Paris Peace Conf. 180.03101/36



Minutes of the Meeting of the Supreme War Council at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, February 12, 1919, Held in M. Pichon’s Room at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • President Wilson
      • Mr. R. Lansing
    • British Empire
      • The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O. M., M. P.
      • The Rt. Hon. Viscount Milner, G. C. B., G. C. M. G.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau
      • M. Pichon.
    • Secretaries
      • Mr. A. H. Frazier
      • Mr. L. Harrison
      • Lt. Col. Sir M. P. A. Hankey, K. C. B.
      • Mr. E. Phipps
      • M. Dutasta
      • M. Berthelot
      • M. de Bearn
    • Italy
      • H. E. M. Orlando
      • H. E. Baron Sonnino
      • Secretaries
        • Count Aldrovandi
        • M. Bertele
    • Japan
      • Baron Makino
      • H. E. M. Matsui
  • Joint Secretariat
    • America, United States of
      • Col. U. S. Grant
    • British Empire
      • Major A. M. Caccia, M. V. O.
    • France
      • Capt. A. Portier.
    • Italy
      • Major A. Jones
    • Japan
      • M. Saburi
  • Also Present
    • America, United States of
      • Gen. Tasker H. Bliss
      • Admiral Benson
      • Maj. Gen. McAndrew
      • Lt. Comdr. Carter
      • Captain de Marenches
    • British Empire
      • Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, K. T.
      • Lieut. Gen. The Hon. Sir Henry [Herbert?] Lawrence, K. C. B.
      • Maj. Gen. the Hon. C. J. Sackville-West, C. M. G.
      • Maj. Gen. Thwaites, C. B.
      • Rear Admiral Hope, C. B.
      • Capt. Fuller, R. N., C. B., D. S. O.
      • Mr. Keynes, C. B.
    • France
      • M. Klotz
      • M. Loucheur
      • M. Clémentel
      • M. Leygues
      • Marshal Foch
      • Marshal Petain
      • Gen. Degoutte
      • Gen. Belin
      • Admiral de Bon
      • Lt. Odend’hal
      • M. de Lasteyrie
      • Gen. Weygand
    • Italy
      • H. E. M. Crespi
      • H. E. General Diaz
      • General Cavallero
      • Admiral Grassi
    • Japan
      • General Nara
      • Colonel Nagai
      • Captain Fujioka
      • Capt. de Vaisseau Nomura
      • Capt. de Vaisseau Yamamoto

Interpreter: Professor P. J. Mantoux.

Terms for Renewal of the Armistice With Germany: (a) Conclusions of Committee Assembled in Accordance With the Decision of Supreme War Council Dated 10th, Feb, 1919 1. M. Clemenceau having declared the meeting opened, called for the report of the Committee which had assembled at Marshal Foch’s Headquarters in accordance with the decision of the Supreme War Council, dated 10th February, 1919.1

(General Weygand then read the conclusions of the Committee assembled in accordance with the decision of the Supreme War Council of the 10th February, 1919. For full text, see Annexure “A”.)

M. Clemenceau inquired whether it was thought advisable by the Conference to discuss the report at once.

President Wilson thought the sooner this was done, the better.

(It was agreed that the report should be discussed forthwith).

M. Orlando expressed the desire to ask a question in regard to the report just read. The concluding paragraph of the Committee’s report contained the following declaration: “The members of the Committee are of the opinion that naval and military terms of peace should be drawn up immediately by a Commission appointed for the purpose, and shall be imposed on the enemy.” He understood that “the naval and military terms of peace” therein referred to were not the same as the conditions contained in the body of the report, which were purely provisional. The two sets of conditions constituted, in fact, two entirely separate propositions.

(b) Mr. Balfour’s Suggestion for Naval & Military Terms of Peace To Be Imposed on Germans Mr. Balfour agreed that there were evidently two quite different questions to be decided, namely:—First, how should the execution by the Germans of the unfulfilled promises be assured. Second, what was to be the future policy of the Associated Governments in regard to the renewal of the Armistice: should the Armistice constantly be renewed, with new clauses and new conditions, or were the final Naval and Military Terms to be drawn up immediately and imposed on the enemy? The two questions should be kept quite distinct.

M. Orlando remarked that that was exactly the distinction he had meant to emphasise.

M. Clemenceau held that the final peace terms must not now be discussed. The Committee had certainly made that suggestion; but [Page 972] this report contained no indication as to what the naval or military terms of peace should be. The question would no doubt eventually have to be referred to the Committee for advice. But the Council was not in a position that day to discuss peace terms. On the other hand, the first of Mr. Balfour’s two points, namely, the enforcement of the conditions already accepted by the Germans, called for an immediate decision, as Marshal Foch would have to confer with the Germans almost immediately for the renewal of the Armistice.

Marshal Foch pointed out that the armistice would expire at 5.0 a.m. on the 17th February next, and the renewal would have to be signed on the 16th. He would therefore be obliged to leave Paris on the 14th or 15th.

M. Clemenceau resuming said that only two days would therefore be available for a decision to be reached. Obviously, more than two days would be required to decide the final naval and military clauses to be included in the Treaty of Peace. Consequently, the consideration of that question would have to be postponed, but the conditions for a renewal of the armistice must at once be decided.

Mr. Balfour agreed that it was impossible to discuss then and there the final peace terms; but the general policy which should govern their arrangements in regard to the renewal of the armistice, in view of arriving at the final peace terms was quite another question. Doubts had been expressed as to the advisability of using the renewal of the armistice each month as a means of getting new terms out of the Germans. From time to time some slight modifications might be desirable and necessary. For instance, the question of Poland was one which called for immediate action, but many of the members of the Council held the view that it was inexpedient to introduce new terms every time the armistice was renewed. No satisfactory end could, however, be put to that method of procedure until the conditions of the final peace terms had been decided, and, he agreed, that a decision on that question could not be reached on that day. His proposal, therefore, was that only inevitably small changes, or no changes whatever, should be made in the armistice until the Allies were prepared to say to Germany: “These are the final naval and military terms of peace, which you must accept in order to enable Europe to demobilise and so to resume its life on a peace footing and re-establish its industries.”

