Draft translation (by Pauli Kruhse):

TO THE SENATE OF FINLAND

As the second representative, authorized by the Government of Finland, to negotiate on the treaty with Germany, I respectfully wish to bring up the following concerning the course of the negotiations:

As a general remark, first of all, I do point out that the position of the Finnish negotiators was in many respect an unusual and difficult one because of the prevailing exceptional circumstances. We had no ways to maintain the usual regular connect with our government or to receive proper instructions from there. Correspondence, be it written or telegraphic between the government and the negotiators was extremely difficult and if such had been even tried any more than we did, it had caused considerable delay at the negotiations and thus aggrevated finishing this most urgent matter. We Finns also had no supporting material, expert help or advice in such an extent that in normal circumstances had been considered as vital. The opposite side, the Germans, were thus in the very advantageous position.

It goes without saying that the German naturally had an upper hand in comparison to the other part whose simple survival - pointed out clearly by the Germans - was greatly dependent on the undelayed completion in laying of the foundations for normal and regular relations between Finland and the German Reich. As questions, which urgently waited for this, the following should be mentioned: a) setting up normal diplomatic and consular relations; b) German military assistance, its form and extent; c) the question of importing food and other necessities from Germany; d) treatment of Finnish citizens in Germany.
The driving force, the awareness that Southern Finland, with all its population and culture now in extreme distress and danger, and to comply with what was set as prerequisites by the Germans for every armed assistance, the peace and the provisional commercial treaties, accelerated everything on the agenda and led in some cases to make even such concessions that had been unacceptable without this emergency.

The German Government has adopted, which can easily be seen, a unified policy in the newest political treaties, including recent peace treaties, and it strongly opposes any exceptions to this. Whenever this is needed, the other party usually finds it almost impossible to make its points understood.

The negotiations over the peace treaty between Finland and Germany entered on Feb. 28 at the German Foreign Office. They were presided by Under Secretary von Stumm. The other deputed persons on German side were Minister Freiherr von Brück, privy councillor (Geheimer Oberregierungsrat) von Simson, Senior Legation Councellor Nadolny and Legation Councellor Trautmann, secretarial matters were taken care by Vice Consul Windel. The Finnish secretarial tasks was taken care by Master of Laws Freiherr E.F. Wrede. The agreement was signed on March the 7th.

The following details of the negotiations might deserve closer attention.

The Finns proposed the following wording for Art. I Sect. 2: "Deutschland wird dafür eintreten, dass die Selbständigkeit und Unabhängigkeit Finnlands gesichert und befestigt wird". The motivation for this was that most powers have already recognized the independence of Finland and therefore it would be of no special interest that Germany acquires a role in taking care of winning the recognition in general; instead of this an assurance to secure and consolidate the independence of Finland might be of greater value. The Germans answered that such an assurance would be too indefinite. In the case where a possible future alliance or guaranteed relation between Finland and Germany might come to the agenda, a special political agreement will be needed. The peace treaty is not a proper forum to agree on this. Furthermore, they reminded that a general international recognition still is a crucial matter for Finland.

After this the Finnish representatives suggested that Sec. 2, or at least, its latter part would be dropped out from the agreement. After some consideration the Germans made it clear that they do want to keep it as it were, motivating this by the fact that Germany has so far been willing to promote and strengthen the Finnish independence, and will do that also in future, and expects therefore that Finland will engage herself to what the text here says, especially when no harm will be caused by this. It was also brought into discussion that a clause like this might indirectly secure the territorial integrity of Finland. In consideration of this the Finnish deputies, hesitantly, saw it possible to approve this part of the text as it was. This was also facilitated by the fact that both Sweden and Norway committed themselves, in so called November Agreement in 1855, to an obligation where they promised never cede any part of their territories to Russia. This commitment was never considered being contradictory to their rights as sovereign states.

Concerning the second chapter it should be mentioned that only military costs and damage resulting from the war are stipulated there, whereas civilian losses are stipulated in the chapter five.

As for the sixth article the Finnish party pointed out that the stipulations within it are self-evident and therefore unnecessary. The German negotiators, however, considered it desirable, pointing out that especially section 2 is needed, for instance, in view of the Baltic Pact of 1908.

The chapter four concerning the restoration of private law rights, in accordance with current and justified principles, was not anyway objected by the Finnish negotiators. For practical reasons it was suggested that the time limits of 6 and 7 months in the article 8 sect. 3 would be more convenient as 3 and 4 months, as well as the time limit in the article 9 as 3 months. These suggestions were accepted. - The Finnish negotiators found it appropriate, in accordance with the generally accepted principle as stated in the article 13, that even some acquired rights must yield up to the restored earlier private law rights, especially when the current measures concerning the property of German citizens in Finland were enforced by Russian war laws.

