763.72119/5944

HD–11

Notes of a Meeting of the Heads of Delegations of the Five Great Powers Held in M. Pichon’s Room at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Friday, July 18, 1919, at 4 p.m.

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • Hon. H. White.
    • Secretary
      • Mr. L. Harrison.
    • British Empire
      • The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O. M., M. P.
    • Secretary
      • Sir Ian Malcolm, K. C. M. G.
      • Mr. H. Norman
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau.
      • M. Pichon.
    • Secretaries
      • M. Dutasta.
      • Capt. de St. Quentin.
    • Italy
      • M. Tittoni.
    • Secretary
      • M. Paterno.
    • Japan
      • Baron Makino.
    • Secretary
      • M. Kawai.
Joint Secretariat
America, United States of Colonel Grant.
British Empire Lieut. Com. Bell.
France Capt. A. Portier.
Italy Lieut. Zanchi.
Interpreter—Prof. P. J. Mantoux.

1. M. Clemenceau said that he would ask M. Loucheur1 to explain the problem of the Austrian railways.

Sudbahn Question M. Loucheur said that every year the Italian Government paid in a sum of 29,000,000 francs to the Sudbahn Company. The payment had been suspended since the outbreak of hostilities. The Italian Government had considered that it had a right to keep the annual payment of the 29,000,000 francs in question by way of reparation. The French Delegation did not agree. It had thought itself bound to protect the interests of shareholders of all nationalities, including German and Austrian Bondholders. The problem was not applicable for these latter, however. With regard to the other shareholders, the Italian Government had agreed to continue to pay in the sum in question to Paris. It had been further decided that a complete reorganisation of the Sudbahn was necessary and that this reorganisation would be both financial and [Page 204]technical, in view of the fact that the railway line in question now passed through several States. The shareholders will therefore be heard in the event of disagreement; they will be in a position to call for arbitration and the arbiter can be nominated by the League of Nations. Each person’s rights were therefore protected and all could participate in the reorganisation that had been foreshadowed.

Mr. Balfour said that the question included two problems: the first one which was financial had been settled. The second one was a question of transportation between the five countries concerned: had it been settled?

M. Loucheur said that it had not been settled up to the present but that it had been decided that in the three months following the signature of the Treaty, a general meeting would be convened in order to settle the question arising out of the reorganisation. No special clause for insertion in the Austrian Treaty had yet been thought of although possibly it would be preferable to insert one in order to be able to act at greater advantage in the case of Jugo-Slavia and the other countries concerned. If the Council so decided it could be drawn up and when decided upon, sent to the Drafting Committee.

(This proposal was accepted and M. Loucheur and General Mance2 withdrew to draw up the text of the Article in question. When the text of the Article had been prepared, M. Loucheur and General Mance re-entered the room.)

M. Loucheur said that in collaboration with General Mance he had taken the text drawn up by the Italian Delegation and accepted by the Experts, and that they had decided to add the following paragraph:—

“This arbitration might, as far as the southern railway lines in Austria are concerned, be demanded either by the Administrative Committee of the Company or by a representative of the Shareholders.”

M. Tittoni asked whether the Italian Experts had been consulted and whether the text was in agreement with what they had consented to.

M. Loucheur said that they had not been able to find M. Crespi: that the text presented differed slightly, since it gave to the Representative of the Shareholders the right to demand arbitration.

M. Tittoni said that the point was a new one and that he desired it to be laid before M. Crespi.

(After a short discussion it was decided to accept the text given hereunder subject to its being accepted later on by M. Crespi: the text [Page 205]was to be sent to the Drafting Committee for insertion in the Austrian Treaty:—

“With the object of ensuring regular utilisation of the railroads of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, owned by private companies, which, as the result of the stipulation of the Treaty, will be situated in the territory of several States, the administrative and technical reorganisations of the said lines shall be regulated in each instance by an agreement between the owning companies and the States territorially concerned. Any differences on which agreement is not reached, including questions relating to the interpretation of contracts concerning the expropriation of lines shall be submitted to an arbitration designated by the Council of the League of Nations. This Arbitration may, as regards the Company, be required either by the Board of Management or by the representatives of the bond holders.”)

2. M. Loucheur3 said that the question only concerned France, Great Britain, the United States and Belgium. The Representatives of these countries had received the Report (see Annex A). Report by M. Loucheur on the Rhineland Convention

M. Tittoni asked whether the Commission dealt with the economic questions.

M. Loucheur said that it did not do so, but that a Report had been accepted unanimously by the Experts: it was based on the two German notes annexed to the Report. In order to summarise the question it was sufficient to say that the Germans in their note had always desired to modify the text of the Treaty as submitted to them, and that they had further attempted to interpret it in their own way. Our Commission had always rejected the modifications asked for, but it had always taken up a conciliatory attitude in questions of interpretation. The Commission thought that in acting in this way it was following the political lead which had been given to it. Amongst the modifications asked for, it had been thought necessary to reject the one which dealt with an Imperial Commission. The Commissioner who would have been nominated by the Germans ought, according to them, to be consulted by the Inter-Allied Commission which ought only to act in agreement with him. The Germans had also given a wrong interpretation to certain terms in the Convention; they had thought the terms in question full of pitfalls. They thought that the Allies desired to intervene in questions of primary education and in religious problems. They had been reassured and told that such a thing had never been in the intentions of the Allies. During the discussions there had only been one difficult point. The Germans had stated that the Imperial Commissioner had been nominated: they had been told in [Page 206]reply that the Commissioner should be acceptable to the Allies. In addition to this it had not been possible to agree to the Commissioner being a Representative of the Federal States.

The Germans had been told that if all the Federal States agreed to nominate the same person he would be accepted.

Mr. Balfour asked whether the German Constitution had been examined.

M. Loucheur replied that the German Constitution had been carefully examined. The remarks made to the German Delegates on the subject of the Commissioner had been suggested to them by the members of the Commission for the Rhine Convention. In, addition, by one of the Clauses of the Convention given we had the right of having delivered to us persons who having committed crime on the left bank of the Rhine, had taken refuge on the right. The Germans replied that they could not accept this clause on account of the question of extradition. They had been told that the question of extradition did not arise since both the banks of the Rhine were German territory. The proposals had therefore been rejected and the clause in question upheld. If the report were accepted, it was proposed that it should be sent in the form of a note to the German Delegation by the President of the Peace Conference.

(The reply to the German notes on the Rhine Convention unanimously recommended by M. Loucheur’s Commission was therefore accepted, and it was further decided that an English text should be presented along with the French one after examination by the Drafting Committee.)

3. M. Tittoni said he wished to present the following note in the name of the Italian Government:—

“The Italian Delegation reminds the Conference in the following terms of the reservation which it had made previously in similar terms with regard to the Peace Treaty with Germany: the first reservation had been accepted by the Supreme War Council at its meeting of the 16 June.4 The Italian Delegation thinks that the stipulations contained in the Convention of the League of Nations do not apply to territorial questions, or to such arrangements as may arise out of them; for these latter have been part of the duties of the Peace Conference, and have not yet been definitely settled.”Reservation by the Italian Delegation on the Subject of the Austrian Peace Treaty

Mr. Balfour said that M. Tittoni’s statement amounted to this: the Italian frontiers have not yet been settled. If, therefore, the Italian Delegation agreed to sign the Treaty without reservation, as this latter includes the Covenant of the League of Nations, they might be compelled to accept decisions which they did not fully know [Page 207]before hand. It would not be just, and for this reason the Italian reservation had been made.

