Paris Peace Conf. 180.03101/60


Secretary’s Notes of a Conversation Held in M. Pichon’s Room at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Wednesday, 19th March, 1919, at 3 p.m.

Present Also Present
America, United States of America, United States of
President Wilson General Tasker H. Bliss
Hon. R. Lansing Dr. I. Bowman
Secretary Professor Lord
Mr. A. H. Frazier Captain W. C. Farabee
British Empire British Empire
The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M.P. Sir Eyre Crowe, K.C.B.
The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O.M., M.P. Mr. H. W. Malkin
Secretaries Mr. H. J. Paton
Lt. Col. Sir M. P. A. Hankey, K.C.B. Lieut. Col. F. H. Kisch, D.S.O.
Sir P. Loraine France
Marshal Foch } For question 2 only
General Weygand
M. Clemenceau General Le Rond
M. Pichon M. Jules Cambon
Secretaries M. Tardieu
M. Dutasta M. Hermitte
M. Berthelot M. Degrand
M. Arnavon Italy
M. de Bearn Marquis della Torretta
Lieut. de Percin Japan
Italy M. Nagaoka
H. E. M. Orlando M. Ashida
H. E. Baron Sonnino
Count Aldrovandi
M. Bertele
M. Brambilla
H. E. Marquis Saionji
H. E. Baron Makino
H. E. M. Matsui

Joint Secretariat

America, United States of Col. U. S. Grant
British Empire Capt. E. Abraham
France Capt. A. Portier
Italy Lieut. Zanchi
Interpreter:—Prof. P. J. Mantoux
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1. After some discussion it was agreed that this question could not be dealt with at once, but should be discussed on Friday. Question of Maritime Transport for Polish Troops

2. M. Cambon said that the Committee over which he presided had prepared two documents. One was a telegram to be sent by the Supreme Council to the President of the Allied Commission at Warsaw, and the second a declaration by the Allied and Associated Powers addressed to the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian troops in Eastern Galicia (for text see Annexure “A”). The Committee, however, had on the 18th March heard Dr. Lord, the American delegate on the Inter-Allied Commission at Warsaw. He was of opinion that the Warsaw Commission would not be able to bring about an armistice between the Poles and Ukrainians. He suggested that the Warsaw Commission should be asked merely to bring about a cessation of hostilities and that the conclusion of an armistice should be undertaken at Paris under the direct authority of the Supreme Council of the Conference, acting through the Polish and Ukrainian representatives at present there. The Committee therefore recommended that the Supreme Council should hear the views of Dr. Lord. If these views were adopted the two documents above mentioned would have to be modified. Question of an Armistice Between Ukrainians and Poles in the Region of Lemberg

(After a short discussion it was agreed that Dr. Lord should be heard and that Marshal Foch should be summoned to attend the discussion.)

Dr. Lord said that, before explaining the proposals he had to make, he thought it was his duty to state that the views he was about to express were personal to himself. As a Member of the Inter-Allied Commission at Warsaw he was aware of the views held by his colleagues. Since his return to Paris, however, he had come to the conclusion that vigorous action, in other words military action, as recommended by the Commission, could not be undertaken. He had therefore come to think that diplomatic means of putting an end to the conflict must be sought. Dr. Lord then set forth the following proposals:—

That the Conference send an urgent invitation to the Poles and Ukrainians to agree to an immediate suspension of hostilities.
That this suspension of hostilities be effected through a truce based substantially on the existing military status quo, but under conditions which would insure the security in Polish hands of the city of Lemberg and of the railway connecting Lemberg with Przemysl.
That in case both belligerent parties agree to an immediate truce, they should be invited to send representatives to Paris to discuss with an interallied commission appointed for this purpose the terms of an armistice which should last until the final settlement of the Conference of the territorial questions pending in Eastern Galicia.
That the armistice as finally fixed by the interallied commission after due consultation with Polish and Ukrainian representatives should be submitted to the Conference, and, if approved by it, should then be communicated to the belligerent parties as a mediatory arrangement proposed by the Conference.

The foregoing recommendations were based principally on the following:—

That it is indispensable to secure an immediate cessation of hostilities, especially in view of the grave situation at Lemberg, the imminent fall of which may involve the most disastrous consequences upon the whole political situation in Poland.
That this termination of hostilities ought if possible to be obtained without the need of resorting to force.
That such a peaceful solution of the question can probably be attained only by the direct intervention and by the moral authority of the Conference.

Recommendation 1.

It is recommended that the Conference send an urgent invitation to the Poles and Ukrainians to agree to an immediate suspension of hostilities.

