Paris Peace Conf. 180.0201/1
Preliminary Peace Conference, Protocol No. 1, Session of January 18, 1919
A meeting of the Inter-Allied Conference for the preliminaries of peace having been decided on by the governments of the United States of America and the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan, the allied and associated belligerent powers, as well as the powers which have broken diplomatic relations with the enemy powers, were invited to send representatives thereto.
The session is opened under the Presidency of Mr. Raymond Poincaré, President of the French Republic, at 15 o’clock (3 p.m.), in the Peace Rooms at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
|For the United States of America||Dominions and India|
|The President of the United States.||canada|
|Honorable Robert Lansing, Secretary of State.||The Rt. Hon. Sir George Eulas Foster, G. C. M. G., Minister of Trade and Commerce.|
|Honorable Henry White, Former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States at Paris and Rome.||The Hon. Arthur Lewis Sifton, Minister of Customs and Inland Revenue.|
|General Tasker H. Bliss, Military Representative of the United States on the Supreme War Council.||australia|
|For the British Empire||The Rt. Hon. W. M. Hughes, Prime Minister.|
|great britain||The Rt. Hon. Sir J. Cook, K. C. M. G., Minister for the Navy.|
|The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P., Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury.||south africa|
|The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O. M., M. P., Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.||General the Rt. Hon. Louis Botha, Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.|
|The Rt. Hon. A. Bonar Law, M. P., Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons.||Lt. General the Rt. Hon. J. C. Smuts, K. C, Minister of Defense.|
|The Rt. Hon. G. N. Barnes, Minister without Portfolio.||india|
|The Rt. Hon. Sir W. F. Lloyd, K. C. M. G., Prime Minister of Newfoundland.||Major General His Highness Sir Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner, G. C. S. I., G. C. I. E., G. C. V. O., K, C. B.|
|The Rt. Hon. The Lord Sinha, K. C., Under Secretary of State for India (Representing the Secretary of State for India).||Mr. Pandia Calogeras, Deputy, Former Minister of Finance.|
|Mr. Clemenceau, President of the Council, Minister of War.||Mr. Lou Tseng-tsiang, Minister of Foreign Affairs.|
|Mr. Pichon, Minister of Foreign Affairs.||Mr. Cheng-ting Thomas Wang, Former Temporary Minister of Agriculture and Commerce.|
|Mr. L. L. Klotz, Minister of Finance.||Cuba|
|Mr. André Tardieu, Commissioner-General for Franco-American War Affairs.||Mr. Rafael Martinez, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Cuba at Paris (Temporarily replacing Mr. Antonio Sanchez [de] Bustamante, President of the Cuban Society of International Law, Professor at the University of Habana).|
|Mr. Jules Cambon, Former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France.||Ecuador|
|Marshal Foch, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies.||Mr. Dorn y de Alsua, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Ecuador at Paris.|
|Baron Sonnino, Minister of Foreign Affairs.||Mr. Nicolas Politis, Minister of Foreign Affairs.|
|Marquis Salvago Raggi, Senator of the Kingdom, former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of Italy at Paris.||The Hedjaz|
|Japan||His Highness the Emir Feisal.|
|Viscount Sutemi Chinda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan at London.||Mr. Rustem Haidar.|
|Mr. K. Matsui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan at Paris.||Peru|
|Belgium||Mr. Francisco Garcia Calderon, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Peru at Brussels.|
|Mr. Hymans, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of State.||Poland|
|Mr. Van den Heuvel, Minister of State, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of the Belgians.||Mr. Roman Dmowski, President of the Polish National Committee.|
|Mr. Rolin-Jaequemyns, Secretary General of the Belgian Delegation and its former President.||Portugal|
|Bolivia||Dr. Egas Moniz, Deputy, Minister of Foreign Affairs.|
|Mr. Ismael Montes, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Bolivia at Paris.||Dr. Alvaro Villela, Professor of International Law at the University of Coimbra.|
|Mr. Olyntho de Magalhaes, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of Brazil at Paris, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs.||Mr. Jean C. Bratiano, President of the Council of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs.|
|Serbia||Mr. Nicolas Misu, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of Roumania at London.|
|Mr. Pachitch, President of the Council of Ministers.||Mr. Phya Bibadh Kosha, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of Siam at Rome.|
|Mr. Trumbitch, Minister of Foreign Affairs.||The Czecho-Slovak Republic|
|Mr. Vesnitch, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of Serbia at Paris||Mr. Edouard Benes, Minister of Foreign Affairs.|
|Prince Charoon, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of Siam at Paris.||Mr. Juan Carlos Blanco, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Uruguay at Paris.|
The President of the Republic (speaking in French) delivers the following speech:
“France greets and welcomes you, and thanks you for having unanimously chosen, as the seat of your labors, the city which, for over four years, the enemy has made his principal military objective, and which the valor of the Allied armies has victoriously defended against unceasingly renewed offensives.
