2. Agreement with regard to the military occupation of the territories of the Rhine, signed at Versailles, June 28, 19191
Signed at Versailles, June 28, 1919; ratifications of Belgium, the British Empire, France, and Germany deposited at Paris, and in force, January 10, 1920;
United States: Submitted to the Seriate by the President August 29, 1919; generally discussed and laid aside by the Committee on Foreign Relations February 10, 1920; not considered by the Senate; transmitted to Department of State files February 1, 1922; Unperfected Treaties M–5.
between the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, BELGIUM, the BRITISH EMPIRE, and FRANCE,[Page 763]
of the one part,
of the other, part,
with regard to the military occupation of the territories of the Rhine.
The Undersigned, acting under the powers conferred upon them by their respective Governments, have come to the following agreement as provided for in Article 432 of the Treaty of Peace of even date.
In accordance with Article 428 and the following Articles of the Treaty of even date, the armed forces of the Allied and Associated Powers will continue in occupation of German territory (as such occupation is defined by Article 5 of the Armistice Convention of the 11th November 1918, as extended by Article 7 of the Additional Convention of the 16th January 1919), as a guarantee of the execution by Germany of the Treaty.
No German troops, except prisoners of war in process of repatriation, shall be admitted to the occupied territories, even in transit; but police forces of a strength to be determined by the Allied and Associated Powers may be maintained in these territories for the purpose of ensuring order.
The articles of the armistice conventions referred to are:
Armistice Convention, November 11, 1918
“V. Evacuation by the German armies of the districts on the left bank of the Rhine.
“These districts on the left bank of the Rhine shall be administered by the local authorities under the control of the allied and United States armies of occupation.
“The occupation of these territories by allied and United States troops will be assured by garrisons holding the principal crossings of the Rhine (Mainz, Coblenz, Cologne), together with bridgeheads at these points of a 30-kilometer (about 19 miles) radius on the right bank, and by garrisons similarly holding the strategic points of the region.
“A neutral zone shall be reserved on the right bank of the Rhine, between the river and a line drawn parallel to the bridgeheads and to the river, and 10 kilometers (6¼ miles) distant from them, between the Dutch frontier and the Swiss frontier.[Page 764]
“Evacuation by the enemy of the Rhine districts (right and left banks) shall be so ordered as to be completed within a further period of 16 days, in all 31 days after the signing of the armistice.
“All movements of evacuation and occupation will be regulated according to the note (Annex 1) drawn up at the time of the signing of the armistice.”
(For text of Annex 1, see Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–23, iii, 3313.)
Convention prolonging the Armistice with Germany, January 16, 1919
“VII. As a further guaranty, the supreme allied command reserves to itself the right to occupy, whenever it shall consider this desirable, the sector of the fortress of Strassburg formed by the fortifications on the right bank of the Rhine, with a strip of territory extending from 5 to 10 kilometers in front of such fortifications, within the boundaries defined on the map appended hereto.
“The supreme allied command shall give six days’ notice prior to such occupation, which shall not be preceded by any destruction of material or buildings.
“The limits of the neutral zone will, in consequence, be advanced by 10 kilometers.”
There shall be constituted a civilian body styled the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission, and hereinafter called the High Commission, which, except in so far as the Treaty may otherwise provide, shall be the supreme representative of the Allied and Associated Powers within the occupied territory. It shall consist of four members representing Belgium, France, Great Britain and the United States.
- The High Commission shall have the power to issue ordinances so far as may be necessary for securing the maintenance, safety and requirements of the Allied and Associated forces. Such ordinances shall be published under the authority of the High Commission, and copies thereof shall be sent to each of the Allied and Associated Governments and also to the German Government.
- When so published they shall have the force of law and shall be [Page 765]recognised as such by all the Allied and Associated military authorities and by the German civil authorities.
- The members of the High Commission shall enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities.
- The German courts shall continue to exercise civil and criminal jurisdiction subject to the exceptions contained in paragraphs (d) and (e) below.
- The armed forces of the Allied and Associated Powers and the persons accompanying them, to whom the General Officers Commanding the Armies of Occupation shall have issued a revokable pass, and any persons employed by, or in the service of such troops, shall be exclusively subject to the military law and jurisdiction of such forces.
- Any person who commits any offence against the persons or property of the armed forces of the Allied and Associated Powers may be made amenable to the military jurisdiction of the said forces.
The German authorities, both in the occupied and in the unoccupied territories, shall, on the demand of any duly authorised military officer of the occupying forces, arrest and hand over to the nearest commander of the Allied or Associated troops any person charged with an offence who is amenable under paragraph (d) or paragraph (e) of Article 3 above to the military jurisdiction of the Allied or Associated Forces.
The civil administration of the provinces (Provinzen), Government departments (Regierungsbezirke), Urban Circles (Stadtkreise), Rural Circles (Landkreise), and Communes (Gemeinde), shall remain in the hands of the German authorities, and the civil administration of these areas shall continue under German law and under the authority of the Central German Government, except in so far as it may be necessary for the High Commission by Ordinance under Article 3 to adapt that administration to the needs and circumstances of military occupation. It is understood that the German authorities shall be obliged, under penalty of removal, to conform to the ordinances issued in virtue of Article 3 above.
The right to requisition in kind and to demand services in the manner laid down in the Hague Convention, 1907, shall be exercised by the Allied and Associated Armies of Occupation.[Page 766]
The charges for the requisitions effected in the zone of each Allied and Associated army and the estimate of damage caused by the troops of occupation shall be determined by local Commissions composed in equal representation of German civilians appointed by the German civil authorities and Allied or Associated military officers, and presided over by some person appointed by the High Commission.
The German Government shall continue to be responsible for the cost of maintenance of the troops of occupation under the conditions fixed by the Treaty. The German Government shall also be responsible for the costs and expenses of the High Commission, and for its housing. Suitable premises for the housing of the High Commission shall be selected after consultation with the German Government.
The convention respecting the laws and customs of war on land, signed at The Hague, October 18, 1907, is at Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1776–1909, ii, 2269. Section III of the annexed regulations deals with “military authority over the territory of the hostile state”.
The Allied and Associated troops shall continue undisturbed in possession of any premises at present occupied by them, subject to the provision of Article 8 (b) below.
