Chapter V.賠償(Reparation)-5



V. The German Counter-Proposals

The German counter-proposals were somewhat obscure, and also rather disingenuous. It will be remembered that those clauses of the Reparation Chapter which dealt with the issue of bonds by Germany produced on the public mind the impression that the Indemnity had been fixed at $25,000,000,000, or at any rate at this figure as a minimum. The German Delegation set out, therefore, to construct their reply on the basis of this figure, assuming apparently that public opinion in Allied countries would not be satisfied with less than the appearance of $25,000,000,000; and, as they were not really prepared to offer so large a figure, they exercised their ingenuity to produce a formula which might be represented to Allied opinion as yielding this amount, whilst really representing a much more modest sum. The formula produced was transparent to any one who read it carefully and knew the facts, and it could hardly have been expected by its authors to deceive the Allied negotiators. The German tactic assumed, therefore, that the latter were secretly as anxious as the Germans themselves to arrive at a settlement which bore some relation to the facts, and that they would therefore be willing, in view of the entanglements which they had got themselves into with their own publics, to practise a little collusion in drafting the Treaty,—a supposition which in slightly different circumstances might have had a good deal of foundation. As matters actually were, this subtlety did not benefit them, and they would have done much better with a straightforward and candid estimate of what they believed to be the amount of their liabilities on the one hand, and their capacity to pay on the other.

The German offer of an alleged sum of $25,000,000,000 amounted to the following. In the first place it was conditional on concessions in the Treaty insuring that "Germany shall retain the territorial integrity corresponding to the Armistice Convention,[140] that she shall keep her colonial possessions and merchant ships, including those of large tonnage, that in her own country and in the world at large she shall enjoy the same freedom of action as all other peoples, that all war legislation shall be at once annulled, and that all interferences during the war with her economic rights and with German private property, etc., shall be treated in accordance with the principle of reciprocity";—that is to say, the offer is conditional on the greater part of the rest of the Treaty being abandoned. In the second place, the claims are not to exceed a maximum of $25,000,000,000, of which $5,000,000,000 is to be discharged by May 1, 1926; and no part of this sum is to carry interest pending the payment of it.[141] In the third place, there are to be allowed as credit against it (amongst other things): (a) the value of all deliveries under the Armistice, including military material (e.g. Germany's navy); (b) the value of all railways and State property in ceded territory; (c) the pro rata share of all ceded territory in the German public debt (including the war debt) and in the Reparation payments which this territory would have had to bear if it had remained part of Germany; and (d) the value of the cession of Germany's claims for sums lent by her to her allies in the war.[142]

The credits to be deducted under (a), (b), (c), and (d) might be in excess of those allowed in the actual Treaty, according to a rough estimate, by a sum of as much as $10,000,000,000, although the sum to be allowed under (d) can hardly be calculated.

If, therefore, we are to estimate the real value of the German offer of $25,000,000,000 on the basis laid down by the Treaty, we must first of all deduct $10,000,000,000 claimed for offsets which the Treaty does not allow, and then halve the remainder in order to obtain the present value of a deferred payment on which interest is not chargeable. This reduces the offer to $7,500,000,000, as compared with the $40,000,000,000 which, according to my rough estimate, the Treaty demands of her.

This in itself was a very substantial offer—indeed it evoked widespread criticism in Germany—though, in view of the fact that it was conditional on the abandonment of the greater part of the rest of the Treaty, it could hardly be regarded as a serious one.[143] But the German Delegation would have done better if they had stated in less equivocal language how far they felt able to go.

In the final reply of the Allies to this counter-proposal there is one important provision, which I have not attended to hitherto, but which can be conveniently dealt with in this place. Broadly speaking, no concessions were entertained on the Reparation Chapter as it was originally drafted, but the Allies recognized the inconvenience of the indeterminacy of the burden laid upon Germany and proposed a method by which the final total of claim might be established at an earlier date than May 1, 1921. They promised, therefore, that at any time within four months of the signature of the Treaty (that is to say, up to the end of October, 1919), Germany should be at liberty to submit an offer of a lump sum in settlement of her whole liability as defined in the Treaty, and within two months thereafter (that is to say, before the end of 1919) the Allies "will, so far as may be possible, return their answers to any proposals that may be made."