M. Tittoni said that the reservation only applied to frontiers not yet settled. He thought that the duty of settling such frontiers fell to the Peace Conference, and not to the League of Nations.

Mr. Balfour said he agreed entirely, but that he wished to ask a question. If the reservation were accepted and an agreement arrived at with regard to frontiers, could Italy at some future time, ten years hence possibly, raise the question again on the plea that it had made reservations? He therefore asked that the reservation should lapse at the date of the settlement of the frontier question.

M. Tittoni said that the text of his reservation allowed for that, since it dealt with frontiers “not yet definitely settled”. When once the frontiers were settled the reservation lapsed.

Mr. White said that they were only called upon to take note of a reservation.

M. Clemenceau said that possibly they might be called upon to take note of it under Mr. Balfour’s interpretation.

M. Tittoni said that all that was asked for was that the frontiers between Italy and Jugo-Slavia should be settled by the Council and not by the League of Nations.

(Cognisance was taken of the following reservation made by M. Tittoni on behalf of Italy:—

“The Italian Delegation desired to recall and to renew in the following terms the reservation made by it on the subject of the Treaty with Germany which the Supreme Council accepted at its Meeting on June 16th.”

“The Italian Delegation is of the opinion that stipulations of the Covenant of the League of Nations are not applicable to territorial questions and to the arrangements connected therewith, which having been made the subjects of consideration by the Peace Conference have not yet been settled.”

4. M. Clemenceau said that they were called upon to send out a Commission of Enquiry into Asia Minor. Nomination of a Commission of Enquiry in Asia Minor

Mr. White said that he had examined the question, and that did not think he was able to reply to it without first referring it to his Government.

Mr. Balfour said that he accepted the principle of the Committee of Enquiry, but that he could not nominate his representatives before Monday.

M. Tittoni said that he was in the same position as Mr. Balfour.

(It was decided to send a Commission to Asia Minor consisting of one Commissioner each from Great Britain, France and Italy. The participation of the United States in this Commission was referred to the American Government.)

[Page 208]

5. The question of nominating a Military Commission to enquire into the situation in Hungary was adjourned until Monday, so as to await Mr. Balfour’s and Mr. White’s acceptances. Commission of Enquiry for Hungary

6. At this moment the experts, General Bliss, Mr. Hoover, General Belin, General Cavallero, Col. MacReady, Col. Kisch, and Commandant Lacombe entered the room. Question of Russian Prisoners in Germany: Mr. Hoover’s Report

Mr. Hoover summarised the report contained in Annex B.

M. Clemenceau said that the question involved shipping.

Mr. Hoover said that M. Clemenceau’s remark was true, but that a decision had to be arrived at as to the port into which the boats were to be sent and the method of transport by railway. The repatriation of the prisoners might take two to three months, and they would have to be fed during the period.

M. Clemenceau said that he thought the question was a military one, and that it should be studied by the military experts at Versailles.

Mr. Balfour said that the British Bed Cross had spent nearly a million pounds in the up-keep of these prisoners. This would have to be dis-continued on account of the approaching demobilisation, but that the Red Cross organisation was willing to devote its stores to this purpose, they would suffice to feed the prisoners for 15 days.

Mr. Hoover remarked that the stock in question would only feed the 35,000 prisoners in the charge of the British Red Cross, and that it would not supply the other prisoners.

Mr. Balfour asked why the Germans should not be approached in this matter. We have undertaken the feeding of these prisoners for seven months without having been obliged to do so. The Allies have done it in order to prevent the Germans from repatriating the prisoners under circumstances disadvantageous to themselves. Ought not, therefore, the Germans to be invited to take charge of the feeding of the prisoners. He was told by his experts that Marshal Foch might quite well deal with the question.

Mr. White said that a plan of repatriation had been accepted by the Council of Ten in the month of June.5 He thought that the Ukrainians and the Poles had prevented the plan from being put into execution.

Mr. Hoover said that the military authorities ought, therefore to investigate the means of transport necessary, and study the question of feeding the prisoners. It should not be forgotten that a political question also arose, since the Allies had maintained the prisoners in Germany in order to prevent them joining the Bolsheviks.

[Page 209]

M. Clemenceau said that he did not think Marshal Foch could deal with the question, which was a political and financial one. The Allies were not dealing with prisoners taken by themselves, but with prisoners made by an enemy army. He, therefore, proposed to deal with the political and financial questions. Once they were decided upon, the manner in which they could be carried out could be investigated. He desired to have the opinion of his Military Experts on the point in question, which was, after all, a problem of military politics. It had been desired to avoid sending the Russian prisoners lest they should reinforce the Bolshevik Army or spread themselves out over Poland. The danger to-day was not so great as far as Poland was concerned, and Military Experts could deal with it.

General Bliss said that the question did not seem to him to be in a condition to be submitted to Versailles. It contained two problems. Mr. Hoover had stated that there were no funds available for feeding the prisoners. How could they be supported, therefore, if the Germans refused to have anything to do with it? After that, the question arose as to how they should be repatriated and this raised the following problems; Firstly, were the prisoners to be repatriated immediately? Secondly, were they to be repatriated through Poland to the nearest Russian territory. Thirdly, were they to be repatriated to Black Sea Ports? Fourthly, if one of these alternatives is accepted, who would undertake to execute it? Fifthly, who would undertake to send the supplies and the personnel necessary in the interval? Could not the proposal made by the Economic Commission on the 17th June, be accepted? In any case, it was necessary to take immediately the necessary measures for repatriating the prisoners. Some solution had to be adopted rapidly, because the operations would require a good deal of time and must be concluded before Winter. If the proposal is accepted, our own Delegation and the Allied Delegations could telegraph to their Governments to obtain the necessary powers. The repatriation must be carried out as rapidly as possible. The Military Authorities could then be put in touch with the question and may study the best means of carrying out the repatriation.

M. Clemenceau said that it involved a great danger for Poland. As far as the Russian prisoners were concerned, the question was not one of feeding 35,000 under the charge of the British Red Cross, but of supplying all.

General Bliss said that some decision must be arrived at, because the repatriation will take a long time.

M. Clemenceau said that the question should have been presented to the Council at an earlier date.

Mr. Balfour said that Marshal Foch had received a communication on the subject four months ago.

[Page 210]

Mr. Hoover said that the Council had been put in touch with the question four months ago, and that it was noted that nothing had been done. There was a solution possible. There were Armies of Occupation in Germany with the necessary Army Service Corps Units attached. The Armies of Occupation had been reduced in number on account of demobilisation with the result that the Army Service Corps Units could take charge of the prisoners.

Mr. Balfour said that Mr. Hoover’s solution was very ingenious, but that it only settled one of the two questions, that of feeding. The repatriation question remained open, and to settle it more tonnage was necessary together with the consent of the Polish Government with regard to the passage across that country of the prisoners in question. The method of repatriation was the most difficult. Were the Military Authorities at Versailles competent to resolve the question? If they were not, a special Committee would be necessary in which the Versailles Experts should be represented, together with Naval Experts and possibly political Experts.

M. Clemenceau said that the Council could decide on political questions.

Mr. Balfour said that at the present time 500 Americans were dealing with the supplies and feeding stock. It had been said to him that these 500 Americans were about to be withdrawn, but that the Army Service Corps Units in the Armies of Occupation could carry on the work. The Commission would, therefore, only be concerned with the question of railways, ports, etc.

M. Clemenceau said that, under these circumstances, the question could very well be dealt with by the Military Experts at Versailles, to whom Naval Experts could be joined. His proposal was accepted.

