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Section VI.—Clauses relating to the Kiel Canal (Art. 380 to 386)

Article 380.

The Kiel Canal and its approaches shall be maintained free and open to the vessels of commerce and of war of all nations at peace with Germany on terms of entire equality.

Note to XII, 380

The British S.S. Wimbledon, under time charter to a French company and laden with 4,200 tons of munitions and artillery stores consigned to Poland at Danzig, was refused passage on March 21, [Page 690]1921 through the Kiel Canal by the German director of canal traffic in virtue of German neutrality orders of July 25 and 30, 1920, to the application of which Germany claimed article 380 was not an obstacle. Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, with Poland intervening, brought suit against Germany before the Permanent Court of International Justice on account of the refusal of passage and 13 days’ delay of the Wimbledon. The Court on August 17, 1923 found that article 380 “should have prevented Germany from applying to the Kiel Canal the neutrality order promulgated” on July 25, 1920 and fixed the prejudice sustained at 140,749.35 francs, with interest at 6 per cent (Series A, No. 1). The Reparation Commission on November 10, 1923 refused its consent to the payment of the sum.

On January 15, 1937 the German naval authorities published a regulation that warships and naval craft of foreign states might pass through the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal only by authorization obtained through diplomatic channels.

Article 381.

The nationals, property and vessels of all Powers shall, in respect of charges, facilities, and in all other respects, be treated on a footing of perfect equality in the use of the Canal, no distinction being made to the detriment of nationals, property and vessels of any Power between them and the nationals, property and vessels of Germany or of the most favoured nation.

No impediment shall be placed on the movement of persons or vessels other than those arising out of police, customs, sanitary, emigration or immigration regulations and those relating to the import or export of prohibited goods. Such regulations must be reasonable and uniform and must not unnecessarily impede traffic.

Article 382.

Only such charges may be levied on vessels using the Canal or its approaches as are intended to cover in an equitable manner the cost of maintaining in a navigable condition, or of improving, the Canal or its approaches, or to meet expenses incurred in the interests of navigation. The schedule of such charges shall be calculated on the basis of such expenses, and shall be posted up in the ports.

These charges shall be levied in such a manner as to render any [Page 691]detailed examination of cargoes unnecessary, except in the case of suspected fraud or contravention.

Article 383.

Goods in transit may be placed under seal or in the custody of customs agents; the loading and unloading of goods, and the embarkation and disembarkation of passengers, shall only take place in the ports specified by Germany.

Article 384.

No charges of any kind other than those provided for in the present Treaty shall be levied along the course or at the approaches of the Kiel Canal.

Article 385.

Germany shall be bound to take suitable measures to remove any obstacle or danger to navigation, and to ensure the maintenance of good conditions of navigation. She shall not undertake any works of a nature to impede navigation on the Canal or its approaches.

Article 386.

In the event of violation of any of the conditions of Articles 380 to 386, or of disputes as to the interpretation of these Articles, any interested Power can appeal to the jurisdiction instituted for the purpose by the League of Nations.

Text of May 7:

In the event of violation of any of the conditions of Articles 380 to 386, or of disputes as to the interpretation of these Articles, any interested Power can appeal to the jurisdiction instituted for the purpose by the League of Nations, and can demand the formation of an International Commission.

In order to avoid reference of small questions to the League of Nations, Germany will establish a local authority at Kiel qualified to deal with disputes in the first instance and to give satisfaction so far as possible to complaints which may be presented through the consular representatives of the interested Powers.

Note to XII, 386

For the establishment of the Organization for Communications and Transit of the League of Nations, see article 379.