Annex (1 to 25)
Each of the High Contracting Parties will, within three months from the notification provided for in Article 296, paragraph (e), establish a Clearing Office for the collection and payment of enemy debts.
Local Clearing Offices may be established for any particular portion of the territories of the High Contracting Parties. Such local Clearing Offices may perform all the functions of a central Clearing Office in their respective districts, except that all transactions with the Clearing Office in the Opposing State must be effected through the central Clearing Office.
In this Annex the pecuniary obligations referred to in the first paragraph of Article 296 are described “as enemy debts”, the persons from whom the same are due as “enemy debtors”, the persons to whom they are due as “enemy creditors”, the Clearing Office in the country of the creditor is called the “Creditor Clearing Office”, and the Clearing Office in the country of the debtor is called the “Debtor Clearing Office”.
The High Contracting Parties will subject contraventions of paragraph (a) of Article 296 to the same penalties as are at present provided by their legislation for trading with the enemy. They will similarly prohibit within their territory all legal process relating to payment of enemy debts, except in accordance with the provisions of this Annex.
The Government guarantee specified in paragraph (b) of Article 296 shall take effect whenever, for any reason, a debt shall not be recoverable, except in a case where at the date of the outbreak of war the debt was barred by the laws of prescription in force in the country of the debtor, or where the debtor was at that time in a [Page 591] state of bankruptcy or failure or had given formal indication of insolvency, or where the debt was due by a company whose business has been liquidated under emergency legislation during the war. In such case the procedure specified by this Annex shall apply to payment of the dividends.
The terms “bankruptcy” and “failure” refer to the application of legislation providing for such juridical conditions. The expression “formal indication of insolvency” bears the same meaning as it has in English raw.
Creditors shall give notice to the Creditor Clearing Office within six months of its establishment of debts due to them, and shall furnish the Clearing Office with any documents and information required of them.
The High Contracting Parties will take all suitable measures to trace and punish collusion between enemy creditors and debtors. The Clearing Offices will communicate to one another any evidence and information which might help the discovery and punishment of such collusion.
The High Contracting Parties will facilitate as much as possible postal and telegraphic communication at the expense of the parties concerned and through the intervention of the Clearing Offices between debtors and creditors desirous of coming to an agreement as to the amount of their debt.
The Creditor Clearing Office will notify the Debtor Clearing Office of all debts declared to it. The Debtor Clearing Office will, in due course, inform the Creditor Clearing Office which debts are admitted and which debts are contested. In the latter case, the Debtor Clearing Office will give the grounds for the non-admission of debt.
When a debt has been admitted, in whole or in part, the Debtor Clearing Office will at once credit the Creditor Clearing Office with the amount admitted, and at the same time notify it of such credit.
The debt shall be deemed to be admitted in full and shall be credited forthwith to the Creditor Clearing Office unless within three months from the receipt of the notification or such longer time as may be agreed to by the Creditor Clearing Office notice has been given by the Debtor Clearing Office that it is not admitted.[Page 592]
When the whole or part of a debt is not admitted the two Clearing Offices will examine into the matter jointly and will endeavor to bring the parties to an agreement.
The Creditor Clearing Office will pay to the individual creditor the sums credited to it out of the funds placed at its disposal by the Government of its country and in accordance with the conditions fixed by the said Government, retaining any sums considered necessary to cover risks, expenses or commissions.
Any person having claimed payment of an enemy debt which is not admitted in whole or in part shall pay to the clearing office, by way of fine, interest at 5 per cent. on the part not admitted. Any person having unduly refused to admit the whole or part of a debt claimed from him shall pay, by way of fine, interest at 5 per cent. on the amount with regard to which his refusal shall be disallowed.
Such interest shall run from the date of expiration of the period provided for in paragraph 7 until the date on which the claim shall have been disallowed or the debt paid.
Each Clearing Office shall in so far as it is concerned take steps to collect the fines above provided for, and will be responsible if such fines cannot be collected.
The fines will be credited to the other Clearing Office, which shall retain them as a contribution towards the cost of carrying out the present provisions.
The balance between the Clearing Offices shall be struck monthly and the credit balance paid in cash by the debtor State within a week.
Nevertheless, any credit balances which may be due by one or more of the Allied and Associated Powers shall be retained until complete payment shall have been effected of the sums due to the Allied or Associated Powers or their nationals on account of the war.
To facilitate discussion between the Clearing Offices each of them shall have a representative at the place where the other is established.[Page 593]
Except for special reasons all discussions in regard to claims will, so far as possible, take place at the Debtor Clearing Office.
In conformity with Article 296, paragraph (b), the High Contracting Parties are responsible for the payment of the enemy debts owing by their nationals.