“Allow me to see in your decision the homage of all the nations that you represent towards a country which, still more than any others, has endured the sufferings of war, of which entire provinces, transformed into vast battlefields, have been systematically wasted by the invader, and which has paid the heaviest tribute to death.
“France has borne these enormous sacrifices without having incurred the slightest responsibility for the frightful cataclysm which has overwhelmed the universe; and, at the moment when this cycle of horror is ending, all the powers whose delegates are assembled here may acquit themselves of any share in the crime which has resulted in so unprecedented a disaster. What gives you authority to establish a peace of justice, is the fact that none of the peoples of whom you are the delegates has had any part in injustice. Humanity can place confidence in you, because you are not among those who have outraged the rights of humanity.
“There is no need of further information or of special inquiries into the origin of the drama which has just shaken the world. The truth, bathed in blood, has already escaped from the Imperial archives. The premeditated character of the trap is today clearly proved. In the hope of conquering, first, the hegemony of Europe, and next the mastery of the world, the Central Empires, bound together by a secret plot found the most abominable pretexts for trying to crush Serbia and force their way to the East. At the same time, they disowned the most solemn undertakings in order to [Page 160] crush Belgium and force their way into the heart of France. These are the two unforgettable outrages which opened the way to aggression. The combined efforts of Great Britain, France and Russia broke themselves against that mad arrogance.
“If, after long vicissitudes, those who wished to reign by the sword have perished by the sword, they have but themselves to blame. They have been destroyed by their own blindness. What could be more significant than the shameful bargains they attempted to offer to Great Britain and France, at the end of July, 1914, when to Great Britain they suggested: ‘Allow us to attack France on land, and we will not enter the channel,’ and when they instructed their Ambassador to say to France: ‘We will only accept a declaration of neutrality on your part if you surrender to us Briey, Toul and Verdun.’ It is in the light of these memories, gentlemen, that all the conclusions which you will have to draw from the war will take shape.
“Your nations entered the war successively but came one and all to the help of threatened right.
“Like Germany, Great Britain and France had guaranteed the independence of Belgium. Germany sought to crush Belgium. Great Britain and France both swore to save her. Thus, from the very beginning of hostilities, came into conflict the two ideas which, for fifty months, were to struggle for the dominion of the world; the idea of sovereign force, which accepts neither control nor check, and the idea of justice, which depends on the sword only to prevent or repress the abuse of strength.
“Faithfully supported by her Dominions and Colonies, Great Britain decided that she could not remain aloof from a struggle in which the fate of every country was involved. She has made, and her Dominions and Colonies have made with her, prodigious efforts to prevent the war from ending in the triumph of the spirit of conquest and the destruction of Right.
“Japan, in her turn, only decided to take up arms out of loyalty to Great Britain, her great Ally, and from the consciousness of the danger in which both Asia and Europe would have stood from the hegemony of which the Germanic Empires had dreamt.
