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Peace Treaty of Versailles (Articles 434 - 440: Miscellaneous Provisions)
(28 June 1919)
Germany undertakes to recognise the full force of the Treaties of
Peace and Additional Conventions which may be concluded by the
Allied and Associated Powers with the Powers who fought on the side
of Germany and to recognise whatever dispositions nay be made
concerning the territories of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy,
of the Kingdom of Bulgaria and of the Ottoman Empire, and to
recognise the new States within their frontiers as there laid down.
The High Contracting Parties, while they recognise the guarantees
stipulated by the Treaties of 1815, and especially by the Act of
November 20, l815, in favour of Switzerland, the said guarantees
constituting international obligations for the maintenance of
peace, declare nevertheless that the provisions of these treaties,
conventions, declarations and other supplementary Acts concerning
the neutralized zone of Savoy, as laid down in paragraph 1 of
Article 92 of the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna and in
paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Treaty of Paris of November 20,
1815, are no longer consistent with present conditions. For this
reason the High Contracting Parties take note of the agreement
reached between the French Government and the Swiss Government for
the abrogation of the stipulations relating to this zone which are
and remain abrogated.
The High Contracting Parties also agree that the stipulations of
the Treaties of 1815 and of the other supplementary Acts concerning
the free zones of Upper Savoy and the Gex district are no longer
consistent with present conditions, and that it is for France and
Switzerland to come to an agreement together with a view to
settling between themselves the status of these territories under
such conditions as shall be considered suitable by both countries.
The Swiss Federal Council has informed the French Government on May
5, 1919, that after examining the provisions of Article 435 in a
like spirit of sincere friendship it has happily reached the
conclusion that it was possible to acquiesce in it under the
following conditions and reservations:
(1) The neutralised zone of Haute-Savoie:
(a) It will be understood that as long as the Federal Chambers have
not ratified the agreement come to between the two Governments
concerning the abrogation of the stipulations in respect of the
neutralised zone of Savoy, nothing will be definitively settled, on
one side or the other, in regard to this subject.
(b) The assent given by the Swiss Government to the abrogation of
the above mentioned stipulations presupposes, in conformity with
the text adopted, the recognition of the guarantees formulated in
favour of Switzerland by the Treaties of 1815 and particularly by
the Declaration of November 20, 1815.
(c) The agreement between the Governments of France and Switzerland
for the abrogation of the above mentioned stipulations will only be
considered as valid if the Treaty of Peace contains this Article in
its present wording. In addition the Parties to the Treaty of Peace
should endeavour to obtain the assent of the signatory Powers of
the Treaties of 1815 and of the Declaration of November 20, 1815,
which are not signatories of the present Treaty of Peace.
(2) Free zone of Haute-Savoie and the district of Gex:
(a) The Federal Council makes the most express reservations to the
interpretation to be given to the statement mentioned in the last
paragraph of the above Article for insertion in the Treaty of
Peace, which provides that ,,the stipulations of the Treaties of
1815 and other supplementary acts concerning the free zones of
Haute-Savoie and the Gex district are no longer consistent with
present conditions.,, The Federal Council would not wish that its
acceptance of the above wording should lead to the conclusion that
it would agree to the suppression of a system intended to give
neighbouring territory the benefit of a special regime which is
appropriate to the geographical and economical situation and which
has been well tested.
In the opinion of the Federal Council the question is not the
modification of the customs system of the zones as set up by the
Treaties mentioned above, but only the regulation in a manner more
appropriate to the economic conditions of the present day of the
terms of the exchange of goods between the regions in question. The
Federal Council has been led to make the preceding observations by
the perusal of the draft Convention concerning the future
constitution of the zones which was annexed to the note of April 26
from the French Government. While making the above reservations the
Federal Council declares its readiness to examine in the most
friendly spirit any proposals which the French Government may deem
it convenient to make on the subject.
(b) It is conceded that the stipulations of the Treaties of 1815
and other supplementary acts relative to the free zones will remain
in force until a new arrangement is come to between France and
Switzerland to regulate matters in this territory.
The French Government have addressed to the Swiss Government, on
May 18, 1919, the following note in reply to the communication set
out in the preceding paragraph:
In a note dated May 5 the Swiss Legation in Paris was good enough
to inform the Government of the French Republic that the Federal
Government adhered to the proposed Article to be inserted in the
Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Governments and
The French Government have taken note with much pleasure of the
agreement thus reached, and, at their request, the proposed
Article, which had been accepted by the Allied and Associated
Governments, has been inserted under No. 435 in the Peace
conditions presented to the German Plenipotentiaries.
The Swiss Government, in their note of May 5 on this subject, have
expressed various views and reservations.
Concerning the observations relating to the free zones of Haute-
Savoie and the Gex district, the French Government have the honour
to observe that the provisions of the last paragraph of Article 435
are so clear that their purport cannot be misapprehended,
especially where it implies that no other Power but France and
Switzerland will in future be interested in that question.
