Including Appendices: Russia-Germany, Part II
Proceedings of the Brest-Litovsk Peace Conference
The Peace Negotiations Between Russia and the Central Powers
21 November, 1917-3 March, 1918
(Washington, Government Printing Office, 1918)
These accounts of the negotiations at Brest-Litovsk, between Russia (including Ukraine) on the one hand, and Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey on the other hand, have been taken from various sources. Official protocols of the sessions were provided for at the session on 3 December, but if they were ever published, they are not available at this time of compilation. Most of the following accounts have been taken from the (British) Daily Review of the Foreign Press and from the Deutscher Reichsanzeiger, the exact source of each being indicated. The official Russian reports as published in Isvestia are not available, but most of them seem to have been sent out by the Russian wireless and published in the (British) Daily Review of the Foreign Press. The versions given in the Deutscher Reichsanzeiger are probably as nearly official as were published in Germany.
FINAL PROTOCOL TO SUB APPENDIX 1 OF APPENDIX II TO THE PEACE TREATY BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE CENTRAL POWERS. SIGNED 3 MARCH, 1918.1
REFERRING TO THE TEXT OF THE TREATY
To Article 1.
Household effects which have already been in use and movable property of subjects of either contracting party who intend to settle on the territory of the other party, shall be exempt in the latter territory from any import duties.
German official consulates and the employes of diplomatic and of said consular institutions dispatched to Russia, shall have the right to receive newspapers and works of science, art, and literature, entirely exempt from the Russian censorship.
The privileges and immunities accorded, as per Article 2 of the Treaty between Germany and Russia of 8 December/26 November, 1874,2 to consular employees, are also extended to special officials attached to German consulates in Russia and also to the agents of the Russian Ministry of Finance and to their secretaries (or attachés) in Germany.
1: Ratifications exchanged at Berlin, 29 March, 1918 (Neue Freie Presse, 6 July, morning edition; cf. infra, p. 139).
2: 65 British and Foreign State Papers, p. 244.
To Articles l and 12.
In regard to passports the subjects of both countries are placed on a footing with the most
The passport visée in Russia holds good for six months.
The decision includes the visée of the passports of German commercial travelers of the Hebrew faith.
The fee for issuing foreign passports to Germans living in Russia is not to exceed 50 Copecks. Russia will in the future also grant a term of 28 days for the validity of legitimation certificates available
wlthin the limits of a frontier zone 30 kilometers wide, allowing the bearers the right of repeatedly
crossing the frontier at different points as at present. This term will be reckoned by both parties
from the day on which the certificate is first used for crossing the frontier, but the certificates
expire if not used for the first time at the latest within fifteen days after the date of issue. This term of 28 days is in no way affected by the beginning of a new year during the time for which the
certificate is available. These certificates, which shall be issued in two languages, German and Russian, are to be given by either country only to its own subjects and to such subjects of the other
State who reside in the country in which the certificate is issued.
The day on which the frontier is crossod will in future be marked on the certificate by both Russian and German authorities, according to both the Russian and German calendar. Certificates will be given in future, as at present, both to Christians and Hebrews.
Each contracting parties will allow its subjects to pass temporarily to the territory of the other party for agricultural and industrial purposes and will raise no obstacles particularly as regards passport regulations. The representatives of organizations under state inspection which are established in the territory of one Party to act as agencies for enlisting such workmen, and regarding which the government of this party will notify the government of thc other party, are without further formalities admitted within the territory of the latter and may exercise without hindrance their functions as agents.
Russian workmen entering Germany for agricultural or other kindred occupations, shall be provided as heretofore, free of charge, with legitimation papers valid from l February to 20 December, new style.
These papers also shall be written in the Russian and German languages.
To Article 3.
In so far as the subjects of a third State, on the strength of existing treaties and agreements,
are exempt in Russia from guardianship, German subjects in Russia shall enjoy the same
privilege in respect to guardianship of non-German minors.
To Article 5.
Veterinary measures introduced by the German Government with regard to Russian import may not be applied more strictly than with regard to States which, in respect to contagious diseases of animals and in respect to veterinary institutions, are in the same condition as Russia.
This regulation does not apply to agreements relative to veterinary measures between Germany and Austria-Hungary.
The number of live pigs, which according to existing regulations may be lmported into upper Silesia is increased to twenty-five hundred per week.
Meat, which by the German Meat Inspection Law of 3 June, 1900, is considered as dressed, is allowed to be imported into Germany in accordance with regulations of the law referred to.
