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Council of the League of Nations, to come immediately to the assistance of France in case of unprovoked attack by Germany, thus merely hastening the action to which we should be bound by the covenant of the League of Nations.
The President thus made it plain that action by the United States under the pledge, if approved by the Senate, would be subject to approval by the League of Nations. He also indicated that the pledge was for the purpose of enabling this country to act in case of an emergency.
It was understood in Paris that this tentative engagement gave great satisfaction in French official and military circles. It appeared that the pledge represented a culmination of conferences held
by Clemenceau and General Foch. The latter took the advanced military view for complete protection, and the French Premier sought to modify this with the more moderate view held by the Conference as a whole. The project of obtaining joint action under the covenant of the League of Nations was abandoned in favor of this new arrangement, which was in the form of a letter to be submitted to the United States Senate and the British Parliament. If approval were given, the engagement would then be submitted to the League Council. It was said that this was a temporary means of assuring French security until the League should be fully established and able to make France permanently secure.
Discussing Treaty Terms by Means of Notes
German Objections Formulated
WHEN the Peace Treaty was handed to the German delegates they were informed that no oral discussion would be allowed, and that all objections and suggestions must be made in written form. The result was a long interchange of notes. The first of these German communications, which was sent prior to May 10, was couched in the form of a tentative protest against the treaty as a whole. It read as follows:
The German peace delegates have finished the first perusal of the peace conditions which have been handed over to them. They have had to realize that on essential points the basis of the peace of right agreed upon between the belligerents has been abandoned. They were not prepared to find that the promise, explicitly given to the German people and the whole of mankind, is in this way to be rendered illusory.
The draft of the treaty contains demands which no nation could endure. Moreover, our experts hold that many of them could not possibly be carried out. The German peace delegation will substantiate these statements in detail and transmit to the allied and associated Governments their observations and their material continuously.
To this letter the following reply was made on May 10:
The representatives of the allied and associate powers have received the statement of objections of the German plenipotentiaries to the draft conditions of peace. In reply they wish to remind the German delegation that they have formulated the terms of the treaty with constant thought of the principles on which the armistice and the negotiations for peace were proposed. They can admit no discussion of their right to insist on the terms of the peace substantially as drafted. They can consider only such practical suggestions as the German plenipotentiaries may have to submit.
QUESTION OF THE LEAGUE
The second letter from the German representatives, sent at about the same time, read:
The German peace delegation has the honor to pronounce its attitude on the question of the League of Nations by herewith transmitting a German program which, in the opinion of the delegation, contains important suggestions on the League of Nations problem.
The German peace delegation reserves for Itself the liberty of stating its opinions on the draft of the allied and associated Governments in detail. In the meantime it begs to call attention to the discrepancy lying in the fact that Germany is called on to sign the statute of the Leagup of Nations as an inherent part of the treaty draft handed to us, and, on the other hand. Is not mentioned among the States which are invited to Join the League of Nations.
The German peace delegation begs to Inquire whether, and, if so, under what circumstances, such invitation is intended. BROCKDORFF-RANTZAU.
The reply of the Allies was as follows:
The receipt of the German program of the League of Nations is acknowledged. The program will be referred to the appropriate committee of the allied and associated powers. The German plenipotentiaries will find on a re-examination of the government of the League of Nations that the matter of the admission of additional member States has not been overlooked, but Is explicitly provided for in the second paragraph of Article 1.
QUESTION OF PRISONERS
Two further notes were transmitted by the German delegation to the Allies on May 10. One referred to the question of the repatriation of German prisoners, and asked that the details of the transfer be intrusted to commissions. In this note von Brockdorff-Rantzau stated that the German peace delegation had "noted with satisfaction " that the draft of the treaty recognized in principle the repatriation of German war and civilian prisoners with great expedition, and said that special commissions might carry on direct oral • discussions which would include all belligerent States, it being pointed out that even during hostilities this had proved to be a most effective way of solving difficulties.
