Peace Treaty of Versailles (Articles 31 - 117: Political Clauses for Europe) (28 June 1919)
Germany, recognising that the Treaties of April 19, 1839, which
established the status of Belgium before the war, no longer conform
to the requirements of the situation, consents to the abrogation of
the said Treaties and undertakes immediately to recognise and to
observe whatever conventions may be entered into by the Principal
Allied and Associated Powers, or by any of them, in concert with
the Governments of Belgium and of the Netherlands, to replace the
said Treaties of 1839. If her formal adhesions should be required
to such conventions or to any of their stipulations, Germany
undertakes immediately to give it.
Germany recognises the full sovereignty of Belgium over the whole
of the contested territory of Moresnet (called Moresnet neutre).
Germany renounces in favour of Belgium all rights and title over
the territory of Prussian Moresnet situated on the west of the road
from Liege to Aix-la-Chapelle; the road will belong to Belgium
where it bounds this territory.
Germany renounces in favour of Belgium all rights and title over
the territory comprising the whole of the Kreise of Eupen and of
Malmedy. During the six months after the coming into force of this
Treaty, registers will be opened by the Belgian authority at Eupen
and Malmedy in which the inhabitants of the above territory will be
entitled to record in writing a desire to see the whole or part of
it remain under German sovereignty. The results of this public
expression of opinion will be communicated by the Belgian
Government to the League of Nations, and Belgium undertakes to
accept the decision of the League.
ARTICLE 35 .
A Commission of seven persons, five of whom will be appointed by
the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, one by Germany and one
by Belgium, will be set up fifteen days after the coming into force
of the present Treaty to settle on the spot the new frontier line
between Belgium and Germany, taking into account the economic
factors and the means of communication. Decisions will be taken by
a majority and will be binding on the parties concerned.
When the transfer of the sovereignty over the territories referred
to above has become definite, German nationals habitually resident
in the territories will definitively acquire Belgian nationality
ipso facto, and will lose their German nationality. Nevertheless,
German nationals who became resident in the territories after
August 1, 1914, shall not obtain Belgian nationality without a
permit from the Belgian Government.
Within the two years following the definitive transfer of the
sovereignty over the territories assigned to Belgium under the
present Treaty, German nationals over 18 years of age habitually
resident in those territories will be entitled to opt for German
nationality. Option by a husband will cover his wife, and option
by parents will cover their children under 18 years of age.
Persons who have exercised the above right to opt must within the
ensuing twelve months transfer their place of residence to Germany.
They will be entitled to retain their immovable property in the
territories acquired by Belgium. They may carry with them their
movable property of every description. No export or import duties
may be imposed upon them in connection with the removal of such
The German Government will hand over without delay to the Belgian
Government the archives, registers, plans, title deeds and
documents of every kind concerning the civil, military, financial,
judicial or other administrations in the territory transferred to
Belgian sovereignty. The German Government will likewise restore
to the Belgian Government the archives and documents of every kind
carried off during the war by the German authorities from the
Belgian public administrations, in particular from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs at Brussels.
The proportion and nature of the financial liabilities of Germany
and of Prussia with Belgium will have to bear on account of the
territories ceded to her shall be fixed in conformity with Articles
254 and 256 of Part IX (Financial Clauses) of the present Treaty.
With regard to the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, Germany renounces the
benefit of all the provisions inserted in her favour in the
Treaties of February 8, 1842, April 2, 1847, October 20-25, 1865,
August 18, 1866, February 21 and May 11, 1867, May 10, 1871, June
11, 1872, and November 11, 1902, and in all Conventions consequent
upon such Treaties. Germany recognises that the Grand Duchy of
Luxemburg ceased to form part of the German Zollverein as from
January 1, 1919, renounces all rights to the exploitation of the
railways, adheres to the termination of the regime of neutrality of
the Grand Duchy, and accepts in advance all international
arrangements which may be concluded by the Allied and Associated
Powers relating to the Grand Duchy.
Germany undertakes to grant to the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, when
a demand to that effect is made to her by the Principal Allied and
Associated Powers, the rights and advantages stipulated in favour
of such Powers or their nationals in the present Treaty with regard
to economic questions, to questions relative to transport and to
LEFT BANK OF THE RHINE.
Germany is forbidden to maintain or construct any fortifications
either on the left bank of the Rhine or on the right bank to the
west of a line drawn 50 kilometres to the East of the Rhine.
In the area defined above the maintenance and the assembly of armed
forces, either permanently or temporarily, and military maneuvers
of any kind, as well as the upkeep of all permanent works for
mobilization, are in the same way forbidden.
In case Germany violates in any manner whatever the provisions of
Articles 42 and 43, she shall be regarded as committing a hostile
act against the Powers signatory of the present Treaty and as
calculated to disturb the peace of the world.
As compensation for the destruction of the coal-mines in the north
of France and as part payment towards the total reparation due from
Germany for the damage resulting from the war, Germany cedes to
France in full and absolute possession, with exclusive rights of
exploitation, unencumbered and free from all debts and charges of
any kind, the coal-mines situated in the Saar Basin as defined in
In order to assure the rights and welfare of the population and to
guarantee to France complete freedom in working the mines, Germany
agrees to the provisions of Chapters I and II of the Annex hereto.