President Wilson said that Mr. Balfour’s proposal for the first time seemed to suggest to him a satisfactory solution. All along his difficulty had been that little and irritating secondary demands were continually being added to the armistice conditions whilst at the same time reports were being received to the effect that the previously accepted terms had not been fulfilled. Each time he had [Page 973] asked the question “What will be the result of adding these new conditions? How can the enforcement of the unfulfilled conditions be secured?” And he had been conscious of the fact that either might involve a renewal of hostilities. He was perfectly prepared to renew the war if the Germans refused to accept the final terms of peace, decided upon by the Allies. But he was not prepared to renew hostilities because the Germans might refuse to accept some little portion of the eventual peace terms. Each time something was asked for which, if not accepted, meant the renewal of the war; but each condition by itself was not worth the renewal of the war. On the other hand, a refusal to accept the Allies’ final terms of peace would be worth renewing the war, and ultimately the Allies would have to insist on the acceptance of their peace terms. Moreover, renewal of the armistice, with certain small additional conditions merely meant a repetition and a continuance of endless debates with the Germans as to the reason why they had been unable to comply with the accepted conditions, close technical distinctions being raised in regard to the meaning of those conditions. It seemed to him that this procedure placed the Allied Governments in the undignified position of debating with the Germans, while conscious all the time that a stop could be put to the debate by a renewal of hostilities. There could be no desire to debate with the Germans and, therefore, the final conditions to be imposed must be decided upon. That was business, as compared with the present policy which meant asking for things that formed only a part of the programme and not the whole programme. Personally he was deeply interested in the fulfilment of the entire programme, and he was ready to employ the whole strength of the American army to obtain the acceptance of the whole of the naval and military terms of peace: but he was not prepared to make use of that Army for the little pieces. It was reported that Germany had failed to fulfil part of the terms of the Armistice. What was to be done? It was suggested that more conditions should be imposed on the enemy at the next renewal of the Armistice. The enforcement of the new conditions would, however, inevitably lead to more debates and further discussions with the Germans. Would it not be better, as had been suggested, to go to Spa and to say to the Germans: “The present situation is altogether unsatisfactory. You have failed to keep your promises. You have failed to carry out the terms of the Armistice. The Armistice will be renewed, on the present terms, for a period which will be terminated on a few days’ notice. Meanwhile the final Military and Naval terms of peace will be drawn up and presented to you for acceptance on the understanding that non-acceptance of the whole [Page 974] of the terms would mean an immediate resumption of hostilities.”

The proposal he had just made had been suggested to him that morning and it appeared to him as a thoroughly sound and statesmanlike idea.

M. Clemenceau protested that yet once more, in his long career, he felt compelled with great regret to state that his views differed very considerably from those he had just heard. It had been stated that the Germans had not carried out the terms of the Armistice, but that it would merely be irritating to the Germans if difficulties were constantly raised about the non-fulfilment of secondary demands.

Mr. Balfour remarked that M. Clemenceau should have said: “future secondary demands.”

M. Clemenceau accepted the correction and said that he had a great many remarks to make on that point. He proposed to begin his argument at the end, by referring to the proposals put forward by the Economic and Military Committee.

According to President Wilson’s proposal, the Allies would condescend to explain to the Germans that the Naval and Military terms of peace would be drawn up and presented to them for acceptance as soon as possible. But the military terms depended I largely on the other terms. If the differences existing between the thirty odd nations represented at the Conference were settled; if the creation of the League of Nations gave the guarantees that were expected from it, the military terms would be different from what they would be if no agreement were reached on these various points. Consequently, he believed the military terms could not be separated from the political, economic and financial terms.

Next, President Wilson had said: “I am ready to employ the whole strength of the American Army to obtain acceptance of the final conditions of peace. As to secondary questions—well, let them go. For vital questions, I am ready to renew the war, if necessary.” If President Wilson would allow him to say so he thought that would be putting the question in an academic, theoretical and doctrinal light. In practice the question would present itself quite differently, for the final conditions of peace would only be settled after a large proportion of the troops had been sent home, when the Americans, the English and the Italians had gone. What would be the Allies’ military situation when the present accepted demobilisation schemes had been carried out? The scheme relating to the forces to be maintained in the occupied territories until the signature of peace provided for the employment of 51 French, 10 British and 10 American divisions. After the frightful losses suffered by the French nation both materially, financially and in men, when it still had sufficient [Page 975] strength to maintain 51 divisions at the front, was that the moment to say to the Germans: “If you are not in an accommodating humour, we shall start fighting again”? The final military conditions to be imposed might be extremely difficult, and it might be that the enemies, having been left free to act on the other side of the frontier, a great deal of blood would have to be shed to conquer them a second time. He thought that problem had not received sufficient consideration. In his opinion, it had been presented in too theoretical, too academic a form. But the fact must be faced that during 4 years of war the countryside of France had been devastated and subjected to the worst kind of savagery. At the end of that time, the enemy had been forced to surrender at discretion. But, left to themselves, the Germans had created order, just as the Russians had created disorder. The Germans had succeeded in forming a Government, and the first words spoken in the National Assembly had been: “Deutsch-land fiber Alles”. The second thing done had been to place all power in the hands of the accomplices of William II. News had been received that morning that Scheidemann, one of William’s most direct agents, was to govern Germany. Could it be imagined that he would alter his views though he might speak in favour of the League of Nations and of universal brotherhood? No, he did not think his hearers would allow themselves to be deceived. Let them read the German newspapers. It would be seen that they breathed nothing but threats. Ebert had said: “We will not accept terms which are too hard”. And why was all this done? To exercise a detrimental influence on our moral[e], to frighten us, to make us fear that, if the Germans were angered, the war might begin again. Nobody was less desirous than himself of seeing the war begin again, but it must not be forgotten that we were still at war. War continued in the minds of men; the same minds that had made the war of 1914. The German nation had not suffered from invasion, its aggressive moral[e] had been preserved intact. On the other hand, the Allied Conference could not have acted differently, nor more quickly, than it had done. Vital preliminary work had to be done. It had, however, been accused of impotence by the press, and probably the Germans had come to think that the Allies were quarreling and that they were incapable of action. He would implore the Council not to confirm the Germans in that idea. The Germans must not be allowed to think that they would be able to face successfully France’s 51 divisions after the Allied troops had dispersed.

Returning to his starting-point, complaints had been made that the Germans were not carrying out the armistice terms. But they must be compelled to carry them out; as to that, all were agreed. [Page 976] Then it had been said, (it was the echo of a sentiment he had read in German newspapers), that there must be no fresh terms, otherwise, the Germans would get angry, would start discussions. That argument might hold good if the new conditions to be imposed were either frivolous or due to the sudden impulse of the moment. But, in reply, he need only draw attention to the Polish question, to which Mr. Balfour very rightly attached great importance, even though it was a new question, only a few days old. Now, provided the wishes of the Allies were plainly expressed, it would be impossible for the Germans to rise. Marshal Foch and Marshal Petain would agree that the Germans could not at the present moment embark on an offensive against the Allies. Would the Polish question be worth an offensive? He thought so. But if the Germans were told that an attack on Poland would be followed by an immediate advance of the Allied troops along the entire Western front, Germany would at once comply with the Allies’ conditions. He would here recite his mea culpa, for the matter concerned him directly. He wished to repeat what he had already said, namely, that the fortune of war had been such that neither American nor British territories had suffered, whilst the territory of France had been so ravaged that it would seem as though recovery would be impossible. The first wish of the French frontier peasants had been to get back the cattle which had been stolen from them by the hundred and by the thousand, and which they could watch grazing on the German side. These peasants kept on saying “We have been victorious, of course, but could not the Germans be asked to give us back our cattle?” Well that was not a question of world-wide importance. The world would still continue to go round, even if the unhappy peasants were not granted the means of making good—(and in how fragmentary a fashion)—the disasters caused by the war. Nevertheless Mr. Balfour would not, as a philosopher, contradict him when he said that there was such a thing as a philosophy of war, when events accumulated in the human brain and put it out of gear, destroying the balance of entire nations. The barbarians of whom history spoke took all that they found in the territories invaded by them, but destroyed nothing; they settled down to share the common existence. Now, however, the enemy had systematically destroyed everything that came in his way. As M. Klotz had said in his report, nothing had been left standing. France would be unable to compete against Germany for two years. It had been stated that Germany would be supplied with raw materials; but the industries of France had been scientifically destroyed, not for military reasons, but in order to prevent France from recovering in peace time. That was how matters stood. It [Page 977] was true that Italy had also suffered a great deal, but no comparison was possible, as it was the richest districts of France that had been destroyed. France had lost 3,000,000 men, either killed or mutilated, and it is truly necessary that some compensation should be obtained.

