Paris Peace Conf. 180.03601/3

Meeting Held by the Representatives of the Powers With Special Interests on Thursday, March 6, 19191

Minute No. 3

As the result of the meeting held by the Representatives of the Powers with special interests on the 3rd March, 1919, the Supreme Allied Council decided to fix the number of the Delegates of those Powers on the Financial and Economic Commissions respectively at five, and to summon a meeting of the Representatives of those Powers on the 6th March, in order that they might designate their Delegates on those Commissions.

The Session opened at 11 a.m., with Mr. Jules Cambon, French Delegate, in the Chair.

  • Present
    • For Belgium:
      • Mr. van den Henvel.
    • For Bolivia:
      • Mr. Ismael Montes.
    • For Brazil:
      • Mr. Epitacio Pessõa.
      • Mr. Olyntho de Magalhaes.
      • Mr. Pandia Calogeras.
    • For China:
      • Mr. Lou Tseng-tsiang.
      • Mr. Sao-Ke Alfred Sze.
    • For Cuba:
      • Mr. Rafael Martinez Ortiz.
    • For Ecuador:
      • Mr. Dorn y de Alsua.
    • For Greece:
      • Mr. Nicolas Politis.
      • Mr. A. Romanes.
    • For the Hedjaz:
      • Mr. Rustem Haidar.
    • For Liberia:
      • Mr. C. Dunbar.
    • For Panama:
      • Mr. Antonio Burgos.
    • For Poland:
      • Mr. Roman Dmowski.
      • Dr. Casimir Dluski.
    • For Portugal:
      • Dr. Egas Moniz.
      • Dr. Antonio Bettencourt-Rodriguez.
    • For Roumania:
      • General Constantin Coanda.
      • Mr. Constantin Diamandy.
    • For Serbia:
      • Mr. Vesnitch.
    • For Siam:
      • Prince Traidos Prabandhu.
      • Phya Bibadh Kosha.
    • For the Czecho-Slovak Republic:
      • Mr. Edouard Benes.

The President informed the Assembly that, as a result of the report which he had made to the Supreme Allied Council, that Council had thought it necessary to uphold its point of view and it considered it suitable that the Powers with special interests should designate five Delegates for the Economic Commission and five Delegates for the Financial Commission. He therefore proposed an adjournment of the Session to enable the members of the Assembly to consult together in regard to the choice to be made.

This proposal was accepted. The Session was adjourned at 11.10 a.m. and resumed at 11.50 a.m.

On the resumption of the Session Mr. Politis (Greece) reported the efforts made by a large number of Delegates with a view to reach an agreement in regard to the names of the Powers to be chosen to occupy the five seats on each of the two Commissions. They had attempted to take into account, in as objective a manner as possible, the genuine interests of each country. They had, for instance, as regards the Economic Commission, suggested that only two seats should be kept for the European States, that two should be offered to the Latin American States, and one to an Asiatic State.

For the Financial Commission they had put down four European States, and had kept one seat for the Latin American States. If an agreement had been reached on these arrangements of principle, they had intended to draw up two supplementary lists with a view to renewing the wish, which had previously been formulated, to have four additional Representatives on each of these two Commissions: as for these four names, one seat was kept for an Asiatic State and one for a Latin American State on the Economic Commission, and one seat for a Latin American State on the Financial Commission.

Unfortunately these efforts had come to naught. They had encountered a tendency on the part of the Latin American Powers to acquire more seats than they could obtain through an objective distribution which took European interests likewise into account. The interests on which the American States had laid stress were perfectly serious ones and entirely worthy of respect, and it would have been desirable that all of them should have been able to secure a direct and official representation; it was not, however, in the power of the members of the Assembly to give them satisfaction. As it had not been possible to reach an agreement in regard to the order of preference to be enjoyed by the different interests, European, Asiatic, or American, Mr. Politis proposed to present a separate list for the European States, and to leave to the Delegates of the American [Page 464] States the task and responsibility of submitting another list for their countries.

Mr. Rustem Haidar (Hedjaz) expressed his regret that, in the proposals which had been brought forward one State had been left out of account, namely, the Kingdom of the Hedjaz which represented the Arab nation and, before the war, formed part of the Ottoman Empire. That State had considerable financial and economic interests, which were indeed more important than those of many other States; the territory of the Hedjaz had been invaded by the Turks and had suffered considerable damage; that Kingdom represented half of an Empire which had a very large debt, for which the Hedjaz would be responsible in the future. Yet the Hedjaz was not even included in the supplementary list, and its Delegate expressed the hope that its interests might be taken into account when the vote was taken.

Mr. van den Heuvel (Belgium) appealed to the spirit of solidarity of the members of the Assembly and particularly urged both the Representatives of the Asiatic States, and especially those of the American States, not to separate themselves from the European States, but rather, each one of them, to make their contribution to the labours of the different Commissions. It would thus be possible, instead of dividing the world up into two hemispheres, to make mixed lists which would take into account the general interests which Europe on the one hand and Asia and America on the other respectively represented.

