Paris Peace Conf. 185.1/15

Skeleton Draft of Peace Treaty

I.—Enumeration of High Contracting Parties

See Appendix5

II.—Preamble Stating Fundamental Principles of Justice and Rules of Law To Be Observed by High Contracting Parties

III.—Names of Commissioners Plenipotentiary, Credentials, and Powers

IV.—Article Declaring Reëstablishment of Peace

V.—Association of Nations

1. Nature and purpose

2. Machinery and procedure

3. Sanctions

4. Adherence of non-signatories

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VI.—Open Diplomacy

1. Publication of future treaties and international understandings

2. Publication of all existing treaties and international understandings

3. Status of non-published treaties

4. Procedure of publication


VII.—Economic Stipulations

1. General

Most-favored-nation Clauses
Open door
Equality of economic opportunity

2. Contiguous states

3. Self-governing dominions

4. Colonies, protectorates, and spheres of influence

VIII.—Freedom of Seas

1. Time of peace—public ships—private ships

Marginal seas and coastal waters
Lakes, straits, canals, international rivers
Access to the sea
Revenue, sanitation, and police
High seas

2. Time of war

Effect of proposed association of nations upon laws of maritime warfare

IX.—Limitation of Armaments and Budgets

1. Military

2. Naval

3. Aërial

4. Submarine

X.—Hague Conventions and Other International Agreements

1. Status

2. Amendment

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XI.—Effect of Peace Treaty on Existing Treaties

XII.—Boundary and Territorial Questions

1. Alsace-Lorraine

The return to France of the Alsace-Lorraine of 1815–1870.
The further rectification of frontier proposed by Marshal Foch (this line does not coincide with the line of 1814).

2. Belgium-Germany

Belgium will ask for some changes in the German frontier, so as to include some districts claimed to be Belgian.

3. Belgium-Holland

Belgium will ask for changes in the Dutch frontier and a revision of the status of the Scheldt. As Holland is a neutral, the question of the consideration by the Peace Conference of such request is presented.

4. Luxembourg

The question is one of future status rather than of boundary.
Commercial relations, Luxembourg having been included in the German Zollverein.
Certain German rights of management of the railways of Luxembourg rest in part upon the Treaty of Frankfort of May 10, 1871 (Articles Additionels).6

5. The Rhine Provinces

These provinces, with the bridgeheads on the Rhine, being in occupation of the United States and the Allies, provision for their future will be necessary in the Treaty of Peace.

6. Denmark-Germany

The proposed restoration of Schleswig may involve:

The status of the Kiel Canal.
Rights of navigation in the Little Belt.

7. The Aland Islands

Now a part of Finland, the question of their cession to Sweden is raised, involving the continuance of former agreements as a non-fortification, and to some extent, the control of the Baltic.

8. Poland

With the former Russian Province of Poland, the territory of the new state may include:

Cession from Germany
Districts in Russia
Districts in Austria

The whole question of the Vistula and of the future of Dantzig is involved.

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9. Bohemia

Territory of Austria and of Hungary.

The statements recently presented by the Czecho-Slovaks include demands which present:

A possible conflict with the Poles.
A suggestion of the incorporation of Eastern Galicia.
A territorial connection with Jugo-Slavia over territory admittedly non-Slavic.
Internationalization of various railroads and rivers.

10. The Adriatic

The Italian-Jugo-Slav boundary
Possible rights of the hinterland in Trieste, Fiume, etc.

11. Jugo-Slavia

Extent of territory in Austria and in Hungary (aside from boundary with Italy)

12. Balkan boundaries

Roumania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece (inter se)

13. Roumania—Hungary


14. Constantinople and the Straits

15. Turkey

Future of Turkey
(British, French and Italian spheres of influence, and Greek claims)

16. Finland-Russia boundary

Finland has made some efforts for a rectification of this frontier in her favor.

17. Russia

Finland and Poland are not here included.

Bessarabia has become united to Roumania.

It is deemed impracticable to attempt a list of the possible boundary and territorial questions which may be involved in Russia.

18. Dodecanese

These islands, held by Italy, will be claimed by Greece. They are assigned by the Pact of London7 to Italy.

