Paris Peace Conf. 180.03101/55
Minutes of the Meeting of the Supreme War Council Held at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Monday, 10th March, 1919, at 3 p.m.
|America, United States of||America, United States of|
|Hon. R. Lansing.||General Tasker H. Bliss.|
|Hon. E. M. House.||Admiral W. S. Benson.|
|Secretaries||Major General M. N. Patrick.|
|Mr. A. H. Frazier.||British Empire|
|Mr. L. Harrison.||Rear-Admiral G. P. Hope, C. B.|
|Mr. G. Auchincloss.||General Sir H. H. Wilson, K. C. B., D. S. O.|
|British Empire||Major General Hon. C. J. Sackville-West, C. M. G.|
|The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M.P.||Brigadier General P. R. C. Groves, D. S. O.|
|The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O. M., M. P.||Captain C. T. M. Fuller, C. M. G., D. S. O., R. N.|
|Secretaries||Paymaster Captain C. F. Pollard, C. B., R. N.|
|Lt. Col. Sir M. P. A. Hankey, K.C.B.||France|
|Mr. H. Norman.||M. Leygues.|
|France||M. J. Cambon.|
|M. Clemenceau.||Marshal Foch.|
|M. Pichon.||General Belin.|
|M. Dutasta.||General Weygand.|
|M. Berthelot.||General Duval.|
|M. Arnavon.||Admiral de Bon.|
|M. de Bearn.||Comdt. de V. Levavasseur.|
|H. E. Baron Sonnino.||Lieut. de V. Odend’hal.|
|H. E. Marquis Salvago Rnggi.||Italy|
|M. Bertele.||Admiral Takeshita.|
|H. E. Baron Makino.||Colonel Nagai.|
|H. E. M. Matsui.||Captain Fujioka.|
|America, United States of||Colonel U. S. Grant.|
|British Empire||Captain E. Abraham.|
|France||Captain A. Portier.|
|Interpreter:—Prof. P. J. Mantoux.|
(1) M. Clemenceau said that M. Pichon had a text of a resolution on this subject propose. The following text was then read accepted:— Representation of Power With Social Interests on the Economic and Financial Commissions
The Supreme Council of the Allied and Associated Powers considering that the Powers which have actually taken part in the war and in consequence thereof suffered damage calling for reparation should not be excluded from the financial and economic committees, hereby declare that they cannot accept the list of delegates as put forward by the meeting of the Powers with particular interests, and with regard thereto move the following resolutions:
- Belgium, Greece, Poland, Roumania, Czechoslovack Republic and Serbia shall be represented by one delegate each in the financial commission.
- Belgium, Brazil, China, Poland, Portugal, Roumania and Serbia shall be represented by one delegate each in the economic commission.
The other Powers with particular interests shall have a hearing at these Committees whenever questions bearing on their interests are being dealt with.
M. J. Cambon was charged with the mission of communicating this decision to the Powers concerned.
(2) M. Clemenceau said that before proceeding with this subject he would read a Declaration made by Marshal Foch. He then read the following Declaration:— Military Terms of Peace
On February 12th, the Governments entrusted a Military Committee with the task of laying down, in all liberty, the conditions of Germany’s disarmament. After a particularly thorough study of the question, the Military Representatives established the draft of March 5th, which was based upon the short term of service and excluded the long term service.
On March 7th, the Governments, upon the demand of the British Government, entrusted the same representatives with the laying down of a draft based upon the long term service. The draft of March 10th is submitted as a consequence of these directions.
From the military point of view, I hold that the draft of March 5th is preferable for the considerations already explained and owing to the thorough study to which it was submitted.
If, in spite of all, the Governments were to adopt the principle of the long term service and rally to the draft of March 10th. it is indispensable, in order to diminish the danger, which, in my opinion, exists with an army based upon a long term of service, to reduce the strength from 140,000 men provided for in the draft, to 100,000 men, this for various reasons will be explained.
The draft regulations were then read article by article. (For text see Annexure A.)
Chapter 1. Article 1 Chapter 1, Article 1 was passed.
Article 2 Article 1 was read.
M. Clemenceau pointed out that there was a discrepancy between the figure 140,000 men given in this article, and the figure recommended by Marshal Foch in his Declaration, namely 100,000.
Mr. Balfour enquired how the original number 200,000 had been reduced to 140,000 which it now appeared Marshal Foch wished further to reduce to 100,000?
