Paris Peace Conf. 180.03101/38

BC–31

Secretary’s Notes of a Conversation Held in M. Pichon’s Room at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Thursday, 13 February, 1919, at 3 p.m.

  • 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
      • 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
      • Dr. Westermann
      • Mr. Shotwell
    • British Empire
      • Maj. Gen. His Highness the Maharajah of Bikaner, G. C. V. O., etc.
      • Major the Hon. W. Orms-by Gore
      • Mr. A. J. Toynbee.
    • France
      • M. Coue
      • Capt Coulonge
    • Italy
      • M. Tosti
      • Major Mazzolini
[Page 1014]
Present during hearing of question (3) Dr. Bliss,
(4) Dr. Bliss, M. Chekri Gamen, Chief representative of the Central Syrian Committee.1
Mardan Bey, Mussulman representative.
M. Chehade, Orthodox representative and an Israelite representative of the Committee.

Interpreter: Professor P. J. Mantoux.

1. Appointing Members of Committees on Poland and on Belgium M. Clemenceau enquired whether the representatives of the Great Powers to form part of the Poland and Belgium Committees, respectively, had been appointed.

The following names were communicated:—

(i) Committee on Poland.

Great Britain: Sir W. Tyrrell.
France: M. Jules Cambon.
Italy: Count Vannutelli-Rey.
Japan: M. Otchiai.

(ii) Committee on Belgium.

Great Britain: Sir Eyre Crowe.
Mr. J. W. Headlam-Morle.
France M. Tardieu.
M. Laroche.
Italy: M. Ricci-Busatti.

President Wilson said he regretted that through an omission the American representatives to sit on these two Committees had not yet been chosen. But he would submit the names to the Secretariat-General during the course of the afternoon.1a

M. Orlando said that the name of the second representative to sit on the Belgian Committee would shortly be submitted.2

[Page 1015]

2. Military Terms of Peace With Austria-Hungary M. Orlando asked permission to make a statement in connection with the decision taken yesterday on the subject of the immediate disarmament of Germany. The import of that decision would be to anticipate the final disarmament of Germany, for it was not intended to renew the Armistice but to draw up and accept the military terms of the eventual peace treaty. The decision reached in regard to Germany raised the analogous question of Italy and Austria-Hungary, the question which was of particular importance to Italy. He quite realised that the two cases were not altogether analogous, especially as the old Austro-Hungarian Empire no longer existed and had been replaced by a number of nationalities, some friendly, and some hostile to the Allies. But, as a question of form, Italian public opinion might not passively accept the situation, which was open to the interpretation that on the Western front peace had been declared, whereas on the Italian front, a state of war still existed. He was anxious to prevent the spread of such an impression. He wished, therefore, to suggest that the Inter-Allied Military Commission, appointed to draw up the military terms of peace with Germany, should be instructed also to study the similar question as between Italy and Austria-Hungary. He did not suggest that the decision in regard to the German terms should in any way be altered or delayed; but he did ask that the Italian military advisors should be authorised to bring the question of the Austrian military terms before the Inter-Allied Military Commission.

President Wilson expressed the view that M. Orlando had made a reasonable and right request; the suggestion had already occurred to him and he gladly accepted M. Orlando’s proposal.

(It was agreed:—

That the conditions of the Armistice with Austria-Hungary should be examined by the military Inter-Allied Committee, assembled under the Presidency of Marshal Foch, in accordance with the decision of the Supreme War Council, dated 12th February, 1919, with a view to determine what changes,3 if any, were necessary in order to arrive at the final military terms of peace with Austria-Hungary $ following the procedure adopted in the case of Germany.)

(At this stage Dr. Bliss4 entered the Council Chamber).

3. Syria: Statement by Dr. Bliss M. Clemenceau welcomed Dr. Bliss and called on him to make his Statement.

Dr. Bliss Dr. Blis then read the first following statement:— [Page 1016]

“Mr. President, Gentlemen,

I shall not detain you long. My deep interest in the people of Syria, irrespective of race, creed or condition, bred from a long residence among them—in fact I was born on Mt. Lebanon—is my only excuse for detaining you at all.

First, a preliminary word as to the people themselves. They are intelligent, able, hospitable and lovable, but with the sure defects of a long oppressed race; timidity, love of flattery, indirectness. They also have the defects characteristic of people who are face to face with the results of civilisation without having passed through the processes of modern civilisation. They lack balance, they are easily discouraged, they lack political fairness, they do not easily recognise the limitations of their own rights. They must therefore be approached with sympathy, firmness and patience. They are capable of nobly responding to the right appeal. And they will grow into capacity for self-determination and independence.

My plea before this body on behalf of the people of Syria is this: that an Inter-Allied or a Neutral Commission, or a Mixed Commission, be sent at once to Syria in order to give an opportunity to the people of Syria—including the Lebanon—to express in a perfectly untrammelled way their political wishes and aspirations, viz: as to what form of Government they desire and as to what power, if any, should be their Mandatory Protecting Power.

My plan is based upon the ground that the 12th point of President Wilson’s 14 points and the declarations made by France and Great Britain in November, 1918,5 have committed the Allies and the United States to the granting of such an opportunity of self-expression to the people freed from the Turkish yoke to so express themselves. The declaration is as follows:—

‘The aim which France and Great Britain have in view in waging in the East the war let loose upon the world by German ambition is to ensure the complete and final emancipation of all those peoples so long oppressed by Turks, and to establish national Governments and Administration which shall derive their authority from the initiative and free will of the peoples themselves. To realise this France and Great Britain are in agreement to encourage and assist the establishment of Native Governments in Syria and Mesopotamia, now liberated by the Allies, as also in those territories for whose liberation they are striving and to recognise those Governments immediately they are effectively established. Far from wishing to impose on the peoples of these regions this or that institution they have no other care than to assure, by their support and practical aid, the normal working of such governments and administrations as the peoples shall themselves have adopted: to guarantee impartial and even justice for all, to facilitate the economic development of the [Page 1017]country by arousing and encouraging local initiative, to foster the spread of education, to put an end to those factions too long exploited by Turkish policy—such is the part which the two Allied Governments have set themselves to play in liberated territories.’