In order to make in due time permanent provision for the government
of the Saar Basin in accordance with the wishes of the populations,
France and Germany agree to the provisions of Chapter III of the
The boundaries of the territory of the Saar Basin, as dealt with in
the present stipulations, will be fixed as follows: On the south
and south-west: by the frontier of France as fixed by the present
Treaty. On the north-west and north: by a line following the
northern administrative boundary of the Kreis of Merzig from the
point where it leaves the French frontier to the point where it
meets the administrative boundary separating the commune of
Saarholzbach from the commune of Britten; following this communal
boundary southwards and reaching the administrative boundary of the
canton of Merzig so as to include in the territory of the Saar
Basin the canton of Mettlach, with the exception of the commune of
Britten; following successively the northern boundaries of the
cantons of Merzig and Haustedt, which are incorporated in the
aforesaid Saar Basin, then successively the administrative
boundaries separating the Kreise of Sarrelouis, Ottweiler, and
Saint-Wendel from the Kreise of Merzig, Treves (Trier), and the
Principality of Birkenfeld as far as a point situated about 500
metres north of the village of Furschweiler (viz., the highest
point of the Metzelberg). On the north-east and east: from the
last point defined above to a point about 3 1/2 kilometres east-
north-east of Saint-Wendel: a line to be fixed on the ground
passing east of Furschweiler, west of Roschberg, east of points
418, 329 (south of Roschberg) west of Leitersweiler, north-east of
point 464, and following the line of the crest southwards to its
junction with the administrative boundary of the Kreis of Kusel
thence in a southerly direction the boundary of the Kreis of Kusel,
then the boundary of the Kreis of Homburg towards the south-south-
east to a point situated about 1000 metres west of Dunzweiler;
thence to a point about 1 kilometre south of Hornbach- a line to be
fixed on the ground passing through point 424 (about 1000 metres
south-east of Dunzweiler), point 363 (Fuchs-Berg), point 322
(south-west of Waldmohr), then east of Jagersburg and Erbach, then
encircling Homburg, passing through the points 361 (about 2-1/2
kilometres north-east by east of that town), 342 (about 2
kilometres south-east of that town), 347 (Schreiners-Berg), 356,
350 (about 1-1/2 kilometres south-east of Schwarzenbach), then
passing east of Einod, south-east of points 322 and 333, about 2
kilometres east of Webenheim, about 2 kilometres east of Mimbach,
passing east of the plateau which is traversed by the road from
Mimbach to Bockweiler (so as to include this road in the territory
of the Saar Basin), passing immediately north of the junction of
the roads from Bockweiler and Altheim situated about 2 kilometres
north of Altheim, then passing south of Ringweilerhof and north of
point 322, rejoining the frontier of France at the angle which it
makes about 1 kilometre south of Hornbach (see Map No. 2 scale
1/100,000 annexed to the present treaty). [See Introduction ]
A Commission composed of five members, one appointed by France, one
by Germany, and three by the Council of the League of Nations,
which will select nationals of other Powers, will be constituted
within fifteen days from the coming into force of the present
Treaty, to trace on the spot the frontier line described above.
In those parts of the preceding line which do not coincide with
administrative boundaries, the Commission will endeavour to keep to
the line indicated, while taking into consideration, so far as is
possible, local economic interests and existing communal
The decisions of this Commission will be taken by a majority, and
will be binding on the parties concerned.
Germany renounces in favour of the League of Nations, in the
capacity of trustee, the government of the territory defined above.
At the end of fifteen years from the coming into force of the
present Treaty the inhabitants of the said territory shall be
called upon to indicate the sovereignty under which they desire to
The stipulations under which the cession of the mines in the Saar
Basin shall be carried out, together with the measures intended to
guarantee the rights and the well-being of the inhabitants and the
government of the territory, as well as the conditions in
accordance with which the plebiscite herein before provided for is
to be made, are laid down in the Annex hereto. This Annex shall be
considered as an integral part of the present Treaty, and Germany
declares her adherence to it.
In accordance with the provisions of Articles 45 to 50 of the
present Treaty, the stipulations under which the cession by Germany
to France of the mines of the Saar Basin will be effected, as well
as the measures intended to ensure respect for the rights and well-
being of the population and the government of the territory, and
the conditions in which the inhabitants will be called upon to
indicate the sovereignty under which they may wish to be placed,
have been laid down as follows:
CESSION AND EXPLOITATION OF MINING PROPERTY,
From the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty,
all the deposits of coal situated within the Saar Basin as defined
in Article 48 of the said Treaty, become the complete and absolute
property of the French State.
The French State will have the right of working or not working the
said mines, or of transferring to a third party the right of
working them, without having to obtain any previous authorisation
or to fulfil any formalities.
The French State may always require that the German mining laws and
regulations referred to below shall be applied in order to ensure
the determination of its rights.
The right of ownership of the French State will apply not only to
the deposits which are free and for which concessions have not yet
been granted, but also to the deposits for which concessions have
already been granted, whoever may be the present proprietors,
irrespective of whether they belong to the Prussian State, to the
Bavarian State, to other States or bodies, to companies or to
individuals, whether they have been worked or not, or whether a
right of exploitation distinct from the right of the owners of the
surface of the soil has or has not been recognised.
As far as concerns the mines which are being worked, the transfer
of the ownership to the French State will apply to all the
accessories and subsidiaries of the said mines, in particular to
their plant and equipment both on and below the surface to their
extracting machinery, their plants for transforming coal into
electric power, coke and by-products, their workshops means of
communication, electric lines, plant for catching and distributing
water, land, buildings such as offices, managers, employees, and
workmen's dwellings, schools, hospitals and dispensaries, their
stocks and supplies of every description, their archives and plans,
and in general everything which those who own or exploit the mines
possess or enjoy for the purpose of exploiting the mines and their
accessories and subsidiaries.
The transfer will apply also to the debts owing for products
delivered before the entry into possession by the French State and
after the signature of the present Treaty, and to deposits of money
made by customers, whose rights will be guaranteed by the French
The French State will acquire the property free and clear of all
debts and charges. Nevertheless, the rights acquired, or in course
of being acquired, by the employees of the mines and their
accessories and subsidiaries at the date of the coming into force
of the present Treaty, in connection with pensions for old age or
disability, will not be affected. In return, Germany must pay over
to the French State a sum representing the actuarial amounts to
which the said employees are entitled.