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19. Egypt

Formerly tributary to Turkey; a protectorate was declared by Great Britain December 18, 1914. The new status, when recognized, will bring up questions of:

The Egyptian debt (so far as secured by the Turkish tribute).
The various rights of the Powers under the capitulations, and possible modifications thereof.

20. Morocco

Franco-Spanish relations.
The international status of Tangiers
Consular jurisdiction
Algeciras Act.

21. Cyprus

“Occupied and administered” by Great Britain under treaty of June 4, 1878,8 Cyprus was annexed to Great Britain November 5, 1914.

22. Spitzbergen

Internationally a sort of no man’s land.

Reported to be occupied by British Naval forces.

Discovery of high grade iron ores is also reported.

23. Persia

The status and perhaps the boundaries of Persia may be raised in connection with the existing unfortunate situation of that country.

24. Abyssinia

Some Italian dissatisfaction exists regarding the Treaty of 1906,9 which guaranteed the status of Abyssinia, and this question may in some form be presented.

25. Liberia

It is understood that some of the Powers are dissatisfied with the present administration of the Government of Liberia, and it is not impossible that some agreement may be proposed regarding this country.

german colonies

26. Kiau Chau

Leased to Germany by China for 99 years in 1898 and declared a protectorate of the German Empire.

Occupied by Japanese and British forces in November, 1914, and reported to be under administration of Japan since that time.

Reports are that China will request its restoration to her.

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27. Samoa

The islands of Savai and Upoly became German dependencies in 1899–1900. They are now held by New Zealand.

28. Pacific islands north of the equator

Of these groups the Caroline, Pelew, and Marianne Islands (Ladrones) were acquired by Germany from Spain in 1899.

The Marshall Islands have been in German possession since 1885.

All of these islands excepting the small island of Nauru, which is being developed by a British Company, are now held by Japan.

29. Pacific islands south of the equator

This group of possessions consisting of the German part of New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the German Solomon Islands, have been in German possession since 1884–5.

They are now held by Australia.

30. German colonies in Africa

Partly under British and partly under French administration.
The Cameroons
Partly under British and partly under French administration.
Southwest Africa
Under the administration of the Government of the Union of South Africa.
German East Africa
Partly under Belgian administration, and otherwise under control of Great Britain.


Under this title are considered all payments by way of restitution, reparation, etc. to be made by the Central Powers.

Questions suggested are:

The amounts claimed:
By Belligerents.
By Neutrals.
The amounts which the Central Powers can pay.
The character of claims which are allowable.
The correctness of the amounts claimed of each allowable character.
The method of payment.
The time of payment.
The nature of the liability, that is, joint, several or joint and several, e. g. is Germany liable for reparation due from Austria?
Securities and guarantees.
The Powers to whom payment is to be made:
Priorities and Apportionment:
As to Powers.
As to character of claims.
As to method of payment.
As to time of payment.
Distribution of sums paid or to be paid, among nationals.
Possible means of financing payments.
Administrative machinery.
Territory formerly of the Central Powers as to which no liability may attach (e. g. Bohemia, Jugo-Slavia) which would thus probably have the lowest taxation in Europe.

XIV.—Duration of Treaty

1. As a whole

2. Separable parts

3. Revision

4. Denunciation or abrogation

XV.—Adherence by Non-Signatories

1. To entire treaty

2. To separable parts


1. Exchange

2. Deposit

3. Act of adherence by non-signatories



Signatories to the Treaty of Peace

The assumption upon which the following observations are based is that there will be a general treaty ending the state of belligerency; a treaty which will include the President’s Program as well as the settlement of the war.

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Within the limits thus set forth, the determination of the Powers to be signatories to the Treaty of Peace may be approached as follows:

I. The following belligerents opposed to one or more of the Central Powers should be signatories:

Great Britain
United States


The above list of belligerents does not include all of the Powers which have been at war with the Central Powers. Each of the exclusions must be separately explained:

a. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is not included, for the reason that no government exists in that country which is recognized by the United States.

b. Montenegro

Montenegro is not separately included, for the reason that it now seems probable that Montenegro will be included in the greater Serbia which is to be established by the Yugo-Slavs. The shifting of political power in Montenegro might call for some reconsideration.

c. Russia

Russia is not included, although from the point of view of the Allies, the peace negotiations conducted with the Central Powers by persons purporting to represent the Russian people have never had any validity, and the resulting treaties are to be regarded as wholly null and void since the armistice with Germany, if not independently of it. No government is recognized to exist in Russia which could join in the execution of the Treaty of Peace on behalf of the Russian people.


