Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/69


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 Monday, October 13, 1919, at 10:30 a.m.

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • Hon. F. L. Polk
    • Secretary
      • Mr. L. Harrison.
    • British Empire
      • Sir Eyre Crowe
    • Secretary
      • Mr. H. Norman
    • France
      • M. Pichon.
    • Secretaries
      • M. Dutasta
      • M. de St. Quentin
    • Italy
      • M. Scialoja
    • Secretary
      • M. Barone Russo
    • Japan
      • M. Matsui
    • Secretary
      • M. Kawai
Joint Secretariat
America, United States of Mr. C. Russell
British Empire Capt. Hinchley-Cooke
France M. Massigli
Italy M. Zanchi.
Interpreter—M. Mantoux

The following were also present for the items in which they were concerned:

  • America, United States of
    • Mr. E. L. Dresel
    • Col. Logan
    • Mr. A. W. Dulles
  • British Empire
    • General Sackville-West
    • General Groves
    • Captain Fuller
    • Commandant Dunne
    • Mr. Leeper
  • France
    • Marshal Foch
    • M. Loucheur
    • General Weygand
    • M. Laroche
    • M. Tirard
    • Captain Roper
  • Italy
    • General Cavallero
    • M. Vannutelli-Rey
  • Japan
    • M. Shigemitsu

[Page 601]

1. M. Pichon said that he had just received a note from the British Delegation asking” if there were any objections to the publication of the Treaty of Peace with Austria, as well as the other diplomatic instruments signed at St. Germain. So far as he was concerned, there was no objection. Publication of the Diplomatic Instruments Signed at St. Germain

Mr. Polk asked what had been decided in regard to the publication of the first draft of the Treaty of Peace with Germany.

M. Pichon said that it had been decided that there was no objection to its publication.

(It was decided:

that the Council had no objection to the publication of the Treaty of Peace with Austria, as well as the other diplomatic instruments which were signed at St. Germain.)

2. Mr. Polk said he wished to make two remarks in regard to the minutes of the meeting of the 10th October (H. D. 67). According to the text which he had before him, he had said on page 15 (English text),1 that he thought that it was important that the blockade preventing the shipment of arms to Hungary had been [should not be?] removed. He had not spoken of Hungary, but of Roumania, and had not spoken of arms but of supplies of all kinds. He desired that it should be mentioned in the minutes of the meeting that M. Clemenceau had expressed agreement. In the minutes of the same meeting the Council had decided (Page 16, English text)2 that the Roumanian representative on the Subcommittee to be sent to Budapest for determining the reparations value of material removed by the Roumanians should sit in a deliberative capacity. He had wished to give them only a consultative capacity. Correction of the Minutes of the Meeting of the 10th October (H. D. 67)

M. Loucheur said that he had insisted on the word “deliberative”.

Sir Eyre Crowe asked what was the difference between the two expressions.

M. Loucheur said that if one said “consultative” that excluded the right of vote, whereas the expression “deliberative voice” implied the right of vote. In the beginning he had favored giving the Roumanians a consultative voice, but Sir Eyre Crowe had said that this means of procedure would be offensive to the Roumanians as it seemed to place them before an Allied tribunal. He had recognized the justice of this argument and had then advocated the idea of a consultative [deliberative?] voice. The question should be examined again. He, himself, was strongly in favor of the solution which had been adopted at the meeting of the 10th October, as otherwise the [Page 602] Roumanians would be given new grounds for grievance against the Allies. He wished to add that he saw no inconvenience in giving the Roumanians a deliberative voice. They would have one voice against four. If their demands were unjustified they would be in the minority.

Mr. Polk asked whether the Hungarians would also have a deliberative voice. He wished to know too what was the position of the Czecho-Slovaks.

M. Loucheur said that the Hungarians would not have a deliberative voice in the Reparation Commission any more than did the Roumanians [Germans?] and Austrians. That was specified in the Treaty of Peace. On the other hand, the Czecho-Slovaks, Jugo-Slavs, Poles and Roumanians were given a voice. The Treaty of Peace provided that a representative of these four Nations and of Greece should in turn sit for a year with a deliberative voice.

Mr. Polk asked whether Sir George Clerk had discussed the subject before the Council.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that he had.

M. Loucheur said that Sir George Clerk was present when he had formulated his proposal, which resulted from the very conclusions of Sir George Clerk’s report.

Mr. Polk asked whether it would not be possible to put the Poles, Jugo-Slavs and the Czecho-Slovaks on the same footing as the Roumanians.

M. Loucheur replied that it would be possible to draft a new text which would put these four Powers on the same footing and give all of them a deliberative voice in the Subcommittee at Budapest for the questions in which they were interested. He could agree with Colonel Logan upon the text of a draft which would define the functions of the Subcommittee.

(It was decided:

to take note of the corrections in the minutes of the meeting of the 10th October, (H. D. 67) in accordance with Mr. Polk’s remarks.)

(It was further decided:

(This resolution will be issued at a future date.).)3

[Page 603]

3. M. Pichon said that he had not been present at the last meeting of the Council. If he had correctly understood the notes of the meeting, the Council had accepted the draft note to M. Friedrich,4 with the reservation that Mr. Polk would suggest modifications. Draft Note to M. Friedrich

Mr. Polk said that he had had a conversation with Sir George Clerk and he could suggest certain changes in the text, but he did not believe that that was essential. The important point was whether the American Delegation were convinced that the Council were not making a mistake in addressing the note to M. Friedrich. It was always a delicate matter to intervene in the internal affairs of a country, particularly by transmitting a written document. He would greatly prefer that a special representative of the Supreme Council, authorized to enter into relations with the Hungarian political parties, should be sent to Budapest. The instructions given this representative should be identical with those contained in the draft note to M. Friedrich.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that he recognized the weight of Mr. Polk’s argument. He had thought the same thing and had proposed that the Allied Generals at Budapest be charged to take the action proposed. If it was thought that the Generals, on account of their relations with M. Friedrich, were not qualified to take this action, it would be possible to send a special representative of the Council. It was of great importance that Hungarian opinion should know of the steps which the Entente were taking. If a means of making the matter public were found other than by transmitting a note by wireless telegraph, he had no objection to the despatch of a special representative of the Supreme Council.

M. Scialoja said that he agreed.

M. Pichon said that if the Council should decide to send a representative to Budapest, Sir George Clerk would appear to be the person to send.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that Sir George Clerk had left on Saturday for London, but he had spoken with him and it would be possible for Sir George Clerk to return in two days’ time.

M. Pichon said that he thought there would be no inconvenience in awaiting Sir George Clerk’s return.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that if the Council decided to send Sir George Clerk it was important that the Allied Generals at Budapest should be notified, in order that they should be aware of the fact that Sir George Clerk was charged by the Supreme Council with carrying out a special mission.

[Page 604]

(It was decided:

that the Supreme Council, instead of transmitting a Note to M. Friedrich, should send a representative.

It was also decided:

that, upon the appointment of a representative, the Allied Generals at Budapest should be notified of his mission.)

4. Sir Eyre Crowe said that before the Council passed on to another subject, he had a point to raise. He wished to ask what had been decided on the question of the publication of the Note of the Allied and Associated Governments to the Roumanian Government.5 The Joint Secretariat had thought that the Council had decided to publish the Note after it had reached the Roumanian Government. He had not understood this to be the case and he thought that M. Clemenceau had been of the opinion that the note should not be published. Publication of the Note to the Roumanian Government

Mr. Polk said he thought that the Council had decided to publish the Note after its receipt by the Roumanian Government.

M. de St. Qtjenttn said the resolution was worded as follows:

“It was further decided to publish the text of the Note after it had been transmitted to the Roumanian Government.” (H.D. 68, Minute 2, page 4, English Text.)6

Sir Eyre Crowe said that he proposed that the Note should not be published until the Supreme Council had taken a new decision on the subject.

(It was decided:

that the Note of the Supreme Council to the Roumanian Government should not be published without a special decision of the Supreme Council.)