The interallied Commission at Warsaw has already attempted to establish such a truce, and has met with a severe check. It would seem useless to direct this Commission to make a second attempt of the same kind. After all that has happened, it would probably be unable to obtain the agreement of the Ukrainians. Moreover, the delay incidental to the trip from Warsaw to Lemberg and the necessary discussions with the Ukrainians would probably consume so much time that Lemberg would have fallen before anything was arranged. The only way to secure an immediate result, and one which may perhaps avert the fall of Lemberg, is for the Conference to intervene with all the moral authority it possesses, by means of telegrams to be dispatched immediately and simultaneously to the two belligerents.

Recommendation 2.

It is recommended that this suspension of hostilities be effected through a truce based substantially on the existing military status quo but under conditions which would insure the security in Polish hands of the city of Lemberg and of the railway connecting Lemberg with Przemysl.

It is suggested that the truce signed between the Poles and the Ukrainians on the 24th February under the mediation of the Interallied Commission of Warsaw (a copy of which is here appended (Annexure B)), might serve substantially as the basis for a new truce. It is necessary, however, to stipulate expressly that the city [Page 407] of Lemberg and the railway which feeds it should be left in Polish possession. After the citizens of Lemberg have defended themselves with such determination for four months against the Ukrainians, it seems impossible to hand over the city to its besiegers, or to deprive it of its food supply, during the period of the armistice.

If both belligerents expressed their agreement to an immediate suspension of hostilities, representatives of the Allied and Associated Governments could promptly be sent to Lemberg to conclude the truce, but the Conference ought first to obtain the agreement to an immediate truce before any Interallied Commission on the spot were called into action.

Recommendation 3.

It is recommended that in case both belligerent parties agree to an immediate truce, they should be invited to send representatives to Paris to discuss with an interallied commission appointed for this purpose the terms of an armistice which should last until the final settlement by the Conference of the territorial questions pending in Eastern Galicia.

It appears indispensable that the negotiations for an armistice should be carried on in Paris under the supervision and with the direct authority of the Conference, rather than by an interallied commission on the spot. For the Ukrainians, who have hitherto been the refractory party in this dispute, have already dealt with a number of interallied commissions, have refused to accept their proposals, and in all probability will continue to refuse so long as they dare to do so, a commission which has no means at its disposal except persuasion will almost certainly be unable to effect anything.

There would seem to be only two means of escaping from this dilemma; either the mediating powers must use force to impose their terms, and this everyone is anxious to avoid; or else the powers must call into play all the moral authority they possess, and this can be attained only by placing the mediatory action under the most direct supervision and sanction of the Conference.

The transfer of the proceedings to Paris would also have this great advantage, that the Ukrainians are especially anxious to have a representation here, a representation which, once the armistice was disposed of, might then have the opportunity to lay before the Powers the desires of the Ukrainian people with regard to the definite solution of the territorial questions affecting them. Perhaps the surest means of securing their acceptance of a truce and later of an armistice is to be found precisely in the opportunity here offered them to secure a hearing before the Conference.

At the same time knowledge could be conveyed to them that if they refused to defer to the wishes of the Powers with regard to an [Page 408] armistice, they would then be excluded from a hearing on the far more fundamental questions so long as they remained obdurate.

Moreover the variety and difficulty of the problems connected with this negotiation, involving as it does, questions of high policy on the part of the Allied and Associated Governments, render it particularly desirable that the negotiations should be conducted here rather than by a commission remote from Paris and imperfectly informed as to the desires and intentions of the Powers.

It is suggested that the negotiation of an armistice at Paris might be entrusted to the Commission on Polish Affairs, who are in possession of sufficient data to enable them, in consultation with Polish and Ukrainian representatives, to arrange an armistice here as easily as it could be done at Lemberg.

Recommendation 4.

It is recommended that the armistice as finally fixed by the interallied commission after due consultation with the Polish and Ukrainian Representatives should be submitted to the Conference, and, if approved by it, should then be communicated to the belligerent parties as a mediatory arrangement proposed by the Conference.

A difficulty which has lamed every previous effort at mediation in the Polish-Ukrainian conflict has been the uncertainty whether the terms proposed by the mediators had the sanction of the Great Powers. It is indispensable that the armistice conditions to be arranged in the new negotiations should be issued only after receiving the most careful attention and approval of the Conference. Nothing but the expressed sanction of the Conference itself could have weight enough to extort the necessary sacrifices from both the belligerents.

It would seem that the Conference could put forth these armistice conditions by way of friendly mediation without committing itself to imposing them by force in case of refusal. The conditions should be supported by the assurance that a belligerent who refused to accept them need expect no recognition and no hearing from the Conference.