“Italy, who, from the first, had refused to lend a helping hand to German ambition, rose against an age-long foe, only to answer the call of oppressed populations, and to destroy, at the cost of her blood, artificial political combinations, which took no account of human liberty.
“Roumania resolved to fight only to realize that national unity which was opposed by the same powers of arbitrary force. Abandoned, betrayed and strangled, she had to submit to an abominable treaty, the revision of which you will exact.[Page 161]
“Greece, whom the enemy, for many months, tried to turn from her traditions and destinies, raised an army only to escape attempts at domination of which she felt the growing threat.
“Portugal, China and Siam abandoned neutrality only to escape the strangling pressure of the Central Powers. Thus it was the extent of German ambitions that brought so many peoples, great and small, to form a league against the same adversary.
“And what shall I say of the solemn resolution taken by the United States in the Spring of 1917, under the auspices of their illustrious President, Mr. Wilson, whom I am happy to greet here, in the name of faithful France, and, if you will allow me to say so, Gentlemen, in the name of all the nations represented in this room? What shall I say of the many other American Powers which either declared themselves against Germany—Brazil, Cuba, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras,—or at least broke off diplomatic relations—Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay? From North to South the New World rose with indignation when it saw the Empires of Central Europe, after having let loose the war without provocation and without excuse, carried it on with fire, pillage and the massacre of inoffensive beings.
“The intervention of the United States was something more, something greater than a great political and military event. It was a supreme judgment passed at the bar of history, by the lofty conscience of a free people and their chief magistrate, on the enormous responsibilities incurred in the frightful conflict which was lacerating humanity.
“It was not only to protect themselves from the audacious aims of German megalomania that the United States equipped fleets and created immense armies, but also, and above all, to defend an ideal of liberty over which they saw the huge shadow of the Imperial Eagle encroaching further every day.
“America, the daughter of Europe, crossed the ocean to wrest her mother from the humiliation of thraldom and to save civilization.
“The American people wished to put an end to the greatest scandal that has ever sullied the annals of mankind; autocratic governments prepared, in the secrecy of the chancellories and the general staff, a mad programme of universal domination, and, at the moment fixed by their genius for intrigue, let loose their packs and sounded the horns for the chase, ordering science, at the very time when it was beginning to abolish distances, to bring men closer and make life sweeter, to leave the bright sky towards which it was soaring, and to place itself submissively at the service of violence; lowering the religious idea to the extent of making God the complacent auxiliary of their passions and the accomplice of their crimes; in short, counting [Page 162] as naught the traditions and wills of peoples, the lives of citizens, the honor of women, and all those principles of public and private morality which we, for our part, have endeavored to keep unaltered through the war, and which neither nations nor individuals can repudiate or disregard with impunity.
“While the conflict was gradually extending over the entire surface of the earth, the clanking of chains was heard here and there, and captive nationalities from the depths of their age-long jails cried out to us for help. Yet more, they escaped to come to our aid. Poland, come to life again, sent us troops. The Czecho-Slovaks won their right to independence in Siberia, in France, and in Italy. The Yugo-Slavs, the Armenians, the Syrians and Lebanese, the Arabs, all the oppressed peoples, all the victims, long helpless or resigned, of great historic deeds of injustice, all martyrs of the past, all the outraged consciences, all the strangled liberties, revived at the clash of our arms and turned towards us as their natural defenders.
“Thus, the war gradually attained the fulness of its first significance, and became, in the truest sense of the term, a crusade of humanity for Right; and, if anything can console us, in part at least, for the losses we have suffered, it is assuredly the thought that our victory is also the victory of Right.
“This victory is complete, for the enemy only asked for the armistice to escape an irretrievable military disaster. In the interest of justice and peace, it now rests with you to reap from this victory its full fruits.
