be troublesome to their neighbours. Indeed, something like this claim is made in the argument for the first definitive article. Due to this claim being made there it is not evident that stability/security in a general sense is up-held by immediate implementation of the fifth preliminary article. It might be generally better to delay implementation of it until after the aspiration of the first definitive article has been met. This creates a problem with viewing the fifth article as kin to the first and the sixth, as the first and the sixth involved actions intrinsically secret in nature as opposed to the public ones of 2-4. Hence the fifth article is an anomaly and doesn't fit the rationale of Tim's reconstruction (although his original note making his case for this reconstruction does admit this).
On these grounds, I would have to say I am still not convinced that the division of the preliminary articles is well articulated by Kant.