Learn about the beta

Section XIII.—Heligoland (Art. 115)

Article 115.

The fortifications, military establishments, and harbours of the Islands of Heligoland and Dune shall be destroyed under the supervision of the Principal Allied Governments by German labour and at the expense of Germany within a period to be determined by the said Governments.

[Page 272]

The term “harbours” shall include the north-east mole, the west wall, the outer and inner breakwaters and reclaimed land within them, and all naval and military works, fortifications and buildings, constructed or under construction, between lines connecting the following positions taken from the British Admiralty chart No. 126 of April 19, 1918:

(a) lat. 54° 10ʹ 40ʺN.; long. 7° 53ʹ 39ʺE.;
(b) 54° 10ʹ 35ʺN.; 7° 54ʹ 18ʺE.;
(c) 54° 10ʹ 14ʺN.; 7° 54ʹ 00ʺE.;
(d) 54° 10ʹ 17ʺN.; 7° 53ʹ 37ʺE.;
(e) 54° 10ʹ 44ʺN.; 7° 53ʹ 26ʺE.

These fortifications, military establishments and harbours shall not be reconstructed, nor shall any similar works be constructed in future.

Note to III, 115

The island of Heligoland was ceded to Germany by Great Britain under an agreement of July 1,1890 relative to spheres of influence in Africa, which involved the cession of Zanzibar to Great Britain and of Heligoland to Germany (82 British and Foreign State Papers, p. 35). The assent of the British Parliament was given to the cession of Heligoland on August 4, 1890 by 53 & 54 Vict. c. 32

Concerning the destruction of the fortifications, the German delegation asked that measures for protecting the coast and the fishing industry of the island should be continued ( Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vi, 841).

The Allies replied that any naval harbors would be destroyed, but that an Allied commission would decide what must be done about the coast to prevent refortification ( ibid., p. 951). “The Article must accordingly be accepted unconditionally.”

The Conference of Ambassadors appointed a Heligoland subcommission of the Inter-Allied Naval Control Commission, which completed its work and was suppressed by that body on September 3, 1921, the commission itself continuing quarterly inspections of the island until its dissolution on September 30, 1924.