Section III.—Air clauses (Art. 198 to 202)

Article 198.

The armed forces of Germany must not include any military or naval air forces.

Germany may, during a period not extending beyond October 1, 1919, maintain a maximum number of one hundred seaplanes or flying boats, which shall be exclusively employed in searching for submarine mines, shall be furnished with the necessary equipment for this purpose, and shall in no case carry arms, munitions or bombs of any nature whatever.

In addition to the engines installed in the seaplanes or flying boats above mentioned, one spare engine may be provided for each engine of each of these craft.

No dirigible shall be kept.

Note to V, 198

Germany was ready to submit to any limitation of aerial navigation to which all members of the League of Nations were subjected (Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vi, 821). The [Page 352] German delegation proposed “immediate verbal negotiations” on all questions relating to limitation of armaments. Germany was prepared to do everything in its power to preserve humanity from another war, and “it will not be its fault if the nations are deceived in this hope”.

By a note of May 11, 1921 Germany undertook to accept without reservation such definitions as the Allied Powers should establish to distinguish civil aviation from the military aviation prohibited by this article. The rules themselves were first approved by the Conference of Ambassadors on June 8, 1921 and in a revised form on June 12, 1925.

The Conference of Ambassadors on May 22, 1926 effected an agreement with the German Government with a view to the execution of this article (58 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 331). The agreement was a phase of the new relationships resulting from the Locarno settlement and was concluded in the interval between March and September 1926, when the League of Nations Assembly was completing the arrangements which brought the Locarno regime into force. The agreement itself came into force on August 9, 1926 during that interval. The withdrawal of the Aeronautical Committee of Guaranty and the abolition of the restrictions which it had been supervising were approved by the Belgian, British, French, Italian, and Japanese Governments. Germany confirmed the fact that “the armed forces of Germany will not include any military or naval air forces”. The detailed measures were calculated to permit the development of civil aviation. In the six years from January 1, 1926 a maximum of 36 members of the Reichswehr or the navy might hold pilot licenses; a total of 50 police officers might hold licenses, but the police were not to possess aircraft; full lists of factories, engines, pilots and organizations, associations, companies, or individuals using or owning aircraft were to be kept and placed at the disposal of the League of Nations in conformity with article 213 of the treaty of peace. One of the exchanges of notes in the agreement permitted the German Government, in the zone defined in article 42 of the treaty of peace, to establish four airports at Cologne, Frankfort on the Main, and at two other points. In its assent Germany held that the right of investigation prescribed by article 213 of the treaty of peace did not apply to articles 42 and 43.

By Ordinance No. 309, Coblenz, August 17, 1926, the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission regulated the flight of aircraft in the occupied territories (Official Gazette, 1926, parts 1–9, p. 3).

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On March 9, 1935 it was announced by the National Socialist regime in Germany that a national air force had come into existence as of March 1.

The long negotiations between June 1934 and March 1936 for a “European settlement”, which centered around the idea of an “eastern Locarno”, included a project for a general air pact which in the end amounted to nothing. Germany favored and objected to it as a proposal and in detail as suited the convenience of the moment (see p. 151 ff.).

Article 199.

Within two months from the coming into force of the present Treaty the personnel of air forces on the rolls of the German land and sea forces shall be demobilised. Up to October 1, 1919, however, Germany may keep and maintain a total number of one thousand men, including officers, for the whole of the cadres and personnel, flying and non-flying, of all formations and establishments.

Article 200.

Until the complete evacuation of German territory by the Allied and Associated troops, the aircraft of the Allied and Associated -Powers shall enjoy in Germany freedom of passage through the air, freedom of transit and of landing.

Article 201.

During the six months following the coming into force of the present Treaty, the manufacture and importation of aircraft, parts of aircraft, engines for aircraft, and parts of engines for aircraft, shall be forbidden in all German territory.

Article 202.

On the coming into force of the present Treaty, all military and naval aeronautical material, except the machines mentioned in the second and third paragraphs of Article 198, must be delivered to the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers.

Delivery must be effected at such places as the said Governments may select, and must be completed within three months.