I maintain that such an opportunity for self expression has not as yet been given. Up to the time I left Beirut, viz: January 9th, 1919, the stringency of the censorship of the Press and of the Post Office, the difficulty of holding public or private meetings for the discussion of political problems, and the great obstacles in travelling, had made it practically impossible for the people, suffering from centuries of intimidation, and now timid to a degree, to express their opinions with any sort of freedom. It is true that a Lebanese delegation has succeeded in reaching Paris and is here to-day. I know these gentlemen, several of whom are my pupils, but there are many other groups besides this particular delegation, including other groups from the Lebanon, who would have gladly been here to speak for themselves and others had they been as fortunate as this group in being able to organise themselves and to find the means of travelling hither.

The point is this. Up to January 9th (the date of my leaving) no notice of any arrangements had been published anywhere in Syria, so far as I know, looking to anything like a general poll of the people of Syria (always including the Lebanon) or even anything like an attempt had been made to secure a widespread knowledge of public sentiment. I did hear more or less of a list of names that was being made up attached to various petitions in favour of this or that programme, but although in a position to hear of any Official or thorough or systematic general plan to ascertain the wishes of the people, no such report came to my knowledge. Many interested citizens of Beirut and the Lebanon were never approached for the purpose of ascertaining their political desires.

I therefore plead that the above mentioned Commission should be sent out as soon as possible by the Peace Conference with ample powers given to them and of course with the wholehearted support granted to them by the French and British authorities now in Syria. The ascertaining of the desires of the people should proceed either without the presence of any foreign Power (and this is impracticable) or in the presence of both French and British Authorities under whom Syria has been living for the past four months.

The people are easily frightened and intimidated even where there is nothing to fear from any source; hence these precautions. The advantage of knowing what the people wish would be a boon to the power eventually becoming the Mandatory power as well as to the people of Syria. One word as to the work of the Commission. Their [Page 1018]task will not be an easy one. They must approach it, in my opinion, in the spirit of large sympathy, infinite patience, frankness and goodwill. In the hands of fair and openminded men, resourceful, shrewd and generous—men who can make clear their honest purpose to a timid but intelligent people—very valuable results can be secured. The result of this enquiry will be, I am convinced, the discovery of the desire for the erection of a state or states looking eventually to complete independence but at present seeking the guardianship of a Mandatory Power.

Both the state or states and the Mandatory Power should be under the control of the League of Nations. Unless in this state or states there should be an absolute separation between religion and the state, most serious results must inevitably arise. The Government on the one hand, religion on the other, can best pursue their majestic tasks apart. Surely Oriental if not general history is making that abundantly clear.

One word more. Unless the Mandatory Power working under the League of Nations approaches its great task in the spirit of lofty service, her splendid opportunity to lead an aspiring people to independence will be for ever lost. But once let the same superb spirit sustain her and the League of Nations as has animated the Allies and the United States in working together for the establishment of freedom in the world, the task, though difficult, will be accomplished.”

M. Pichon asked whether Dr. Bliss’ proposal applied to all the populations who had been living under Ottoman rule in the Ottoman Empire—in Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Armenia, or did these proposals apply only to Syria?

Dr. Bliss replied that he spoke only for Syria where he had been born, and where he had been living. He knew the conditions existing in that territory. He thought his remarks should apply also to other religions and to other populations; but as regards Syria he spoke from his own personal knowledge of the country.

Mr. Balfour said that M. Pichon had just referred to the case of other peoples who had been under Ottoman rule, and enquired from Dr. Bliss whether he would apply his system without qualification to Armenia also, although the Armenians were in a minority as compared with the Mussulmen, so that self-determination would probably not lead to an improvement in the conditions of the Armenian minority.

Dr. Bliss thought that the question must be examined in a large way. The Committee sent to these countries should not merely be a machine, adopting the same method everywhere in attempting to determine the wishes of the people. The Committee must use its [Page 1019]brains and develop some method which would do the largest justice to the various people concerned. But he wished to make his point perfectly clear that he merely spoke for Syria, because he lived there and knew what had been done there. On the other hand, he thought that the proposal should apply to all liberated areas.

Mr. Balfour said that from the early part of Dr. Bliss’ evidence, he gathered that the authorities in Syria had prevented the free use of the Posts, Telegraphs, and Communications. The authorities had also prevented all deputations, but one, from coming to Paris, and they had hampered the free communication of the wishes of the populations to the statesmen assembled at the Peace Conference. He enquired from Dr. Bliss whether he knew exactly by whom, and for what reasons, these limitations on free communications, had been imposed.

Dr. Bliss replied that Syria was under military occupation and presumably a censorship was essential where military operations were being undertaken. The restriction[s] he had referred to were, therefore, necessary to safeguard the integrity of the military operations. But as a result the people had been hampered by the existence of these regulations. Regulations made for military reasons prevented anything like free interchange of political opinion, especially among the timid people of Syria. The application of the Censorship, especially in regard to Postal matter and Newspapers, combined with the difficulties placed in the way of public and private meetings were such as to render political life impossible. There were several Syrians living abroad in Egypt, France, North and South America, and in other parts, all of whom were devoted to Syria. These people had left Syria on account of the oppression of the Turks; but it was most desirable that there should be a free interchange of views between people in Syria and their sympathisers and fellow citizens abroad to enable them to formulate their desires. At the present moment that was prevented by the difficulties of travel and the Postal restrictions.

Mr. Balfour enquired what, in Dr. Bliss’ judgment, was the general character of the opinions, whose free expression had thus been prevented by military necessities.

Dr. Bliss replied that he was unable to answer the question. The people had encountered great difficulties in reaching conclusions, owing to the numerous restrictions imposed by the Military Authorities. The Syrians were very honest and childlike; they had suddenly found themselves in the presence of a new situation; and they wondered what they were going to get out of it. They felt the golden hour was passing away, never to return. They felt aggrieved that other nationalities had been more fortunate in being able to send [Page 1020]delegations to put their case before the Peace Conference; whereas, they themselves, rightly or wrongly felt that they had been hampered in giving expression to their wishes by the stringency of the censorship, the difficulty of holding public meetings and the great obstacles in travelling.

Mr. Balfour enquired from Dr. Bliss whether, with his intimate knowledge of the population, he had been able to form any judgment as to what were their views.

Dr. Bliss thought that his own personal impressions would probably not be of any great value. He would prefer to leave the question to be answered by the suggested Commission, who would carry out its enquiries on the spot.

Lord Milner pointed out that the military censorship which apparently prevented this timid people from expressing their views was British. Were these views being suppressed because they might be unpleasant to the British?