M. Clemenceau explained that in the case of a short term service half of the contingents were undergoing training and were therefore regarded as ineffective, whereas, in a long term service, all the men serving were effective. Hence to obtain an equivalent of 200,000 short term men, 140,000 long service men were considered sufficient.
Mr. Lloyd George said he had no objection to raise to this.
Mr. Balfour asked whether the American Delegates agreed to the reduction.
General Bliss said that the American view was that a 25% reduction should be made on a short term Army of 200,000 to give an equivalent in long service men. The figure of 140,000 had therefore been chosen. The American Representatives were of opinion that this number should not be further diminished. It was a matter of guess work to judge what number of troops would be necessary to maintain order in Germany, but he felt that safety could not be ensured with less than 140,000.
Marshal Foch said that if the force left to Germany was to be a police force, 140,000 men represented far more than was required. In support of this, he instanced the United States of America with a population of 100,000,000 and a standing army, before the war, of 100,000 men and no constabulary. Proportionately 100,000 men were therefore more than enough to police Germany. If Germany were given a permanent army of 140,000 men, together with 15,000 sailors, a constabulary the number of which was unknown and not limited, but which probably exceeded that of the French constabulary which was 22,000 men, plus 6,300 Forest Guards, plus 23,000 douaniers, Germany would have a trained force of not less than 206,000. This would not constitute an aggressive force able to mobilise at once. If all Germany required was a police force, this was far too much, and 100,000 men would be ample. If the recommendations before the Council were adopted, the Allies would have to maintain 206,000 trained men against Germany. Even if this burden were distributed amongst four Powers, each would have to keep in readiness over 50,000 fully trained men.[Page 297]
Mr. Lansing said that in reference to Marshal Foch’s figures of forces in the United States before the war, he wished to make a few remarks. Before this war, the United States of America were perhaps the least military nation on earth. They had a population of about 100,000,000, that is to say some 20,000,000 more than Germany. The regular army had numbered 100,000 men, the National Guards contained 125,000 more or less trained men who had shown their value on the Mexican frontier. In addition to this there were thousands of men in the State Constabulary and tens of thousands in the police, all trained in the use of firearms, and suitable for incorporation. There were therefore available in times of Peace, 300,000 to 350,000 trained men. With this term of comparison, he did not think the allotment made to Germany over, great, especially if the very difficult task of the German Government be taken into account. The various States composing the German Federation had not the same spirit of cohesion as existed amongst the States of America.
Marshal Foch said that according to Mr. Lansing’s figures there were in the United States some 225,000 trained men before the war. He had added to this, however, the police in the various states. These had not been taken into account in considering the force of Germany. If Town and Municipal police were added to his estimate of Germany’s armed forces, the proportion would be about the same.
M. Clemenceau said that if the figure of 140,000 were maintained for the regular army, in effect Germany would have 200,000 trained men. If the army were reduced to 100,000 she would still have 160,000 trained men, and this figure exceeded that considered by General Bliss as necessary to maintain order in Germany. Marshal Foch had suggested that there [were?] four Powers ready to share the burden of opposing an equivalent force to this German army. He was not sure that he could prejudge the future so confidently. The British and American troops were reasonably anxious to go home. Should they do so the whole burden would be on France. He felt it was therefore his duty to say with the greatest emphasis that to lighten France’s burden Marshal Foch’s figure ought to be adopted.
Mr. Lloyd George said that he had been much impressed by the last argument. He was bound to admit that in all probability the occupation of any points it might be decided was necessary for the safety of France would ultimately be a burden on France alone. France was therefore entitled to a decisive voice in the matter. It was inevitable that this interest should affect France more closely than Great Britain, and Great Britain more closely than America. Twice in living memory invasion of French soil had come from the same quarter. France was therefore entitled to consider her fears. [Page 298] Germany would have no good cause for complaint. Twice she had misused her military machine, and on this occasion its misuse had led to the death of 20,000,000 young men. Consequent famine and disorder would doubtless do to death as many more. The Associated Powers were therefore entitled to say that they would not allow Germany the use of a machine that could again be the cause of similar disaster. As between the figures of 100,000 and 140,000 he had no very clear predilection, but he did not feel that he could resist the Military Advisers of France, unprotected by the sea as England and America were, and with only the Rhine as a defence. He agreed there was force in what Mr. Lansing and General Bliss had said. Great Britain had a very small army, although it exceeded 100,000; but it had to ensure the security of a large and scattered Empire including India and Africa. There was also Ireland. Germany had no Empire, and as far as he knew, no Ireland. Should Bavaria represent the Irish problem of Germany it was not the business of the Allied Powers to arm Germany against her.