Each of the inclusions in the above list must be separately explained, for no general principles are applicable to all of them.

1. Belgium

As an active belligerent vitally interested in many of the larger problems of the settlement, Belgium’s inclusion calls for no comment.

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2. Brazil

Though not very active as a belligerent, Brazil is interested in some of the problems of the settlement, particularly in German immigration to South America, and her position among Latin-American Powers necessitates her joining in the execution of the Treaty of Peace.

3. China

The termination of German influence in the Far East would alone be sufficient to warrant the inclusion of China, even if her position did not require her assent to any agreement made respecting Far Eastern affairs. Some difficulty may arise because of the uncertain position of the Chinese Government and of the contest between the North and South, and interim developments must be taken into account for this reason.

4. Cuba

Though a minor and somewhat inactive belligerent, Cuba has identified herself with the policy of the United States in the war, and must, therefore, be included.

5. France

The inclusion of France calls for no comment.

6. Great Britain

The inclusion of Great Britain need be discussed only with reference to Egypt.

The Egyptian Government seems to have broken relations with Germany and Austria in 1914 by dismissing their diplomatic representatives. The British Protectorate in Egypt has been recognized by France, Belgium, Servia, Greece and Portugal. In the declaration of the Protectorate, the British Government announced that “as regards foreign relations, His Majesty’s Government deem it most consistent with the new responsibilities assumed by Great Britain that the relations between Your Highness’ Government and the Representatives of Foreign Powers should henceforth be conducted through His Majesty’s representative in Cairo.” It seems probable that in line with this announcement, the British Government will deem itself competent to represent Egypt in the execution of the Treaty of Peace.

7. Greece

The reasons for the inclusion of Greece are obvious, and call for no comment.

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8.10. Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras

The position of Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras will be that of inactive, minor belligerents, with slight interest in the general peace, beyond the preservation of their own independence. Their participation in the Peace Conference would seem to be an interest of the United States, and consequently they should be signatories to the Treaty of Peace. If not represented at the Peace Conference, these Powers might well be excluded from participation in the execution of the Treaty of Peace.

11. Italy

The inclusion of Italy is for obvious reasons and calls for no comment.

12. Japan

The inclusion of Japan is for obvious reasons and calls for no comment.

13. Liberia

The special interest of Liberia in the Central African situation calls for her inclusion and her special relation to the United States should assure this to her.

14. Nicaragua

The position of Nicaragua with reference to her inclusion is like that of Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras.

15. Panama

If the Treaty of Peace should include any provisions affecting the use of the Panama Canal, Panama might very well claim a special interest which would necessitate her inclusion, apart from her position as a minor and inactive belligerent.

16. Portugal

As an active belligerent, with special interests in Africa, Portugal’s inclusion calls for no comment.

17. Roumania

The refusal of the Allies to recognize the validity of the treaties made at Bucharest with the Central Powers by the Roumanian Government, and the Roumanian Government’s repudiation of those treaties as soon as it was freed from German domination, make it clear that Roumania is still to be regarded as a belligerent, and her vital interest in many of the important problems of the settlement calls for her inclusion as a signatory to the Treaty of Peace.

18. Serbia

As one of the active and principally concerned belligerents, the reasons for Serbia’s inclusion are obvious. The Government of Greater Serbia has perhaps established for itself a position which will warrant [Page 308] its being accepted as the representative of the Yugo-Slavs. Greater Serbia will probably include Montenegro, though this may still be open to reconsideration to be based upon interim developments.

19. Siam

Though an inactive belligerent, Siam’s interest in the Far Eastern and Pacific situations clearly justifies her inclusion.

20. United States

The inclusion of the United States is for obvious reasons.