The concessions stipulated in paragraphs 3 and 4 preceding, may be temporarily suspended or revoked, if this is necessitated by extraordinary considerations arising from veterinary supervision.
To Articles 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10.
Whereas in Russia at the present time certain goods are subject to higher customs duty, when imported across the land frontier, than when imported by the Baltic Sea, the Parties are agreed that
from the day of the coming into force of the present treaty, the duties on imports across the land
frontier shall be reduced to conform with the rates of duty on imports by the Baltic Sea and that
no new tariff be introduced discriminating in favor of imports by sea.
The German Government on its part binds itself not to introduce on any frontier of the German Empire different or more favorable customs duties than on its eastern frontier.
To Article 6.
The German Federal Council will not avail itself at any time during the life of the present treaty of its prerogative to revoke the pormission given for establishing mixed warehouses for grain in transit at Königsberg, Danzig, Altona, Mannheim, and Ludwigshafen.
To Articles 6, 7, and 11.
When the agricultural and industrial products of a third Power which are transported through
the territory of one of the contracting parties, are imported into the other country, they shall not be subject to payment of other or higher duties than if they had been imported directly from the country of their origin.
To Articles 6 to 9.
The Russian Government declares itself prepared to accept German gold coins in payment of
customs duties, at the exchange rate of 1,000 Marks gold for 462 Roubles (1 Rouble=1/15 Imperial). The Russian custom houses will accept German Imperial Bank Notes at the same rate of exchange in payment of customs duties.
To Articles 6 and 7.
In respect to the importation of goods, which are subject according to their country of origin to
different customs duties, the contracting parties reserve the right to demand certificates of origin
as evidence of domestic production or manufacture. Both parties will take care that the above
certificates shall restrict trade as little as possible.
To Article 12.
In order to exercise in Russia the right provided for by Paragraph 1 of Article 12, the persons there mentioned shall be provided with special trade certificates, government fee for which shall not exceed 150 Roubles for a whole year and 75 Roubles for the second half of the year.
If persons provided with the said trade certificates desire to exercise the right stipulated in Paragraph 1 of Article 12, through commercial travelers in their employ, the latter shall be provided with special personal trade certificates, the fee for which must not exceed 50 Roubles for a whole year or 25 Roubles for the second half of a year.
Trade certificates, provided for by paragraph 1 of the present regulation, may be issued in the names of persons going to Russia, and in this case such persons do not need to provide themselves with personal trade certificates.
With the issuing trade certificates and the collecting of fees for same, no distinction will be made between those professing the Christian and the Hebrew religions.
In so far as the importation of firearms into Russia is not prohibited, German merchants may bring with them samples of such weapons, but only under the express condition that these merchants submit to all general and local regulations which are or will be in force regarding firearms.
To Article 14.
The contracting parties reserve to themselves the right of concluding a special agreement regarding navigation and rafting on inland waters which directly or indirectly connect both countries. Until the conclusion of this agreement German vessels, their crews, and German raftsmen on Russian inland waterways, and Russian vessels, their crews, and Russian raftsmen on German inland waterways may engage in towing and commercial navigation, including the transportation of passengers as well as rafting under the same conditions as the natives themselves.
German vessels bound for Russia on inland waterways which connect both countries, intending to return to Germany, are admitted into Russia without having to pay import duty or making a deposit as security for same.
The time within which such vessels must return to Germany is two years from the day of their
arrival in Russia. Should a vessel be sold in Russia or remain there more than two years, the
corresponding import duty must be paid. Should the vessel be detained, owing to circumstances
beyond the captain's control, such as low waterlevel, average demanding considerable repairs, and other similar reasons, the above-mentioned period must be extended. Import duties are not levied
should the vessel be lost through fire or wreck.
No fees shall be paid for certificates stipulating the re-exit of vessels or payment of import duties.
The certificate of the ship's gauge will be deposited with the Russian customs authorities for the term of the vessel's stay in Russia.
To Article 20.
The contracting parties will support each other, as far as possible, in the question of railroad
tariffs, in particular by means of establishing through freight tariffs. Such through freight tariffs
should be established to facilitate the export from Russia, as well as as the import to Russia, in accordance with the demands of trade, particularly regarding the German ports, Danzig (Neufahrwasser), Königsborg (Pillau), and Memel.