The note said that this work should be much easier, how that the war was over, and would remove differences of conception or lack of clearness on particular points, such as legal conceptions in individual countries. The German delegation, it was said, considered it indispensable that war and civilian prisoners detained or undergoing punishment for other than disciplinary offenses should in principle be included among those to be unconditionally repatriated.
The note continued:
Regarding war and civilian prisoners of allied and associated powers in its hands, Germany has recognized the same principle. It appears self-evident to the German delegation, therefore, that on grounds of fairness certain alleviations in
the treatment of prisoners should be agreed upon pending their return.
In a one-sided manner, some feel, the stipulations have been made in favor of the allied and associated Governments. For instance, those regarding the surrender of personal property, the search for missing objects, and the care of graves r 'TMht be cited. It Is assumed that in these questions a demand for complete reciprocity is founded on general human rights.
The note then referred to a number of minor points and proposed that deliberations by commissions should be begun speedily to clear up preliminaries in readiness for the time when shipping and similar difficulties might be solved and the removal of the prisoners be possible. It alluded to the importance to Germany that the prisoners return home under orderly conditions, insuring their reinstatement into economic life with the greatest possible dispatch, and said that this seemed possible only if everything was done to " raise the moral and physical state of those returning."
Since Germany's economic position prevented her by her own strength from providing the requisite guarantees, the delegation suggested that the deliberations of the commissions might extend to the question of how far it would be possible on the part of the allied and associated Governments to help Germany in the matter, and, for example, in return for the repayment of the cost to provide the prisoners with new outfits, underclothing, civilian suits, and boots before their return.
GERMANVS LABOR SCHEME
'The second note in this new interchange, communicated on the same date, dealt with the question of international labor, and read as follows: The German Peace Delegation to His Excellency, the President of the Peace Conference:
Versailles, May 10, 1919. Sir—With references to Article LV. and LVI. of the proposals for the establishment of a League of Nations submitted by us, we beg herewith to transmit the draft of an international agreement on labor law, prepared by the German Government.
The German Government is of one mind with the allied and associated Governments In holding that the greatest atten
tion must be given to labor questions. Domestic peace and the advancement of mankind depend vitally on the adjustment of this question.
The demands for social justice repeatedly raised in this respect by the working classes of all nations are only partly realized in principle in Section XIII. of the draft of peace conditions of the allied and associated Governments on the organizations of labor1. The supreme demands have, for the most part, been realized in Germany with the assistance of the working classes, as is generally acknowledged, in an exemplary manner. In order to carry them into execution everywhere in the interests of mankind, the acceptance of the program of the German delegation is at least necessary. We deem It requisite that all States should join in the agreement, even though not belonging to the League of Nations.
In order to guarantee to the working Classes, for whom the proposed improvements are intended, co-operation in the framing of these provisions, the German delegation is of the opinion that repre- . sentatives of the National Trade Union organizations of all the contracting powers should be summoned to a conference at Versailles to discuss and take decisions on international labor law before the peace negotiations are terminated.
The proceedings of this conference should, in the opinion of the German delegation, be based on the resolutions of the International Trade Union Conference in Berne, Feb. 5 to 9, 1019, and the program for international labor legislation, addressed to the Peace Conference in Paris, emanating from the decisions of the International Trade Union Conference in Leeds in 1910. At the request of the trade unions of Germany, we beg to inclose a copy of these resolutions, which have been adopted by the representatives of the trade union organizations of Bohemia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, Canada, Norway, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, and Hungary.
Accept, Sir, the assurance of my highest esteem. BROCKDORFF-RANTZAU.
The international agreement on labor law prepared by the German Government referred to in the note of Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau was prepared in the German Ministry of Labor some months ago, and was first published on May 1. Most of this document was taken up with detailed proposals of labor legislation, a number of which were incorporated in the international labor charter issued by the syndicate conference at Berne in February.