- The German Government shall undertake, moreover, to place at the disposal of the Allied and Associated troops and to maintain in good state of repair all the military establishments required for the said troops, with the necessary furniture, heating and lighting, in accordance with the regulations concerning these matters in force in the various armies concerned. These shall include accommodation for officers and men, guard-rooms, offices, administrative, regimental and staff headquarters, workshops, store-rooms, hospitals, laundries, regimental schools, riding schools, stables, training grounds and rifle and artillery ranges, aviation grounds, grazing grounds, warehouses for supplies and grounds for military manœuvres, also theatre and cinema premises, and reasonable facilities for sport and for recreation grounds for the troops.
- Private soldiers and non-commissioned officers shall be accommodated in barracks, and shall not be billeted on the inhabitants, except in cases of exceptional emergency.
In the event of the existing military establishments being insufficient or not being considered suitable, the Allied and Associated troops may take possession of any other public or private establishment with its personnel, suitable for those purposes, or, if there are no such suitable premises, they may require the construction of new barracks.
Civilian and military officers and their families may be billeted on the inhabitants in accordance with the billeting regulations in force in each army.
No German direct taxes or duties will be payable by the High Commission, the Allied and Associated armies or their personnel.
Food supplies, arms, clothing, equipment and provisions of all kinds for the use of the Allied and Associated Armies, or addressed to the military authorities, or to the High Commission, or to canteens and officers’ messes, shall be transported free of charge and free of all import duties of any kind.
The personnel employed on all means of communication (railways, railroads and tramways of all kinds, waterways (including the Rhine), roads and rivers), shall obey any orders given by, or on behalf of, the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied and Associated armies for military purposes.
All the material and all the civil personnel necessary for the maintenance and working of all means of communication must be kept intact on all such means of communication in the occupied territory.
The transport on the railways of troops or individual soldiers or officers, on duty or furnished with a warrant, will be effected without payment.
The railroad Régie yielded total profits for the reparation account of 576,408,607.37 francs.
In all 4200 lawsuits were brought against it for claims amounting to 75,000,000 francs, the Régie being condemned to pay about 6,000,000 francs.
The Armies of Occupation may continue to use for military purposes all existing telegraphic and telephonic installations.[Page 768]
The Armies of Occupation shall also have the right to continue to install and use military telegraph and telephone lines, wireless stations and all other similar means of communication which may appear to them expedient. For this purpose, subject to the approval of the High Commission, they may enter upon and occupy any land, whether public or private.
The personnel of the public telegraph and telephone services shall continue to obey the orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied and Associated Armies given for military purposes.
Telegrams and messages to or from the Allied and Associated authorities and the High Commission and of an official nature shall be entitled to priority over all other communications and shall be despatched free of charge. The Allied and Associated military authorities shall have the right to supervise the order in which such communications are transmitted.
No wireless telegraphy installations shall be allowed to be erected by the authorities or by the inhabitants of the occupied territory without previous authorisation by the Allied and Associated military authorities.
The personnel of the postal service shall obey any orders given by or on behalf of the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied and Associated Armies for military purposes. The public postal service shall continue to be carried out by the German authorities, but this shall not in any way affect the retention of the military postal services organised by the Armies of Occupation, who shall have the right to use all existing postal routes for military requirements.
The said armies shall have the right to run postal wagons with all necessary personnel on all existing postal routes.
The German Government shall transmit free of charge and without examination letters and parcels which may be entrusted to its post-offices by or for the Armies of Occupation or by or for the High Commission; and shall be responsible for the value of any letters or parcels lost.
The High Commission shall have the power, whenever they think it necessary, to declare a state of siege in any part of the territory or in the whole of it. Upon such declaration the military authorities shall have the powers provided in the German Imperial Law of May 30th, 1892.[Page 769]
In case of emergency, where public order is disturbed or threatened in any district, the local military authorities shall have the power to take such temporary measures as may be necessary for restoring order. In such case the military authorities shall report the facts to the High Commission.
The German imperial law of May 30, 1892 (Reichsgesetzblatt, 1892, p. 667) laid down the procedure for preparing for the state of war in Alsace and Lorraine, which were Länder of the Reich, not Staaten.
Done at Versailles, the twenty-eighth day of June, one thousand nine hundred and nineteen.
- Woodrow Wilson.
- Robert Lansing.
- Henry White.
- E. M. House.
- Tasker H. Bliss.
- D. Lloyd George.
- A. Bonar Law.
- Arthur James Balfour.
- George N. Barnes.
- Chas. J. Doherty.
- Arthur L. Sifton.
- W. M. Hughes.
- Joseph Cook.
- Louis Botha.
- J. C. Smuts.
- W. F. Massey.
- Ed. S. Montagu.
- Ganga Singh
- Maharaja de Bikaner.
- G. Clemenceau.
- S. Pichon.
- L. L. Klotz.
- André Tardieu.
- Jules Cambon.
- J. van den Heuvel.
- Emile Vandervelde.
- Hermann Müller.
- Dr. Bell.
The President of the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission to General Allen, Commander in Chief, the American Army of Occupation.
Coblence, January 12, 1920.
The Supreme Council passed the following resolution at its sitting of December 30th, 1919:
“It has been decided that from the date of the coming into force of the Treaty of Peace with Germany, the jurisdiction of the Rhine-land High Commission shall extend to all territories of the left bank, including those which are at present occupied by American troops.[Page 770]
“Mr. Wallace will refer the present resolution to Washington for instructions from his Government.”
Moreover, the Supreme Council has informed the German Government that the absence of American Delegates in the various Commissions provided for by the Treaty of Peace would be no obstacle to the coming into force of the said Treaty of Peace.
The High Commission considers that the most opportune means of settling the legal situation thus created in the zone occupied by the American Army would be, that its ordinances should be issued in the said zone by the American military authorities. As regards the proclamation of the High Commission, this will be posted up in its name in its capacity of supreme representative of the three Allied Powers who have ratified the Treaty of Peace.
The High Commission considers that, since the Ambassador of the United States declared in the course of the above-mentioned sitting of the Supreme Council, that he would refer the matter to his Government, the question of territorial command should remain unaltered, so far as you are concerned, until a definite decision is given by the interested Governments.
The High Commission takes this opportunity of thanking you for the spirit of conciliation which you have shown with a view to the settlement of the present situation.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE INTER-ALLIED RHINELAND HIGH COMMISSION
THE INTER-ALLIED SECRETARIES GENERAL
Notes Relating to Agreement with Regard to the Military Occupation of the Territories of the Rhine
The occupation of the Rhineland following the armistice of November 11, 1918 was purely military but, owing to the economic importance of the area, the commanding officers were confronted with many problems of non-military character. In addition to the activities of the numerous commissions operating under the Permanent Inter-Allied Armistice Commission throughout the territory, the military commanders had the supervision of civil affairs in the area.