The Conference had worked conscientiously up to the present and had dealt with questions of the highest order. The purest idealism had been represented there, as well as more material interests; but the world was waiting. The Supreme Council would meet again in a fortnight or three weeks; by that time no one must be able to say: “The Associated Governments will not make up their minds to give us that satisfaction to which we are entitled”.

This state of mind must not be allowed to develop. It could not be said that the French people were concerned with material interests to the exclusion of all others. If the French people deserved any reproach it was rather for erring in the opposite direction; for they are apt to be carried away by ideas, regardless of terrestrial affairs. But the people of France were attached to the soil, they were accustomed to work on the soil, and they now implored the representatives of the Allied and Associated peoples to consider this aspect of the question. If no heed were given to such requests, a time would come when small, supposedly secondary, questions would accumulate and create a state of mind which would drive the people to insist on their demands with an amount of energy such as he should not like to see. Indefinite postponements would appear to the Germans as a proof of weakness. He was aware that President Wilson considered the Armistice to be a threat continually hanging over the heads of the Germans. But he (M. Clemenceau) knew the Germans better, and he would assure the Council that they will not take it thus. The Germans must, of course, be spoken to with moderation and equity, but also with firmness and decision; otherwise the Council would be obliged to meet again in a fortnight’s time under less favourable conditions.

In speaking at such length—a proceeding justified by the importance of the question—he had not contradicted any arguments either of President Wilson or Mr. Balfour. He had merely wished to convey his own opinions which coincided with those of the entire French nation. France would suffer most from this indefinite prolongation of the Armistice. He was continually being assailed with requests for a speedy conclusion of peace, and that was the reason why he had been somewhat emphatic in his suggestions. He should like a decision to be reached as soon as possible. The Germans would be compelled to give satisfaction for the violation of the Armistice terms, described at length in General Weygand’s report.

[Page 978]

The Allies should remain firm on these points, including also the terms rendered necessary by the Polish question and such other questions that might arise, seeing that, on President Wilson’s own proposal, an Economic Committee had been attached to Marshal Foch. He urged that the policy so far followed should be continued. The degree of pressure to be exerted would be made to fit each case as it arose. But the Germans must not be told: “Go on, Do as you like, Perhaps we shall some day threaten to break off relations; but just now we will not be firm”. Germany would continue her preparations, and after the Allied troops had dispersed, Marshal Foch might perhaps find himself confronted by more German troops than might have been anticipated.

In conclusion he wished to apologise for having spoken at such length, but it was necessary to say these things.

(c) Mr. Balfour’s Resolution To Impose on Germany Without Delay Final Naval and Military Terms of Peace Mr. Balfour said that M. Clemenceau had made a speech which everybody would regard as most impressive, even though it must inevitably have lost by translation. He thought, however, there was a real misunderstanding, not on all, but on most of the points raised, which he hoped to remove. All were agreed that in regard to the past the Germans must be compelled to carry out the engagements. The wishes of the Allies in regard to Poland must also be complied with. M. Clemenceau had, however, been greatly moved (and not unnaturally) by the declaration made by Marshal Foch’s Committee at the end of their report. That report had only been distributed in the Council Chamber that morning; and he himself had not seen it when he had drawn up his proposals.

M. Clemenceau apparently wished to introduce into the armistice certain conditions which would compel the Germans to restore cattle, sheep, etc., which had been stolen from the unhappy peasants in the ravaged districts of France. In his opinion, that proposal belonged to the general question of reparations, which would be included in the final peace terms, and it could not be separated from similar questions, such as reparations due for the destruction of spindles and weaving machinery. But even if it were decided that the question should not be postponed until the general peace treaty came to be drawn up, such proposals should, he thought, be discussed separately with the Germans, who should be informed that the supply of raw materials would be made conditional on the return of the cattle. He need only assure M. Clemenceau that everybody felt most deeply for the general suffering which France had had to endure.

The fundamental misunderstanding which existed lay, however, in the fact that M. Clemenceau believed that the policy suggested was [Page 979] one dictated by a desire to put off a decision and to yield to the Germans until such time as the British and American troops had been withdrawn from France. That was not only not the policy proposed, but the whole object of his proposal was to hasten the time when the Germans would have been compelled to demobilise their forces to such a degree as to render them helpless. Speed and thoroughness was what they were aiming at. The long succession of months spent, not in bringing about a peace, but in settling small additional conditions to the terms of the armistice, was postponing the final settlement in a dangerous manner. It was, therefore, with the object of reaching a complete and a rapid end that his proposals had been put forward. Consequently when M. Clemenceau pointed to the small number of American and British troops which would be left when the final solution would come—that was the very reason why he wished to hasten the settlement so that demobilisation of the Allied forces could be carried out without fear and misgiving, after the Germans themselves had been compelled to demobilise.

His plan might be good or it might be bad, but its object was to get over the danger which M. Clemenceau foresaw, so that Germany would no longer be able to resist, and the Allies would then be in a position to exact those reparations which might be thought to be just.

He wished, therefore, to submit the following resolution for discussion at the meeting to be held that afternoon. It embodied the general policy, which he thought did not in reality differ in substance from M. Clemenceau’s, though differing in form:—

“The Supreme War Council agree that:

The armistice with Germany shall be renewed on the present terms for an undefined period terminable by the Allied and Associated Powers at . . . . . days’ notice.
Detailed and final naval, military, and air conditions shall be drawn up at once by a Committee to be presided over by Marshal Foch and submitted for the approval of the Supreme War Council: These, when approved, will be presented for signature to the Germans.
After the signature of these preliminaries of peace Germany will be permitted to receive such controlled quantities of food, and raw materials for the rehabilitation of her industry, as shall be deemed just, having regard to the prior claims of Allied countries, especially those on whose industries Germany has deliberately inflicted damage.
The question of the quantities of food and raw material to be allowed to Germany after the signature of the preliminaries of peace shall be referred to the Economic Council for examination and report.”

(It was agreed to adjourn the discussion until 3.0 p.m. that afternoon. The technical, Military and Naval Advisers were requested to be in attendance at 5.0 p.m.).

[Page 980]

Annexure A

Conclusions of Committee Assembled in accordance with the Decision of Supreme War Council on 10th February, 1919

The Committee assembled at Marshal Foch’s Headquarters in accordance with the decisions of the 10th February 1919 of the Supreme War Council of the Allied and Associated Powers, and consisting of:—

America General Bliss, Mr. Norman Davis.
France M. Clémentel, General Degoutte.
Great Britain Lord Robert Cecil, General Thwaites.
Italy M. Crespi, Brigadier-General Cavallero.

with whom were associated in accordance with the decision of the above Council the Commanders-in-Chief of the Allied forces.