Dr. Bliss replied that the facts were that those—the bolder men among the people—who tried to express their opinions were not able to do so on account of the stringency of the censorship. Consequently, if a Commission were sent to Syria to ascertain the wishes of the people, it should pursue its work freed from the preventive force due to the censorship of press and post-office. He himself was present at that meeting simply to plead for a principle; the determination of the wishes of the people. He did not ask that his own word should be taken, or that of anybody else; but in view of the fact that no opportunity had yet been given to the people to express their views, he thought the only solution would be the appointment of an Inter-Allied Commission, whose duty it would be to find the true opinion of the people. Those who lived in Syria would gladly accept a Mandatory Power, feeling that they had thereby been given an opportunity; and they would honestly work with the Mandatory Power, whether French, American or British, in the best possible way, feeling confidence in the fact that the promise held out to the people to express themselves had been fulfilled. Otherwise, if the opportunity, which the people had a right to claim in view of President Wilson’s 12th Point and the Franco-British Declaration of 1918, were not given, the probable outcome would be discontent, sullenness, resentment and even bloodshed.

Mr. Balfour pointed out that anybody reading the evidence given by Dr. Bliss would suppose that the British censorship had been exercised to prevent opinions unfavourable to Great Britain being expressed. If this was a correct interpretation of Dr. Bliss’ statement an enquiry should be held. On the other hand, if the statement was incorrect, it should be contradicted.

[Page 1021]

Dr. Bliss replied that the censorship of the papers published in Beirut was exercised by the French Military authorities, and he presumed that the censorship arrangements had been carried out by the local authorities with the approval of General Allenby. But the effect of the censorship was that the people did not feel that they had a free opportunity of expressing themselves and his plea was that something should be done to enable them to have that free opportunity.

Lord Milner said that he still felt some uneasiness as to what had been said, especially as a matter of national honour was involved. The impression left in his mind was that the British censorship was being used to suppress the expression of pro-French or other non-British sympathies.

Dr. Bliss replied in the negative. The censorship was being used to suppress the expression of all opinions.

Lord Milner agreed but insisted that the point was whether he, Dr. Bliss, thought the censorship had the effect of suppressing one opinion rather than another. Great Britain was, for the moment, the predominant military power in Syria and exercised the right of censorship. Did Dr. Bliss consider that the British Military Authority had used its powers in order to influence opinion in a special pro-British direction?

Dr. Bliss replied that quite the contrary was the case. The existence of the censorship, however, made it difficult for the people to give proper expression to any views.

(Dr. Bliss having completed his evidence was invited to remain in the Council Chamber during the discussion of the Syrian question.)

(The Members of the Syrian Commission:—6

M. Chekri Gamen Chief Representative of the Central Syrian Committee.
Mardan Bey Mussulman Representative.
M. Chedade Orthodox ”

and

An Israelite Representative of the Committee then entered the Council Chamber.)

(4) Claims of Syrian Commission to Syria M. Clemenceau having introduced the members of the Syrian Commission to the Conference called upon M. Chekri to make his statement.

M. Chekri Ganem then read the following statement:—

(This statement will be issued separately.)7

(It was then agreed to adjourn the further hearing of the Syrian question to a later date.)

[Page 1022]

(5) Condition & Legislation Concerning Women and Children President Wilson asked permission to make a statement on the question of women representation. He had recently received a visit from a group of ladies, representing the suffrage associations of the Allied countries who had assembled and children here in paris, under the Chairmanship of Mrs. Fawcett of Great Britain. These ladies had brought him a resolution, and had asked him to bring it to the notice of the Conference. The resolution contained a proposal to the effect that a Conference of women should be appointed to consider the conditions of children and women throughout the world.8 He sincerely desired to give effect to the views expressed by the representatives of the Suffrage Associations of the Allied countries. He wished, therefore, to enquire whether the Conference would agree to the appointment of a Commission consisting of one representative of each of the five Great Powers and four representatives of the Smaller Powers to report on the conditions and legislation concerning women and children throughout the world, and to determine whether any international regulations should be issued. This Commission to be entitled to invite the suffrage associations of the Allied countries to nominate some of its members to attend in an advisory and consultative capacity.

M. Clemenceau enquired whether the question could not be referred to the existing Inter-Allied Commission on International Labour Legislation.

President Wilson thought that M. Clemenceau’s proposal would hardly give satisfaction to the Suffrage Associations, as they asked for recognition. He did not wish to urge this against the opinion of the Conference, but in his judgment recognition should be given.

Maharaja Bikaner expressed the view that the question raised by President Wilson would present considerable difficulties in all oriental countries, for reasons which it would be unnecessary for him to explain at the present moment.

President Wilson agreed that the enquiry should be restricted to European countries and America.

M. Clemenceau said he had no objections to offer to an enquiry being carried out into the conditions of woman and child labour: but he would strongly object to any enquiry being held into the political status of women.

President Wilson pointed out that the women were chiefly interested in the latter question.

[Page 1023]

Mr. Balfour said lie had long been in favour of women suffrage, but he felt considerable alarm at the thought that the Peace Conference should extend its activities to a consideration of that question.

Baron Makino remarked that there had been a suffrage movement in Japan, but it was insignificant.

Baron Sonnino pointed out that the Inter-Allied Commission on International Labour and [sic] Legislation had already enquired into matters relating to women and children, with the exception of the Suffrage question. He, personally, was in favour of women suffrage, but he did not think it would be good politics to take up this question at the present moment. He thought interference by the Peace Conference would hardly lead to good results.

President Wilson said that he did not wish to press the matter unless there was a chance of obtaining practical unanimity. Under the circumstances, therefore, he would withdraw his proposal.

(President Wilson’s proposal regarding women’s position in the world was withdrawn.)

(6) Report League on Nations Commission President Wilson reported that the Committee to formulate plans for the League of Nations hoped to complete their labours that night. He wished to suggest, therefore, that a call be prepared for a Plenary Conference to be held tomorrow afternoon for the submission of the scheme and in order that full explanations might be given. The conclusions reached by the Commission would very quickly become generally known, and, therefore, in his opinion, the final draft should be placed at once before the Plenary Conference. He asked, therefore, that a notice be prepared for issue on the following morning, if the Commission’s report were then found to be ready for submission to the Plenary Conference.

M. Clemenceau enquired whether it was not intended that the report should, in the first place, be submitted for consideration to the Conference of the Great Powers. According to President Wilson’s proposal the Plenary Conference would receive the report before it had been examined by the present meeting.