In respect to the articles which in the Russian railroad tariff are classified under grain, also in regard to flax, hemp and wood, freight tariffs from Russian stations of departure to the above-named ports shall be drawn up and distributed among German and Russian railways participating in the transportation, in accordance with the present regulations regarding Russian railways leading to the ports of Libau and Riga, or such regulations as may be subsequently introduced. The same holds good in the case of re-forwarding. Extra charges which may be collected in addition to the freight tariff rates shall be drawn up in the same manner and the total, in agreement with Russian regulations, shall be divided among the railroads concerned; in this connection, an agreement has been arrived at, to the effect that only one frontier tax shall be collected, divided equally between the Russian and German lines leading to the frontier.
The special provisions for regulating competition between Königsberg and Danzig which are now in force shall remain so.
Tariff favors granted on German or Russian railways to goods imported by sea, must, at the demand of the interested Government, be granted by railways leading from the frontier to similar products over the rail stretch lrom the frontier station to the receiving station. In this case the extent of the favors granted per kilometer or per verst in traffic across the inland frontier, should be the same as in traffic through sea ports.
No distinction, especially in respect to tariff rates, is to be made in regard to the nationality of the importing vessels of the contracting parties, in case the imported goods are further transported by rail or by inland waterways.
The Russian Government will see to it that railway freight tariffs, for transportation from Russia to
Germany of phosphorites and other phosphates, as well as ores, in force until 1 August, 1914,
should not be increased to a greater extent than corresponds to the general average increase of
the Russian railway tariffs in proportion to distances in the same way as these were used as
a basis of the tariffs in question prior to 1 August /19 July, 1914. At the request of the German
Government, the sea tariffs will be applied to new stations of departure and destination.
The contracting parties agree, that in regard to railway matters, mutual trafhc relations between Germany and Russia shall be the same as before the war, and that disadvantages, which might result from the subdivision of the Russian railway system into independent railway systems,will be as far as possible removed. To this end both parties are prepared to concur in a convention, binding on the railways of Germany, Russia, and the States and administered territories which have detached themselves from the Russian Empire, to regulate in this sense the stipulations contained in Article 20 of the present treaty and in this concluding protocol, and especially to reestablish the continuity of railway tariffs, existing before the war, for communication with the ports of the Baltic Sea, the Black and the Azoff Seas.
TO THE CUSTOMS REGULATIONS.
Authorization to consign goods under customs control to other custom houses is extended by both parties to all custom houses of the first class, which have no railroad communications with the offices having warehouses. It is stipulated, however, that such consignments remain subject to pertinent laws and regulations.
Both parties agree that the custom houses of both countries shall remain open every day of the year, except Sundays and legal holidays.
The time tables of office hours shall be posted in the custom houses of both countries.
Office hours for examination of passports and legitimation cards shall be fixed for each district and
for each frontier crossing, by special agreemont between the respective departments of the two countries. Both parties shall appoint the same hours, taking into account local needs, and in custom houses of the third class, in supplementary custom houses, and at frontier crossings, a recess
shall be granted for the employees' meals.
Merchandise liable to customs duty, imported by persons having a duly executed permit to cross the frontier, may be declared orally in both countries and at all custom houses within the limits of their competency, provided the merchandise is not imported for the purpose of trade and that the sum due as customs duty does not exceed:
Fifteen Roubles for imports to Russia; and
Thirty-five Marks for imports to Germany.
Transfer offices are hereby empowered to clear foodstuffs (with the exception of brandy and other spirituous liquors) as well as articles exclusively intended for household use.
Without derogating from special regulations regarding river craft, vehicles of every kind together with their accessories, which during their importation serve to carry passengers or goods, and which are only for this purpose temporarily brought into Russia by persons known to the Russian or German customs authorities, are admitted by Russian authorities free of dues and without depositing security for such duty, if the carrier obhgates himself to reexport the same within a specified time. The obligation to this effect, which must be in writing, shall be made out free of charge.
No special declaration of goods imported into Russia by land is necessary, if the goods are accompanied by a way bill. In such instances it is sufficient to present the way bill to the Customs
Officer at the time of entry. The number of horses and vehicles in a transport as well as the total of
way bills and packages are entered on one of the way bills which entry is then signed by the head driver.
Flowers and living plants, fresh fruit, and fresh fish, as well as all rapidly perishable goods, shall
except when prevented by force majeure, be cleared by both parties inside of 24 hours after arrival of the goods at the customs warehouses.