5. Sir Eyre Crowe said that the Council were aware of the fact that the British Government believed that to avoid the inconvenience of an excessive subdivision of military contingents and the resulting difficulties of provisionment, it would appear more convenient that the Interallied zones of occupation, provided for in the Treaty of Peace, should be divided between the Powers in such a way that each zone should be occupied by the troops of a single power. It was objected to on the French side, that it was important to emphasize the Interallied character of the occupation and the collective responsibility of the occupying powers. When the question had last been discussed by the Supreme Council,7 he had recalled a suggestion made by Mr. Balfour [Page 605] to the effect that the preponderance in a particular zone should be given to a particular army, but that small detachments from other armies could be added in order to assure the Inter-Allied character to the occupation. He had conveyed this suggestion to London, but the British Government did not agree with the first suggestion although they were prepared to accept the second. If this system were adopted, it would be necessary for the Council to agree as to the distribution among the various Allied armies before requesting Marshal Foch to regulate the practical details of application. Distribution of Allied Troops in the Plebiscite Areas

Marshal Foch said that there was a question of principle to be considered. He was thinking of the question of the occupation of Upper Silesia. The Treaty of Peace provided that the plebiscite in Upper Silesia should take place under the guarantee of occupation by the troops of the Allied and Associated Powers. These troops would not be equally divided and one Power would assume command in Upper Silesia. It was necessary for the Governments to inform him, whether they desired an Allied solution, or, what he called, a solution of a single Power. If the spirit of the Treaty of Peace were to be carried out by all the Powers, it was necessary that all participate in its execution; if not, it was not a Treaty of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, but the Treaty of one Power.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that the remarks made by Marshal Foch were leading the discussion in another direction. He should remember that the British Government had accepted a compromise which was to leave in one particular zone an army, which should have a preponderance, but that there should also be representation of the other armies. As long as the occupation were Inter-Allied, the principle would be safeguarded. He wished to remark that there would have to be one Commander of the troops of occupation in each zone, and this Commander would be in charge. The argument, that if one recognized the preponderance of one Army, that Army was given the supreme power, did not seem to him exact. The compromise guaranteed a division of responsibility.

Marshal Foch said that before accepting a compromise he would have to know what it was. What the proposition contemplated was he did not know. For the moment he knew nothing but the Treaty of Peace, which had to be applied immediately, if it were not to break down. It had been decided that Upper Silesia should be occupied by two divisions,8 one division being sent first. The Versailles Council, on the basis of a decision by the Supreme Council, had drawn up the composition of this division, in determining the minimum which each Allied Army should furnish. To that he agreed. He wished to insist upon the urgency of the matter, and upon the fact, [Page 606] that, at the present time, the only document upon which he had to act was the draft of the Versailles Council. He wished to add, that, if the territories to be occupied and the conditions under which the occupation were to take place, were considered, the charges of occupation were unequal. It had been thought advisable to send two divisions to Upper Silesia for a fixed period; elsewhere occupations could be made with much smaller forces. Was Danzig to be occupied and for how long? He did not know. In any case it was a question of a small force. The same applied to Memel. There was a question of unequal charges for an unequal period of occupation.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that he recognized the force of Marshal Foch’s arguments. It was a fact that the only text which Marshal Foch had was the Versailles draft. It was to be regretted that Marshal Foch had not been present at the last meeting of the Council where the question had been discussed. At that time he had said that the British Government did not accept the draft prepared by the Military Representatives at Versailles. In the course of the same meeting there was a question of a suggestion made by Mr. Balfour on the 8th August.10 He (Sir Eyre Crowe) thought that the French Representatives agreed in principle with this suggestion. He had informed his Government, which had agreed to the compromise. The entire question could not be brought up again today.

M. Pichon said that this was not quite what had occurred. He had before him the notes of the meeting of the 22nd September (H. D. 58). The Council had admitted the general principle that in a fixed zone one power could have a larger number of troops than the other Powers, but they had not admitted that the units to represent the other Allies could be very small. The whole subject was dominated by the Political question. Inter-Allied occupation proved that the Allies were in agreement as to guaranteeing the execution of the Treaty of Peace. The French Delegation did not desire to see a situation raised, such as had arisen in Bulgaria.

Sir Eyre Crowe said he thought there had been a misunderstanding. M. Pichon had again expressed the French point of view. He knew that point of view. On the other hand he wished to recall that on the 22nd September, when they had alluded to Mr. Balfour’s suggestion, a French Representative, he thought that it was General Le Rond, had said that by this means it would be possible to arrive at a solution similar to that which the French Delegation advocated. It was this proposal which he had submitted to London and it was that proposal which he was in a position to accept.

Marshal Foch said that he desired to place the question on its true ground. Upper Silesia was to be occupied at once; that was to say [Page 607] in fifteen days after the Treaty of Peace went into force. He asked what was the contingent of each of the Allies in this occupation; as for the rest, he wished to remark, that the Treaty of Peace did not provide for the occupation of Danzig any more than it did for that of Allenstein and Marienwerder. If there were not a firm occupation, the Treaty would become useless. It was a definite question, and there were three questions which arose, if one wished to ask them. He wished to propose that a special meeting, for the regulation of these problems, be called, where the matter should be treated both from a political and from a military point of view.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that he wished to state that the Military Experts had asked for one division for Upper Silesia and not for two. In any event, the despatch of the second division remained uncertain. They had thought that the occupation of the other regions where plebiscites were to take place would require a total of one division. It was true that the occupation of Danzig was not provided for by the Treaty, but there was little doubt but that this occupation would be necessary. With regard to Allenstein and Marienwerder, the Treaty provided that the Inter-Allied Commissions, who were charged with presiding over the plebiscites, should have at their disposal a sufficient military force. There was little doubt but that, in view of the information received, it would be necessary to send troops to these districts. There existed there a problem as urgent as that of Upper Silesia.

General Weygand said that the Treaty of Peace was very vague upon certain points. It was necessary for the Supreme Council to attend to this. When that had been done, he would know how many effectives were needed. It was further necessary for the Council to inform him what Power would have the preponderance in a particular place. It was only when the Military Experts had this information that they would be in a position to say whether it would be possible to make a distribution of the forces which would impose upon each of the interested Powers an equal expense.

M. Pichon said that it would be necessary to first settle the occupation of Upper Silesia. The Council could direct Marshal Foch to prepare a draft in agreement with the Military Representatives of the other Powers. Then it would be possible to examine the other questions.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that the Council could now decide as to whether or not Danzig and Allenstein should be occupied. He believed, moreover, that this had already been decided.

M. Pichon said that nothing had been decided. The question had been adjourned every time it had come before the Council. The Polish [Page 608] Commission should be requested to make an urgent report on this subject, but at present a project for the occupation of Upper Silesia was what was wanted.

Sir Eyre Crowe asked why the question of the occupation of Danzig, Allenstein, Marienwerder and Memel could not be decided at once; and why the modalities of the occupation should not be studied by Marshal Foch at the same time as those for Upper Silesia.

M. Pichon agreed that in adopting this course the Council would be taking into consideration the questions raised by Marshal Foch.

Mr. Polk said that he thought in any event the Council should hear the report of the Commission on Polish Affairs. He thought that the Commission were not unanimous on the subject of Danzig and Memel.

M. Pichon said that it would be possible to make a provisional reservation on the subject of Danzig and Memel.

General Weygand asked whether a decision had been taken on the question of Klagenfurt. When the Allied Generals had made their report on this question, they had provided for Inter-Allied occupation where the plebiscite was to take place.

M. Laroche said that the question was settled in the Treaty of St. Germain. Article 50 provided that the first zone should be occupied by the troops of the Serb-Croat-Slovene State and the second by Austrian troops.

General Weygand said that it was therefore necessary to settle only the question of Danzig and Memel. When the Council had reached a decision the General Staffs would need a few hours to prepare a draft.

(It was decided:

that in the portions of East Prussia, where plebiscites were to be held, in accordance with Articles 94 to 98 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany, there should be occupation by Inter-Allied troops;
that the Commission on Polish Affairs and the Commission on Baltic Affairs should inform the Council, at its meeting on the 15th October, whether they considered that Danzig and Memel (Articles 99 to 108 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany) should be occupied by Inter-Allied forces.)

6. (The Council had before it the German notes of the 7th August, 1919, and draft replies to these notes prepared by the Commission, on the left bank of the Rhine (See Appendices “A” and “B”).) Reply to the Notes of the German Government Respecting the Occupation of the Left Bank of the Rhine

M. Tirard said that the draft note submitted to the Council was a reproduction of the stenographic text the Rhine of the declarations made by M. Loucheur to the German Delegates. However, M. Loucheur proposed an alteration to [Page 609] make the text more clear. On Page 1311 (French text) he suggested that for paragraph 13 the following be substituted: “Special Arrangements. Special arrangements shall be made in accordance with the request in the German note for the regulation of the reception by the various railway administrations in consequence of the modification of the frontiers.”

(It was decided:

to accept the draft replies to the five German Notes transmitted from Versailles on the 7th August, 1919, respecting the administration of the occupied territory;
that paragraph 13 of the fourth reply (administration of railways in the occupied territory) should be altered as follows: “Paragraph 13. Special Arrangements. Special arrangements shall be made in accordance with the request in the German Note for the regulation of the reception by the various railway administrations in consequence of the modification of the frontiers.”

7. (The Council had before it a Note from the British Delegation of the 10th October, 1919, (See appendix “C”).) German Ships Acquired During the war by Dutch Navigation Companies

Sir Eyre Crowe commented briefly upon the Note from the British Delegation. He insisted upon the importance of a decision being taken by the Council in regard to this matter, for otherwise, it might become impossible to obtain the delivery of the vessels in question.