President Wilson replied that in the ordinary course of events the best plan would perhaps have been to circulate the Commission’s report in the first place to the Conference of the Great Powers. He would point out, however, that the League of Nations Commission was not a Commission of the Conference of the Great Powers but of the Plenary Conference. Consequently, the first report ought, as a matter of fact, to go to the Plenary Conference. In accordance with his proposal the Plenary Conference would be asked to receive the report, and the Chairman of the Commission would then give the necessary explanations. That is to say, the report would be submitted [Page 1024]by himself, and some of his colleagues on the Commission would subsequently give additional explanations.

Mr. Balfour thought that it would be a great advantage if President Wilson could explain the scheme to the Plenary Conference before he left for the United States of America. He would do this as Chairman of the League of Nations Commission and not as a member of the Conference of the Great Powers. The members of the latter Conference would not be committed to the scheme in any way. He, therefore, saw no objection to President Wilson’s proposal.

M. Clemenceau understood the proposal to be that the report of the League of Nations Commission would be presented to the Plenary Conference by its chairman (President Wilson), who would give certain explanations, after which the Conference would adjourn.

President Wilson agreed that this was his proposal, though he did not quite know how other members of the Plenary Conference could be stopped from making speeches if they wished to do so. But in any case no decision would be taken.

(It was agreed that a Plenary Conference should, if possible, be held at 3:30 p.m. on the afternoon of Friday, 14th February, 1919,9 in order to place before it the report of the League of Nations Commission. It was agreed that individual notices to this effect should be issued to each of the Delegates to the Peace Conference.)

(The Meeting then adjourned.)

[Statement by M. Chekri Ganem]

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: I beg leave to present the credentials and papers of myself and my colleagues, Messieurs Anis Schéhadé, Orthodox Greek, of Beyrout; Jamil Mardam Bey, Moslem, of Damascus, who represented that town at the Arabian Congress at Paris in 1913, on which occasion he acted as Secretary and I as Vice-Chairman; Dr. Georges Samné, Greek Melchite of Damascus; Nejil Bey Maikarzel, Maronite, of the Lebanon; Dr. Tewfik Farhi, Hebrew of Damascus; all members of the Council of the Central Syrian Committee of which I have the honour to be Chairman, which is composed of Syrians of all religions and sect, and is duly authorised to represent the Syrian and Syrio-Lebanese Committees and Associations in the United States of America, Europe, Australia and Africa (including Egypt). In the name of those I represent, whose numbers may be estimated at over one million, I have the honour [Page 1025]to explain to your Excellencies the situation of Syria, whose fate lies with you to decide.

Of all the countries now in process of evolution (according to the expression of the President of the United States) and striving for the natural and admitted right of every individual and every nation to liberty, that country whose cause I am not come to plead before you, but whose situation and aspirations I wish to set forth, that country is the only one which is so fortunate as to have clearly defined frontiers—the Taurus, Sinai, the desert and the Mediterranean.

Its nationality is just as clearly defined as its frontiers. The race is as distinct as it could possibly be in this theatre of invasions.

Apart from language, the factors welding this nation into one are the soil on which it has sprung up, whence it has derived similarity of physical and moral form and been inspired by the same ideals; its traditions and customs; its common fate throughout the course of centuries; and, above all perhaps, its sufferings—for common suffering is the greatest bond of union.

Now there are few small nations who have suffered so much as the people of Syria, if one accepts the theory that the capacity for pain increases in proportion to moral development.

Gentlemen, one reads and hears it said that of all the problems submitted to your consideration, the Syrian problem is one of the most involved. This is doubtless a great honour: but one of which we are not jealous. For if the question were really what it is said to be, if it really constituted a problem, we should not dare to speak, so far would our responsibility exceed our powers. We hope that it appears to you as it does to us Syrians, not so much a problem as a question that can be decided almost as soon as asked.

We therefore think we may put the question quite simply, concisely, and in all confidence.

And what is it? The members of the Conference are asked to decide, conscientiously and after due consideration of the facts:—

(1)
Whether Syria can be constituted, within its natural frontiers, into a democratic State distinct from the other Arabic-speaking countries.
(2)
Whether that State can be left to itself from the time of its creation, or whether it will require the external support of a highly civilized Power.
(3)
What should be the nature of such support, and by what Power should it be rendered?

If the first of these three points is decided in the affirmative, it will necessitate arriving at a decision on the others—namely, whether [Page 1026]Syria is entitled to a free existence, and whether you will grant it to her.

It would seem, however, that there are certain conditions which a country must fulfil before it can claim its right, which, although belonging to all alike, must nevertheless be subordinated to the higher general interests and limited by law, like the liberty of individual persons.

The first condition is the material and moral capacity of the country to exercise immediate or gradual independence.

The second condition is the geographically independent situation of the country—a question of easily definable and defensible frontiers, of harbours by which a country breathes and lives, and of agricultural districts and industrial centres capable of maintaining the trade of those ports.

Syria seems to fulfil these conditions, provided she receives the assistance that she will need at the outset to enable her to recover from the centuries of darkness and oppression which culminated during the present war.

Do you desire unimpeachable testimony as to her moral capacity? It may be found, apart from the evidence of fact, in the writings of an eminent British statesman, Lord Cromer, whose authority, derived from long residence in the East, nobody will deny. In his “Modern Egypt”, Part 4, Chapter 36, he says:—

“Whether from a moral, social or intellectual point of view, the Syrian stands on a distinctly high level. He is rarely corrupt. There are many gradations of Syrian society. A high-class Syrian is an accomplished gentleman, whose manners and general behaviour admit of his being treated on a footing of perfect social equality by high-class Europeans. His intellectual level is also unquestionably high. He can do more than copy the European. He can understand why the European does what he does, and he is able to discuss with acuteness whether what is done is wisely or unwisely done. He is not by any means wanting in the logical faculty. It would, in a word, be wholly incorrect to say that he merely apes civilisation. It may be said with truth that he really is civilised.”

That, gentlemen, is clear and it is conclusive. The high-class Syrian may perhaps be conceded a still finer attribute (which illustrates the correctness of the opinion formed by Lord Cromer), namely, that of recognising that the majority of his compatriots, having little experience of liberty, are not yet capable of exercising it without serious danger to themselves. He has not the courage born of ignorance. Not only does his ambition confine itself modestly within the frontiers which nature has assigned to his country, without attempting even the moral domination of his less-educated neighbours, but he is wise enough to distrust himself and seek a friendly [Page 1027]shoulder on which to lean, and a guide in the somewhat difficult paths of liberty.