The value of the property thus ceded to the French State will be
determined by the Reparation Commission referred to in Article 233
of Part VIII (Reparation) of the present Treaty.
This value shall be credited to Germany in part payment of the
amount due for reparation. It will be for Germany to indemnify the
proprietors or parties concerned, whoever they may be.
No tariff shall be established on the German railways and canals
which may directly or indirectly discriminate to the prejudice of
the transport of the personnel or products of the mines and their
accessories or subsidiaries, or of the material necessary to their
exploitation. Such transport shall enjoy all the rights and
privileges which any international railway conventions may .
guarantee to similar products of French origin.
7. The equipment and personnel necessary to ensure the despatch and
transport of the products of the mines and their accessories and
subsidiaries, as well as the carriage of workmen and employees,
will be provided by the local railway administration of the Basin.
No obstacle shall be placed in the way of such improvements of
railways or waterways as the French State may judge necessary to
assure the despatch and the transport of the products of the mines
and their accessories and subsidiaries, such as double trackage,
enlargement of stations, and construction of yards and
appurtenances. The distribution of expenses will, in the event of
disagreement, be submitted to arbitration.
The French State may also establish any new means of communication,
such as roads, electric lines, and telephone connections which it
may consider necessary for the exploitation of the mines it may
exploit freely and without any restrictions the means of
communication of which it may become the owner, particularly those
connecting the mines and their accessories and subsidiaries with
the means of communication situated in French territory.
The French State shall always be entitled to demand the application
of the German mining laws and regulations in force on November 11,
1918, excepting provisions adopted exclusively in view of the state
of war, with a view to the acquisition of such land as it may judge
necessary for the exploitation of the mines and their accessories
The payment for damage caused to immovable property by the working
of the said mines and their accessories and subsidiaries shall be
made in accordance with the German mining laws and regulations
above referred to.
Every person whom the French State may substitute for itself as
regards the whole or part of its rights to the exploitation of the
mines and their accessories and subsidiaries shall enjoy the
benefit of the privileges provided in this Annex.
The mines and other immovable property which become the property of
the French State may never be made the subject of measures of
forfeiture, forced sale, expropriation or requisition, nor of any
other measure affecting the right of property.
The personnel and the plant connected with the exploitation of
these mines or their accessories and subsidiaries, as well as the
product extracted from the mines or manufactured in their
accessories and subsidiaries, may not at any time be made the
subject of any measures of requisition.
The exploitation of the mines and their accessories and
subsidiaries, which become the property of the French State will
continue, subject to the provisions of paragraph 23 below, to be
subject to the regime established by the German laws and
regulations in force on November 11, 1918, excepting provisions
adopted exclusively in view of the state of war.
The rights of the workmen shall similarly be maintained, subject to
the provisions of the said paragraph 23, as established on November
11, 1918, by the German laws and regulations above referred to.
No impediment shall be placed in the way of the introduction or
employment in the mines and their accessories and subsidiaries of
workmen from without the Basin.
The employees and workmen of French nationality shall have the
right to belong to French labour unions.
The amount contributed by the mines and their accessories and
subsidiaries, either to the local budget of the territory of the
Saar Basin or to the communal funds, shall be fixed with due regard
to the ratio of the value of the mines to the total taxable wealth
of the Basin.
The French State shall always have the right of establishing and
maintaining, as incidental to the mines, primary or technical
schools for its employees and their children, and of causing
instruction therein to be given in the French language, in
accordance with such curriculum and by such teachers as it may
It shall also have the right to establish and maintain hospitals,
dispensaries, workmen's houses and gardens, and other charitable
and social institutions.
The French State shall enjoy complete liberty with respect to the
distribution, dispatch and sale prices of-the products of the mines
and their accessories and subsidiaries.
Nevertheless, whatever may be the total product of the mines, the
French Government undertakes that the requirements of local
consumption for industrial and domestic purposes shall always be
satisfied in the proportion existing in 1913 between the amount
consumed locally and the total output of the Saar Basin.
GOVERNMENT OF THE TERRITORY OF THE SAAR BASIN.
The Government of the territory of the Saar Basin shall be
entrusted to a Commission representing the League of Nations. This
Commission shall sit in the territory of the Saar Basin.
The Governing Commission provided for by paragraph 16 shall consist
of five members chosen by the Council of the League of Nations, and
will include one citizen of France, one native inhabitant of the
Saar Basin, not a citizen of France, and three members belonging to
three countries other than France or Germany.
The members of the Governing Commission shall be appointed for one
year and may be re-appointed. They can be removed by the Council of
the League of Nations, which will provide for their replacement.
The members of the Governing Commission will be entitled to a
salary which will be fixed by the Council of the League of Nations,
and charged on the local revenues.
The Chairman of the Governing Commission shall be appointed for one
year from among the members of the Commission by the Council of the
League of Nations and may be re-appointed. The Chairman will act
as the executive of the Commission.
Within the territory of the Saar Basin the Governing Commission
shall have all-the powers of government hitherto belonging to the
German Empire, Prussia, or Bavaria, including the appointment and
dismissal of officials, and the creation of such administrative and
representative bodies as it may deem necessary.
It shall have full powers to administer and operate the railways,
canals, and the different public services. Its decisions shall be
taken by a majority.
Germany will place at the disposal of the Governing Commission all
official documents and archives under the control of Germany, of
any German State, or of any local authority, which relate to the
territory of the Saar Basin or to the rights of the inhabitants
It will be the duty of the Governing Commission to ensure, by such
means and under such conditions as it may deem suitable, the
protection abroad of the interests of the inhabitants of the
territory of the Saar Basin.
The Governing Commission shall have the full right of user of all
property, other than mines, belonging, either in public or in
private domain, to the Government of the German Empire, or the
Government of any German State, in the territory of the Saar Basin.