  • Marshal Pétain.
  • General Diaz.
  • General McAndrew (representing General Pershing.)
  • Admiral Benson.
  • Admiral de Bon.
  • Admiral Hope.
  • Admiral Grassi.

has the honour to submit to the Supreme War Council the following report:—

I. Infringement by Germany of Successive Conventions of the Armistice and of the Protocols Annexed to the Armistice

(1) Repatriation of Alsatians-Lorrainians still incorporated in the German Army.

The principle of this repatriation has been formally established by article 3 of the Convention of the Armistice of November 11, 1918.

But, owing to the sluggishness, the delays and even the refusals opposed by the German Authorities, it has not been executed. The Alsatians-Lorrainians incorporated in units stationed in the interior of the German territory or in those forming part of the Armies of the East, of Ukraine and of Southern Russia, have not been repatriated.

Such is the situation de facto, three months after the signature of the above-mentioned Convention.

It must be further remarked that it has been impossible to obtain from the Germans any information regarding the number of Alsatians-Lorrainians remaining incorporated in the German Army.

[Page 981]

The whole of these facts constitutes a violation well characterised of Article 3 of the Convention of November 11.

Annex No. 1 gives the analysis of the documents concerning this question.

(1) It should be mentioned, however, that after the present report was adopted, the following telegram has been received from Spa:—

“German Commission gave this morning intimation that Alsatians Lorrainians were the first on the list of repatriation of the German troops of Nikolaiewsk”.

(2) German behaviour in Poland.

This includes on the one side:

The organisation on the Eastern frontiers of Germany of two important military groups, one in the region of Koenigsberg, the other in the province of Posen, under the command of Field-Marshal Hindenburg.
The obstacles brought about by the German troops returning from Ukraine against the anti-bolshevist action of the Poles in the region of Vilna-Pinsk.

This behaviour compelled the Allied and Associated Governments to send the telegram of February 2 to the German High Command, announcing the forwarding to Poland of an Inter-Allied Mission, and advising formally the said Command not to use force against the Poles.2

The answer of the German Government, formulated by Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau, states word for word that Germany declines to execute the order of its adversaries.3

On the other hand, M. Dmowski, representative of the National Polish Committee, has brought the proof that the German High Command had signed with the Ukrainian Government a Convention, the clauses of which are contrary to the engagements taken by the German Government with the Allied and Associated Powers.

According to this convention, the Germans promise:

  • —to forbid the Poles access to the region Brest-Litovsk, Pinsk, Goloby, Kowel, Vlodava;
  • —to hand over this region to the Ukrainians as fast as it is evacuated by the German troops;
  • —not only to make no obstacle to the operations of the Ukrainians against the Poles in Galicia, but also to cover these operations;
  • —by this convention, the Germans formally recognise the maintenance of the Brest-Litovsk treaty.

[Page 982]

Although the copy of this document which fell in our hands does not bear any date of signature, it is nevertheless evident that it refers to the present time, since the orders mentioned in it are to be carried out from January 31.

Furthermore the Germans have continued, after November 11 to make requisitions and to order coercive measures in Poland.

The above-mentioned behaviour and this secret Convention between the Germans and the Ukrainians constitutes a violation of articles 12, 13, 14, 15 of the Armistice Convention.

(See Annex II, note from Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau, and Germano-Ukrainian Military Convention).

3°) Revictualling of Poland.

On January 21, 1919, by telegram n° 1740/C. R., the German Government was advised, through the President of the C. I. P. A.4 of Spa, of the measures taken by the Allied and Associated Governments to ensure, in accordance with article 16 of the Armistice Convention of November 11, the revictualling in foodstuffs of Poland.

On February 1st, the German Government gave their answer on the subject. In this document, they state that they cannot guarantee the safety of the food transports for Poland; they ask that the revictualling of the German population of the Eastern Provinces should begin at least at the same time as the transports of food for Poland: they propose in addition that the rolling stock necessary for this transport should be levied on the number of engines and railway trucks handed over by Germany to the Allies.

This reply is a violation of article 16 of the Convention of November 11, as it refuses to guarantee the safety of the food transports. It is otherwise a proof, owing to the other questions that it tries to bring up, (revictualling of Germany and handing over of railway material), of the ill-will of the German Government to execute the terms of the Convention that it signed.

(See Annex III, telegrams exchanged with C. I. P. A. and reply of the German Government concerning the revictualling of Poland).

4°) Repatriation of Russian Prisoners of War.

Clause 4 of the Convention of Armistice of January 16 is not executed.

(See Annex IV, telegram from General Nudant.)

5°) Violation of Naval Conditions of Armistice.

The Germans have failed in the following respects to comply with the terms of Armistice concluded at Treves on 16 January, 1919:— [Page 983]

The Germans refuse to provide crews for twenty submarines, as they say the vessels are not in commission. They state that they refused to provide crews for these submarines at Treves on 16 January, 1919. P. A. N. A. C.5 states that the German refusal regarding these crews was not accepted and that the Germans signed an engagement to the effect that they would provide crews.
The Germans have commenced to break up several submarines instead of surrendering them in accordance with the terms of the Armistice. The Inspection Sub-Commission are now in Germany investigating this question, and so far as the investigation has proceeded it appears that 15 boats have had their engines removed.
The Germans now say they have insufficient tugs to transfer 21 submarines from Germany to England by 17th February, 1919, although they signed an engagement to transfer the submarines by that date when at Trèves on 16 January, 1919.

(For further details, vide attached Annex V).

6°) Questions relating to the surrender of the Mercantile Marine.

While the German authorities have sought to reopen certain questions for discussion and have interpreted differently from ourselves certain possibly ambiguous phrases in the agreement, the Committee cannot say on the evidence now before them that the Germans have yet committed any act which can be construed as an infringement of their engagements under the Armistice. They have in fact handed over, or are about to hand over, a substantial amount both of freight and passenger tonnage.

7) Financial Clauses.

The German authorities, as set forth below, have not completely executed certain of their engagements under the Armistice, whether by reason of their practical difficulties or by wilful default.

Whereas the German Government undertook under the Armistice to restore immediately all documents, cash and securities taken by them, they have in fact delivered so far only an insignificant quantity alleging by way of excuse that the political crisis at home and transport difficulties have rendered more rapid compliance impossible.
Whereas under Article 1 of the Financial Protocol concluded in connection with the Armistice Renewal of December 13th, the German Government undertook not to grant authorisations for the export of securities and other valuables without the previous agreement of the Allies, such securities have in fact been allowed to leave Germany in certain cases. In justification of this the German Government plead that under the strict wording of the agreement they have done nothing contrary to it, in as much as they did not [Page 984] agree to prohibit the export of securities and the mere refusal to grant authorisations in circumstances where the law requires no authorisation is naturally not equivalent to prohibition. This trick was protested against by the Allied Financial Representatives at the January Conference at Treves and the German authorities then promised to submit revised proposals. These revised proposals have just been received but have not yet been examined.
Under Article IV of the Financial Protocol of Treves of the 13th December the German authorities undertook to examine in agreement with the Allies the question of what measures could be taken for the restoration with the least possible delay of Allied property which had been sequestered. These negotiations have not yet been initiated and the German authorities have declared that they propose to discuss at the same time the question of sequestered property, whether Allied or enemy, in invaded districts generally.

