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Note to XII, 342

The Conference of Ambassadors on February 24, 1921 decided, in connection with the disposition of Memel (see art. 99), that only a provisional regime should be established for the Niemen which, however, should assure the free transit of lumber destined for Memel.

No commission was established for the Niemen, though a certain type of international regime was set up by the Memel convention of May 8, 1924 (29 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 86) between Lithuania and states represented on the Conference of Ambassadors. Also applicable to the Niemen was the Barcelona convention on the regime of navigable waterways of international concern of April 20, 1921 (7 ibid., p. 35). The International Committee for Communications and Transit adopted a resolution at its third session in 1922 concerning freedom of navigation on the Niemen (League of Nations Doc. A.41. 1922. vIII). The committee on July 30, 1925 adopted a report which called for modification of the regulations on the floating of timber on the Niemen-the principal international use of the river-which had been promulgated by the Lithuanian Government (League of Nations, Official Journal, 1925, p. 1223).

For the establishment of the Organization for Communications and Transit of the League of Nations, see article 379.


The International Commissions referred to in Articles 340 and 341 shall meet within three months of the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty. The International Commission referred to in Article 342 shall meet within three months from the date of the request made by a riparian State. Each of these Commissions shall proceed immediately to prepare a project for the revision of the existing international agreements and regulations, drawn up in conformity with the General Convention referred to in Article 338, should such Convention have been already concluded. In the absence of such Convention, the project for revision shall be in conformity with the principles of Articles 332 to 337 above.


The projects referred to in the preceding Article shall, inter alia: (a) designate the headquarters of the International Commission, and prescribe the manner in which its President is to be nominated;

(b) specify the extent of the Commission's powers, particularly in regard to the execution of works of maintenance, control, and improvement on the river system, the financial régime, the fixing and collection of charges, and regulations for navigation;

(c) define the sections of the river or its tributaries to which the international régime shall be applied.


The international agreements and regulations at present governing the navigation of the Elbe (Labe), the Oder (Odra), and the Niemen (Russstrom-Memel-Niemen) shall be provisionally maintained in force until the ratification of the above-mentioned projects. Nevertheless, in all cases where such agreements and regulations in force are in conflict with the provisions of Articles 332 to 337 above, or of the General Convention to be concluded, the latter provisions shall prevail.

Note to XII, 345

The German-Czechoslovak boundary at the Oder was regulated by a treaty signed at Prague March 22, 1928 and in force July 17, 1929 (Reichsgesetzblatt, 1929, 11, 7).

(3) Special Clauses relating to the Danube.


The European Commission of the Danube reassumes the powers it possessed before the war. Nevertheless, as a provisional measure, only representatives of Great Britain, France, Italy and Roumania shall constitute this Commission.


From the point where the competence of the European Commission ceases, the Danube system referred to in Article 331 shall be placed under the administration of an International Commission composed as follows:

2 representatives of German riparian States;

1 representative of each other riparian State;

1 representative of each non-riparian State represented in the future on the European Commission of the Danube.

If certain of these representatives cannot be appointed at the time of the coming into force of the present Treaty, the decisions of the Commission shall nevertheless be valid.


The International Commission provided for in the preceding Article shall meet as soon as possible after the coming into force of the present Treaty, and shall undertake provisionally the administration of the river in conformity with the provisions of Articles 332 to 337, until such time as a definitive statute regarding the Danube is concluded by the Powers nominated by the Allied and Associated Powers.

Note to XII, 348

The commission held its first meeting on June 17, 1920. The conference to draw up the statute convened on August 1, 1920.


Germany agrees to accept the régime which shall be laid down for the Danube by a Conference of the Powers nominated by the Allied and Associated Powers, which shall meet within one year after the coming into force of the present Treaty, and at which German representatives may be present.

Text of May 7:

Germany agrees to accept the regime which shall be laid down for the Danube by a Conference of the Powers nominated by the Allied and Associated Powers, which shall meet within one year after the coming into force of the present Treaty.

Note to XII, 349

The convention instituting the definitive statute of the Danube was signed at Paris, July 23, 1921 and came into force on October 1, 1922, between Belgium, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Rumania, Serb- Croat-Slovene State, and Czechoslovakia (26 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 173). The convention was negotiated "in the presence and with the participation of the duly authorized plenipotentiaries of Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and Hungary”.