As regards the railways an equitable apportionment of rolling stock
shall be made by a mixed Commission on which the Government of the
territory of the Saar Basin and the German railways will be
Persons, goods, vessels, carriages, wagons and mails coming from or
going to the Saar Basin shall enjoy all the rights and privileges
relating to transit and transport which are specified in the
provisions of Part XII (Ports, Waterways and Railways) of the
The laws and regulations in force on November 11, 1918, in the
territory of the Saar Basin (except those enacted in consequence of
the state of war) shall continue to apply.
If, for general reasons or to bring these laws and regulations into
accord with the provisions of the present Treaty, it is necessary
to introduce modifications, these shall be decided on, and put into
effect by the Governing Commission, after consultation with the
elected representatives of the inhabitants in such a manner as the
Commission may determine.
No modification may be made in the legal regime for the
exploitation of the mines, provided for in paragraph 12, without
the French State being previously consulted, unless such
modification results from a general regulation respecting labour
adopted by the League of Nations.
In fixing the conditions and hours of labour for men, women and
children, the Governing Commission is to take into consideration
the wishes expressed by the local labour organisations, as well as
the principles adopted by the League of Nations.
Subject to the provisions of paragraph 4, no rights of the
inhabitants of the Saar Basin acquired or in process of acquisition
at the date of coming into force of this Treaty, in respect of any
insurance system of Germany or in respect of any pension of any
kind, are affected by any of the provisions of the present Treaty.
Germany and the Government of the territory of the Saar Basin will
preserve and continue all of the aforesaid rights.
The civil and criminal courts existing in the territory of the Saar
Basin shall continue.
A civil and criminal court will be established by the Governing
Commission to hear appeals from the decisions of the said courts
and to decide matters for which these courts are not competent.
The Governing Commission will be responsible for settling the
organisation and jurisdiction of the said court.
Justice will be rendered in the name of the Governing Commission.
The Governing Commission will alone have the power of levying taxes
and dues in the territory of Saar Basin.
These taxes and dues will be exclusively applied to the needs of
The fiscal system existing on November 11, 1918, will be maintained
as far as possible, and no new tax except customs duties may be
imposed without previously consulting the elected representatives
of the inhabitants.
The present stipulation will not affect the existing nationality of
the inhabitants of the territory of the Saar Basin.
No hindrance shall be placed in the way of those who wish to
acquire a different nationality, but in such case the acquisition
of the new nationality will involve the loss of any other.
Under the control of the Governing Commission the inhabitants will
retain their local assemblies, their religious liberties, their
schools and their language.
The right of voting will not be exercised for any assemblies other
than the local assemblies, and will belong to every inhabitant over
the age of twenty years, without distinction of sex.
Any of the inhabitants of the Saar Basin who may desire to leave
the territory will have full liberty to retain in it their
immovable property or to sell it at fair prices, and to remove
their movable property free of any charges.
There will be no military service, whether compulsory or voluntary,
in the territory of the Saar Basin, and the construction of
fortifications therein is forbidden.
Only a local gendarmerie for the maintenance of order may be
It will be the duty of the Governing Commission to provide in all
cases for the protection of persons and property in the Saar Basin.
The territory of the Saar Basin as defined by Article 48 of the
present Treaty shall be subjected to the French customs regime. The
receipts from the customs duties on goods intended for local
consumption shall be included in the budget of the said territory
after deduction of all costs of collection.
No export tax shall be imposed upon metallurgical products or coal
exported from the said territory to Germany, nor upon the German
exports for the use of the industries of the territory of the Saar
Natural or manufactured products originating in the Basin in
transit over German territory and, similarly, German products in
transit over the territory of the Basin shall be free of all
Products which both originate in and pass from the Basin into
Germany shall be free of import duties for a period of five years
from the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty, and
during the same period articles imported from Germany into the
territory of the Basin for local consumption, shall likewise be
free of import duties.
During these five years the French Government reserves to itself
the right of limiting to the annual average of the quantities
imported into Alsace-Lorraine and France in the years 1911 to 1913
the quantities which may be sent into France of all articles coming
from the Basin which include raw materials and semimanufactured
goods imported duty free from Germany. Such average shall be
determined after reference to all available official information
No prohibition or restriction shall be imposed upon the circulation
of French money in the territory of the Saar Basin.
The French State shall have the right to use French money in all
purchases, payments, and contracts connected with the exploitation
of the mines or their accessories and subsidiaries.
The Governing Commission shall have power to decide all questions
arising from the interpretation of the preceding provisions.
France and Germany agree that any dispute involving a difference of
opinion as to the interpretation of the said provision shall in the
same way be submitted to the Governing Commission and the decision
of a majority of the Commission shall be binding on both countries.
At the termination of a period of fifteen years from the coming
into force of the present Treaty, the population of the territory
of the Saar Basin will be called upon to indicate their desires in
the following manner: A vote will take place by communes or
districts, on the three following alternatives: (a) maintenance of
the regime established by the present Treaty and by this Annex; (b)
union with France; (c) union with Germany.
All persons without distinction of sex, more than twenty years old
at the date of the voting, resident in the territory at the date of
the signature of the present Treaty, will have the right to vote.
The other conditions, methods, and the date of the voting shall be
fixed by the Council of the League of Nations in such a way as to
secure the freedom, secrecy and trustworthiness of the voting
The League of Nations shall decide on the sovereignty under which
the territory is to be placed, taking into account the wishes of
the inhabitants as expressed by the voting.
(a) If, for the whole or part of the territory, the League of
Nations decides in favour of the maintenance of the regime
established by the present Treaty and this Annex, Germany hereby
agrees to make such renunciation of her sovereignty in favour of
the League of Nations as the latter shall deem necessary. It will
be the duty of the League of Nations to take appropriate steps to
adapt the regime definitively adopted to the permanent welfare of
the territory and the general interest;
(b) If, for the whole or part of the territory, the League of
Nations decides in favour of union with France, Germany hereby
agrees to cede to France in accordance with the decision of the
League of Nations, all rights and title over the territory
specified by the League.