This offer is subject to three conditions. "Firstly, the German authorities will be expected, before making such proposals, to confer with the representatives of the Powers directly concerned. Secondly, such offers must be unambiguous and must be precise and clear. Thirdly, they must accept the categories and the Reparation clauses as matters settled beyond discussion."

The offer, as made, does not appear to contemplate any opening up of the problem of Germany's capacity to pay. It is only concerned with the establishment of the total bill of claims as defined in the Treaty—whether (e.g.) it is $35,000,000,000, $40,000,000,000, or $50,000,000,000. "The questions," the Allies' reply adds, "are bare questions of fact, namely, the amount of the liabilities, and they are susceptible of being treated in this way."

If the promised negotiations are really conducted on these lines, they are not likely to be fruitful. It will not be much easier to arrive at an agreed figure before the end of 1919 that it was at the time of the Conference; and it will not help Germany's financial position to know for certain that she is liable for the huge sum which on any computation the Treaty liabilities must amount to. These negotiations do offer, however, an opportunity of reopening the whole question of the Reparation payments, although it is hardly to be hoped that at so very early a date, public opinion in the countries of the Allies has changed its mood sufficiently.[144]

I cannot leave this subject as though its just treatment wholly depended either on our own pledges or on economic facts. The policy of reducing Germany to servitude for a generation, of degrading the lives of millions of human beings, and of depriving a whole nation of happiness should be abhorrent and detestable,—abhorrent and detestable, even if it were possible, even if it enriched ourselves, even if it did not sow the decay of the whole civilized life of Europe. Some preach it in the name of Justice. In the great events of man's history, in the unwinding of the complex fates of nations Justice is not so simple. And if it were, nations are not authorized, by religion or by natural morals, to visit on the children of their enemies the misdoings of parents or of rulers.


[76] "With reservation that any future claims and demands of the Allies and the United States of America remain unaffected, the following financial conditions are required: Reparation for damage done. Whilst Armistice lasts, no public securities shall be removed by the enemy which can serve as a pledge to the Allies for recovery or reparation of war losses. Immediate restitution of cash deposit in National Bank of Belgium, and, in general, immediate return of all documents, of specie, stock, shares, paper money, together with plant for issue thereof, touching public or private interests in invaded countries. Restitution of Russian and Roumanian gold yielded to Germany or taken by that Power. This gold to be delivered in trust to the Allies until signature of peace."

[77] It is to be noticed, in passing, that they contain nothing which limits the damage to damage inflicted contrary to the recognized rules of warfare. That is to say, it is permissible to include claims arising out of the legitimate capture of a merchantman at sea, as well as the costs of illegal submarine warfare.

[78] Mark-paper or mark-credits owned in ex-occupied territory by Allied nationals should be included, if at all, in the settlement of enemy debts, along with other sums owed to Allied nationals, and not in connection with reparation.

[79] A special claim on behalf of Belgium was actually included In the Peace Treaty, and was accepted by the German representatives without demur.

[80] To the British observer, one scene, however, stood out distinguished from the rest—the field of Ypres. In that desolate and ghostly spot, the natural color and humors of the landscape and the climate seemed designed to express to the traveler the memories of the ground. A visitor to the salient early in November, 1918, when a few German bodies still added a touch of realism and human horror, and the great struggle was not yet certainly ended, could feel there, as nowhere else, the present outrage of war, and at the same time the tragic and sentimental purification which to the future will in some degree transform its harshness.

[81] These notes, estimated to amount to no less than six thousand million marks, are now a source of embarrassment and great potential loss to the Belgian Government, inasmuch as on their recovery of the country they took them over from their nationals in exchange for Belgian notes at the rate of Fr. 120 = Mk. 1. This rate of exchange, being substantially in excess of the value of the mark-notes at the rate of exchange current at the time (and enormously in excess of the rate to which the mark notes have since fallen, the Belgian franc being now worth more than three marks), was the occasion of the smuggling of mark-notes into Belgium on an enormous scale, to take advantage of the profit obtainable. The Belgian Government took this very imprudent step, partly because they hoped to persuade the Peace Conference to make the redemption of these bank-notes, at the par of exchange, a first charge on German assets. The Peace Conference held, however, that Reparation proper must take precedence of the adjustment of improvident banking transactions effected at an excessive rate of exchange. The possession by the Belgian Government of this great mass of German currency, in addition to an amount of nearly two thousand million marks held by the French Government which they similarly exchanged for the benefit of the population of the invaded areas and of Alsace-Lorraine, is a serious aggravation of the exchange position of the mark. It will certainly be desirable for the Belgian and German Governments to come to some arrangement as to its disposal, though this is rendered difficult by the prior lien held by the Reparation Commission over all German assets available for such purposes.