M. Scialoja said that he agreed in principle with Sir Eyre Crowe, but he wished to raise a question of competence. It was provided in Section VII of Annex 3 of Part VIII (Reparations) of the Treaty of Peace with Germany, that Germany agreed to take any measures that might be indicated to her by the Reparation Commission for obtaining the full total for all ships which had during the war been transferred or were in the process of being transferred to neutral flags, without the consent of the Allied and Associated Governments, and to ask Germany to obtain full right of property in these ships. He thought that the question which had been submitted belonged to the Reparation Commission, otherwise there was a danger that Germany might raise objections of a legal nature.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that he had considered this article in the Note which the Council had before it, but in this case, it was not a question of the definite attribution of these ships; it was simply a question of their being handed over.

M. Scialoja agreed, but pointed out that Germany might say that she awaited the decision of the Reparation Commission.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that the only matter which concerned the Council at the moment was to prevent the ships passing into the hands of the Dutch.

[Page 610]

M. Pichon said that it was not a question of getting to the root of the matter.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that Germany should be justified in demanding a decision from the Reparation Commission for the settlement of the question of the ownership of the ships. The present question was to force the German Government to make sure of the possession of these ships and to deliver them to the Allies.

Mr. Polk proposed that Sir Eyre Crowe prepare a draft note to the German Government which the Council could examine at its next meeting.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that this note would demand:

that the five ships in question should be delivered to the Allied and Associated Powers at the Firth of Forth;
that the Dutch crews should be removed;
that the Dutch names of the ships and mark of port of origin should be removed;
that the Allied and Associated Governments could, if they desired, make an inspection of the “William Oswald”;
that the “Nassau” and the “Branunschweig” should be taken to Bremerhaven by German crews.

M. Scialoja asked what part the Reparation Commission would play.

M. Pichon said that its President, M. Loucheur, was in agreement with Sir Eyre Crowe.

(It was decided:

that Sir Eyre Crowe should submit to the Council at its next meeting the draft of a Note to the German Government demanding the delivery to the Allies of the five German merchant ships sold to Dutch firms during the war.

8. (The Council had before it a draft resolution of the 10th October prepared by the American Delegation (See appendix “D”).) Execution of Articles 100 to 104 of the Treaty of Versailles Respecting the Free City of Danzing

Sir Eyre Crowe asked whether the Council had the right to decide as to measures which should be taken to assure the rapid execution of Articles 100 to 104 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany. Article 104 of the of Danzig Treaty of Peace provided for a Treaty between the free city of Danzig and Poland, but the free city of Danzig did not yet exist.

M. Pichon said that the American Proposal was intended merely to request the Commission on Polish Affairs to study the question and make a report to the Supreme Council. The proposal did not go beyond that.

(It was decided:

that the Commission on Polish Affairs should be requested to examine Articles 100 to 104 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany, relative to the creation of the free city of Danzig, and to submit a [Page 611] report as soon as possible as to the measures to be taken to secure the speedy execution of these articles, upon the entry into force of the Treaty of Peace.)

9. (The Council had before it a note from the British Delegation dated 7th October, 1919, (See Appendix “E”).) Sale of Air Material to Sweden by Germany

(In view of the fact that no remarks were made it was decided:z

that the German Government should be required to provide the President of the Inter-Allied Aeronautical Commission of Control with full particulars of all aircraft and aircraft material sold or exported since the Armistice, and that the value of this material should be estimated by the President of the Inter-Allied Aeronautical Commission of Control, and should be paid to him by the 31st January, 1920;
that Marshal Foch should be instructed to enquire into Mr. Ranft’s transactions and the reported gift of two aeroplanes to the Swedish Army and shall also request the German Government to forward a statement with regard to these matters.)

10. (The Council had before it a note from the Secretary-General of the International Labor Commission, dated Paris, 7th October, 1919. (See Appendix “F”).)

M. Pichon said that M. Arthur Fontaine had asked the Council to decide whether the Luxembourg delegates to the International Labor Congress should be admitted upon the same conditions as the delegates from Finland. Luxembourg was not one of the States who were contained in the original membership of the League of Nations, nor one of the thirteen States which had been invited to join the League. Admission of Luxembourg to the International Labor Congress at Washington

(It was decided:

that the question raised in the Note of the Secretary-General of the International Labor Commission respecting the admission of Luxembourg to the forthcoming Congress at Washington should be left to the decision of that Congress.

It was further decided:

that the American Delegation should inform the Secretary-General of the International Labor Commission that the Allied and Associated Governments would interpose no difficulties in regard to passports for Luxembourg delegates desirous of proceeding to Washington in anticipation of a favorable decision.)

(The meeting then adjourned.)

Hotel de Crillon, Paris, 13 October, 1919.

[Page 612]

Appendices A and B to HD–69


Dossier of Correspondence between the Allied and Associated Powers and the German Delegation relative to the Administration of the Occupied Territory of the Rhine

Five Notes from von Lewald, of August 7, 1919, and replies thereto, under the following subjects:

The occupation of the Left Bank of the Rhine
Accommodations for the German Imperial High Commissioners
Questions of Procedure
Administration of Railroads
Regime of Navigation


German Notes Relative to the Administration of the Rhenish Territories, Delivered by M. von Lewald, August 7, 1919

First Note, Relative to the Occupation of the Left Bank of the Rhine

Gentlemen: In the name of the German Government I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the answer12 to the two German memoranda13 concerning the military occupation of the left bank of the Rhine. I note with satisfaction that the Allied and Associated Governments intend to make the military occupation of the left bank of the Rhine as light as possible for the populations.

I take the liberty to make detailed comments on the following paragraphs of the answer:

I interpret the answer concerning paragraph 3 to mean that the laws of the Empire and of the Federative States promulgated for the territories in question, as well as the executive decrees, shall be enforced as long as the High Commission does not make use of its right of veto by a communication to the Commissioner of the Empire, because their application would affect the safety and the needs of the military forces of the Allied and Associated Powers. That right of veto should be expressed in a decree to be issued in conformity with Article 3 of the agreement.13a

In order to make the situation of public right perfectly clear, it would be advisable that the decrees of the High Commission be published in an official paper by the Commissioner of the Empire. Thus the stipulations of article 3–a of the agreement would be fulfilled for the German Government.

[Page 613]

The answer concerning paragraph 4 guaranteed to Germany that the populations shall enjoy the free exercise of its personal and civic rights, religious freedom, freedom of the press, vote, association, and that the political, administrative and economic relations between the occupied territories and between those territories and the non-occupied territories shall not be hindered any more than circulation. A great calm has come over the occupied territory caused by the fact that now the provincial, communal and municipal elections can take place freely and that these assemblies as well as the ecclesiastical assemblies of the provincial synod will be allowed to meet. The special authorization to travel from one part of the occupied territory to another and from the occupied territory to the non-occupied territory of Germany is therefore suppressed. Simultaneously with the guarantee of free circulation, the sale of newspapers from the non-occupied territories of Germany in the occupied territory shall be authorized, as for example the importation of the Frankfurter-Zeitung in Rhenish Hesse which was forbidden until now.

Concerning paragraph 5, I take the liberty of making the remark that the Governments of Prussia, Bavaria, Baden, Hesse and Oldenburg have given their consent to the nomination of Herr von Starck as Commissioner of the Empire, with the meaning that the Commissioner of the Empire shall equally represent the rights of those states and of their population at the High Commission.

Concerning paragraph 5a, I remark that the new constitution adopted by the National Constituent Assembly under date of July 31, 1919, contains a considerable increase of the jurisdiction of the Empire as compared with that of the Federative States. I shall take the liberty of sending four copies of the new constitution to the President of the Commission.

I would be grateful if acceptance of M. von Starck’s nomination was granted as soon as possible so that he might be in a position to enter into relations with the Interallied High Commission at Coblenz. Numerous administrative measures adopted in the various occupied territories show the necessity of it.

Supposing that the High Commission has its seat in Coblenz, the Commissions [Commissioner?] of the Empire must also reside there. For the buildings which must be placed at his disposal and which are at present occupied by the American Military authorities, I take the liberty of delivering the following note.14

Concerning paragraph 6, I ask again to kindly let me know as soon as possible the effectives of the troops to be maintained in the occupied territory, the number of officers, men and horses, together with die [Page 614] name of places where the troops will have to be stationed; since according to article 8& of the agreement, the troops have to be exclusively housed in barracks and not quartered in private houses, the old garrison cities will have to be considered first. It is very important for those cities to be informed as soon as possible of the effectives of the troops which they shall have to house. On that subject, may I be allowed to state that before July 31, 1914, there were only 70,000 men stationed in the occupied territory. Since, according to the Peace Treaty, Germany is authorized to maintain only an army of 100,000 men, distributed all over the territory of the “Reich”, the German Government hopes that the effectives of the occupying troops will not exceed a number equivalent to the capacity of the fixed barracks. It will be especially desirable that an order be issued so that the military authorities of the Allied and Associated Powers do not require from cities which are not considered in the future as garrison towns, such things as electric installations, aqueducts or others which would cause great expenses and would not be used later.