The Inter-Allied Economic Commission, composed of representatives of the French, Belgian, British, and American armies, was [Page 771]organized at Luxembourg on January 6, 1919 and was superseded, with an increase of power, by the Inter-Allied Rhineland Commission under a charter dated April 21, 1919 promulgated by the Supreme Economic Council. This commission issued a series of ordinances for coordinating the administration of the occupied zones which were communicated to the army commanders, who transmitted them to the civil officials concerned.
The military system of supervision of that commission was superseded on January 10, 1920 when the agreement of June 28, 1919 supplanted it by the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission, a civilian body which dealt directly with the German authorities and was superior to the commanders of the occupying troops.
THE OCCUPIED TERRITORY
When the treaty of peace with Germany came into force the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission became, under article 432, the agency for regulating “all matters relating to the occupation” which were not provided for in part XIV of that treaty, where the objects and conditions of the occupation are stated.
The High Commission as “the supreme representative of the Allied and Associated Powers within the occupied territory” exercised its authority in the territory which the armed forces occupied. The extent of that territory was defined by article V of the armistice convention of November 11, 1918 and article VII of the prolongation of January 16, 1919, while article 429 of the treaty of peace divided into three zones the area occupied on the left (west) bank of the Rhine and the bridgeheads. From these provisions it follows that the occupied territory included these parts of Germany:
- On the left bank of the Rhine, that is, west of the Rhine;
- A reserved neutral zone on the right (east) bank of the Rhine between the Netherlands and Swiss frontiers from the river to a line 10 kilometers east of it and parallel to the bridgeheads and the river;
- Bridgeheads at Cologne, Coblenz, and Mainz of a 30-kilometer radius;
- A bridgehead area at Kehl, opposite Strasbourg, including the fortifications and territory extending 5 to 10 kilometers in front of them.
In addition, Germany was forbidden by article 42 of the treaty of peace to maintain or construct fortifications on the left bank of the Rhine (within the occupied territory) or on the right bank of [Page 772]the Rhine west of a line drawn 50 kilometers east of the river (which embraced all of the occupied territory and extended eastward of it).
On August 8, 1919 the Supreme Council accepted a proposal of the Allied commander in chief that German military forces be temporarily employed in the 10-kilometer and 50-kilometer zones on the right bank of the Rhine. The proposal increased the German troops authorized within the 50-kilometer zone from 10 battalions and 10 squadrons to 15½ battalions, 8 squadrons, and 2 batteries.
The areas occupied by national troops did not necessarily correspond to the three zones of the treaty. At the outset Belgian troops extended from the Netherlands frontier to the DüsseldorfNeuss–Grevenbroich–Stolberg–Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) line; the British held to the Oberwinter–Lömmersdorf–Stadtkyll–Lutzkampen line; the Americans to the Limburg–Coblenz–Trier line; and the French southward to the border of the third zone, and the Kehl bridgehead. Military headquarters were originally five in number at: I, Wesel; II, Wipperfürth; III, Westerburg; IV, Frankfurt; V, Karlsruhe.
The territory occupied in consequence of article 428 of the treaty of peace embraced parts of five of the German states, Baden, Bavaria, Birkenfeld, Hesse, and Prussia. The Rhine Province of Prussia and the Palatinate of Bavaria were included. The bridgehead sectors around Cologne, Coblenz, and Mainz and the line of article 42 lying 50 kilometers east of the Rhine both precluded the boundaries of the occupied territory from matching the administrative boundaries of the state provinces or their Kreise.
In consequence of the default in fulfilment of German obligations under the
treaty of peace found by the Conference of Allied Governments on March 7,
1921 at London in the course of their deliberations in fixing the amount of
reparation, the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission was empowered by the
Conference of Ambassadors on April 2, 1921 to set up a customs line defined
as follows (Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission, Official Gazette, 1921, p. 85):
From January 1923 until September 1924 the Ruhr, lying to the east of the Rhine and the “Cologne” zone, was occupied by Belgian, French, and Italian troops, as a sanction for the reparation default found by the Reparation Commission on December 26, 1922 (see p. 485), and the civil regime operated by the High Commission was extended to that “zone”.
After the withdrawal of the American Forces in Germany in January 1923, the three zones defined by article 429 of the treaty were occupied by Belgian, British, and French troops, the latter taking over the former American area. After evacuation of the first or Cologne zone in February 1926, the British army of occupation took over part of the Mainz bridgehead sector and the High Commission effected an agreement, signed at Coblenz, April 9, 1927, which defined the northern boundaries of the territories occupied by the Belgian and French armies (ibid., 1927, parts 1–4, p. 36, and parts 5–9, p. 17). A final diminution of the occupied territory before evacuation of the third or southern zone was effected by an agreement defining the northern boundary of that zone which was signed at Coblenz, September 30, 1929 (ibid., 1929, parts 8–10, p. 6).
For some ten years the Rhineland area, with the varying extent just indicated, was in the occupation of American, Belgian, British, French and, for a space, Italian troops as contemplated by part XIV of the treaty of peace, and the German Reich and state administrations were subordinated to the extent provided in the agreement under review to the civil supervision of the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission.
THE INTER-ALLIED RHINELAND HIGH COMMISSION
Both the non-German military and civil regimes were directly responsible to the governments they represented; but to the military commands were applicable the ordinances established by the High Commission, while the High Commission was obligated to carry [Page 774]out the provisions of the agreement of June 28, 1919 and to frame decisions in accordance with its intentions. The High Commission did not exercise control over the military commands, upon which devolved the duty of executing its decisions, if necessary. Each had both a national and an international function, between which any reconciliation fell to the governments each respectively represented. Any differences between the policies of governments were adjusted in the body of the High Commission by their representatives, by the governments in conference or in individual negotiations.
The High Commission sat at Coblenz, the capital of the Rhine Province of Prussia and the headquarters of the American army of occupation. Each member had a deputy, so that meetings were always fully attended. Decisions were taken by majority vote, the French President having a casting vote in case of a tie.
With the transfer of authority to the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission as “the supreme representative of the Allied and Associated Powers within the occupied territory”, a practical question arose as to the position of the “Associated Power”, the United States, which had not ratified the treaty but which was maintaining an army of occupation with headquarters at Coblenz, the administrative capital of the occupied zones. The commission’s authority became conventional, while the Commanding General, of the American Forces in Germany, was still acting under the armistice. Negotiations led to an arrangement by which the proclamation of the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission under which it assumed authority was posted as it stood with the permission of the Commanding General, while the ordinances were posted with a caption showing that they came into force by his order.