[82] It should be added, in fairness, that the very high claims put forward on behalf of Belgium generally include not only devastation proper, but all kinds of other items, as, for example, the profits and earnings which Belgians might reasonably have expected to earn if there had been no war.

[83] "The Wealth and Income of the Chief Powers," by J.C. Stamp (Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, July, 1919).

[84] Other estimates vary from $12,100,000,000 to $13,400,000,000. See Stamp, loc. cit.

[85] This was clearly and courageously pointed out by M. Charles Gide in L'Emancipation for February, 1919.

[86] For details of these and other figures, see Stamp, loc. cit.

[87] Even when the extent of the material damage has been established, it will be exceedingly difficult to put a price on it, which must largely depend on the period over which restoration is spread, and the methods adopted. It would be impossible to make the damage good in a year or two at any price, and an attempt to do so at a rate which was excessive in relation to the amount of labor and materials at hand might force prices up to almost any level. We must, I think, assume a cost of labor and materials about equal to that current in the world generally. In point of fact, however, we may safely assume that literal restoration will never be attempted. Indeed, it would be very wasteful to do so. Many of the townships were old and unhealthy, and many of the hamlets miserable. To re-erect the same type of building in the same places would be foolish. As for the land, the wise course may be in some cases to leave long strips of it to Nature for many years to come. An aggregate money sum should be computed as fairly representing the value of the material damage, and France should be left to expend it in the manner she thinks wisest with a view to her economic enrichment as a whole. The first breeze of this controversy has already blown through France. A long and inconclusive debate occupied the Chamber during the spring of 1919, as to whether inhabitants of the devastated area receiving compensation should be compelled to expend it in restoring the identical property, or whether they should be free to use it as they like. There was evidently a great deal to be said on both sides; in the former case there would be much hardship and uncertainty for owners who could not, many of them, expect to recover the effective use of their property perhaps for years to come, and yet would not be free to set themselves up elsewhere; on the other hand, if such persons were allowed to take their compensation and go elsewhere, the countryside of Northern France would never be put right. Nevertheless I believe that the wise course will be to allow great latitude and let economic motives take their own course.

[88] La Richesse de la France devant la Guerre, published in 1916.

[89] Revue Bleue, February 3, 1919. This is quoted in a very valuable selection of French estimates and expressions of opinion, forming chapter iv. of La Liquidation financière de la Guerre, by H. Charriaut and R. Hacault. The general magnitude of my estimate is further confirmed by the extent of the repairs already effected, as set forth in a speech delivered by M. Tardieu on October 10, 1919, in which he said: "On September 16 last, of 2246 kilomètres of railway track destroyed, 2016 had been repaired; of 1075 kilomètres of canal, 700; of 1160 constructions, such as bridges and tunnels, which had been blown up, 588 had been replaced; of 550,000 houses ruined by bombardment, 60,000 had been rebuilt; and of 1,800,000 hectares of ground rendered useless by battle, 400,000 had been recultivated, 200,000 hectares of which are now ready to be sown. Finally, more than 10,000,000 mètres of barbed wire had been removed."

[90] Some of these estimates include allowance for contingent and immaterial damage as well as for direct material injury.

[91] A substantial part of this was lost in the service of the Allies; this must not be duplicated by inclusion both in their claims and in ours.

[92] The fact that no separate allowance is made in the above for the sinking of 675 fishing vessels of 71,765 tons gross, or for the 1855 vessels of 8,007,967 tons damaged or molested, but not sunk, may be set off against what may be an excessive figure for replacement cost.

[93] The losses of the Greek mercantile marine were excessively high, as a result of the dangers of the Mediterranean; but they were largely incurred on the service of the other Allies, who paid for them directly or indirectly. The claims of Greece for maritime losses incurred on the service of her own nationals would not be very considerable.

