Becker v Préfet de la Moselle

JurisdictionFrance
CourtRegional Court (France)
Docket NumberCase No. 109
France, Tribunal de Sarreguemines.
Case No. 109
Becker
and
Préfet de la Moselle.
TREATIES

Treaties — Unratified and Unpublished Interpretative Agreement — Value for Municipal Courts — International Law and Municipal Law — Informal Treaties — Effect in Municipal Sphere — Interpretation of — By Subsequent Agreement — Nationality — Redintegration — Inhabitants of Alsace-Lorraine — Treaty of Versailles.

International Law and Municipal Law — Enforcement of Treaties in Municipal Sphere — Informal Agreements — French Law.

Nationality — Acquisition of — Redintegration — Inhabitants of Alsace-Lorraine — Treaty of Versailles.

The Facts.—This was a claim by one Becker for registration as a person ipso facto reinstated in French nationality by virtue of paragraph 2 of Article 1 of the Annex to Section V of the Treaty of Versailles. That paragraph provides as follows:

“As from November 11, 1918, the following persons are ipso facto reinstated in French nationality: …

“(2) The legitimate or natural descendants of persons [who lost French nationality by the application of the Franco-German Treaty of May 10, 1871] with the exception of those whose ascendants in the paternal line include a German who migrated into Alsace-Lorraine after July 15, 1870.”

Becker's mother lost French nationality by the application of the Treaty of 1871. His father was a German national who, except for a brief period, remained resident in Germany. It was contended on his behalf that he did not fall within the excepting clause of the relevant paragraph of the Treaty of Versailles. That interpretation of the clause was contrary to one laid down in an unratified and unpublished exchange of notes between France and Germany.

Held: that the claim must be rejected. The exchange of letters, while lacking force of law, clearly established the intention of the signatories of the Treaty of Versailles. The Court said:

“It is true that the Treaty does not expressly provide...

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