Dr. Lord added that it was perhaps hardly necessary to emphasise the importance to the present Polish Government of holding Lemberg. The situation was so critical that some immediate action must be taken. Heretofore Lemberg had held out because the Poles had been able to operate the railroad from Przemysl; but this had been cut, and he had been told when there that Lemberg had provisions enough for only 8 days after suspension of the railroad traffic. These 8 days were now nearly passed. It was universally acknowledged that M. Paderewski’s Government could not survive the loss of Lemberg. On the other hand, if it were made possible for them to hold on to the city for a short time longer, the advent of General [Page 409] Haller’s army or other factors might change the situation in favour of the Poles.

President Wilson asked what means existed of communicating with the Commanders-in-Chief of the opposing forces.

Dr. Lord said that communication with the Ukrainians might be had through Vienna and with the Poles through Warsaw. He suggested that several alternative routes should be used.

President Wilson asked by whom Dr. Lord suggested the communications should be signed.

Dr. Lord replied that they should be sent by order of the Council through a military channel. He believed that there was in Lemberg itself a British Colonel who might be able to communicate with the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian troops by wireless.

Baron Sonnino asked whether there was direct communication with Lemberg.

Dr. Lord said he thought communication by wireless via Warsaw could be obtained.

Mr. Lloyd George said that Colonel Kisch informed him that this was doubtful.

Colonel Kisch explained that since the Railway to Lemberg had been cut, it was probable telegraphic communication was also interrupted and very doubtful whether the Ukrainians would take wireless messages from Lemberg.

Mr. Lloyd George enquired what was the national character of the population in and around Lemberg.

Dr. Lord replied that in the city itself, 10 to 12% were Ruthenians, 50% Poles and the remainder, Jews. The Polish character of the city population had been strikingly demonstrated by the events of the last four months. The town has been defended against the Ukrainians street by street and house by house.

Mr. Lansing observed that the city of Lemberg was a Polish island surrounded by a Ruthenian district.

Dr. Lord agreed.

President Wilson observed that there were in Paris both Polish and Ukrainian representatives. It might perhaps be the most expeditious method if they were severally asked to inform their Governments that it was the desire of the Council that hostilities should cease and that if either party refused the truce its claims would not be heard by the Conference.

Dr. Lord said that this method might be employed but should be supplemented by the sending of telegrams direct as the Ukrainians had the greatest interest in not receiving the message.

Mr. Balfour asked Dr. Lord whether it was not desirable that the terms of the truce should approximate as closely as possible to the [Page 410] final delimitation between Poland and the Ukraine. Would there not be a great disadvantage in delivering to either a region which might subsequently be taken from them?

Dr. Lord replied that without pre-judging any ultimate decision, he thought it was of urgent importance to cause fighting to cease.

Mr. Lansing asked whether Dr. Lord would favour a truce on the present line held by either side.

Dr. Lord replied that this was not quite his view. He was prepared to remove the Ukrainian troops from the immediate vicinity of Lemberg. These troops could not be trusted to refrain from looting the city at any moment. It was also important to re-establish traffic on the Railway line which the Ukrainian troops had cut.

M. Clemenceau asked Marshal Foch whether he had any comments to make on Dr. Lord’s proposals.

Marshal Foch said that he had little criticism to make except to say that if the Ukrainians neglected the decisions of the Conference as they had those of the Inter-Allied Commission, the Conference might be discredited. He was not sure on what terms the Allies were with the Ukrainians. Were the latter friends or enemies?

Mr. Balfour said that he shared Marshal Foch’s doubts but he would like to ask Marshal Foch to explain how the Ukrainians, whose country was represented as over-run by Bolsheviks, could find troops to invade Poland which was being over-run by no-one.

Marshal Foch said that he had no explanation to offer of this phenomenon unless it be assumed that the Ukrainians were in agreement with the Bolsheviks.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that the Conference hitherto had only heard the Poles. According to the maps he had the majority of the population in Eastern Galicia was Ukrainian. According to the principle of the Allied and Associated Powers the country should, therefore, be attributed to them, unless very cogent reasons to the contrary existed. It might be that the Ukrainian troops attacking Lemberg were troops raised among the local population to establish their independence. If we supported the Ukrainians in the South, as we had done, why should we fight them in the North? The Report of the Polish Committee showed that the Poles were not incapable of claiming more for themselves than was theirs by right. They had done so in respect to their frontiers with Germany and Russia. They might be doing so in this region too. It was desirable that the Conference should he strictly impartial. It was not improbable that what the Poles chiefly wanted in Eastern Galicia was the oilfields.