Is this not a guarantee for the Allies and their associates? Is it not a more striking proof of his moral capacity than if he straightway declared himself capable of self-government and even (as in the recent case of a valiant and amiable neighbour) of governing others.

As regards the second condition—the frontiers are visible to everyone. They have been too clearly denned by nature to admit of any real discussion, still less of dispute. Nature has traced the contours and wisely fixed the limits of our land, and if she made Syria a small country, it was doubtless to make it all the better, and above all, that nobody should be tempted to diminish it. And then, does not the League of Nations believe that it ought also to afford some protection to the setting and the background within which the nations are evolving and whose image they reflect?

Syria is so harmonious in its form! Its members are in such perfect proportion to the body, and the head, which ought to govern the members, is so well set in its place! It surmounts the body and gives it the exact finish that it needs. In making Damascus, with its desert shield, the capital of Syria, history has obeyed the laws of that faultless logician, nature, whose will it is that everything should hold together and defend itself against destruction.

As to ports, those lungs of a country, we possess sufficient to ensure our existence. Here again, nature has favoured right proportions. With a few more, we should have breathed too freely; with a few less, we should have been stifled or our life would have been precarious. Under modern management our ports would soon attain prosperity, if the agricultural districts and industrial and commercial centres, rejoicing in a sense of security hitherto unknown, were to be interconnected by roads and railways, provided always that they formed an organic whole and contributed jointly to the common weal.

There remains one condition, that of nationality. It is certainly of primary importance, and if it has not been mentioned previously, it is because the question appears to us less open to discussion than any other.

Before the upheaval which has brought about the welcome change in the status of the nations of the East, anyone who had disputed this point would have been overwhelmed by the most vigorous and unanimous protests.

We hold fast to our nationality, as to our frontiers, in the hope that at a near or distant date they may form the framework of our liberated country.

We hold to it as one clings to anything which one has defended and guarded at the cost of the greatest suffering, and we hold to it [Page 1028]all the more tenaciously because this nationality—which has no official existence—brought upon us all kinds of insults in the countries into which we were forced to disperse. For everywhere, gentlemen, both in our own country and elsewhere, we were regarded as strangers.

Thus we remained Syrians in spite of everything and the sub-title of Ottoman, by which we were disguised in official documents, had the same effect upon us as the title of German upon an Alsatian, or that of Austrian upon the inhabitants of the Trentino or Trieste.

Moslems, Druses, Christians of all sects, Jews—we were all Syrians.

But, during the war, currents preceding the march of Arab contingents and fanned by the wings of the victories in Palestine, have induced certain elements in the interior to await their liberation from the new Malek. The result has been a revival of that religious feeling which had so long predominated in these quarters in the past, that it found in these tendencies new and unexpected fuel for a fresh outbreak. Use was made of this pretext to maintain (arguing from the unity of language and religion) that there was no distinction between Syrian nationality and that of the Arabs. These gratuitous assertions had already been answered by the celebrated Rector of Aberdeen University, Sir George Adam Smith, in a pamphlet published last year, entitled “Syria and the Holy Land”, in which he asserts insistently in several parts of the work that the Syrians are not Arabs. This intentional confusion is most regrettable and dangerous, for it threatens to revive amongst us the rift created by the Turks, fostered by rivalries under foreign influence, and which we had the right to hope had been bridged, not only by the corpses of the Syrians who were executed, and the four or five hundred thousand who died of famine and want, but by the union we had founded, and by that of the Powers who, having once been rivals, had now become friends and allies.

But we think that this foreign accretion of Arab nationalism, into which it is wished to merge the Syrian—this new factor of a solely religious character which we refuse to believe inspired or suggested—will disappear if matters are replaced in their logical order. And if the cause disappears, the effect will also vanish. For artifice cannot resist nature, and if light accentuates colours it also abolishes shades.

Unity of language—unity of religion? If the former were to determine nationality, that, Gentlemen, would carry us much too far. The new and old worlds would have to be re-divided, and one-third of Switzerland and half of Belgium joined to France. And if unity of belief had to be taken into consideration, you would have to undertake a new distribution of nations and create religious States with Popes in place of Kings and Councils in place of republican and [Page 1029]democratic Governments. No: neither unity of language nor unity of religion constitutes nationality, especially where a triple barrier, such as that existing between Arabia and Syria, separates two countries and two nations. A desert which places Damacus at least 1500 kilometres from Mecca forms the geographical barrier; the social barrier consists of different traditions, habits and customs; whilst education, teaching and culture form the moral barrier.

What affinities exist between the native of the Hedjaz and the Syrian, the nomad and the settler on the soil? and, apart from a similarity of language (more apparent than real) imposed by the first conquests, what reasons can be adduced for annexing, even by ties of nominal suzerainty, an educated people to a race less advanced, if one may say so, in the ways of civilisation, or a people of enlightened progress, open to every conception of liberty, to a race rooted to its primitive organisation; or even for giving the latter supremacy by installing Emirs in Syria—at Damascus and Aleppo—who would be feudatories of the King of the Hedjaz, Shereef of Mecca?

Is there any such preponderance of Arab elements in Syria as might explain or justify this idea? If there are, or have ever been any Arab infiltrations, these racial elements are quickly absorbed. They become so completely Syrianised that the only Arab domination since the conquest in 635 A. D. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years—that is to say one generation.

Mon’Aouia, Governor of Damascus, when proclaimed Kaliph founded a definitely Syrian dynasty, entered into conflict with Mecca, and crushed for ever even the religious hegemony of the Hedjaz. And when history shows that throughout the centuries and under every successive domination, Damascus always strove to place herself at the head of an independent Syrian Kingdom, it proves the identification of that town with Syria and also illustrates, by a striking and decisive example, the inviolability of Hedjaz rule in our country.

To annex Syria to Arabia would be to do violence to the very soil from which the race and its history have sprung. To annex Damascus to Arabia, with or without Aleppo, would, if we may say so, be a grave political error, involving (and this would be for us a direct and mortal wound) the mutilation of our country, the unity of which has never been denied in spite of all the vicissitudes of its sad history. And, in order to benefit interests which might be satisfied elsewhere, destruction would be brought upon the harmonious whole to which we have already referred, the beauty of which consists in its general aspect and in which the race, by assimilating successive invasions, has acquired a uniform and homogeneous character and a peculiar degree of intellectuality.