II. Means of Enforcing Compliance

As regards the means of enforcing compliance, the Committee has decided to submit separately to the Supreme War Council the conclusions of each sub-Committee, military and economic.

(a) conclusions reached by the economic sub-committee

The Committee, without expressing any opinion as to the desirability of those methods or their appropriateness to the acts to be remedied, find that the following are the methods open to the Allied and Associated Powers of putting pressure upon the German Authorities in order to compel them to fulfil their engagements under the Armistice and its renewals:—

1. Economic Methods.

to withhold altogether pending compliance all supplies of food including those already promised.
to delay these supplies and proportion their rate of delivery to the rate at which the conditions so far infringed are complied with.
to permit the first consignments of food already promised, but to intimate that Germany cannot expect any further supplies unless and until she mends her behaviour.
to impose, subject to any engagements which may have been entered into with neutral governments, a strict and absolute blockade upon trade to and from Germany in the Baltic. But the Committee doubt if this last method would practically produce much effect upon Germany. There has been very little relaxation of the blockade since the Armistice, and to withdraw this small relaxation would [Page 985] not make the blockade substantially stricter than it is at present as far as Germany is concerned, while it would produce considerable hardship on the neutrals.

While the Committee is of opinion that, assuming the conditions in Germany are as serious as some, but by no means all, observers think, very considerable and effective pressure could be exerted upon Germany by withholding supplies of food, they desire to point out that any proposal to take action on such lines requires careful consideration in conjunction with its possible reaction on the internal condition of Germany. The Committee is itself doubtful whether it would be prudent to make use of this weapon except in the event of clear, unmistakable and deliberate infringement of the armistice on points of substance and importance.

(b) conclusions reached by the military sub-committee

The following measures are submitted for the decision of the Supreme War Council:—

(1) To impose at once upon Germany fixed conditions as regards a military and naval status, comprising,

Admiral Benson Declares That He Is Opposed to the Inclusion in the Armistice of Clauses Dealing With the Limitation of Naval Forces the limitation of personnel to a strength of 25 Infantry Divisions, of which
  • 5 for the Eastern front
  • 5 for the Western front
  • 5 for the Southern front
  • 10 in reserve in the interior of Germany
  • 5 cavalry divisions.
The limitation of armaments by land, by sea and in the air and, consequently, the putting out of action of war material in excess.
The Control of these measures.

The regulation of the situation in the East of Germany so as to assure the future destiny of Poland. With this object in view.

To demand of Germany the cessation of all hostile movements and to insist that both German and Polish forces should stop on either side of the line.

(Map to be produced showing above mentioned line).

The dissolution of the groups which have just been formed in the East against Poland and the limitation of the forces maintained in these regions and in Eastern Prussia to a strength of 5 divisions.

The hastening of the evacuation of Polish territory by German troops coming from the Ukraine, so that such evacuation shall be completed by the 1st. March.

To occupy and operate the base at Dantzig, and the railway Dantzig-Mlawa as well as the railway and the waterway Dantzig-Thorn (application of Article 16 of the Convention of the 11th. November.)

To transport to Poland the Polish Army in France.

[Page 986]

If these measures are agreed to by the Allied and Associated Governments, the following clauses will be the substance of the Convention the acceptance of which will be demanded of Germany.

(The draft of this Convention will be printed separately).

If the Germans refuse to accept these conditions, the Allied plenipotentiaries will declare that negotiations are broken off, that the armistice is ended and that, in consequence on the following date . . . . . . . the Allies will reserve to themselves complete freedom of action.

The Allied and Associated Governments will then take the following measures.

(i) Economic Measures.

The blockade will be resumed with the greatest severity; therefore the measures which are now being carried out for the supply of food to Germany will cease.

(ii) Military Measures.

The Allied High Command will resume the unrestricted use of all its means of action.

The whole Committee decided at the conclusion of the meeting to add to their report the following declaration:—

“However, the members of the Committee desire to express this, their opinion: to obtain as rapidly as possible a final result and to put a stop to the difficulties which are constantly renewed by the Germans, the members of the Committee are of the opinion that Naval and Military terms of peace should be drawn up immediately by a Commission appointed for the purpose, and shall be imposed on the enemy.”

annex i

On the 12th January General Nudant reported bad faith shown by the German Armistice Commission regarding the repatriation of men of Alsace-Lorraine.

On the 16th January Marshal Foch sent General Dupont6 a telegram telling him to organise the repatriation of men of Alsace-Lorraine with the Kriegsministerium and to exact the greatest diligence from the German Government.

On the 23rd January General Winterfeldt7 declared that on the 8th January fresh instructions had been sent by the Kriegsministerium to the Army of the East and to the authorities in the interior, but that a reply had not yet been received.

[Page 987]

On the 27th January Marshal Foch asked General Nudant to obtain the repatriation of men of Alsace-Lorraine in Southern Russia, giving them priority in the repatriation scheme of German elements in that region.

On the 28th January General Dupont, replying to a question asked by General Desticker,8 reported that, in spite of the demands sent twice a day by him to the Kriegsministerium, he could obtain no information about the men of Alsace-Lorraine to be repatriated, either in the armies of the East or in the interior. He shows that it is a case of flagrant bad faith on the part of the Kriegministerium in this matter and considers that only measures of coercion will obtain the looked for result; with this intent he proposes to retard the repatriation of the German prisoners of war.

On the 3rd February the German Commission rejected the proposal to repatriate the men of Alsace-Lorraine in Russia more rapidly than other German soldiers “as neither the means of transport nor the morale of the troops allowed of this being done.”

On the 4th February, Marshal Foch insisted on his injunctions in this matter and declared that he would suppress the transports supplied for repatriation if satisfaction was not given.

annex ii

Cypher Telegram, General Nudant, President C. I. P. A., to Marshal Foch, Paris

No. 367/M

No. 544

The German Commission sent this morning a reply of Brockdorff-Rantzau to telegram No. 934 Guerre of the 2nd February.9

The Commission sent to Poland by the Associated Powers can only exercise its functions outside the limits of Germany as shown by the Convention of the Armistice. The German Government reserves to itself the formal rights of sovereignty within those limits. Germany is resolved to keep engagements made with the Poles according to Wilsonian principles, but will not tolerate such engagements being forced on them by German subjects of Polish origin.

The German Government reserves to itself the right of intervening in the case of Polish rebellions in Eastern Prussian provinces as long as all the Polish armed forces have not left territory actually [Page 988] German. The ultimate nationality of these territories which Marshal Foch calls German Poland can only be settled at the treaty of Peace. Germany till then refuses to accept the injunctions of her adversaries on the subject of the attitude of her authorities in these territories.

