Paris Peace Conf. 180.03101/53

BC–46 SWC–13

Minutes of the 2nd Meeting of the 17th Session, Supreme War Council, Held in M. Pichon’s Room at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Friday, 7th March, 1919, at 3 p.m.

[Page 253]
Present Also Present
America, United States of America, United States of
Hon. R. Lansing Admiral W. S. Benson
Hon. E. M. House General Tasker H. Bliss
Secretaries Major General M. N. Patrick
Mr. A. H. Frazier * Mr. Hoover
Mr. L. Harrison * Mr. Davis
Mr. G. Auchincloss * Capt. F. H. Schofield
British Empire British Empire
The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P. * The Rt. Hon. Lord Robert Cecil, K. C, M. P.
The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O. M., M. P. General Sir H. H. Wilson, K. C. B., D. S. O.
Secretaries Admiral Sir R. E. Wemyss, G. C. B., C. M. G., M. V. O.
Lt. Col. Sir M. P. A. Hankey, K. C. B. *Rear Admiral G. P. W. Hope, C. B.
Hon. T. A. Spring-Rice Sir Eyre Crowe, K. C. B., K. C. M. G.
France Major General W. Thwaites, C. B.
M. Clemenceau Brig. Gen. P. R. C. Groves, D. S. O.
M. Pichon * Capt. C. T. M. Fuller, C. M. G., D. S. O., R. N.
Secretaries * Paymr. Capt. C. F. Pollard, C. B., R. N.
M. Dutasta * Mr. J. M. Keynes, C. B.
M. Berthelot France
M. Arnavon M. Leygues
M. de Bearn * M. Clementel
Italy * M. Tardieu
H. E. Baron Sonnino Marshal Foch
H. E. Marquis Salvago Raggi * General Belin
Secretaries General Degoutte
Count Aldrovandi * General Weygand
M. Bertele General Duval
Japan * Comdt. Lacombe
H. E. Baron Makino * Comdt. de V. Levavasseur
H. E. M. Matsui * Lieut, de V. Odend’hal
* H. E. M. Crespi
Admiral Grassi
* General Cavallero
Admiral Takeshita
General Nara
* Captain Nomura
* Captain Fujioka
* Captain Yamamoto

Joint Secretariat

America, United States of Colonel U. S. Grant.
British Empire Captain E. Abraham
France Captain A. Portier.
Italy Lieut. Zanchi.
Japan M. Saburi.
Interpreter:—Prof. P. J. Mantoux.

1. M. Clemenceau said that the Report of the Belgian Commission had been received. Report of Belgian Commission on the Treaties of 1839

(It was decided that it should be circulated).

2. The Council had before them copies of a telegram, for the text of which see Annexure “A”.

Interruption of the Negotiations at Spa Lord Robert Cecil said that Admiral Hope had returned from Spa and reported that the negotiations with the Germans concerning the surrender of their mercantile fleet had failed altogether. There had been in the morning a meeting of the Supreme Economic Council at which it had been decided that Germany was clearly bound by the Armistice to yield the ships, that it was of the greatest importance for the Allies to obtain possession of them, and also, in the general interest, that Germany should be supplied with food. Proposals had been made by the American Delegates and by himself and tentative conclusions reached. The French and Italian Delegates, however, had wished to see the conclusions in writing and to have some time for reflection before accepting them. He therefore suggested that a day’s delay be granted for the Supreme Economic Council to consider its resolutions which could be furnished on the following day.

M. Clemenceau asked Lord Robert Cecil if he could give an outline of the resolutions proposed.

Lord Robert Cecil said that two clauses had been agreed to by all the Delegates. The meeting had only broken up at 2.15 p.m. that day and final texts could not be given. The first clause adopted was to the effect that in accordance with the Armistice Germany must deliver the ships. The second clause provided that 270,000 tons of food should be supplied to Germany as soon as the German Government had given evidence of an intention of complying with the Armistice. The third clause concerning which there was not yet full agreement dealt with the future revictualling of Germany. Detailed [Page 254] proposals had been put forward by the American Delegates and agreed to by himself on behalf of the British Government. For reasons previously given he proposed that the final draft should be produced on the following day.