II. Of the Central Powers, the following States may be signatories to the Treaty of Peace:


General observations:

All of the Central Powers are interested in the big problems to be covered in the settlement, and all should be represented. The President’s Program seems to involve their participation in a general Peace Conference. The Germany of the future may have little interest in the particular arrangements affecting Turkish territory, but Germany and Turkey will share with other states a common interest in the public law of the future. While the United States is not at war with Bulgaria and Turkey, the practical situation does not preclude her joining in a general Treaty of Peace which deals with the adjustment of their relations with Powers which are at war with them.

The chief difficulty in dealing with the Central Powers and in relying on their execution of the Treaty of Peace arises out of the extreme uncertainty of the relative strength of political groups in Germany and in what was formerly Austria-Hungary. To guard against the possibility of having the participation of these Powers in the execution of the Treaty of Peace later repudiated by some political group which might consider itself not to have been represented, and therefore not bound, it may be necessary to insist that the agents who act for Germany and Austria and Hungary in signing the Treaty of Peace, shall derive their authority directly from a constituent assembly or from all political parties in each country at the time. If complete anarchy should prevail in Germany, with no prospect of its abatement, it might become necessary to execute treaties with the other Central Powers, leaving the situation with Germany open until order can be established.

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Specific observations:

The participation of these states in the execution of the Treaty of Peace calls for separate comment as to each:

1. Austria

It is now doubtful whether any Government exists in Austria, capable of representing the Austrian people. The possibility of a complete disappearance of Austria as an independent state is also to be mentioned. If the Peace Conference should recognize the annexation of German Austria by Germany, there would be no occasion for Austria’s executing the Treaty of Peace as a signatory.

2. Bavaria

Even though separatism in Germany should not proceed so far as to lead to Bavaria’s complete independence of the rest of the Empire, the independent role recently assumed by the Bavarian Government, as well as its historic position in the Empire, seems to justify the separate inclusion of Bavaria among the signatories. This would seem also to be a desirable precaution to be taken against the possibility of a future separatist movement in South Germany. Developments may have to be awaited, before such a decision can be reached.

3. Bulgaria

Though it has recently undergone a radical change in form, the Bulgarian Government now seems stable enough to represent the Bulgarian people, and their adherence to any general regime in the Balkans is essential.

4. Germany

At this time, no political group in Germany seems to have sufficient political power or responsibility to represent the German people and to bind them to the Treaty of Peace. Interim developments must be awaited.

5. Hungary

The dissolution of the union between Austria and Hungary seems to have been effectively and finally accomplished as a result of the declaration of the Hungarian Diet of 17 October, 1918, and that of the Karolyi Government of 2 November, 1918. It will doubtless be recognized during the progress of the Peace Congress, and the position of Hungary in Europe together with her interest in many of the problems of the settlement seems to involve her being a signatory.

6. Turkey

Though its territory will doubtless be changed by the Peace Conference, it seems probable that some jurisdiction will be left to a Turkish [Page 310] Government which should be included among the signatories to the Treaty of Peace.

III. The neutral countries which have been invaded may be signatories:


General observations:

Both of these countries will doubtless present claims for damages suffered during invasion, and some measures may be necessary in each to uproot German influences established during the occupation.

Specific observations:

1. Luxemburg

The future independent existence of Luxemburg is so uncertain that no definite statement can be made as to its being a signatory. Its spokesmen are quite certain to be heard at the Peace Conference, but if it is to be joined to some other state by action taken during the Peace Conference, its consent might be manifested in some separate way without its executing the Treaty of Peace. On the other hand, if Luxemburg is to continue its independent existence, whether under neutralization or not, it seems desirable that it should be a signatory.

2. Persia

The situation in Persia is likely to be covered by provisions in the Treaty of Peace. The independence of Persia was mentioned in the Treaties which the Central Powers purported to conclude with Russia. In May, 1918, Persia denounced the Anglo-Russian agreement of 1907, which had been previously denounced by the Bolshevik Russian Government. It seems improbable that the independent status of Persia will be discontinued by the Peace Conference, and her assent to any provisions in the Treaty of Peace affecting her ought to be manifested by her as a signatory.

