Paris Peace Conf. 180.03101/43
Secretary’s Notes of a Conversation Held in M. Pichon’s Room at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Friday, February 21st, 1919, at 3 p.m.
|America, United States of||America, United States of|
|The Hon. R. Lansing||Dr. Mezes|
|Mr. H. White||Dr. Day|
|Mr. L. Harrison||British Empire|
|British Empire||Sir Eyre Crowe, K. C. B.|
|The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O. M., M. P.||Lt. Col. Cornwall|
|The Rt. Hon. Viscount Milner, G. C. B., G. C. M. G.||Mr. Akers-Douglas|
|Lt. Col. Sir M. P. A. Hankey, K. C. B.||
|Mr. E. Phipps|
|M. Pichon||H. E. M. Crespi|
|M. Tardieu||M. de Martino|
|M. Dutasta||Danish Delegation Present|
|M. Berthelot||For Question 5|
|M. de Bearn||M. Bernhoft, Minister for Denmark in Paris|
|M. Clausen, Attaché, Danish Embassy, Paris|
|H. E. Baron Sonnino|
|H. E. Marquis Salvago Raggi|
|H. E. Baron Makino|
|H. E. M. Matsui|
|America, United States of||Col. U. S. Grant.|
|British Empire||Major A. M. Caccia, M. V. O.|
|France||Captain A. Portier|
|Interpreter:—Prof. P. J. Mantoux|
1. On the proposal of Mr. Lansing, Mr. Pichon was asked to take the chair during the temporary absence of M. Clemenceau.
Election of Chairman M. Pichon, having thanked his colleagues for the honour conferred upon him, said that he had seen M. Clemenceau a few hours ago. He was progressing very satisfactorily and hoped to be able to take his place at the Conference on Monday next. Though this might not be possible, his return could, nevertheless, be expected shortly.
2. The first question to be discussed related to the creation of a neutral zone in Transylvania, and he would call on M. Tardieu, the Chairman of the Committee on Rumanian Affairs, to make a report.
Report From the Rumanian committee on Transylvania M. Tardieu said that the Committee on Rumanian Affairs had reached the conclusion that the question of Transylvania should be referred back to the Conference for settlement, for the following reasons. When the General Commanding-in-Chief of the Allied Armies of the East had signed the Armistice with Hungary,1 Rumania had not yet re-entered the war and no reason had then existed for fixing a definite line of occupation between Rumania and Hungary. Hungarian troops, therefore, remained in occupation of Transylvania. These troops had been accused by M. Bratiano, in a report dated 9th February, 1919, of having committed acts of cruelty; and, consequently, Rumanian troops had moved forward with the intention of occupying the whole of that region up to the line fixed by the Treaty of 1916.1a On February 14th, 1919, General Franchet d’Esperey had cabled that the Rumanian troops were continuing their advance into Transylvania and had already reached the line:—Maramaros-Sziget, Zilak, Czucza, Nagy-Szebecs, Zam.
Now, the final frontiers of Rumania had not yet been fixed by the Committee on Rumanian Affairs, who were still engaged in studying that question. But, owing to the advance of the Rumanians, it was possible that serious conflicts might take place at any moment between the Rumanian and Hungarian troops; an incident which would be doubly regrettable, seeing that the question in conflict was now under consideration. The Committee, therefore, had considered it expedient to report the situation to the Conference in order to avoid any conflict taking place in that region, and a proposal had been submitted four days’ previously, suggesting:—
- The fixation of two lines at a certain distance from each other beyond which the Hungarian and Rumanian troops should not be permitted to advance, and
- The establishment of a neutral zone between the two proposed [Page 60] lines, to be occupied by Allied troops with a view to preventing the spreading of Bolshevism, which was prevalent in Hungary.
During the last two days, the Committee had received reports from General Alby, the French Chief of Staff, and from the military advisers of the Italian Peace Delegation in Paris. M. Bratiano had also forwarded a note on the subject, and in addition, General Charpy, Chief of Staff to General Franchet d’Esperey, had just returned from those regions and submitted a report on the situation. Taking these facts into consideration, it was thought by the Committee that the military advisers of the Conference should be asked to fix the lines of extreme occupation above referred to and decide whether or not the intervening neutral zone should be occupied by Allied troops, in view of maintaining order against possible Bolshevist attempts.
Mr. Balfour enquired whether M. Tardieu’s Committee had heard any military experts on the question under reference.
M. Tardieu replied in the negative, and explained that the Committee had merely read General Alby’s report. They had purposely refrained from obtaining military advice, as the Committee might thereby have been led into a discussion of purely military questions, which were outside the terms of reference.
Mr. Balfour enquired how order would be maintained in the neutral zone if a neutral zone were constituted. Was that purely a military question?
M. Tardieu replied that in principle the maintenance of order in a neutral zone was not purely a military question, and for that reason the Committee had enquired into the matter. It had, however, been found that all sorts of military questions were involved—for instance: were Allied troops available for the occupation of the neutral zone? For that reason it had been decided to refer the question back to the Conference.
