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Part IV.—German Rights and Interests Outside Germany

[The vertical rule indicates treaty text.]

Notes to Part IV, Articles 118 to 158

The treaty restoring friendly relations between the United States and Germany signed at Berlin August 25, 1921 and in force on November 11, 1921 with retroactive effect to July 2, 1921 stipulates that “Germany undertakes to accord to the United States and the United States shall have and enjoy … all the rights and advantages” stipulated for its benefit by this part of this treaty, “notwithstanding the fact that such treaty has not been ratified by the United States”. The rights and advantages of nationals of the United States specified in the joint resolution of Congress approved July 2, 1921 (p. 18) were specifically mentioned in an understanding included in the Senate’s resolution of advice and consent to ratification of October 18, 1921. The Senate in that resolution made a further condition “that the United States shall not be represented or participate in any body, agency or commission, nor shall any person represent the United States as a member of any body, agency or commission in which the United States is authorized to participate by this Treaty, unless and until an Act of the Congress of the United States shall provide for such representation or participation.”

This section is, ipsissimis verbis, an annex, technically a schedule, of the treaty restoring friendly relations as printed by the Department of State in Treaty Series 658, but not as printed in 42 Stat. 1939.

Article 118.

In territory outside her European frontiers as fixed by the present Treaty, Germany renounces all rights, titles and privileges whatever in or over territory which belonged to her or to her allies, and all rights, titles and privileges whatever their origin which she held as against the Allied and Associated Powers.

Germany hereby undertakes to recognise and to conform to the measures which may be taken now or in the future by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, in agreement where necessary with third Powers, in order to carry the above stipulation into effect.

In particular Germany declares her acceptance of the following Articles relating to certain special subjects.

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Note to IV, 118

The principle of article 118 that Germany should have “no rights of any sort outside of its territories in Europe” would, contended the German delegation, make it impossible for Germany to continue to exist (Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vi, 845). Germany needed shipping for the importation of raw materials and food, but was required to hand over its overseas fleet which happened to be in every port at the outbreak of war. Furthermore, by refusing to recognize the decisions of German prize courts or German claims for damages, the Allies were making it difficult for Germany to reconstitute a merchant marine.

Germany’s cables were to be taken as reparation. German concessions in China, Siam, Liberia, Morocco, Egypt, Russia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey were to be liquidated. German debtors would have to pay at the pre-war rate of exchange, but German creditors were forced to renounce the amounts due them because these were to be credited against reparation. Germans resident abroad were to be subjected to “an intolerable supervision and uncertainty”.

The German delegation could not reconcile these provisions with “impartial justice”. They would bring great advantage to the foreign merchant competing with the Germans, but would do nothing toward repairing the damage which Germany had undertaken to make good. The German people consequently believed that the Allies intended to suppress German commercial competition. Therefore, the German delegation placed great stress on the necessity for “complete reciprocity and freedom of action” to be assured to Germany.

To those arguments of the German delegation the Allied and Associated Powers on June 16, 1919 replied by citing German evidence concerning the colonial administration., They felt the peace of the world required protection “against a military imperialism, which sought to establish bases whence it could pursue a policy of interference and intimidation” (ibid., p. 951).