Mr. Balfour remarked that there was a decision which the Council should take before leaving this subject. The Polish Committee had [Page 411] asked whether they were to proceed to draw the boundaries of Poland in other regions than those bordering on Germany, The Committee had not proceeded with any investigation concerning the Eastern and Southern frontiers of Poland, pending a decision by the Council regarding the status of Lithuania, Ukraine etc. He was of opinion that the Committee should proceed without delay to fit the proper ethnographical limits of Poland in order that when the Conference came to deal with the question of Lemberg, and of the oil wells of Eastern Galicia, it should have before it an impartial judgment. If the Ukrainian Delegation were to come before the Council, the Council should be prepared with the advice of an impartial body before attempting to adjudicate. The Committee in his opinion therefore, should be told to proceed with their labours.

Mr. Lansing remarked that the same procedure should apply to Czecho-Slovakia.

Mr. Cambon said that some time ago he had asked if the Committee was authorised to hear the Ukrainians and Lithuanians. The Committee had felt that before hearing Delegates of these nationalities, permission should be obtained from the Council, as the Committee did not know with whom they were dealing. If the Council now decided that they should be heard, the Committee would proceed at once to hear them.

President Wilson pointed out that, if in accordance with Dr. Lord’s proposals, the Council was to make the acceptance of a truce a condition of being heard with the Ukrainians, this proposal would not offer them any special inducement if they had already been heard by M. Cambon’s Committee. He proposed that M. Cambon should be asked to draw up a message to both Commanders embodying the suggestions of Dr. Lord. The message should then be signed by the Chairman of the Conference and despatched by the best method available. It should also be communicated to the Polish and Ukrainian groups at present in Paris with a warning that the hearing of their respective claims depended on their accepting the truce.

Mr. Lloyd George said that he supported this proposal.

Baron Sonnino said that the only reason that might induce the Ukrainians to accept the truce would be the hope of some kind of recognition by the Peace Conference. If the Committee set about defining the frontier in Galicia, and its decision were adverse to the Ukrainians, they would get to know it and would feel they had nothing to gain from obeying any behest sent to them by the Council. They would feel that it was to their interests to effect the capture of Lemberg as speedily as possible. He therefore, supported President Wilson’s proposal but thought that no definition of the Polish Frontier in this region should be made for the present. The Council [Page 412] might promise to hear the Ukrainians if they stopped fighting. This was probably the only means of saving Lemberg.

M. Clemenceau said he also accepted President Wilson’s proposal, but he would ask that the message be submitted to all the Heads of Governments and signed by each.

This was agreed to.

The following resolution was then adopted:—

That the attached telegram, signed by the heads of the delegations of the United States of America, British Empire, France, Italy and Japan, shall be transmitted in the name of the Conference by the French Government to the Commanders-in-Chief of the Polish and Ukrainian forces by the best available routes.

(It was arranged to send the message direct by radio. In addition that General Bliss should instruct the American General Kernan at Warsaw to proceed to the front to deliver the message to both Generals.)

That the telegram shall also be communicated by the French Government in the name of the Conference to the heads of the Polish and Ukrainian groups in Paris.
That the Paris Commission for Polish affairs shall resume its study of the remaining Polish frontiers.


A. General Pawlenko Commanding the Ukrainian forces before Lemberg.

In the course of its sitting of March 19th, the Supreme Council of the Peace Conference has decided to request both parties now opposing each other at Lemberg to conclude a truce immediately on receipt of the present telegram.

In consequence, the Chiefs of the Allied and Associated Governments apply to General Pawlenko to acquaint him with the request from the Supreme Council of the Peace Conference immediately to stop hostilities as far as he is concerned, in front of and in the region of Lemberg; this request is simultaneously being sent to the Polish General Rozwadowski, Commanding the Garrison of Lemberg.

Throughout the duration of the truce, the troops of both parties shall remain on their positions the communications by rail between Lemberg and Przemysl must however remain open strictly in so far as necessary for the daily revictualling of the town.

The Supreme Council add that they are ready to hear the territorial claims of both parties concerned and to approach the Ukrainian and Polish delegations in Paris or whatever authorised representation the parties may select, with a view to changing the suspension of arms into an armistice.

The hearing of the Ukrainian and Polish representatives with regard to their competitive claims is moreover made subject to the formal condition of an immediate suspension of hostilities.

B. An identic telegram mutatis mutandis to General Rozwadowski commanding at Lemberg.

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3. M. Cambon said that he had received a telegram from M. Noulens to the effect that the Germans wished to discuss the question of the landing, of Polish troops at Dantzig at Spa, instead of with the Inter-Allied Commission in Poland. A draft telegram had been prepared for the approval of the Council in answer to this message. Question of Landing Troops at Dantzig

General Weygand explained that Marshal Foch had given orders to the Armistice Commission at Spa that any discussion on this subject should be refused, and that the Germans should be referred to the Inter-Allied Commission in Poland. A copy of this order had been sent to M. Noulens for his information.

(There was a short adjournment.)