M. Clementel explained that this clause involved principles concerning which the French and Italian Delegates felt they must consult their Governments.

(It was decided to postpone the discussion to the following day.)

3. Mr. Lansing put forward the following draft:—

It was agreed that,

Mr. Lansing’s Proposal for a Commission to Consider the Question of Enemy owned Submarine Cables In consideration of clause 6 of Part II of the Naval conditions for peace with Germany, the following questions should be submitted to a Committee composed of five Members, one to be named by each of the five Powers:

Is it (legally) right under the rules or principles of international law to treat as capture or prize submarine telegraph cables of an enemy cut or taken possession of by naval operations?

Is it (legally) right under the rules or principles of international law for a Government whose naval forces have cut or taken possession of a submarine telegraph cable of an enemy, to retain such cable by way of reparation?

In the event that the cut or captured cable of an enemy is landed on the territory of another nation, what right and authority does such nation possess under contracts or permits granted to the enemy to cancel the same or to control the use of the cable?

Mr. Balfour said that he would only question, in this draft, the use of the word “legally”; as no international law existed concerning the point in question he asked whether it would not be better to suppress this word.

Mr. Lansing agreed to the suppression of the word “legally” at the beginning of the second and 3rd paragraphs of the draft.

Baron Makino said he wished to ask a question. Should the Commission decide that it was not legitimate to take possession of the cables, would the consequence be their return to Germany?

M. Clemenceau said the power of deciding on this remained with the Council.

Baron Sonnino said that the text proposed specifically related only to cables cut during the war or taken possession of by naval operations. He understood that there were enemy owned cables which did not come under either’ of these categories.

Mr. Lansing said that the question did not arise, as unless they had been taken from the enemy they could not be returned.

Baron Sonnino said that from the previous day’s discussion he understood that there were some enemy-owned cables neither cut nor [Page 255] seized during the war. If so, should they not be taken into account?

M. Leygues said that there were some such in the East.

Admiral de Bon said that in the naval report a full list of cables had been given and this list should be submitted to the Commission.

Mr. Lansing said he objected to any change in the draft because a legal opinion was required on the captured cables and not on any other. The question was an abstract one and he thought it undesirable to mention any cables by name.

(Mr. Lansing’s resolution was therefore accepted with the omission of the word “legally” in the second and third paragraph).

The following nominees were then appointed to the Committee:—

For the United States of America Mr. James Brown Scott.
“ Great Britain Dr. Pearce Higgins.
“ France M. Fromageot.
“ Italy M. Tosti.
“ Japan M. Yanaka.

4. Mr. Lansing suggested that Mr. Hoover should make a statement about the actual situation.

M. Crespi said he had a similar statement to make, but had no objection if Mr. Hoover preceded him.

Supply of Food to Austria, and the Italian Blockade at Lubiana Mr. Hoover said that on the previous Wednesday he had brought forward certain proposals. He would remind the Council that the difficulties encountered did not entirely arise from the situation about Trieste, but were the result of enmity and differences among the various divisions of what was once an economic unit. He had therefore proposed that a certain amount of rolling stock be turned over exclusively for use in shipping food, and Lord Robert Cecil had suggested an amendment which he had been very glad to accept. Because of an unfortunate incident at Lubiana, the Yugo-Slav area was entirely closed, and consequently Bohemia and German Austria were rendered partly inaccessible. The Italian Government had made the greatest efforts to make shipments by other routes, but 1100 tons was the greatest amount that had yet been shipped in one day, while 3,000 tons were needed. It was manifestly impossible to ship food to the North through Yugo-Slavia without at the same time feeding the Yugo-Slavs, and while they were still starving. The efforts of the Italian Government had succeeded in getting 20,000 tons into Czecho-Slovakia in five weeks, whereas at least 45,000 tons per month were needed. He believed that the peoples concerned would welcome the intervention of a fourth party, as they could not agree amongst themselves for obvious reasons. There was no possibility of dealing with the food situation in Austria Hungary without unimpeded control of the rolling stock, and the removal of the blockade.