Pierrepont B. Noyes was the American representative on the Inter-Allied Rhineland Commission and became “unofficial observer” on the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission when it came into existence on January 10, 1920. He was relieved of that duty by telegram of May 17, 1920 (Foreign Relations, 1920, ii, 327) at his own request “in accord with the idea of reducing so far as possible American personnel in Europe”. He was replaced on June 3 by Major General Henry T. Allen, Commanding General, American Forces in Germany. This appointment was not claimed to be under the agreement, which provided that the commission should be civilian. The personality of the incumbent enabled him to avoid the difficulties inherent in his dual capacity of observer on the commission and military commander.[Page 775]
On January 10, 1923, the eve of the occupation of the Ruhr, the French, British, German, Belgian, Italian, and Swiss Governments were informed “that, in the judgment of the President, the time has come to carry out the complete withdrawal of American troops on the Rhine”.
After the American zone was turned over to French authorities on January 27, the Secretary of State instructed Major General Allen on January 31, 1923 to withdraw as observer with the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission. The withdrawal of the troops did away with the circumstances which warranted maintenance by the United States Government of “an unofficial observer with the Commission in order that it might be properly advised when promulgating regulations in the American zone of occupation, of the actions and general purposes of the Commission” (ibid., 1923, ii, 193).
The German Government was informed on July 12, 1919 that it might, as requested, maintain in the Rhineland a Commissioner who must be approved by the Allies and whose competence would extend only to matters under the authority of the Reich Government, the High Commission reserving the right to enter into relations with local authorities. The first Reichscommissar thus appointed, by reason of his refusal to deliver offenders against the ordinances of the High Commission, resigned while a demand for his recall was being debated. Conditions for approval of his successor were approved on July 27, 1921 and Prince Hatzfeldt-Wildenburg performed the functions very correctly until German passive resistance in 1923 rendered the position anomalous, especially with respect to the advocacy of applying German laws in the occupied territory. On April 15, 1923 the High Commission decided to bring to an end the mission of the German Commissioner which it regarded as injuring the authority and impeding the execution of ordinances. German laws were then submitted directly to the High Commission and decisions of lack of objection, suspension, or veto of their application to the occupied territories were notified directly to local state officials (ibid., iv, 371). Assent to the designation of a new German Commissioner and discontinuance of the system of local representatives were announced by the High Commission in a communiqué, issued with the promulgation of ordinance No. 308, November 17, 1925, which spelled out the “atmosphere of reconciliation” evoked by the Locarno settlement.[Page 776]
THE ARMIES OF OCCUPATION AND THEIR COST
After the armistice of November 11, 1918 approximately 1,000,000 Allied and Associated troops moved eastward in Belgian, British, French, American, and French armies in that order from north to south. Under the control of the Permanent Inter-Allied Armistice Commission they took up positions in the Rhineland and during the proceedings of the Paris Peace Conference those armies were in occupation of substantially the areas which they held after the zones were established by treaty. Demobilization in all armies proceeded and when the treaty of peace was signed on June 28, 1919 the American army of occupation, which had arrived in a strength of nearly 250,000 men, mustered 110,000. When the treaty regime began on January 10, 1920 the strength had fallen to 12,000, which was being reduced to 5500.
In October 1921 the Belgian and French troops mustered around 95,000. In September 1925 the average monthly strength was: French, 75,975; Belgian, 15,669; British, 9410. The British contingent fell to 1050 by the end of 1927. The French average from March 1927 to February 1928 was 50,333, below the strength allowed by-the agreement of January 31, 1927.
The position of the American army of occupation became uncertain when it was apparent that the United States was not to ratify the treaty of peace. The Allied Governments and Germany were averse to seeing that army withdraw and the United States Government perceived an advantage in maintaining troops in German territory until the “treaty restoring friendly relations” was consummated, which was not until November 11, 1921.
On March 20, 1922 the United States Government sent a note to the occupying governments asserting a “right to priority of payment for its actual army costs, upon an equal footing with the Allied Powers” and hoping that no distribution of cash payments by Germany would exclude the claim of the United States (Foreign Relations, 1922, ii, 223, 224). On March 22 the Secretary of War instructed the commanding general in the Rhineland to withdraw the American troops before June 30, without announcing his orders. The intention disturbed the French because the presence of American troops at Coblenz, the Rhineland capital, would minimize danger of friction; the British because the French program of provoking annexation might create a situation which Great Britain would not approve or be responsible for; the Belgians because American departure [Page 777]would remove a steadying influence in the occupied zones. Germany on March 29 handed the American chargé d’affaires a note verbale expressing satisfaction at the intended reduction of the American forces. The political effect of complete withdrawal “would be to the detriment of Germany”, which therefore made an “urgent request to the American Government not to withdraw”. In view of those requests, the United States Government on June 3 informed Germany that a force of some 1000 soldiers “is to remain at Coblenz for the time being”.
When the occupation of the Ruhr became imminent in January 1923, the Secretary of State informed the governments of the occupying states and Germany that, in the judgment of the President, the time for complete withdrawal of the American troops on the Rhine had come. The American zone was turned over to French authorities at noon on January 27, 1923 (ibid., 1923, ii, 193).
The cost of the armies of occupation was at Germany’s charge. Until the treaty of peace was in force the territorial extent of the occupation was not limited by agreement. Afterward the number of troops was at the discretion of the occupying governments or the result of agreement between them.
The cost of the armies of occupation, by article 251 (a) and (b) of the treaty of peace, constituted a prior charge upon German assets and revenues before credits for reparation payments. The Reparation Commission’s accounts were divided by the date May 1, 1921. Up to that date credits of the utmost diversity were claimed for credit by or to Germany, while after it the credits to Germany arose from fairly well defined types of payment. The pre-May 1, 1921 costs of armies of occupation, representing the charges due to the initial period of post-armistice turmoil, were especially heavy and, except for takings in kind, were unpaid at that date. The net cost of armies of occupation in gold marks, national currencies converted at average of quarters, and paper-mark credits at current rates, as at April 30, 1921, was (file 462.00 R 29/833):
These amounts were the subject of subsequent arrangements by the creditors as follows:
Article V of the Spa agreement, July 16, 1920;
Articles I, II, VIII (a) and (b) of the agreement of Finance Ministers, Paris, March 11, 1922;
Agreement between the United States and Great Britain, France, Italy, and Belgium in regard to the reimbursement of the costs of the American army of occupation, Paris, May 25, 1923;
Articles 2, 15, and 21 of the Finance Ministers’ Agreement, January 14, 1925;
Article 1 of the agreement regulating the distribution of the second Dawes annuity, September 21, 1925;
Article 1 of the agreement regulating amounts to be allocated from the Dawes annuities, January 13, 1927;
Section 1 (b) of the debt agreement between the United States and Germany, June 23, 1930.
