TERMS OF ARMISTICE SIGNED BY GERMANY 1918
ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
TO THE JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 1918
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TERMS OF ARMISTICE SIGNED BY GERMANY
Gentlemen of the Congress: In these anxious times of rapid
and stupendous change it will in some degree lighten my sense of
responsibility to perform in person the duty of communicating to
you some of the larger circumstances of the situation with which it
is necessary to deal.
The German authorities who have, at the invitation of the Supreme
War Council, been in communication with Marshal Foch have accepted
and signed the terms of armistice which he was authorized
and instructed to communicate to them. Those terms are as follows:
I. Military Clauses on Western Front.
One. Cessation of operations by land and in the air six hours after
the signature of the armistice.
Two. Immediate evacuation of invaded countries: Belgium,
France, Alsace Lorraine, Luxemburg, so ordered as to be completed
within fourteen days from the signature of the armistice. German
troops which have not left the above mentioned territories within the
period fixed will become prisoners of war. Occupation by the Allied
and United States forces jointly will keep pace with evacuation in
these areas. All movements of evacuation and occupation will be
regulated in accordance with a note annexed to the stated terms.
Three. Repatriation beginning at once and to be completed within
fourteen days of all inhabitants of the countries above mentioned,
including hostages and persons under trial or convicted.
Four. Surrender in good condition by the German armies of the
following equipment: five thousand guns (two thousand five hundred
heavy, two thousand five hundred field), thirty thousand machine
guns, Three thousand minenwerfer, Two thousand aeroplanes
(fighters, bombers. firstly D. Seventy three's and night
bombing machines). The above to be delivered in Simmstu to the
Allies and United States troops in accordance with the detailed
conditions laid down in the annexed note.
Five. Evacuation by the German armies of the countries on the
left bank of the Rhine. These countries on the left bank of the
Rhine shall be administered by the local authorities under the control
of the Allied and United States armies of occupation. The
occupation of these territories "will be determined by Allied and
United States garrisons holding the principal crossings of the Rhine,
Mayence, Coblenz, Cologne, together with bridgeheaxls at these
points in thirty kilometer radius on the right bank and by garrisons
similarly holding the strategetic points of the regions. A neutral
zone shall be reserved on the right of the Rhine between the stream
and a line drawn parallel to it forty kilometers to the east from the
frontier of Holland to the parallel of Gernsheim and as far as practicable
a distance of thirty kilometers from the east of stream from
this parallel upon Swiss frontier. Evacuation by the enemy of the
Rhine lands shall be so ordered as to be completed within a further
period of eleven days, in all nineteen days after the signature of the
armistice. All movements of evacuation and occupation will be
regulated according to the note annexed.
Six. In all territory evacuated by the enemy there shall be no
evacuation of inhabitants; no damage or harm shall be done to the
persons or property of the inhabitants. No destruction of any kind
to be committed. Military establishments of all kinds shall be de-
livered intact as well as military stores of food, munitions, equipment
not removed during the periods fixed for evacuation. Stores of food
of all kinds for the civil population, cattle, etc., shall be left in situ.
Industrial establishments shall not be impaired in any way and their
personnel shall not be moved. Roads and means of communication of
every kind, railroad, waterways, main roads, bridges, telegraphs,
telephones, shall be in no manner impaired.
Seven. All civil and military personnel at present employed on
them shall remain. Five thousand locomotives, fifty thousand
wagons and ten thousand motor lorries in good working order with
all necessary spare parts and fittings shall be delivered to the Asso-
ciated Powers within the period fixed for the evacuation of Belgium
and Luxemburg. The railways of Alsace Lorraine shall be handed
over within the same period, together with all pre-war personnel
and material. Further material necessary for the working of rail-
ways in the country on the left bank of the Rhine shall be left
in situ. All stores of coal and material for the up-keep of permanent
ways, signals and repair shops left entire in situ and kept in an
efficient state by Germany during the whole period of armistice. All
barges taken from the Allies shall be restored to them. A note
appended regulates the details of these measures.
Eight. The German command shall be responsible for revealing all
mines or delay acting fuses disposed on territory evacuated by the
German troops and shall assist in their discovery and destruction.
The German command shall also reveal all destructive measures that
may have been taken (such as poisoning or polluting of springs,
wells, etc.) under penalty of reprisals.
Nine. The right of requisition shall be exercised by the Allied and
the United States, armies in all occupied territory. The up-keep
of the troops of occupation in the Rhine land (excluding Alsace-
Lorraine) shall be charged to the German Government.
Ten. An immediate repatriation without reciprocity according to
detailed conditions which shall be fixed, of all Allied and United
States prisoners of war. The Allied Powers and the United States
shall be able to dispose of these prisoners as they wish.
Eleven. Sick and wounded who cannot be removed from evacuated
territory will be cared for by German personnel who will be left on
the spot with the medical material required.
II. Disposition Relative to the Eastern Frontiers of Germany.
Twelve. All German troops at present in any territory which be-
fore the war belonged to Russia, Roumania or Turkey shall withdraw
within the frontiers of Germany as they existed on August first,
Thirteen. Evacuation by German troops to begin at once and all
German instructors, prisoners, and civilian as well as military agents,
now on the territory of Russia (as defined before 1914) to be recalled.