4. M. Cambon referring to the map accompanying the report explained that the red line represented the claims of the Poles, and the blue line the frontier proposed by the Committee. There were in these regions no natural frontiers. The population was very mixed as was usual in central and eastern Europe. The Committee had followed as far as possible the ethnological principle, but it had been impossible to draw any lines that did not include alien populations. Economic and strategic requirements had also been taken into account, in order that the new State should be so delimited as to be capable of life. At all points save one, the frontier adopted by the Committee gave the Poles less than they asked for. The exception was in the region of the river Bartsch. The reason in this case was of a military nature. Without this line of frontier Posen would be exposed, at the very outbreak of war with Germany, to be surrounded and captured at once. It was to render its defence possible that the Committee had placed the frontier further west than the Poles themselves had suggested. Further north the Committee had adopted a line considerably more to the east than the Poles. This region was sparsely populated and was the scene of the intense German colonization that had been pursued of late years. In 1908, Prince Bülow, who was then Chancellor, had obtained legislation for the forcible expropriation of the Poles in this region. Not only could no land or houses be sold to Poles but they were prevented from building or even repairing their houses. He had himself seen Poles living in abandoned trucks and omnibuses and then evicted from them because they had placed stoves inside them which the Germans represented as repairs. It was commonly supposed that the Russians had persecuted the Poles more than the Germans. This was not the case. German persecution penetrated into private life in a manner unknown to the Russians. This had led to the emigration of Poles on a large scale. [Page 414] Still further north the Committee had adopted a line following the takes up to the sea. This line had been drawn in accordance with statistics of school attendance. Eastern Frontier of Germany: First Report of the Polish Commission (a) Frontier Near Posen (b) Region W. of Dantzig

(c) Dantzig In order to give Poland access to the sea, the Committee had attributed to Poland a strip of territory enclosing Dantzig. There was another Port east of this, namely, Elbing, which had once been Polish, but which the Committee had decided to leave in Eastern Prussia. Dantzig had been Polish until the first partition, and its possession was a matter of life and death to Poland. The discussions at present proceeding regarding the transport of Polish troops to Poland through Dantzig indicated the importance of that Port. Without access to the sea, Poland would be stifled. There were commercial and economic reasons as well as military reasons to justify the attribute of Dantzig to the Poles. Since its annexation by Germany, Dantzig had diminished in importance. It was true that the townspeople themselves were mostly of German race, but the surrounding population was Polish. Dantzig had communication with the interior by two railways, one leading to Thorn and the other to Mlawa. The Committee proposed to give both these lines to Poland.

(d) East Prussia East Prussia was doubtless the most Prussian part of Germany, and its capital, Königsberg, was a holy place of Prussianism. The southern part of the Province, notably in the district of Allenstein, the people were Polish, but the Poles here, unlike the majority of their countrymen, were Protestants, and had been very largely Germanized. They spoke German as much as Polish. The Committee therefore, proposed that these people be consulted concerning their future allegiance, and that a plebiscite be held there.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the bulk of the recommendations of the Committee represented views that had secured general agreement. He would suggest that only controversial questions should be discussed, and that M. Cambon be asked to give replies to any points that might be raised on questions that might appear still open to discussion. He himself, had one general question to put. He noted that the number of Germans to be included in the future Polish State as drawn up by the Committee was not less than 2,132,000. This was a considerable figure, and might spell serious trouble for Poland in the future. The Germans moreover might hesitate to sign any Treaty containing such a provision. Any terms that no delegate and no Government were likely to sign should make the Council hesitate. The present German Government had gained a temporary victory, but was not very strong. It was said that another rising was likely to take place in 6 weeks. The Government might [Page 415] not be able to withstand it. If the Allies should present a document requiring from Germany huge indemnities and the cession of a large German population to Poland, the German Government might collapse. The Poles, as it was, had not a high reputation as administrators. He wished to ask if the Committee could not restrict the Polish claims in such a way as to diminish the German population assigned to Poland. In the Dantzig district alone 412,000 Germans were assigned to Poland. Was it necessary to assign so much German territory, together with the port of Dantzig? There was another district in which a German majority was being attributed to Poland, namely that of Marienwerder. He would ask whether this could not be avoided.

(e) Marienwerder M. Cambon said that in his general explanation he had pointed out that it was very difficult to make a frontier on purely ethnological lines. The same difficulty would be encountered in dealing with the frontiers of Greece and other countries in the east of Europe, where the population was very mixed. Economic and strategic reasons therefore must be given weight. In the case of Marienwerder, for instance, if this place were left to Prussia, all the lines from Warsaw to the sea would pass through Prussian territory, and Poland would practically be cut off from the sea.