Under this series of agreements Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom obtained nearly full payment for their army cost arrearages through the reparation system and Germany benefited by marked reduction of the current costs of the armies and of the High Commission. The account of the United States as of July 1, 1941 stood:
|Total army and commission costs, 1918–23||$292,663,435.79|
|Credits (cash or kind)||44,797,790.30|
|Under agreement of May 25, 1923||14,725,154.40|
|Under agreement of Jan. 14, 1925||39,203,725.89|
|Under agreement of June 23, 1930||12,069,631.84|
|Unpaid balance of original||$181,867,133.36|
CIVIL AUTHORITY OF THE HIGH COMMISSION
The basic system of regulation established by the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission was a series of six ordinances and seven instructions issued on its assuming authority. These were revisions of regulations which had taken form under the previous regime of the Inter-Allied Rhineland Commission.
The ordinances dealt with the following matters:
No. 1: Legislative power of the High Commission, orders of the military authorities and operation of German laws and regulations in the occupied territories; No. 2: Criminal and civil jurisdiction and offenses relating to the occupation; No. 3: Movement of persons, [Page 779]postal, telegraphic, and telephone communication, restrictions on the press and public meetings, possession and trading in arms and ammunition; No. 4: Extension of the ordinances to the Kehl bridgehead; No. 5: Procedure to be followed in settlement of industrial disputes; No. 6: Powers and duties of the Inter-Allied Rhineland Railway Commission.
The instructions were as follows:
No. 1: Use of the Allied forces in occupied territories for the maintenance of public order; No. 2: Duties of German authorities in the matter of police and security; No. 3: Notification of appointment of German officials; No. 4: Notification of diseases; No. 5: Exemption from the jurisdiction of courts; No. 6: Supervision and inspection of prisons; No. 7: Permits to carry arms and ammunition.
In general stricter or relaxed controls were effected by amendment of these ordinances and instructions. The basic ordinances were issued in fulfilment of the “duty of the Inter-Allied High Commission to secure the maintenance, safety and requirements of the Armies of Occupation and the consequent maintenance of public order”.
Part III of ordinance No. 1, January 10, 1920, made it a condition for German laws and regulations coming into force in the occupied territories that they be registered with the High Commission and not be vetoed by the High Commission. The German Commissioner during his tenure dealt with this matter.
Alternatively German imperial and state laws and general regulations did not “derogate from the provisions of any ordinance of the High Commission” (ordinance No. 48, October 2, 1920, Official Gazette, 1920, part 10, p. 27).
Part III was replaced by ordinance No. 284, December 4, 1924, which substantially made German legislative texts applicable in the occupied territory as from the same date as in non-occupied Germany, unless the High Commission in a preliminary examination had questioned them (ibid., 1924, part v, 705). A further relaxation occurred after the Locarno rapprochement under ordinance No. 308 (ibid., part vi, p. 25).
Pursuant to article 212 of the treaty of peace, which continued in force specified articles of the armistice convention, and articles 3 and 10 of the Rhineland agreement the High Commission adopted ordinance No. 6 regarding the powers and duties of the Inter-Allied Rhineland Railway Commission on January 10, 1920 (ibid., I, parts i and iii, p. 11) and ordinance No. 17 regarding the powers of the Inter-Allied Rhineland Navigation Commission on April 1, 1920 [Page 780](ibid., parts iv and v, p. 25). The High Commission maintained relations with the Central Rhine Commission, with the system of which the Inter-Allied Navigation Commission’s primary duty of executing military orders of the commanders in chief occasionally required reconciliation. Conditions during the Ruhr occupation were restrictive of the free-navigation objectives of the Central Rhine Commission.
Until after the period of the Ruhr occupation the possibility of a separatist movement being openly fostered by the French High Commissioner was present. The idea of a Rhineland buffer state had been advocated by some of the French spokesmen at the Paris Peace Conference and the occupation provisions of the treaty of peace were the net result of that contention. The French High Commissioner watched the separatist agitators closely and sought to keep them from being regarded by the High Commission or treated by the German authorities as mere disturbers of the peace. A number of incidents in the High Commission arose out of this difference in policies.
The best known was the abduction of Hans Dorten from Wiesbaden by the Frankfurt police on July 24, 1920 on a warrant issued by the Supreme Court at Leipzig for his complicity as leader in proclaiming “an independent Rhenish Republic” at Wiesbaden on May 31, 1919. Dorten was returned and on August 6, 1920 the German Commissioner expressed to the High Commission “the regret of the Central Government that, contrary to the ordinances in force in the Occupied Territories, the apprehension of Dr. Dorten has taken place” (ibid., 1920, parts 8 and 9, p. 79).
THE SANCTIONS OF 1921
Two instances of abnormal conditions occurred during the incumbency of the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission, one as a sanction for a duly found default of Germany and the other a sanction for a default concerning which only certain states took action.
The first of these was the decision of March 3, 1921 by the creditor states at the London conference preceding the fixation of the Schedule of Payments, when the finding of Germany in default on a number of obligations and the occupation of certain Ruhr towns, with a customs cordon, were determined upon (see p. 430). In execution of that determination, French, Belgian, and British troops occupied Düsseldorf, Duisburg, and Ruhrort, the Rhine ports of the Ruhr [Page 781]industrial district. The Belgian troops acquired a bridgehead at Duisburg-Ruhrort in the newly occupied territory. The Conference of Ambassadors disapproved a proposal to extend the jurisdiction of the High Commission to the newly occupied territory, though the military government was modified by its legislation.
With regard to the other part of the London decision, the High Commission on March 8 ordered the blocking of all customs duties collected or to be collected by the German administration in the occupied territories in a special account and placed under its own orders the departments of customs, exports, and imports and for the prevention of the flight of capital (ordinance No. 77, Official Gazette, 1921, p. 67). Though the occupation did not evoke local violence, it did provoke passive resistance. On April 2 the Conference of Ambassadors empowered the High Commission to regulate the customs organization of the occupied territories and ordinance No. 81, April 8 (ibid., p. 85) established the Customs Managing Board which by delegation exercised the new powers of the High Commission over exports and imports. Other ordinances followed to effectuate the decision of the Conference of Ambassadors, including its military and judicial enforcement.