[94] There is a reservation in the Peace Treaty on this question. "The Allied and Associated Powers formally reserve the right of Russia to obtain from Germany restitution and reparation based on the principles of the present Treaty" (Art. 116).

[95] Dr. Diouritch in his "Economic and Statistical Survey of the Southern Slav Nations" (Journal of Royal Statistical Society, May, 1919), quotes some extraordinary figures of the loss of life: "According to the official returns, the number of those fallen in battle or died in captivity up to the last Serbian offensive, amounted to 320,000, which means that one half of Serbia's male population, from 18 to 60 years of age, perished outright in the European War. In addition, the Serbian Medical Authorities estimate that about 300,000 people have died from typhus among the civil population, and the losses among the population interned in enemy camps are estimated at 50,000. During the two Serbian retreats and during the Albanian retreat the losses among children and young people are estimated at 200,000. Lastly, during over three years of enemy occupation, the losses in lives owing to the lack of proper food and medical attention are estimated at 250,000." Altogether, he puts the losses in life at above 1,000,000, or more than one-third of the population of Old Serbia.

[96] Come si calcola e a quanto ammonta la richezza d'Italia e delle altre principali nazioni, published in 1919.

[97] Very large claims put forward by the Serbian authorities include many hypothetical items of indirect and non-material damage; but these, however real, are not admissible under our present formula.

[98] Assuming that in her case $1,250,000,000 are included for the general expenses of the war defrayed out of loans made to Belgium by her allies.

[99] It must be said to Mr. Hughes' honor that he apprehended from the first the bearing of the pre-Armistice negotiations on our right to demand an indemnity covering the full costs of the war, protested against our ever having entered into such engagements, and maintained loudly that he had been no party to them and could not consider himself bound by them. His indignation may have been partly due to the fact that Australia, not having been ravaged, would have no claims at all under the more limited interpretation of our rights.

[100] The whole cost of the war has been estimated at from $120,000,000,000 upwards. This would mean an annual payment for interest (apart from sinking fund) of $6,000,000,000. Could any expert Committee have reported that Germany can pay this sum?

[101] But unhappily they did not go down with their flags flying very gloriously. For one reason or another their leaders maintained substantial silence. What a different position in the country's estimation they might hold now if they had suffered defeat amidst firm protests against the fraud, chicane, and dishonor of the whole proceedings.

[102] Only after the most painful consideration have I written these words. The almost complete absence of protest from the leading Statesmen of England makes one feel that one must have made some mistake. But I believe that I know all the facts, and I can discover no such mistake. In any case I have set forth all the relevant engagements in Chapter IV. and at the beginning of this chapter, so that the reader can form his own judgment.

[103] In conversation with Frenchmen who were private persons and quite unaffected by political considerations, this aspect became very clear. You might persuade them that some current estimates as to the amount to be got out of Germany were quite fantastic. Yet at the end they would always come back to where they had started: "But Germany must pay; for, otherwise, what is to happen to France?"

[104] A further paragraph claims the war costs of Belgium "in accordance with Germany's pledges, already given, as to complete restoration for Belgium."

[105] The challenge of the other Allies, as well as the enemy, had to be met; for in view of the limited resources of the latter, the other Allies had perhaps a greater interest than the enemy in seeing that no one of their number established an excessive claim.

[106] M. Klotz has estimated the French claims on this head at $15,000,000,000 (75 milliard francs, made up of 13 milliard for allowances, 60 for pensions, and 2 for widows). If this figure is correct, the others should probably be scaled up also.

[107] That is to say, I claim for the aggregate figure an accuracy within 25 per cent.

[108] In his speech of September 5, 1919, addressed to the French Chamber, M. Klotz estimated the total Allied claims against Germany under the Treaty at $75,000,000,000, which would accumulate at interest until 1921, and be paid off thereafter by 34 annual installments of about $5,000,000,000 each, of which France would receive about $2,750,000,000 annually. "The general effect of the statement (that France would receive from Germany this annual payment) proved," it is reported, "appreciably encouraging to the country as a whole, and was immediately reflected in the improved tone on the Bourse and throughout the business world in France." So long as such statements can be accepted in Paris without protest, there can be no financial or economic future for France, and a catastrophe of disillusion is not far distant.