“In order to carry out this immense task, you have decided to admit, at first, only the Allied or Associated Powers, and, in so far as their interests are involved in the debates, the nations which remained neutral. You have thought that the terms of peace ought to be settled among ourselves before they are communicated to those against whom we have together fought the good fight. The solidarity which has united us during the war and has enabled us to win military success ought to remain unimpaired during the negotiations and after the signature of the treaty. It is not only governments, but free peoples, who are represented here. Through the test of danger, they have learnt to know and help one another. They want their intimacy of yesterday to assure the peace of tomorrow. Vainly would our enemies seek to divide us. If they have not yet renounced their customary manoeuvres, they will soon find that they are meeting, today as during the hostilities, a homogenous block which nothing will be able to disintegrate.
“Even before the armistice, you placed that necessary unity under the aegis of the lofty moral and political truths of which President [Page 163] Wilson has nobly made himself the interpreter, and in the light of these truths you intend to accomplish your mission.
“You will therefore seek nothing but justice, ‘justice that has no favorites,’ justice in territorial problems, justice in financial problems, justice in economic problems.
“But justice is not inert, it does not submit to injustice. What it first demands, when it has been violated, are restitution and reparation for the peoples and individuals who have been despoiled or maltreated. In formulating this lawful claim, it obeys neither hatred nor an instinctive or thoughtless desire for reprisals; it pursues a two-fold object: to render to each his due and not to encourage crime through leaving it unpunished.
“What justice also demands, inspired by the same feeling, is the punishment of the guilty and effective guarantees against an active return of the spirit by which they were tempted. And it is logical to demand that these guarantees should be given above all to the nations that have been, and might again be, most exposed to aggressions or threats, to those who have many times stood in danger of being submerged by the periodic tide of the same invasions.
“What justice banishes is the dream of conquest and imperialism, contempt for national will, the arbitrary exchange of provinces between States, as though peoples ‘were but articles of furniture or pawns in a game.’ The time is no more when diplomatists could meet to redraw, with authority, the map of the Empires on the corner of a table. If you are to remake the map of the world, it is in the name of the peoples and on condition that you shall faithfully interpret their thoughts and respect the right of nations, small and great, to dispose of themselves, and to reconcile it with the right, equally sacred, of ethnical and religious minorities—a formidable task, which science and history, your two advisers will contribute to illumine and facilitate.
“You will naturally strive to secure the material and moral means of subsistence for all those peoples who are constituted or reconstituted into States, for those who wish to unite themselves to their neighbors, for those who divide themselves into separate units, for those who reorganize themselves according to their regained traditions, and, lastly, for all those whose freedom you have already sanctioned or are about to sanction; you will not call them into existence only to sentence them to death immediately; you would wish your work, in this and in all other matters, to be fruitful and lasting.
“While thus introducing into the world as much harmony as possible, you will, in conformity with the fourteenth of the propositions unanimously adopted by the Allied Great Powers, establish a General [Page 164] League of Nations which will be a supreme guarantee against any fresh assaults upon the right of peoples.
“You do not intend this International Association to be directed against anybody in future; it will not of set purpose shut out anybody; but, having been organized by the nations that have sacrificed themselves in defense of right, it will receive from them its statutes and fundamental rules; it will lay down conditions to which its present or future adherents will submit, and, as it is to have for its essential aim, to prevent, as far as possible, the renewal of wars, it will, above all, seek to gain respect for the peace which you will have established and will find it the less difficult to maintain in proportion as this peace will in itself imply greater realities of justice and safer guarantees of stability.
“By establishing this new order of things, you will meet the aspirations of humanity, which, after the frightful convulsions of these bloodstained years, ardently wishes to feel itself protected by a union of free peoples against the ever-possible revivals of primitive savagery.
“An immortal glory will attach to the names of the nations and the men who have desired to co-operate in this grand work in faith and brotherhood, and who have taken pains to eliminate from the future peace causes of disturbances and instability.