(It was therefore agreed

(a)
That upon the failure of the supplies already provided for the feeding of Russian prisoners now in Germany, they should be fed and supplied by the Military Authorities of the Armies of Occupation until repatriated.
(b)
That the means of repatriation of the Russian prisoners now in Germany and maintained at the cost of the Allies should be referred for study to the Military Representatives at Versailles with whom would be associated for this purpose the Naval Advisers.)

7. Mr. Hoover made a short résumé of the memorandum contained in Appendix “C”. He drew the attention of the Council, moreover, to the fact the Georgian Authorities had only agreed to allow the supplies to pass through their territory on condition of a certain proportion being given to them. They now demanded one-half of the supplies. This demand was not from necessity, because they did not lack food, but was made simply for the purpose of speculation. ForCommunication From Mr. Hoover With Regard to Russian Armenia [Page 211]this reason, the Council was asked to send a menacing telegram to the Georgian Authorities, in order to facilitate the transport of supplies during two or three months. The future destiny of Georgia depended on the Conference, and there was every hope that they would yield to our wishes.

Communication From Mr. Hoover With Regard to Russian Armenia

(It was therefore decided that M. Clemenceau, as Chairman of the Peace Conference, should send the following telegram in the name of the Allied and Associated Powers to the Government of Georgia:—

“The Council has been made aware of the interference of the Georgian Authorities when food supplies were sent into Armenia in an endeavour on the part of the Allied Governments to stem the tide of starvation and death amongst these unfortunate people. The Council cannot state in too strong terms, that such interference and that such action taken by the Georgian Authorities together with the continuation of such action must entirely prejudice their case. The Council therefore expects that the Authorities in Georgia shall not only give the privileges of transportation over the Railway routes at which they at present control, but will devote themselves to assisting in the transmission of these supplies at no more than the normal charge and remuneration for such service. The Council awaits the reply of the Authorities in Georgia as to whether or not they are prepared to acquiesce in this arrangement.”)

8. M. Pichon read an extract from a report of the military authorities dated 11th July, who had studied the question.

Repatriation of the Czecho-Slovak Forces in Siberia Baron Makino said that he wished to make a remark. It had been decided some time back by the Supreme Council that the Czecho-Slovaks should be evacuated through Omsk to Archangel, and that the Japanese Government should then be asked to protect the railway.6 He had telegraphed to his Government in that sense. Their reports tended to show that since the Czecho-Slovaks did not accept the proposal the Japanese Government had suspended its decision. The question now was of repatriation by Vladivostock. This was a new proposal which must be submitted to the Japanese Government. It was probable that it would wish to obtain all the information possible and possibly would desire to consult the local authorities. The examination would take several days during which it would be impossible for him to reply to the Supreme Council.

(After a short discussion it was decided that with regard to the repatriation of the Czecho-Slovaks from Siberia, that M. Clemenceau should send a copy of the following telegram to the American Government and that Baron Makino should send the same telegram to the Japanese Government:—

“In view of the condition and wishes of the Czecho-Slovak troops [Page 212]in Siberia, the Council of the Allied and Associated Powers consider it urgently necessary that arrangements should be made for the systematic repatriation of the troops from Vladivostock.

This involves the replacement of those troops along that portion of the trans-Siberian railway which is at present guarded by them.

Information is therefore requested as to whether the American/Japanese Government will furnish the necessary effectives or will co-operate with the Japanese/American Government to this end. A similar telegram has been addressed to the Japanese/American [Government?].”)

Villa Majestic, Paris, 18 July, 1919.

Appendix A to HD–11

Reply to the German Note Regarding the Occupation of the Left Bank of the Rhine7

Paragraphs 1 and 2.—Preliminary Observations.—The Allied and Associated Governments have always intended to make the occupation as little burdensome as possible to the civilian population of the left bank of the Rhine, subject to Germany strictly carrying out the terms of the Peace Treaty.

Paragraph 3.—Articles 3 and 5 of the Agreement.—Application of German legislation.—Under the Agreement the German Government has agreed to recognise the power of the High Commission to issue ordinances having the force of law to secure the maintenance, the safety and the requirements of the Allied and Associated military forces.

It is agreed that, subject to this reservation, the actual or future legislation of the German Empire and of the federal States, including legislation passed since the German revolution, is applicable in the occupied territories. It will be the duty of the High Commission to judge in each particular case the extent to which the legislation in question does not prejudice the safety and requirements of the Allied and Associated military forces.

Paragraph 4.—Exercise of the legislative powers of the High Commission.—There is no objection to recognizing that, subject to the above reservations, the population shall enjoy the free exercise of its personal and civic rights, of religious freedom, of freedom of the press, of voting and of association; and that the political, legal, administrative and economic relations of the occupied territories with unoccupied [Page 213]Germany shall not be hampered, and that there shall be freedom of movement between the occupied territories and unoccupied Germany. The Allied and Associated Governments, however, cannot recognise any obligation to enter into a preliminary agreement between the High Commission and the representative of Germany as regards the drawing up of ordinances. The German representative may be heard whenever a question coming within his sphere is concerned, except in cases of urgency.

Paragraph 5.—Establishment of a Civil Commissioner of the Empire.

(a)
The establishment of a Civil Commissioner of the Empire representing the Government of the Empire can be recognized by the Allied and Associated Governments.
(b)
Nevertheless, it must be pointed out that this measure is not provided for in the text of the Agreement, and that the person chosen for the office must be previously approved by the Allied and Associated Governments, who may recall their approval at any time.
(c)
The competence of the Commissioner of the Empire can only extend to matters which, in accordance with the terms of the German constitution, come under the authority of the Government of the Empire.

The Allied and Associated Governments are in fact unable, without a violation of international law, to accept a formal provision that the Commissioner of the Empire is necessarily to be the representative of the States, republics or provinces, the internal legislation of which must be respected and is subject to variations or changes.

Nevertheless, if the competent authorities of the various federal States agree between themselves to nominate one and the same Commissioner, the Allied and Associated Governments will raise no objection. But the High Commission will always retain the right to enter into relations with any local authority whatsoever as regards matters within the competence of the local authority in question.

Paragraph 6.—Strength of the troops of occupation.—The Allied and Associated Governments reserve to themselves the right to make known at a suitable moment the strength of the troops maintained in the occupied territories.

Paragraph 7.—Strength of the police force.—There is no objection to the High Commission consulting the German authorities concerned, but the High Commission is responsible for determining the organisation of the police force.

Paragraph 8.—Drafting of ordinances by the Commission.—The High Commission may find it useful to ascertain in advance, except in cases of urgency, the opinion of the Commissioner of the Empire, or of the competent German authorities, but there can be no obligation, not provided for under the Agreement, for the Commission to do so.

[Page 214]

Paragraph 9.—Privileges as regards jurisdiction conferred by army commanders.—The statement that the scope of this privilege might be more clearly defined is correct. It is recognized in principle that the privilege cannot be conferred upon German nationals.

On the other hand the Allied and Associated Governments, who are anxious to avoid the introduction of a disturbing element in the occupied territories, cannot admit that legal proceedings should be instituted by the competent German authorities in respect of political or commercial acts relating to the Armistice period, when these acts have not given rise to legal proceedings on the part of the Allied and Associated authorities.

Paragraph 10.—Privileges as regards jurisdiction in civil cases.—

The text of the Agreement formally stipulates that military persons or persons duly accredited by the military authorities shall be subject exclusively to the jurisdiction of the Allied and Associated military courts, not only in criminal matters, but in civil matters also.

