Geschäftshaus-GmbH v Schweizerische Rückversicherungs

CourtObsolete Court (Germany)
Docket NumberCase No. 239
Germany, Reichsgericht.
Case No. 239
Geschäftshaus-GmbH.
and
Schweizerische Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft.

Treaties — Interpretation of — Preparatory Work — Origin of the Wording of the Disputed Clause.

The Facts.—Article 2 (a) of the Convention of 6 December, 1920, between Switzerland and Germany relating to mortgages in Germany containing a gold clause, provided as follows: “The Government of the Swiss Confederation shall advise Swiss creditors owning such mortgages containing a gold clause: (a) to waive, for a period of ten years from the coming into force of this Convention, their right to repayment of mortgages containing a gold clause and to declare their readiness to extend such mortgages containing a gold clause for a further period of five years at the request of the debtor, if, at the end of this period of ten years, the value of the Mark in Switzerland should not be more than 65 centimes.”

Article 15, § 1, of the Additional Convention to the Convention concluded on 6 December, 1920, provided as follows: “The creditor cannot cancel the land charge entered in his name before the expiration of the period laid down in Article 2 (a) of the Principal Convention. The land debt entered in the name of the creditor shall be refunded at the expiration of this period, and cancellation shall not be deemed necessary.”2

The plaintiff was the owner of some property on which a mortgage containing a gold clause was registered in favour of the defendant. This mortgage was converted into a land charge

and registered in the Land Register pursuant to the provisions of the Principal Convention. The plaintiff brought this action to obtain a declaratory judgment to the effect that, under Article 2 (a) of the Principal Convention and Article 15, § 1, of the Additional Convention, the land charge did not fall due for payment before 9 December, 1935, that is, only after the expiration of the additional period of five years as laid down in Article 2 (a)

The question arose as to what was the effect on the time limits provided for in Article 2 (a) of the fact that, before 9 December, 1930 (expiry of the first time limit), Germany went off the “Mark” currency obtaining at the time of the conclusion of the Treaty and adopted the “Reichsmark” currency. In regard to this point the plaintiff submitted that the depreciation of the original Mark (referred to in the Principal Convention) to an insignificant value justified the inference that the condition for the additional...

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