“This very day, forty-eight years ago, on the 18th of January, 1871, the German Empire was proclaimed by an army of invasion in the Chateau at Versailles. It was consecrated by the theft of two French provinces. It was thus vitiated from its origin and by the fault of its founders. It contained at its birth the germ of decay and of death.
“Born in injustice, it has ended in opprobrium. You are assembled in order to repair the evil that it has done and to prevent a recurrence of it. You hold in your hands the future of the world. I leave you gentlemen, to your grave deliberations and I declare the Conference of Paris open.”
An English translation for this speech is read by Mr. Mantoux, officer-interpreter.
The President of the French Republic withdraws after shaking hands with all the Delegates.
Mr. Clemenceau, President of the French Council of Ministers, and Minister of War, takes his place in the Presidential chair as temporary President of the Conference. Mr. Clemenceau proposes the nomination of a permanent president.
The President of the United States (speaking in English), proposes the name of M. Clemenceau as President of the Conference, as follows: [Page 165]
“Mr. Chairman: It gives me great pleasure to propose, as permanent Chairman of the Conference, Monsieur Clemenceau, the President of the Council. I would do this as a matter of custom. I would do it as a tribute to the French Republic; but I wish to do it as something more than that. I wish to do it as a tribute to the man, and you will certainly join with me in wishing it. France deserves the precedence, not only because we are meeting in her capital and because she has undergone some of the most tragic sufferings of the war, but also because her capital—her ancient and beautiful capital—has so often been the center of conferences of this sort, upon which the fortunes of large parts of the world turned. It is a very delightful thought that the history of the world, which has so often centered here, will now be crowned by the achievements of this Conference, because there is a sense in which this is the supreme conference in the history of mankind. More nations are represented here than were ever represented at such a conference before; the fortunes of all peoples are involved. A great war is ended which seemed about to bring a universal cataclysm. The danger is past. A victory has been won for mankind and it is delightful that we should be able to record these great results in this place. But it is the more delightful to honor France, because we can honor her in the person of so distinguished a servant. We have all felt in our participation in the struggles of this war the fine steadfastness which characterized the leadership of the French people in the hands of Monsieur Clemenceau. We have learnt to admire him and those of us who have been associated with him have acquired a genuine affection for him. Moreover, those of us who have been in these recent days in constant consultation with him know how warmly his purpose is set towards the goal of achievement to which all our faces are turned. He feels, as we feel, as I have no doubt everybody in this room feels, that we are trusted to do a great thing; to do it in the highest spirit of friendship and accommodation and to do it as promptly as possible in order that the hearts of men may have fear lifted from them and that they may return to those pursuits of life which will bring them this happiness, contentment and prosperity. Knowing his brotherhood of heart in these great matters it affords me a personal pleasure to propose not only that the President of the Council of Ministers, but Monsieur Clemenceau, shall be the permanent Chairman of this Conference.”
His words are immediately translated into French.
