Chapter II.—Government of the territory of the Saar Basin (16 to 33)
The Government of the territory of the Saar Basin shall be entrusted to a Commission representing the League of Nations. This Commission shall sit in the territory of the Saar Basin.
Text of May 7:
The Government of the territory of the Saar Basin will be entrusted to a Commission representing the League of Nations.
The Governing Commission provided for by paragraph 16 shall consist of five members chosen by the Council of the League of Nations, and will include one citizen of France, one native inhabitant of the Saar Basin, not a citizen of France, and three members belonging to three countries other than France or Germany.
The members of the Governing Commission shall be appointed for one year and may be re-appointed. They can be removed by the Council of the League of Nations, which will provide for their replacement.
The members of the Governing Commission will be entitled to a salary which will be fixed by the Council of the League of Nations, and charged on the local revenues.[Page 174]
Note to III, 50, Annex (17)
The French member of the Governing Commission was chairman until his resignation under criticism in 1926. He was succeeded by a Canadian and two Englishmen.
The salary expense of the five members of the Governing Commission rose to 175,000 francs a year.
The Chairman of the Governing Commission shall be appointed for one year from among the members of the Commission by the Council of the League of Nations and may be re-appointed.
The Chairman will act as the executive of the Commission.
Within the territory of the Saar Basin the Governing Commission shall have all the powers of government hitherto belonging to the German Empire, Prussia, or Bavaria, including the appointment and dismissal of officials, and the creation of such administrative and representative bodies as it may deem necessary.
It shall have full powers to administer and operate the railways, canals and the different public services.
Its decisions shall be taken by a majority.
Germany will place at the disposal of the Governing Commission all official documents and archives under the control of Germany, of any German State, or of any local authority, which relate to the territory of the Saar Basin or to the rights of the inhabitants thereof.
It will be the duty of the Governing Commission to ensure, by such means and under such conditions as it may deem suitable, the protection abroad of the interests of the inhabitants of the territory of the Saar Basin.
The Governing Commission shall have the full right of user of all property, other than mines, belonging, either in public or in private domain, to the Government of the German Empire, or the Government of any German State, in the territory of the Saar Basin.[Page 175]
As regards the railways an equitable apportionment of rolling stock shall be made by a mixed Commission on which the Government of the territory of the Saar Basin and the German railways will be represented.
Persons, goods, vessels, carriages, wagons and mails coming from or going to the Saar Basin shall enjoy all the rights and privileges relating to transit and transport which are specified in the provisions of Part XII (Ports, Waterways and Railways) of the present Treaty.
Text of May 7:
The Governing Commission shall have the full right of user of all property, other than mines, belonging, both in public and in private domain, to the Imperial German Government, or the Government of any German State, in the territory of the Saar Basin.
As regards the railways an equitable apportionment of rolling stock shall be made by a mixed Commission on which the Government of the territory of the Saar Basin and the German railways are represented.
The laws and regulations in force on November 11, 1918, in the territory of the Saar Basin (except those enacted in consequence of the state of war) shall continue to apply.
If, for general reasons or to bring these laws and regulations into accord with the provisions of the present Treaty, it is necessary to introduce modifications, these shall be decided on, and put into effect by the Governing Commission, after consultation with the elected representatives of the inhabitants in such a manner as the Commission may determine.
No modification may be made in the legal régime for the exploitation of the mines, provided for in paragraph 12, without the French State being previously consulted, unless such modification results from a general regulation respecting labour adopted by the League of Nations.
In fixing the conditions and hours of labour for men, women and children, the Governing Commission is to take into consideration the wishes expressed by the local labour organisations, as well as the principles adopted by the League of Nations.
Subject to the provisions of paragraph 4, no rights of the inhabitants of the Saar Basin acquired or in process of acquisition [Page 176]at the date of the coming into force of this Treaty, in respect of any insurance system of Germany or in respect of any pension of any kind, are affected by any of the provisions of the present Treaty.
Germany and the Government of the territory of the Saar Basin will preserve and continue all of the aforesaid rights.