The charges for affixing identification marks to the goods are not to exceed 5% of the customs
The charges for affixing identification seals in the case of buttons, ribbons, lace, embroideries, and furs are not to exceed l Copeck for each seal. The total charge in each individual case for sealing is not to exceed 5% of the amount of the import duty.
But if the interested person wishes that the merchandise should be sealed in a manner exceeding the needs of identification, the said person is bound to pay the additional charge thereby incurred.
The stamping of German gold and silver ware is not liable to higher or special charges than the stamping of similar articles of home production.
Storage on imported goods shall he collected by the Russian customs authorities only for the exact time the goods were in storage in the customs warehouses beginning from the fourth day after the customs examination began.
However, the period for which no storage charges are made shall be limited by the time allowed in each custom house for declaring imported goods, that is, 5 to 14 days, with the addition of the 3 days provided for in paragraph 1 preceding.
As long as this Treaty remains in force, the Russian Government binds itself not to alter in any way the stipulations of Articles 15 and 16 of the Berne Convention of 14 October, 1890,1 which regulate the sender's right to dispose of the goods.
1: 82 British and Foreign State Papers, pp. 771, 796.
The stipulation contained in Article 292 of the Russian Regulations of 15 May, 1901, concerning the importation of goods, according to which the difference between the weight declared and
the actual weight of the goods as revealed at the examination, if not exceeding 5% of the total
weight of the goods, is modified, and the limit of permissible difference increased to 10% of the
The right of complaint against decisions of Russian custom house authorities regarding fines
for incorrect or fraudulent declaration, or regarding the tariff classifications of merchandise, belongs to the sender of the goods, as well as to the declarant.
Such complaints may be drawn up in the German language by the sender of the goods.
The time limit for presenting complaints in cases mentioned, in §12, both for the sender and the declarant, is fixed at two months from the date when the decision of the custom house is made known to the declarant.
As regards the tariff classification of goods, the sender has the right to lodge complaint during
the above-mentioned term only if the goods in question are still in the customs warehouses.
German consuls in Russia and Russian consuls in Germany shall have the right to communicate
directly, the former with the Russian customs department and the latter with the representatives of German custom house authorities (and provincial customs director, etc.), in regard to customs complaints pending before such authorities.
Conductors, engine drivers, and other railway employees of either of the two contracting parties,
who are detected conveying contraband goods on trains going into the territory of the other
party, shall, on application of the competent custom house authorities, lose the right to accompany
trains to the frontier.
All quarantine and veterinary police measures, to wit: orders to close or open the frontiers for any
kind of merchandise, or alterations in the respective local regulations and so forth, shall immediately, on publication, be communicated to each other by the two contracting parties.
All local measures undertaken at the initiative of the circuit representative (Landrat in Germany, Nachalnic Ujesda, Ispravnik in Russia) shall be directly communicated to the respective heads of the districts of the other country. Such communication must contain the motives of the measures unless these are self evident.
Measures taken in Germany by the administrative head of a province (Oberpräsident), or by the president of a government board, and those taken in Russia by the Governor General or Governor, shall mutually be communicated to officials of corrosponding rank. Communications giving the reasons for such measures shall be conveyed through diplomatic channels.
Measures adopted by the central authoritios of the two countries shall, together with the reasons for same, be communicated to each othor through diplomatic channels.
Both parties agree that information regarding veterinaray measures shall be mutually communicated if possible before they are made public and, in any case not later than simultaneously with their publication.
Both Governments will exchange lists indicating the authorities on both sides who are to exchange communications according to tho above described procedure.
Quarantine regulations against epidemic diseases shall be applied by both parties to all travelers
crossing the frontier, regardless of their nationality, in accordane with the danger of infection.
Neither party will hinder the return of travelers sent back for lack of a passport or for non payment of customs duties; in circumstances mentioned nbove both parties shall readmit even foreign subjects, especially if the latter have not yet reached the interior. The respective authorities on both sides shall agree as to the necessary measures.
Jewish emigrants of Russian origin bearing Russian emigration certificates and other parties sent back to Russia by German authorities must be readmitted by the Russian frontier authorities, provided these persons have not stayed in Germany more than one month, counting from the day when they crossed the Russo-German frontier.
The frontier authorities of both contracting parties shall be instructed to have all vagabonds and other such persons possessing no passport, who are to be readmitted to the territory of the other party, whose subjects they are, conveyed exclusively to such points on the frontier as have facilities for sending off travelers.