§ 19. Mr. FENBY
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Regulations made under Articles 89 and 98 of the Treaty of Versailles come in any way under the control of the Council of Ambassadors; whether it is under the terms of these Articles that the carriage doors of German trains passing through the Polish Corridor are locked; and whether his attention has been called to the recent railway disaster in the Corridor and to other previous disasters in the same neighbourhood?
In reply to parts one and two of the question I would explain that Articles 89 and 98 of the Treaty of Versailles, in common with other Articles of the Treaty in general, come under the supervision of the Conference of Ambassadors. In accordance with Article 98, Germany on the one part and Poland and the Free City of Danzig on the other, signed on the 21st April, 1921, a convention concerning freedom of transit between Eastern Prussian and the rest of Germany. It is provided by Article 11 of this convention that difficulties of interpretation may be submitted to a permanent arbitral tribunal sitting at Danzig. Article 4 of the convention would appear to provide for the exemption from Customs and passport examination of travellers on so-called privileged trains, the means of ensuring this (e.g. by the locking of doors) being presumably in the hands of the authorities operating the railway. The reply to part three of the question is in the affirmative.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it is very undesirable 917 that trains should be run through the Polish Corridor with doors locked, and that very serious increase of danger is caused; this, especially in view of the three accidents which have taken place already?
The people who are concerned have to reconcile conflicting objects. The object of the locked door is to facilitate travel from one part of Germany to another without Polish Customs officials' examination. I think any proposals for change if such be necessary might well be left to those immediately concerned.