At the 15th article the Finns brought out as the fundamental point of view that all the damage inflicted during the war on German citizens or their property (i.e. civilian damage) were mainly caused by Russian authorities and Russian subjects; so, no claims should be presented against Finnish state authorities. The Germans considered the separation of causes to be difficult and were afraid that in such a case some Germans who were subjected to measures authorized by the war laws might miss all compensation for this. The proposition, made by the Finns, that in both countries subjects of the other contracting party should be entitled to similar compensations as her own citizens, won either no support. As the Finnish negotiators still considered it being unfair that Finland would be held responsible for the damage caused by Russian state organs, an arrangement of the 2nd Chapter of the additional protocol, formulated by the undersigned, was approved. It says that Germany supports Finland when she claims for recourse from Russia.

The stipulations of chapter 8 concerning merchant ships and their cargoes taken over by the adversary power were also set under dispute. The Germans accepted no exceptions in their general principle that captured vessels and cargoes will irreversably and without compensation remain as their captor's property if so awarded by the prize court. As to German ships docked at Finnish ports at the outbreak of the war the Finnish delegates regarded it to be unfair if the Finnish Government is required to surrender them or to pay damages for them since all measures put into effect on them were carried out by Russian state organs, and there was no way for the Government of Finland to intervene. The German negotiators were strictly unyielding in their opinion that Finland could find support from the international law in evading this, because of her special autonomous status within Russia before her independence. Long discussions finally led into a clause in the fourth chapter of the appendix stating that Germany first claims the Russian Goverment for the surrender of the ships or paying damages for them; if, within a year from the confirmation of this agreement, the requirements are not met, the obligation will fall on the Finnish Government.

The reason to include the stipulations concerning the Aland Islands in the peace treaty followed from the fact that a similar clause was also entered into the German-Russian peace treaty. It did not pass unnoticed for the Finnish negotiators that annulling the non-fortification pact relative to Aland, which forms part of Finland, might bring some favors to Finland. Simultaneously, however, it is clear that any solution of the complex and disputed Aland Islands question aiming at lifting the ban can hardly find support, especially, as Germany has made it clear that in principle the non-fortification still holds and will form the basis for all future arrangements. Furthermore, it can be expected that Sweden would in all circumstances do all she can to fight against fortification and would regard a fortified Aland as a constant threat against her, whoever foreign power might be responsible there. If Finland, against all probability, were able to lift the non-fortification ban, this would result in a serious quarrel between Finland and Sweden with harmful effects on political relations in the Nordic area. - - Ohterwise, the Finns wished for a clearer signal for the established right of Finland to the Aland Islands. However, the German answer that they regard this right completely undisputed and natural and see no reason to reword the treaty, which aborted the suggestion.

The Finnish representatives still raised one serious comment more in the peace treaty negotiations. The Finnish state property, particularly the funds of the Bank of Finland, confiscated during the war in Germany, should be reimbursed. The German negotiators consider it impossible to solve this here because it is dependent on deliberations of several government offices. It was further stated that it partly depends on the general procedure that warring countries will follow in future in matters like this but Finland should expect the very best and positive solution to her wishes.


The discussions for an interim Trade and Shipping Treaty began on the 23rd of February; it was signed simultaneously with the peace treaty. The negotiators on the German side were First Class Privy Councellors Johannes and Goebel von Harrant, Ambassador Freiherr von Brück sekä Legation Secretary von Landmann. The Finnish representatives with Freiherr F. Wrede as their secretary had the benefit of enjoying the expertise of General Director B. Wuolle.

The following may be pointed out about these negotiations.

The bilateral freedom of trade and the right to acquire, own and dispose real estate as stated in the Article 2 did not, naturally, pass without bothering the Finnish negotiators who rather had seen these questions arise when negotiating the permanent trade agreement, not before that. The reason we, however, considered us being authorized to accept the German proposal were mainly the following:

The regulations in the Commerce and Industry Act of Finland, which require an approved application before a foreigner is given the right to commerce, instead of a simple notice, are currently considered as a formality and the right is usually granted. The same procedure is followed when a foreigner, following the regulations of the Act of the 25th of February, 1851, applies to the Government for the right to purchase real estate. This being the fact, the present state of affairs and what is agreed have no bigger difference. It should also be noticed that the present trade and shipping treaty is a temporary one and in the final agreement such stipulations that found no understanding can be renegotiated even though they had to pass now because of the extreme haste of the grave situation. Certain guarantees can be achived by general legislation, i.e. applicable to our own citizens, too, which means that they do apply on foreigners, too.