Note to III, 50, Annex (24)
A protocol between Germany and the Governing Commission for the application of the treaty of peace to the Saar Basin, especially dealing with the settlement and allocation of various financial accounts of the numerous social and other services was signed at Berlin June 3, 1921 (5 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 189). These arrangements were supplemented by a second protocol signed June 21 and August 26, 1922 (27 ibid., p. 250). In the closing of accounts after the plebiscite of January 13, 1935 agreements between France and Germany with respect to social insurance and French insurance companies operating in the Saar Basin were concluded at Basel on February 11, 1935 (Reichsgesetzblatt, 1935, ii, 153, 155).
The civil and criminal courts existing in the territory of the Saar Basin shall continue.
A civil and criminal court will be established by the Governing Commission to hear appeals from the decisions of the said courts and to decide matters for which these courts are not competent.
The Governing Commission will be responsible for settling the organisation and jurisdiction of the said court.
Justice will be rendered in the name of the Governing Commission.
The Governing Commission will alone have the power of levying taxes and dues in the territory of the Saar Basin.
These taxes and dues will be exclusively applied to the needs of the territory.
The fiscal system existing on November 11, 1918, will be maintained as far as possible, and no new tax except customs duties may be imposed without previously consulting the elected representatives of the inhabitants.
The present stipulations will not affect the existing nationality of the inhabitants of the territory of the Saar Basin.[Page 177]
No hindrance shall be placed in the way of those who wish to acquire a different nationality, but in such case the acquisition of the new nationality will involve the loss of any other.
Under the control of the Governing Commission the inhabitants will retain their local assemblies, their religious liberties, their schools and their language.
The right of voting will not be exercised for any assemblies other than the local assemblies, and will belong to every inhabitant over the age of twenty years, without distinction of sex.
Any of the inhabitants of the Saar Basin who may desire to leave the territory will have full liberty to retain in it their immovable property or to sell it at fair prices, and to remove their movable property free of any charges.
There will be no military service, whether compulsory or voluntary, in the territory of the Saar Basin, and the construction of fortifications therein is forbidden.
Only a local gendarmerie for the maintenance of order may be established.
It will be the duty of the Governing Commission to provide in all cases for the protection of persons and property in the Saar Basin.
The territory of the Saar Basin as defined by Article 48 of the present Treaty shall be subjected to the French customs régime. The receipts from the customs duties on goods intended for local consumption shall be included in the budget of the said territory after deduction of all costs of collection.
No export tax shall be imposed upon metallurgical products or coal exported from the said territory to Germany, nor upon German exports for the use of the industries of the territory of the Saar Basin.
Natural or manufactured products originating in the Basin in transit over German territory and, similarly, German products in transit over the territory of the Basin shall be free of all customs duties.[Page 178]
Products which both originate in and pass from the Basin into Germany shall be free of import duties for a period of five years from the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty, and during the same period articles imported from Germany into the territory of the Basin for local consumption shall likewise be free of import duties.
During these five years the French Government reserves to itself the right of limiting to the annual average of the quantities imported into Alsace-Lorraine and France in the years 1911 to 1913 the quantities which may be sent into France of all articles coming from the Basin which include raw materials and semi-manufactured goods imported duty free from Germany. Such average shall be determined after reference to all available official information and statistics.
Note to III, 50, Annex (31)
The French customs régime was applied to the Saar-German frontier on January 10, 1925.
An agreement for the exchange of goods between Germany and the Saar territory was concluded between France and Germany at Paris August 5, 1926 (73 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 105) and another concerning the exchange of products of certain German and Saar industries was concluded at Berlin November 6, 1926 (62 ibid., p. 155). Both were extended until the Franco-German treaty of commerce signed at Paris August 17, 1927 entered into force.
No prohibition or restriction shall be imposed upon the circulation of French money in the territory of the Saar Basin.
The French State shall have the right to use French money in all purchases, payments and contracts connected with the exploitation of the mines or their accessories and subsidiaries.
Note to III, 50, Annex (32)
Until June 1, 1923 German money was in circulation, but on account of its depreciation the French franc was made the sole legal currency on that date.
The Governing Commission shall have power to decide all questions arising from the interpretation of the preceding provisions.
France and Germany agree that any dispute involving a difference [Page 179]of opinion as to the interpretation of the said provisions shall in the same way be submitted to the Governing Commission, and the decision of a majority of the Commission shall be binding on both countries.