[109] As a matter of subjective judgment, I estimate for this figure an accuracy of 10 per cent in deficiency and 20 per cent in excess, i.e. that the result will lie between $32,000,000,000 and $44,000,000,000.

[110] Germany is also liable under the Treaty, as an addition to her liabilities for Reparation, to pay all the costs of the Armies of Occupation after Peace is signed for the fifteen subsequent years of occupation. So far as the text of the Treaty goes, there is nothing to limit the size of these armies, and France could, therefore, by quartering the whole of her normal standing army in the occupied area, shift the charge from her own taxpayers to those of Germany,—though in reality any such policy would be at the expense not of Germany, who by hypothesis is already paying for Reparation up to the full limit of her capacity, but of France's Allies, who would receive so much less in respect of Reparation. A White Paper (Cmd. 240) has, however, been issued, in which is published a declaration by the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, and France engaging themselves to limit the sum payable annually by Germany to cover the cost of occupation to $60,000,000 "as soon as the Allied and Associated Powers concerned are convinced that the conditions of disarmament by Germany are being satisfactorily fulfilled." The word which I have italicized is a little significant. The three Powers reserve to themselves the liberty to modify this arrangement at any time if they agree that it is necessary.

[111] Art. 235. The force of this Article is somewhat strengthened by Article 251, by virtue of which dispensations may also be granted for "other payments" as well as for food and raw material.

[112] This is the effect of Para. 12 (c) of Annex II. of the Reparation Chapter, leaving minor complications on one side. The Treaty fixes the payments in terms of gold marks, which are converted in the above rate of 20 to $5.

[113] If, per impossibile, Germany discharged $2,500,000,000 in cash or kind by 1921, her annual payments would be at the rate of $312,500,000 from 1921 to 1925 and of $750,000,000 thereafter.

[114] Para. 16 of Annex II. of The Reparation Chapter. There is also an obscure provision by which interest may be charged "on sums arising out of material damage as from November 11, 1918, up to May 1, 1921." This seems to differentiate damage to property from damage to the person in favor of the former. It does not affect Pensions and Allowances, the cost of which is capitalized as at the date of the coming into force of the Treaty.

[115] On the assumption which no one supports and even the most optimistic fear to be unplausible, that Germany can pay the full charge for interest and sinking fund from the outset, the annual payment would amount to $2,400,000,000.

[116] Under Para. 13 of Annex II. unanimity is required (i.) for any postponement beyond 1930 of installments due between 1921 and 1926, and (ii.) for any postponement for more than three years of instalments due after 1926. Further, under Art. 234, the Commission may not cancel any part of the indebtedness without the specific authority of all the Governments represented on the Commission.

[117] On July 23, 1914, the amount was $339,000,000.

[118] Owing to the very high premium which exists on German silver coin, as the combined result of the depreciation of the mark and the appreciation of silver, it is highly improbable that it will be possible to extract such coin out of the pockets of the people. But it may gradually leak over the frontier by the agency of private speculators, and thus indirectly benefit the German exchange position as a whole.

[119] The Allies made the supply of foodstuffs to Germany during the Armistice, mentioned above, conditional on the provisional transfer to them of the greater part of the Mercantile Marine, to be operated by them for the purpose of shipping foodstuffs to Europe generally, and to Germany in particular. The reluctance of the Germans to agree to this was productive of long and dangerous delays in the supply of food, but the abortive Conferences of Trèves and Spa (January 16, February 14-16, and March 4-5, 1919) were at last followed by the Agreement of Brussels (March 14, 1919). The unwillingness of the Germans to conclude was mainly due to the lack of any absolute guarantee on the part of the Allies that, if they surrendered the ships, they would get the food. But assuming reasonable good faith on the part of the latter (their behavior in respect of certain other clauses of the Armistice, however, had not been impeccable and gave the enemy some just grounds for suspicion), their demand was not an improper one; for without the German ships the business of transporting the food would have been difficult, if not impossible, and the German ships surrendered or their equivalent were in fact almost wholly employed in transporting food to Germany itself. Up to June 30, 1919, 176 German ships of 1,025,388 gross tonnage had been surrendered, to the Allies in accordance with the Brussels Agreement.