[Page 1030]

Gentlemen, other considerations of a political and moral nature, outweighing the sacrifices of our country (whose long martyrdom nevertheless deserves a better fate) are worthy of your attention. We have already alluded to them; allow us to refer to them once more.

It cannot have escaped your notice, although you may only have observed from afar the recent development of events in the East, that if an inconsiderable proportion of our Moslem population has accepted with some favour the principle of a Hedjaz Government, it has done so because it has been led to see in it the first foundations of a great Moslem (not Arabian) Empire, with the Hedjaz dynasty at the head. The separatist movement which developed in Syria in 1912 rallied Syrians of every faith around the principle of a modern Government, which would respect religions whilst not imposing itself in their name, but the events of 1918 led certain elements to desert the cause which they had so lately served.

The religious movement, profoundly felt among the invaders, but vaguely realised by the ignorant and oppressed invaded people, and repudiated on the spot by the more enlightened high-class Syrian Molsems, is nevertheless a movement which must be watched, unless we wish to see the revival of limitless hopes which, although and because they can never be realised, would create an agitation prejudicial not only to others, but to the Moslems themselves. There is no doubt that already, in certain quarters, eyes are turned in that direction and elsewhere, looking for a further extension of the Empire of Islam, towards Africa and towards India. If too much liberty is allowed to individuals or to little groups far from the centre of power, some policies recoil upon themselves and cause irreparable reaction.

Should we speak thus if it were likely that this movement might encourage progress and benefit humanity at large? Accustomed as we are to sacrifice, we should wrap ourselves in a cloak of silence explained and vouched for by our faith in the march of humanity towards the maximum of liberty and of light.

But history is there to teach us what may be expected from any kind of theocratic Government, founded on the confusion of civil and religious power.

Alas, we have not to look far back to find the story of Turkish rule and European interventions to protect minorities written in a series of capitulations, wars and protectorates. “The history of tomorrow will not differ from that of yesterday”, writes an European with regard to Eastern affairs; and the Moslems of Damascus say the same thing. No, it will not differ, however strong in character and liberal-minded the heads of the régime may be. In fact, it is not a question of men, but of principles and dogmas. It is for the [Page 1031]Powers to say whether they wish, by pursuing in our country and that of the Arabs, the clerical policy which they prohibit in their own, and which is feared by the great mass of our people, to create afresh that old division between members of the same nation and inaugurate in the East, and perhaps elsewhere, an era of agitation, unrest, and irredentism, which sooner or later will force them again to intervene.

Syria having once been constituted a State with integrity of territory and national unity, will it be possible to leave it to itself from the outset, or will it require the support of a highly civilised foreign Power.

Gentlemen, there is not a single sincere and educated Syrian, in Syria itself or abroad, who has not already replied to the second part of this question in the affirmative. The contrary has only been maintained by a few reactionaries or by some mistaken youths, under the somewhat Bolshevist formula improvised by the Secretary of a foreign delegation, (whose august Chief and Prince—already calls us his people) of:—

“Let us massacre one another, so long as we are free. It is only by killing each other that we shall attain total independence.”

We ourselves consider that there are other and less extreme means of educating a nation and that the massacres and anarchy which one might almost say are hoped for, would only result in the ruin of our country and, finally, in the subjection of the weakest, or our seizure by a watchful and enterprising neighbour.

Our apprenticeship has been hard—who denies it? The number of various religions that we profess, in each of which the disintegrating action of our oppressors has led its adherents to band together by nationalities, still engenders among the people mistrust, rivalries and dissension, all of which hinder our political unity. Even our national unity would have no chance of existing for any length of time unless under a most tactful government, respecting local autonomies. At every point when the nature of the country favoured defence against the invader, small groups, which have entirely escaped Turkish domination, have been formed. The largest is that of Mount Lebanon, which has assumed the official form of an autonomous government. The Druse Mountain and the country of the Ansariehs, although not enjoying the same privileges, are of a similar type and really possess independence in practice. The existence of these groups, far from being an obstacle to the establishment and working of a democratic government composed of autonomous provinces, would seem, on the contrary, likely to facilitate them. It carries with it solid guarantees for the future, for it confirms [Page 1032]the vitality of the Syrian nation, the elements of which have been able victoriously to resist the policy of disintegration pursued by its masters. The policy of the Ottoman Government has always, sometimes with success, been to set these groups one against the other, so that they might be mutually weakened. It has never succeeded in stifling those national virtues which it is left to friendly hands to free and to unite.

We also need to be armed for the economic contest. We lack the capital, the experts, the agricultural and industrial machinery and implements, which are necessary for the development of the resources of our country. Freed from the servitude of a thousand years, we must have recourse to a protective guardianship to complete our national unity, to achieve our political education, and to reconstitute a country worthy of the Powers that honour us with their trust and, above all, worthy of the special Power that will have lent us its generous support.

For, having broken our bonds, would you refuse us the support we need for our first steps? You would not raise us up only to leave us to stumble in the wreck of our fetters?

Gentlemen, both our interests and our reason lead us to admit that we shall need foreign collaboration.

We require no other proofs than the documents, telegrams, letters, resolutions and petitions, which we now produce,10 and the perusal of which will enlighten you as to the general opinion in Syria on this subject.

What must be the nature of this support and by whom will it be rendered?

International collaboration has been mentioned. The idea may have been discarded, in which case we should applaud the decision. Past examples are certainly not such as to persuade us to choose this course. Not to mention Crete, Tangiers, or Albania, take the experiment made in the Lebanon itself during the last half century. It has been only too conclusive. Even when reduced to a “lesser evil”, as in the Lebanon, this multiple protectorate resulted in conflicts of influence, dividing the population of the over-protected country into as many parties as there were protectorates, thus lowering the moral level and enfeebling the collective energy of the people. If applied to Syria, this régime would have the same disastrous consequences, in a greater and more serious degree.

Duality of influence, even more than multiplicity of supporters, must be avoided in our case, both from humanitarian motives and in the interests of the Powers themselves. It would aggravate dissensions [Page 1033]which would but acquire more bitterness by definition, and, by preventing our country from working out its own destiny, would create that moral disintegration which precedes territorial dismemberment. In that case, it would be better to proceed with the latter at once, gentlemen, by admitting the claims of the Hedjaz and allowing its representative the right (now somewhat extensively exerted under your eyes) of treating Syria as a conquered country and committing acts of sovereignty there, a sovereignty which appears to be somewhat premature.

