Paris Peace Conf. 182/18: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State

7. From House. December 6, 4 p.m. Secret. For the President. Sonnino, Lord Derby and Clemenceau have each given me a separate account of the proceedings of December 2d and 3d at the conference held in London between Lloyd George, Clemenceau and Orlando. The following is a summary of these proceedings:

1. Meeting held December 2, 11 a.m.

  • Resolution A. Regret expressed my absence on account of illness and Mr. Balfour directed to transmit conclusions of conference to me.
  • Resolution B. Establishment of Inter-Allied Commission, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy and the United States, each to have three delegates thereon and Japan one delegate, to examine and report on amount enemy countries are able to pay for reparation and indemnity; form of payment also to be considered. The Commission to meet in Paris provided the United States Government agrees. Each government to compile its claims for reparation which will be referred for [Page 341] examination by Inter-Allied Commission to be nominated when claims are prepared.
  • Resolution C is British, French and Italian Governments agree that Kaiser and principal accomplices should be brought to trial before international court. Telegram respecting this was sent to Washington on December 2d (I assume that you have already seen it and therefore do not quote it).16 Immediate action to be taken in this matter provided President Wilson agrees, otherwise matter to be left for discussion after President Wilson arrives.
  • [Resolution] D. British, French and Italian Governments agree that before preliminaries of peace shall be signed an Inter-Allied Conference be held in Paris or Versailles, the date thereof to be set after the arrival of the President. France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and the United States should each be represented by five delegates. British colonial representatives to attend as additional members when questions directly affecting them are considered. Smaller allied powers not to be represented except when questions concerning them are discussed. Nations attaining their independence since the war to be heard by Inter-Allied Conference.

2. Meeting December 2d, 4 p.m.

  • Resolution A. British, French and Italian Governments authorize Foch to renew armistice on December 10th for 1 month.
  • Resolution B. British, French and Italian Governments empowered Admiral Wemyss on condition that forts at entrance to Baltic are demolished to satisfaction of Allied Naval Commission to waive military competition [occupation?] of said ports.
  • Resolution C. British, French and Italian Governments approve requirements of Admiral Beatty 17 that while interned in British ports, German flag shall be hauled down on board German men of war.
  • Resolution D. British, French and Italian Governments agree to formation of Inter-Allied Commission of four Admirals, American, British, French, Italian, to inquire and report on existing situation and advise as to future activities to eliminate trouble in Adriatic territories occupied or to be occupied by Allied forces, not including those mentioned in article three of Austrian armistice terms, such as Corfu,. Spalato, Fiume, et cetera.

3. Meeting December 3d, 11:15 a.m.

  • Resolution A. Proposed conference between Foch and Chief of British Staff respecting arrangements of British portion of Army of occupation agreed to by British Government.
  • Resolution B. Expenses of occupation of Austria to be arranged for by Italian Commander-in-Chief and General Franchet d’Esperey. When military proposals are formulated they are to be submitted to Governments concerned through Foch.
  • Resolution C. British, French and Italian Governments agreed theoretically not to object to international labor or any other conference [Page 342] in relation to peace conference being held provided that until peace is signed it is held in a neutral country.

4. Meeting December 3d, 4 p.m.

  • Resolution A. Exact question of victualing and supplying enemy, allied and neutral countries in all its aspects including the use of enemy merchant vessels is referred to the following for examination and report: Clementel and Bouisson representing the French; Reading and Maclay representing the British; Crespi and Villa representing the Italian; Hoover and Hurley, if available, representing the United States.
  • Resolution B. British troops in any part European Turkey to remain under command of General Franchet d’Esperey. Rest of British army under General Milne may be transferred to Caucasus or elsewhere upon agreement being reached between countries concerned. If so transferred, British army will cease to be under command of d’Esperey.
  • Resolution C. British, French, and Italian Governments agree that conclusions of conference should be regarded as provisional only and subject to the United States accepting those which require immediate action or do not concern United States.

With respect to resolution taken at meeting December 2, 12 Noon, I am advising the governments concerned: 1, that eliminating the word “Indemnity” from resolution B the United States agrees; 2, that resolution C should be discussed after your arrival. With these exceptions I suggest that the United States agree to these resolutions. With respect to resolutions taken at meeting December 2, 4 P.M., I have discussed the naval and military features with General Bliss and Admiral Benson and am stating to the governments concerned that the United States agrees to these resolutions. With respect to resolutions taken at meeting December 3, 11 A.M., I suggest that you authorize me to state that the United States agrees to these resolutions. With respect to resolutions taken at meeting December 3, 4 P.M., I have suggested to Lord Derby that instead of following the procedure outlined in resolution A that a food section of the Supreme War Council serve with representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, and Italy thereon and that substantially the plan suggested in my number 18818 as substantially amended be adopted. With this exception, I suggest that you authorize me to state that the United States agrees to these resolutions. I would appreciate an expression of your views as soon as possible.

  1. See note from the British Embassy to the Department of State, Foreign Relations, 1919, vol. ii, p. 653.
  2. Admiral of the Fleet Sir David Beatty, Commander of the Grand Fleet.
  3. Vol. ii, p. 636.