The French Government, on their part, are anxious to protect the
interests of the French territories concerned, and, with that
object, having their special situation in view, they bear in mind
the desirability of assuring them a suitable customs regime and
determining, in a manner better suited to present conditions, the
methods of exchanges between these territories and the adjacent
Swiss territories, while taking into account the reciprocal
interests of both regions.
It is understood that this must in no way prejudice the right of
France to adjust her customs line in this region in conformity with
her political frontier, as is done on the other portions of her
territorial boundaries, and as was done by Switzerland long ago on
her own boundaries in this region
The French Government are pleased to note on this subject in what
a friendly disposition the Swiss Government take this opportunity
of declaring their willingness to consider any French proposal
dealing with the system to be substituted for the present regime of
the said free zones, which the French Government intend to
formulate in the same friendly spirit.
Moreover, the French Government have no doubt that the provisional
maintenance of the regime of 1815 as to the free zones referred to
in the above mentioned paragraph of the note from the Swiss
Legation of May 5, whose object is to provide for the passage from
the present regime to the conventional regime, will cause no delay
whatsoever in the establishment of the new situation which has been
found necessary by the two Governments. This remark applies also to
the ratification by the Federal Chambers, dealt with in paragraph
1 (a), of the Swiss note of May 5, under the heading "Neutralised
zone of Haute-Savoie."
The High Contracting Parties declare and place on record that they
have taken note of the Treaty signed by the Government of the
French Republic on July 17, 1918, with His Serene Highness the
Prince of Monaco defining the relations between France and the
The High Contracting Parties agree that, in the absence of a
subsequent agreement to the contrary, the Chairman of any
Commission established by the present Treaty shall in the event of
an equality of votes be entitled to a second vote.
The Allied and Associated Powers agree that where Christian
religious missions were being maintained by German societies or
persons in territory belonging to them, or of which the government
is entrusted to them in accordance with the present Treaty, the
property which these missions or missionary societies possessed,
including that of trading societies whose profits were devoted to
the support of missions, shall continue to be devoted to missionary
purposes. In order to ensure the due execution of this undertaking
the Allied and Associated Governments will hand over such property
to boards of trustees appointed by or approved by the Governments
and composed of persons holding the faith of the Mission whose
property is involved.
The Allied and Associated Governments, while continuing to maintain
full control as to the individuals by whom the Missions are
conducted, will safeguard the interests of such Missions.
Germany, taking note of the above undertaking, agrees to accept all
arrangements made or to be made by the Allied or Associated
Government concerned for carrying on the work of the said missions
or trading societies and waives all claims on their behalf.
Without prejudice to the provisions of the present Treaty, Germany
undertakes not to put forward directly or indirectly against any
Allied or Associated Power, signatory of the present Treaty,
including those which without having declared war, have broken off
diplomatic relations with the German Empire, any pecuniary claim
based on events which occurred at any time before the coming into
force of the present Treaty.
The present stipulation will bar completely and finally all claims
of this nature, which will be thenceforward extinguished, whoever
may be the parties in interest.
Germany accepts and recognises as valid and binding all decrees and
orders concerning German ships and goods and all orders relating to
the payment of costs made by any Prize Court of any of the Allied
or Associated Powers, and undertakes not to put forward any claim
arising out of such decrees or orders on behalf of any German
The Allied and Associated Powers reserve the right to examine in
such manner as they may determine all decisions and orders of
German Prize Courts, whether affecting the property rights of
nationals of those Powers or of neutral Powers. Germany agrees to
furnish copies of all the documents constituting the record of the
cases, including the decisions and orders made, and to accept and
give effect to the recommendations made after such examination of
THE PRESENT TREATY, of which the French and English texts are both
authentic, shall be ratified.
The deposit of ratifications shall be made at Paris as soon as
Powers of which the seat of the Government is outside Europe will
be entitled merely to inform the Government of the French Republic
through their diplomatic representative at Paris that their
ratification has been given; in that case they must transmit the
instrument of ratification as soon as possible.
A first proces-verbal of the deposit of ratifications will be drawn
up as soon as the Treaty has been ratified by Germany on the one
hand, and by three of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers on
the other hand.
From the date of this first proces-verbal the Treaty will come into
force between the High Contracting Parties who have ratified it.
For the determination of all periods of time provided for in the
present Treaty this date will be the date of the coming into force
of the Treaty.
In all other respects the Treaty will enter into force for each
Power at the date of the deposit of its ratification.
The French Government will transmit to all the signatory Powers a
certified copy of the proces-verbaux of the deposit of
IN FAITH WHEREOF the above-named Plenipotentiaries have signed the
Done at Versailles, the twenty-eighth day of June, one thousand
nine hundred and nineteen, in a single copy which will remain
deposited in the archives of the French Republic, and of which
authenticated copies will be transmitted to each of the Signatory