Mr. Lloyd George (Great Britain), speaking in English, seconds the proposal of the President of the United States, as follows:
“Gentlemen: I count it not merely a pleasure but a great privilege that I should be expected, on behalf of the British Empire Delegates, [Page 166] to support the motion of President Wilson. I do so for the reasons which he has so eloquently expressed—as a tribute to the man. When I was a schoolboy Monsieur Clemenceau was a compelling and conspicuous figure in the politics of his native land and his fame had extended far beyond the bounds of France. Were it not for that undoubted fact, Mr. President, I should have treated as a legend the common report of your age. I have attended many conferences with Monsieur Clemenceau and in them all the most vigorous, the most untiring and the most youthful figure there has always been that of Monsieur Clemenceau. He has had the hopefulness and the tirelessness of youth. He is indeed the ‘Grand Young Man of France,’ and I am proud to stand here and propose that he should take the chair of this Conference which is to settle the peace of the world. I know none better qualified or as well qualified to occupy this chair as Monsieur Clemenceau. I speak of him from my experience of him in the chair. He and I have not always agreed. We very often agree. We have sometimes disagreed, and we have always expressed our disagreements very emphatically, because we are two Celts. But although there will be delays, and inevitable delays, in the signing of peace, due to the inherent difficulties of what we have to settle, I will guarantee from my knowledge of Monsieur Clemenceau there will be no waste of time, and that is important. The world is thirsting and hungering for peace. There are millions of people who want to get back to the ordinary work of peace, and the fact that Monsieur Clemenceau is in the chair will be a proof that they will get there without any delays which are due to anything except difficulties essential to what we have to transact. He is one of the great speakers of the world, but nobody knows better than he that the best speaking is that which promotes business, and the worst speaking is that which impedes beneficent action. I have another reason. During the dark days we have passed through, his courage—his unfailing courage—his untiring energy and his inspiration helped the Allies through their trials, and I know no man to whom victory is more attributable than to the man who sits in his chair. In his own person more than any living man he represents the heroism, he represents the genius of the indomitable people of this land, and for these reasons I count it a privilege that I should be expected to second this motion.”
His words are immediately translated into French.
Baron Sonnino (Italy), associates himself with the words just spoken, and expresses himself thus:
“In the name of the Italian Delegation, I cordially associate myself with the proposal of President Wilson, seconded by Mr. Lloyd George, [Page 167] to nominate Mr. Clemenceau as President of the Peace Conference. In these circumstances I am happy to be able to pay a tribute of sympathy and admiration to France and to the eminent statesman who is at the head of her Government.”
The proposal of President Wilson, seconded by Mr. Lloyd George and Baron Sonnino, is put to the vote and unanimously adopted.
Mr. Clemenceau is declared President of the Conference.
The President proposes that the Conference should proceed to the election of Vice Presidents to the number of four, chosen from the Plenipotentiaries of each of the four Great Powers not yet represented in the Bureau, namely (in alphabetical order): United States of America, the British Empire, Italy and Japan.
This proposal is unanimously accepted.
The President announces that the Japanese Plenipotentiaries have proposed, for their part, Marquis Saionji.
The Conference then proceeds to the nomination of a Secretary General.
The President proposes M. Dutasta, Ambassador of France.
This proposal is also unanimously adopted.
The President then proposes to complete the Secretariat by the nomination of one secretary for each Great Power, with the right of substitution.
This proposal is accepted.
The President adds that it is necessary to proceed to the appointment of a Drafting Committee composed of one representative of the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan.
This proposal is accepted.
Finally, the President observes that a Committee on Credentials should be formed to include a Plenipotentiary of each of the five Great Powers.
This proposal is adopted. (Annex 1.)
The President, passing to the order of the day of the Session, delivers (speaking in French), the following speech:
“You would not understand if, after hearing the words of the eminent statesmen who have just spoken, I kept silence. I cannot avoid the necessity of expressing my lively and deep gratitude for them,—to the illustrious President of the United States, and to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, as well as to Baron Sonnino, for the words which they have spoken.
“Formerly, in my youth, a long time ago, as Mr. Lloyd George has recalled, when I was traveling in America and England, I always [Page 168] heard the French reproached for allowing an excessive politeness to lead them to go beyond the truth. While listening to the American and English statesmen, I wondered whether, during their stay in Paris, they had not acquired our national vice of flattery.
