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Note to III, 41

The German delegation complained that Luxembourg was to continue to "enjoy all the advantages" of the German Zollverein without being a member and demanded reciprocity (Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vi, 825).

The Allies replied that Luxembourg had itself decided the issue (ibid., p. 942).

An exchange of notes between Germany and Luxembourg concerning frontier traffic, transit, and trade was effected on December 5, 1922 and in force on February 1, 1923.

SECTION III.-Left Bank of the Rhine.

Notes to Part III, Section III, Articles 42 to 44

Articles 42 to 44 are best understood when read with part XIV (Guarantees, section I, articles 428-432), which represented a compromise of the French desire to detach the left bank of the Rhine from Germany. They were incorporated here in the effort to satisfy the French desire for security and were intended to be supported by the parallel agreements signed on June 28, 1919 by Great Britain and the United States relative to assistance to France in the event of unprovoked aggression by Germany (Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910-23, ш, 3709). These severally stipulated that, because these three articles of the treaty of peace "may not provide adequate security and protection to France, the United States of America shall be bound [Great Britain agrees] to come immediately to her assistance in the event of any unprovoked movement of aggression against her being made by Germany". The President of the United States submitted the parallel agreements to the Senate, which did not consider them. In consequence, though Great Britain ratified the one agreement, the guaranty did not become effective.

At the Cannes conference in 1922 the United Kingdom offered France a unilateral guaranty on its part, but owing to opposition in the French Parliament the Briand government then in power was obliged to resign before accepting the offer, and Poincaré succeeded him with the definite assertion that France would not accept a unilateral guaranty. As the United Kingdom did not feel the same need of a guaranty, no mutual arrangement was made.

France meanwhile was building up a series of protective political agreements. On September 10-15, 1920 France made a military agreement with Belgium (2 League of Nations Treaty Series, p.

Notes to Part III, Articles 42 to 44-Continued

127); on February 19, 1921 a political agreement with Poland on the other side of Germany (18 ibid., p. 11); and eventually similar agreements with Czechoslovakia, Rumania, and Yugoslavia (23 ibid., p. 163; 58 ibid., p. 233; 68 ibid., p. 373). After the adoption of the plan of the Committee of Experts (Dawes Plan) in August 1924 began a smooth period in reparation. A Franco-German rapprochement began. This culminated in the treaties of Locarno, initialed on October 16, 1925, which consisted of a final act binding together a treaty of mutual guaranty between Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Italy and arbitration conventions or treaties between Germany on the one side and Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia, and Poland on the other. This series of treaties entered into force upon the admission of Germany into the League of Nations on September 8, 1926. They were to remain in force until one year after the Council of the League, after a three months' notice, decided by a two-thirds majority "that the League of Nations assures sufficient protection to the high contracting parties". Although Germany's withdrawal from the League of Nations became effective on October 21, 1935, the Treaty of Locarno continued in effect at least until the German occupation of the Rhineland on March 7, 1936.

The Locarno treaty of mutual guaranty is printed in the Appendix, p. 841.

The negotiations regarding security which occurred from 1932 onward with a view to keeping Germany in the Conference for Reduction and Limitation of Armaments and those which ensued after June 1934 with a view to a European settlement were interspersed with repeated assertions of German loyalty to the Locarno treaty of guaranty. Though Adolf Hitler sometimes spoke as Führer of the National Socialist Party and sometimes as Chancellor of the German Reich, he and the government adduced the terms of the Locarno treaty both as a reason for not concluding agreements inconsistent therewith and as an argument for not accepting repetitive or confirmatory proposals.

One effort to find a political basis on which to set a policy of limiting armament was thought of as an "eastern Locarno", which as originally proposed in a French memorandum of June 27, 1934 contemplated a treaty of regional assistance to be signed by Poland, the Soviet Union, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (United Kingdom, Correspondence showing the Course of certain Diplomatic Discussions directed towards securing

Notes to Part III, Articles 42 to 44-Continued

an European Settlement, June 1934 to March 1935, No. 1, Misc. No. 3 (1936), Cmd. 5143). To avoid the implication of "encirclement", France and the Soviet Union at Geneva on December 5, 1934 undertook by a protocol not to "engage in negotiations aiming at the conclusion by them of political agreements, bilateral or multilateral, which might compromise the preparation and conclusion of the regional pact of the east" (ibid., No. 4).

To a meeting at Stresa which the Germans did not attend, the Berlin Government expressed itself antagonistically to the idea underlying the negotiations for this security system in eastern Europe, which had by then become voluminous and were apparently making headway. In a statement of April 12, 1935 it said "that the German Government was not in a position to agree to a proposal for a pact which contained more or less automatic obligations for military assistance, as between all or certain individual parties" (ibid., No. 12). This communication also registered German objection to proceeding either bilaterally or multilaterally. From that the representative of France concluded that his Government "had latitude to make with [the Soviet Union] a bilateral arrangement of mutual assistance" which, he assured the United Kingdom representative, would not be "outside Geneva and the League of Nations, but within the framework of the Covenant" (ibid., No. 13).

The French-Soviet treaty of mutual assistance was concluded on May 2, 1935 (167 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 395). Article 1 of this treaty read:

"In the event of France or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics being threatened with or in danger of aggression on the part of any European State, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and reciprocally France undertake mutually to proceed to an immediate consultation as regards the measures to be taken for the observance of the provisions of Article 10 of the Covenant of the League of Nations."

Articles 2 and 3 dealt with the obligation to render mutual aid in the case of an unprovoked aggression under the circumstances specified in article 15, paragraph 7, article 16 and article 17, paragraphs 1 and 3, of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Article 4 recorded that these undertakings were "consonant with the obligations of the High Contracting Parties as Members of the League of Nations" and were not to be interpreted as restricting obligations

Notes to Part III, Articles 42 to 44-Continued

resulting from the Covenant. Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union signed a similar treaty on May 16, which entered into force on June 8, 1935 (159, ibid., p. 347).


On May 21, the Chancellor of the German Reich announced a program of international policy to the Reichstag. He rejected the decision of the Council of the League of Nations of April 17 condemning unilateral German rearmament, but in the remainder of his 13 points appeared to describe the scope of agreements which Germany was willing to undertake. One of these limitation of the German navy to 35 percent of British fleet strength-was realized by the agreement of June 18 (see p. 339). The address asserted that the German Government would "in particular, observe and fulfil all obligations arising out of the Locarno Pact so long as the other parties to the treaty are also willing to adhere to the said pact", though it was drawn up before that government took over the power. A German memorandum of May 25, 1935 (Cmd. 5143, op. cit., No. 23) to the parties to the Locarno treaty of guaranty questioned the consistency of that Franco-Soviet treaty therewith on the ground that it created an obligation to lend mutual assistance which referred "only to the case when one of those parties finds itself in armed conflict with Germany". The German Government asked Belgium, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom to recognize the self-evident proposition "that the provisions of the treaty of Locarno can not legally be modified or interpreted by the fact that a treaty has been concluded with a third party by one of the signatories".

The French reply of June 25 was confirmed to Germany by the other Locarno signatories in separate communications (ibid., Nos. 27, 28, 29, 30). All entirely agreed that the Locarno treaty was unaffected by a French treaty with an outside party, and that its terms were "consistent with the obligations undertaken in the Locarno pact". The German argument that procedure in the Soviet treaty based on article 16 of the Covenant might constitute a violation of a Locarno provision was "not justified". Each of the three informed Germany that its own rights and duties under the Locarno treaty were "subject to the findings and recommendations of the Council of the League of Nations", and not subject to any French or Soviet unilateral conclusion, as Germany alleged. The German Government took note of this consensus on August 1. It did "not agree with the juridical point of view. . . endorsed by the other three Governments"; but there would "be sufficient opportunity for the necessary

Notes to Part III, Articles 42 to 44-Continued

further discussions in the framework of the other pending negotiations" (ibid., No. 36) for the air and eastern pacts.

The Chancellor of the German Reich expressed an eagerness to conclude an air pact, but here again positive and concrete contributions by Germany were lacking, though it continued to put itself "on record in vague phrases" (ibid., No. 19). By August 1935 the negotiations for an eastern pact, an air pact and air limitation agreement were at a halt, the German Government not vouchsafing any clarification between those projects and the Locarno principles. The withdrawal of Germany as a member of the League of Nations on October 21, 1935 did not affect the applicability of the treaty of Locarno, which depended upon the machinery of the League for its operation; but Germany thereby acquired freedom from the Covenant of the League. By November Germany said it found progress to be impossible during the continuance of the Ethiopian-Italian dispute and on December 13 the Chancellor of the Reich declared to the United Kingdom's Ambassador in Berlin that the Franco-Soviet treaty "had rendered any air pact out of the question”.

Ratifications of the Czechoslovak-Soviet treaty of mutual assistance of May 16, 1935 had been exchanged on June 8, but it would operate between the parties "only in so far as . . . assistance may be rendered by France to the party victim of the aggression". When debate on the Franco-Soviet treaty began in the French Chamber of Deputies in February 1936, German communiqués on "encirclement" and "flagrant violation of the treaty of Locarno" were given publicity. The treaty was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on February 27 by a vote of 353 to 164.

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The following day an authorized interview with the German Chancellor on "achieving a détente with France" was belatedly published in the Paris-Midi. On March 6 the German Ambassador in London gave the Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom to understand "that there was no opposition in principle on the Chancellor's part to an air pact".

On March 7, 1936 the first contingents of some 30,000 German garrison troops were sent into the demilitarized zone defined in article 42 of the treaty of peace and took stations in Düsseldorf, Cologne, Mainz, Coblenz, and Frankfurt amid popular demonstrations. While this was going on, German representatives delivered to the signatories of the Locarno treaty of guaranty-France, Belgium, Italy, and the United Kingdom—a memorandum in which the

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