Nevertheless, in so far as contracts are concerned which are entered into in a private capacity, either by military persons or by their families, it may be admitted, in accordance with the request made in the German note, that these cases are to be brought before the German courts, subject to a right of evocation reserved to the High Commission in cases of abuse.

This observation does not apply to the case covered by Article 3 (b) of the Agreement.

In any event, cases which are at the same time civil and criminal must be judged by the military courts.

Paragraph 11.—Criminal law.—The German courts, in cases in which they have jurisdiction, will apply the German penal code. But, in accordance with the principles of international law, the Allied and Associated military courts can only apply the law of the country to which they belong.

Paragraph 12.—Delivery of accused persons.—The proposal of the German note is inadmissible. The text of the Agreement is formal and logical. It requires that persons charged with crimes or misdemeanours against the persons or property of the Allied and Associated forces are to be delivered up to the Allied and Associated authorities, even if the accused persons have taken refuge in unoccupied territory. Moreover, there is no question of extradition in the legal sense of the word, since the occupied territories are part of German territory.

Paragraph 13.—Administrative and political districts (Article 5).—

The German note displays some anxiety lest the ordinances of the High Commission should change the German administrative and political districts in the interests of the requirements of the occupation.

[Page 215]

There is nothing on this subject in the Agreement. It is not the intention of the Allied and Associated Governments that the Commission should change German administrative and political districts.

Paragraph 14.—Finance.—It is understood that the civil administration includes the financial administration, and that the revenues of the Empire and the States will be collected in the occupied territory and dealt with by the competent German administrations.

Paragraph 15.—Right of dismissal of officials.—The request put forward in the German note would involve an alteration in the text of the Agreement.

Nevertheless, it may be admitted that, except in cases of urgency, officials may, on the orders of the High Commission, be dismissed without undue delay, either by the Commissioner of the Empire or by the competent German authority. The High Commission reserves in all cases its right itself to dismiss officials whenever necessary.

Paragraph 16.—Payment for requisitions.—The Allied and Associated Governments intend to retain the right given to them by Article 6 of the Agreement, but they do not refuse to examine regulations for its application in concert with the competent German authorities.

Paragraph 17.—Billeting of troops and administrations.—This is a question of fact which can only be decided by an examination of concrete cases. The Allied and Associated Governments will carry out this examination in a conciliatory spirit to give satisfaction to the legitimate needs of the public administrations.

Paragraph 18.—Exemption from taxes.—It is understood that exemption from taxes cannot be extended to property taxes payable on transactions or acts performed in a private capacity and apart from official duties.

On the other hand, it is recognized that a system of control will require to be established by the Inter-allied High Commission as regards the privileges and exemptions from customs duties conferred by Article 9 on the troops of occupation and on their civil and military personnel.

Paragraph 19.—Customs douses.—At the present date the Allied and Associated Governments do not consider that they have occasion to avail themselves of the provisions of Article 270 of the Peace Treaty. They formally reserve to themselves the right to judge in the future whether the application of this Article will or will not be desirable.

Paragraph 21.—Posts and telegraphs.—In accordance with the request made in the German note, the regulations in force can be modified. This will be done by an ordinance of the High Commission. Freedom of communication by letter, telegraph and telephone will be re-established between the occupied territories and unoccupied Germany, subject to a general reservation of the rights of the High Commission [Page 216]or of the consequences of a state of siege, whenever a state of siege is declared.

Paragraph 22.—State of siege.—The state of siege being an immediate function of the security of the armies, it is impossible to undertake that the Commissioner of the Empire shall be consulted in all cases, and particularly in cases of urgency.

It is understood that the Allied and Associated Governments, relying upon a loyal co-operation on the part of the German authorities, will not fail to consult the latter whenever the circumstances permit.

Paragraph 24.—Decrees issued by the various military authorities.—In principle, and in accordance with the request made in the German note, it is the intention of the Allied and Associated authorities to regard the various decrees issued by the military authorities in the occupied territory during the Armistice as having lapsed after the coming into force of the Treaty of Peace. Nevertheless, it belongs exclusively to the High Commission to decide on the necessary transition measures.

The High Commission will issue an ordinance dealing with the abrogation or the adaptation of the decrees in question.

This ordinance will be issued within the shortest possible period after the date of the coming into force of the Treaty.

Paragraph 25.—Expulsions.—Certain persons have been forbidden to reside in the occupied territories for reasons connected with the necessity of maintaining public order and of causing the decisions regularly taken by the Allied and Associated military authorities during the Armistice to be respected.

It cannot be admitted that expelled persons shall be allowed to return to their homes merely in virtue of the fact that the Treaty of Peace has come into force.

Persons wishing to return should communicate with the High Commission, who will examine each particular case in a conciliatory spirit.

Paragraph 26.—Jurisdiction.—Reference is made to the observations set out above on paragraphs 9, 10, and 11 of the German note.

Paragraph 27.—Administrative districts.— It is contemplated in the Agreement that the local German administrations, both those of districts and those of provinces, shall retain their legal status.

Paragraph 28.—Authority of the governments of the federal States.—It is quite impossible to agree to the suggestion contained in this paragraph, viz., that the expression “under the authority of the Central German Government” is to be interpreted as follows: “under the authority of the Central German Government and of the Governments of the federated German States”.

Article 3 of the Agreement annexed to the Treaty of Peace is precise, and the expression “Central German Government” does not admit of any wider interpretation.

[Page 217]

It is, of course, understood that the hierarchy of powers as established by law will be respected, but it is impossible for the Allied and Associated Governments, who have signed peace with the Central German Government, and who have no intention of interfering in the internal organisation of Germany, to maintain by force the organisation of States which may be changed under the German constitution itself.

As pointed out above in regard to paragraph 5 (Establishment of a Civil Commissioner of the Empire), the Allied and Associated Governments are unable, without a violation of international law, to accept a formal provision by which they undertake to maintain an organisation and an internal legislation which the German people themselves may seek to modify.

Paragraph 29.—Officials.—As pointed out in the German note, there will, after the coming into force of the Treaty of Peace, be no officials charged with the duty of supervising the German authorities in the local administrative divisions.

But, in the interest of the population, the High Commission has the power to maintain fixed representatives with the duty of securing liaison between the local German administrations, the local military authorities and the High Commission itself.

As regards officials, the German note admits that the right of dismissal is vested in the High Commission. It follows that the High Commission has the power to veto the nomination of officials whose introduction might stir up disorder.

Paragraph 30.—Education.—Public education, as pointed out in the German note, is part of the civil administration and will be regulated by the German laws.

The German Government therefore has no cause to fear that the teaching of foreign languages will be introduced by order of the occupying Powers.

Paragraph 31.—Legislation.—This question has been dealt with above it [in] replying to paragraph 3 of the German note.

Paragraph 32.—Requisitions.—The German Government asks that the exercise of the right of requisition shall be limited so far as possible.

The Allied and Associated Governments are entirely in agreement with the German Government in considering that requisition ought to be seldom practised, and then only for special reasons.

The High Commission will take into consideration on this subject any observations which may be made to it, and will issue regulations in a spirit of equity and conciliation.

Nevertheless, it is not possible to agree to the request made in the German note at the end of paragraph 32, viz., that requisitions should be made only through the channel of the Commissioner of the Empire.

[Page 218]

Paragraph 33.—Distribution of troops.—Billeting.—The distribution of troops and questions concerning the billeting of officers and their families will be carefully studied by the High Commission, and the results made known in due course.