Fourteen. German troops to cease at once all requisitions and
seizures and any other undertaking with a view to obtaining supplies
intended for Germany in Roumania and Russia (as defined on August
Fifteen. Abandonment of the treaties of Bucharest and Brest-
Litovsk and of the supplementary treaties.
Sixteen. The Allies shall have free access to the territories evacu-
ated by the Germans on their eastern frontier either through Danzig
or by the Vistula in order to convey supplies to the populations of
those territories or for any other purpose.
III. Clause Concerning East Africa.
Seventeen. Unconditional capitulation of all German forces oper-
ating in East Africa within one month.
IV. General Clauses.
Eighteen. Repatriation, without reciprocity, within a maximum
period of one month, in accordance with detailed conditions hereafter
to be fixed, of all civilians interned or deported who may be citizens
of other Allied or Associated States than those mentioned in clause
three, paragraph nineteen, with the reservation that any future
claims and demands of the Allies and the United States of America
Nineteen. The following financial conditions are required: Repara-
tion for damage done. While such armistice lasts no public securities
shall be removed by the enemy which can serve as a pledge to the
Allies for the recovery or repatriation for war losses. Immediate
restitution of the cash deposit, in the National Bank of Belgium, and
in general immediate return of all documents, specie, stocks, shares,
paper money together with plant for the issue thereof, touching public
or private interests in the invaded countries. Restitution of the Rus-
sian and Roumanian gold yielded to Germany or taken by that power.
This gold to be delivered in trust to the Allies until the signature of
V. Naval Conditions.
Twenty. Immediate cessation of all hostilities at sea and definite
information to be given as to the location and movements of all
German ships. Notification to be given to neutrals that freedom of
navigation in all territorial waters is given to the naval and mer-
cantile marines of the Allied and Associated Powers, all questions of
neutrality being waived.
Twenty one. All naval and mercantile marine prisoners of war
of the Allied and Associated Powers in German hands to be returned
Twenty two. Surrender to the Allies and the United States of
America of one hundred and sixty German submarines (including
all submarine cruisers and mine laying submarines) with their com-
plete armament and equipment in ports which will be specified by
the Allies and the United States of America. All other submarines
to be paid off and completely disarmed and placed under the super-
vision of the Allied Powers and the United States of America.
Twenty three. The following German surface warships which
shall be designated by the Allies and the United States of America
shall forthwith be disarmed and thereafter interned in neutral ports,
or. for the want of them, in Allied ports, to be designated by the
Allies and the United States of America and placed under the sur-
veillance of the Allies and the United States of America, only care-
takers being left on board, namely : Six battle cruisers, ten battleships,
eight light cruisers, including two mine layers, fifty destroyers of the
most modern type. All other surface warships (including river
craft) are to be concentrated in German naval bases to be designated
by the Allies and the United States of America, and are to be paid oft'
and completely disarmed and placed under the supervision of the
Allies and the United States of America. All vessels of the auxiliary
fleet (trawlers, motor vessels, etc.) are to be disarmed.
Twenty four. The Allies and the United States of America shall
have the right to sweep up all mine fields and obstructions laid by
Germany outside German territorial waters, and the positions of
these are to be indicated.
Twenty five. Freedom of access to and from the Baltic to be given
to the naval and mercantile marines of the Allied and Associated
Powers. To secure this the Allies and the United States of America
shall be empowered to occupy all German forts, fortifications, bat-
teries and defense works of all kinds in all the entrances from the
Categat into the Baltic, and to sweep up all mines and obstructions
within and without German territorial waters without any question
of neutrality being raised, and the positions of all such mines and
obstructions are to be indicated.
Twenty six. The existing blockade conditions set up by the Allies
and Associated Powers are to remain unchanged and all German
merchant ships found at sea are to remain liable to capture.
Twenty seven. All naval aircraft are to be concentrated and im-
mobilized in German bases to be specified by the Allies and the
United States of America.
Twenty eight. In evacuating the Belgian coasts and ports, Ger-
many shall abandon all merchant ships, tugs, lighters, cranes and
all other harbor materials, all materials for inland navigation, all
aircraft and all materials and stores, all arms and armaments, and
all stores and apparatus of all kinds.
Twenty nine. All Black Sea ports are to be evacuated by Germany ;
all Russian war vessels of all descriptions seized by Germany in the
Black Sea are to be handed over to the Allies and the United States
of America; all neutral merchant vessels seized are to be released;
all warlike and other materials of all kinds seized in those ports are
to be returned and German materials as specified in clause twenty
eight are to be abandoned.
Thirty. All merchant vessels in German hands belonging to the
Allied and Associated Powers are to be restored in ports to be speci-
fied by the Allies and the United States of America without reci-
procit3 r .
Thirty one. No destruction of ships or of materials to be permitted
before evacuation, surrender or restoration.