(c) If, for the whole or part of the territory, the League of
Nations decides in favour of union with Germany, it will be the
duty of the League of Nations to cause the German Government to be
re-established in the government of the territory specified by the
If the League of Nations decides in favour of the union of the
whole or part of the territory of the Saar Basin with Germany,
France's rights of ownership in the mines situated in such part of
the territory will be repurchased by Germany in their entirety at
a price payable in gold. The price to be paid will be fixed by
three experts, one nominated by Germany, one by France, and one,
who shall be neither a Frenchman nor a German, by the Council
of the League of Nations; the decision of the experts will be given
by a majority.
The obligation of Germany to make such payment shall be
taken into account by the Reparation Commission, and for the
purpose of this payment Germany may create a prior charge upon her
assets or revenues upon such detailed terms as shall be agreed to
by the Reparation Commission. If, nevertheless, Germany after a
period of one year from the date on which the payment becomes due
shall not have effected the said payment, the Reparation Commission
shall do so in accordance with such instructions as may be given by
the League of Nations, and, if necessary, by liquidating that part
of the mines which is in question.
If, in consequence of the repurchase provided for in paragraph
36, the ownership of the mines or any part of them is transferred
to Germany, the French State and French nationals shall have
the right to purchase such amount of coal of the Saar Basin as
their industrial and domestic needs are found at that time to
require. An equitable arrangement regarding amounts of coal,
duration of contract, and prices will be fixed in due time by the
Council of the League of Nations.
It is understood that France and Germany may, by special
agreements concluded before the time fixed for the payment of
the price for the repurchase of the mines, modify the provisions
of paragraphs 36 and 37.
The Council of the League of Nations shall make such provisions as
may be necessary for the establishment of the regime
which is to take effect after the decisions of the League of
Nations mentioned in paragraph 35 have become operative, including
an equitable apportionment of any obligations of the Government of
the territory of the Saar Basin arising from loans raised by the
Commission or from other causes.
From the coming into force of the new regime, the powers of the
Governing Commission will terminate, except in the case provided
for in paragraph 35 (a).
In all matters dealt with in the present Annex, the decisions of
the Council of the League of Nations will be taken by a majority.
The HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES, recognising the moral obligation to
redress the wrong done by Germany in 1871 both to the rights of
France and to the wishes of the population of Alsace and Lorraine,
which were separated from their country in spite of the solemn
protest of their representatives at the Assembly of Bordeaux
Agree upon the following Articles:
The territories which were ceded to Germany in accordance with the
Preliminaries of Peace signed at Versailles on February 26, 187l,
and the Treaty of Frankfort of May lo, 1871, are restored to French
sovereignty as from the date of the Armistice of November 11, 1918.
The provisions of the Treaties establishing the delimitation of the
frontiers before 1871 shall be restored.
The German Government shall hand over without delay to the French
Government all archives, registers, plans, titles and documents of
every kind concerning the civil, military, financial, judicial or
other administrations of the territories restored to French
sovereignty. If any of these documents, archives, registers, titles
or plans nave been misplaced, they will be restored by the German
Government on the demand of the French Government.
Separate agreements shall be made between France and Germany
dealing with the interests of the inhabitants of the territories
referred to in Article 51, particularly as regards their civil
rights, their business and the exercise of their professions, it
being understood that Germany undertakes as from the present date
to recognise and accept the regulations laid down in the Annex
hereto regarding the nationality of the inhabitants or natives of
the said territories, not to claim at any time or in any place
whatsoever as German nationals those who shall have been declared
on any ground to be French, to receive all others in her territory,
and to conform, as regards the property of German nationals in the
territories indicated in Article 51, with the provisions of Article
297 and the Annex to Section IV of Part X (Economic Clauses) of the
Those German nationals who without acquiring French nationality
shall receive permission from the French Government to reside in
the said territories shall not be subjected to the provisions of
the said Article.
Those persons who have regained French nationality in virtue of
paragraph 1 of the Annex hereto will be held to be Alsace-
Lorrainers for the purposes of the present Section.
The persons referred to in paragraph 2 of the said Annex will from
the day on which they have claimed French nationality be held to be
Alsace-Lorrainers with retroactive effect as from November 11,
1918. For those whose application is rejected, the privilege will
terminate at the date of the refusal.
Such juridical persons will also have the status of
AlsaceLorrainers as shall have been recognised as possessing this
quality whether by the French administrative authorities or by a
The territories referred to in Article 5l shall return to France
free and quit of all public debts under the conditions laid down in
Article 255 of Part IX (Financial Clauses) of the present Treaty.
In conformity with the provisions of Article 256 of Part IX
(Financial Clauses) of the present Treaty, France shall enter into
possession of all property and estate, within the territories
referred to in Article 5l, which belong to the German Empire or
German States, without any payment or credit on this account to any
of the States ceding the territories.
This provision applies to all movable or immovable property of
public or private domain together with all rights whatsoever
belonging to the German Empire or German States or to their
Crown property and the property of the former Emperor or other
German sovereigns shall be assimilated to property of the public
Germany shall not take any action, either by means of stamping or
by any other legal or administrative measures not applying equally
to the rest of her territory, which may be to the detriment of the
legal value or redeemability of Germany monetary instruments or
monies which, at the date of the signature of the present Treaty,
are legally current, and at that date are in the possession of the
A special Convention will determine the conditions for repayment in
marks of the exceptional war expenditure advanced during the course
of the war by Alsace-Lorraine or by the public bodies in Alsace-
Lorraine on account of the Empire in accordance with German law,
such as payment to the families of persons mobilised, requisitions,
billeting of troops, and assistance to persons who have been
evacuated. In fixing the amount of these sums Germany shall be
credited with that portion which Alsace-Lorraine would have
contributed to the Empire to meet the expenses resulting from these
payments, this contribution being calculated according to the
proportion of the Imperial revenues derived from Alsace-Lorraine in
The French Government will collect for its own account the Imperial
taxes, duties and dues of every kind leviable in the territories
referred to in Article 5l and not collected at the time of the
Armistice of November 11, 19l8.