Is there any need to remind you, gentlemen, that the Hedjaz was but yesterday a Turkish province, whose deputy to the Parliament at Constantinople was this very Emir Feysul, and that it has already found in its independence the reward for its efforts in the war? What right, then, can he claim to play the part of master in our country? In fact, he dismisses and appoints officials, chosen with a view to making people believe he is acting under high and powerful inspiration. (He even tried at first to nominate the very Governor of the Lebanon). His soldiers attack and plunder villages, and carry away hostages as at Kaoubaba. He hoists the Hedjaz flag everywhere, counting upon its effect on the ignorant classes of the people. And he, the representative of the Hedjaz, presents himself everywhere as the mouthpiece of all those who speak Arabic, in Asia and perhaps elsewhere. He says, in the name of Syria,

“We are ready to pay for European support in cash. We cannot sacrifice in exchange for it any part of the liberty we have just gained for ourselves by force of arms.”

Gentlemen, by sanctioning this state of affairs, by giving the little Arab contingent which entered Damascus the rights of the conquerors of old, by giving his flag an exaggerated importance (which might increase his prestige among the uneducated, but would rank him with the brigand bands, and we would state roundly that in our eyes he deserves better than that), by doing this, will you have solved this question in accordance with your principles?

The truth—the whole truth—is your due. And, knowing that we should speak to you face to face, we have thought it well to have recourse to none of the vain subtleties or other means by which one lowers oneself without honouring those who are addressed. The truth, moreover, cannot offend any of the Powers who are our arbitrators and our judges. The truth sheds light and you do not fear the light. You have become one single family through the blood shed in common, which sometimes creates closer ties than those of relationship itself. Gentlemen, you have brought in your train and helped to spread in Syria a ferment of discord, a crop of intestine [Page 1034]divisions and possibly of conflicts in your own family. There is still time to stop its progress through a country which has been too much tried, too much reduced to throw it off as stronger constitutions might have done.

You will not allow the question to be solved in this manner, even temporarily, nor permit us to be torn between three influences, the smallest of which is the most active and threatens, by its attitude, to compromise the greatest, most respected and most admired of the three. We have owed so much to the latter during the last few months, and we expect so much of it, sure of its loyalty, its high disinterestedness and the spirit of humanity and justice by which its government is imbued.

What we need, Gentlemen, in order that the hateful heritage Turkey has bequeathed us may disappear with its yoke, is that the territory of Syria may be placed integrally beneath the moral aegis of a single Power. Our national unit and our future depend on that unity of influence.

Is it necessary to consult the people?

It is hardly likely that, in the state of chaos following the upheaval which has broken the bonds of the people of the East, a reference of this kind would at present give conclusive results. It would in part be falsified by factors which you now know to be foreign to the true interests of the country, such as the religious exaltation of a section of the Moslem population (which unfortunately, has received a fresh impetus); the reaction of the Christian element; the partly Moslem military occupation of a country which by long custom is inclined to bow before the conqueror, even though he belongs to a notoriously inferior race.

It would be more reasonable that the Powers, in their wisdom, should appoint that one among them which appears specially qualified to carry out the noble mission of helping a small country to lift itself up and of accustoming the eyes of its inhabitants to the bright light of liberty.

Valuable aid may be obtained in arriving at this choice:—

(1)
by considering that if the people had been consulted before the war, the name of one of the Powers now assembled would have received the immense majority of the votes, or even have been adopted unanimously;
(2)
by referring to the documents which we have just had the honour to lay before you.

Even if the opinion of my colleagues and myself had differed from that of our mandatories, we should still have considered it our duty to execute our clear mission, which is to request your Excellencies, [Page 1035]in the terms of the documents submitted11 that France may be charged with the reconstitution of an integral, independent, federated Syria.

We concur in the addition made by many groups (those of the Syrians in Egypt, for instance), namely:—A Syria completely separated from Arabia proper, and provided with a national Syrian constitutional and democratic Government, the constitutional head of which shall be vested with no religious character.

Is there any need to give the reasons for our choice and to state the claims of France to our confidence and our friendship?

It seems to us that this would be superfluous. The century-old traditions that unite our two nations, the affinities of temperament and culture which find eloquent testimony in that diffusion of the French language which has made it our second mother tongue—these are matters of common knowledge.

Apart from the American University of Beyrout, to which we owe a great number of our élite and which is entitled to very special gratitude on our part (of which we beg to assure it, and will prove should we become our own masters)—it is the French schools from which we have received our education and which have taught us to realise our own powers.

The absence of any Imperialist party in France, her relative proximity to our country, incline us to her with the more fervour. We know that France understands how to confine her activity to that of a guide or arbitrator.

She, alone, in our opinion, is competent to obtain the whole effect for which we hope. At the same time, as a Moslem Power numbering 20 to 25 millions of Moslems amongst her subjects, and as age-long protectress of the Christians of the East, she brings both Moslems and Christians the guarantee of impartiality afforded not only by her ideals of liberty and justice, but by her own position. She will be a guide speaking a language we understand, who will unite us in order to lead us towards our common destiny. She will be the arbiter before whom all mistrust will vanish and all conflict cease.

This statement, Gentlemen, draws to its close. It is for you to say whether Syria shall become an actuality. The soul of Syria exists. It depends on you whether the body which it is to animate shall be whole and vigorous.

Whatever may be the interests at work around her, you would not wish them to weigh in the scales of your justice and so heavily as her own. Have not all the Powers adopted the principle laid down by President Wilson?

[Page 1036]

It remains to know whether France will accept this charge.

Yes, without doubt, if we invoke her traditions and when we recall not only her ancient declarations and promises, but those made more recently by M. Kaymond Poincaré in 1912, when, as Prime Minister, he declared that:—“I need not say that in Syria and the Lebanon we have traditional interests which we intend shall be respected. The English Government has formally declared to us that it has no intentions or designs or political aspirations of any kind in those regions. We shall abandon none of our traditions, we shall forfeit none of the goodwill we have acquired there.”

A few days later, Sir Edward Grey, then British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, stated in the House of Commons that he recognised the special interests of France in Syria. Then followed the declarations of M. George Leygues, Minister of Marine, M. Stephen Pichon and M. Georges Clemenceau, who connects the ancient royal France, the France of the Revolution and the Empire, to the Republican France of to-day, and who has told us that his Government intends to assure the future of Syria by its own efforts.