The sanctions were lifted in fulfilment of a resolution of the Supreme Council dated August 31, 1921, to which the German Government signified its assent. The resolution empowered the High Commission, with the cooperation of the representative of the Italian Government, to order and carry out all measures for the abolition of the sanctions and for liquidating their consequences. Ordinance No. 98, September 29, 1921 (ibid., p. 225), repealed the legislation which carried out the decision of March 3. The ordinance was operative September 30 at 24:00 o’clock. The collections amounted to 1,350,000,000 paper marks. The military occupation of the Ruhr ports, Düsseldorf, Duisburg and Ruhrort, continued and on May 17, 1923 the High Commission decided that passports to non-occupied Germany were valid for persons habitually residing in the occupied zones, “the Ruhr and the bridgehead of Düsseldorf forming a separate zone” (ibid., 1923, p. 501).
THE OCCUPATION OF THE RUHR
The second instance of applying sanctions extended from January 11, 1923 until September 1, 1924. It was based upon a divided finding of a German default in timber deliveries to France by the [Page 782]Reparation Commission on December 26, 1922 (see p. 485). A default in coal deliveries was also found on January 9, 1923. Supported by those findings, France and Belgium, with Italy, sent engineers into the Ruhr with a view to controlling the economic output of the basin. French and Belgian troops on January 11 occupied Essen and other points while the Mission inter-allié de contrôle des usines et des mines (Inter-Allied Commission of Control of Works and Mines), a technical service of the reparation system, moved in to establish contact with the German industrialists and after April 17 to operate the coal mines (special ordinances Nos. 163, 166, 199, 211, ibid., 1923, pp. 327, 345, 685, 783). The German Government encouraged opposition to these measures and the popular movement against them resulted in an elaborate system of passive resistance in which the Ruhr population was vouchsafed many forms of assistance, including a German national forced loan in the course of the astronomic inflation of German currency. The United States Government in January withdrew its army of occupation from the Rhineland and its “unofficial observer” from the High Commission. The British Government took no part in the military occupation of the Ruhr area and did not participate in the collection or distribution of funds for reparation account which was its object.
The Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission, augmented by an Italian delegate, was called upon to take an active part in the affair by the passage of ordinances necessitated by the conditions created by the extension of the occupation. Regular ordinances to deal with many phases of the situation were based on the general authority of the High Commission, but the extended series of “special” ordinances which gave character to the affair was issued “in pursuance of instructions received by certain of the High Commissioners”. The High Commission had previously objected to, vetoed, or suspended the operation of German laws and decrees in the occupied territories very sparingly. In the course of the passive resistance hundreds of such items were held up; a large number of those objections were rescinded at the close of the period (see Official Gazette, April 1924 and onward).
The High Commission, having taken over several administrative functions and sequestrated specified types of property, by special ordinance No. 135, January 20, 1923 (ibid., p. 57), constituted five committees to insure the execution of its decisions. These were: Customs Managing Committee; Import and Export License Managing [Page 783]Committee; Forest Managing Committee; Special Coal and Mines Committee; Special Accounting Committee.
In addition to control over all trade across the bounds of the occupied territories, the High Commission undertook to seize material, goods, and property assignable to restitution or reparation under part VIII of the treaty of peace (special ordinances Nos. 153, 154, Mar. 15, 1923, ibid., pp. 183, 189). Germany attempted to frustrate that purpose by a decree of March 29, which was prevented from taking effect (ibid., p. 383).
Administration of the railways in all the occupied zones was taken over by a Belgo-French régie under ordinance No. 149, March 1, 1923 (ibid., p. 159) on account of German violation of article 212 of the treaty of peace in ordering the personnel to interrupt service and to obstruct its resumption. The lines were returned to the German Railway Company as organized under the Experts’ (Dawes) Plan at midnight November 15, 1924 (ibid., 1924, p. 653), a final step in effecting the transition to that Plan which entailed revision of the functions of the Inter-Allied Rhineland Railway Commission (ibid., p. 667). On June 28, 1923 the High Commission established a Belgo-French Managing Committee for the Liquidation of Undelivered Goods on the Rhineland Railways, which took possession of all loaded cars and warehoused merchandise (ibid., 1923, p. 509). The committee was discontinued and provision made for settling outstanding claims by special ordinances Nos. 275 and 281, October 29, 1924 (ibid., 1924, pp. 575, 661). Disputes relating to the civil responsibility of the régie were heard by a Mixed Judicial Commission for the Rhineland Railways which was established at Mainz on February 11, 1924 under its own rules of procedure (ibid., 1924, pp. 69, 609 and 1925, parts 3–5, p. 20). It handled cases begun before February 16, 1925.
A German law regarding the forced loan of July 20, 1922 was amended on March 20, 1923 to obtain support for the passive resistance movement. The High Commission suspended its application by special ordinance No. 168, April 30, 1923, in view of the fact that the Reich was “employing all available means and in particular the resources derived from this loan to finance the resistance which it is offering to the Allies” (ibid., 1923, p. 361). The suspension was lifted by ordinance No. 273, October 16, 1924 (ibid., 1924, p. 557).
The circulation of the rentenmark, the currency uttered by Germany through a special bank of issue when the depreciation of the [Page 784]Reichsmark attained fantastic proportions, was allowed by the High Commission’s decision of November 19, 1923 (ibid., 1923, p. 929). However, payment of taxes or rates in Belgian or French currency to the German revenue authorities was specifically prohibited by ordinance No. 242 of January 24, 1924 (ibid., 1924, p. 23); Luxembourg currency was included in the prohibition on March 28, 1924 (ibid., p. 145). Transactions in foreign currency were permitted from October 1, 1924 (ibid., p. 549).
Emergency currency (Notgeld) issued by local authorities, banks and other bodies, and even private persons made its appearance in September 1923. The High Commission on September 20 issued ordinance No. 212 regulating these issues, fixing areas of control and authorizing a Special Currency Committee, composed of Germans, to agree with the Financial Committee of the High Commission upon the bodies which should issue it (ibid., 1923, p. 789). The regulations were canceled September 3, 1924 (ibid., 1924, p. 505). In October 1924 the High Commission rescinded its objections to a long series of German laws and decrees relating to currency matters (ibid., pp. 623–40).
The Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission, “in pursuance of instructions received by certain of the High Commissioners from their respective Governments as a result of the voluntary default on the part of Germany, established by the Reparation Commission”, abrogated all special ordinances issued since No. 132 of January 13, 1923 by special ordinance No. 274 of October 20, 1924. At midnight October 27, 1924 all Allied services specially set up since January 11, 1923 for the working of the pledges were abolished and all mines, cokeries, and other industrial, agricultural, forest, and shipping undertakings exploited under their management or leased by occupying authorities were restored to the owners (Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission, Official Gazette, 1924, p. 561). During the period the commission passed upon a great volume of German legislation, application of much of which it vetoed in the occupied territories. A settlement of the questions pending at the close of the period of occupation was effected by a “compromise” signed at Coblenz by Allied and German technical representatives on October 28, 1924 and in effect October 21 (ibid., p. 643).
“Considering that the agreements of Locarno should carry into the occupied territories an atmosphere of reconciliation” and that the regime “should be reviewed in a reciprocal spirit of confidence, good faith and good will,” the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission [Page 785]by its ordinance No. 308, Coblenz, November 17, 1925, introduced in a general revision “the alleviations compatible with the Treaty of Versailles, the Rhineland Agreement and the necessities of the occupation” (ibid., 1925, p. 23).
The Ruhr occupation led directly to the revision of the reparation obligations incumbent upon Germany. The Report of the First Committee of Experts rendered on April 9, 1924 was acceptable to all concerned and an alleviation of conditions in the Rhineland followed its publication. In the reparation system the interlude of the Ruhr period ran from January 11, 1923 until September 1, 1924, when Germany’s payments under the annuities of the Experts’ (Dawes) Plan began. The “Ruhr accounts” were passed by the Permanent Managing Committee of the Reparation Commission on November 12, 1925 in a report by Thomas Nelson Perkins, the “Delegation of the Citizen of the United States of America member of the Reparation Commission by virtue of the Inter-Allied Agreement of August 30, 1924”. In addition to 86,966,715 gold marks accounted for as expenses, a total of 894,230,569.41 gold marks was obtained by the French, Belgian, and Italian Governments. Of this amount 469,868,656.41 gold marks was debited as deliveries in kind as follows: France, 312,901,159.37; Belgium, 93,993,140.49; Italy, 62,974,356.55. Cash receipts of 424,361,913 gold marks were eventually paid to Belgium under article 12 D and to the United States in conformity with article 3 B–l of the Finance Ministers’ Agreement of January 14, 1925. Of the amount 355,781,489.46 went to Belgium on account of its priority (with 109,000,000 transferred to France under mutual arrangements) and 6,766,213.26 for interest due on German treasury bills transferred to Belgium in 1922. The sum of 61,814,210.28 gold marks was “received by the Reparation Commission and transferred to the United States on account of the costs of its army of occupation” (Reparation Commission, annex 2624 D; file 462.00 R 294/489 and /497).
That closed account was derived from what was probably the most complicated translation of values ever attempted internationally. The “Ruhr accounts” were accumulated in the course of the phenomenal depreciation of the mark. Some conception of the uncertainty created by the depreciation of the mark can be had from noting the differences between takings in the occupied Ruhr from January to December 1923. French requisitions under article 6 of the Rhineland agreement during that period amounted to 6,345,198,100,031,383,747.80 paper marks credited at 17,936,542.39 gold marts. French [Page 786]seizures of paper marks during that period amounted to 2,419,697,899,923,924 paper marks, credited at 14,448,252.63 gold marks; but voluntary payments of 2,850,649,125,216,750,000 paper marks worked up to only 3,395,685.35 gold marks (ibid., annex 2624 A, annex IX). More remarkably, indemnities for damages in the occupied areas during December 1923 amounted to 1,851,507,512,900,542 paper marks, which was credited at 1,760.91 gold marks (statement No. IV, annex 2920 D 1, on file 462.00 R 294/608).
LIQUIDATION OF THE RUHR OCCUPATION
The London Reparation Conference on August 30, 1924 concluded the arrangements for bringing the Experts’ (Dawes) Plan into operation. The agreement between the Allied Governments and Germany of that date (30 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 75) provided for the abolition of the Ruhr occupation. In addition to the steps incumbent upon Germany, the Plan was to be in execution when these conditions of article 1 were fulfilled:
“(B) The fiscal and economic unity of Germany will be considered to have been restored in accordance with the Experts’ Plan when the Allied Governments have taken the following measures:
- “(1) The removal and cessation of all vetoes imposed since January 11, 1923, on German fiscal and economic legislation; the re-establishment of the German authorities with the full powers which they exercised in the occupied territories before January 11, 1923, as regards the administration of customs and taxes, foreign commerce, woods and forests, railways (under the conditions specified in Article 5), and, in general, all other branches of economic and fiscal administration; the remaining administrations not mentioned above will operate in every respect in conformity with the Rhineland Agreement, the formalities regarding the admission or re-admission of German officials will be applied in such a manner that the re-establishment of the German authorities, in particular the customs administration, may take place with the least possible delay; all this without other restrictions than those stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles, the Rhineland Agreement and the Experts’ Plan.
- “(2) The restoration to their owners of all mines, cokeries and other industrial, agricultural, forest and shipping undertakings exploited under Allied management or provisionally leased by the occupying authorities since January 11, 1923.
- “(3) The withdrawal of the special organisations established to [Page 787]exploit the pledges and the release of requisitions made for the working of the organisations.
- “(4) The removal, subject to the provisions of the Rhineland Agreement, of restrictions on the movement of persons, goods and vehicles.
- “(5) In general, the Allied Governments, in order to ensure in the Occupied Territories the fiscal and economic unity of Germany, will cause the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission to proceed, subject to the provisions of the Rhineland Agreement, to an adjustment of those Ordinances passed by the said Commission since January 11, 1923.”
Article 4 of the same agreement went into detail with a view to realizing the stipulation of article 3 that “the Experts’ Plan will be put into execution with the least possible delay”. By article 4 the French and Belgian Governments were to cease the levy of duties on the “eastern customs line” on August 23. The High Commission removed the requirements of permits and payment of fees applicable to trade in goods between the occupied territory and non-occupied Germany on September 9 (special ordinance No. 262, ibid., 1924, p. 477) and canceled all legislation inconsistent with that provision. The customs line was abolished at midnight September 20 (special ordinance No. 268, ibid., p. 517). The levy of duties was decreased and special taxes were abolished. In addition to numerous reductions of customs and excise duties in the schedules of the High Commission, the Inter-Allied Commission of Control of Works and Mines (M.I.C.U.M.) ceased to collect the taxes on coal (ordinance No. 131 and special ordinance No. 132, Jan. 13 and 18, 1923, ibid., 1923, pp. 29, 33) and its byproducts on September 1 (special ordinances Nos. 269 and 270, ibid., 1924, pp. 525, 531). The German currency system was extended to the occupied territories by permitting the application of German decrees as from October 21 (ordinance No. 271, ibid., p. 549).