[Page 256]

M. Crespi said that at the last meeting when Mr. Hoover’s proposal had been brought forward there were two questions before the Council. One was a general question of re-victualling the whole of the former Austro-Hungarian territory. There were difficulties of various kinds to be overcome. The Italian Government was in complete agreement with its Allies that it was desirable to overcome these difficulties and to feed these populations. It was ready to co-operate with the other Governments to this end.

The second question raised by Mr. Hoover, put so clearly by Mr. Balfour in a previous meeting, concerned the difficulty between the Italian Government and the Local Authority at Lubiana. He wished to give an account of the events that had led to this crisis. In accordance with clauses 7 and 10 of the Armistice of Villa Giusti of November 3rd, 1918,1 each Allied Government had a right to establish Commissions of Control in Austria Hungary. The Italian Government accordingly placed a Commission in Vienna under General Segre. General Segre during the month of January had found it necessary to establish a sub-commission at Lubiana. This sub-commission took up its work on the 27th January in full agreement with the Local Authorities. On the 12th February a train carrying Italian refugees passing through the station of Saloch was fired on by men attired in Serbian uniform. Several of the passengers were wounded, and Italian flags were torn down and burnt. Major di Giorgi, head of the Sub-Commission demanded satisfaction from the Local Authorities. He was told on the 14th, that an enquiry was being made. On the 17th, he called on the Local Authorities again, and was given no reply. On the 18th, he was asked to show his passports. On the 20th, he was ordered to quit Lubiana as his passports were not in order, and as the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, was not subject to the Armistice. Major di Giorgi was compelled to leave Lubiana at once.

Another incident occurred on the 20th. A Commission composed of French and American Officers was working on the Frontier of Yugo-Slavia at Marburg. General Segre sent certain Italian Officers to join this Commission. On their arrival these Officers were ordered by the Yugo-Slav Authorities to withdraw. They refused to do so. After the dismissal of the Commission from Lubiana the Italian Government had made a protest at Belgrade. No answer had been returned. The Italian Government then considered means of closing this incident. The first means suggested was the military occupation of Lubiana. The second was the closing of the Armistice Frontier. The less severe of these alternatives had been chosen. The Frontier was closed. Mr. Butler of the Trieste Relief Commission had gone to Lubiana and it was thought that he had arranged for [Page 257] the Italian Commission to return there and to be received with due honour. It now appeared that he had not obtained this result. It was just at this moment that Mr. Hoover’s proposal was brought forward, and that clearly put the Italian Government in a very embarrassing position. Meanwhile the Italian Government was sending trains to Bohemia by three other routes. Two routes led through Tarvis and one through Innsbruck. The whole question of re-victualling Austria depended on the supply of rolling stock. Any number of trains could be sent up the lines still open provided rolling stock was forthcoming. The Italian Government, to come to the assistance of Bohemia, had diverted its own trucks and succeeded in sending 1100 tons on the 3rd. March. Since then, the amount had been increased and he was informed that now nine trains were despatched per day carrying in all 2700 tons. If to this he added what would come via Fiume and the Adriatic Ports, he thought that Mr. Hoover’s figure of 3,000 tons would be more than reached. The incident of Lubiana remained, and the Italian Government had not received satisfaction. It was bound to remember what had taken place at Spalato where Italian subjects had been molested in the presence of four Allied Admirals. The Admirals had demanded and obtained satisfaction. The Italian Government therefore proposed that a Commission of four Allied Generals should be appointed to proceed to Lubiana and make an investigation. He then submitted the following formula:—