Lord Milner enquired whether it was intended that the question should be referred for report to the Military Representatives of the Supreme War Council at Versailles.
M. Tardieu replied that that was the intention of the Committee.
(It was decided to refer to the Military Representatives of the Supreme War Council at Versailles the questions raised in the following recommendation made by the Committee on Rumanian Affairs on February 17th, 1919:—
“The Commission on Rumanian Affairs beg to draw the attention of the Supreme Allied Council to the following situation:—
- General Franchet d’Esperey sent a wire dated February 14th, 1919, saying that the Rumanian troops were continuing [Page 61] their advance into Transylvania and had already reached the line Maramaros-Sziget, Zilak, Czucza, Nagy-Szebecs, Zam.
- The Rumanian Government (letter from M. Bratiano to the President of the Peace Conference dated February 9th) justifies such advance by the acts of cruelty committed by the Hungarians in that region.
- The Commission on Rumanian Affairs is at the present time studying the line to be drawn as a frontier between Rumania and Hungary, and wishes that no armed conflicts should take place in that region.
For the above reasons the Commission on Rumanian Affairs asks the Supreme Council if the present situation does not seem to warrant the fixation of two lines beyond which the Hungarian and Rumanian troops should not go, a zone free of military occupation being thus established between the two proposed lines:—
- 10 kilometres, west of general line running from Vasaros Nameny, point of confluence of the two Keres, Algyo north of Szegadin; as regards Hungarian troops.
- 10 kilometres east of line Szatmar-Nemeti, Nagy-Varad, Arad, as regards Rumanian troops.
It is for the Supreme Allied Council to decide whether or not the zone forbidden to Hungarian and Rumanian troops should be, in view of maintaining order against possible Bolshevist attempts, occupied by Allied troops.”)
(3) M. Pichon said that the question of the recognition of Poland had been before the Allies for a considerable time. At the request of M. Paderewski, M. Dmowski had recently submitted the following Note, dated Paris, February 7, 1919:— Recognition of Polish Government
“I beg to bring to the notice of your Excellency that M. I. J. Paderewski, Prime Minister and Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, has requested the Polish National Committee to inform the Allied and Associated Powers’ Governments of the Constitution of his Ministry and to ask that the Sovereign State of Poland should be officially recognised by the respective Governments of those Powers.
The Polish National Committee, as official representative of the Polish government, beg to support that application to the Government of the French Republic.
At the same time the National Committee take the liberty to call the attention of Your Excellency on the following facts: the Allied Powers, by their declaration of Versailles, June 3, 1918,2 have recognised Poland as an independent and unified State; on the other hand, M. Paderewski’s Government have the support of the great majority of the nation of the whole of Poland.”
M. Pichon, continuing, said that he thought the moment now appeared to be opportune to give satisfaction to the Polish wishes. He pointed out that a short time ago General Pilsudski had resigned and handed over his powers to the Polish Diet. He had now been [Page 62] reinstated by acclamation. His Government could, consequently, be considered as firmly established, and could be recognised by the Allied Governments.
Mr. Balfour concurred as far as Great Britain was concerned.
M. Pichon remarked that the Allied and Associated Governments had already recognised the Polish National Committee and the independence of Poland. Official confirmation was, therefore, now merely asked for.
Mr. Lansing pointed out that the United States of America had recognised M. Paderewski’s Government about ten days previously.3 He saw no reason for renewing the recognition.
M. Matsui said that his Government had not yet recognised either the Polish Government or the Polish National Committee. He was therefore not authorised to do so without reference to his Government.
M. Sonnino was prepared, on behalf of the Italian Government, to accept the proposal before the Conference.
(It was agreed that the Great Powers would recognise M. Paderewski’s Government, taking note of the reservations made by the Japanese Representative.)
4. Mr. Balfour drew attention to the fact that the English and French texts of the draft terms of reference to the proposed Economic Commission of the Peace Conference, as agreed by the Economic Drafting Committee, (see Annexure “A”), were not identic. The original text had been drawn up in English, and consequently, if any discussion were to take place, it should be made on the English text. Report of the Economic Drafting Committee: (a) Acceptance of Terms of Reference
M. Clementel explained that the text had been prepared in the two languages, (French and English), in parallel columns, and it was in that form that it had been signed by all the Delegates.
Mr. Balfour proposed that the report of the Economic Drafting Committee should be accepted, on the understanding that the French text should be made to agree with the English text.
Mr. Lansing said that he could not agree to accept the report, as suggested by Mr. Balfour, because he had not seen it before; he had had no time to study it or to obtain the advice of his experts. He proposed, therefore, that the further consideration of the report in question should be adjourned to next Session.
