HC Deb 23 March 1927 vol 204 cc365-6

BY asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether ho can inform this House of the precise nature of the agreement reached by the Council of the League of Nations with regard to the International Railway Police Force for the Saar?


The resolution adopted by the Council on 12th March, 1927, is as follows: The Council takes note of the report of the Governing Commission dated 18th February, 1927, with regard to the freedom of transport and transit on the railways of the Saar Territory. The organisation proposed by the Governing Commission will be put into effect within a maximum delay of three months and therefore the troops stationed in the Territory of the Saar will be withdrawn within that period. The Railway Commission and the Railway Defence Force will be under the orders of the Governing Commission and will be responsible to the Governing Commission. The Railway Defence Force can only take action affecting the population under exceptional circumstances. The strength of 800 which is indicated for this force represents the maximum. Should the Governing Commission think that a reduction of this number is possible, it is entitled to take the necessary measures to that effect without being obliged previously to refer the matter to the Council. The report of the Saar Governing Commission of 18th February, which will in due course be published in the official journal of the League of Nations, recommended that there should be placed at its disposal a railway commission and a railway defence force of 800 men for the exclusive purpose of safeguarding transit and transport through the Saar territory; further, that in case of necessity it should be able to call in two battalions of French troops from outside the territory.


May I ask whether these 800 railway defence force troops are paid for by the Saar people or by the French Government?


No, Sir, they have to be paid for by the Governments, from whose forces they are drawn.