IV. The new Powers, created or recognized to exist by the Peace Conference, should be signatories. These may include:

Bohemia (Czecho-Slovak State)

General observations:

If the new states are recognized by the Peace Conference, their joining in the covenants as signatories to the Treaty of Peace would [Page 311] be desirable. Presumably, their spokesmen will have been heard by the Conference, though they may have had no formal representation. Some such states may be placed under some sort of international tutelage which might make it undesirable to give them the position of signatories.

Practical difficulties may arise in making sure that these new States are represented in executing the Treaty of Peace in such a way that their act will not be repudiated by rival political groups, and this may have to be safeguarded by assurances that all responsible political groups participate in the representation at the time of signing.

Specific observations:

1. Albania

The attempt to establish a State of Albania in 1912–1914 met with such incomplete success that it seems not inaccurate to put Albania into this class of possible new States. Whether it will exist in the future as a separate political entity, and whether it will be left by the Peace Conference free from such outside control as will make it a dependent government, are too uncertain for any statement to be made as to Albania’s being a signatory to the Treaty of Peace.

2. Bohemia (Czecho-Slovak State)

The recent recognitions of the de facto government by the United States and the Allies, and their success in gaining control of their Government, make it practically certain that their State will be recognized at the Peace Conference. Nor do uncertain political groupings among them present any obstacle to this new State’s being a signatory to the Treaty of Peace.

3. Finland

The independence of Finland rests upon a very different practical and historical basis from that of other separatist movements in Russia. Finland’s independence has been recognized by several States, and likely to be recognized also at the Peace Conference if the civil war which has been raging in Finland is brought to an end. Even if it is not represented at the Conference, the recognition of an independent Finland would call for her inclusion as a signatory to the Treaty of Peace because of her intimate interest in many problems of the settlement.

4. Iceland

It is very uncertain whether Iceland is independent. The recent declaration of the “independence” of Iceland seems to have been agreed to by the Danish Government, though an independent Iceland has not been recognized by any other country. Iceland’s interest in [Page 312] the problems to be discussed at the Peace Conference is remote, and it seems probable that the Conference will not be called upon to take any action which would necessitate either the recognition of Iceland or her joining in the execution of the Treaty of Peace as a signatory.

5. Poland.

The existence of a Polish State is certain to be recognized by the Peace Conference. The only difficulty in including Poland among the signatories to the Treaty of Peace will arise out of the disturbed political situation among the Poles. It may be necessary to insist that the various political parties in Poland should take part in a choice of the representatives who will bind the new State by executing the Treaty of Peace.


The large number of nationalist groups which are now making claim to political independence will doubtless ask a hearing at the Peace Conference. Whether any new States will be recognized, as desired by these respective groups, is so uncertain that it seems unnecessary to have them included among possible signatories to the Treaty of Peace.

In Russia, particularly, separatist movements have been numerous. The Ukraine has succeeded in establishing some measure of independence, and purported to deal independently at Brest-Litovsk. Georgia claims an independent existence, which the Germans and Russians purported to recognize in the agreements drawn up at Berlin, 27 August, 1918. Other groups in the Caucasus have attempted to set up the Don Republic, the Tartar Republic, the Republic of Turkestan, the Republic of Kazan and the Yokatsk Republic. The independent Moldavian Republic in Bessarabia purports to have been united with Roumania. In Siberia, some groups are claiming independence also. Lithuania, Courland, Livonia and Esthonia, all possessing some degree of local autonomy, have an uncertain future.

In Turkey also separatism has been at work. The separate kingdom of Hedjaz has to some extent been recognized by Great Britain, and independence is claimed for Armenia. It is possible that an independent State may be created in Palestine, but also possible that all of the peoples redeemed from Turkish domination will desire some connection with existing States.

In Austria the recent establishment of the so-called Silesian Republic is to be mentioned.

It seems unlikely that any of these nationalist groups will be included as signatories to the Treaty of Peace whatever plan is adopted for their expression of their assent to provisions for their future.