Such formal assurances, not to say engagements, ought to set our minds at rest. But, remembering the French policy, and having witnessed the prodigious effort made by that admirable country during the war, and the simplicity, the modesty with which she has accomplished her task, we are apprehensive lest she may show in the peace negotiations what I may call the bashfulness of her heroism in the war, and fail to use not only her sympathy, but the weight of her authority and her persuasive eloquence with her Allies in defending our little Syria from the dismemberment which menace[s] its territory, its posts, its towns in certain provinces, and from decapitation.

And if, to our misfortune, by reason of interests which may doubtless be superior, it were decided—contrary to the hopes we have placed in you all—that our country should be dismembered and handed over in part to a juvenescent neighbouring State, which, since it has been a belligerent, intends to exact the price of its belligerency from a people which thought itself protected by the rights of nations—then what shall we say, what can we do?

We are a very small nation; very weak, much tried, very unfortunate. Will our extreme weakness be our strength in your eyes? Syria will evidently be what you wish it to become. We have not four divisions in the line, not the smallest weapon in our hands. And even if we had any, the gratitude we owe you would prevent our wielding it.

But our swordless hand will point you to our dead, who, though not fallen in battle, are none the less victims of this war and of your enemies.

[Page 1037]

We have not had a hundred thousand combatants, but we can number nearly four hundred thousand dead. We have not occupied towns nor cut railways, but many among us, unknown heroes, simple and retiring like their comrades in the Legion, have fallen for the same cause as your soldiers in the Dardanelles, in Macedonia and on the Western Front. In all the Allied countries, our compatriots have enlisted in the American, Australian, Canadian, English or French ranks, thus asserting their nationality. In certain countries like Brazil, they have even formed small Legions, which have fought under your banners.

Should we have no other claim than that of a people long subject to oppression, you would still owe us justice.

But if your desire is, in any case, to help in creating a Moslem Empire, the world is vast, and there are even territories of unheard of richness which adjoin the Hedjaz and extend to the Sea. They no longer have their old rulers, and are inhabited for the most part by Moslems and Bedouins. Once more, the world is vast, and routes can be carved out towards the farthest ends of the earth and ports be secured, without necessarily reducing our country, which in itself is so small and so modestly enclosed within its frontiers.

What is it that we ask? Nothing but to be allowed to stay at home. And if we have been asked for nothing, it is because others were ready to take everything, or nearly everything, from us. With what right? Are we to be constrained to believe in the right of the strongest?

May we say one word as regards Palestine—although the subject is said to be a thorny one?

Palestine is incontestably the Southern portion of our country. The Zionists claim it. We have suffered too much from sufferings resembling theirs, not to throw open wide to them the doors of Palestine. All those among them who are oppressed in certain retrograde countries are welcome. Let them settle in Palestine, but in an autonomous Palestine, connected with Syria by the sole bond of federation. Will not a Palestine enjoying wide internal autonomy be for them a sufficient guarantee?

If they form the majority there, they will be the rulers. If they are in the minority, they will be represented in the government in proportion to their numbers.

Is it necessary, in order to establish them, to dismember Syria, to take from it its means of access and its historic safeguard against any invasion (which always took that route), and to constitute a State in the midst of a country which, as a consequence, would be hostile to them.

[Page 1038]

Agreements have also been mentioned which were concluded even before our deliverance, some cutting us in pieces and taking away our ports, Haifa and St. Jean d’Acre; others giving our capital to the Hedjaz. Whatever we may have said, we have truly the greatest and most respectful sympathy for that new kingdom and its new king, as well as for the princes, his sons. We admire their courage and we love them for what they have been led to do for us. But as they speak our language they doubtless know the proverb: “If I love thee, O my bracelet, I love my arm still more.”

We beg you, Gentlemen, not to take umbrage at our language, which is doubtless hardly in accord with that usually employed at your meetings. We tender our humble and respectful apologies if we have cried out under the threat of the knife. We also regret to have taken up so much of the time which you require for so many other important and complex questions. But, once more, the complications which make our question such a simple problem—and we beg you to remember this—are only of an external nature. We ourselves can, therefore, do nothing towards solving it. You, and you alone, can do much. You can do everything. But if our hopes are not to be realised, and we are to be disintegrated and condemned (this time irremediably, since the condemnation will come from you), then we would make one last request, that we may be handed back to Turkey. She will massacre us a little more, but with her we shall at least preserve a hope of one day being able to escape.

When the indiscretions of the press acquainted us with the rough outlines of the agreements of 1916,12 which made our hearts bleed, our compatriot, Jamil Mardam Bey, comparing our sufferings under the Turks to those which we might expect if our country were thus pieced out, reminded us of this verse:

“There was a day when I wept—

And now I weep for that day.”

Gentlemen, will you, our only hope, who in our eyes represent justice, right and human mercy, will you leave us to weep for our sad and grievous past?

  1. A correction issued on February 17, 1919, reads as follows:

    For list of Members of the Syrian Commission substitute the following:—

    M. Chekri Ganem Chief Representative of the Central Syrian Committee.
    M. Anis Schenade Orthodox Greek.
    Jamil Mardam Bey Moslem.
    Dr. Georges Samne Greek Melchite.
    Nejil Bey Maikarzel Maronite.
    Dr. Tewfik Farhi Hebrew.

  2. Dr. Isaiah Bowman was appointed American representative to the Commission of Polish Affairs; Dr. Charles H. Haskins and Col. S. D. Embick were appointed American representatives to the Commission for Belgian and Danish Affairs.
  3. Count Vannutelli-Rey was named as the second Italian representative.
  4. According to a correction issued later, the word “measures” should be substituted for the word “changes.”
  5. Rev. Howard S. Bliss, President of the Syrian Protestant College, Beyrout, Syria.
  6. Vol. ii, p. 274.
  7. For correction issued on February 17, 1919, see footnote 1, p. 1014.
  8. This statement appears on p. 1024.
  9. A correction of this portion of the minutes was issued later in which the preceding sentence was omitted and the following substituted:

    The resolution contained a proposal to the effect that a commission should be appointed by the Peace Congress to enquire into and report upon the international aspect of the position of women and children throughout the world.

  10. For minutes of this Plenary Session, see p. 208.
  11. The documents referred to do not accompany the minutes.
  12. The documents referred to do not accompany the minutes.
  13. Current History (March 1920), vol. xi, p. 499.