The Means for Italy To Have the Necessary Reparation

First—a commission consisting of four Generals (one American, one English, one French, one Italian) will go at once to Laibach to enquire into the incidents of 12th and 20th February, at Saloch and Laibach; after ascertaining the facts in the case they will require of the Local Government the punishment of the guilty persons and all those reparations and satisfactions for the Italian Government which shall be deemed due. (a) Commission of Enquiry at Lubiana

Second—The commission of four Generals, after ascertaining the facts in the case, will notify in the name of the Allied and Associated Governments that the repetition of similar incidents will have as its immediate consequence the inter-allied military occupation of the localities in which such incidents may occur in accordance with the terms of Art. 4 of the Armistice of November 3rd, 1918, besides any more severe measures which the Commission may deem requisite.

When the commission has been appointed and has begun its labours on the spot, the Italian Government will allow the transit via Laibach of those trains which the Commission shall deem necessary for re-victualling purposes.

As to the proposal made by Mr. Hoover, he reserved his right to make further comments when this part of the question had been settled.

[Page 258]

Mr. Lloyd George said that the incident described by M. Crespi was a very serious one. The Powers could not permit the flag of a great Allied country to be subjected to indignity. They were bound to do all they could do to uphold one another’s national honour. He thought the sending of the Commission suggested by M. Crespi would have a good effect. A telegram informing the Yugo-Slavs that a Commission was to be sent would make it clear to them what the attitude of the Powers was. Nevertheless he did not think that in the meantime populations in no way concerned in the incident should be starved, and he did not understand that it was so proposed. He thought therefore, that Mr. Hoover’s proposal could be accepted and executed pari passu with the appointment of the Commission. He proposed that a telegram appointing a Commission of enquiry be sent at once; that the blockade be removed and that Mr. Hoover’s plans be put in operation as soon as the telegram had been sent.

M. Crespi said that he had agreed to discuss Mr. Hoover’s proposal. He would have to propose a few modifications suggested by the Italian Railway Experts. One of these modifications was contained in his proposal regarding the Commission to investigate the incident at Lubiana. It suggested that the Commission should have discretion to pass such trains as it thought necessary. As he had already explained, there was no imminent risk to Bohemia or to Austria, seeing that 9 trains a day were being sent, carrying as much as 2,700 tons. Italy could not consent to raise the Blockade before the institution of the Commission, which would be a beginning of some satisfaction to the Italian Government. It was probable that it could be instituted within twenty four hours.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the only objection he had to raise was that the resumption of traffic was made to depend on the assembling of the Commission. He appealed to the generosity of the Italian Government to allow traffic to proceed as soon as a telegram had been sent to the Yugo-Slavs, concerning the appointment of a Commission of enquiry. This would remove any appearance of the Italian Government having been over-ruled by the Supreme War Council. The telegram would show clearly that the Powers intended that Italy should have satisfaction.

Baron Sonnino suggested, in deference to what Mr. Lloyd George had said, a slight alteration in M. Crespi’s formula. He suggested that the last paragraph should run “As soon as the Commission has been appointed and is on the spot the Italian Government will allow … etc.” The presence of the Commission on the spot would be a guarantee that no repetition of the incident would occur. The Commission could be gathered in Lubiana in 24 hours, as each Power could select one of its officers at Trieste or Fiume. If no food were going to Bohemia and Austria a few hours might make a difference [Page 259] but as 2,700 tons were going daily since the previous day, a delay of 24 hours would not matter. It might be difficult to continue the transport of 2,700 tons a day by the other lines, but it could certainly be continued for a few days. This alteration he thought would give satisfaction both to Italy and to the Council.

M. Clemenceau asked how the decisions of the Commission would be carried out. He had the worst recollection of a Commission of four Admirals sent to Fiume some three months ago. The Italian Admiral on this Commission had refused to submit to the views of the majority: in consequence nothing had been achieved. He had just heard that after three months’ delay the Commission were beginning to do something. He did not wish to repeat this proceeding with four Generals. The matter in hand in that case also was a question of revictualling. The Allies desired to find means of sending food to General Franchet d’Esperey’s Army.