All the above observations are formulated subject to reservation of the rights vested in the High Commission, and subject to the possibility of a state of siege being declared, and subject to the strict execution of the Treaty of Peace by Germany.

First German Note

[Translation8]

Gentlemen:

[Paragraph 1.] The agreement concerning the military occupation of the Rhineland has been ratified by the German Government together with the treaty of peace. Germany realizes that the wording of these provisions can now in no wise be changed. An exact study and the knowledge of what has happened in the divers Rhenish territories, especially in the different zones of occupation show that the putting into practice of these scantily worded provisions will in many respects still necessitate particular mutual understandings about questions of detail. This is the reason why the German Government has requested the governments of the occupying powers to enter upon conferences about the said questions.

[Paragraph 2.] For the population of the occupied Rhenish territory it is of fundamental importance soon to be informed as to what shape their political, social and economic life is going to take during the long duration of the occupation. Germany has seen herself compelled to acquiesce in the military occupation of these regions and by so doing to put—although with a heavy heart—especial burdens upon the population of the Rhineland, burdens which unoccupied Germany has not to bear. Out of this results the obligation for the Government of the German Republic not to leave for her part anything undone to facilitate to the Rhineland the bearing of these especial burdens. My Government is convinced that it will be possible to execute the agreement, without impairing the military guarantees aimed at by the Allied and Associated Powers through their occupation, in such a way as to enable the population of the occupied regions to enjoy the blessings of peace, of which after the severe trial of the war and the armistice they stand in sore need, and to participate, according to their importance, together with the [Page 219]rest of Germany in the reconstruction of the country and in the redeeming of the heavy obligations incurred by the treaty of peace.

[Paragraph 3.] I shall now permit myself to enter upon the discussion in detail of the questions contained in the different articles of the agreement.

Article 5: provides that the civil administration of the provinces, government departments (Regierungsbezirke) etc. shall remain in the hands of the German authorities and that the civil administration shall continue under German law and under the authority of the Central German Government. My Government assumes that this regulation does not merely refer to the already promulgated laws of the German Empire or its member states, but applies in a like manner to the future legislation of the German Empire and its constituent states and especially comprises all those laws and ordinances also which have been promulgated since the German revolution and have been sanctioned in the meantime by the German National Assembly and the National Assemblies of Prussia, Bavaria, Baden, Hesse, and Oldenburg.

This right of Germany to legislate for the territories of the Rhine, a right acknowledged by the Allies, is affected by the fact that in article 3 the Allies have reserved to themselves the right to issue ordinances so far as may be necessary for securing the maintenance, requirements and safety of the Allied and Associated forces. These ordinances shall have the force of law from the day they are published and, therefore, take precedence over all laws or ordinances issued by the Empire or the member states. The idea, “maintenance, requirements and safety” covers such an exceedingly wide field and has such a general meaning that any economic, social or juridical question may be classed among them. For instance, in Germany the working time in the coal mines has now been fixed at 7 hours, in agriculture as in all branches of industrial and commercial activity at 8 hours. I asked myself whether the High Commission would be authorized by article 3 to change these provisions by way of ordinance for the reason that a working time diminished in this way would no more give full satisfaction to the requirements of the military forces.

On the other hand, I do not at all fail to recognize that the right to issue ordinances cannot be withheld from the Allied Governments. It will, therefore, be necessary to come to an arrangement and to secure an assurance that this power of issuing ordinances will only be used insofar as it does not interfere with the political, economic, and social reconstruction of Germany. For this reason my Government places the greatest value on the laying down of a first principle—for the execution of the legislative, jurisdictional and administrative rights [Page 220]of the Allies—by means of a supplementary agreement. This first princible would have to be as follows:

[Paragraph 4.] 1. that the free exercise of their personal and civic rights be guaranteed to the population, principally the free exercise of public religious worship, the liberty of voting, of the press, of the clubs and associations,

2. that the political, juridical, administrative and economic connection of the occupied with the non-occupied parts of Germany be restored and safeguarded,

3. that the passenger—and goods traffic, as well as the news—service between the occupied aaid non-occupied territories be in no way prevented.

If this first principle be acknowledged by the Allied Governments, the ordinances issued by them will be nothing more than executions of this principle, which might contain certain restrictions for special cases. Regarding such restriction in special cases, there ought to be a previous understanding between the High Commission and the representative of Germany.

[Paragraph 5.] My Government has noted with satisfaction that the Allies have created in the High Commission a civil organism, which is the highest representative of the Allies. In order to facilitate the task of the High Commission and to create a uniform organ for the German population and the divers authorities in the occupied territory, my Government has appointed a National Commissioner, who is to be the first representative of the Central Government and the member states concerned. For I may recall the fact that, according to the German constitutional structure, the German Central Government is only competent in certain respects, whereas in other important respects are competent the Government of Prussia, the Government of Bavaria for the Palatinate, that of Hesse for Rhenish Hessia, that of Baden for the bridge-head of Kehl, and that of Oldenburg for the principality of Birkenfeld.

The National Commissioner would alone be authorized to communicate with the High Commission. He would—as it were—have to execute diplomatic functions, if one may speak of such in one’s own territory.

For this high function has been designated by the German Government, Mr. von Starck, up to now president of the government in Cologne.

I beg, therefore, the Governments of the Allied and Associated Powers to declare themselves agreed upon the appointment of this National Commissioner.

[Paragraph 6.] If I now may enter on the several articles in a short survey, it is of decisive importance for my Government to know the number of the troops of occupation, their strength also in officers and [Page 221]in horses, which the Allies after the demobilisation and after the establishment of a state of permanence mean to maintain in the Rhenish territories. Without exact information about the numerical strength of these troops and consequently about the costs of their maintenance my Government would find it impossible to lay down a correct budget—basis of the life of every state—and to balance beforehand the revenues and expenditures.

[Paragraph 7.] Article 1: further provides that the strength of the police forces is to be determined by the Allied and Associated Powers. In this connection I beg the High Commission to enter into communication with the National Commissioner, who will give all requisite information as to the number of gendarmery and State or Municipal Police indispensable for insuring order. In view of the criminality due to the sufferings of the war, and the unrest among the working population caused by the wild strikes, the number of gendarmes and of policemen must be considerably higher than before the war.

[Paragraph 8.] Regarding article 3, paragraph a, I ask that the High Commission will agree in principle to consult the opinion of the National Commissioner before issuing ordinances. This would be in the interest of the good working of the administration. Laws of the Empire, federal laws promulgated by five member states, in Wiesbaden also older laws from the Nassovian period before 1866 and provincial ordinances are in force in the territories of the Rhine—in short, the whole complexity and lack of clearness of the public law in force in Germany. The French members of the High Commission will, in view of the simplicity and clearness of the French law, find great difficulty in forming an idea of the intricacy of the German public law.

[Paragraph 9.] The provisions in article 3, paragraph d and e are particularly important. I agree that the armed forces of the Allied and Associated Powers should take a special position with the regard to jurisdiction. It is, however, necessary to make it clear what is meant by “the persons accompanying them”, to whom the general officers commanding the armies of occupation shall have issued a revocable passport and “any persons employed by or in the service of such troops”. My Government supposes that the persons in question are solely nationals of Allied and Associated Powers and not German citizens. My Government feels certain that German nationals shall remain under its full and unrestricted jurisdiction. It would impair a good juridical practice, if exterritoriality were conferred upon German nationals by the issue of a revocable passport or by entry into military service. Thereby, two classes of German citizens would be created, one of which would be under German jurisdiction and the other of which would escape it. International law only recognizes [Page 222]exterritoriality for foreign nationals and by no means for one’s own nationals. The consequences of a different conception could also be stated should occasion arise.

