Section V.—General articles (Art. 211 to 213)

Article 211.

After the expiration of a period of three months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, the German laws must have been modified and shall be maintained by the German Government in conformity with this Part of the present Treaty.

Within the same period all the administrative or other measures relating to the execution of this Part of the Treaty must have been taken.

Article 212.

The following portions of the Armistice of November 11, 1918: Article VI, the first two and the sixth and seventh paragraphs of Article VII; Article IX; Clauses I, II and V of Annex n° 2, and the Protocol, dated April 4, 1919, supplementing the Armistice of November 11, 1918, remain in force so far as they are not inconsistent with the above stipulations.

Note to V, 212

The portions of the armistice remaining in force in accordance with this article read (Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–23, iii, 3308, 3309, 3313, 3314, 3327):

“VI. In all territories evacuated by the enemy, all evacuation of the inhabitants shall be forbidden; neither damage nor harm shall be done to the persons or property of the inhabitants.

[Page 360]

“No person shall be prosecuted for having taken part in any military measures previous to the signing of the armistice.

“No destruction of any kind shall be committed.

“Military establishments of all kinds shall be delivered intact, as well as military stores of food, munitions, and equipment, which shall not have been removed during the periods fixed for evacuation.

“Stores of food of all kinds for the civil population, cattle, etc., shall be left in situ.

“No measure of a general or official character shall be taken which would have as a consequence the depreciation of industrial establishments or a reduction of their personnel.

“VII. Roads and means of communication of every kind, railroads, waterways, roads, bridges, telegraphs, telephones, etc., shall be in no manner impaired.

“All civil and military personnel at present employed on them shall remain.

. . . . . . .

“Further, the necessary working material in the territories on the left bank of the Rhine shall be left in situ.

“All stores of coal and material for upkeep of permanent way, signals, and repair shops, shall be left in situ and kept in an efficient state by Germany, so far as the working of the means of communication on the left bank of the Rhine is concerned.

. . . . . . .

“XI. Sick and wounded who can not be removed from territory evacuated by the German forces shall be cared for by German personnel, who will be left on the spot with the necessary material.

Annex 2

conditions relating to the means of communication (railways, waterways, roads, river and sea ports, and telegraphic and telephonic communications).

“I. All lines of communication as far as the Rhine, inclusive, or comprised, on the right bank of this river, within the bridgeheads occupied by the allied armies will be placed under the supreme and absolute authority of the commander in chief of the allied armies, who will have the right to take any measure he may think necessary to assure their occupation and use. All documents relative to communications shall be held ready for transmission to him.

[Page 361]

“II. All the material and all the civil and military personnel at present employed for the maintenance and working of all lines of communication are to be maintained in their entirety upon these lines in all territories evacuated by the German troops.

“All supplementary material necessary for the upkeep of these lines of communication in the districts on the left bank of the Rhine will be supplied by the German Government throughout the duration of the armistice.

. . . . . . .

“V. Telegraphic and telephonic communications. All telegraphs, telephones, and fixed wireless telegraph stations are to be handed over to the allied armies, with all the civil and military personnel and all their material, including all stores on the left bank of the Rhine.

“Supplementary stores necessary for the upkeep of the system are to be supplied throughout the duration of the armistice by the German Government, as and when required.

“The commander in chief of the allied armies will place this system under military supervision and will insure its control, and will make all changes and substitutions in personnel which he may think necessary.

“He will send back to the German Army all the military personnel who are not in his judgment necessary for the working and upkeep of the system.

“All plans of the German telegraphic and telephonic systems shall be handed over to the commander in chief of the allied armies.


“Article 16 of the armistice of November 11, 1918, imposes on Germany the obligation of allowing the passage of allied forces via Danzig, and, in consequence, according to the view of the Allies, that of General Haller’s troops.

“The German Government has proposed new means of transportation, viz:

  • “1. From Stettin, via Kreuz toward Posen and Warsaw.
  • “2. From Pillau-Königsberg and Memel, via Korschen-Lyck-Grajewo.
  • “3. By Coblenz-Giessen-Cassel-Halle-Eilenburg and by Frank-furt-on-the-Main-Bebra-Erfurt–Leipzig-Eilenburg, thence by Kottbus, Lissa, and Kalisch.

[Page 362]

“The German Government guarantees the absolute security of these methods of transportation. In addition, measures will be taken to insure that the troops passing through German territory avoid everything which might provoke unrest among the population.

“The transportation of the troops will commence about April 15, and will continue for about two months.

“The Polish troops which are to be transported are destined for the maintenance of order in accordance with article 16 of the armistice of November 11, 1918.

“The execution of the transportation will be carried out as shown in the annex to this protocol [not reprinted here].

“In the event of the employment of these new methods of transportation proposed by the German Government leading to serious difficulties, which the German Government after having been warned by the Allied and Associated Governments, was not in a position to overcome, Marshal Foch, commanding in chief the Allied armies, reserves the right of having recourse to the transportation allowed for in article 16 of the armistice of November 11, 1918, under conditions and guaranties to be fixed by the permanent International Armistice Commission at Spa.”