Baron Sonnino said that in the present instance the Commission was to examine facts. As the appointment of the Commission itself would open the frontier, no such evil consequences as M. Clemenceau had described could result, even were the Members of the Commission to disagree in their judgment. It was only proposed that the facts should be examined by an Allied Commission. Meanwhile traffic would be resumed. Unless this proposal were accepted by the Council, Italy would be driven to the only possible alternative which was a Military occupation. This might be done at any time.

M. Clemenceau said he was not sure whether he could find a French officer in proximity to Lubiana.

Baron Sonnino said that there was a French Base at Fiume.

Mr. Lloyd George said that he was not sure that an English General could be readily found. It might take some days to discover one. Were people to starve because some mis-guided people at Lubiana had been guilty of insulting an Allied flag? Their guilt even should not be presumed. All we could say was that we would investigate and punish anyone found guilty. This, as well as the assembling of a Commission would take time. Seeing the appeals that came from all countries for food, he felt that we should be more indulgent in the matter of offenses against ourselves and run no risk of starving the population of Europe.

Baron Sonnino said he would understand this objection if nothing were being done, but 9 trains were being sent per diem.

Mr. Hoover begged to differ about the 9 trains. He got a daily report and on no day had 9 trains been reported as having gone; but there had been 9 trains in the last 2 days. On the 24th February he and his colleagues informed the Supreme Economic Council that they declined to take further responsibility for order in Austria Hungary. They had done this after reflection and struggle with a [Page 260] similar situation for some weeks. It was not only a question of this blockade, but of getting some unity again among a lot of disintegrated and antagonistic countries. There had been an Inter-Allied Commission in Trieste for one month and nothing had been accomplished. 80,000 tons of food was ready for distribution.

M. Crespi said that he had received a telegram that very morning stating that nine trains had been running since the previous day, including two via Innsbruck. The Italian Delegation had supposed that the Lubiana incident had been solved. Mr. Hoover, in his Note read on Wednesday,2 had said that the blockade had been reported as raised on the previous day. It was now found that this was not so and there was no solution. If Mr. Lloyd George wished the blockade to be raised, the Council could order the Italian officers to be sent back at once to Lubiana and a Commission of Investigation to be appointed. This would be a solution. Without this, Italy would be in a disastrous position. She would appear to have been forced to abandon a line of conduct at the dictation of the Supreme War Council.

Mr. Lloyd George thought that the sending of a telegram would prevent this consequence. He would propose an amendment to M. Crespi’s draft. He suggested that the last paragraph should read: “When the Commission has been appointed and the local authority of Lubiana has been so informed, the Italian Government will allow the transit via Lubiana of such trains as may be necessary for re-victualling purposes”.

Mr. Lansing suggested that the appointment of the Commission should not be awaited, but that action should follow on the announcement that it would be appointed.

Baron Sonnino said that he could make no further concession. He would accept Mr. Lloyd George’s amendment but could go no further.

Mr. Lansing proposed that the Members of the Commission should be nominated that very day. He would further ask who was to determine the quantity of food that was necessary.

Baron Sonnino said the Trieste Belief Commission.

Mr. Lansing thought it would have to be the Director-General of Relief.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the proposal before the Council merely provided for the raising of the blockade and the resumption of traffic on the same lines as before. If the controlling authority were subsequently changed, authority would pass from the old to the new.

Mr. Lansing said that his acceptance of the formula was dependent on the adoption of Mr. Hoover’s proposals.

[Page 261]

Certain other amendments were made in the original formula proposed by M. Crespi and, subject to the reservation made by Mr. Lansing on behalf of the United States of America, the following resolution was adopted:

“First—A Commission consisting of four Generals (one American, one Englishman, one Frenchman, one Italian) will go at once to Lubiana to enquire into the incidents of 12th and 20th February, at Saloch and Lubiana; after ascertaining the facts of the case they will give such directions as may be required including the punishment of the guilty persons, and all reparations and satisfactions which may be deemed due to the Italian Government.