[120] The amount of tonnage transferred may be rather greater and the value per ton rather less. The aggregate value involved is not likely, however, to be less than $500,000,000 or greater than $750,000,000.

[121] This census was carried out by virtue of a Decree of August 23, 1918. On March 22, 1917, the German Government acquired complete control over the utilization of foreign securities in German possession; and in May, 1917, it began to exercise these powers for the mobilization of certain Swedish, Danish, and Swiss securities.


1892. Schmoller $2,500,000,000
1892. Christians 3,250,000,000
1893-4. Koch 3,000,000,000
1905. v. Halle 4,000,000,000 [A]
1913. Helfferich 5,000,000,000 [B]
1914. Ballod 6,250,000,000
1914. Pistorius 6,250,000,000
1919. Hans David 5,250,000,000 [C]

[A] Plus $2,500,000 for investments other than securities.

[B] Net investments, i.e. after allowance for property in Germany owned abroad. This may also be the case with some of the other estimates.

[C] This estimate, given in the Weltwirtschaftszeitung (June 13, 1919), is an estimate of the value of Germany's foreign investments as at the outbreak of war.

[123] I have made no deduction for securities in the ownership of Alsace-Lorrainers and others who have now ceased to be German nationals.

[124] In all these estimates, I am conscious of being driven by a fear of overstating the case against the Treaty, of giving figures in excess of my own real judgment. There is a great difference between putting down on paper fancy estimates of Germany's resources and actually extracting contributions in the form of cash. I do not myself believe that the Reparation Commission will secure real resources from the above items by May, 1921, even as great as the lower of the two figures given above.

[125] The Treaty (see Art. 114) leaves it very dubious how far the Danish Government is under an obligation to make payments to the Reparation Commission in respect of its acquisition of Schleswig. They might, for instance, arrange for various offsets such as the value of the mark notes held by the inhabitants of ceded areas. In any case the amount of money involved is quite small. The Danish Government is raising a loan for $33,000,000 (kr. 120,000,000) for the joint purposes of "taking over Schleswig's share of the German debt, for buying German public property, for helping the Schleswig population, and for settling the currency question."

[126] Here again my own judgment would carry me much further and I should doubt the possibility of Germany's exports equaling her imports during this period. But the statement in the text goes far enough for the purpose of my argument.

[127] It has been estimated that the cession of territory to France, apart from the loss of Upper Silesia, may reduce Germany's annual pre-war production of steel ingots from 20,000,000 tons to 14,000,000 tons, and increase France's capacity from 5,000,000 tons to 11,000,000 tons.

[128] Germany's exports of sugar in 1913 amounted to 1,110,073 tons of the value of $65,471,500, of which 838,583 tons were exported to the United Kingdom at a value of $45,254,000. These figures were in excess of the normal, the average total exports for the five years ending 1913 being about $50,000,000.

[129] The necessary price adjustment, which is required, on both sides of this account, will be made en bloc later.

[130] If the amount of the sinking fund be reduced, and the annual payment is continued over a greater number of years, the present value—so powerful is the operation of compound interest—cannot be materially increased. A payment of $500,000,000 annually in perpetuity, assuming interest, as before, at 5 per cent, would only raise the present value to $10,000,000,000.

[131] As an example of public misapprehension on economic affairs, the following letter from Sir Sidney Low to The Times of the 3rd December, 1918, deserves quotation: "I have seen authoritative estimates which place the gross value of Germany's mineral and chemical resources as high as $1,250,000,000,000 or even more; and the Ruhr basin mines alone are said to be worth over $225,000,000,000. It is certain, at any rate, that the capital value of these natural supplies is much greater than the total war debts of all the Allied States. Why should not some portion of this wealth be diverted for a sufficient period from its present owners and assigned to the peoples whom Germany has assailed, deported, and injured? The Allied Governments might justly require Germany to surrender to them the use of such of her mines, and mineral deposits as would yield, say, from $500,000,000 to $1,000,000,000 annually for the next 30, 40, or 50 years. By this means we could obtain sufficient compensation from Germany without unduly stimulating her manufactures and export trade to our detriment." It is not clear why, if Germany has wealth exceeding $1,250,000,000,000. Sir Sidney Low is content with the trifling sum of $500,000,000 to $1,000,000,000 annually. But his letter is an admirable reductio ad absurdum of a certain line of thought. While a mode of calculation, which estimates the value of coal miles deep in the bowels of the earth as high as in a coal scuttle, of an annual lease of $5000 for 999 years at $4,995,000 and of a field (presumably) at the value of all the crops it will grow to the end of recorded time, opens up great possibilities, it is also double-edged. If Germany's total resources are worth $1,250,000,000,000, those she will part with in the cession of Alsace-Lorraine and Upper Silesia should be more than sufficient to pay the entire costs of the war and reparation together. In point of fact, the present market value of all the mines in Germany of every kind has been estimated at $1,500,000,000, or a little more than one-thousandth part of Sir Sidney Low's expectations.

