To achieve humanitarian objectives, international development assistance must be structured to insure its effectiveness. The resulting conditionality, however, raises sovereignty concerns as attempts to promote effectiveness may conflict with respect for recipient state sovereignty and indirectly violate individuals' right to self-determination. The paper explores the nature of this conflict and provides guidelines for official donors. This paper examines implications of the moral or humanitarian basis for international aid, focusing specifically on a potential conflict with respect for recipient state sovereignty. Here, sovereignty refers to a moral right rather than the principle underlying the post-Westphalian international legal system. The humanitarian motive is not the only basis for giving aid but it cuts across all types of aid (bilateral, multilateral, and private) and is an important component of long term support for aid. With its focus on sovereignty, the critique presented is particularly relevant for multilateral aid since this type of aid relies more heavily on humanitarian justifications.