Pursuant to this article and articles 3 and 10 of the agreement with regard to the military occupation of the territories of the Rhine signed at Versailles June 28, 1919, the Inter-Allied High Commission established the Inter-Allied Rhineland Navigation Commission by its Ordinance No. 17, Coblenz, April 1, 1920 (Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission, Official Gazette, 1920, parts IV and V, p. 27).

Article 213.

So long as the present Treaty remains in force, Germany undertakes to give every facility for any investigation which the Council of the League of Nations, acting if need be by a majority vote, may consider necessary.

Note to V, 213

The Council of the League of Nations adopted a scheme of organization with a view to the exercise of the right conferred upon it by article 213 on September 27, 1924 (League of Nations, Official Journal, 1924, pp. 1592, 1658). This scheme was prepared in preparation for the assumption of duties anticipated by the dissolution of the Naval Inter-Allied Commission of Control, article 209 of the treaty, which occurred on September 30, 1924.

[Page 363]

By the scheme of organization, which applied equally to the similar duties under the treaties of peace with Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungary, any individual member of the Council and any government member of the League of Nations could communicate to the Secretary-General, for consideration by the Council, any problems or information which called for exercise of the right of investigation. The Permanent Advisory Committee for Military, Naval, and Air Questions, provided for in article 9 of the Covenant of the League of Nations and which consisted of active officers designated by the states members of the Council, was made responsible for preparing the organization of any investigations which the Council might decide upon. This commission was charged with submitting to the Council for approval each year a program of the investigations it recommended. A commission of investigation appointed from a list of experts qualified for the particular purpose was to undertake any inquiry decided upon. Any local investigation was to be carried out by at least three experts of different nationalities. By a resolution of March 14, 1925 commissions of investigation were invested with extensive rights of entry and search and with full diplomatic privileges and immunities for the discharge of their duties (ibid., 1925, p. 610). On June 10, 1925 the Council addressed to the Austrian. Bulgarian, Hungarian, and German Governments a letter expressing its confidence that they would afford facilities for any investigation found to be necessary (ibid., p. 863); but the Governments did not vouchsafe the desired assent.

In the meantime, the European rapprochement which culminated in the Locarno arrangements of October 1925 was under way and the final decisions as to the exercise of the right of investigation by the Council were successively postponed, until December 1926, after Germany had been elected a member of the Council. The Council of the League on December 11, 1926 (ibid., 1927, p. 162) adopted explanations of the regulations.

On December 12, 1926 representatives of the Governments of Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan dealt in a protocol at Geneva with questions still pending between the Inter-Allied Military Control Commission and the Conference of Ambassadors. Out of more than a hundred questions which had confronted them in June 1925 regarding the naval and air, as well as the military, clauses of the treaty of peace, more than half had then been settled by agreement. It was decided that diplomatic negotiations would be continued before the Conference of Ambassadors on the questions [Page 364] of fortifications and war materials. Work on fortifications was to cease pending the settlement; see article 180. The Inter-Allied Military Control Commission was to be withdrawn on January 31, 1927, on which date article 213 of the treaty of peace was to become applicable.

The only case to come before the Council of the League under the rules of investigation was under the corresponding article 143 of the treaty of peace with Hungary. On January 1, 1928 five carloads of machine-gun parts, falsely declared as “machine parts”, from Italy were seized by Austrian customs officials at the joint Austro-Hungarian frontier station of Szent-Gotthard. The Czechoslovak, Rumanian, and Yugoslav Governments asked the Council to intervene. Sale of the material was halted but the Council was unable to determine its final destination. The Council resolution of June 7, 1928 (ibid., 1928, p. 918) regretted that Hungary had not taken its obligation to prohibit trade in arms into account in its handling of the matter.

The right of investigation was not exercised with respect to Germany, which as a member of the League of Nations participated in the Conference for Reduction and Limitation of Armaments from its beginning on February 2, 1932 until October 14, 1933. Thereafter, for a year negotiations on the armament question and a series of pourparlers looking to arranging for an “eastern Locarno” additionally drew attention away from the execution of the treaty of peace. National Socialist Germany was insistent upon the position of “equality” which had been accorded to the German Government in December 1932.

Part V of the treaty had in such conditions become only a single factor among many affecting political action with respect to armament. Several events accentuated the trend.

On March 16, 1935 Germany promulgated the law introducing universal military service; the Council of the League of Nations adopted a resolution condemning that violative action but took no further action. The military clauses of section I were thereby rendered inoperative. On June 18, 1935 the United Kingdom concluded the agreement with Germany fixing a 35:100 ratio between the German and British fleets; the naval clauses of section II thereby became obsolete. On March 7, 1936 Germany introduced troops into the demilitarized zone and announced an intention to rearm in the air. This violation of article 43 of the treaty and of section III put part V into desuetude.

[Page 365]

The military, naval, and air clauses were kept in force except in the case of Bulgaria. The Balkan Entente on July 31, 1938 (195 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 371) agreed with Bulgaria, “so far as they are concerned, to dispense with the carrying out of the provisions contained in Part IV (Military, Naval and Air Clauses) of the Treaty of Neuilly”. By an exchange of notes on August 12 and November 24, 1938, the United Kingdom assured Bulgaria that that Government did not “intend in future to rely on” those provisions.