[132] The conversion at par of 5,000 million marks overstates, by reason of the existing depreciation of the mark, the present money burden of the actual pensions payments, but not, in all probability, the real loss of national productivity as a result of the casualties suffered in the war.

[133] It cannot be overlooked, in passing, that in its results on a country's surplus productivity a lowering of the standard of life acts both ways. Moreover, we are without experience of the psychology of a white race under conditions little short of servitude. It is, however, generally supposed that if the whole of a man's surplus production is taken from him, his efficiency and his industry are diminished, The entrepreneur and the inventor will not contrive, the trader and the shopkeeper will not save, the laborer will not toil, if the fruits of their industry are set aside, not for the benefit of their children, their old age, their pride, or their position, but for the enjoyment of a foreign conqueror.

[134] In the course of the compromises and delays of the Conference, there were many questions on which, in order to reach any conclusion at all, it was necessary to leave a margin of vagueness and uncertainty. The whole method of the Conference tended towards this,—the Council of Four wanted, not so much a settlement, as a treaty. On political and territorial questions the tendency was to leave the final arbitrament to the League of Nations. But on financial and economic questions, the final decision has generally be a left with the Reparation Commission,—in spite of its being an executive body composed of interested parties.

[135] The sum to be paid by Austria for Reparation is left to the absolute discretion of the Reparation Commission, no determinate figure of any kind being mentioned in the text of the Treaty Austrian questions are to be handled by a special section of the Reparation Commission, but the section will have no powers except such as the main Commission may delegate.

[136] Bulgaria is to pay an indemnity of $450,000,000 by half-yearly instalments, beginning July 1, 1920. These sums will be collected, on behalf of the Reparation Commission, by an Inter-Ally Commission of Control, with its seat at Sofia. In some respects the Bulgarian Inter-Ally Commission appears to have powers and authority independent of the Reparation Commission, but it is to act, nevertheless, as the agent of the latter, and is authorized to tender advice to the Reparation Commission as to, for example, the reduction of the half-yearly instalments.

[137] Under the Treaty this is the function of any body appointed for the purpose by the principal Allied and Associated Governments, and not necessarily of the Reparation Commission. But it may be presumed that no second body will be established for this special purpose.

[138] At the date of writing no treaties with these countries have been drafted. It is possible that Turkey might be dealt with by a separate Commission.

[139] This appears to me to be in effect the position (if this paragraph means anything at all), in spite of the following disclaimer of such intentions in the Allies' reply:—"Nor does Paragraph 12(b) of Annex II. give the Commission powers to prescribe or enforce taxes or to dictate the character of the German budget."

[140] Whatever that may mean.

[141] Assuming that the capital sum is discharged evenly over a period as short as thirty-three years, this has the effect of halving the burden as compared with the payments required on the basis of 5 per cent interest on the outstanding capital.

[142] I forbear to outline the further details of the German offer as the above are the essential points.

[143] For this reason it is not strictly comparable with my estimate of Germany's capacity in an earlier section of this chapter, which estimate is on the basis of Germany's condition as it will be when the rest of the Treaty has come into effect.

[144] Owing to delays on the part of the Allies in ratifying the Treaty, the Reparation Commission had not yet been formally constituted by the end of October, 1919. So far as I am aware, therefore, nothing has been done to make the above offer effective. But, perhaps in view of the circumstances, there has been an extension of the date.


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