The German Government shall without delay restore to
AlsaceLorrainers (individuals, juridical persons and public
institutions) all property, rights and interests belonging to them
on November 11, 1918, in so far as these are situated in German
The German Government undertakes to continue and complete without
delay the execution of the financial clauses regarding Alsace-
Lorraine contained in the Armistice Conventions.
The German Government undertakes to bear the expense of all civil
and military pensions which had been earned in Alsace. Lorraine on
date of November 11, 1918, and the maintenance of which was a
charge on the budget of the German Empire.
The German Government shall furnish each year the funds necessary
for the payment in francs, at the average rate of exchange for that
year, of the sums in marks to which persons resident in Alsace-
Lorraine would have been entitled if Alsace-Lorraine had remained
under German jurisdiction.
For the purposes of the obligation assumed by Germany in Part VIII
(Reparation) of the present Treaty to give compensation for damages
caused to the civil populations of the Allied and Associated
countries in the form of fines, the inhabitants of the territories
referred to in Article 51 shall be assimilated to the above-
The regulations concerning the control of the Rhine and of the
Moselle are laid down in Part XII (Ports, Waterways and Railways)
of the present Treaty.
Within a period of three weeks after the coming into force of the
present Treaty, the port of Strasburg and the port of Kehl shall be
constituted, for a period of seven years, a single unit from the
point of view of exploitation.
The administration of this single unit will be carried on by a
manager named by the Central Rhine Commission, which shall also
have power to remove him.
This manager shall be of French nationality.
He will reside in Strasburg and will be subject to the supervision
of the Central Rhine Commission.
There will be established in the two ports free zones in conformity
with Part XII (Ports, Waterways and Railways) of the present
A special Convention between France and Germany which shall be
submitted to the approval of the Central Rhine Commission, will fix
the details of this organisation, particularly as regards finance.
It is understood that for the purpose of the present Article the
port of Kehl includes the whole of the area necessary for the
movement of the port and the trains which serve it, including the
harbour, quays and railroads, platforms, cranes, sheds and
warehouses, silos, elevators and hydro-electric plants, which make
up the equipment of the port.
The German Government undertakes to carry out all measures which
shall be required of it in order to assure that all the making-up
and switching of trains arriving at or departing from Kehl, whether
for the right bank or the left bank of the Rhine, shall be carried
on in the best conditions possible.
All property rights shall be safeguarded. In particular the
administration of the ports shall not prejudice any property rights
of the French or Baden railroads.
Equality of treatment as respects traffic shall be assured in both
ports to the nationals, vessels and goods of every country.
In case at the end of the sixth year France shall consider that the
progress made in the improvement of the port of Strasbourg still
requires a prolongation of this temporary regime, she may ask for
such prolongation from the Central Rhine Commission, which may
grant an extension for a period not exceeding three years.
Throughout the whole period of any such extension the free zones
above provided for shall be maintained.
Pending appointment of the first manager by the Central Rhine
Commission a provisional manager who shall be of French nationality
may be appointed by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers
subject to the foregoing provisions.
For all purposes of the present Article the Central Rhine
Commission will decide by a majority of votes.
The railway and other bridges across the Rhine now existing within
the limits of Alsace-Lorraine shall, as to all their parts and
their whole length, be the property of the French State, which
shall ensure their upkeep.
The French Government is substituted in all the rights of the
German Empire over all the railways which were administered by the
Imperial railway administration and which are actually working or
The same shall apply to the rights of the Empire with regard to
railway and tramway concessions within the territories referred to
in Article 51.
This substitution shall not entail any payment on the part of the
The frontier railway stations shall be established by a subsequent
agreement, it being stipulated in advance that on the Rhine
frontier they shall be situated on the right bank.
In accordance with the provisions of Article 268 of Chapter I of
Section I of Part X (Economic Clauses) of the present Treaty, for
a period of five years from the coming into force of the present
Treaty, natural or manufactured products originating in and coming
from the territories referred to in Article 51 shall, on
importation into German customs territory, be exempt from all
The French Government may fix each year, by decree communicated to
the German Government, the nature and amount of the products which
shall enjoy this exemption.
The amount of each product which may be thus sent annually into
Germany shall not exceed the average of the amounts sent annually
in the years 1911-1913.
Further, during the period of five years above mentioned, the
German Government shall allow the free export from Germany and the
free reimportation into Germany, exempt from all customs, duties
and other charges (including internal charges), of yarns, tissues,
and other textile materials or textile products of any kind and in
any condition, sent from Germany into the territories referred to
in Article 51, to be subjected there to any finishing process, such
as bleaching, dyeing, printing, mercerization, gassing, twisting or
During a period of ten years from the coming into force of the
present Treaty, central electric supply works situated in German
territory and formerly furnishing electric power to the territories
referred to in Article 51 or to any establishment the working of
which passes permanently or temporarily from Germany to France,
shall be required to continue such supply up to the amount of
consumption corresponding to the undertakings and contracts current
on November 11, 1918.
Such supply shall be furnished according to the contracts in force
and at a rate which shall not be higher than that paid to the said
works by German nationals.
It is understood that the French Government preserves its right to
prohibit in the future in the territories referred to in Article 51
all new German participation:
(1) In the management or exploitation of the public domain and of
public services, such as railways, navigable waterways, water
works, gas works, electric power, etc. ;
(2) In the ownership of mines and quarries of every kind and in
enterprises connected therewith;
(3) In metallurgical establishments, even though their working may
not be connected with that of any mine.