In conclusion, if France felt strongly about this question, he did not think that the British or American Delegates had a right to withstand her views.
Mr. Lansing said that he was very much impressed by the words of M. Clemenceau and also by those of Mr. Lloyd George, with whom he was glad to agree.
Mr. Balfour said that he had nothing to add to the arguments used, but the conclusion to which they led was one which the Conference must take into account. The army of Germany was to be reduced to a police force, and that a small one. In that case Germany must be secured against invasion. There was no plan at present before the Conference for general disarmament. If the Germans were told that they were to have only 100,000 armed men, while France, Poland or Bohemia could have as many as they wished, they would say that the Allied Powers were leaving them at the mercy even of their small neighbours. What form the guarantee of non-invasion should take he was not prepared to suggest, but some such guarantee would have to be found if the Conference made Germany powerless for attack and weak for defence.
M. Clemenceau said that the question raised by Mr. Balfour was a very important one, but its solution lay with the League of Nations, one of whose functions was to prevent sudden aggression by any of its members.
Mr. Balfour said that if this was the solution, it should be communicated to Germany.
Mr. House said that General Bliss suggested that the powers should guarantee the neutrality of Germany as she had guaranteed that of Belgium.[Page 299]
(Article 2 was accepted with the reduction, of the figure 140,000 to 100,000).
Article 3 Article 3 was carried with the proviso that a proportional reduction of numbers be made.
Article 4 Article 4 was carried with the same proviso.
Article 5 The same proviso was made.
M. Clemenceau said that with reference to this article, he wished to enquire why an Army Staff was maintained at all. A police force would not require one. France had not had one before the war. The only purpose of an Army Staff could be the study and preparation of war. He, therefore proposed that Army Corps Staffs should be maintained, and that the Army Staff should be suppressed.
Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that Great Britain had had a small Army but nevertheless it had a general staff.
Baron Sonnino said that the Army Staff in Germany in the future might be engaged on the study of the defence of Germany.
M. Clemenceau said that France had to prepare her defence and yet had none.
Marshal Foch said that he agreed with M. Clemenceau that the Army Staff should be suppressed, but also pointed out that Article 7 endowed Germany with a War Office staff of 300 officers which was amply sufficient for the organization of their army.
(It was agreed that the words “and one army staff” be suppressed.)
Article 6 Article 6 was accepted with the excision of the words “Army or . .”
Article 7 Marshal Foch suggested an addition forbidding manoeuvres carried out by Staffs or by troops representing larger formations than regiments.
(It was decided, after some discussion, that the difficulty of ensuring the execution of such a prohibition, and the undesirability of continual interference in the internal affairs of Germany on matters of detail, were considerations outweighing the advantages of the amendment.)
Article 7 was then accepted.
Article 8 Article 8 was accepted.
Article 9 Article 9 was accepted, with the addition of the words: “of the signing of this Convention”.
Chapter II The first seven Articles of Chapter II were accepted without amendment.
Article 8 Mr. Balfour said he wished to ask two questions in relation to this Article. He was not aware that it had been explained why a different policy was advocated in relation to fortifications on the Southern and Eastern as opposed to the Western frontiers of Germany. Further, he was informed by Admiral Hope [Page 300] that the number of rounds allotted to each gun had in the naval proposals been reduced to half the figures proposed in this Article. Was it not desirable to obtain uniformity?
General Degoutte, regarding the fortification of frontiers, said that the Germans had two fortresses on their Southern frontier at Ulm and Ingolstadt. Both of these were more than 50 kilometres from the frontier. There was therefore no case for disarming them. It had been thought undesirable to mention the dismantling of any fortresses on the Eastern frontier, as it was possible that they might be in Polish hands. There were also two small fortresses in the Mazurian region. It was thought undesirable to demand their destruction, though they would doubtless remain German, because they might serve as a protection against Bolshevism.
Marshal Foch, in relation to the ammunition allotted to the guns, agreed to the halving of the allotment proposed.
With this amendment, Article 8 was accepted.
Article 9 M. Clemenceau said that he would ask for the suppression of this Article, as the Governments had not yet decided on the fate of the area in question. He thought it would be of no use to ask the Germans to agree to any terms regarding it before its final allotment. They would have to sign another document concerning territorial adjustments. After this, the provisions contained in this Article might, if necessary, be revised.