“Gentlemen, I must nevertheless say that my election is necessarily due to the high international tradition of time honored courtesy towards the country which has the honor of greeting the Peace Conference in its capital. The proof of friendship (they will permit me to use the English word ‘friendship’ employed by Mr. Wilson and Mr. Lloyd George) has deeply touched me, because I see in it a new strength for all three of us, which will allow us to carry through, with the help of the whole Conference, the arduous work entrusted to us. I derive from it new confidence in the success of our efforts. President Wilson has special authority for saying that this is the first occasion on which a delegation of all civilized peoples of the world has been seen assembled. The greater the bloody catastrophe which has devastated and ruined one of the richest parts of France, the ampler and more complete should be the reparation,—not only the reparation for acts committed, material reparation, if I may say so, which is due to all of us, but the nobler and higher reparation which we shall try to make, so that the peoples may be able at last to escape from this fatal embrace, which piling up ruin and grief, terrorizes populations and prevents them from devoting themselves freely to their work for fear of enemies who may arise against them at any moment. Ours is a great and noble ambition. We must hope that success will crown our efforts. This can only be if we have clear and well defined ideas. A few days ago I said in the Chamber of Deputies, and I wish to repeat here, that ‘success is only possible if we all remain firmly united.’ We have come here as friends; we must leave this room as brothers. That is the first thought which I wish to express. Everything must yield to the necessity of a closer and closer union among the peoples who have taken part in this great war. The League of Nations is here. It is in yourselves; it is for you to make it live; and for that it must be in our hearts. As I have said to President Wilson, there must be no sacrifice which we are not ready to accept.
“I doubt not that you are ready for it.
“We shall arrive at this result only if we try impartially to reconcile interests apparently opposite; by looking above them at a greater and happier humanity. That, gentlemen, is what I have to say to you.
“I am touched beyond expression at the mark of confidence and friendship which you are good enough to give me. The programme of this Conference has been laid down by President Wilson; we [Page 169] have no longer to make peace for territories more or less large; we have no longer to make peace for continents; we have to make it for peoples. This programme is self-sufficing. There is no word to be added to it. Gentlemen, let us try to act quickly and well.”
The President lays on the table the rules of the conference, for distribution among the delegates. (Annex 2).
Passing, then, to the last part of the order of the day of the Session, the President announces that the questions contained in it are the following:
- The responsibility of the authors of the war;
- The penalty for the crimes committed during the war;
- International legislation on labor.
The President declares that the Delegates of all powers represented are invited to hand in memoranda on these three questions. He also begs the representatives of the powers who have special interests to deliver to the Secretariat General memoranda on questions of every kind—territorial, financial, or economic—which particularly interest them. This method is somewhat new, but it has not seemed right to impose upon the Conference a particular order of work. To gain time, powers are invited first to make known their claims. All the peoples represented at the Conference can put forward, not only demands which concern themselves, but also demands of a general character. The Delegations are begged to present these memoranda as soon as possible.
On these memoranda a comprehensive work will be compiled for submission to the Conference. The third question, relative to international legislation on labor, can even be treated from the point of view of the organization of labor; it therefore covers a very wide field.
The President draws the attention of the Conference to the urgency of the first question, concerning the responsibility of the authors of the war. It is unnecessary to state the reason for this; if it is wished to establish law in the world, penalties for the breach thereof can be applied at once, since the allied and associated powers are victorious. These penalties will be demanded against the authors of the abominable crimes committed during the war. This first question is, indeed, the subject of a memorandum by Mr. Larnaude, Dean of the Faculty of Law of Paris, and Mr. de Lapradelle, Professor of International Law of the same Faculty, published under the following title: “Examen de la Responsabilité Pénale de l’Empereur Guillaume II.” This memorandum will be distributed by the Secretariat-General to all the Delegations.[Page 170]
In England and in America works have also been published on this point.
This program of work having met with general approval, the President informs the Conference that at the head of the order of the day of the next Session stands the question of the League of Nations.
Finally, the President thinks right to add that as the different Delegations are to work in complete agreement, each member of the Conference is invited to present such observations as he may consider necessary. The Bureau will welcome the expression of any opinion which may be manifested and will reply to all questions asked of it.
As nobody wishes to speak, the session is adjourned at 16:35 o’clock (4:35 p.m.).
J. C. Grew,
M. P. A. Hankey,