Chapter V.—Clauses giving to the Czecho-Slovak State the use of northern ports (Art. 363 and 364)

Article 363.

In the ports of Hamburg and Stettin Germany shall lease to the Czecho-Slovak State, for a period of 99 years, areas which shall be placed under the general régime of free zones and shall be used for the direct transit of goods coming from or going to that State.

[Page 679]

Article 364.

The delimitation of these areas, and their equipment, their exploitation, and in general all conditions for their utilisation, including the amount of, the rental, shall be decided by a Commission consisting of one delegate of Germany, one delegate of the Czechoslovak State and one delegate of Great Britain. These conditions shall be susceptible of revision every ten years in the same manner.

Germany declares in advance that she will adhere to the decisions so taken.

Note to XII, 364

The Czechoslovak Government received the right to establish a free port at Stettin for the stipulated period of 99 years, but did not exercise the option.

At Hamburg the Czechoslovakian Elbe Navigation Company acquired the use of a zone of about 28,540 square meters on the Hallesche and Dresdener banks of that part of the Elbe River known as the Saale and Moldau harbors. Official negotiations for a free port began a year or so before the expiration of the non-reciprocal privileges of the treaty at a time when Czechoslovakia was already making use of the Adriatic port of Trieste for export purposes. The governmental negotiations were completed late in 1928.

The arrangement took the form (1) of a decision of the commission provided for in article 364, which was signed and entered into force on November 2, 1929 and which was filed with the Secretary-General of the League of Nations; and (2) of an attached lease for 99 years of the Czechoslovak Leased Area for Inland Navigation in the Free Port of Hamburg which was concluded between the Czechoslovak Republic and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. The leased area was “intended for the direct transit trade from or to the Czechoslovak Republic” without transshipment or reloading within the German customs area. It was subject to the general regime of free zones set forth in articles 328–30 of the treaty of peace. The rental was at the rate of 2.50 Reichsmarks per square meter after January 1, 1931, with special rates of compensation for the built-over areas, the plant, buildings, and equipment being handed over for use on payment of a lump sum of 230,000 Reichsmarks. Revision was to take place every 10 years (file 662.60 F 24/6). The Leased Area was unaffected by the German declaration of November 14, 1936 denouncing the regime of [Page 680] international rivers, but a few months before the expiration of the decade, Germany disrupted the Czechoslovak Republic.

Czechoslovakia and Germany concluded a convention at Hamburg on June 27, 1930 instituting a uniform system of sealing packages with relation to traffic on the Elbe (Martens, Nouveau recueil général de traités, 3e série, xxxiii, 767). The German Minister at Prague informed the Czechoslovak Government that the note of November 14, 1936 (see p. 651) did not affect this situation, and also volunteered the statement that it did not disturb the Barcelona statute of 1921.