Paris Peace Conf. 180.0201/10

Peace Congress (Saint-Germain), Protocol No. 1, Plenary Session of June 2, 1919

The Presentation of the Conditions of Peace to the Plenipotentiaries of the Republic of Austria

The Plenipotentiaries of the Republic of Austria, their Credentials having been verified and found to be in good and due form, were invited to come to the Château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye on the 2nd June, 1919, at noon, there to have the Conditions of Peace communicated to them.

On the appointed day, the Plenipotentiaries of the Allied and Associated Powers, hereinafter enumerated, meet in the Congress Hall, and thereupon the Plenipotentiaries of the Republic of Austria are ushered in.

The Session is then opened at 12.30 p.m. under the presidency of Mr. Georges Clemenceau, President.

  • Present
    • For the United States of America:
      • The President of the United States.
      • Honorable Robert Lansing, Secretary of State.
      • Honorable Henry White, formerly Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States at Rome and Paris.
      • General Tasker H. Bliss, Military Representative of the United States on the Supreme War Council.
    • For the British Empire:
    • great britain:
      • The Rt. Hon. David Lloyd George, M. P., First Lord of the Treasury and Prime Minister.
      • The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O. M., M. P., Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
      • The Rt. Hon. G. N. Barnes, M. P., Minister without Portfolio.
      • The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Ward, Bt, K. C. M. G., Minister of Finance and Posts of New Zealand.
    • Dominions and India:
    • canada:
      • The Rt. Hon. Sir George Foster, G. C. M. G., Minister of Trade and Commerce.
      • The Hon. C. J. Doherty, Minister of Justice.
    • australia:
      • The Rt. Hon. W. M. Hughes, Prime Minister.
      • The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Cook, G. C. M. G., Minister for the Navy.
    • new zealand
      • The Rt. Hon. W. F. Massey, Prime Minister.
    • india:
      • The Rt. Hon. E. S. Montagu, M. P., Secretary of State for India.
    • For France:
      • Mr. Georges Clemenceau, President of the Council, Minister of War.
      • Mr. Pichon, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
      • Mr. L. L. Klotz, Minister of Finance.
      • Mr. André Tardieu, Commissioner-General for Franco-American Military Affairs.
      • Mr. Jules Cambon, former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France.
      • Marshal Foch, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies.
    • For Italy:
      • Mr. V. E. Orlando, President of the Council of Ministers, Minister of the Interior.
      • The Baron S. Sonnino, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
      • Mr. Crespi, Minister of Food.
      • The Marquis G. Imperiali, Senator of the Kingdom, Ambassador of His Majesty the King of Italy at London.
      • Mr. S. Barzilai, Deputy, formerly Minister.
      • General A. Diaz, Commander-in-Chief of the Italian Army.
    • For Japan:
      • The Marquis Saionji, formerly President of the Council of Ministers.
      • The Baron Makino, formerly Minister for Foreign Affairs, Member of the Diplomatic Council.
      • Viscount Chinda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan at London.
      • Mr. K. Matsui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan at Paris.
      • Mr. H. Ijuin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan at Rome.
    • For Belgium:
      • Mr. Hymans, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister of State.
      • Mr. Van den Heuvel, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of the Belgians, Minister of State.
      • Mr. Vandervelde, Minister of Justice, Minister of State.
    • For China:
      • Mr. Lou Tseng-tsiang, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
      • Mr. Cheng-ting Thomas Wang, formerly Minister of Agriculture and Commerce.
    • For Cuba:
      • Mr. Antonio Sanchez de Bustamante, Dean of the Faculty of Law in the University of Havana, President of the Cuban Society of International Law.
    • For Ecuador:
      • Mr. Dorn y de Alsua, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Ecuador at Paris.
    • For Greece:
      • Mr. Eleftherios Veniselos, President of the Council of Ministers.
      • Mr. Nicolas Politis, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
    • For Guatemala:
      • Mr. Joaquín Mendéz, formerly Minister of State for Public Works and Public Instruction; Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Guatemala at Washington, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary on Special Mission at Paris.
    • For the Hedjaz:
      • Mr. Rustem Haidar.
      • Mr. Abdul Hadi Aouni.
    • For Liberia:
      • Mr. H. F. Worley.
    • For Nicaragua:
      • Mr. Salvador Chamorro, President of the Chamber of Deputies.
    • For Panama:
      • Mr. Antonio Burgos, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Panama at Madrid.
    • For Poland:
      • Mr. Roman Dmowski, President of the Polish National Committee.
      • Mr. Ignace Paderewski, President of the Council of Ministers, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
    • For Portugal:
      • Dr. Affonso Costa, formerly President of the Council of Ministers.
      • Mr. Augustq Soares, formerly Minister Foreign Affairs.
    • For Roumania:
      • Mr. Jean J. C. Bratiano, President of the Council of Ministers, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
      • General Constantin Coanda, Corps Commander, A. D. C. to the King, formerly President of the Council of Ministers.
    • For the Serb-Croat-Slovene Kingdom:
      • Mr. N. P. Pachitch, formerly President of the Council of Ministers.
      • Mr. Ante Trumbitch, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
      • Mr. Ivan Zolger, Professor of the Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb.
    • For Siam:
      • The Prince Charoon, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of Siam at Paris.
      • Phya Bibadh Kosha, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
    • For the Czecho-Slovak State:
      • Mr. Charles Kramar, President of the Council of Ministers.
      • Mr. Edouard Benes, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
    • For the Republic of Austria:
      • Mr. Karl Renner, Chancellor of the Austrian Republic.
      • Mr. Franz Klien, Representative of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
      • Mr. Franz Peter, Director of the Legal Section of the Department for Foreign Affairs.
      • Mr. Johann Andre Eichoff, Political Director of the Department for Foreign Affairs.
      • Mr. Richard Schuller, Economic Director of the Department for Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Clemenceau (President) makes the following speech:—