Second—The Commission of four Generals, after ascertaining the facts of the case, will notify in the name of the Allied and Associated Governments that a repetition of similar incidents will have as its immediate consequence the inter-Allied military occupation of the localities in which such incidents may occur, in accordance with the terms of Article 4 of the Armistice of November 3rd, 1918, besides any more severe measures which the Commission may deem requisite.

When the Commission had been appointed and the local authority of Lubiana has been so informed, the Italian Government will allow the transit via Lubiana of such trains as may be necessary for re-victualling purposes.”

M. Clemenceau said that the discussion on Mr. Hoover’s text would now take place.

(b) Disposal of Rolling Stock in Austria-Hungary by Director-General of Relief M. Crespi said that he had certain comments to make on the draft. For instance as there was already a relief committee at Trieste he would suggest that the Director-General of Relief should work through this Commission rather than through the communication section of the Supreme Economic Council. He had another remark of a general nature to make which was that a discussion with the Austrians must take place before the plan could be put into operation. The Armistice did not confer on the Allied Powers any authority to proceed without Austrian consent.

Mr. Hoover said that he would undertake to obtain the separate acquiescence of each of the local governments concerned. It would be made clear to them severally that they could not obtain food by any other means. No concerted Allied action would be required.

M. Crespi said that what he wished to indicate was that some negotiation would be necessary.

Marshal Foch said that he must point out that the state of war was not over. Consequently, all the railways in Austria-Hungary must remain under military control. It appeared to him extremely dangerous to allot a section of the railways to a Relief Department, independent of the military administration. The state of war, moreover, [Page 262] had another consequence: all conversations with the enemy were forbidden while it lasted.

Mr. Hoover pointed out that all the states interested were not enemy states, but that food had to pass through enemy states to reach some friendly states. The military authorities had not taken over all the rail-roads in Austria-Hungary. They had only taken over a few of the railways for a definite object. The relief authorities dealing with the problem of revictualling the country would have to deal with 40 or 50 separate lines. The Military Authorities had made no attempt to solve the problem. As to conversations, all the Allies had delegations in every important town carrying on constant conversation with the local authorities. As to setting up a new agency, they already had representatives in four capitals, and an Over-Ruling Committee in Trieste. Less than 20% of the rolling stock would be required, and if hostilities were renewed, the Relief Department would give way to the Military Authorities. Unless this revictualling proceeded immediately, the Allies would have to resume military action at perhaps 5,000 times the cost in money and in lives.

M. Clementel said that the suggestion he had made on Wednesday tending to the execution by four Allied Generals of the Director-General’s instructions should give satisfaction to Marshal Foch.

Marshal Foch quoted, with disapproval, paragraphs (f), (g) and (h) of the proposals. They meant that the Military Authorities could get no rolling stock until the Relief Department was satisfied.

M. Clementel said that this applied except in case of war.

Marshal Foch replied that this case existed.

M. Crespi said that all agreed in principle, but there were technical objections which might be referred to a small Committee, and a final draft could be produced on the following day.

Mr. House suggested that a Committee be appointed to report immediately while the Council proceeded with the other questions.

(It was then decided that Mr. Hoover, Lord Robert Cecil, M. Clementel, M. Crespi, and General Weygand, should withdraw to another room and return later with a draft proposal.