Mr. Lloyd George agreed that it was hardly possible to draw any line that would not have Germans on both sides of it, but he thought it was very dangerous to assign two million Germans to Poland. This was a considerable population, not less than that of Alsace-Lorraine in 1870. He would point out that the Germans had been accorded communication between East and West Prussia across Polish territory. Why was a similar arrangement not possible in favour of the Poles? To hand over millions of people to a distasteful allegiance merely because of a railway was, he thought, a mistake.

President Wilson drew attention to the very special effort made in late years by the German Government to colonise the very region to which Mr. Lloyd George had drawn attention. The Germans had sought to make a German cordon from Schneidemühl to Marienwerder in order to isolate Dantzig from Poland. Hence, this was actually a region of political colonization.

Mr. Lloyd George said that he referred less to Marienwerder itself than to the country East of it, which was historically German.

M. Cambon said that he regarded it as essential for Poland to have free access to the sea. This region afforded the best corridor from the mainland to Dantzig. He thought that a large number of the German population which was of recent importation would emigrate to other parts of Germany when the Polish State was constituted.

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Mr. Lloyd George said that he raised no objection in respect to the regions lately colonized by Germany, but he did not feel that he could assent to the delivery of areas whose whole history was German.

President Wilson said that this would only be justified by reciprocity. Many Poles in areas historically Polish were to be left within Germany.

Mr. Lloyd George asked whether the Council proposed to define the frontiers of Germany finally on ex parte evidence alone. The other side had not been heard. It was not only a question of fairness to Germany of establishment of a lasting peace in Europe. It was neither fair nor prudent, because of a railway, to hand over large populations to a Government they disliked.

M. Cambon said that it was quite true the Committee had only heard the Poles. It had not been commissioned to listen to the Germans. It had been asked to examine the means of setting up a Polish State with some prospect of continued life. The Committee had tried to approximate to the Polish State as it existed before the first partition. After examination they had made recommendations of a far more modest character. What had caused the death of Poland was not merely its faulty political system, but principally its lack of communication with the sea. The end of Poland might be considered to have occurred in the year 1743, when Dantzig fell. Without it, Poland could not live. By it alone could Poland have contact with the liberal Powers in the West. It was no use to set up a Poland deprived of access to the sea as it would inevitably be the prey of Germany or Russia. Not only must Poland have a sea-board, but full and free communication with Dantzig. If he had to choose between protecting German populations largely imported since the 18th Century, and protecting the Poles, he preferred the latter alternative. There was no comparison between the need of the Germans for communication between East and West Prussia and that of the Poles for communication between Warsaw and Dantzig. East Prussia had very little railway traffic with Western Prussia. Nine tenths of its exports—chiefly wood—went by sea. The products of East Prussia, by reason of the cost of land transport, at the present time went by sea. The council need therefore feel no anxiety about the land communication between East and West Prussia. On the other hand, the two railways linking Warsaw to Dantzig were absolutely essential to Poland.

M. Tardieu said that he wished to draw attention to two points. One was that the Committee set up to co-ordinate recommendations as to boundaries had unanimously approved the report of the Polish Committee. Secondly, the situation which Mr. Lloyd George wished to avoid was bound to recur everywhere. The Conference had set out to revive ancient States subjected for a number of years or centuries [Page 417] to alien domination. In every instance inevitably some of the dominating race would be found settled in these areas. With the best will in the world it would not be possible to settle frontiers on ethnological grounds alone. If the submerged nations were to be revived a mixed population must be included in them.

M. Cambon added that the Polish Committee had also reached unanimous conclusions.

Mr. Lloyd George said that though the British delegates had adopted the conclusions, they had done so reluctantly. They regarded them as a departure from the principles of the Fourteen Points which had been adopted by the Allies. In some parts of the territory assigned to Poland the argument of political colonisation did not apply. We were told, moreover, that a region colonised with Germans as far back as the 18th Century should be restored to Poland. But because fifty years ago some capitalists had built a railway that was convenient to the Poles, the area surrounding it must be ascribed to Poland, in spite of the undoubted German nationality of the population. M. Cambon had said that a corridor to the sea was necessary to Poland. He had nothing to say against this. The Vistula was a navigable river, and must remain the principal artery for commerce. There were, moreover, other railways. A railway could be removed, but a long-settled population was not removed with the same ease. He thought that in accepting these proposals the Council would be abandoning its principles and making trouble, not only for Poland, but for the world. Wherever it could be shown that the policy aimed at reversing the German policy of Polish expropriation the decision might be accepted by the Germans, but the areas he had in mind would be represented as “Germania Irredenta” and would be the seed of future war. Should the populations of these areas rise against the Poles, and should their fellow-countrymen wish to go to their assistance, would France, Great Britain and the United States go to war to maintain Polish rule over them? He felt bound to make this protest against what he considered to be a most dangerous proposal.