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V. Some technically neutral Powers which have broken diplomatic relations with the Central Powers may be signatories to the Treaty of Peace. These include:


General observations:

While none of these Powers has actually gone to war with the Central Powers, some of them have rendered valuable assistance to the associated Governments. Uruguay particularly has aided the United States. The position of these Powers differs very little from that of Guatemala, for instance, which will probably be a signatory because a technical belligerent. On 4 February, 1917, the United States appealed to these Governments to discontinue relations with the Central Powers,10 and in view of the subsequent discontinuance of such relations by these Powers, this appeal constitutes a recognition of their interest in the problems involved in the Peace.


1. Santo Domingo has not been included because her foreign relations are completely controlled by the United States.

VI. The more important neutrals may be signatories to the Treaty of Peace. These include:


General observations:

If the general Treaty of Peace is to include the agreements establishing the international regime of the future, these important neutrals ought to be admitted as signatories. It may be desirable to devise a scheme by which they can act as signatories to certain parts of the Treaty of Peace, those covering the League of Nations and Declarations of Public Law. But the extent of the interest of these neutrals is not so limited. Many of them are interested in the payments to be exacted from the Central Powers, for they and their [Page 314] nationals have suffered damages as the result of the conduct of the war, particularly by Germany. To this extent practically all of those named, except perhaps Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, and Venezuela will be directly interested in the provisions for the settlement of the war.


The following States have been omitted from the above list of possible signatories:

San Marino

1. Abyssinia

Abyssinia has no place in the Society of Nations though classed as independent.

2. Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s foreign policy is practically controlled by Great Britain.

3–8. Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Nepal, San Marino and Oman

If Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Nepal, Oman and San Marino are to be considered as members of the Society of Nations, they are all of negligible importance.


1–2. Argentine and Chile

The place occupied by Argentine and Chile in Latin America is so important that their adherence to the League of Nations is essential, if it is to embrace Latin America. Both are interested in German influence in South America, and in the problems arising out of the interruption of their commercial relations with various countries during the war.

3. Colombia

Colombia has only the general interest of Latin American countries in a League of Nations, and the Public Law of the future.

4. Denmark

With other Scandinavian countries, Denmark shares a vital interest in many of the problems growing out of the settlement of the war, and she has a special interest in the settlement of the future of Schleswig.

5. Holland

As a neutral which has borne much of the inconvenience and burden of the operations of the war, with her interests in boundary ratifications [Page 315] which may be sought by Belgium and Germany, Holland is a necessary signatory. Holland also has a special interest in whatever may be done in regard to the River Scheldt.

6. Mexico

While Mexico has slight interest in the problems arising out of the settlement of the war, it is perhaps to the interest of the United States that any scheme for a League of Nations should have the assent of Mexico.

7. Norway

Norway’s particular interest is in receiving payment for her shipping which had been sunk during the war, and in the future of sea law.

8. Paraguay

Paraguay has only the general interest of Latin American countries in a League of Nations, and the Public Law of the future.

9. Spain

Spain has a special interest in the indemnity problems arising out of the conduct of the war, as well as sharing with other States an interest in the establishment of a League of Nations. Spain still claims interest also in Morocco.

10. Sweden

Sweden has a special interest in the Aland Islands, in Finland, and in other territorial problems of the Baltic. She has a special interest also in the indemnity problems arising out of the conduct of the war, and she shares the general interest in the organization of Europe.

11. Switzerland

Military operations of various countries have cast heavy burdens on Switzerland with reference to interned armies, which gives Switzerland a special interest in the settlement of the war. As a small state desiring to be assured of continued access to the sea, and of protection against European neighbors, she is particularly interested in the League of Nations.

12. Venezuela

The interest of Venezuela in the Peace does not differ from that of other minor Latin American countries.

  1. Post, p. 304.
  2. British and Foreign State Papers, vol. lxii, p. 77; see also ibid., pp. 92 and 110.
  3. Great Britain, Cmd. 671, Misc. No. 7 (1920): Agreement Between France, Russia, Great Britain and Italy, Signed at London, April 26, 1915.
  4. British and Foreign State Papers, vol. lxix, p. 744.
  5. Ibid., vol. xcix, p. 1069.
  6. See the Department’s circular telegram of Feb. 3, 1917, 1 p.m., Foreign Relations, 1917, supp. 1, p. 108.