After an interval the following draft, unanimously agreed to by the above Committee, was produced and accepted:—

All the states of the old Austrian Empire, including the areas held by the Italians on the Adriatic, should be called upon to furnish a definite contribution of railway rolling-stock;
This rolling-stock should be marked as belonging to the Relief Administration and will be given priority for its purposes;
The Director-General of Relief working through the communications section of the Supreme Economic Council should be made the mandatory for the disposition of this rolling-stock;
A regular train service should be established under his direction that will carry out the necessary programmes of food to the different localities;
This service should have entire freedom of movement over all railways regardless of political boundaries and in complete priority to other services except military; and within the Italian frontier this will be carried out in co-operation with the Italian authorities;
The railway servants of any nationality may be employed in operations over any territory within the old Austrian Empire regardless of nationality or political boundaries;
The Italian authorities will assign definite portions of port facilities to the Relief Administration at Trieste and Fiume for the consummation of these ends;
In general the rolling-stock should not be demanded by any of the Allied Governments until this service is completely equipped, without prejudice to the ultimate ownership thereof;
The railway officials of each state and port officials in each port will co-operate in maintenance of this service.

At this stage all the technical advisers save Marshal Foch, one General, one Admiral and one Air Officer of each nation, withdrew.)

Mr. Lloyd George said that he had the following draft resolution to propose:—

Military, Naval and Aerial Terms of Peace “The Military, Naval and Aerial terms of peace with Germany shall be based on the following principles:—

The German naval, military and air forces shall be raised entirely by voluntary service.
The minimum period of service for all ranks shall be 12 years with the colours.
The strength of the German army and air force shall not exceed 200,000 men of all ranks, organised in not more than 15 divisions and 3 cavalry divisions.
The strength of the German Navy shall not exceed 15,000 men of all ranks and ratings.”

The object of this proposal was that Germany should not have an annual contingent of recruits, and should not be able to play the same trick on Europe as she had after Iéna. It might be objected that Germany would not have guns and cadres. This assumed that she would not be in collusion with any other power, for instance—Russia. It was absolutely necessary to make this impossible, and the method he proposed was, he believed, the only way to do so. A voluntary army was more expensive than a conscript army. If Germany had to maintain a voluntary army in addition to paying compensation to the Allies, there would be no money left for military adventures. The permanent limitation of armaments was an illusion. He had been told that very morning that the jigs and gauges necessary to permit the manufacture of armaments and munitions for a very large army could be concealed in one small room. Such concealment [Page 264] could not be prevented, and a nation endowed with these standards could gain three months in the race for the production of armaments.

(There being no dissentient, the resolution was adopted.)

M. Clemenceau said that as there was no objection, the draft read by Mr. Lloyd George would be sent to the military, naval and air committees for adaptation to the body of their recommendations.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the British Delegation had a complete set of proposals.

Marshal Foch pointed out that in the Commission there were no advocates of Mr. Lloyd George’s principles. He would therefore ask that the British Delegation should be instructed to report on the matter. He had received the British project just referred to by Mr. Lloyd George at mid-day and at first sight he noticed that it dealt with other than military questions. Was the Commission to enter into these matters or would the Governments give them instructions for their guidance? There were, for instance, chapters relating to prisoners of war and to Poland.

M. Clemenceau said that these matters did not concern the military experts. The Commission would be able to judge what part of the proposals concerned them and what part did not.

General Degoutte said that he personally would never agree with the views expressed by the British Delegation in favour of a voluntary long term army in Germany. He thought this would make Germany far stronger than a short term conscript service.

M. Clemenceau said that the Governments could not force the Military Authorities to change their opinions. He suggested that a report should be made on Monday.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the question of principle must be decided in the Council itself. He, on behalf of Great Britain, would never sign any peace giving Germany an army of more than 200,000 men. He would never agree to an army raised in Germany by short conscript service. No General’s opinion would shake his decision. This was a matter for Governments to decide. He did not wish to say that he rejected the advice of the Generals. It was to avoid this that he had put forward his resolution. He declared for a long service army as the only guarantee of a small army. He proposed this principle be accepted by the Council and that directions be given to the Military advisers to prepare regulations in accordance with this principle.

M. Clemenceau said that the case had been clearly put by Mr. Lloyd George. He himself was also bound by his acceptance of these principles. The resolution would now be reported on by the Military Committee, who would, of course, remain free to express their own views. The decision would remain with the Governments.