President Wilson said that the discussion had brought out a difficulty which, it had been said, would be met in many cases, and he had not reached a definite conclusion in his own mind on the particular point under discussion. He hoped that the discussion would be carried far enough to bring out all its elements. Everywhere in Europe blocks of foreign people would be found whose possession of the country could be justified by historic, commercial and similar arguments. He acknowledged that the inclusion of two million Germans in Poland was a violation of one principle; but Germany had been notified that free and safe access to the sea for Poland would be insisted upon. The Allied and Associated Powers [Page 418] were therefore not open to the reproach that they were doing this merely because they had the power to do it. This was one of the things they had fought for. The difficulty was to arrive at a balance between conflicting considerations. He thought Mr. Lloyd George was misinformed in saying that the river carried the largest proportion of the commerce. He would find that the railroad along the river carried the greater, or at least an equal amount, of the traffic.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that he was referring not to the railroad along the river, but to the one further to the East.

President Wilson said that the proposal would, however, leave in German hands territories abutting on the westerly railroad at several points.

M. Cambon said that the direct line to Warsaw through Mlawa was quite near the frontier proposed by the Committee. Mr. Lloyd George had mentioned the Vistula as the main artery of traffic. Marienwerder dominated the Vistula as well as the railway lines, and anyone holding that place commanded the valley.

M. Pichon pointed out that there were only two lines of railroads from Dantzig to supply twenty millions of people. One of these was through Thorn and the other through Mlawa. The latter passed East of Marienwerder, this was the one referred to by Mr. Lloyd George. Both were indispensable to the economic life of Poland.

Mr. Lloyd George admitted that the line from Mlawa was important, but did not regard it as essential for access of Poland to the sea.

President Wilson said that it must be realised the Allies were creating a new and weak state, weak not only because historically it had failed to govern itself, but because it was sure in future to be divided into factions, more especially as religious differences were an element in the situation. It was therefore necessary to consider not only the economic but the strategic needs of this state, which would have to cope with Germany on both sides of it, the Eastern fragment of Germany being one of a most aggressive character. There was bound to be a mixture of hostile populations included in either state. The Council would have to decide which mixture promised the best prospect of security. He was afraid himself of drawing the line as near the Dantzig-Thorn railway line as Mr. Lloyd George suggested. He, however, felt the same anxieties as Mr. Lloyd George. The desire might arise among the Germans to rescue German populations from Polish rule, and this desire would be hard to resist. It was a question of balancing antagonistic considerations. He had wished to bring out the other elements in the problem.

Mr. Balfour said that he agreed with President Wilson that a balance must be attained, and that it is necessary to admit that ethnological considerations must in many cases be qualified. The [Page 419] line under discussion was that joining the port and the capital of Poland. It might be presumed that no circuitous line was likely to be built which could compete with the direct line. If the ethnological frontier were adhered to this line would cut German territory twice—at Soldau and Rieseriburg. This was doubtless inconvenient; but he would like to ask the experts if Poland could be given such rights over this line as would preserve its character as a Polish line, in spite of crossing German territory at these two points.

President Wilson suggested that the Committee should consider the ancient boundary of the province of East Prussia as it existed in 1772. This line was in some cases intermediate between the line recommended by the Committee and the ethnological line advocated by Mr. Lloyd George. It would not cut the railway between Dantzig and Mlawa and its adoption might offer a sentimental justification to Germany for the loss of some German population.

Mr. Lloyd George agreed that this might be considered with advantage. He proposed that the report on the boundaries of Poland should be referred back to the Committee for reconsideration with a view to readjustment of the boundaries of East Prussia in such a manner as to exclude from the new Polish State territory historically as well as ethnologically Prussian, while ensuring to Poland secure access to the sea.

President Wilson suggested that the Committee be merely asked to reconsider its recommendations in the light of the discussion.

(It was agreed to refer to the report on the boundaries of Poland back to the Committee for reconsideration in the light of the foregoing discussion.)

(The Meeting then adjourned.)

Paris, 20th March, 1919.

Annexure “A”

Draft Telegram to the President of the Allied Commission at Warsaw

The Supreme Council have decided that in view of the extreme importance of avoiding the fall of Lemberg a fresh effort to effect a cessation of hostilities between the Poles and Ukrainians should be made forthwith. For this purpose you will at once despatch to the front an Armistice Commission, with full powers to negotiate in the first instance a cessation of hostilities on the basis of the present positions of the opposing forces, and subsequently an Armistice. In order that these negotiations may have the most favourable chances of success, the Armistice Commission is to be instructed to negotiate in accordance with the present military situation, which is undoubtedly favourable to the Ukrainians. The Poles must be made to understand that they must for the present purpose at any rate [Page 420] give up their claims to such portion of the oilfields as are in Ukrainian hands, without prejudice to the ultimate settlement of the question. The Ukrainians on the other hand must agree to the free use of the Przemysl-Lemberg railway by the Poles for the revictualling of Lemberg from the moment of the cessation of the hostilities.

