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Germany agrees to sign peace treaty

PARIS, June 23, 1919 (UP) -- Germany has notified the allies she will sign the Peace Treaty.

Official announcement of the receipt in Versailles of a note to that effect was made this afternoon.

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Whether it will be signed at once by Secretary von Haniel, or later by a new delegation, it was not made known.

Unofficial reports said the National Assembly had instructed Von Haniel to sign at once and had given him full power to do so.

The note announcing the Germans will sign characterizes the peace as one of "violence."

The Supreme Economic Council today decided that with the signing of peace all blockades will be raised, including that of Russia.

The allies today flatly refused a German request to extend the time limit 48 hours. They also rejected an eleventh-hour plea for further concessions. These included elimination of the clause demanding surrender of the former kaiser, retention of German colonies, and refutation of Germany's admission that she was solely responsible for the war.

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Vienna newspapers say Austria will follow Germany's lead in accepting or rejecting the Peace Treaty.

The French foreign office today said it would be impossible to complete all arrangements for formal signing of the Peace Treaty before Wednesday.

Clemenceau's reply in full stated:

"The allied and associated powers have considered the notes of the German delegation of even date, and, in view of the shortness of time remaining, feel it their duty to reply at once. Of the time within which the German government must make their final decision as to signature of the treaty, less than 24 hours remain.

"The allied and associated governments, therefore, feel constrained to say that the time for discussion has passed. They can accept or acknowledge no qualifications or reservations and must require of the German representatives as unequivocal decision to their purpose to sign and accept as a whole, or not to sign and accept the treaty as finally formulated. After the signature the allied and associated powers must hold Germany responsible for the execution of every stipulation of the treaty."

The German note was received at 5 p. m. yesterday and the Big Five had transmitted their reply by 9:30.

Bauer's communication reiterated that the German government regarded the peace conditions as in "sharp contradiction to the principle which was accepted by the allied and associated powers on the one hand, and Germany on the other, as being binding in accordance with the laws of nations for the peace before the conclusion of the armistice."

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It complained that "far-reaching counter-proposals have only in certain points received any acceptance." It asked repatriation of all German military and civilian prisoners.

"The government of the German Republic engages to fulfill the conditions of peace imposed upon Germany, the note continued. "It desires, however, in this solemn agreement, to express itself with unreserved clearness in order to meet in advance any accusation of untruthfulness that may now or later be made against Germany.

"The conditions imposed exceed the measure of that which Germany can in fact perform. The government of the German Republic, therefore, feels itself bound to announce that it makes all reservations and declines all responsibility as regards the consequences when, as is bound to happen, the impossibility of carrying out the conditions comes to light, even though German capacity to fulfill is stretched to the utmost.

"Germany further lays the greatest emphasis on the declaration that she cannot accept Article 231 of the Treaty of Peace, which requires Germany to admit herself to be the sole author of the war.

"Likewise, it is equally impossible for a German to reconcile it with his dignity and honor to accept and execute Articles 227 to 231, by which Germany is requested to give up to the allied and associated powers for trial individuals among the German people, who are accused of committing acts contrary to the customs of war.

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"Further, the government of the German Republic makes a distinct protest against the taking away of all the colonial possessions of Germany.

"The German government believes itself to be entitled to address the following modest request in the expectation that the allied and associated governments will consider the following declaration an integral portion of the treaty:

"'Within two years, counting from the day the treaty is signed, the allied and associated government will submit the present treaty to the high council of the powers constituted by the League of Nations for the purpose of subsequent examination. Before this high council German plenipotentiaries are to enjoy the same privileges as the representatives of the other contracting parties of the present treaty.

"This council shall decide in regard to those conditions of the present treaty which impair the rights of self-determination of the German people, and also in regard to the stipulation whereby the free economic principle of development of Germany on a footing of equal rights is impeded."

The Big Five met at Premier Lloyd George's residence at 9 a. m. and remained in session for half an hour. Announcement of rejection of the request for extension of the time limit was made after the group adjourned.

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