Mr. Lloyd George agreed that the question might be reserved.
Mr. Lansing proposed that the Article be struck out, and put in later if necessary.
(Article 9 was accordingly struck out, subject to reconsideration at a later date, if necessary.)
Article 10 Article 10 was accepted.
Article 11 Article 11 was accepted.
Article 12 Article 12, with the addition at the end of each clause of the words: “of the signing of the present convention”, was accepted.
Chapter III. Article 1 After some discussion, it was agreed to substitute the formula “all compulsory military service shall be abolished in Germany”.
Article 2 Article 2 was accepted, with the addition at the end of the last clause of the words “of the signing of this Convention”.
Article 3 Mr. Balfour pointed out that though the first two Articles of this chapter fitted the heading of the Chapter itself, this and the subsequent Articles bore hardly any relation to it. He himself would have thought it unnecessary to put this kind of regulation into the Treaty at all. If, in military opinion, it were necessary to do so, it would be better to put them under [Page 301] another heading. This led him to think that the whole document should be referred to the Drafting Committee of the Conference for re-adjustment and reduction to reasonable proportions.
Marshal Foch said that provided the substance were not altered, he agreed to the re-casting of the document by the Drafting Committee.
M. Sonnino drew attention to the last words of the Article: “or in any other form”. Earlier in the Meeting, Marshal Foch had said that constabulary was a military force. Was it or was it not included in the scope of this Article?
Marshal Foch admitted that it was not, and again expressed his willingness to refer the document to a Drafting Committee, provided soldiers were attached to it.
Mr. Lloyd George drew attention to Article 8 of this chapter, which apparently differentiated gendarmes, customs house officials, forest and coast guards from troops. It was therefore undesirable in Article 3 to mention them as an exception, as this would assimilate them to military forces.
Mr. Lansing said that in view of the strong claim made by Marshal Foch on the basis that these people were soldiers, and should be counted as trained men, Article 8 should be entirely omitted, and that their instruction should be permitted.
M. Clemenceau asked Marshal Foch whether gendarmes were soldiers.
Marshal Foch replied in the affirmative, adding that they were soldiers subjected to a special régime. They could not be governed by the same rules as were laid down for the standing army. The Conference was concerned with the latter only. Germany must be left freedom to enlist the number of constabulary she required.
Mr. Lloyd George proposed the addition at the end of this Article of the clause: “This does not affect the police forces mentioned in Article 8”.
(With this addition, the Article was accepted.)
Article 4 Article 4 was accepted.
Article 5 Marshal Foch proposed the addition that there should be no military census or classification of horses for army purposes. Such a census was a necessary preliminary of mobilisation.
Mr. Balfour questioned whether it was wise to enter into details of this kind. If the Germans wished to know their resources, they could call their horse census agricultural and not military. They would obtain the same results. It would be quite sufficient if the Allied and Associated Powers could compel Germany to keep an army of no more than 100,000 men. If this result [Page 302] could be achieved, it would be amply sufficient, and it was a pity to cumber a treaty with details, many of which might be obsolete in ten years.
Mr. House added that aggravating minutiae of this kind would be a temptation to the Germans to evade them, and this would ultimately bring the treaty as a whole into contempt.
Articles 6, 7, 8 and 9 M. Clemenceau said that as both Great Britain and America were opposed to any alteration, the Article would be accepted as it stood. Articles 6, 7, 8 and 9 were accepted without amendment.
Chapter IV. Article 1 Mr. Balfour said that according to a telegram just shown to him by Admiral Hope, the British Admiralty thought it necessary to qualify the establishment of the Commission at the seat of the Central German Government by the proviso “if found convenient”. He himself thought that perhaps the whole paragraph might with advantage be omitted.
General Bliss said that the reasons which had led to the insertion of this paragraph were that the German Government, unless this was stated, might put obstacles in the way of the establishment of the Commission in Berlin, and thereby make it very difficult for the Commission to gain access to the records of the personnel of the administration.
M. Sonnino proposed that the paragraph should read: “This Commission shall be entitled to establish itself in, and to send sub-Commissions or delegates to, any part of German territory”.
(This was agreed to, and Article 1, with this amendment, was accepted.)
Article 2 Mr. Balfour pointed out that it was undesirable to introduce the clause, “especially from the point of view of military and financial measures”. This suggested to the Germans that they need not concern themselves with other considerations.
(These words were struck out, and, with this amendment, Article 2 was accepted.)
