File No. 763.72119/9052

The Special Representative ( House ) to the Secretary of State


42. For the President:

A meeting was held at my headquarters this morning at 11 o’clock attended by Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Orlando, Doctor Benes (representing the Czecho-Slovaks) and myself. Marshal Foch and the Allied military and naval authorities were in attendance also.

The conference agreed to the following resolutions:

To approve the plan of operations against Germany through Austria proposed by Marshal Foch, General Bliss, General Wilson and General di Robilant.
That Marshal Foch shall have the supreme strategical direction of operations against Germany on all fronts including the southern and eastern.
That the military advisers of the British, French and Italian and the United States Government shall immediately examine the following:
The possibility of taking immediate steps to send a force which shall include the Czecho-Slovak forces on the French and Italian fronts to Bohemia and Galicia with the following [objects]: to organize these countries against invasion by Germany; to prevent the export to Germany of oil, coal or any other material, and to render these available to the Allied forces; to establish airdromes for the purpose of bombing Germany.
The immediate cooperation of General Franchet d’Espérey in these objects.

The procedure to be adopted by the Supreme War Council this afternoon was agreed upon as follows:

[Page 461]

The Supreme War Council decide as follows:

To approve the attached terms for an armistice with Germany.
To communicate the terms of armistice to President Wilson, inviting him! to notify the German Government that the next step for them to take is to send a parlementaire to Marshal Foch who will receive instructions to act on behalf of the Associated Governments.
To communicate to President Wilson the attached memorandum [of] observations by the Allied Governments on the correspondence which has passed between the President and the German Government, in order that they may be forwarded to Germany together with the communication in regard to an armistice.
To invite Colonel House to make the above communications on their behalf to President Wilson.
To authorize Marshal Foch to communicate the terms as finally approved to envoys properly accredited by the German Government.
To associate a British admiral with Marshal Foch on [the] naval aspects of the armistice.
To leave [discretion to] Marshal Foch and the British admiral in regard to minor technical points in the armistice.

The memorandum of observations by the Allied Governments on the correspondence which has passed between the President and the German Government now reads as follows:

The Allied Governments have given careful consideration to correspondence which has passed between the President of the United States and the German Government. Subject to the qualifications which follow they declare their willingness to make peace with the Government of Germany on the terms of peace laid down in the President’s address to Congress of January 1918, and the principles of settlement enunciated in his subsequent addresses. They must point out, however, that clause 2, relating to what is usually described as the freedom of the seas, is open to various interpretations, some of which they could not accept. They must therefore reserve to themselves complete freedom on this subject when they enter the peace conference.

Further, in the conditions of peace laid down in his address to Congress of January 8, 1918, the President declared that invaded territories must be restored as well as evacuated and freed; the Allied Governments feel that no doubt ought to be allowed to exist as to what this provision implies. By it they understand that compensation will be made by Germany for all damage done to the civilian population of the Allies and their property (by the forces of Germany) [sic] by the aggression of Germany by land, by sea and from the air.

Main change in this from draft cabled you in my No. 121 is the insertion of the words “by the aggression of Germany” in the last [Page 462] sentence. This, with Lloyd George’s letter quoted in my No. 38 [41],1 makes the situation quite satisfactory for the moment. The terms of the military and naval armistice will be finally adopted this afternoon at Versailles and will be cabled you in full as soon as they have been adopted. Lloyd George leaves today at 2 o’clock for England, accordingly he will not be present at the conference this afternoon.

Edward House
  1. Ante, p. 425.
  2. Ante, p. 455.