The Prime Directive prohibits Itonian personnel from interfering with the internal development of alien civilizations. This law applies particularly to civilizations which are below a certain threshold of technological, scientific and cultural development; preventing starship crews from using their superior technology to impose their own values or ideals on them.
No identification of self or mission. No interference with the social development of said planet. No references to space or the fact that there are other worlds or civilizations
No primitive culture can be given or exposed to any information regarding advanced technology or the existence of extra-planetary civilizations, lest this exposure alter the natural development of the civilization.
To include purposeful efforts to improve or change in any way the natural course of such a society, even if that change is well-intentioned and kept completely secret. "Pre-warp" is defined as any culture which has not yet attained warp drive technology and is thus, implicitly, unaware of the existence of alien races. Itonia allows scientific missions to investigate and secretly move amongst pre-warp civilizations as long as no advanced technology is left behind, and there is no interference with events or no revelation of their identity. This can usually be accomplished with hidden observation posts, but Federation personnel may disguise themselves as local sentient life and interact with them.
However, it has been stated that once violation has occurred, Itonian personnel are allowed to directly intervene on the planet to attempt to minimize the harm as much as possible, with an openness proportional to how significant the exposure has been. Iton crew investigating the fate of the Mul colony on Vibel 7 while attempting to keep their origins secret, even while the planet's rulers were aware. This knowledge is refered to by the indigenous People of Vibel 7 as "The Gift" The Gift is never mentioned by the rulers outside of their Council meetings.
This directive can be found in the Articles of the Galactic Itonian Federation of Trade, Chapter I, Article II, Paragraph VII, which states:
Nothing within these Articles Of Federation shall authorize the Galactic Itonian Federation of Trade to intervene in matters which are essentially the domestic jurisdiction of any planetary social system, or shall require the members to submit such matters to settlement under these Articles Of Federation. But this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.
Further defined in this way:
As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no individual of the G.I.F.T personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. GIFT personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.
In other words, the G.I.F.T. cannot expose an evolving species to technology that the species has not yet discovered or is currently capable of developing.
The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History has proved again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous.