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Note to III, 88—Continued

eral products of any part of Upper Silesia which might be transferred should be available for purchase by Germany on the same terms as by the Poles, and provision had been made to give protection to Germans in any liquidation of their property. Finally, there was in the treaty a clause which would secure to the Germans left in Poland the enjoyment of religious liberty and the free use of their language. "They will not be subjected to persecution similar to that which Poles had to endure from the Prussian State."

The Inter-Allied Administrative and Plebiscite Commission of Upper Silesia took over the plebiscite area by a proclamation given out at Oppeln on February 11, 1920. The importance of the decision to be taken and the high feeling among the inhabitants led to some unusual precautions being taken. The commission created a special court of justice by a decree of March 11, and on the following day issued another regarding the possession of weapons and ammunition. Later, it was found advisable to establish technical advisers throughout the area for instruction in the Polish language and for the protection of the interests of Polish-speaking inhabitants. The customary decrees containing rules respecting entrance and exit, meetings and demonstrations, and publications were more pointed in this plebiscite than has usually been the case. The organization of a special plebiscite police on August 24 coincided with the disbanding of a German Sicherheitspolizei.

Germany and Poland reached an agreement regarding the preparations for the plebiscite on January 20, 1921 (6 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 221).

The commission's regulations governing the plebiscite were issued December 30, 1920 and twice revised-on February 23 and 28, 1921. The 80 articles left little to chance and nothing that could be anticipated to the imagination, but even so additional decrees on maintenance of order and entrance to the area were issued before the plebiscite was finally held on March 20, 1921.

The commission was not able to make its report on the results of the consultation until April 24. The voting was held in 23 voting districts, consisting of 1522 communes and Gutsbezirke. Of these 844, or 54 percent, voted for Germany; 678, or 42.5 percent, for Poland; and 73 were doubtful. All together 1,220,514 voters registered, and of these 987,000 were domiciled natives; 191,154 were outvoters or non-domiciled natives; and 41,000, domiciled non-natives. The total vote cast was 1,190,846. Of this number 707,605, or 59.6 percent, voted for Germany, and 479,359, or 40.3 percent, for Poland;

Note to III, 88—Continued

there were 3,882 void ballots. However, the raw total did not settle the question, for when the results were put upon the map, the plebiscite area was a checkerboard.

The Inter-Allied Commission for the Government and for the Plebiscite in Upper Silesia consisted of representatives of France, the British Empire, and Italy, the United States not having designated a representative.

The commission in its report to the Conference of Ambassadors on April 30 was unable to make a recommendation as to the line which ought to be the frontier of Germany in Upper Silesia. The French commissioner suggested that the mining and industrial basin be placed under the control of an inter-Allied economic organization for a period of years, but the British and Italian representatives referred the matter to their Governments. All the commissioners seem to have felt that the treatment of Upper Silesia as an undivided whole was required, notwithstanding that the treaty of peace provided no basis for that thesis. While the commission was struggling with the problem, a Pole, Korfanty, threatened an insurrection which would create a fait accompli.

The Conference of Ambassadors considered the problem, but on August 12, 1921, under article 11, paragraph 2, of the Covenant, it submitted to the Council of the League the "difficulty attending the fixing of the frontier between Germany and Poland in Upper Silesia" and invited the "recommendation of the Council as to the line which the Principal Allied and Associated Powers should lay down". The Council recited its recommendations in three appendices to the report of October 12, 1921, which respectively dealt with

1. A description of the frontier between Germany and Poland in Upper Silesia;

2. A statement of principles to serve as a basis for the general convention between the parties for the administration of Upper Silesia as an economic whole; and

3. A statement of the rights of nationality and domicil and protection of minorities in Upper Silesia.

On October 19 the Conference of Ambassadors made all these recommendations its own decisions (League of Nations, Official Journal, 1921, p. 1223) and invited the Council of the League of Nations to appoint a person to preside over the ensuing German-Polish negotiations. The Convention germano-polonaise was signed in Geneva on May 15, 1922 and entered into force on June 3, 1922 for a period of 15

Note to III, 88-Continued

years. It contained 606 articles,1 the largest number of articles in any treaty ever made. It established an elaborate system of economic and social administration for the area.

It has been said that the boundary line as drawn by the League of Nations satisfied 64.5 percent of the voters and that no line could have satisfied more than 70 to 75 percent of those voting. The line twisted and turned, dividing a chateau from its stables, a village from its cemetery, factories from their electric power, miners from their mines.

The Convention germano-polonaise, as to the ethnographic problem, provided for minorities offices in each state to receive and consider petitions, with a mixed commission to hear cases, having an appeal to the Council of the League of Nations, to which individual or collective petitions might also be directed. Some 80 cases reached the Council. Neither Germany nor Poland was satisfied with the supervision of minorities, on the ground that the system applied only to them and certain other states. Poland proposed to the Assembly of the League of Nations in 1934 the elaboration of a general convention extending minorities provisions to all states. The two Governments joined in a declaration of principles for the treatment of minorities on November 5, 1937. Both Germany and Poland refrained from appealing minorities cases to Geneva after 1934, but in the previous decade five judgments, eight orders, and five advisory opinions had been rendered by the Permanent Court of International Justice on questions relating to Upper Silesian minorities problems. The convention laid down in great detail the procedures for the complex industrial area where mines and factories on both sides of the border were inextricably interdependent. The economic provisions of the convention laid down the conditions under which the industries adjusted themselves to the unusual circumstances.

The arrangements worked reasonably well during the 15 years in which they were in force. The Convention germano-polonaise expired on July 15, 1937. On that date the frontier through Upper Silesia as determined by the decision of the Conference of Ambassadors on October 19, 1921 ceased to be an administrative division in a German-Polish area and became a boundary between Germany and Poland. The succession of the new regimes in their respective areas was favorably affected by the good understanding then existing

1 Amendments to articles 338-342 were made by a convention signed at Kattowitz Jan. 11, 1924 (41 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 187).

Note to III, 88—Continued

between Germany and Poland in view of their joint declaration of January 26, 1934.

A chronological list of 67 German-Polish conventions supplementing or amending the Geneva convention of April 15, 1922 is printed in Georges S. F. C. Kaeckenbeeck, The International Experiment of Upper Silesia, XXXIII-XXXIX.



Within fifteen days from the coming into force of the present Treaty the German troops and such officials as may be designated by the Commission set up under the provisions of paragraph 2 shall evacuate the plebiscite area. Up to the moment of the completion of the evacuation they shall refrain from any form of requisitioning in money or in kind and from all acts likely to prejudice the material interests of the country.

Within the same period the Workmens' and Soldiers' Councils which have been constituted in this area shall be dissolved. Members of such Councils who are natives of another region and are exercising their functions at the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty, or who have gone out of office since March 1, 1919, shall be evacuated.

All military and semi-military unions formed in the said area by inhabitants of the district shall be immediately disbanded. All members of such military organizations who are not domiciled in the said area shall be required to leave it.


The plebiscite area shall be immediately placed under the authority of an International Commission of four members to be designated by the following Powers; the United States of America, France, the British Empire and Italy. It shall be occupied by troops belonging to the Allied and Associated Powers, and the German Government undertakes to give facilities for the transference of these troops to Upper Silesia.

Note to III, 88, Annex (2)

The United States did not provide a member of the commission.


The Commission shall enjoy all the powers exercised by the German or the Prussian Government, except those of legislation or taxation. It shall also be substituted for the Government of the province and the Regierungsbezirk.

It shall be within the competence of the Commission to interpret the powers hereby conferred upon it and to determine to what extent it shall exercise them, and to what extent they shall be left in the hands of the existing authorities.

Changes in the existing laws and the existing taxation shall only be brought into force with the consent of the Commission.

The Commission will maintain order with the help of the troops which will be at its disposal, and, to the extent which it may deem necessary, by means of gendarmerie recruited among the inhabitants of the country.

The Commission shall provide immediately for the replacement of the evacuated German officials and, if occasion arises, shall itself order the evacuation of such authorities and proceed to the replacement of such local authorities as may be required.

It shall take all steps which it thinks proper to ensure the freedom, fairness and secrecy of the vote. In particular, it shall have the right to order the expulsion of any person who may in any way have attempted to distort the result of the plebiscite by methods of corruption or intimidation.

The Commission shall have full power to settle all questions arising from the execution of the present clauses. It shall be assisted by technical advisers chosen by it from among the local population.

The decisions of the Commission shall be taken by a majority vote.


The vote shall take place at such date as may be determined by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, but not sooner than six months or later than eighteen months after the establishment of the Commission in the area.

The right to vote shall be given to all persons without distinction of sex who:

(a) Have completed their twentieth year on the 1st January of the year in which the plebiscite takes place;

(b) Were born in the plebiscite area or have been domiciled there since a date to be determined by the Commission, which shall

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