To give an example of the serious inconveniences resulting from the extremely high effectives now stationed in the occupied territory, I take the liberty of mentioning that for the present it is impossible for foreigners to find room in Cologne although it is essentially a city of foreigners and it has at its disposal excellent hotels with 5000 beds. The Commission represented here and the members of the parliamentary council of the Commissioner of the Empire who met in Cologne last Sunday could not be housed, or were only able to find absolutely insufficient rooms for one night only, and only upon the request of the Commissioner of the Empire did the military authorities place a few very modest rooms at their disposal.

The repression of the hotel service in the great Rhine towns is incompatible with the development of commerce and industry.

The answer concerning paragraph 7 states that the High Commission is to regulate the organization of the police forces. I take the liberty of remarking that article 1, alinea 2, of the agreement stipulates that it is only the number of the police forces which is to be determined by the Allied and Associated Powers.

Following the troubles caused by the war and the difficult economic situation among the working classes of Germany, and which are well known by the High Commission, the number of police forces will have to be superior to that of Peace time because then, in case of need one could have recourse to the military forces for the maintenance of public order. That is especially important because of the fact that, according to the Peace Treaty, it is forbidden to maintain in the future troops in a zone 50 kms. wide and bordering the occupied territories.

[Page 615]

Concerning paragraph 9, I take account of the fact that the Allied and Associated Powers recognize that the privilege of jurisdiction cannot be conferred upon German citizens, so that German citizens, even in a case where they are employed by the troops or are in their service, shall remain subjected to German jurisdiction. In alinea 2 of Paragraph 9, the answer remarks that the Allied and Associated Governments not wishing perturbation to be caused in the occupied territories, could not admit that the competent German authorities begin judicial actions for political or economic facts pertaining to the period of the Armistice, unless those facts have already caused the Allied and Associated Governments to begin judicial actions. I cannot see on what provisions of the agreement that pretention of the Allied and Associated Powers can be based. I interpret the remark to mean, in short, that the creators of the so-called Rhenish Republic, that is to say M. Dorten and his friends, together with the people who are making propaganda in the Palatinate for the creation of the autonomous state “free Palatinate”, namely Dr. Haas and acolytes at Lindau [Landau], shall therefore be protected, from a point of view of penal law, from any judicial action of any kind on the part of Germany.

Consequently, I feel obliged to remark that for those agitations and machinations of M. Dorten and his friends at Wiesbaden, of Dr. Haas and his friends at Landau, as well as M. Hompa at Kehl, it is only a question of small groups without any importance who are pursuing aims directed against the German Constitution such as no Government can tolerate in time of peace. Without the protection of the military authorities at Wiesbaden and in the Palatinate, as at Kehl, those tendencies would not have had the least success. I have in my hands a rather voluminous dossier concerning M. Dorten’s acts and the protection accorded him by the military authorities. As to the Palatinate, I have also at hand documented material. The situation is quite analogous in the Principality of Birkenfeld where the military command attempted to push the small country in a determined political path. All those tendencies do not find the least support in the agreement. I beg you to kindly confirm that as soon as the agreement goes into force, the High Commission, conforming itself to the intentions which have inspired the Allied and Associated Powers in their answer to paragraph 28, see that this interference in the internal affairs of Germany be stopped. The agreement does not give the right to the Germans who thus violated the German law to be immune from legal action. The German Government could not declare itself in accord with that and could only renounce any judicial action in occupied and non-occupied territories in case the Allied and Associated Powers declare themselves ready to grant a complete [Page 616] amnesty to the persons condemned for having committed infractions to the orders of the occupying powers and in case all the cases pending for such reasons are stopped. I believe that that would correspond to the spirit of conciliation invoked on several occasions in the answer. The same measure would apply to the economic decree enacted either by the occupying authorities or by Germany.

Concerning paragraphs 10, 11, and 12, I take the liberty of delivering a statement of the German Minister of Justice which I beg you to kindly take into consideration.15

As for paragraph 10, I beg you to kindly enlighten me on a few points. Since the German military legislation does not grant any jurisdiction in civil affairs to the military tribunals, even during the state of war, and since I did not succeed in finding the laws enforced among the Allied and Associated Powers allowing military tribunals to try civil affairs, I would be grateful to receive a copy of the stipulations in question from the various occupying Powers. I am grateful that the answer recognizes the jurisdiction of the German courts to decide differences resulting from contracts made privately either by soldiers, or by their families, with the restriction that the High Commission shall have the right to decide in case of abuses. Since the word “evocation” is used both in the French and in the English text, they seem to have in mind the “jus evocandi” unknown to German legislation for many years and for the explanation of which it is necessary to have recourse to very old German judicial institutions. Consequently, I conclude from the text that to the High Commission shall be reserved the right to take away from German courts cases brought before it and to transfer to the military tribunals of the occupying Powers. That would constitute a serious infringement on the independence of jurisdiction and Would be considered by the whole German magistrature as a doubt cast on its absolute impartiality.

Concerning paragraph 14, I had asked if a declaration of the receipts of the Empire and of the Federative States, received in the occupied territory, could also be deposited in the non-occupied territory. The answer to paragraph 14 does not make that very important point clear and that is why I take the liberty of asking for an express confirmation of my interpretation.

Concerning paragraph 16; the Allied and Associated Powers did not accept my proposal to trust the German authorities to determine and pay reimbursements in conformity with German law, however, they have declared themselves ready to study a regulation of application together with the German authorities. I wish to believe that the regulation will neglect neither the interests of the population [Page 617] concerned nor those of the German finances. That is why I believe I can limit myself, in that respect, to point out a few wishes, leaving all the rest in the good care of the High Commission. The following points are of a very special importance.

The creation of two instances and that in such a way that a second instance shall have the jurisdiction over the whole occupied territory so that the uniformity indispensable to the application and the interpretation of the regulations and in the fixation of the amount of the reimbursement be guaranteed.
In both instances the admission as attorney general of a representative of the financial administration of the Empire, to the proposals of whom the Commissions shall grant a hearing before arriving at the decision and who should also be authorized to make an appeal to plaintiff against the decision of the first tribunal.
Reimbursement shall be fixed in conformity with the current prices at the place and at the time of the presentation.

On the other hand I take once more the liberty of calling the attention of the Commission of [to?] the state of affairs now existing in the various zones of occupation regarding the reimbursement of requisitions and including the burdens caused by the housing of soldiers. I took the liberty of stating in my supplementary memorandum to [in?] paragraph 3216 that the situation had become intolerable. According to the answer, the High Commission will have to take care of the establishment of a uniform order of things by the promulgation of regulations; it is possible that the precautions required to guarantee the future have been taken, that is to say after the going into force of the agreement, against the return of a state of affairs as intolerable as that which existed during the armistice but no solution has yet been found as to how the population shall be indemnified for the requisitions including the housing of soldiers during the armistice period.

The present state of affairs cannot be maintained because of the differences of the stipulations, notably regarding the amount of reimbursements in the various zones of occupation, which have given rise to a marked dissatisfaction among the population and that besides a great many requisitions, among the most expensive ones, have not been paid as I have already had the honor to state with more details. As regards the British zone of occupation where the German authorities were allowed to enforce the law of the German Empire of March 2, 1919,17 I earnestly beg to maintain the present state of affairs because the financial administration of the German Empire has already paid, in conformity with German law, a sum of more than 100 million marks on account of the claims for indemnities and because a change in the decree and in the procedure during the execution would bring disturbances in the juridical situation as well as in the finances of the [Page 618] Empire. As to the other zones, one could perhaps guarantee the indispensable homogeneity notably as regards the British zone, by authorizing there also the German authorities to enforce the German law, all the more so that part of the urban and rural circles and the communes have already paid rather large sums on account of the titles to indemnity which have not been paid as yet, neither by the occupying troops nor by the German Empire. However, my Government will be ready to accept also another procedure analogous perhaps to the regulation which the High Commission will promulgate in the future, under the only condition that the population already seriously affected and the communes overwhelmed with taxes be soon reimbursed.

Concerning paragraph 17: the explanations of paragraph 17 seem to take into account especially the second part of my memorandum relative to those points. I am glad that the legitimate needs of the public services at the time of the requisition of public and private establishments shall be satisfied in a conciliating spirit. It will be especially desirable to allow the buildings intended for teaching of all grades to be used for that purpose. I hope that the question to know if a great part of the localities occupied at present shall be again placed at the disposal of the population, will be examined in the same conciliatory spirit.