Convention With the German General Command

A large number of German formations are now concentrated within the sector Goloby-Kovel-Pinsk-Brest-Litowsk-Wlodawa. In order to allow the German General Command to evacuate without hindrance these formations to Germany, a measure which will only be possible if the troops in the Ukraine Republic abstain from taking any action within the above sector against the Poles and also if the aforesaid sector does not fall in the course of evacuation into the hands of the Poles, the German General Command and the Command of the Republican troops of the Ukraine have agreed to sign the following Convention:—

The German Command assures to the Authorities of the Assembly military control in this sector and engages itself not to allow the Poles to enter the said sector until the end of the evacuation and hands over to the authorities of the Ukraine the control and the use of the liberated territories as the German troops leave them.
The operations of our troops against the Poles in the direction of Wladimir-Wolynsk-Sokal will proceed without opposition on the part of the Germans, moreover the right flank of our troops shall be made secure by the Germans according to the terms of the present Convention, in the sector occupied by them, against all attacks and surprises by the Poles.
During the whole duration of the operations in the direction of Wladimir-Wolynsk-Sokal the right of using the railway lines Goloby-Kowel-Wladimir-Wolynsk for the purpose of transporting food and munitions of war is assured to the troops of the Ukraine.
Free passage in the above mentioned territory as well as in the west of the Bug River is assured to the citizens of the Ukrainian Republic on the presentation of certificates issued by the Ukrainian authorities.
The German and Ukrainian General Commands must from the 31st January issue orders in the sense of the aforesaid Convention.
The present Convention does not deal with the future of the territory situated to the East of the River Bug which according to the terms of the Treaty signed at Brest-Litowsk on the 9th February 1918 belongs to the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Republic of the people. The present Convention bears the signature of the Command of the 21st Corps, General Gipseek, for the Germans and is countersigned by the chief of the military mission., Major Muhlheim.

[Page 989]

annex iii

Telegram, Field Marshal Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies to General Nudant, President of the Permanent Inter-Allied Armistice Commission, Spa

No. 1740/C.R.

The Inter-Allied Supply Council is about to send to Dantzig the necessary provisions to remedy the present critical food situation in Poland. In accordance with Article 16 of the Armistice Convention of the 11th November, ask the President of the German Armistice Commission to make urgent representations to the German Government to assure the transport of at least 3,000 tons of food-stuffs daily from Dantzig to the Polish frontier.

The German Government must insure the absolute protection of this transport, the carrying out of which will be controlled by the Allied delegates.

Please report with as little delay as possible the measures taken by the German authorities.


Telegram, General Nudant to Etat-Major Bacon

No. 496

Reply to Telegram No. 3564/C.R.

The German Government is ready in principle to allow food destined for Poland (of the Congress) to pass. But it seems doubtful whether the bad condition of the railways and the great shortage of rolling stock will permit of the flow of traffic without hindrance as far as the German-Polish frontier.
Germany asks to be assured that the material supplied for the transport of these provisions shall be immediately returned.
The German Commission reserves to itself the right of making other communications on this subject later on.

Telegram, Field Marshal Commander in-Chief of Allied Armies (D.G.C.R.A.) to President C.I.P.A., Spa

No. 3790/C.R.

A continuation of telegram No. 3564/C.R. and in reply to telegram 496 of the 27th January.

  • First, the arrangements made by the German Government to allow the passage of food into Poland are noted.
  • Secondly, it is noted that the rolling material supplied by the Germans for the transport of these provisions shall be immediately returned.
P.O. The Director General of C.R.A.


Representative of the German Government to General Nudant, President of the Inter-Allied Armistice Commission

In the full séance of the Armistice Commission at Spa on the 21st January 1919, General Nudant produced a note on the despatch of provisions to Poland in which the German Government was asked to ensure the transport of at least 3,000 tons of provision daily from Dantzig for the Polish frontier. Before the despatch of this note the representative of the Polish Minister had asked the management of the Dantzig railways to enter into negotiations with him on this subject. The management of the Dantzig railways refused to enter into negotiations, not having the power to do so; at the same time they accepted the request of the Polish Government. In consequence the despatch of at least 300 waggons and if possible of 500 waggons of food per diem had been contemplated (such food arriving at Dantzig on American ships) from Dantzig to the frontier station of Illowo and even from that station as far as the territory of Poland according to the agreement. This transport will be carried out by the Administration of the Prussian Railways. The Prussian Minister of Public works informed us of this request made by the Polish Minister of Communications. At the same time the Minister of Public Works is not without knowledge that owing to the difficulties of exploitation, resulting in the first place from the lack of means of exploitation and from the lack of coal, it was not possible to furnish the supplementary means for this transport unless the necessary locomotives and waggons were put at the disposal of the Prussian railways.

To say nothing of the difficulties regarding the transport it must also be mentioned that technically it is impossible, considering the trans-shipment installation at Dantzig and its port (quays, warehouses, stations etc.) and considering the present labour situation to trans-ship daily more than from 1000 to 1500 tons from the ships into the waggons. Even to reach this number special measures are necessary which have already been arranged for.

As daily discharge of 3000 tons would necessitate the use of 10 extra waggons and the existing organisation of the port does not allow of it, as Dantzig, a Baltic port, does not lend itself to the use of large Atlantic steamers drawing a great deal of water.

[Page 991]

Consequent on the above and in compliance with the orders that I have received with the knowledge of the Allied Governments I am instructed also to make it known to the Allied Governments that the German Government cannot undertake the transport asked for by the Polish Government. Such transport would necessitate a super-addition of labour and means of exploitation and an expenditure of coal which in face of the existing extreme difficulties of exploitation could not be supplied.

The German Government therefore proposes that the Allies should agree that the locomotives and trucks required for this transport should be levied from the number of locomotives and trucks to be surrendered by the Germans, and should be kept for this purpose until a convenient date, a date which will be reached after the end of the carrying out of this transport.

Moreover it may be said that the Poles will not be able to give up locomotives. If there was no trans-shipment of transport at Illowo by the Poles, the German Government would be obliged, in view of the continual intervention by the Poles in the running of the German railways, above all by the retention of the material for exportation, to insist in addition that the Polish Government should supply Germany with a number of locomotives and trucks equal to the number of those entering Polish territory.

Considering the very difficult situation as regards coal in Germany the German Government wishes to state that it trusts the Allies will take into account in case this transport takes place the rise in the consumption of coal which will result from it, when the time comes to fix the extent of their demands in coal from Germany, and above all that they should authorise the transport of coal by sea from the North Sea Ports and from Stettin to the Baltic ports.

The German Government considers it understood that the expenses of transport, that is to say the cost of trans-shipment from the ships to the waggons based on local tariffs will be charged to the Allied Governments.

General Nudant has emphasised in the note mentioned at the beginning of this letter, the importance of the German Government guaranteeing the safety of this transport. Naturally the German Government will take the necessary measures to guarantee the transport from a military point of view, but I am instructed to make it known to the Allied Governments that the President of the Province of Eastern Prussia has expressed his fears that the population in this province in their excited state and suffering from hunger, will assume a hostile attitude in the case of food being transported and destined for Poland, and that it would not be possible to stop the people attacking the transports. The German Government therefore asks [Page 992] the Allied Government[s] to consider whether it would not be possible simultaneously with the transport of food destined for Poland, to commence carrying out the transport of food for the German population, and particularly for Dantzig.