In order that the efforts of this Armistice-Commission may be disassociated, in the eyes of the interested parties, from the previous unsuccessful negotiations, it is suggested that the Commission should be under American presidency.

Both Poles and Ukrainians should be made to understand that these fresh negotiations are undertaken with the direct authority and on the lines laid down by the Peace Conference.

Proposal for a Declaration by the Allied and Associated Governments to General Pawlenko, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian forces in Eastern Galicia

The Allied and Associated Governments, having received the report of the Inter-Allied Mission to Lemberg, and the telegram addressed to the President of the United States by Dr. Faneyko, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Western Ukrainia, desires to call the most earnest attention of the Ukrainian authorities to the declaration issued by the Allied and Associated Governments on January 23rd [24th], summoning all the people of Eastern Europe to cease hostilities and to refrain from any attempt to use force in order to assert their territorial claims.1

The Allied and Associated Governments reserve to the future the definitive settlement of the territorial questions pending in Eastern Galicia, as elsewhere, and must demand that the peoples who desire to press their claims before the Peace Conference should place their faith in the validity of their claims and in the spirit of justice animating the Great Powers, rather than in armed force.

Therefore the Allied and Associated Governments demand of the Ukrainian military authorities that they consent to an immediate cessation of hostilities on the basis of the truce signed between the Poles and the Ukrainians under the mediation of the Inter-Allied Mission on February 24th.2

If the Ukrainian military authorities give proof of their good faith by assenting to this demand, the Allied and Associated Governments will then take immediate measures to effect an armistice, to [Page 421] last until the definitive settlement of the territorial question. If the Ukrainian authorities do not immediately accept the suspension of hostilities, they have only to expect that the Allied and Associated Governments will regard them as disturbers of the peace of Europe.

Annexure “B”


Concluded between the delegates of the Supreme Command and the Government of Western Ukraine:—Colonel Miron Tarnawski, the former deputy Lew Baczynski, and Father François Xavier Bonne, on the one part;

And the delegates of the Command of the Polish army in Eastern Galicia:—Senior Colonel of Brigade Mieczeyslaw Kulinski, Staff Major Jean Hempel Quartermaster General, and Major Valerien Marienski Assistant Chief of Staff, on the other part;

Relating to the suspension of hostilities on the Polish-Ukrainian front in Eastern Galicia.

Full powers have been conferred on the delegates of both sides by the Supreme Command of the Ukrainian Army and by the Command of the Polish Army in Eastern Galicia respectively.

Article I.

All military action shall cease on the 25th February, new style, at six o’clock in the morning.

Article II.

The two armies shall remain in their positions. Reconnoitering as well as patrols by aeroplane shall cease.

Article III.

All movement of troops and transport of munitions is forbidden in the regions comprised between: Sambor, Mikolajow, Bobrka, Kurowice, Krasne, Kamionka Strumilowa, Krystynopol, Sokal, Grubieszow, Belzec, Narol, Rozaniec, Czerwona, Wola, the line through San, Przemysl, Ustryzyki, Dolne, and Sambor.

Article IV.

Communications between the two lines are forbidden along the whole extent of the front. Bearers of flags of truce may pass only by the way Lwow-Sichow.

Article V.

The suspension of hostilities shall last until the 26th of February at six o’clock in the morning. On the following days, if it has not [Page 422] been denounced before that hour, it shall be automatically extended for 24 hours.

Hostilities may be resumed twelve hours after delivery of the denunciation to the Interallied Commission at Leopol, which shall acknowledge receipt and note the hour.

Article VI.

Officers of the Allied and Associated armies shall be in control on both sides and shall settle all disputes.

Article VII.

Commissions from both sides shall remain in the following places: Sambor, Mikolajow, Bobrka, Krasne, Kamionka Strumilowa, Krystynopol, Belzec, Przemysl, Chyrow.

Officers of the Allied and Associated armies shall remain at Mikolajow, Bobrka, Krasne, and Przemysl.

The commissions shall proceed to their posts on the 25th day of February, armed with passes which shall be furnished to them by officers of a rank not lower than Major. The members of these Commissions shall enjoy the absolute right to return to their point of departure after the denunciation of the suspension of arms.

Lwow, February 24.—midnight 25.

  • Miron Tarnawski
  • D. L. Batschynsky
  • Fr. Xav. Bonne
  • Mieczeyslaw Kulinski
  • Jean Hempel
  • Valery Marienski
  1. See BC–9, vol. iii, p. 715.
  2. See Annexure “B,” infra.
  3. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.