There follow certain more particular provisions. Germany renounces all rights and privileges she may have acquired in China. There are similar provisions for Siam, for Liberia, for Morocco, and for Egypt. In the case of Egypt not only are special privileges renounced, but by Article 150 ordinary liberties are withdrawn, the Egyptian Government being accorded “complete liberty of action in regulating the status of German nationals and the conditions under which they may establish themselves in Egypt.”
By Article 258 Germany renounces her right to any participation in any financial or economic organizations of an international character “operating in any of the Allied or Associated States, or in Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria or Turkey, or in the dependencies of these States, or in the former Russian Empire.”
Generally speaking, only those pre-war treaties and conventions are revived which it suits the Allied Governments to revive, and those in Germany’s favor may be allowed to lapse.
It is evident, however, that none of these provisions are of any real importance, as compared with those described previously. They represent the logical completion of Germany’s outlawry and economic subjection to the convenience of the Allies; but they do not add substantially to her effective disabilities.
The provisions relating to coal and iron are more important in respect of their ultimate consequences on Germany’s internal industrial economy than for the money value immediately involved. The German Empire has been built more truly on coal and iron than on blood and iron. The skilled exploitation of the great coalfields of the Ruhr, Upper Silesia, and the Saar, alone made possible the development of the steel, chemical, and electrical industries which established her as the first industrial nation of continental Europe. One-third of Germany’s population lives in towns of more than 20,000 inhabitants, an industrial concentration which is only possible on a foundation of coal and iron. In striking, therefore, at her coal supply, the French politicians were not mistaking their target. It is only the extreme immoderation, and indeed technical impossibility, of the Treaty’s demands which may save the situation in the long-run.
(1) The Treaty strikes at Germany’s coal supply in four ways:—
(i.) “As compensation for the destruction of the coal-mines in the north of France, and as part payment towards the total reparation due from Germany for the damage resulting from the war, Germany cedes to France in full and absolute possession, with exclusive rights of exploitation, unencumbered, and free from all debts and charges of any kind, the coal-mines situated in the Saar Basin." While the administration of this district is vested for fifteen years in the League of Nations, it is to be observed that the mines are ceded to France absolutely. Fifteen years hence the population of the district will be called upon to indicate by plebiscite their desires as to the future sovereignty of the territory; and, in the event of their electing for union with Germany, Germany is to be entitled to repurchase the mines at a price payable in gold.