Von Haniel

annex iv

General Nudant to Marshal Foch 370/N

Telegram No. 480/P. G. 2

I have received a report from General Dupont of which I consider it necessary to give the substance:—

The repatriation of Russian prisoners of war which the German Government promised to stop still continues by driblets. The greater part of these are enrolled in the Bolshevik Armies.
The Polish repatriation which had been promised is still not being carried out.
Russian Bolshevik agents circulate in Eastern Prussia and encruit [recruit] Russian prisoners of war on the spot.
The Bolshevik campaign in Russian prisoners of war camps which General Ewart10 tried to put a stop to, continues with a tacit agreement of the German authorities. A Russian Bolshevik Office working in Berlin which General Dupont had closed carries on a secret activity.
There is no hostility between the Germans and the Bolsheviks. Numerous and reliable proofs show that these two parties are accomplices probably with a view to fighting the Poles.

All the information rests on certain proofs of which some have been brought to me by Commandant Penaucier proceeding from Berlin to Paris.

E. M. A.
2nd Bureau.

annex v

German Submarines

A thorough inspection of the submarines in Germany was carried out in December by a Sub-Commission of the Allied Naval Armistice [Page 993] Commission, and as a result the supplementary clause was inserted in the Agreement for prolongation of armistice on 16 January, 1919.

On 23 January, 1919 (one week later) Admiral Goette was directed to report by W/T details of the steps being taken to carry out Article XXII as amplified.

No reply having been received on 25 January, a minimum performance expected before a further renewal of the Armistice on 17 February was telegraphed to Germany. The demand and the German reply were:—


49 to be sent to Harwich forthwith, under their own power or to be towed.
  • 3 Russians—special arrangements will be made.
  • Submarine dock and lifting vessels to be sent over unless required for taking to pieces submarines under construction.
The hulls of not less than 50 of those under construction to be broken up.
As regards remainder, all propelling and auxiliary machinery, motors, torpedo and mine tubes, periscopes, guns and mountings to be removed.

German reply

24 submarines have been disarmed; of these:—

21 will be escorted to England, but shortage of tugs prevents any guarantee that this can be completed by 17 February.
3 too far advanced in disarmament to be towed. Will be completely dismantled.

Others are accounted for as follows:—

1 in Norway—will probably be brought over on 1 February.
1 in Holland.
5 in Spain awaiting diplomatic negotiations.
10 late Mediterranean, transferred on 12 January.
3 late Mediterranean, with engine defects, will be towed over when tugs are available.
20 newly-built—no crews available—at disposal of A. N. A. C.

All remaining submarines in Germany will be disabled, and work is in progress.

Salvage vessels Vulcan and Cyclops cannot be transported during winter months. Floating docks for submarines are not arranged for oversea transport. Both salvage vessels and docks at disposal of A. N. A. C.

[Page 994]

The proposal that the newly-built submarines should be taken to England by German seamen was refused at Trèves on 16th. January, 1919.

When above has been carried out Germany claims to have fulfilled terms of Armistice and supplementary conditions.

To this A. N. A. C. telegraphed further on 3 February:

At Trèves it was pointed out that the number which could proceed under own power or be towed was 64. Of these 16 have been surrendered, and the three Russians may be broken up, leaving 45 to be surrendered.

Germany is required to execute completely the amended Article XXII. without further discussion and to reassemble those submarines which have been wilfully rendered unfit for sea and tow them over.

Copy of Telegram to Afloat, Aberdeen, No. 926, Date 30.1.19. Sent 1845.

926. Following intercepted from Admiral Goette to PANAC 1213 G. M. T. Reference your query timed 1220 of 23.1.19, the requirements of the Armistice Treaty and of the Trèves supplements thereto dated January 16 are being carried out as follows:

Of 24 submarines, including submarine cruisers and mine layers, which have been disarmed, 21 will be escorted to a harbour to be named by you. No guarantee can be given that the ferrying over of these vessels can be carried out by February 17, as only a small number of suitable tugs (?) is at our disposal. Time and method of bringing over the individual groups will be reported. A special proposal is to follow regarding three submarines of this group which are as yet not ready for towage.
U. 757 (as received) will probably be brought over from Christiania Fjord on February 1st. Details will be reported. A special proposal follows concerning the giving up U. B. 6 from Holland. As regards the giving up of the five submarines lying in Spain, the agreement of the Spanish Government has not yet reached us. From the German point of view there is nothing against their being handed over.
Ten, formerly Mediterranean submarines, were brought over on January 12; apart from these, three submarines in an attempt to bring them over on January 12 developed engine room defects. These boats will be towed over as soon as tugs are available. Time will be reported.
20 newly built boats, which had not yet been put in commission, are lying in the stocks at your disposal.
All remaining submarines lying in Germany including submarine cruisers and mine layers, will be disabled. Work is in progress. [The construction of the salvage vessels Vulcan]11 and [Page 995] Cyclops makes it impossible for them to be transported across the high seas during the winter months. The floating docks for submarines are not arranged for overseas transport. Both salvage vessels and submarine docks are at your disposal.

Copy of Telegram From Admiralty to Coastguard W/T Rosyth

Repeat C-in-C. G.F. Date 3 February 1919. Sent 1715.

From ANAC to C-in-C, H.S.F., for Admiral Goette.

Reference your 1213 of 30 January12 and 1336 of 1 February,13 the conditions upon which the Armistice was renewed at Treves demanded the surrender of all submarines which could proceed to sea or be towed, and it was pointed out that this number was 64.

German protest was not accepted and the document was signed by the German delegates.

Of these 64, 16 have been surrendered, and the three Russian submarines may be broken up, leaving 45 to be surrendered.

You are required to completely execute the amended Article 22 of Armistice without further discussion, and to re-assemble those submarines which have been wilfully rendered unfit for sea, and to tow them over.

A report of the distinguishing numbers of the above 45 boats (see my message 1300 of 25 January) is to be furnished by W/T forthwith. You will report before midnight 6th/7th February whether you intend to comply with the above demand. If not, the Allies and United States will be informed accordingly.


Copy of Telegram No. 955

To C-in-C., G. F. Date 1.2.19. Sent 1957

955. From Admiral Goette to PANAC 1336 G. T. In clear German.

Your question concerning W/T 1220 of 23.1.19 is already answered by W/T 1213 of 28.1.19. On behalf of my Government I reply to your W/T 1300 of 25.1.19 as follows—

My statement of 7.1 that your question of 2.1 concerning the delivery of submarines could not be replied to without more explanation has, up to now, been ignored. The German Government was compelled, therefore, to take the necessary measures for carrying [Page 996] out the new obligations, imposed at the meeting at Trèves on 16.1.19, with regard to Article 22 of the Armistice conditions, without your explanations. You have been informed of these measures by my W/T 1213 of 28.1.19.
In the case of the three submarines mentioned in para. 1 of the above-named W/T, for which a special proposal was to be made, their disarmament has already advanced so far that it is impossible to fit them up again for towing purposes. They will be completely dismantled.
All other measures, of which you were informed by W/T 1213 of 28.1.19, cannot possibly be cancelled and are being carried out. The complete dismantling of the ships which, according to the agreement at Treves on the 16.1.19 were not to be handed over, is now proceeding rapidly. It is not proposed to restore such dismantled ships into a state in which they could steam or be towed.
The proposal that the newly-built submarines should be taken across by German seamen was refused at Treves on 16.1.19 in a written protest. As you have already been informed, there are twenty such submarines on the stocks and they are at your disposal. A list of them will be communicated to you.
Time of departure of separate groups will be communicated to you.
When the measures reported in W/T 1213 of 28.1.19 have been carried out, Germany will have fulfilled the obligations contained in the terms of the Armistice and the supplementary conditions. Confirmation is requested.