The question of the housing of officers and their families preoccupies and worries very much the inhabitants of the occupied territory. If it is a fact that during the period of armistice the population felt already as a heavy burden the restrictions inherent to the housing of troops, those feelings will become unbearable if—in view of the long years of occupation to come—a conciliatory solution of that question could not be found. The wealthy families would leave the occupied territory, to the detriment of the communes where they were domiciled, and a spirit of vexation, highly undesirable, would get hold of the middle and lower classes. The housing should be made on the basis of the regulations in force in the various armies, it would therefore be agreeable to me to know those regulations so as to be in a position to take sides regarding the various methods of their application. May I be allowed, however, to express right now the desire that, in general, the housing be regulated so as not to jeopardize the family life of the inhabitants. The complete eviction of the latter or their obligation to use only a few small rooms,—that the exactions of the intensive billeting made often necessary during the period of armistice—should not take place again; in the same way the installation of messes in private houses where they were a great inconvenience to the inhabitants. The billeting of officers’ families is a problem particularly difficult to solve, I suppose that it would be a question of placing at their disposal unfurnished rooms since those families have their own furniture. The requisitioning of the whole furniture in [Page 619] eluding house linen, table material, kitchen utensils and other household goods seems all the more heavy during the long period of occupation because a great many of those objects are lacking now, especially linen, and that the inhabitants would be unable to replace. I presume that in the future domestic articles shall no longer be required.

For the purpose of avoiding annoyances on both sides, I consider it indispensable to state with precision the objections of the hosts who, up to the present often found themselves in a situation which was not clearly defined. In any case, it would be practicable that the billeting should be made through the municipal authorities.

Finally, I take the liberty of calling your attention to the fact, that, according to the especially difficult situation of the building industry since the war, there exists a great shortage of apartments as well in non-occupied Germany as in occupied territory, and that that situation has been only increased by the billeting of the troops of occupation. May I not also be allowed to express the hope that the requisition of living rooms shall be made within the limits of the absolutely indispensable necessities.

According to my information, the moving of officers’ families in the occupied territory has already taken a certain development; allow me to insist on the necessity to authorize those moving only after a solution to the question of billets has been found.

Paragraph 18 recognizes that a control shall be established by the Interallied High Commission as regards the privileges and customs exemptions conferred by Article 19 to the troops of occupation and their personnel both civil and military. The request expressed in my memorandum that no German national and no neutral be granted the privilege of the exemption of taxes by entering in the service of the troops of occupation has received no answer. Consequently I take the liberty of reiterating my request to kindly give me a statement on that subject such as it was given in paragraph 9 of the answer concerning the privileges of jurisdiction.

I ask you to kindly grant a hearing to the Commissioner of the Empire before taking the prescriptions for the measures of control considered by the High Commission concerning the privileges and the customs exemptions. It would be indispensable to give an active part to the competent German authorities at the time of the execution of the control.

19.—The customs frontier of the West show deficiencies. They prevented the installation of German customs officers on German territory at the frontier of Alsace-Lorraine and the Saar Basin. There are customs officers at the frontier of Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland, but they cannot act according to the regulations of the German administration regarding the traffic of merchandise and [Page 620] especially they cannot apply freely the German regulations on importation and exportation. Any German commercial, economic and financial policy, in conformity with the legitimate German interest, becomes impossible so long as the Empire is not master of its customs frontier. The Allied and Associated Powers recognized, at the time of the negotiations of the Finance Commission, that Germany cannot fulfill her economic and financial obligations if she is not allowed to dispose freely of her customs frontier. It is urgent to settle those questions rapidly. If Germany cannot organize as soon as possible the customs service of the Western frontier, not only will enormous amounts of useful and necessary goods enter Germany during the next few weeks, Germany deprived of goods and hungry, but also objects of luxury and other goods, hundreds of millions of marks worth, and which Germany does not need for the present, and which shall enter without paying any duty. It is not doubtful that Germany will not be able to stand such a useless drain in view of the anemic state of her economic body.

In view of the importance and urgency of those questions, it is necessary to begin their study as soon as possible and to find solutions favorable to Germany.

In the answer, paragraph 20 is omitted. I should be grateful to receive an answer and I take the liberty of placing in the hands of the President the desiderata of the railroad administration and those of the navigation on the Rhine.

According to paragraph 21, the liberty to communicate by letter, telegraph and telephone shall be guaranteed. I suppose that the strict observance of the postal secret such as it is provided by the German law shall also be guaranteed, under reservation of an eventual decree of the state of siege, and that consequently any postal censorship such as is now in course will be suppressed.

Concerning paragraph 24, I take the liberty to remark that I interpret it to mean that all the various decrees of the various military authorities issued during the armistice, shall be cancelled and that consequently in the future there will be only two sources of public law in the occupied territory: the legislation of the Empire and of the Federative States and the decrees of the High Commission.

Concerning paragraph 25, I take note of the fact that all the interdictions of sojourn shall be examined in a conciliatory spirit. It would be desirable that the requests of the persons who have been expulsed and whose purpose is to return to their country should be submitted to the High Commission through the Commissioner of the Empire.

In order that the amnesty which I proposed in paragraph 9 be complete it would be necessary especially that all the people who were expelled from the occupied territory because they opposed M. Dorten [Page 621] at Wiesbaden and Haas at London [Landau], etc., may be allowed to return to those territories. Public opinion in Germany places a great importance on that question as I was assured very lately by deputies of all parties.

28.—Those explanations rest only on a misunderstanding. It [goes] without saying that nothing was further from the mind of the German Government, supreme and scrupulous guardian of the Constitution of the Empire, than to submit to the Allied and Associated Governments proposals incompatible with international law or with the Constitution of the Empire and the rights of the various Federative States. I do not believe I must insist on the subject, but I note with satisfaction that the Allied and Associated Governments did not mention the Central Governments of the various Federative States in article 3 of the agreement for the simple reason that they concluded peace exclusively with the Central German Government and that it is not their intention to interfere with the internal organization of Germany and that they respect the legal hierarchy. That was the aim of my speech.

Par. 29.—The institution of the administrators and supervisors who, in certain zones, operate with the German administrative authorities forms a particularly painful chapter of the Armistice. It is therefore with pleasure that I learn that after entry into force of the peace Treaty, there shall be no more administrators or supervisors directed to control the German administration. If the High Commission reserves the right to maintain fixed representatives directed to establish a liaison between the local German administrations, the local military authorities and the High Commission itself, it would be expedient to take the necessary measures to have these fixed representatives limited to the facilitation of communication between the authorities and to the transmission of the desires of one to the other. All right of interference of the interior affairs of the German authorities, of the control of incoming correspondence, of the examination of shipments, of authority to give orders, shall be excluded in the future.

It would be desirable if the High Commission would make use of its authority to communicate directly with the local German administration in exceptional cases only because this would greatly facilitate relations between the High Commission and the German administration if the Commission, in principle, operated through the intermediary of the Empire Commissioner who is, in reality, a representative of all the German administrations which enter in the question.

Par. 32.—I am indebted to the Allied and Associated Governments for the declaration that requisitions should be but little practiced, and only operated in particular circumstances.

[Page 622]

However, I believe it my duty to call the attention of the Commission to the fact that importance [sic] deliveries through requisitions have been ordered for the coming economic period and surpassing the probable duration of the Armistice. For example, the High Commands of the 8th and 10th Army Corps have recently ordered the delivery of 40,000 tons of hay per Army Corps, quantities considerably surpassing the productivity of these districts under their orders. The same districts, last year, only succeeded in delivering for the needs of the German Army a portion of the quantity now demanded, and this under serious pressure on the part of competent authorities. The rural population, suffering under a great shortage of fodder, has been greatly irritated by this hay requisition, as it necessitates a consequent restriction in livestock.

According to reports which I have just received, all the horse owners in the fourth zone have received a circular indicating an intention to operate an important requisition of horses.

I would be grateful if the Commission would kindly assure me that the requisitions would not surpass the means and resources of the occupied countries and that the commune would not be of necessity forced to obtain their supplies in non-occupied territory in order to be able to effect the deliveries demanded or to replace their stocks which, as a result of these requisitions, would be insufficient for their own needs.

In conclusion I take the liberty to especially request that you accord favorable attention to a petition of the Commission assembled here: According to the Peace Treaty a state of peace will not be recognized until the Treaty will have been ratified by three of the Principal Powers. We are unable to say when this time shall arrive. The population believes and supposes that, Germany having signed and ratified the Treaty as well as this arrangement, they would enjoy the facilities elaborated in the reply and that the military regime, of a severe and hard nature, might be replaced by civil organization of the High Commission. I do not wish to mention here the multitude of complaints relative to the oppression of economic and political life, such as exists at the present time, as I hope that we are on the eve of the new era referred to in the reply, which shall put an end to arbitrary procedures and which, without prejudice toward the attributions conferred to the Allied and Associated Powers by the agreement, shall guarantee political liberty, shall reestablish without hindrances free traffic on both sides of the Rhine and which, finally, shall provide an arrangement for the requisition and the billeting of troops, which arrangement shall endeavor to establish a just and equitable compromise between the interest of the occupying military forces and those of the population. Would it not be possible for the High Commission [Page 623] to be authorized at the present time by the occupying Powers interested to commence its work in order that the arrangement and that the method intended for its execution by the occupying Powers, which has been agreed upon here, could enter into application, if possible, on August 15, or at the latest by September 1st? This would correspond with the general point of view developed by the Allied Powers, particularly in their declaration of June 16th,18 that is, to as soon as possible place Germany in a position to fulfill the obligations which she has assumed by virtue of the Peace Treaty.