Mr. Vesnitch (Serbia) was of opinion that the method proposed by Mr. Politis possessed serious disadvantages, and might produce an unfortunate impression. He paid a tribute to the courtesy of the Representatives of the American States, and proposed that a vote should be taken for the main list, each Delegation voting freely in accordance with its opinion. A subsidiary list would then be presented, and, if the Supreme Allied Council thought that there were disadvantages in accepting the representation of Powers with special interests as determined by the main list, it would probably take into account the subsidiary list, and thus all the interests were likely to secure satisfaction.

Mr. Sao-Ke Alfred Sze (China) stated that it was not the wish, nor the intention, of China to be in any way in opposition to the interests of the European Powers; in fact, on the contrary, her great desire had always been to work in unison and to co-operate with them in every way possible. He called the attention of the Meeting to the fact that Continental Asia, including Siam, was deeply interested in the questions that would be brought up in the Economic and Financial Commissions, and he also explained why China should have Representatives sitting on both of these Commissions.

[Page 465]

An adjournment of the Session was requested in order that a ground of agreement between the divergent points of view might be sought. The Session was adjourned at 12.5 p.m. and resumed at 12.20 p.m.

On the resumption of the Session a discussion took place as to whether one list only should be drawn up, including nine names, the first five of which should be the delegates designated by the Assembly, while the four following ones should be proposed as additional Delegates in the form of a wish presented to the Supreme Allied Council; or whether, on the other hand, two separate lists should be sent in, one containing five names, that is to say, those of the Delegates appointed, and the other four names representing the Delegates suggested as additional Delegates.

Mr. van den Heuvel (Belgium) proposed that two separate votes should be taken for each Commission, one for the Delegates to be appointed and the other for the additional Delegates.

This proposal, which was supported by Mr. Politis (Greece), was put to the vote, and adopted.

A vote was then taken for the appointment of five Delegates to the Financial Commission.

The result of the voting was as follows:—

Peru 14 votes.
Brazil 10
Bolivia 9
Panama 9
Portugal 9

After these Greece, Poland and Serbia each obtained 7 votes, the Czecho-Slovak Republic 6 votes, Roumania 1 vote and the Hedjaz 1 vote.

Consequently, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Panama and Portugal were designated to represent the Powers with special interests on the Financial Commission.

Mr. Politis (Greece) held the view that it would be preferable, having regard to the result of the voting, not to vote for the supplementary list. It seemed to him necessary that the Council of the Great Powers should have a perfectly clear view of the results obtained, and he thought it “shocking” that all the countries which had taken the most active part in the war should, with the exception of Portugal, be eliminated. If they voted for a supplementary list, the same majority would make itself felt. In those circumstances, he did not think fit to take part in the voting and thought that the minority should abstain.

Mr. Epitacio Pessoa (Brazil) requested that they should, on the other hand, proceed to vote on the supplementary list.

[Page 466]

The President put it to the vote whether a supplementary list of four names should be drawn up.

The assembly gave an affirmative reply by 8 votes to 6.

The Delegates of Greece, Belgium, Poland, Roumania, Serbia and the Czecho-Slovak Republic stated that they would not take part in the voting.

The President opened the voting for the designation of four additional Delegates to the Financial Commission, and the following results were obtained:—

Roumania 8 votes.
Belguim 7
China 7
Greece 6
Poland 5

There were six abstentions.

Consequently, Roumania, Belgium, China and Greece will be proposed to the Supreme Council for representation on the Financial Commission, in addition to the five Powers already designated.

A vote was next taken for the designation of five Delegates to the Economic Commission.

The result was as follows:—

Brazil 16 votes.
China 16
Cuba 9
Siam 9
Ecuador 8

Consequently, Brazil, China, Cuba, Siam and Ecuador were designated to represent the Powers with special interests on the Economic Commission.

The President thereupon requested the Delegates to vote for the compilation of a supplementary list of four names.

Mr. Politis (Greece) stated on behalf of Greece and of the Powers which had previously abstained that those Powers would again abstain from voting.

The result of the voting was as follows:—

Belgium 8 votes.
Serbia 8
Roumania 6
Greece 6

There were six abstentions.

Consequently, Belgium, Serbia, Roumania and Greece will be proposed to the Supreme Council for representation on the Economic Commission in addition to the five Powers already designated.

The Session was suspended at 1.10 p.m.

J. Cambon
  1. Reprinted from printed text in the files. A similar mimeographed text in the files, dated March 21, 1919, bears the notation: “The attached is a revised and abbreviated report of the Session of the Powers with Special Interests held Monday [Thursday], March 6, 1919. Note: It should be substituted for the longer short-hand report which was circulated March 11, 1919.” The earlier text has not been found in the files. It was presumably the unrevised text published in Miller, My Diary, vol. xx, p. 233