[Paragraph 10.] I am also to ask for an explanation as to whether by “military law and jurisdiction” one would also have to understand civil jurisdiction, and whether the troops, their personnel, the families of the officers and civil functionaries shall be withdrawn from the German jurisdiction also in reference to any contracts, purchases, loan transactions, order, etc. made for their private requirements. This appears to me impossible. If legal disputes should arise from a purchase or exchange, or from an order, these civil legal disputes should be brought before the German judge. Regarding the execution of the sentence, a special agreement should be made.

[Paragraph 11.] My Government further supposes that for all punishable actions the German penal code will be used in accordance with the general principles of law.

[Paragraph 12.] Furthermore, article 4 requires a thorough explanation. This article 4 provides a regulation, which will cause profound unrest in Germany. One of the pillars of the German law is that a German national may not be extradited to a foreign government for the purpose of persecution or punishment. This principle has been violated in article 4. The German authorities shall arrest and hand over any person who commits any offence or crime against the persons or property of the armed forces of the Allied and Associated Powers. I take it that it is to be an essential condition for the competence of the Courts Martial that the accused person was within the occupied territory while committing the offence or crime, of which he is accused. It is necessary exactly to fix the procedure to be employed.

[Paragraph 13.] Article 5 does not affect the organization of the administration so long as the High Commission do not consider requisite by ordinance to adapt the administration to the needs and circumstances of military occupation. I should be much obliged to know what is meant by this. According to the text, the state boundaries between Prussia and Bavaria, between Bavaria and Hesse might be changed by a simple ordinance. I am sure this is not intended, since by this the civil rights of the inhabitants would be interfered with most seriously.

[Paragraph 14.] I beg you to confirm me in the view that under civil administration is also to be understood the financial administration, so that the revenues for nation and state, which are collected in the occupied district can be forwarded without hindrance to the Central Treasury of the nation and to those of the separate states, i. e. to Berlin, Munich, Karlsruhe, Darmstadt, Oldenburg. I lay value upon establishing this, because under the state of war such a forwarding was often forbidden.

[Page 223]

[Paragraph 15.] A certain provision creates a very unpleasant impression, viz. the one stipulating that the German authorities are obliged, under punishment of removal, to adapt themselves to all ordinances. It is a matter of course that every German official obeys an ordinance regularly promulgated. Moreover, I beg that the revocation may take place through the mediation of the National Commissioner and that therefore the possibility be given him of investigating and of making matters clear.

[Paragraph 16.] To article 6: it is felt as extraordinary that after the re-establishment of the state of peace The Hague Convention, which regulates the customs of warfare on land,9 and is only adapted to the case of war, is made applicable. The regulation in paragraph 2, concerning the establishment of requisitions is in contradiction with the law of the Empire enacted on March 2nd of this year. I should be very thankful if a special arrangement could be made, by which the provisions of this law of the Empire, taking into account the wishes of the population to the widest extent, might find application. In fact, since Germany is obliged to bear the whole cost of the maintenance it should be left to her to determine in what way she will compensate her own nationals. It would only be requisite that officers of the occupation army cooperate in order to establish the nature of the damages caused. How she will make compensation may be left to Germany to determine. The questions are so difficult and comprehensive that only experts from both sides can regulate them. Especially must a scale of rates be arranged and care must be taken to observe as great a uniformity as possible in the occupied district in order that one part of the population may not be put in a better or worse position than another.

[Paragraph 17.] To article 7: it is to be investigated whether a considerable number of localities at present occupied might not be handed over again to the severely tried civil population.

To article 8, paragraph a: a military expert will be attached to the National Commissioner. The German Government assumes that in the laying out and use of the territory the greatest consideration will be exercised towards the necessitous economic condition of the population. The same holds good of the rights of the Allies to take into possession every public or private institution. At present claims are made upon large sanatoriums for pulmonary diseases and sanatoriums for nervous complaints and accordingly the possibility of healing just these diseases is rendered problematic. The struggle against tuberculosis is an international one and not limited by political boundaries. I appeal to men of such high competence as Mr. Leon Bourgeois, the President of the International Association for resisting [Page 224]tuberculosis, who, a few years before the war, showed full appreciation of our German institution, which he visited under my guidance. It is necessary that the sanatoriums be made free as soon as possible for people of small means and be restored again to their proper purposes.

[Paragraph 18.] Article 9 needs an elucidation of its first paragraph. I assume that only exemption from personal taxes, not, however, from real estate taxes is desired, i. e., if for example, an officer or official acquires during the term of occupation a piece of ground, the tax upon this and other taxes upon property or trade taxes are to be paid by him. Likewise, a stipulation will have to be made that no German or neutral may belong to the personnel exempt from taxes. It could not be tolerated that a German by getting himself incorporated into the personnel of the occupying troops should acquire the privilege of exemption from taxes. No objection will be raised to the fact that provisions of food, arms, clothing, equipment and supplies of all kinds intended for the use of the Allied troops or of the High Commission enjoy exemption and free importation. The wording that all those wares also, if only addressed to canteens and officers’ messes, shall enter duty-free appears incredible. By this the whole working of the customs of Germany would be thrown over. It would be like a great leak in the bottom of the German ship, through which the water would freely flow in and cause the vessel to sink. That cannot be the intention of the Allies, who cannot but wish for the reconstruction of Germany. This, however, can only take place, if the customs protection on the German frontier be maintained to its full extent. For security against smuggling it would be necessary that all goods intended for the Allies should be statistically registered, so that it might at any time be established whether they are not being introduced under a false flag or whether they are actually intended for the Allied troops. Here also the particulars of the procedure would have to be regulated.

[Paragraph 19.] The German Government is fain to believe that no use will be made of the provision of article 270 of the conditions of peace and that the customs frontier will coincide with the frontier of the country.

[Paragraph 20.] Concerning article 10: I interpret it in this way that the commander-in-chief will make use of his right of supreme command only for military purposes, and that for the rest the railways and the steamship connections will remain under the central administrations in Berlin, Munich and Karlsruhe. Especially it is essential that undisturbed railway traffic should take place between the occupied and the unoccupied districts and that the time tables be regulated by the administrations concerned, as in time of peace. A special [Page 225]agreement will have to be made concerning the issuing of free tickets for officers.

[Paragraph 21.] Concerning article 11 an especial agreement should be concluded between expert commissioners of the Allies and of the postal administration of the German Empire. Here also I emphasize that special rights can exclusively be claimed for military purposes. Particularly it is indispensable that there should be free postal, telegraphic, and telephonic intercourse between the occupied and the unoccupied districts and that together with this all presently existing restrictions, notably the post censor should be abolished.

[Paragraph 22.] To article 13 I make the request that the state of siege only be declared after previously consulting with the National Commissioner. I trust that when the number of the police force is great enough, when the free and unrestricted intercourse between the occupied and the unoccupied districts is established and when the economic reconstruction of Germany will have made progress, then the declaration of the state of siege will be shown to be superfluous.

[Paragraph 23.] I beg to be allowed to sum up my arguments in a few sentences:

My Government has the impression that the agreement does not sufficiently take into account the radical change of the general situation from the state of war to that of peace. The military headquarters of the Allies have repeatedly replied to the German Armistice Commission: “We still are at war.”—Now, however, that the German National Assembly have ratified the conditions of peace and that the legal instruments of ratification will ere long be exchanged, we fairly pace onward into the state of peace.