Second Note, Relative to Accommodations for the High Empire Commissioner

Mr. Minister: As it is assumed that the Interallied High Commission on Bhenish territories shall be installed at Coblenz, it would be advisable to have the German Empire Commissioner locate there also. Now, in that city there are not many buildings suitable for the installation of the Offices of such an important administration, and in this number, there are certainly some which will be requisitioned for the needs of the American military authorities and by the High Commission itself.

There appears, therefore, that there only remains the building of the former General Command which would be suitable for the installation of the offices of the Empire Commissioner. The American troops have no further need of these accommodations and are ready to evacuate them. However, they declare that this evacuation cannot take place without the consent of the General Commanding the Allied and Associated Armies.

I would be deeply grateful, Mr. Minister, if the consent of the General could be obtained in order that the accommodations in question might be prepared for the Empire Commissioner.

Accept, etc.


Third Note, Relative to Miscellaneous Questions of Procedure


According to article 3c, by tribunals, is understood, aside from the ordinary regular courts, the special courts, such as the Council of [Page 624] Experts and the commercial courts, administrative courts, including civil cases, as well as the arbitration committees destined to regulate workmen and laborers’ differences, established on December 23, 1918 (Bulletin of laws of the Empire, p. 1456) on a basis of the decrees of the conventions on tariffs, etc.


The prescription of Article 3d applies only to nationals of the Allied and Associated countries and shall decide only the question of penal competence.

In civil procedures, the executions concerning the persons referred to in article 3d shall be admitted by the administrations of the occupants at the request of competent German tribunals. The execution requests should be addressed to the following administrations:

  • For Belgium:
  • For France:
  • For Great Britain:
  • For the United States:


The prescription of Article 3e applies only to acts committed in occupied territory after the entry into force of the conventions of June 28, 1919, in case the accused was domiciled in occupied territory at the time the act was committed. The judgments of similar acts shall be judged according to German jurisdiction.


Cases in litigation in the courts of the Allied and Associated Powers and which are not within the competence of these courts, according to the convention of June 28, 1919, upon the entry into force of the above mentioned Convention, shall be within the competence of German courts, in so far as it is a question of cases not already judged. Details shall be fixed by special convention.


According to article 4, only officers in possession of written authorization from one of the authorities cited below may operate concerning extradition demands:

  • For Belgium:
  • For France:
  • For Great Britain:
  • For the United States:

If at the time of the extradition of a person according to article 4, a penal trial or a penal execution by German courts was being examined [Page 625] against this person in occupied or non-occupied territory, after the liquidation of the trial by the courts of the occupying forces, the person is to be delivered to the German authorities.

Fourth Note, Desiderata of the Administration of Railroads Concerning the Application of the Agreement on Occupation

If the economic life in occupied territory is to resume its pacific evolution, it is indispensable that, in principle, the railroads, as in times of peace serve in the first place the economic interests in order that they be able to fulfill their pacific mission. We hope, therefore, that military exigencies may be regulated in such a manner as to permit the railroads to accomplish their true task.
In the interest of the maintenance of a well ordered service, it would be greatly desirable to create, for each railroad system, a single direction (on the order of the German Linien-Kommandantur) who would assume the transmission of the orders of the High Command of the Allied and Associated troops to the competent organisms of the railroad administrations, in accordance with Article 10, alinea 1, of the Agreement. Transportation of troops, special trains and other service prestations should be announced and taken over after notice corresponding with their importance, in order to assure their execution without interrupting their normal service.
It is to be presumed that the civil administrations of the railroads will remain in the hands of the German authorities with all the consequences attached thereto.
Under reserve of the requisitions of the High Command of the Allied and Associated Armies within the bounds of military exigencies, the German authorities shall enjoy full independence concerning the management and the exploitation, establishing of time tables and utilization of the stations. The uniform direction of the service shall not suffer any interruption at the frontier of occupied territory. The employment of the rolling stock, etc., shall be entirely subject to the arrangements between the different railroad administrations.
All the orders and regulations concerning the railroads shall become ineffective at the entry into force of the Peace Treaty. The orders and regulations formerly in force shall remain so only on condition of having maintained by order of the High Commission in accordance with Article 3, or by special order of the High Military command, for military needs, in accordance with Article 10.
The regime of the personal subordinance of employees and railroad help, as well as the obligations and restrictions resulting, [Page 626] shall be abolished. The German prescriptions regulating the status of employees and railroad help, their professional representations and committees, shall again be effective.
The German language shall remain official for all service needs, timetables and public schedules, etc.
West-European time shall not be reestablished.
The maintenance of the complete material shall be interpreted to mean that the necessary material shall remain available, without prejudice to the general service resulting from an eventual lack of cars and locomotives on account of the participation of occupied territories. In the same way, the complete maintenance of the civil personnel shall be understood to mean that the number and nature of the personnel necessary at a given time shall be always maintained available.
As to the free transportation of troops, soldiers, officers, and particularly the method of controlling orders of transport, it would be fitting to adopt special dispositions. A desire is emitted that this control right by the personnel of the German trains be recognized. It is considered as agreed that the parents of soldiers and officers shall not have the right to free passage.
The transportation to be effected without charge will not be considered as contracts of transport. For that matter, the transportation of occupation troops shall fall within the application of the German prescriptions. Regarding responsibilities not covered by contract, the German civil laws shall apply to members of the armies of occupation as well. They shall also be responsible for damages which they might cause to the railroad administrations, whether directly or indirectly.
The use of the German telephone and telegraph installations, as well as the mail service, for railroad needs, shall not be subject to any restrictions. It is hoped that the railroad lines requisitioned at the present time will be returned to the German authorities, insofar as they are not required simultaneously for military needs.
In the same way, we desire to see the restitution, insofar as possible, of the installations and premises requisitioned up to the present time for military needs and in view of the fact that these installations and premises are generally indispensable to the service, that no more requisitions be effected.
The regulations of reconciliations between the administrations of neighboring railroads—in view of the frontier changes—especially the Belgian frontier, should be subject to special negotiations. The temporary utilization of the Herbesthal station shall also necessitate a special arrangement in case of the cession of that station.
[Page 627]

Fifth Note, Relative to the Navigation Regime in Occupied Territories

As in the case of the railroads, it shall be necessary to clearly define, concerning navigation on the Rhine, the services of a military nature for which this navigation may be employed by the orders of the High Command of the Allied and Associated troops, and to fully designate the authority which may issue orders of this nature in the name of the High Command, in order that the exercise of this right may interrupt as little as possible the regular navigation traffic. In the interest of the regular functioning of fluvial traffic it would also be advisable to have the orders of the High Command addressed to the Directors of the Navigation Companies, and not individually to their many subordinate functionaries. I also believe I may presume that, as is the case regarding freedom of circulation provided for by paragraph 4, the control of the navigation personnel shall be suppressed after the entry into force of the agreement regarding Rhenish territories, that is to say that the passports, control of merchandise traffic, as well as the restrictions issued concerning the circulation of merchandise between the right and left banks of the Rhine, shall be abolished. It would appear to me that upon the establishment of this free traffic, the Interallied Navigation Commission could be dissolved or that, at least, this Commission limit the field to its activities to purely military transportation, having for purpose the assurance of supplies for the Allied troops in occupied territory and that the Commission discontinue the intervention which it has exercised up to this time regarding the economic and technical conditions of Rhine navigation and over the ports on this river. The re-establishment of free communication by telegraph and telephone consented to in Par. 21 would logically entail the right of the Rhine navigation service to use the telephone and telegraphs for the needs of their organisms.

