Inquiry Document No. 890

Mr. Walter Lippmann to Dr. S. E. Mezes and Mr. D. H. Miller

Memorandum on the Peace Conference

I) Territorial questions of the following classes may be expected to arise at the peace conference:

a) Territories whose status was fixed by agreement prior to the conference.

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This covers Belgium, northern France, or any other territory in which the specific assignment of sovereignty is determined as a condition of the assembly of the conference itself.

b) Territories under military control, to which the formula of self-determination is to be applied.

The biggest group of these territories will be those on Germany’s eastern frontier. Here the essential questions to be decided are:

The auspices under which self-determination is to occur.
The area within which self-determination is to occur.
The portion of the population within the area which is to participate in the self-determination.
The right of emigrants and immigrants to participate.
The alternative proposals to be submitted to the qualified electors.

c) New states seeking admission to the family of nations.

At the present time these would include the Ukraine, Finland, the Kingdom of the Hedjaz, other Arab states, and possibly the Caucasian republics.

d) States within which oppressed nationalities are to be protected.

The chief example is Turkey, though the need will apply also in the Balkans, and possibly in Poland and the Russian border nations.

e) States hitherto less than sovereign, seeking a more independent status.

This will include Persia, Afghanistan, possibly Turkey, China, and Siam.

f) States under belligerent occupation in which no national consciousness exists.

This covers the African colonies, the Pacific islands.

g) Spheres of influence and interest established before and during the war.

This will cover the various claims in the Far East, in Turkey, and in Africa, and may even include such matters as the Monroe Doctrine.

h) Territories formally annexed during the war.

This will cover, among other things, Courland, parts of Rumania, and, from the German point of view, Cyprus, Egypt, and possibly Morocco.

i) Territory claimed by belligerents to complete their national unity.

j) Territory claimed by belligerents for its strategic value.

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k) Territory claimed by belligerents for its economic value.

l) Territory claimed by belligerents on historical grounds.

m) Rights of way and other privileges claimed by one state in the territory of another.

This will cover such questions as Poland’s and Serbia’s access to the sea.

n) Exchanges of territory.

There probably would be a certain amount of shifting of colonial territories by common agreement.

o) The control of international rivers.

p) The control of the narrow seas.

q) The extension of territorial waters.

II) Economic questions.

The release of raw materials.
The disposition of shipping.
Financial exchanges.
The relation of specific economic agreements to a general economic peace.
Most-favored nation clause.
The exploitation of resources, trade, and communications in backward regions.
The status of enemy business within national territories.
Agreements in respect to emigration and immigration.
Loans to insolvent states.
Indemnities and reparations.

III) International law.

The status of merchant ships in time of war.
The use of the submarine as a commerce destroyer.
The embargo and national commercial monopoly.
The conscription of non-selfgoverning peoples.
The reduction of armaments.
The right of intervention.
Conciliation, mediation, and arbitration.
The right of appeal from a national to an international tribunal.
The definition of national honor and unfriendly acts.

IV) Miscellaneous.

Uniformity of law and practice in commerce and labor legislation.
Naturalization laws.
Patent laws.
The validity of secret agreements.
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V) Transitional questions.

Special provisions will have to be made for the period of the demobilization in respect to:
Raw materials.
Repatriation of prisoners.
Enemy property.
Arrangements will also have to be made for the provisional administration of certain areas.
Intervention to restore order may be necessary.
The terms of the treaty may be repudiated as a consequence of an overturn in the government of some one of the contracting parties.

VI) Representation at the peace conference.

The belligerent Great Powers.
Negotiations in which only directly interested parties take part.
Negotiations subject to the general participation of the Powers.
The belligerent small powers.
The passive belligerents.
This covers states like China, Siam, Brazil.
The nations which have severed diplomatic relations with one or some of the Central Powers.
The neutral powers.
The protected states.
National delegations and religious organizations.
There will be present at the conference delegations from Armenians, several parties of Poles, Jugo-Slavs, Czechs, Letts, Jews, etc., etc.
New nations.
The Holy See.
The most difficult question here is raised by the article in the treaty between France, Great Britain, Russia, and Italy in regard to the Vatican’s part in the peace negotiations.
Special labor delegations, as distinct from labor representtives among the peace commissioners of national states.

VII) Procedure at the peace conference.

a) Place of meeting.

b) Credentials.

The previous section on representation indicates the difficulty of determining who shall be admitted to the conference.

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c) The order of business.

This is of primary importance, and should be examined from every angle, because the full exercise of America’s influence can only be brought to bear if a skilful use is made of the order of business.

c) Committees.

The character and personnel of these committees is of primary importance, in view of the multitude of questions before the conference.

e) The taking of evidence.

Some rules of evidence will have to be agreed upon, in order to sift out conflicting claims.

f) Voting on reports.

This is an integral part of the question of representation, and is also fundamental to what sanctions the conference shall set up. There is a critical point in regard to the element of consent.

g) Special organs of the conference.

The conference will require a large number of continuing bodies, as well as technical bodies, for the detailed settlement of many questions.

h) Provision for amendment of the treaty.

This again is a critical question in regard to the League of Nations, because on it turns the flexibility and adaptability of the settlement.

i) The question of adjournment.

It will have to be determined whether the adjournment of the conference is final or temporary. Provisions for temporary adjournment and periodic meeting may well be the practical approach to a League of Nations.