“Gentlemen,

“The Allied and Associated Powers have entrusted me with the duty of handing to you, the Plenipotentiaries of the Republic of Austria, the draft of the Treaty which has been the subject of our deliberations; not, indeed, the whole Treaty for I shall have to make some reservations in that connection, but at least its principal parts, which you will forthwith be able to consider.

“It has been decided that the discussion shall take place in writing. You will be good enough to transmit to us, in writing, such remarks as you may have to make in regard to the text laid before you. The replies thereto will similarly be sent in writing.

“You have a period of fifteen days within which to hand in your observations. It is, of course, understood that if, before that time, you are in a position to furnish documents, we shall receive them with pleasure and will immediately give our attention to any papers which you may be good enough to send us. You will understand, however, that your examination of the whole matter must take place within fifteen days time.

“Those are the conditions of procedure, and these are the documents communicated to you. They comprise the following subjects:

  • “Preamble.
  • “League of Nations.
  • “Frontiers of Austria.
  • “Political Clauses.
    • “Czecho-Slovak State,
    • “Political Clauses relating to certain European States,
    • “Protection of Minorities,
    • “General Provisions.
  • “Austrian Interests outside Europe.
  • “Naval and Aerial Clauses.
  • “Prisoners of War and Graves.
  • “Penalties.
  • “Economic Clauses.
  • “Aerial Navigation.
  • “Ports, Waterways and Railways.
  • “Labor.
  • “Miscellaneous Provisions.

“The text of the clauses mentioned hereafter will be handed to you later on, and as soon as possible:—

  • “1. Political Clauses (Italy).
  • “2. Financial Clauses.
  • “3. Separation Clauses.
  • “4. Military Clauses.
  • “5. Clauses in regard to the Serb-Croat-Slovene Kingdom.

“The Supreme Council, after examining the observations handed in within the period which I have mentioned, will send a written reply to the Austrian Delegation, fixing the period within which it should send in a final reply in regard to the Treaty as a whole.”

The Text of the Conditions of Peace is then handed to Mr. Renner by the Secretary-General.

The President’s speech is translated into English, Italian and German.

Mr. Renner (Republic of Austria) reads the following statement in French:—

“The people of German Austria has awaited during a long and distressing period the advent of the day which should deliver it from uncertainty in regard to its future fate. We have been consumed with anxiety in expectation of the decisive hour; first of all because it would at last bring peace to our sorely-tried country, but also because it affords us an opportunity of explaining to this distinguished Assembly, whose authority runs throughout the whole world, who we are and what are the conditions in which we can hope to acquire the vitality necessary for an independent State.

“The Danubian Monarchy, with which the Allied and Associated Powers were at war and with which they concluded the Armistice, has ceased to exist. The 12th November, 1918 may be regarded as the date of its disappearance. From that day onwards there was no [Page 428] longer a monarch, nor any Great Power for him to rule; the disastrous dualism exists no longer; there is no Government, either Austrian or Hungarian, no army, no institution whatever recognized as issuing from a public power. There only remained eight nations, bereft of all public organization, which, at a day’s notice, have created their own Parliaments, Governments and armies, and thus formed States which reflect the peculiar genius of each one. Our young Republic has been constituted in the same way as all the other States; it is therefore, in no greater degree than they are, the successor of the former Monarchy. That fact is the direct origin of the fundamental contradiction which must be cleared up in the presence of this high Assembly.