Reply to the Five German Notes Delivered by Mr. von Lewald, August 7, at Versailles, Relative to the Administration of the Occupied Territories


I.—Reply to the Memorandum Relative to the Occupation of the Left Bank of the Rhine

  • Paragraphs 1 and 2. Preliminary remarks,—In a general manner the Allied and Associated Governments refer to their memorandum [Page 628] of July 29, 1919, replying to the two memorandum delivered by the German Government dated July 11 and 12, 1919, on the same question, and to the reservations formulated in the last paragraph of the reply memorandum.
  • Paragraph 3.—Application of German legislation.—It is understood that the High Commission shall exercise its veto right by ordinances with the least delay possible. To this end, German laws and regulations should be communicated to the Commission prior to their promulgation. The High Commission reserves at all times the right to suspend the application of a law if circumstances demand it. The High Commission shall itself assure the publication of these laws and regulations in which they should be assisted by the German authorities.
  • Paragraph 4.—Public liberties and circulation.—Public Liberties; the freedom of the press shall be assured in conformity with German legislation. If a publication infringes on the public order or the security of the troops, administrative and judiciary punishments shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Convention.
  • Circulation: Circulation shall be free between the occupied and non-occupied territories, but an identification card should be carried by the interested, which they shall be obliged to present when requested according to conditions fixed by the High Commission. The High Commission, furthermore, reserves the right to order expulsions justified by the maintenance of public order or the security of the troops of occupation.
  • Paragraph 5.—Institution of an Empire civil Commissaryship.—The Allied and Associated Governments refer to their previous reply. The Empire Commissioner cannot be officially accepted until after the ratification of the Treaty by three of the principal Allied and Associated Powers.
  • Paragraph 6.—Effectives of the troops of occupation.—The effectives of the troops of occupation shall be communicated to the German Government as soon as possible. The German Government can attenuate the burden of the occupation for the Rhineland population by calling on the resources in material and supplies from the rest of the Empire.
  • Paragraph 7.—Strength of the police force.—The Allied and Associated Governments refer to their previous reply.
  • Paragraph 9.—Jurisdiction privileges.—The Allied and Associated Governments insist on the terms of their previous reply. They do not admit the principle of reciprocal amnesty which would favor one or another case of the German nationals. They mean to oppose judiciary actions of a nature to disturb the public order, in accordance with the terms of the convention and of their above-cited reply. [Page 629] On the other hand, they shall examine with favor and in each case the remission of sentences pronounced in the course of the Armistice by military jurisdiction.
  • Paragraphs 10, 11, and 12.—Legal questions.—The memorandum of the German Minister of Justice shall receive a special reply. The High Commission shall decide by ordinance regarding the questions introduced.
  • Paragraph 14.—Finances.—No objections.
  • Paragraph 16.—Payment of requisitions.—The Allied and Associated Governments refer to their previous reply. It is mentioned that the requisitions effected by the German troops in France and Belgium have not been settled.
  • Paragraph 17.—Billeting of troops.—The High Commission shall make efforts to obtain friendly arrangements with the local authorities for the billeting of officers and men. It is pointed out that the German authorities may facilitate these arrangements both by evacuating the population which emigrated to the occupied territories in the course of the war, and by calling upon the general resources of the Empire.
  • Paragraph 18.—Tax exemptions.—The Allied and Associated Governments refer to their previous reply.
  • Paragraph 19.—Duty questions.—The Allied and Associated Governments refer to their previous reply. Concerning the Lorraine-Palatinate frontier the German authorities have already been invited to establish customs posts on that frontier, although it has not yet been officially recognized.
  • Paragraph 20.—Railroads.—The note remitted by the German Delegation calls for a special reply.
  • Paragraph 21.—Telegraph and Mail Service.—The Allied and Associated Governments refer to their previous reply.
  • Paragraph 24.—Orders for military authorities.—The High Commission has full and exclusive competence in the regulation of this question.
  • Paragraph 25.—Persons expelled.
  • Paragraph 28.—Authorities of the Governments of the federated States.
  • Paragraph 29.—Functionaries.
  • Paragraph 32.—Requisitions.—The Allied and Associated Governments refer to their previous reply and to paragraph 4 of the present reply.

The occupied territories must aid in the feeding and other needs of the troops of occupation. The German Government should, in order to prevent the requisitioning of supplies and fodder, examine the participation of the resources of the entire Empire with a view to satisfying the needs of the troops of occupation.

[Page 630]

special questions

Preparatory labors of the High Commission.—The Commission on Rhineland territories, operating at the present time, is preparing the labors of the High Commission which shall commence operation only on the entry into force of the Peace Treaty. It may enter into unofficial relations with the Empire Commissioner.
Distribution of Coal.—A special reply has been addressed to the German Government on this question.

II.—Reply to the Letter of the German Peace Delegation Relative to the Installation of the German Imperial High Commissioner

The Interallied Commission on Rhineland territories has constituted a Committee directed, in accord with the American Command, to proceed to a complete revision of the cantonments in Coblenz. The Burgomaster of Coblenz represents German authority.

A personal lodging and office accommodations shall be provided for the German Imperial Commissioner, when those of the High Allied Commissioners shall have been determined. The consent of the Marshal of France, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied and Associated Armies, is not necessary.

III.—Reply to the Note of the German Peace Delegation, A. D. H. J. H. No. 13561, Relative to the Interpretation of the Agreement Concerning the Military Occupation of the Rhenish Territories

1. As regards paragraph 1 of the German note:

“The Allied and Associated Governments agree with the German Government for the interpretation which it proposes. Article 3c of the agreement concerns all the tribunals.”

2. As regards the first alinea of paragraph 2a, there is nothing to add to the text of the memorandum already transmitted.

As regards the second alinea, it is a question of a regulation of detail which shall be the subject of an ulterior examination of the High Commission.

3. Paragraph 3, as well as paragraph 4, cannot be favorably received.

4. As regards paragraph 5:

The officers mentioned in article 4 of the agreements are the officers whose juridical competence is defined by the regulations of the various armies of occupation.
The Allied and Associated Governments have no objections to the trying by the tribunals of the non-occupied parts of Germany of the delinquents already on trial before those tribunals, after the closing of the procedure before the tribunals of the armies of occupation. However, the guilty party must serve his term in the occupied territories if the heaviest condemnation has been pronounced by the Allied or German judiciary tribunals of said territories.

IV. Answer to the German Note Relative to the Control of the Railroads in the Occupied Territories

1. General use of the Railroads.—It is understood that the Allied and Associated authorities shall take all measures so that the railroads be, as the German note asks, in a position to satisfy the economic interests of the occupied territories, in a measure compatible with military exigencies.

2. Organs of transmission of the orders of the High Command.—As it is proposed in the German note, the orders of the Allied High Command shall be transmitted to the railroad administration by a single special Organ.

The Interallied Commission on Field Railroads is competent to fill that function. Subcommissions of the system and the military organs empowered by it to that effect shall facilitate the accomplishment of that task.

The Commission has with it a German delegate to whom instructions are transmitted.

That Organization corresponds to the organization of the Allied railroads in time of peace.

The Interallied subcommissions on field railroads act as the Linien Kommandantur considered by the German note.

3. Civil administration of railroads.—It is understood that the civil administration of railroads shall be exercised by the German authorities with the reservations provided for by Article 10 of the agreement of June 28.

4. Exploitation.—With the same reservation, it is understood that the German authorities shall have full liberty as far as the exploitation of the systems is concerned. However, in execution of alinea 2 of article 10, the Commission of Interallied Railroads shall be in a position to control at any time that the necessary personnel and matériel for the upkeep and the exploitation of all lines of communication are maintained in full in the occupied territories.

5. Orders and regulations.—It is understood, as the German note requests, that the orders and regulations concerning the railroads and emanating from the Command shall be maintained by decree of the [Page 632] High Commission, in conformity with article 3 of the agreement, or by express order of the High Military Command for the military needs, in conformity with article 10.

6. Subordination of the personnel to the orders of the Commander-in-Chief.—The German regulations concerning the situation of the employees and workmen of the railroads, as well as their professional representation and the committees, shall be made valid under the reservation of the right of previous examination by the Interallied High Commission, as it was provided for all the laws and regulations in occupied territories. However, the Interallied Commission on field railroads, in application of alinea 1 of article 10, and to insure the execution of the orders of the High Command can pronounce or cause on the part of the German authorities any useful sanctions. It pertains, however, to the High Commission, in execution of Article 5 of the agreement, to pronounce the revocations and expulsions which are recognized as necessary.

It shall notably be necessary to report without delay to the Interallied Commission on Field Railways all incidents of a nature to disturb the exploitation such as: agitation among the personnel, attempts to strike, etc.

7. German language.—It is understood that the German language shall remain the official language for the needs of the German civil services. For military orders, the rules now in force shall be followed.

The documents informing the public of the schedules for passenger trains and the conditions for the transportation of merchandise shall be drawn up in three languages: French, English and German.

8. Western Europe Time.—That question shall be regulated later by the High Commission after examination of the High Command’s proposals by reason of the eventual necessities of troop movements concerning the ensemble of the systems in Allied and in occupied countries.

9. Full Maintenance of the personnel and material.—Article 10 provides formally that by reason of military needs and the necessity of eventual troop movements, the material and the personnel must be maintained in full for the upkeep and the exploitation of all the lines of communication in the occupied territories.

The request contained in the German notes and tending to make use of the material to remedy the shortage of cars and locomotives in the non-occupied territories cannot be accepted.

Changes in personnel are subordinated to the observation of the general rules edicted [sic] on the subject by the High Commission for the other administrative personnel of the other occupied territories.

10. Free transportation of troops.—That question shall be the subject of the regulations by the High Commission upon proposals of the High Command.

[Page 633]

The exemption shall apply to transportation with a regular order of transportation, including the transportation of the families of the soldiers and officers and that of the men on leave belonging to the corps of occupation, in conformity with the regulations of the various Allied Armies.

11. Responsibility of the railroad administration as regards transportation.—The responsibility of the German administrations as regards transportation cannot be affected by the fact that the transportation is made free of charge, since the agreement of June 28, 1918 (June 25, 1916?), is in itself a contract.

