The French Chargé ( Chambrun ) to the Acting Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary of State: By order of my Government I have the honor to communicate the following to you:

The extension of the armistice with Germany was signed on the 13th of this month at Trèves by Marshal Foch, Admiral Wemyss, [Page 543] Messrs. Erzberger and Oberndorf, General Von Winterfeld and Major Vanselow.7

The extension is for one month, that is to say, it will be in operation until January 17; it is agreed that, subject to the approval of the Allied Governments it may be extended until the peace preliminaries are concluded.

The following clause was added to the Convention of November 11 last: “The Allied High Command here and now reserves to itself the right to occupy, whenever deemed expedient and under the head of further guarantee, the neutral zone on the right bank of the River Rhine, North of the bridge head at Cologne and as far as the Dutch frontier. Such occupation will be preceded by a six days’ notice.”

On that occasion, a financial protocol was signed to provide for the conservation of the securities that have been pledged to the French Government and serve as a guarantee for the collection of the common debts. Reliable information is said to have shown that the Germans were doing large transactions with the neutrals to our detriment.

The main article of that financial protocol is Article I worded as follows:

“Undertaking on the part of the German Government not to dispose, without a previous understanding with the Allies, of the cash assets of the Treasury or the Reichsbank, or of the bills and credits payable or held abroad, as well as of the foreign securities owned by the Government or public funds.

“Undertaking on the part of the German Government not to issue, without a previous understanding with the Allies, any permit to let out of the country any of the above mentioned belongings or securities owned by private persons or by companies.”

The other articles of the protocol deal with the restitution of securities stolen or lost in the invaded regions, the payment to the Alsatians and Lorrainers of the debts and bills of exchange maturing during the life of the armistice, and lastly, the measures to be taken for the restitution of property sequestered from nationals of the allied countries.

The provisions of Article I imply the appointment of a commissioner (who, as suggested by the Government of the Republic, should be a Frenchman) and who might be assisted by delegates of the other Powers concerned if so desired.

Notice of the financial protocol will be promptly served on the neutrals so as to acquaint them with the terms subscribed to by [Page 544] Germany and with the risk taken by third parties in the event of her continuing to break those terms.

The French military and financial attachés will be ultimately charged with the duty of making the authentic text of the two protocols known to the Federal Government.

Be pleased [etc.]

Charles de Chambrun
  1. Ante, p. 11.