All the “allied services” specially set up since January 11, 1923 “for the working of the pledges in the occupied territories” were abolished by special ordinance No. 274, midnight October 27, 1924 (ibid., p. 561) and German services were reestablished to exercise powers and to operate in conformity with the Rhineland agreement. All types of property and undertakings exploited under Allied management were restored to their owners. The French-Belgian Railway Régie was temporarily excepted until November 15. Altogether 36 [Page 788]special ordinances ceased to operate and the cancelation of 19 others was confirmed. The validity of acts directly or indirectly done under them was, of course, confirmed.
The winding up of the Inter-Allied Offices set up during the occupation was effected by technical conferences provided for in article 6 of the same agreement of August 30, 1924. The Allied and German technical delegates concluded a “compromis” at Coblenz, October 20, 28, 1924 which dealt with the settlement of accounts and the distribution of receipts, prescribed a procedure of arbitration for the settlement of claims, and constituted a German-Allied paritative commission on customs matters for the transitional period until October 21, 1924 (41 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 461; Official Gazette, 1924, p. 643).
Return of the population to the pre-Ruhr status was effected by the direct arrangement between the 14 Allied creditor governments and Germany in article 7 of the same agreement. These mutual amnesty provisions read:
“Article 7. In order to bring about mutual
conciliation and in order to wipe out the past to the utmost possible
extent, the Allied Governments and the German Government have agreed on the
following stipulations, it being understood that, as regards future
incidents, the jurisdiction and legislation of Germany, notably in the
matter of the security of the State, and the jurisdiction and the
legislation of the Occupying Authorities, notably in the matter of their
security, will respectively follow their normal course in conformity with
the Treaty of Peace and the Rhineland Agreement:
Those provisions resulted in February 1925 and later in new ordinances canceling 18 prior ordinances and four instructions. Alleviations continued to culminate in the fruits of the “atmosphere of reconciliation” created by the Locarno settlement, and in ordinance No. 308, in force December 1, 1925 (ibid., 1925, parts 9–12, p. 25), brought a comprehensive review of existing legislation “in a reciprocal spirit of confidence, good faith and good will”. This ordinance in 19 parts superseded or canceled 31 ordinances and three instructions and was calculated to introduce the principle of collaboration into the occupation.
STEPS LEADING TO FULL EVACUATION
On the occasion of the evacuation of the Cologne zone, a further amnesty agreement was concluded by the exchange of notes between the German Government and the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission at Coblenz, September 10, 1926 (62 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 141; Official Gazette, 1926, parts 10–12, p. 3). This had the effect of stopping all prosecutions for offenses with the exception of those at common law or of espionage, and it resulted in the repealing of ordinances which provided for the unilateral intervention of the High Commission in the exercise of German judicial and administrative sovereignty. This amnesty covered all persons of German nationality imprisoned by Allied authorities for acts committed [Page 790]in the territories of the Ruhr, the bridgeheads of Duisburg-Ruhrort and Düsseldorf or the Cologne zone.
Six “protective” ordinances were canceled on September 17, 1926 (ibid., 1926, parts 10–12, p. 13).
Financial regulations for the contributions under articles 8–12 of the Rhineland Agreement were drawn up on May 5, 1925 (file 462.00 R 29–828/275; 462.00 R 294/531; Reichsgesetzblatt, 1925, ii, 24), in order to gain the precision in accounts required under the Experts’ (Dawes) Plan. The regulations were prepared by one delegate each of Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Italy and an equal number of German representatives. The delegates met from November 17 to 26, 1924 and thereafter worked as a mixed committee, in accordance with their instructions from the Conference of Ambassadors and the German Government, under the chairmanship of Rudolf J. H. Patijn, who in the course of the proceedings rendered 28 arbitral awards. Along with a number of subsidiary agreements, the regulations established a list of 18 main and 15 miscellaneous classes of contributions under articles 8–12 of the Rhineland Agreement, determined the procedure for the assessment of contributions for local commissions and a commission of arbitration, and for the supervision of payments. An addition to the regulations was made January 19, 1927 (Reparation Commission, annex 3089 b).
An agreement relative to the scope of fiscal exemptions granted to the services and personnel of the occupation concluded at Coblenz on February 11, 1928 between the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission and the German Commissioner for their respective governments (ibid., 1928, parts 2–4, p. 11) provided for the payment by the persons concerned of 11 taxes and for their continued exemption from 10.
The evacuation of the Cologne or northern zone in 1926 cut down greatly the area occupied by Belgian and British troops. It eliminated from the occupation the Ruhr bridgehead, held by the Belgians since 1921, and the Cologne bridgehead which was held by the British. South of the border of the Coblenz zone the Belgian troops continued to hold the area in the vicinity of Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), while the British shifted southward to occupy that part of the Mainz bridgehead arc which lay north of the Rhine, known as the Wiesbaden bridgehead.
In the “atmosphere of reconciliation” of the period this occupation remained repugnant to the Germans, and was quite passively continued [Page 791]by the three occupying governments. Further evacuation became an incident of the adoption of the New (Young) Plan for reparation payments. The authority of the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission in the second or Coblenz zone ceased on November 30, 1929, and both the Belgian and British troops completely withdrew.
This left the French alone in occupation of the third zone, which extended from opposite Eupen along the Franco-German border to Luxembourg and the Saar frontiers and from these points eastward to take in the Mainz bridgehead section, whence it ran by the irregular southerly course of the Rhine to Lauterburg. And it included, as it had from the beginning, the separate bridgehead of Kehl opposite Strasbourg to the south. By the Hague agreements of January 30, 1930 the evacuation of this third zone was to take place on June 30. Before that date the German National Socialist Party gave the High Commission trouble. The High Commission which since evacuation of the second zone had made its seat at Wiesbaden held its final meeting there on June 28. The flags of the High Commissioners were lowered at 9:30 a. m., June 30, and at 11:30 the last French troops marched to the train to cross the border.
The Rhineland thereafter was the scene of National Socialist agitation. On March 7, 1936 the Hitlerite Government introduced troops into the territory interdicted to them by articles 42–44 of the treaty of peace. There they remained until they launched into war.
- File 763.72119/9434.↩