A strong pressure on the Finnish negotiators were exerted by the German representatives who took an unwavering stand in their demands to accept the general principles of the Article 2. They pointed out that a prevailing trend goes to the acceptance of an international freedom of trade - in the largest sense of this concept - and it as widely adopted within the group of such countries which Finland apparently wishes to join. If, in the discussed question, would have been subjected to a negative response this had jeopordized the agreement itself and the benefits it had brought along. So, the concession could no be avoided. - The very force the Germans advocated their views, is further discussed below when its relation to our Company Law is evaluated.

The Finnish side felt it necessary to restrict freedom of trade, stated in the Article 2, so that the right to cabotage, also in internal waters, is confined to Finnish ships. It was not an easy task to get Germany's consent to this because she already had agreed on freedom of trade with most European countries, but the discussion, however, resulted in adding such a restriction to Art. 12 Sect. 3 which corresponded with the Finnish demands. - A further remark was made on the requirements of the Finnish law which in many cases says that for being able to act as a partner in a Finnish company, or even simply being a member of the board, requires the person to be a Finnish citizen, but these requirements are left for further lawmaker consideration when more time can be allocate to assess their suitability or unsuitability to changed conditions. The Germans pointed out that this kind of legislation is obsolete and ill-suited to modern international trade and, furthermore, it can easily be circumvented. After long deliberations it was agreed, as the Germans proposed, that with exchange of notes it is confirmed that this stipulation in the agreement does not, yet, lead to changes in the current legislation. The Finnish Government will soon introduce to the Diet such bills in which German subjects are ranked equal with their Finnish counterparts. (No reciprocity is followed here. Finnish citizens will enjoy these rights immediately as the trade treaty takes effect.)

The notes exchanged bear the same date as the treaty to which they are related.

Drugstore owners were included at the Finnish request in the trades not otherwise contained in the general stipulations of the Article 2.
As to the Article 3 it should be mentioned that it only regulates the legal capacity of companies (Gesellschaften), in its widest sense, especially how they are represented in a court of justice, but not what sort of business latitude they have, a condition which is regulated by domestic legislation (and secondly, by clauses concerning the most favoured nations). So, even German companies are subject to what the Finnish legislation stipulates on their rights to own real estate and to pursue their business.

The Articles 6 and 7 contain clauses that mainly equal the other recent modern treaties. The stipulations in the section 2 and 3 of the Article 5 result from the fact, easily understood even by a superficial observer, that the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has joined the German Customs Union, such a customs contract is under discussion with Austria-Hungary and that Germany has colonies and protectorates, which enjoy a special customs policy status. Because the first and third one of these special regulations are not applicable to Finland and no demands to join any customs union are not brought to Finnish attention, there is no particular reference here to Finland but, in case that Finland, as an example, might join some future Nordic customs union, then stipulations defining customs regulations within this union could not be anyway extended to trade with Germany. A special attention should be drawn to the fact that Article 7 Sect. 4 doest not make the clauses of the Prohibition Act, as an example, ineffective as far as the production and use of similar domestic products are forbidden.

The stipulation of the Article 10 says that, for the time being, the current customs tariff of the 1st of January, 1914, is applicable to Germany. The Finnish deputies considered it possible to accept this mainly because of the temporary nature of the agreement, soon to be replaced by a permanent agreement and also is subject to be called off according to the Article 17. Any revamping of the Finnish customs tariff was here out of question. For proper consideration of the effects of the depreciation of money, and also to leave some room for politically necessary financial maneuvers even during this interim time, the Finns demanded that the Finnish government can request customs duties to be paid in gold or to fix paper money values to gold. Despite that the Trade and Shipping Treaty does not strictly forbid raising the customs duties, the last clause of the Art. 1 Sect. 3 says that both parties should abstain from such changes at least during the postwar transition perion.

The Finnish deputies saw that the international general treaties, mentioned in Art. 13, should come into immediate use without waiting Finland to officially joining them, likewise the international arrangements mentioned in Art. 14 concerning post and telegraph communications will form the basis of the parties' bilateral communication.

The validity of the General Agreement of 1905 concerning civilian judicial processes was consider as naturally applicable. Till the organization of certain part of the jurisdiction, particularly consular representation, will be updated, it was considered as necessary to temporary follow both agreements of 1874, mentioned in Art. 15; however, the extradition agreements done between Russia and Prussia and Bavaria in 1885 are far from modern requirements. This makes the need for a Finnish-German extradition agreement quite urgent.

In the end, a list of joint commissions as agreed in the treaties, as well as references to the stipulations, might be useful.
This typewritten PM, Dr. Erich's but unsigned and without a date, can be found in Minister Edv. Hjelt's private archive kept in the National archives of Finland.

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