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once be admitted to the League of Nations. They find themselves unable to accede to this request.
The German revolution was postponed to the last moments of the war and there is as yet no guarantee that it represents a permanent change.
In the present temper of international feeling, it is impossible to expect the free nations of the world to sit down immediately in equal association with those by whom they have been so grievously wronged. To attempt this too soon would delay and not hasten that process of appeasement which all desire.
But the Allied and Associated Powers believe that if the German people prove by their acts that they intend to fulfil the conditions of the peace, and that they have abandoned those aggressive and estranging policies which caused the war, and have now become a people with whom it is possible to live in neighbourly good fellowship, the memories of the past years will speedily fade, and it will be possible at an early date to complete the League of Nations by the admission of Germany thereto. It is their earnest hope that this may be the case. They believe that the prospects of the world depend upon the close and friendly co-operation of all nations in adjusting international questions and promoting the welfare and progress of mankind. But the early entry of Germany into the League must depend principally upon the action of the German people themselves.
In the course of its discussion of their economic terms and elsewhere the German Delegation has repeated its denunciation of the blockade instituted by the Allied and Associated Powers.
Blockade is and always has been a legal and recognised method of war, and its operation has from time to time been adapted to changes in international communications.
If the Allied and Associated Powers have imposed upon Germany a blockade of exceptional severity which throughout they have consistently sought to conform to the principles of international law, it is because of the criminal character of the war initiated by Germany and of the barbarous methods adopted by her in prosecuting it.
The Allied and Associated Powers have not attempted to make a specific answer to all the assertions made in the German note. The fact that some observations have been passed over in silence does not indicate, however, that they are either admitted or open to discussion.
In conclusion the Allied and Associated Powers must make it clear that this letter and the memorandum attached constitute their last word.
They have examined the German observations and counter-proposals with earnest attention and care. They have, in consequence, made important practical concessions, but in its principles they stand by the Treaty.
They believe that it is not only a just settlement of the great war, but that it provides the basis upon which the peoples of Europe can live together in friendship and equality. At the same time it creates the machinery for the peaceful adjustment of all international problems by discussion and consent, whereby the settlement of 1919 itself can be modified from time to time to suit new facts and new conditions as they arise.
It is frankly not based upon a general condonation of the events of 1914-1918. It would not be a peace of justice if it were. But it represents a sincere and deliberate attempt to establish "that reign of law, based upon the consent of the governed, and sustained by the organised opinion of mankind" which was the agreed basis of the peace.
As such the Treaty in its present form must be accepted or rejected. The Allied and Associated Powers therefore require a declaration from the German Delegation within five days from the date of this communication that they are prepared to sign the Treaty as it stands today.
If they declare within this period that they are prepared to sign the Treaty as it stands, arrangements will be made for the immediate signature of the Peace at Versailles.
In default of such a declaration, this communication constitutes the notification provided for in article 2 of the Convention of February 16th 1919 prolonging the Armistice which was signed on November 11th 1918 and has already been prolonged by the agreement of December 13th 1918 and January 16th 1919. The said armistice will then terminate, and the Allied and Associated Powers will take such steps as they think needful to enforce their Terms.
I have the honor, etc.
The Treaty of Peace
Allied and Associated Powers
Signed at Versailles, June 28, 1919
[The vertical rule indicates treaty text.]
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE BRITISH EMPIRE, FRANCE, ITALY and JAPAN,
These Powers being described in the present Treaty as the Principal Allied and Associated Powers,
BELGIUM, BOLIVIA, BRAZIL, CHINA, CUBA, ECUADOR, GREECE, GUATEMALA, HAITI, THE HEDJAZ, HONDURAS, LIBERIA, NICARAGUA, PANAMA, PERU, POLAND, PORTUGAL, ROUMANIA THE SERB-CROATSLOVENE STATE, SIAM, CZECHO-SLOVAKIA
These Powers constituting with the Principal Powers mentioned above the Allied and Associated Powers,
of the one part;
of the other part;
Note to Preamble
This arrangement of the high contracting parties determines the treaty of peace to be a bilateral instrument of which the party of the first part is plural and divides the 32 components of the first part into two groups, whereas the party of the second part is the single party of Germany. This bilateral treaty type is unusual but not unprecedented, appearing in a much more complex form as early as the treaties of Münster and Osnabrück which constituted the Peace of Westphalia of 1648.
At Paris this form was chosen as a practical matter rather than by reference to precedent. It stemmed from the rules of procedure of the preliminary peace conference which were adopted on January 18, 1919. By those rules the "representatives of the Allied and Associated belligerent" states were distinguished as those with general interests and known as the "Principal Allied and Associated Powers", whose representatives should attend all sessions and commissions.