REPLY OF THE ALLIES
The text of the reply to the German note sent by M. Clemenceau follows:
May 14, 1919.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of May 10 in regard to international labor legislation, together with a draft of an international agreement on labor law. The reply of the allied and associated Governments is as follows:
They take note of the declaration made by the German delegates that domestic peace and the advancement of mankind depend upon the adjustment of the labor question, and they are convinced that such adjustment will be rendered easier in the future than in the past, as men's minds are freed from the fear of war and industry is relieved of the burden of armaments which German militarism has imposed upon it.
Part XIII. of dhe draft of the conditions of peace provides a means by which such adjustments can be made, and Section II. of this part of the draft lays down the principles which will progressively guide the labor organization and the League of Nations. Article 427 indicates clearly that the enumeration of the principles set forth is not exhaustive. The purpose of the labor organization is that it should promote the constant development of the international labor regime.
The labor convention has been inserted in the Treaty of Peace, and Germany will, therefore, be called upon to sign it. In the future the rights of your country to participate in the labor organization will be secured so soon as she is admitted into the League of Nations in accordance with Article I. of the treaty.
It has not been thought necessary to summon a labor conference at Versailles. The conclusions of a svndical conference at Berne, which are reproduced in the draft of the international agreement on labor law referred to in the first paragraph of your letter of the 10th Inst., had already been studied with the closest attention. Representatives of the trade unions had taken part in the preparation of the articles relating to labor.
As appears, moreover, from the annex to Secton 2 of Part XIII., Page 200. the program of the first session of the International Labor Conference to be held at Washington next October comprises the most important of the questions raised at the syndical conference at Berne. Trad*? unions will be invited to take part in that conference, and it will be held under direct rules which provide for due effect being given to conclusions subject only to the assent of the competent authorities in the countries represented.
The draft of the International agreement
on labor law, prepared by the German Government, is deficient in that it makes no provision for the representation of labor at the international conference which is proposed. It is also inferior to the provisions submitted in Part XIII. of the peace conditions in the following respects:
(a) Five years is suggested as a maximum interval between conferences, (Article VII.) The peace conditions—one year, (Article CCCLXXX.)
(b) Each country has one vote, (Article VII.) The peace coonditions give a vote to each delegate, whether representing a Government, employers, or workers, (Article CCCXC.)
(c) Resolutions are only binding if carried by a majority of four-fifths of the voting countries, (Article VII.) The peace conditions provide that a majority of two-thirds only of the votes cast shall be necessary on the final vote for the adoption of a recommendation or the draft of a convention by the conference, (Article CDV.)
The allied and associated Governments are therefore of the opinion that their decisions give satisfaction to the anxiety which the German delegate professes for social Justice, and insure the realization of reforms which the working classes have more than ever a right to expect after the cruel trial to which the world has been subjected during the last five years. Accept, Sir, &c, G. CLBMENCEAU.
REGARDING THE SARRE MINES
Three additional notes from the German peace delegation, all of considerable length, were delivered to the Council on May 14. One of them, dealing with economic clauses of the treaty, declared that they meant the ruin of Germany if they were enforced.
A note on territorial questions protested particularly against the Sarre Valley arrangement, and the transfer of the Malmedy, Morsenet, and Eupen districts to Belgium, as well as the forced evacuation of a part of Schleswig. This note declared that the portion of the treaty dealing with territorial annexation was not in accordance with President Wilson's fourteen points.
Under the financial and economic conditions of the treaty, it was set forth, it seemed that it would be impossible for Germany to have enough gold on hand at the end of fifteen years to repurchase the Sarre Valley mines from France, and that if she did the indemnification com
mission which would still dominate Germany would not permit this gold to be used for such a purpose. The note suggested negotiations with the Entente with a view of effecting an alternative arrangement to meet France's just claims by the delivery of coal from both the Sarre and the Ruhr regions.