Thirty two. The German Government shall formally notify the
neutral Governments of the world, and particularly the Governments
of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Holland, that all restrictions
placed on the trading of their vessels with the Allied and Associated
Countries, whether by the German Government or by private Ger-
man interests, and whether in return for specific concessions such as
the export of shipbuilding materials or not, are immediately canceled.
Thirty three. No transfers of German merchant shipping of any
description to any neutral flag are to take place after signature of
VI. Duration of Armistice.
Thirty four. The duration of the armistice is to be thirty days,
with option to extend. During this period, on failure of execution
of any of the above clauses, the armistice may be denounced by one
of the contracting parties, on forty eight hours previous notice.
VII. Time Limit for Reply.
Thirty five. This armistice to be accepted or refused by Germany
within seventy two hours of notification.
The war thus comes to an end; for, having accepted these terms of
armistice, it will be impossible for the German command to renew it.
It is not now possible to assess the consequences of this great
consummation. We know only that this tragical war, whose consuming
flames swept from one nation to another until all the world was on
fire, is at an end and that it was the privilege of our own people to
enter it at its most critical juncture in such fashion and in such force
as to contribute in a way of which we are all deeply proud to the
great result. We know, too, that the object of the war is attained;
the object upon which all free men had set their hearts; and attained
with a sweeping completeness which even now we do not realize.
Armed imperialism such as the men conceived who were but yes-
terday the masters of Germany is at an end, its illicit ambitions
engulfed in black disaster. Who will now seek to revive it? The
arbitrary power of the military caste of Germany which once could
secretly and of its own single choice disturb the peace of the' world
is discredited and destroyed. And more than that. . much more than
that, . has been accomplished. The great nations which associated
themselves to destroy it have now definitely united in the common
purpose to set up such a peace as will satisfy the longing of the whole
world for disinterested justice j embodied in settlements which are
based upon something much better and much more lasting than the
selfish competitive interests of powerful states. There is no longer
conjecture as to the objects the victors have in mind. They have a
mind in the matter, not only, but a heart also. Their avowed and
concerted purpose is to satisfy and protect the weak as well as to
accord their just rights to the strong.
The humane temper and intention of the victorious governments
has already been manifested in a very practical way. Their repre-
sentatives in the Supreme War Council at Versailles have by unani-
mous resolution assured the peoples of the Central Empires that
everything that is possible in the circumstances will be done to sup-
ply them with food and relieve the distressing want that is in so
many places threatening their very lives; and steps are to be taken
immediately to organize these efforts at relief in the same systematic
manner that they were organized in the case of Belgium. By the
use of the idle tonnage of the Central Empires it ought presently to
be possible to lift the fear of utter misery from their oppressed popu-
lations and set their minds and energies free for the great and hazard-
ous tasks of political reconstruction which now face them on every
hand. Hunger does not breed reform; it breeds madness and all the
ugly distempers that make an ordered life impossible.
For with the fall of the ancient governments which rested like an
incubus upon the peoples of the Central Empires has come political
change not merely, but revolution; and revolution which seems as
yet to assume no final and ordered form but to run from one fluid
change to another, until thoughtful men are forced to ask themselves.
With what governments, and of what sort, are we about to deal in
the making of the covenants of peace? With what authority will
they meet us, and with what assurance that their authority will abide
and sustain securely the international arrangements into which we
are about to enter? There is here matter for no small anxiety and
misgiving. When peace is made, upon whose promises and engage-
ments besides our own is it to rest ?
Let us be perfectly frank with ourselves and admit that these
questions cannot be satisfactorily answered now or at once. But the
moral is not that there is little hope of an early answer that will
suffice. It is only that we must be patient and helpful and mindful
above all of the great hope and confidence that lie at the heart of
what is taking place. Excesses accomplish nothing. Unhappy
Russia has furnished abundant recent proof of that. Disorder im-
mediately defeats itself. If excesses should occur, if disorder should
for a time raise its head, a sober second thought will follow and a
day of constructive action, if we help and do not hinder.
The present and all that it holds belongs to the nations and the
peoples who preserve their self-control and the orderly processes of
their governments ; the future to those who prove themselves the true
friends of mankind. To conquer with arms is to make only a tem-
porary conquest; to conquer the world by earning its esteem is to
make permanent conquest. I am confident that the nations that have
learned the discipline of freedom and that have settled with self-
possession to its ordered practice are now about to make conquest
of the world by the sheer power of example and of friendly help-
The peoples who have but just come out from under the yoke of
arbitrary government and who are now coming at last into their
freedom will never find the treasures of liberty they are in search
of if they look for them by the light of the torch. They will find that
every pathway that is stained with the blood of their own brothers
leads to the wilderness, not to the seat of their hope. They are now
face to face with their initial test. We must hold the light steady
Until they find themselves. And in the meantime, if it be possible, we
must establish a peace that will justly define their place among the
nations, remove all fear of their neighbours and of their former
masters, and enable them to live in security and contentment when
they have set their own affairs in order. I, for one, do not doubt
their purpose or their capacity. There are some happy signs that
they know and will choose the way of self-control and peaceful
accommodation- If they do, we shall put our aid at their dis-
posal in every way that we can. If they do not, we must await
with patience and sympathy the awakening and recovery that will
assuredly come at last.