The Debtor Clearing Office will therefore credit the Creditor Clearing Office with all debts admitted, even in case of inability to collect them from the individual debtor. The Governments concerned will, nevertheless, invest their respective Clearing Offices with all necessary powers for the recovery of debts which have been admitted.
As an exception, the admitted debts owing by persons having suffered injury from acts of war shall only be credited to the Creditor Clearing Office when the compensation due to the person concerned in respect of such injury shall have been paid.
Each Government will defray the expenses of the Clearing Office set up in its territory, including the salaries of the staff.
Where the two Clearing Offices are unable to agree whether a debt claimed is due, or in case of a difference between an enemy debtor and an enemy creditor or between the Clearing Offices, the dispute shall either be referred to arbitration if the parties so agree under conditions fixed by agreement between them, or referred to the Mixed Arbitral Tribunal provided for in Section VI hereafter.
At the request of the Creditor Clearing Office the dispute may, however, be submitted to the jurisdiction of the Courts of the place of domicile of the debtor.
Recovery of sums found by the Mixed Arbitral Tribunal, the Court, or the Arbitration Tribunal to be due shall be effected through the Clearing Offices as if these sums were debts admitted by the Debtor Clearing Office.[Page 594]
Each of the Governments concerned shall appoint an agent who will be responsible for the presentation to the Mixed Arbitral Tribunal of the cases conducted on behalf of its Clearing Office. This agent will exercise a general control over the representatives or counsel employed by its nationals.
Decisions will be arrived at on documentary evidence, but it will be open to the Tribunal to hear the parties in person, or according to their preference by their representatives approved by the two Governments, or by the agent referred to above, who shall be competent to intervene along with the party or to re-open and maintain a claim abandoned by the same.
The Clearing Offices concerned will lay before the Mixed Arbitral Tribunal all the information and documents in their possession, so as to enable the Tribunal to decide rapidly on the cases which are brought before it.
Where one of the parties concerned appeals against the joint decision of the two Clearing Offices he shall make a deposit against the costs, which deposit shall only be refunded when the first judgment is modified in favour of the appellant and in proportion to the success he may attain, his opponent in case of such a refund being required to pay an equivalent proportion of the costs and expenses. Security accepted by the Tribunal may be substituted for a deposit.
A fee of 5 per cent. of the amount in dispute shall be charged in respect of all cases brought before the Tribunal. This fee shall, unless the Tribunal directs otherwise, be borne by the unsuccessful party. Such fee shall be added to the deposit referred to. It is also independent of the security.
The Tribunal may award to one of the parties a sum in respect of the expenses of the proceedings.
Any sum payable under this paragraph shall be credited to the Clearing Office of the successful party as a separate item.
With a view to the rapid settlement of claims, due regard shall be paid in the appointment of all persons connected with the [Page 595] Clearing Offices or with the Mixed Arbitral Tribunal to their knowledge of the language of the other country concerned.
Each of the Clearing Offices will be at liberty to correspond with the other and to forward documents in its own language.
Subject to any special agreement to the contrary between the Governments concerned, debts shall carry interest in accordance with the following provisions:
Interest shall not be payable on sums of money due by way of dividend, interest or other periodical payments which themselves represent interest on capital.
The rate of interest shall be 5 per cent. per annum except in cases where, by contract, law or custom, the creditor is entitled to payment of interest at a different rate. In such cases the rate to which he is entitled shall prevail.
Interest shall run from the date of commencement of hostilities (or, if the sum of money to be recovered fell due during the war, from the date at which it fell due) until the sum is credited to the Clearing Office of the creditor.
Sums due by way of interest shall be treated as debts admitted by the Clearing Offices and shall be credited to the Creditor Clearing Office in the same way as such debts.
Where by decision of the Clearing Offices or the Mixed Arbitral Tribunal a claim is held not to fall within Article 296, the creditor shall be at liberty to prosecute the claim before the Courts or to take such other proceedings as may be open to him.
The presentation of a claim to the Clearing Office suspends the operation of any period of prescription.
The High Contracting Parties agree to regard the decisions of the Mixed Arbitral Tribunal as final and conclusive, and to render them binding upon their nationals.
Text of May 7:
The High Contracting Parties agree to regard the decisions arrived at in accordance with the provisions of this Annex as final and conclusive, and to render them binding upon their nationals.[Page 596]
In any case where a Creditor Clearing Office declines to notify a claim to the Debtor Clearing Office, or to take any step provided for in this Annex, intended to make effective in whole or in part a request of which it has received due notice, the enemy creditor shall be entitled to receive from the Clearing Office a certificate setting out the amount of the claim, and shall then be entitled to prosecute the claim before the courts or to take such other proceedings as may be open to him.