The enormous burdens and obligations Germany has charged herself with and which she will to the uttermost limit of her power endeavor to meet and redeem in an absolutely straightforward and loyal way can be borne merely on condition of the occupied Rhenish territories with their highly developed industry, agriculture, and trade also helping to the full to bear them. This necessitates a free development of all resources. This necessitates a re-establishment of the state of peace, despite the military occupation. The interests of the Allies in this respect coincide with those of Germany. The more freedom will have been granted in shaping the conditions of existence in the occupied territories, the less oppressive the occupation will prove, the more completely Germany will be able to meet her obligations.

Fully confident that this mode of thinking will be appreciated and taken into account by the Allied Governments, we Germans enter into these conferences.

  • Lewald10
  • Dr. Michaelis Basch

[Page 226]

[Second German Note11]

Article 3

[Paragraph 24.] During the Armistice, many orders having the force of law were issued on the basis of the War Decree of The Hague, not only by the High Command of the Allied and Associated Troops, but also by the various army commanders, commanding generals, town-commanders, etc., so that at the present time an extremely piebald justice exists, which destroys the uniformity of justice and has caused the greatest uncertainty in business life. It must be remarked that all these orders will lose their effectiveness with the coming into force of the Peace Treaty and the establishment of the High Commission.

[Paragraph 25.] The same legal situation was permitted to exist with regard to the individual orders of the above-named military authorities, particularly as regards the exiling from the occupied territories, through which many inhabitants have been driven from house and home. Attention is called to the fact that these persons may now return undisturbed to their homes, and that neither the High Commission nor the military services will, in the future, have the right to issue orders of this kind.

[Paragraph 26.] Since Paragraph (e) declares the war courts of the Occupation troops competent only for the judging of crimes or misdemeanors against the persons or property of the military forces of the Allied and Associated Powers, it must be inferred that the judging of such offences against the orders issued by the High Commission, in accordance with Paragraph (a), as do not concern the protection of the persons or property of the military forces, are not under the jurisdiction of said courts.

Article 5

[Paragraph 27.] The division of administration in the Provinces, Administrative Districts, Municipal and Rural Circles, and Communes, is a special Prussian arrangement, which does not exist in this gradation in the bordering states forming part of the Union, for example, Bavaria has no provinces, but has instead District-Unions. In the Prussian Rhine Province, over the Landgemeinden (Rural Communes) there are also Landbuergermeistereien (Canton). Several special administrations have a particular division of administration, which does not coincide with the jurisdiction of the ordinary country administration, for example, in Prussia, the [Page 227]administration of the direct taxes, the Railway Administration, the General Commissions.

[Paragraph 28.] The words, “under the supreme authority of the German Central Government” are to be so interpreted as to include the Governments of the German Federated States.

[Paragraph 29.] The arrangement made in certain of the sectors of occupation, in adding special “Administrators” or “Controllers” to the German authorities, should no longer be permitted after the coming into effect of the Arrangement. With a reservation as to the right of the High Commission, to request the recall of officials, the German Government, in the future, is to have free sway in the appointment, transfer and recall of its officials, without regard as to whether they come from the occupied or unoccupied territory.

[Paragraph 30.] The School Administration forms a part of the Civil Administration and is consequently to be directed according to German laws. The forced introduction of language instruction can no longer be permitted after the Arrangement.

[Paragraph 31.] Nothing now stands in the way of the entry into force of laws of the German Empire or of the Federated States, the extension of which to the Occupied Territory has been hindered by the Occupation Authorities, because they were enacted after the Armistice, so that, for example, in the Occupied Territory, the elections to the Parish Boards may at once be undertaken on the basis of the new democratic electoral rights.

Article 6

[Paragraph 32.] A strict application of this provision might cripple the whole economic life in the Occupied Territory, since no dealer or manufacturer can make definite plans or calculations when he is constantly under the fear that perhaps the very next day everything may be disrupted by a requisition of his goods or the working of his factory. In the same way, no farmer could dare to import cattle and particularly horses from abroad, or even from unoccupied Germany, if he is constantly subjected to the danger of having his cattle, imported at great cost, immediately removed by requisition. It therefore seems irremissible to apply these provisions in such a way that the security of economic life may not suffer too much thereby.

For the estimate of the requisition charges and of the damages caused by the occupation troops, Article 6 provides for special local committees, of mixed composition, under the presidency of a person appointed by the High Commission. The Article is silent regarding the material right, according to which these estimates are to be undertaken, although this is particularly of the greatest importance for [Page 228]the people concerned. The German Government has regulated the question of the estimate and payment of the requisitions made by the Occupation Authorities in the Rhineland, including the war damages caused by the latter, by a special law, enacted on March 2, 1919, and published on Page 261 of the Imperial Record of Laws for the current year. The law is in full application in the English Zone of Occupation, nor has any fault been found with it, either by the English Occupation Authorities or by the population. On the contrary, the authorities of the other Zones of Occupation have forbidden the execution of this law and have, on their side, begun the independent estimate and payment of the indemnification of requisitions. In this way, very different principles and very different tariffs have been used as a basis for action in the different zones of occupation. Discontent is caused among the people by the divergency in these systems. It has reached the point where, apparently some of the Occupation Authorities are applying their home laws, which do not meet German conditions. For example, according to a decree of the General Staff of the Xth French Army, 4, Bureau of Civil Affairs, under date of March 28, 1919, no requisition claims shall be paid if the real or personal property used belongs to the following associations:—

(1)
. … To the German Federated States, (Federals)
(2)
Public Civil or Military Administrations.
(3)
Provincial or Communal Associations.
(4)
General Railway—, Lake—, River—, or Land Transportation Companies.
(5)
Mining or Lighting Companies.
(6)
All other companies of public utility or serving public interests.

According to German Law, the Treasury of the German Empire is bound to bear all expenses connected with the Armistice, and the Peace Treaty obligations. The Treasury of the Empire, however, is not identical with the Treasury of the individual states. The idea gained from the French Administrative Law regarding companies, which are of public utility or serve a public interest, is unknown to German law. The occupation authorities, however, could have no interest in preventing the German Empire from indemnifying the Federated States Railway Administrations, and the other Treasury Offices, the Provincial and Communal Associations, the Gas, Water and Electric Works, in accordance with the German decisions. Under the present situation in the French sector of occupation, namely, on one side the prohibition against carrying out, in any way, the German Imperial law of March 2, 1919, and on the other side, the instructions given by the French to their own authorities, not to indemnify the [Page 229]above-mentioned war administrations, a gap exists, which must lead to permanently unbearable conditions. The situation is similar in the Belgian sector of occupation. The following is to be understood from a notice of April of this year:—

(1)
Neither a payment, nor an estimate will be made on the part of Belgium of the requisitions carried out prior to May 1, 1919.
(2)
Likewise, payment will not be made for all lodgings, either prior to or after May 1, 1919.
(3)
The Communes will not be indemnified for the disbursements made, in the name of the Belgians, for requisitions. A three-fold gap exists here also.

It would be in the interest of all, if uniformity in the establishment and payment of indemnities could be insured by the application of the German Law, drawn up as it should be for German conditions. Should the occupation authorities consider it desirable to have the companies participate in the ascertainment of the damages, a means could easily be found in the shape of an administrative order, without it being necessary on that account, to alter the German Law.