As regards the territories referred to in Article 51, Germany
renounces on behalf of herself and her nationals as from November
11, 1918, all rights under the law of May 25, 1910, regarding the
trade in potash salts, and generally under any stipulations for the
intervention of German organisations in the working of the potash
mines. Similarly, she renounces on behalf of herself and her-
nationals all rights under any agreements, stipulations or laws
which may exist to her benefit with regard to other products of the
The settlement of the questions relating to debts contracted before
November 11, 1918, between the German Empire and the German States
or their nationals residing in Germany on the one part and Alsace-
Lorrainers residing in Alsace-Lorraine on the other part shall be
effected in accordance with the provisions of Section III of Part
X (Economic Clauses) of the present Treaty, the expression "before
the war" therein being replaced by the expression "before November
11, 1918,. The rate of exchange applicable in the case of such
settlement shall be the average rate quoted on the Geneva Exchange
during the month preceding November 11, 1918.
There may be established in the territories referred to in Article
51, for the settlement of the aforesaid debts under the conditions
laid down in Section III of Part X (Economic Clauses) of the
present Treaty, a special clearing office, it being understood that
this office shall be regarded as a "central office" under the
provisions of paragraph 1 of the Annex to the said Section.
The private property, rights and interests of Alsace-Lorrainers in
Germany will be regulated by the stipulations of Section IV of Part
X (Economic Clauses) of the present Treaty.
The French Government reserves the right to retain and liquidate
all the property, rights and interests which German nationals or
societies controlled by Germany possessed in the territories
referred to in Article 51 on November 11, 1918, subject to the
conditions laid down in the last paragraph of Article 53 above.
Germany will directly compensate her nationals who may have been
dispossessed by the aforesaid liquidations. The product of these
liquidations shall be applied in accordance with the stipulations
of Sections III and IV of Part X (Economic Clauses) of the present
Notwithstanding the stipulations of Section V of Part X (Economic
Clauses) of the present Treaty, all contracts made before the date
of the promulgation in Alsace-Lorraine of the French decree of
November 30, 1918, between Alsace-Lorrainers (whether individuals
or juridical persons) or others resident in Alsace-Lorraine on the
one part and the German Empire or German States and their nationals
resident in Germany on the other part, the execution of which has
been suspended by the Armistice or by subsequent French
legislation, shall be maintained.
Nevertheless, any contract of which the French Government shall
notify the cancellation to Germany in the general interest within
a period of six months from the date of the coming into force of
the present Treaty, shall be annulled except in respect of any debt
or other pecuniary obligation arising out of any act done or money
paid thereunder before November 11, 1918. If this dissolution would
cause one of the parties substantial prejudice, equitable
compensation, calculated solely on the capital employed without
taking account of loss of profits, shall be accorded to the
With regard to prescriptions, limitations and forfeitures in
Alsace-Lorraine, the provisions of Articles 300 and 301 of Section
V of Part X (Economic Clauses) shall be applied with the
substitution for the expression "outbreak of war" of the expression
"November 11, 1918", and for the expression "duration of the war"
of the expression "period from November 11, 1918, to the date of
the coming into force of the present Treaty".
Questions concerning rights in industrial, literary or artistic
property of Alsace-Lorrainers shall be regulated in accordance with
the general stipulations of Section VII of Part X (Economic
Clauses) of the present Treaty, it being understood that
Alsace-Lorrainers holding rights of this nature under German
legislation will preserve full and entire enjoyment of those rights
on German territory.
The German Government undertakes to pay over to the French
Government such proportion of all reserves accumulated by the
Empire or by public or private bodies dependent upon it, for the
purposes of disability and old age insurance, as would fall to the
disability and old age insurance fund at Strasbourg.
The same shall apply in respect of the capital and reserves
accumulated in Germany falling legitimately to other social
insurance funds, to miners, superannuation funds, to the fund of
the railways of Alsace-Lorraine, to other superannuation
organisations established for the benefit of the personnel of
public administrations and institutions operating in Alsace-
Lorraine and also in respect of the capital and reserves due by the
insurance fund of private employees at Berlin, by reason of
engagements entered into for the benefit of insured persons of that
category resident in Alsace-Lorraine. A special Convention shall
determine the conditions and procedure of these transfers.
With regard to the execution of judgments, appeals and
prosecutions, the following rules shall be applied:
(1) All civil and commercial judgments which shall have been given
since August 3, 1914, by the Courts of Alsace-Lorraine between
Alsace-Lorrainers, or between Alsace-Lorrainers and foreigners, or
between foreigners, and which shall not have been appealed from
before November 11, 1918, shall be regarded as final and
susceptible of immediate execution without further formality.
When the judgment has been given between Alsace-Lorrainers and
Germans or between Alsace-Lorrainers and subjects of the allies of
Germany, it shall only be capable of execution after the issue of
an exequatur by the corresponding new tribunal in the restored
territory referred to in Article 51.
(2) All judgments given by German Courts since August 3, 1914,
against Alsace-Lorrainers for political crimes or misdemeanors
shall be regarded as null and void.
(3) All sentences passed since November 11, 1918, by the Court of
the Empire at Leipzig on appeals against the decisions of the
Courts of Alsace-Lorraine shall be regarded as null and void and
shall be so pronounced. The papers in regard to the cases in which
such sentences have been given shall be returned to the Courts of
All appeals to the Court of the Empire against decisions of the
Courts of Alsace-Lorraine shall be suspended. The papers shall be
returned under the aforesaid conditions for transfer without delay
to the French Cour de Cassation, which shall be competent to decide
(4) All prosecutions in Alsace-Lorraine for offences committed
during the period between November 11, 1918, and the coming into
force of the present Treaty will be conducted under German law
except in so far as this has been modified by decrees duly
published on the spot by the French authorities.
