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Danube Commission

Last modified: 2019-05-24 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: danube | danube commission | european river commissions | letters: cd (yellow) | letters: cd (blue) | letters: ced (white) |
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[Official flag, obverse]      [Official flag, reverse]
obverse and reverse - image by Željko Heimer, 27 December 2003, after the official specifications


See also:

Flag according to the official specifications

The Danube Commission was set up by the Danube Convention, UN No. 518. Convention Regarding the Regime of Navigation on the Danube. Signed at Belgrade, on 18 August 1948. Articles 18 and 28 prescribe the flag of the Commission and the use of flags by the river police vessels, as follows:

Article 18.
The Commission shall have its own seal and flag, which it may fly on its official buildings and vessels.

Article 28.
Vessels employed by Danube States for river inspection (police) work must fly their national flag and, in addition, bear a distinctive and uniform mark; the descriptions and number of such vessels shall be communicated to the Commission. Such vessels, and the customs vessels of all Danube States, may navigate the Danube only within the frontiers of the respective States whose flags they fly, and beyond such frontiers only with the consent of the Danube States concerned.
Željko Heimer, 19 February 2006

The flag of the Danube Commission is dark blue with a red stripe at bottom fimbriated white and with the emblem in the blue stripe next to the hoist. The emblem consists of a yellow wreath with a ribbon at the base encircling a white field containing the initials of the Commission.
According to Flag Institute Specification Sheet #524 the Commission was established in 1949 while the flag was adopted on 14 December 1950. The proportions are given as 14:23, while the construction details (which according to the notes "follow official specifications") read as follows: for the hoist 32-2-16, and for the length 75. The emblem is "contained within a square of sides = 30% of flag width which is itself contained within a larger rectangle of sides = 25% of flag length and 35% of flag width". The illustrations show the flag with a symmetrical wreath.
Again according to the notes "these (specifications) provide for the initials to be in the Cyrillic alphabet on the obverse, and in Latin characters on the reverse".
Annex 1, CD/SES 3/34 (To Article I of the Decision of the Third session of the Danube Commission on the ensign and seal - my translation), and an enlarged illustration of the flag appeared on the original letter from the Director of the Danube Commission to William Crampton. Unfortunately, the date is missing.
The "Description of the Flag" confirms the ("generally accepted" - généralement acceptées) proportions of 14:23 and the stripes at 64-4-32. It further states that the Cyrillic is on the obverse and the Latin inscription on the reverse - the French reads: ...les initiales de la Commission du Danube - (caractères russes); à l'envers du pavillon la couronne de laurier encadre les caractères latins "CD".
The illustration on the letter sets the emblem unevenly as per the Flag Institute specification sheet, and the wreath is regular. The larger of the two rectangles thus aligns with the flag edges top and hoist, while the smaller alignes with the fly and bottom edges of the first rectangle. This yields the emblem considerably smaller than shown in Album des Pavillons (with other differences there, as the Cyrillic vs. Latin).
The Flag Institute Specification Sheet shows dark blue, but the second Paragraph of the Description du pavillon in Annexe 1 (on which it was based) says: La partie supérieure de couleur bleu clair. So the matter of light blue verses dark blue remains unresolved.
Christopher Southworth, Ian Sumner & Željko Heimer, 27 December 2003


Flag shown in Album des Pavillons

[Flag of the Danube Commission]      [Reverse of the flag]
obverse and reverse - image by Željko Heimer, 27 December 2003, after Album des Pavillons [pay00]

Here the emblem has Cyrillic letters on the reverse of the flag.
Pascal Vagnat, 7 June 1996


Alternative flag

[Alternative flag]      [Alternative flag, reverse]
obverse and reverse - image by Željko Heimer, 27 December 2003, after Album des Pavillons [pay00]

The alternative flag of the Commission is a dark blue flag with the Commission emblem next to the hoist. Since the obverse of the flag is shown with Cyrillic initials, by analogy with the main flag of the Commission, the reverse of the flag might have Latin initials.
Željko Heimer, 9 December 2003


Former flags

[CED former flag] image by Ivan Sache, 19 March 2004

The flag shown in Flaggenbuch [neu92] (1939) is horizontally divided red-white-blue-white-red (1:1:2:1:1) with the white letters "C.E.D." in the blue stripe.
Ivan Sache, 19 March 2004

[CED former flag] image by Željko Heimer, 6 July 2017

The CED flag was determined, apparently in 1881. After the WWI it was internationalized and a new International Commission as formed in 1921. This has a blue-white-blue flag with a golden fouled anchor lengthwise and blue initials CID over it as wide as the white stripe.

Gerhard Dumke: "Rhein- und Donau-Flaggen", Deutsches Schiffahrtsarchive 2, 1978 reported that after WWII the Danube Commission was formed again in 1948, now with a new tricolour flag with "DK" initials.

The same international agreement also determined in its Art. 28 that the river police vessels shall use their own national ensigns, but additionally a white pennant with a blue voided lozenge. This is, as we know, implemented in regulations of all the DK members and subsequent countries until today. (See e.g. Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Czechia, Yugoslavia - although for Romania we have reported a different one, but see also Hungary River Police 1919-1944 and Yugoslav Harbour Police, etc.)

Anyway, within the inter-WW period commission a special Administration was formed to govern the "Iron Gates and the Cataracts". An agreement between the Danube Commission and the two nations around the Iron Gates - Romania and Yugoslavia, a flag for that administration was prescribed as (quoted from Dumke, who refers to Romanian official gazette Monitorul Official nr. 74 of 29.03.1933): *)

un guidon rectangulaire ou triangulaire composé des couleurs de la Commission et des deux Etats riverains du secteur et portant au centre les lettres A.P.F.
However, Dumke illustrated this flag with a drawing that is not entirely matching the description above. I assume that Dumke had info on the actual flag that was used, instead of the really imprecise description above. He captions it "Flag of the Iron Gates Administration 1934 - 1953" being triband of blue-white-blue with a white fimbriated (where necessary) saltire overall composed of quartered Romanian and Yugolsav tricolours). There seems to be no inscription A.P.F. there (which would stand for "Administration Porta Ferrea" or some such).

[CED former flag] image by Željko Heimer, 6 July 2017

Dunke further notes that the flag would have been replaced in 1941 during the WWII with a German and Romanian flag one over the other, and reintroduced in 1945 and used until 1953. At that year a new Danube agreement was made and the Romanian and Yugoslav ships of the Administration hoisted a new flag, of light blue with a disk composed of the Yugoslav and the Romanian tricolor , the former with the star and the latter with the coat of arms, surrounding a white disk with a golden anchor between initials in Cyrillic and Latin script. Dumke does not give those letters in the text and is not clear what they would stand for (probably for the Romanian and Serbian names of the administration), but show them in the illustration as "DRU" and "AFPF". Now, I suspect the first initials would be in Cyrillic and thus
misread by Dumke here.

[CED former flag] image by Željko Heimer, 6 July 2017

*) it might be "Konvencija kojom se odobrava Pravilnik o nadležnosti i radu Stalne tehničke komisije režima voda Dunava" of 1933, but I have not found it in the Yugoslav official gazettes or in the Romanian MO 74/1933.
Željko Heimer, 6 July 2017