Dep. Note. I. D. 25 W/T 1213 of 28.1.19 should read W/T 1213 of 30.1.19.

I. D. 25

From the Allied Naval Armistice Commission to the Secretary of the Admiralty


The attached messages which have passed between the Allied Naval Armistice Commission and the German Admiral Goette are forwarded for special perusal.

The Allied Naval Armistice Commission observes a distinct reluctance on the part of Germany to fulfil Art. XXII of the Terms of Armistice (re surrender of submarines). Also, they have been informed that the surrender of German merchant shipping is proceeding very slowly, if at all, in regard to the large and important passenger ships.

[Page 997]

The Commission recommends that, before the Armistice is renewed (it has to be signed by p.m. 16 February), the Supreme War Council may be pleased to consider what penalty should be imposed for non-performance in regard to the two points mentioned in para, 2 above.

M. E. Browning
A. Grasset
S. S. Robinson

Extract From Telegram, No. 153, of 5 February, From Admiralty, London, to Admiralty, Paris

The Board considered that there are no suitable naval penalties that can be applied to enforce compliance with armistice terms, and that any penalties applied must be of a military character, and that they should represent this to the Supreme War Council.

Copy of Telegram From Admiralty to C. G. W/T Rosyth and C-in-C., G.[F.]

ANAC to C-in-C, German H.S.F. for Admiral Goette.

Report by W/T details steps that are now being taken to carry out Article XXII. of Terms of Armistice as amended on 16 January.


Copy of Telegram

884. From ANAC to C-in-C, H.S.F. for Admiral Goette.

Referring to my 1220 of 23 January, to which no reply has been received, the following minimum performance is expected before the Armistice is again renewed on 17 February.

  • Firstly, there is now a total of 49 submarines to be surrendered, which can proceed to sea under their own power or be towed (the disposal of the three Russian submarines at Kiel is under consideration). These 49 are to be sent to Harwich forthwith, the numbers in each batch sent over being reported. The submarine dock and lifting vessels are also to be sent over unless required for the taking to pieces of the hulls of submarines under construction, in which case they may be retained for a period which is to be reported.

    [Page 998]

    Your attention is called to the fact that the Allied Naval Armistice Sub-Commissions report that some of the submarines in this category have been rendered unready for sea since the December inspection. These are to be reconditioned at once.

    The 49 submarines mentioned above are as follows: Wilhelmshaven one U.C. Bremen Vulcan Yard two U, three U.B. Vegesack five U. Hamburg Blohm and Voss one U, ten U.C. Vulcan two U, two U.B. Cuxhaven one U.B. Heligoland two U.C. Kiel eight U, one U.B., three U.C. Germania Yard five U, three U.B.

  • Secondly, the hulls of not less than fifty submarines of those under construction either in the water or on the stocks are to be cut to pieces, those most advanced being selected.
  • Thirdly, as regards the remaining submarines, all propelling and auxiliary machinery, motors, torpedo tubes, mine tubes, periscopes, guns and mountings are to be removed.

Addressed Coastguard Wireless Rosyth.

Repeated to C-in-C., G.F. 884.


Non-compliance on the Part of Germany With the Terms of Armistice

Naval Clauses Affecting Submarines

(a) 11 November, 1918. (Original article).

XXII. The surrender at the ports specified by the Allies and the United States of all submarines at present in existence (including all submarine cruisers and minelayers), with armament and equipment complete. Those which cannot put to sea shall be denuded of crew and equipment, and shall remain under the supervision of the Allies and the United States. Submarines ready to put to sea shall be prepared to leave German ports immediately on receipt of wireless order to sail to the port of surrender, the remainder to follow as early as possible. The conditions of this Article shall be completed within 14 days of the signing of the Armistice.

(b) 13 December, 1918.

Breaches Committee

Naval Clauses.

XXII. Submarines U. 80, U. 82, and U.B. 77 have still to be towed to Harwich. Five submarines in Spain, one in Norway, one in Holland, have still to be surrendered.

Germany’s Reply

We do not yet know the reason for the non-internment of submarines U. 80, U. 82, and U.B. 77. Inquiries are being undertaken [Page 999] with a view to their immediate surrender. With regard to the submarines interned in Spain, Norway, and Holland, Germany has no power to dispose of them. However, Germany will not put forward any protest on account of violation of neutrality if, on the demand of the Allies, the submarines interned in Spain, Norway and Holland, are surrendered to the Entente.

In no case can the fact that the vessels have not been surrendered be interpreted as an infringement of the Armistice conditions.

(c) 16 January, 1919.

5. Naval Clauses.

Article XXII. of the Armistice Agreement of 11 November, 1918, shall be supplemented as follows:—

In order to ensure the execution of such clause, the German authorities shall be bound to carry out the following conditions, viz.,

All submarines capable of putting to sea or of being towed shall be handed over immediately and shall make for Allied ports. Such vessels shall include submarine cruisers, minelayers, relief ships and submarine docks. All submarines which cannot be surrendered shall be completely destroyed or dismantled under the supervision of the Allied Commissioners.

Submarine construction shall cease immediately, and all submarines in course of construction shall be destroyed or dismantled under the supervision of the Allied Commissioners.

  1. BC–27. p. 952.
  2. For the content of this telegram, see appendix C to BC–25 (SWC–3), p. 924.
  3. See annex II, p. 987.
  4. Abbreviation for “Commission Interallée Permanente d’Armistice” (Interallied Permanent Armistice Commission).
  5. Abbreviation for “Permanent Allied Naval Armistice Commission.”
  6. Gen. Charles Joseph Dupont, chief of the French mission at Berlin for the repatriation of prisoners of war.
  7. Gen. H. K. A. Winterfeldt, member of the German Armistice Commission.
  8. Gen. Pierre Henri Desticker, Chief of Staff to Marshal Foch.
  9. For the content of this telegram, see appendix C to BC–25 (SWC–3), p. 924.
  10. Maj. Gen. Sir Richard Ewart, Chief of the British Military Mission at Berlin; President, Inter-Allied Commission for Repatriation of Russian Prisoners of War, January–May, 1919.
  11. These words supplied from the copy of the text appearing in Miller, My Diary, vol. xiv, p. 366.
  12. The German communication quoted in telegram No. 926, supra.
  13. The German communication quoted in telegram No. 955, infra.