“On the one hand it is impossible to dispute, from the point of view of international law, the judicious statements recently made by the President of the Congress, according to which it would be contrary to every principle of international law to seek to assert that a mere alteration of political régime or change of governors would suffice to extinguish an obligation once assumed by a nation. It follows therefore that all the territories, as well as the populations of the former Monarchy, might be held responsible for the consequences of the war into which they were forced, one and all, by their former governors. Thus both we and the other States which have arisen on the territories of the former Monarchy are heavily burdened by our respective share of the inheritance of the fallen Empire—an inheritance of war, of exhaustion and of crushing financial obligations. Now, our young Republic has rid itself of all the ambition to dominate other nations which inevitably brought about the downfall of the former Monarchy. Our Republic has likewise rid itself of all the reactionary traditions which had made that ancient Empire a prison for these peoples. It is but the unfortunate victim of the terrible crime committed in 1914, a crime of the former governors, but not of the peoples.

“On the other hand, the successor States have only been set up, from the point of view of international law, since the suspension of hostilities. The German-Austrian Republic itself has never declared war, nor made war on any one, nor found itself in the international position of a belligerent as against the Western Powers.

“Now, it cannot be maintained, from any point of view, that our young Republic has ever been in a state of war with one or other of the new National States.

“On the contrary, in our own city of Vienna, all the successor States have set up Commissions for the purpose of dividing among themselves, by common agreement, the heritage of the former Empire, and especially the rights and assets of that heritage. Their [Page 429] purpose there is by no means that of making peace among themselves, but rather of liquidating the former community, under the intervention and guarantee of the Great Powers, whose support we are here to request, and of regulating in a practical manner their future relations.

“However, notwithstanding their situation, the successor States meet again here in Paris, with quite a different part to play. We hope to be able to enlighten the Peace Congress in regard to this confused situation. We can today foresee all the consequences which flow from this contradiction, and I reserve to myself the right of laying them before this High Assembly in writing. It is therefore as one of the portions of the Empire which has been vanquished and destroyed that we appear before you.

“We are even perfectly willing to assume our respective share of the responsibility towards the Great Powers arising out of the situation which I have just described, and are well aware that our fate lies in your hands.

“Nevertheless, we hope that the conscience of humanity will neither refuse us, nor restrict in our respect, the inalienable right of free self-determination proclaimed by the Allied and Associated Powers as an aim of their war against the Hapsburg and Hohenzollern Monarchies, a right which was, with our cordial and spontaneous consent, put into practice without delay in favor of our neighbors, while our own people trusting fully in the principles recognized by the Great Powers, has adopted it as the basis of its new Constitution.

“We like to believe that reason and the practical spirit of the world can neither desire nor countenance our economic collapse and the destruction of the whole economic fabric of the Monarchy, the more so since the impediments placed on the outlets for the natural resources by which our country is supplied have condemned us during the last six months to a state of distress far more terrible than the actual sufferings of the war.

“It is entirely due to the generous relief measures taken by the Allied and Associated Powers and conducted by their distinguished representative, Mr. Hoover, that our people owes its salvation from a famine which would have literally decimated it. Now, throughout these disasters our people has, in spite of all, preserved its discipline, its spirit of endurance and its good sense in an admirable manner, and its revolution has not been stained by blood.

“Encouraged by its confidence in the decisions of this Congress, it has abandoned all military action for the defence of its territories, two-fifths of which are still occupied by its neighbors. It has remained as the support of a peaceful and sensible social evolution in the middle of Europe. It will not deviate from this attitude provided [Page 430] that a just and democratic peace restores to us the indispensable means of economic existence.

“We are aware, Gentlemen, that it is you, the victors, who will impose on us the Conditions of Peace, and we are determined loyally to examine any proposal which you make to us and any counsel which you may offer.

“It will be our especial duty to explain to you thoroughly the true situation of our country, as well as to enlighten you in regard to the conditions of our existence. With very few exceptions you have hitherto only had the opportunity of hearing our neighbor’s accounts on this subject. We beg you to give us the same degree of attention. As the arbiters of the whole world you will likewise decide the fate of our small country. It is, too, fair that an arbiter should hear both sides. We ask you for a decision which will safeguard our future and our national, political and economic existence.

“You may for your part be convinced that it is above all our desire, within uncontested frontiers and in the enjoyment of our liberty and our national civilization, to serve the cause of peace by collaborating, to the modest extent of our strength in the noble task of the League of Nations.”

Mr. Renner’s statement is translated into English and Italian.

As no one else asks leave to speak, the President declares the Session adjourned at 13.10 (1.10 P.M.)

The President,
G. Clemenceau.

The Secretary-General,
P. Dutasta.

The Secretaries,
J. C. Grew,
M. P. A. Hankey,
Paul Gauthier,
Aldrovandi,
Sadao Saburi.