In particular, this material will include all items under the following heads which are or have been in use or were designed for warlike purposes:

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Complete aeroplanes and seaplanes, as well as those being manufactured, repaired or assembled.

Dirigibles able to take the air, being manufactured, repaired or assembled.

Plant for the manufacture of hydrogen.

Dirigible sheds and shelters of every kind for aircraft.

Pending their delivery, dirigibles will, at the expense of Germany, be maintained inflated with hydrogen; the plant for the manufacture of hydrogen, as well as the sheds for dirigibles, may, at the discretion of the said Powers, be left to Germany until the time when the dirigibles are handed over.

Engines for aircraft.

Nacelles and fuselages.

Armament (guns, machine guns, light machine guns, bomb-dropping apparatus, torpedo-dropping apparatus, synchronization apparatus, aiming apparatus).

Munitions (cartridges, shells, bombs loaded or unloaded, stocks of explosives or of material for their manufacture).

Instruments for use on aircraft.

Wireless apparatus and photographic or cinematograph apparatus for use on aircraft.

Component parts of any of the items under the preceding heads.

The material referred to above shall not be removed without special permission from the said Governments.

Note to V, 202

A report to the Supreme War Council dated September 5, 1919, and adopted September 29, provided for the disposition of the matériel mentioned in this article. The major part of the matériel involved was divided in the following proportions: France 30 per cent., Great Britain 30 per cent., United States 15 per cent., Italy 15 per cent., Japan 5 per cent., Belgium 5 per cent.

The Conference of Ambassadors on May 29, 1920 ruled that unused aeronautical matériel which was sold would not be credited on reparation account.

In March 1923 the German Government was denied credit for payments made to the Inter-Allied Air Commission of Control totaling 75,000,000 paper marks, derived from the sale of matériel found to be illegally exported.

The expenses of the Commissions of Control were included in the expenses of the armies of occupation until October 18, 1921. In the earlier days the expenses were naturally highest, and there were [Page 355] arrears when the Experts’ (Dawes) Plan entered into force on September 1, 1924. The Finance Ministers’ Agreement of January 14, 1925 dealt with those arrears in articles 19 and 21, and in article 1, C, fixed the total at 8,000,000 gold marks for the year beginning September 1, 1924.

On February 1, 1922 the Conference of Ambassadors decided “to take note that Germany may be considered as having completely fulfilled the obligations imposed upon it by Article 202”. On the expiration of three months from February 5, 1922 Germany was permitted to resume the manufacture, exportation, and importation of civil aeronautical matériel, as defined for the purposes of article 198.

Seven dirigibles were destroyed by German authorities on June 23 and July 26, 1919 instead of being delivered. By a protocol of June 30, 1921 (Foreign Relations, 1921, ii, 59) between the Prinicpal Allied and Associated Powers and Germany, two dirigibles in good airworthy condition were to be delivered, and the plans of all the destroyed craft were to be sent to the Inter-Allied Aeronautic Commission of Control to determine their value. The protocol further provided:

“The Allied and Associated Powers shall proceed to divide among themselves this sum which the German Government undertakes to pay them in gold marks. The German Government, nevertheless, shall have the right with respect to each one of the Allied and Associated Powers, but on condition that such Power consent thereto, to substitute, under conditions accepted by the Power concerned, instead of the payment in cash, the delivery either of a civil type of dirigible to be constructed or any aeronautical material which the said Power may indicate to the German Government.”

On December 16, 1921 the Conference of Ambassadors approved a request of the United States Government to have constructed in Germany at Friedrichshafen a dirigible of about 70,000 cubic meters before the factory was destroyed. The value involved was not part of reparation.

The German Government was obligated by a decision of the Conference of Ambassadors taken on May 10, 1922 to pay 9,550,000 gold marks as compensation for the five dirigibles destroyed in 1919 and not replaced. That amount, in gold marks, was divided as follows: United States 3,031,665; Italy 1,031,667; Great Britain 1,631,667; France 741,667; Japan 1,581,667; Belgium 1,531,667.