The Territory of the Saar Basin, along the Ruhr Territory, was created by the Treaty of Versailles in 1920. Although under a League of Nations mandate, it is under French economic influence. The later has a form of war payment and to cripple economically Germany. A referendum, in a date not determined by the Treaty would be called to establish its status has: union with France or Germany or keep its present status.
In 1921 the Commission of Government approved a customs and monetary union with France. Freedom of movement is established with the French and German frontier. There are restrictions in trade with Germany.
Since the beginning of the mandate, Germany has made calls for the return of Saar or at least the definition of a date for the referendum. At odds are the terms of the cuasi-integration of Saar to France (non negotiable according to Paris), different from the Ruhr that functions like common economic territory but with limited German sovereignty. This situation, Ruhr and Saar Question, was one of the reasons for the breakdown of the Conference on European Union.
Administration of Sarre
The administration of Sarre is in charge of the Commission of Government. Its five members are nominated by the League of Nations (LoN). It must include at least one French person and one German resident of the Saar. It appoints a Territorial Administrator in charge of daily management. Public order is in the hands of a Police Prefect, appoint by the French Ministry of Interior, and in command of the National Gendarmerie.
A Supreme Court of Justice, district and local courts are established by the Commission of Government.
In 1923 the Landesrat is created has an advisory body. It is composed of 30 elected members for a mandate of four years. Its President is designated by the Commission of Government. Following the custom in German states, the Saar is organized in districts (Landkreise), towns and municipalities. Ample local government autonomy is given, but movements that advocate a union with Germany are under check by French authorities. All men and women over 20 years of age and with one year of continuous registered residence can vote.
The main political parties, and in some cases internal factions, are usually divided according to the status of Saar, unification with Germany (German Parties), Unification with France (French parties) and status quo.
a) pro German parties: Center Party (Zentrum, Zentrumspartei des Saargebietes), Socialdemocratic Party (SPS, Sozialdemokratische Partei des Saargebietes), German People's Party of Saarland (DDPS, Deutsch-demokratische Partei des Saargebietes)
b) pro french parties: French Association of the Saar (AFS, Association française de la Sarre) and Movement for the Annexation of Saarland (MRS, Mouvement pour le Rattachement de la Sarre)
c) status quo or European territory. Saarland National League
Saar's coal industry, the dominant industry in the region, is nationalized and directly administered by France. The steel, iron and recent automotive industry are private enterprises, however France maintains the right to approve or reject permits and as fiscal inspection.
A great part Saar's coal production goes to French Alsace (Departments of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin) to be used by its steel and iron industries. A coal quota is established for Saar's industries and it is revised yearly.