Requisitions should only be undertaken through the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied and Associated troops, or the Commander-in-Chief of the contingents of the individual Powers, and, in demands of an important nature, explicitly through the intermediary of the Reichskommissar (Imperial Commissioner), whose task it would be to issue the necessary orders for the carrying out of the requisitions.

Article 8

[Paragraph 33.] Since civil officials, officers and their families may be lodged, according to the provisions now in effect regarding quarters, in each individual army, Germany is anxious to receive these provisions immediately. Since provisions regarding the claims to be made on the part of the families, may be lacking, in the different armies, special agreement may be needed. Also, just what is meant by “family” needs closer explanation.

The troops of occupation should be assembled in the garrisons designated as soon as possible, and should not be scattered over the whole country. At the time of this dislocation, attention would have to be paid as soon as possible to the existing conditions of accommodations and to the extreme scarcity of lodgings in many towns. It is of great importance to soon receive the names of the prospective garrison towns, to be occupied for a long duration, in order that, in case of need, the necessary arrangements may be made to avoid having officers’ messes in private houses.

[No signature on file copy]
[Page 230]

Appendix “B” to HD–11

WCP–1146

feeding of russian prisoners in germany

Memorandum by Mr. Hoover

It will be recollected that the Allied Governments made certain agreements with the Germans for the retention of Russian prisoners in Germany, and made undertakings for the support of these prisoners by the Allied Governments. Their food supply and support has been carried out through the French Government, the British Red Cross, the American Red Cross, with a personnel of about 800 Allied officers, doctors, etc., under the general direction of the Inter-Allied Military Mission at Berlin. The Supreme Economic Council has appealed to arrange for such food supply, and the measures above recited were finally, to a considerable degree, instituted at the inspiration of that Council.

The British Red Cross have already notified of the withdrawal of their entire personnel on the first of August. This will immediately leave some 35,000 of the prisoners without supervision. The American Army will necessarily demobilize their entire personnel some time in the month of August. The Red Cross Societies are withdrawing their financial support and the funds for the provision of food and clothing (except those provided by the French Government) are absolutely exhausted, and I understand that even these are about to be withdrawn. The Supreme Economic Council has no means by which any further provision can be made in this matter.

The retention of these prisoners was primarily a military measure instituted under the Allied Military authorities and it would appear to me must now become a proper concern of the various War Departments. There are apparently over 200,000 prisoners left, of whom it is desired to repatriate approximately 25,000 as recruits to the Russian Northern Army. Of the balance, some 40,000 should be repatriated to Southern Russia and the remainder to Central Russia. The prisoners are not entirely free from Bolshevik ideas, which may have a political bearing on the destinations to which they are repatriated. The large majority have no desire to fight either for or against the Bolshevists, and their sole desire is to return to their families whom they have not seen for five years. In any event, it is necessary to provide at once some measure of food, clothing, and personnel to supervise distribution pending repatriation, and beyond this it is necessary to immediately provide for their repatriation. This latter operation will require some months, but they must be repatriated before winter.

I understand the German authorities are demanding the immediate repatriation of these prisoners, as it required a force of some 18,000 [Page 231]German troops to guard them. The prisoners themselves are demanding their repatriation. I understand that their boots and clothing are in such condition that they cannot be marched to any destination, and, in any event, they would probably indulge in brigandage unless repatriated under military supervision. The points therefore to be decided are:

1.
Are the prisoners to be repatriated at once?
2.
Are they to be repatriated to the nearest Russian point through Poland?
3.
Are they to be repatriated by sea to Black Sea ports?
4.
If either of these alternatives, who is to pay for the cost thereof, and who is to undertake its
5.
Who is to furnish the food and personnel for their care in the meantime?

I would like to emphasize that the relief agencies under co-ordination through the Supreme Economic Council have now practically exhausted their resources and cannot take part in this matter, so that other arrangements must be set up at the earliest possible moment.

Herbert Hoover

Appendix “C” to HD–11

WCP–1145

SITUATION IN RUSSIAN ARMENIA

Memorandum by Mr. Hoover

The Relief Administration, co-operating with the various Allied authorities, has been for months striving to meet the terrible situation of starvation in Russian Armenia. Some 50,000 tons of food have been provided and the only method of access to this area is over the railway from Batum, and this railway is in the territory of the so-called Georgian Government. The railway is operating partially under the direction of the British Military Authorities, who have given every cooperation in endeavouring to move the supplies. However, the Georgian authorities have constantly interfered with the movement,—has repeatedly demanded that they should be given a portion of the foodstuffs, and has latterly stopped the movement of the traffic four or five days at a time, despite the protests of all of the local Allied officials.

It is impossible to depict the situation in Armenia for up until the last sixty days the population has been eating the dead. During this last two months the movement of relief supplies has been sufficient to somewhat stem the tide but there has never been ten days’ supplies ahead of actual starvation. There is no acute necessity for foodstuffs [Page 232]in Georgia, although in an endeavour to secure some co-operation from the Georgian Government we have allowed ourselves to be blackmailed from time to time in the matter. I will not repeat the correspondence on the question between our officials and the Georgian Government. It is sufficient to say that their attitude has been entirely that of brigandage, against a population dying in their door. The last advices which we have indicate that these authorities have stopped our transport for a week at a time.

I quite realise that the situation is one beyond the strength of the Allied military forces at present in occupation in the Caucasus, but I am well aware of the aspirations of the Georgian authorities for consideration before the Supreme Council. I believe it might do some good if the Council could despatch a very strongly worded telegram to the Georgian authorities through their own representatives, and if the Georgian representatives in Paris were given information to the same import. My suggestion is that the telegram should be phrased in somewhat the following manner:—

“The Council has been made aware of the interference of the Georgian authorities with food supplies being sent into Armenia in an endeavour on the part of the Allied Governments to stem the tide of starvation and death amongst these unfortunate people. The Council cannot state in too strong terms that it will not tolerate such interference and that the action taken hitherto by the Georgian authorities and the continuation of such action must entirely prejudice the case of the Georgian authorities, not only before this Council but before the court of public opinion of the world. The Council therefore expects that the authorities in Georgia shall not only give the privilege of transportation over the railway routes which they at present control, but will devote themselves to assisting in the transmission of these supplies without more than the normal charge and remuneration for such service. The Council awaits the reply of the authorities in Georgia as to whether or not they are prepared to acquiesce in this arrangement.”

Herbert Hoover

  1. Louis Loucheur, French representative, Commission on Reparation Clauses in the Treaties with Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria.
  2. Brig. Gen. H. O. Mance, British representative, Commission on the International Regime of Ports, Waterways, and Railways.
  3. French representative and president, Inter-Allied Commission on the Left Bank of the Rhine.
  4. CF–70, minute 9, vol. vi, p. 472.
  5. Probably a reference to the plan of repatriation accepted by the Council of Foreign Ministers, May 14, 1919. See FM–15, minute 3, vol. iv, p. 706.
  6. For previous discussion of this subject, see CF–86, minute 1 and CF–92, minute 14, vol. vi, pp. 635 and 674; also HD–3, minute 10, ante, p. 63.
  7. The document printed here is filed under Paris Peace Conf. 181.22401/7 and is the English text of the final reply. It has been substituted here for the French text of the draft reply which was modified by the Drafting Committee in a few minor respects before it was delivered on July 29, 1919.
  8. The translation is that found under 763.72119/5949, with minor revisions by the editors.
  9. Foreign Relations, 1907, pt 2, p. 1204.
  10. Theodor Lewald, Member of the German Delegation.
  11. The text of this German note is not attached to the file copy of appendix A to HD–11. This translation is filed under 763.72119/5965.