Paris Peace Conf. 184/68

General Tasker H. Bliss to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I assume that the delegations of other important nations to the Peace Conference will act as units in the discussions and votes of the Conference. Certainly, the only hope that the American delegation will have in securing the war aims of its country lies in its following the French motto and being “one and indivisible”.

May I ask what steps we are going to take in order to secure this unanimity of understanding?

I have no doubt that the moment the Peace Conference assembles the question of terms with Germany will be taken up. The Allies, for example, know exactly what they are going to ask in the way of territorial cessions. Their demands will be immediately accompanied by their reasons and arguments. Are we agreed that the Alsace-Lorraine of 1871 shall be ceded? or, the Alsace-Lorraine of 1814? or, Alsace Lorraine extended by an economic boundary? or, Alsace Lorraine with the boundaries of Marshal Foch? Are we agreed on a principle with which we will meet a demand for the cession of the entire left bank? How are we going to get the President’s views or instructions on such questions?

These and many other questions stare us in the face, some as being certain to be presented to us immediately on the opening of the Peace Conference and the others following in due time. Is there no way by which we can begin to formulate these questions now and come to a common and cordial understanding as to the attitude that we are going to take? Of course when we hear all arguments we may change our mind on various points, but we must start out with the idea of changing the minds of others to coincide with ours, which is exactly what they will do with respect to us.

Soon after the other delegations arrive, we will be lunching and dining with individual members of them and, if we do not know better than we now do what each of us thinks on important subjects, we will be expressing radically different views about the same thing.

[Page 298]

I think that our present course is dangerous, dangerous to the point of threatening the success of the Commission.

Cordially yours,

Tasker H. Bliss