That rule, however, is that observed in similar cases on the Allied systems in spite of the reductions and special tariffs of military transportation.

12. Use of the telephone and telegraph installation and requisitioned buildings.—The High Command shall examine, according to the request contained in the German note, how the utilization of the lines and buildings now requisitioned can be regulated for the best of the interests of the civil service and the needs of the armies of occupation.

13. Rectification of frontiers.—Special agreements shall be made as requested in the German note.

V—Answer to the German Note Relative to the Navigation System in the Occupied Territories

The Allied and Associated Governments refer to their answer to the German note relative to railroads.

Use of waterways.—It is understood that the military authorities shall take the necessary measures so that the use of the waterways of military needs disturb as little as possible the economic traffic.
Transmission of the orders of the High Command.—As the German note requests, a single organ shall be charged with the transmission of the orders of the High Command. The Interallied Commission on Navigation shall be charged with that function. Its functioning and its organs are similar to those provided for the Interallied Commission on field railroads.
Navigation personnel.—Same remarks as for the railroad personnel.
Restrictions enacted concerning the circulation of merchandise between the left and the right banks of the Rhine.—It is understood that these restrictions are abolished.
Function of the Navigation Commission.—It is understood that the Navigation Commission shall not have to intervene in the economic [Page 634] traffic. However, it shall have to supervise the execution of the provisions of article 10 of the agreement.
Use of telegraph and telephone line.—Same remarks as for the lines affected to [set apart for] the railroad service.

Appendix C to HD–69

Memorandum Submitted by the British Delegation

Amended Version*

By the terms of the Armistice Convention signed at Treves in January, 1919,19 Germany agreed to place the whole German Merchant Fleet under the control and under the flags of the Allied Powers.

The Johann-Burchard, William Oswald’, Brawischweig, Denderah and Nassau have not been delivered. All except the Oswald are ready for sea. Continued demands have been made by the Allied Naval Armistice Commission to the President of the German Armistice Commission to surrender these vessels. These demands were simply ignored and remained unanswered until quite recently when Admiral Goette stated that, the ships having been sold in 1915–1916 by the Hamburg Amerika line and Rosmos Line to Dutch Shipping Companies were consequently not German but Dutch ships.

In fact, these ships were without question, originally built for German companies and were German property. Their transfer admittedly did not take place until considerably after the outbreak of hostilities. The Germans as well as the Dutch were already well aware that this transfer was invalid, as the ships have not in fact dared to put out to sea in view of the certainty of their capture by the Allies.

The impression gained by the naval officer who inspected the vessels on behalf of the Interallied Armistice Commission is that the Germans fully realised that the ships would have to be surrendered under the Peace Treaty. They hoped to be able to evade their obligation by supporting the Dutch claim and handing over the ships to the Dutch before the ratification of the Treaty of Peace.

The German contention, if accepted, would amount to the recognition of the right to transfer the property in these belligerent vessels to a neutral after the outbreak of hostilities. It is a contention which is not accepted by the Allied Powers.

[Page 635]

The substance of the Allied view was brought to the attention of the Neutral Governments by a circular dated November 7th, 1918, issued by the British Government, in which it was recalled that no transfer of enemy tonnage during or after the War to neutral flags or ownership would, except by special consent be recognised before the final conclusion of Peace.

This view has been finally endorsed and confirmed by all the Allied and Associated Powers in virtue of the express stipulation of the Treaty of Peace. Under the head of Reparations, Annex 3, Section 7, it is provided that:—

“Germany agrees to take any measures that may be indicated to her by the Reparations Commission for obtaining full title to the property in all ships which have during the war been transferred, or are in process of transfer to neutral flags without the consent of the Allied and Associated Powers.”

It is thus definitely established by common agreement between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany that German vessels transferred to a neutral flag during the war without Allied consent must be regarded as German vessels. The obligation on the part of the German Government to deliver them up under the terms of the Armistice cannot therefore be called in question. The Germans are perfectly well aware of this and they are only having recourse to a transparent subterfuge in order to escape the obligations imposed upon them by the Armistice and by the Peace Treaty to hand over the vessels.

In these circumstances it is suggested that instructions be given to the Armistice Commission to require the German Government to hand over the ships without further delay.

Appendix D to HD–69


[Draft Prepared by the American Delegation]

“It is agreed that the Commission on Polish Affairs should be instructed to consider Articles 100 to 104 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany regarding the establishment of the Free City of Dantzig, and to report at the earliest possible moment as to the measures which should be taken to assure the prompt execution of these clauses when the Treaty comes into force.”

[Page 636]

Appendix E to HD–69

Note by the British Delegation

Sale by the German Government to Sweden of Aerial Material

On August 22nd [23rd] Marshal Foch, acting under the instructions of the Supreme Council, sent a telegram20 to General Nudant for transmission to the German Government, forbidding the sale or export of German aircraft and aircraft material.

On September 30th [29th] as a result of further infringements of the Air Clauses of the Peace Treaty, the Supreme Council instructed Marshal Foch to send a further telegram to the same effect, adding that the German Government would be required to hand over to the Allies the proceeds of all sales already made.21 This telegram was despatched on the same date.

Information has now been received to the effect that early in September a Swede by the name of Mr. Ranft was arranging to purchase 30 aeroplanes in Germany and was placing other orders for aircraft in Germany, also that the Autogesellschaft in Berlin had offered the Swedish Army two German aeroplanes as a gift and had requested permission for aeroplanes to be flown from Germany to Stockholm.

In order to put a stop to these transactions and to prevent further infringements of the Air Clauses the following resolution is proposed.

“That the German Government shall be required to provide the President of the Interallied Aeronautical Commission of Control with full particulars of all aircraft and aircraft material sold or exported since the Armistice, and that the value of this material shall be estimated by the President of the Interallied Aeronautical Commission of Control, and shall be paid to him by January 31st, 1920.”
“That Marshal Foch shall be instructed to enquire into Mr. Ranft’s transactions and the reported gift of two aeroplanes to the Swedish Army and shall also request the German Government to forward a statement with regard to these matters”.

Appendix F to HD–69

peace conference commission
on international labor legislation

From: General Secretary of the Commission on International Labor Legislation.

[Page 637]

To: The Ambassador of France, General Secretary of the Peace Conference.

The representatives of the French labor organizations insist that Luxembourg be invited to take part in the International Labor Conference at Washington.

Luxembourg is not one of the 32 States who are original members of the League of Nations, nor one of the thirteen who have been invited to agree with the pact.

As regards the International organization of labor, Luxembourg is therefore in the same situation as Finland regarding which the Supreme Council took a decision on October 2nd,22 a decision similar to that already adopted for Germany and Austria and which seems applicable to all the neutrals not included in the list of the 13 nations invited to agree to the pact.

I therefore think that the Government of the United States, in conformity with that decision, will not refuse to give the visa on the passports of the eventual delegates from Luxembourg, and that, should they go, the Washington Conference will decide on their admission at the same time as that of Germany, Austria and Finland.

I am not in a position to inform the Government of Luxembourg of the general decision of the Supreme Council, above mentioned, and I can only ask you to inform that Government, if it has not already been done.

Arthur Fontaine
  1. Minute 7, pp. 539, 542.
  2. Minute 8, p. 543.
  3. The resolution issued later reads as follows: “It was further decided that M. Loucheur and Colonel Logan should be requested to alter the text of the resolution of the 10th October, respecting the despatch to Budapest of a Sub-Committee under the organization committee of the Reparation Commission, in such a manner as to provide that representatives of Poland, Czecho-Slovakia, the Serb-Croat-Slovene State on this Sub-Committee, should be placed on an equal footing with the Roumanian representative. The text as altered should be approved by the British and Italian Delegation.” (Paris Peace Conf. 180.03502/69.)
  4. Appendix C to HD–68, p. 586.
  5. Appendix B to HD–68, p. 583.
  6. Ante, p. 578.
  7. HD–58, minute 2, p. 300.
  8. HD–36, minute 2, vol. vii, p. 783.
  9. HD–27, minute 7, vol. vii, p. 625.
  10. Post, p. 626.
  11. Appendix A to HD–11, vol. vii p. 212.
  12. Ibid, p. 218.
  13. Agreement with regard to the military occupation of the Territories of the Rhine, signed at Versailles, June 28, 1919, Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–1923, vol. iii, p. 3524.
  14. Post, p. 623.
  15. This statement does not accompany the minutes in the Department files.
  16. Appendix A to HD–11, vol. vii, p. 227.
  17. Reichs-Gesetzblatt, 1919, No. 52, p. 261.
  18. Appendix II to CF–61, vol. vi, p. 330.
  19. The last paragraph of the original version has been altered. [Footnote in the original.]
  20. Vol. ii, p. 11.
  21. Appendix C to HD–37, vol. vii, p. 823.
  22. HD–63, minute 2, p. 430.
  23. HD–65, minute 6, p. 489.