A note on reparations, though not protesting against payment for devastation in Belgium and France, declared that Germany would not pay for this damage on the principle that she was responsible for the war. The note stated that Germany had obligated herself to give compensation based on Secretary Lansing's note of Nov. 5, independently of the question of responsibility for the war. No rights to such indemnification could be derived by the allied powers from the principle of the former German Government's responsibility for the origin of the war. The note asserted further that the peace terms provided no proof of such responsibility, and requested that the reports of all the allied commissions which investigated this question should be communicated to the German delegation.
It was reported on May 16 that an uncompromising answer to the German note protesting against the Sarre decision had been drafted by the Special Commission on Territorial Affairs, presided over by Andre Tardieu.
DEPARTURE OF BROCKDORFF
Six members of the German peace delegation left Versailles on May 9. Three of these were newspaper men, among them Friedrich Stampfer, chief editor of the Socialist paper, Vorwarts, whose sensational article on the peace terms, reproduced elsewhere in this issue, appeared shortly after his arrival back in Berlin. The other members of the returning party were the labor leader, Carl Legien, head of the German Trades Union Federation; Privy Councilor Eberbach, representative of the Ministry of Railroads, and Herr Schmidt of the Foreign Office. These last three rank as commissioners next in importance to the plenipotentiaries; it was stated that they had been instructed to carry on direct discussion of the situation with the German Government. It was also announced on May 9 that the German military delegates, Henrichs and von Seekt, were likewise returning to Berlin for a consultation.
Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau, accompanied by Max Warburg and several other members of the German delegation, left Versailles by way of Paris on the evening of April 17 and returned to Berlin in order to discuss with the German Government whether to sign the treaty or not. Herr Leinert and Herr Schuecking remained at Versailles in charge of the negotiations.
The determination of the allied and
associated Governments to enforce fulfillment of the peace terms, as evidenced by the official statement of blockade plans given elsewhere in this article, was emphasized again on May 14 with the announcement that Marshal Foch had been sent to the Rhine by the Council of Four to take such action as might be necessary in the event that the German delegation refused to sign the treaty. The Council of Four, composed of David Lloyd George, M. Clemenceau, President Wilson, and Signor Orlando, on the same day considered the immediate re-imposing of the blockade against Germany in case that country declined to accept and sign the treaty.
Public Sentiment in Germany
Universal Protest Against Terms
THE effect of the peace terms in Berlin was described as that of a stunning blow. Hard terms had been expected, but not such demands as these. The people as a whole were amazed and overcome, and business was brought practically to a standstill. It was declared on every hand that Germany could not and would not sign the treaty, no matter what might come.
The President of the Imperial Ministry sent a telegram to the Governments of the Free States, which read as follows: In deep distress and weighed down by cares, the German people have waited through the months of the armistice for the peace conditions. Their publication has brought the bitterest disappointment and unspeakable grief to the entire people. A public expression ought to be given these feelings by all Germans. The Imperial Government requests that the free States have public amusements suspended for a week and allow in the theatres only such productions as correspond to the seriousness of these grievous days.
German public opinion soon crystallized into the conviction that France had triumphed over President Wilson and that the peace terms violated the letter and spirit of the Wilsonian principles. It was felt that such a " Gewaltfrieden" as this represented would not be perma
nent, that it was a mere makeshift, and that its terms were impossible of fulfillment; that it would make another and more terrible war inevitable. Not only the Militarists, Junkers and former Pan Germans, but also the Clericals and even the Democrats prophesied that the Peace Treaty would give birth to the "revanche" idea in Germany, with new and greater " irredentas " as a menace to the future peace of the world. For a totally different reason the Socialists believed that the treaty would be short-lived. The Independent Socialists and Communists declared that once the peace was signed, as they believed it must be, the social revolution would spread to Italy, France, and Great Britain, thereby rendering the peace terms null and void, while the pacific majority Socialists expected the same practical result by the ultimate triumph of international pacifism or socialism.
THE MILITARISTIC ATTITUDE A frank utterance by General von Francz, a former army commander, voiced the prevailing German military opinion at this time. The statement was in part as follows:
The Germanic giant is to be beaten into submission and placed in chains. We arc