The international regime had applied to the Danube since the Treaty of Peace signed at Paris, March 30, 1856 ending the Crimean War (46 British and Foreign State Papers, p. 8). That treaty set up the European Commission of the Danube to which a Riverain

Note to XII, 349—Continued

Commission was added by the Treaty of Berlin, July 13, 1878 (69 ibid., p. 749). Both commissions in the period before the war of 1914-18 functioned under the additional act signed at Galatz on May 28, 1881 (72 ibid., p. 7) and the treaty signed at London on March 10, 1883 (74 ibid., p. 20).

The Danube was declared international from Ulm, Bavaria, to the sea, by the convention of 1921. The internationalized river system of the Danube comprises the Morava and the Thaya where they form the frontier between Austria and Czechoslovakia; the Drave from Barcs; the Tisza from the mouth of the Szamos; the Maros from Arad; and lateral canals or waterways thereto.

Navigation on the Danube is unrestricted and open to all flags over the whole navigable course of the system between Ulm, Bavaria, and the Black Sea. Freedom of navigation and equal treatment of all flags were entrusted to the European Commission of the Danube, whose administrative sphere is the maritime Danube from the Black Sea to Braila, and the International Commission, whose authority extends over both the fluvial and maritime parts of the river system and whose unanimous consent is required for placing additional waterways under its authority.

The European Commission, with its seat at Galatz, was provisionally composed of representatives of France, Great Britain, Italy, and Rumania with the powers "which it possessed before the war".

The International Commission, with its seat at Bratislava, was composed as stipulated in article 347 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany; article 302 of that with Austria; article 320 of that with Bulgaria, and article 286 of that with Hungary. Its duties chiefly relate to maintaining the works required for the unrestricted navigation of the river system, in conjunction with the authorities of the riparian states, which could undertake riverain improvements within their own frontiers. The convention lays down general principles with respect to customs, duties, tolls, taxes and navigation dues, port regulations, traffic regulations, and general policing regulations. Questions of jurisdiction were referred to the League of Nations Committee for Communications and Transit in 1924. An advisory cpinion of the Permanent Court of International Justice on December 8, 1927 confirmed the jurisdiction of the European Commission over the sector of the Danube from Galatz to and including Braila (Series B, No. 14).

Rumania from 1881 on had been unreconciled to the control exercised by the European Commission over the Danube within its

Note to XII, 349—Continued

boundaries. After the advisory opinion negotiations between France, the United Kingdom, and Italy continued with Rumania at Geneva, under the auspices of the League Committee for Communications and Transit. A draft declaration covering a draft convention concerning the powers of the various authorities responsible for drawing up and promulgating regulations for the Maritime Danube and for investigating, verifying, and punishing infractions of such regulations were approved by the Council on January 16, 1930 (League of Nations, Official Journal, 1930, pp. 109, 188) and the declaration was signed December 5, 1930 (ibid., 1931, p. 736).

It was not, however, until many years later that the alterations desired by Rumania were effected. Protracted negotiations with Rumania to decide on the necessary regulations ensued, and a modus vivendi was effected by an arrangement signed by delegates of France, Great Britain, Italy, and Rumania on May 17, 1933 (Permanent Court of International Justice, Series E, No. 9, pp. 115-17). Five years later, on August 18, 1938, France, Great Britain, and Rumania concluded at Sinaia an arrangement introducing "the modifications rendered necessary by present circumstances" in the powers of the European Commission (196 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 113). By this arrangement the European Commission of the Danube ceased to exercise the powers held by it under the instruments and regulations in force with respect to navigation, the port and roadstead of Sulina, the enactment of regulations relating to navigation for the Maritime Danube and its mouths, preparation and execution of plans for works on the Maritime Danube, levying dues and disposing of the yield thereof, sanitary matters, and jurisdiction over offenses. The Rumanian Government set up the Maritime Danube Board which, with that Government, succeeded to the powers relinquished by the European Commission. The accession of Germany and Italy to this arrangement and the entry of Germany into the European Commission of the Danube were effected by an agreement signed at Bucharest March 1, 1939 (ibid., p. 127). Ratifications of both instruments were deposited with the Rumanian Government and they entered into force on May 13, 1939.


The mandate given by Article 57 of the Treaty of Berlin of July 13, 1878, to Austria-Hungary, and transferred by her to Hungary,

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