Article 3 Article 3 was accepted.
Chapter 5. Article 1(a) M. Clemenceau suggested the substitution of the words “this Convention” for the words “the Treaty of Peace.”
(This was agreed to.)
Mr. Lansing observed that the last words of paragraph (a) raised the question of the possible subdivision of Germany into several States. Should this take place, what part of the present German territory would be, for the purposes of the Treaty, Germany?
(It was decided, after some discussion, to omit the words “or as she may be constituted at any time thereafter.”)
With the amendments mentioned, paragraph (a) was accepted.[Page 303]
Mr. Balfour questioned whether there was any advantage in retaining this paragraph.
(b) (It was agreed to suppress paragraph (b).)
(c) Mr. Lloyd George said that though a partisan of the League of Nations, he was not sure that it would be in a position to do what was required of it in this paragraph. The Commission established under Chapter 4 would fulfill its duties in a relatively short time. The League of Nations might not agree to execute the Articles of the Convention. We, therefore, had provision for the supervision of Germany during a few months and no certain means of continuing it for 10, 20 or 30 years. The League of Nations was not a body of police to enforce the execution of a treaty. He thought the supervision should be organised and maintained by the Allied and Associated Powers.
(It was decided that Clause (c) should read as follows:
“The execution of these clauses shall be supervised by such means and by such organs as the Associated Powers may decide to employ or to create.”)
Mr. Lansing said that, on behalf of the United States, he wished to reserve his assent to Chapter 5 until the final draft came before the meeting.
(a) Reference of Whole Convention to Drafting Committee (It was agreed that the whole Convention, as amended, should be referred to the Drafting Committee of the Conference, assisted by General Weygand, General Sir Henry Wilson, General Bliss and General Cavallero.)
Marshal Foch suggested that the Aviation clauses should be combined with the Military clauses in the same document, and, if possible, the Naval clauses also. If this were to be done, the Committee could not furnish its final draft in one day. He also pointed out that the Air clauses had not been examined, though they contained important questions of principle.
General Duval remarked that all the experts had agreed.
Mr. Lloyd George said that, for his part, he would assent to them.
Marshal Foch enquired whether the Naval terms were ready.
M. Leygues said that they were ready, excepting those relating to the Kiel Canal and submarine cables. Both these questions had been referred to Commissions.
M. Clemenceau asked M. Leygues to prevail on these Commissions to hasten their reports.
(It was decided that the Drafting Committee of the Conference should furnish the Council on Wednesday with a complete re-draft of the Convention, containing all the Military, Aerial and Naval Terms of a Preliminary Peace with Germany.)[Page 304]
Marshal Foch said that General Degoutte and General Cavallero wished to be heard.
General Degoutte said that he was not in favour of a long term army for Germany. He thought that dangers of this army system had not been considered.
(b) Dissent of French and Italian Military Experts M. Clemenceau observed that General Degoutte should have expressed his opinion while the Council was discussing Article 1 of the first chapter of the Convention. The matter was then decided and the discussion could not be re-opened.
General Weygand said that he had understood that the Council was examining a plan made by the military experts by order on certain assumptions which had been furnished to them. They had not, therefore, thought it right to make any comment on the principles the Council had chosen to impose.
General Cavallero said that he wished to express the same view as General Degoutte and Weygand. He had thought the Council meant to choose between two systems. His instructions were, as Italian military adviser, to state that the system of long term voluntary service was inacceptable.
M. Clemenceau said that, as Chairman of the Council, he could not take cognisance of the views of the military advisers of the Italian Government, but only of the vote of the Italian Delegation. The only satisfaction he could give to the Generals was that their protest would be recorded in the Minutes.
(The meeting then adjourned.)
Paris, 11th March, 1919.
(When the Military and Naval Advisers had withdrawn, a Conversation was held in M. Pichon’s Room.)
Agenda for Future Conversations M. Pichon said that he had received a very important document from M. Benes, relating to a German conspiracy against Czecho-Slovakia. He suggested that the Council should consider this on the following day.
(This was agreed to.)
It was decided that the Military and Naval Convention should be discussed on Wednesday, and that the eastern and northern frontiers of Germany should be discussed on Thursday. At Mr. Lloyd George’s suggestion, it was decided that the discussion of Germany’s eastern and northern frontiers should be begun on Tuesday, after disposing of M. Benes’ note. It was further decided that Germany’s western frontier should be discussed on Friday.[Page 305]