(5) All other questions as to competence, procedure or
administration of justice shall be determined by a special
Convention between France and Germany.
The stipulations as to nationality contained in the Annex hereto
shall be considered as of equal force with the provisions of the
All other questions concerning Alsace-Lorraine which are not
regulated by the present Section and the Annex thereto or by the
general provisions of the present Treaty will form the subject of
further conventions between France and Germany.
As from November 11, 1918, the following persons are ipso facto
reinstated in French nationality:
(1) Persons who lost French nationality by the application of the
Franco-German Treaty of May 10, 1871, and who have not since that
date acquired any nationality other than German;
(2) The legitimate or natural descendants of the persons referred
to in the immediately preceding paragraph, with the exception of
those whose ascendants in the paternal line include a German who
migrated into Alsace-Lorraine after July 15, 1870;
(3) All persons born in Alsace-Lorraine of unknown parents, L or
whose nationality is unknown.
Within the period of one year from the coming into force of the
present Treaty, persons included in any of the following categories
may claim French nationality:
(1) All persons not restored to French nationality under paragraph
1 above, whose ascendants include a Frenchman or Frenchwoman who
lost French nationality under the conditions referred to in the
(2) All foreigners, not nationals of a German State, who acquired
the status of a citizen of Alsace-Lorraine before August 3, 1914;
(3) All Germans domiciled in Alsace-Lorraine, if they have been so
domiciled since a date previous to July 15, 1870, or if one of
their ascendants was at that date domiciled in Alsace-Lorraine;
(4) All Germans born or domiciled in Alsace-Lorraine who have
served in the Allied or Associated armies during the present war,
and their descendants;
(5) All persons born in Alsace-Lorraine before May 10, 1871, of
foreign parents, and the descendants of such persons;
(6) The husband or wife of any person whose French nationality may
have been restored under paragraph 1, or who may have claimed and
obtained French nationality in accordance with the preceding provisions.
The legal representative of a minor may exercise, on behalf of that
minor, the right to claim French nationality; and if that right has
not been exercised, the minor may claim French nationality within
the year following his majority.
Except in the cases provided for in No.(6) of the present
paragraph, the French authorities reserve to themselves the right,
in individual cases, to reject the claim to French nationality.
Subject to the provisions of paragraph 2, Germans born or domiciled
in Alsace-Lorraine shall not acquire French nationality by reason
of the restoration of Alsace-Lorraine to France, even though they
may have the status of citizens of Alsace-Lorraine.
They may acquire French nationality only by naturalisation, on
condition of having been domiciled in Alsace-Lorraine from a date
previous to August 3, 1914, and of submitting proof of unbroken
residence within the restored territory for a period of three years
from November 11, 1918.
France will be solely responsible for their diplomatic and consular
protection from the date of their application for French
The French Government shall determine the procedure by which
reinstatement in French nationality as of right shall be effected,
and the conditions under which decisions shall be given upon claims
to such nationality and applications for naturalisation, as
provided by the present Annex.
Germany acknowledges and will respect strictly the independence of
Austria, within the frontiers which may be fixed in a Treaty
between that State and the Principal Allied and Associated Powers;
she agrees that this independence shall be inalienable, except with
the consent of the Council of the League of Nations.
Germany, in conformity with the action already taken by the Allied
and Associated Powers, recognises the complete independence of the
Czecho-Slovak State which will include the autonomous territory of
the Ruthenians to the south of the Carpathians. Germany hereby
recognises the frontiers of this State as determined by the
Principal Allied and Associated Powers and the other interested
The old frontier as it existed on August 3, 1914, between Austria-
Hungary and the German Empire will constitute the frontier between
Germany and the Czecho-Slovak State.
Germany renounces in favour of the Czecho-Slovak State all rights
and title over the portion of Silesian territory defined as
follows: starting from a point about 2 kilometres south-east of
Katscher, on the boundary between the Kreise of Leobschutz and
Ratibor: the boundary between the two Kreise; then, the former
boundary between Germany and Austria-Hungary up to a point on the
Oder immediately to the south of the Ratibor-Oderberg railway;
thence, towards the north-west and up to a point about 2 kilometres
to the south-east of Katscher: a line to be fixed on the spot
passing to the west of Kranowitz. A Commission composed of seven
members, five nominated by the Principal Allied and Associated
Powers, one by Poland and one by the Czecho-Slovak State, will be
appointed fifteen days after the coming into force of the present
Treaty to trace on the spot the frontier line between Poland and
the Czecho-Slovak State. The decisions of this Commission will be
taken by a majority and shall be binding on the parties concerned.
Germany hereby agrees to renounce in favour of the Czecho-Slovak
State all rights and title over the part of the Kreis of Leobschutz
comprised within the following boundaries in case after the
determination of the frontier between Germany and Poland the said
part of that Kreis should become isolated from Germany: from the
south-eastern extremity of the salient of the former Austrian
frontier at about 5 kilometres to the west of Leobschutz southwards
and up to the point of junction with the boundary between the
Kreise of Leobschutz and Ratibor: the former frontier between
Germany and Austria-Hungary; then, northwards, the administrative
boundary between the Kreise of Leobschutz and Ratibor up to a point
situated about 2 kilometres to the south-east of Katscher; thence,
north-westwards and up to the starting-point of this definition: a
line to be fixed on the spot passing to the east of Katscher,
German nationals habitually resident in any of the territories
recognised as forming part of the Czecho-Slovak State will obtain
Czecho-Slovak nationality ipso facto and lose their German
Within a period of two years from the coming into force of the
present Treaty, German nationals over eighteen years of age
habitually resident in any of the territories recognized as forming
part of the Czecho-Slovak State will be entitled to opt for German.
nationality. Czecho-Slovaks who are German nationals and are
habitually resident in Germany will have a similar right to opt for
Option by a husband will cover his wife and option by parents will
cover their children under eighteen years of age.