In compensation for the destruction of. coal mines in Northern France, and as payment on account of reparation, Germany 'cedes to France full -owner--, srip of the coal mjnes of the Saar JJasin, with their subsidiaries, accessories and facilities. Their value will be estimated by the Reparation Commission and credited against that ap-> count. The French rights will be governed by German law in force at the armistice, excepting war legislation, France replacing the present owners,
whom Germany undertakes to indemnify. France .will continue to furnish the present proportion of coal for local needs, and contribute in just proportion to local taxes. The Basin extends from the frontier of Lorraine, as re-annexed by France, north as far as Saint Wedel, including the Valley of Saar, as far as Saarhalzbach, and. on the east, the town of Homburg. In order to secure the rights and welfare of the population and guarantee to France entire freedom in the work of the mines, the territory will be governed by a Commission appointed by the League of Nations, and consisting of five members, one French, one a native inhabitant of Saar, and three representing j three different countries other than France and Germany. The League will appoint a member of the Commission as chairman, to act as the executive of the Commission. The Commission will have all powers of the Governments formerly belonging to the German Empire, Prussia, and Bavaria; will administer railroads and other public services, and , have full power to interpret the treaty clauses. Local courts will continue, but subject to the Commission. Existing'-*German legislation will remain the basis of law, but the Commission may make modification after consulting a local 'representative, of the Assembly which it will organise, it ;\vill have taxing power,,! but for local purposes only; new taxes must be approved by this _Assembly. Labour legislation will consider the wishes of thj? local labour organisations and the Labour programme of the League. French and other labour may bo fairly utilised, the former being tree to belong to French unionsi-.f', ';:
Tnere will be no police servicejoisQy a local gendarmerie- to ..preserve.', order.. The people will preserve their local assemblies, religious liberties, schools'and language, but may vote only for lofcaJl assemblies. They will keep their present nationality except so far as individtials may change it. Those wishing to leave will have every facility with respect to their property. The territory will form part of the French Customs system, with no export tax on coal and Metallurgical products going to Germany nor on German products for the Basin, and for five years, no import duties on products of the Basin going to Germany or German products coming into the Basin for local consumption. French money may circulate without restriction.
After 15 years a plebiscite will be held by the communes to ascertain the desires of the population as to the continuance of the existing'regime under the League of Nations, union with France, or union with Germany. The right to vote will belong to all inhabitants over the age of 20 resident herein. At. the signature on opinion thus expressed the League will decide the ultimate sovereignty. In any portion restored to Germany the German Government urast buy out the French mines at an appraised valuation. If the price is not paid within six -months thereafter, this portion will pass- finally to France. ' If Germany buys back the mines the League will determine how much coal shaM go to France.,
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9605, 9 May 1919
THE SAAR. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9605, 9 May 1919
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