[Page 265]

Mr. Lloyd George understood that the Military Advisers would draft a scheme on the basis of the resolution.

(This was agreed to.

It was also agreed that the Naval and Aerial Committees should be guided by the same principles.)

(a) Suppression of German Air Force General Duval remarked that the Aerial Committee had proposed to suppress the whole of the German air force. Was he to understand that a different report was now required?

Mr. Lloyd George said that he had no objection to the entire suppression of the German air force.

Revision of Naval Conduitions Admiral Wemyss said that the Admirals had reconsidered certain points referred back to them by the Supreme War Council on the previous day. He made no mention of the clauses which had been reserved.

(Admiral Wemyss then read the proposed re-draft, and, after a short discussion, the following revised clauses were accepted:—

Part I

Clause 8. Construction of Vessels-of-War.

No vessels-of-war shall be constructed in Germany nor acquired by Germany, except as follows:—

(a) New vessels shall only be built to replace units of the seagoing fleet authorised by Clause 1.

(b) New vessels shall not exceed the following displacement:—

Armoured ships 10,000 tons
Light-Cruisers 6,000
Destroyers 800
Torpedo-Boats 200

(c) Except in the case of the loss of a ship, units of the different classes shall only be replaced at the end of

  • 20 years in the case of armoured ships and light cruisers,
  • 15 years in the case of destroyers and torpedo-boats.

This number of years expresses the duration of the life of a ship and shall count from the date of launching of the ship which is to be replaced to the year in which the new ship is launched.

Clause 9. Prohibition of Construction of Submarines.

No submarines for any purpose whatever, commercial or otherwise, shall be built in Germany or acquired by Germany.

Part II

Clause 3. Coast Fortifications.

All fortified works and fortifications now established within 50 kilometres of the German coast or on German islands off that coast, other than those mentioned in Clauses 1 and 3 of Part II., shall be [Page 266] considered as of a defensive nature and may be retained as at present. No new fortifications shall be constructed within the same limits.

The armament of these defences shall not exceed, as regards the number and calibre of guns, those in position at the date of the signature of the present Convention. Their numbers and calibres shall be at once communicated by the German Government to the Allied and Associated Powers.

The stocks of ammunition for these guns shall not exceed the following rates:—

Calibre Rounds apiece
3-inch and under 3,000
Over 3-inch 1,000”

It was agreed that Admiral Benson’s reservations should be examined in connection with the general question of future control.)

(The Meeting then adjourned.)

Paris, 8th March, 1919.

Annexure “A”

Interruption of the Negotiations at Spa

Copy of Telegram



Following for Lord Robert Cecil for the Economic Council and Hankey for the Supreme War Council, Hotel Majestic, Paris. Also for Marshal Foch, No. 4 Bis, Boulevard des Invalides, Paris, and for His Excellency Signor Crespi, Hotel Edouard VII, Paris.:—

After communicating with Weimar, the German delegates refused to deliver their mercantile marine in its entirety until a definite programme of food supplies has been arranged up to next harvest. They indicate their willingness to compromise on the basis of delivering a portion of the ships in return for a limited supply of (? group omitted) stuffs and further ships proportionately with further supplies. We have pointed out to them that this is not consistent with the agreement for the immediate delivery of all the ships to which they have already bound themselves, and we have reassured them of the intention of the Associated Governments to accord further food supplies to the fullest extent that our instructions permit. The German delegates after further communication with Weimar having announced their inability to modify their attitude [Page 267] we are informing them that in view of our instructions no useful purpose can be served by further discussions, and that we are returning to Paris immediately.

The situation is evidently most serious one and I trust the (? Supreme War Council) will be in a position to consider it on Friday.

(Repeated Ministry of Shipping, London.)

  1. Present for Items 1 to 4 only.
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  21. Vol. ii, p. 175.
  22. See BC–44, p. 199.
  23. Hotel Astoria, headquarters of the British delegation.