M. Klotz asked permission to invite the attention of the Conference to the fact that the draft in question was not an agreement or convention which might commit the representatives of the Great Powers to some definite line of policy. The Conference was merely asked to accept a questionnaire, addressed to a Committee whose constitution [Page 63] had still to be decided; and the various countries represented reserved to themselves full right of making their suggestions and observations when the proposed Committee came to be appointed. Today, no question of principle was involved, but merely a question of procedure.
M. Clementel pointed out in support of the statement made by M. Klotz that the Economic Committee to be appointed would have a very big programme to carry through, and any delay at the present moment might have serious consequences. M. Baruch had, before leaving Paris for Brussels, particularly asked that the terms of reference to the proposed Economic Committee should be settled with as little delay as possible.
Mr. Lansing said that he would not, under the circumstances, insist on an adjournment.
M. Crespi remarked that an Italian text of the terms of reference was being prepared and would be circulated shortly.
(The Terms of Reference to the proposed Economic Committee of the Peace Conference as agreed by the Economic Drafting Committee were approved, subject to the French and English texts being brought into accord.)
Lord Milner enquired how the Economic Committee was to be formed.
(b) Transitory Measures Referred to Supreme Economic Council M. Clementel replied that the composition of the proposed Economic Committee would have to be decided by the Conference.
Lord Milner said that the British Dominions felt that this was a question in which they were particularly interested. The Dominions possessed very distinctive interests, which were not always identical with those of Great Britain. It would therefore be only right and reasonable to give direct representation to the Dominions; and if it were decided to give two delegates for each of the Great Powers, as is usually done, and five representatives for the Smaller Powers, he would suggest that two representatives should be allotted to the British Dominions and one to India.
Mr. Lansing said that he understood Lord Milner’s suggestion to be that a Commission of 18 members should be appointed, of which the British Empire would have five.
M. Klotz drew attention to the fact that on the proposal of President Wilson a Supreme Economic Council had been created, consisting of five representatives of each of the Great Powers. Why should not the various questions dealt with in the terms of reference be referred to that Committee, who would be instructed to carry out the work entailed by the creation of sub-Committees, the procedure to be followed being left to the Committee itself to settle?[Page 64]
Mr. Lansing enquired whether the Supreme Economic Council gave representation to any but the five Great powers.
M. Klotz replied in the negative, and said that provision would have to be made for the smaller Powers to be represented when questions affecting them came up for discussion. On the other hand, the representatives of the British Dominions could form part of the five representatives allotted to each of the Great Powers.
Lord Milner agreed that if the question were to-be referred to the Supreme Economic Council, the special views of the British Dominions could be represented among the five British Delegates. He wished to lay stress, however, on the fact that the British Dominions occupied a very distinct position, especially as the interests of the Dominions frequently conflicted with those of Great Britain. He thought that was a solid reason. It was desirable to have all points of view represented. It was not merely a question of giving the British Dominions a stronger position.
M. Pichon reported that he had received a request from Mr. Hughes to the effect that Australia should have separate representation, and that he (Mr. Hughes) should be the selected representative for Australia. He (M. Pichon) thought that the representation of the British Dominions was legitimate, but he thought the smaller powers should also receive due consideration.
M. Clementel thought that the draft submitted by the Economic Drafting Committee contained two very distinct parts. A first part, dealing with all transitory measures, such as: the supply of materials for the restoration of the devastated areas, the economic restoration of the countries which had suffered most from the war, and the supply of commodities to neutral and ex-enemy countries. All such questions, in his opinion, could be referred to the existing Supreme Economic Council. Secondly, all permanent questions relating to the future, which really constituted economic questions connected with the Treaty of Peace, such as: future permanent commercial relations, contracts and claims, and the abrogation or revival of economic treaties. These questions should, in his opinion, be referred to a special Economic Committee of the Preliminary Peace Conference, which would have to be created.
(c) Permanent Measures Referred to an Economic Committee to be Created M. Klotz agreed, and asked that the five signatories of the report of the Drafting Committee should be instructed to draft a plan of procedure for the new Committee, sub-Committees being formed therein, and to make suggestions regarding its composition.
Lord Milner accepted this proposal and expressed the hope that the Committee would consider the point he had tried to make for proper representation of the British Dominions.[Page 65]
(It was agreed that the first part of the terms of reference under the heading “Transitory Measures” should be referred to the Supreme Economic Council, and that the permanent subjects mentioned in the report should be referred to a special Commission of the Preliminary Peace Conference.
It was further agreed that the five signatories of the report of the Drafting Committee should meet to consider and report as to the procedure and method of work of the Economic Commission, and on its composition, having in mind Lord Milner’s request that the Dominions and India should be accorded separate representation and that the small Powers should also be represented.)
(At this stage MM. Klotz and Clementel withdrew. M. Bernhoft, Danish Minister in Paris, and M. Clausen, Attaché of Danish Legation in Paris, entered the Council Chamber.)
5. M. Pichon said he had been asked in the first place to distribute a letter, dated 6th February, 1919, addressed by M. H. A. Bernhoft, the Danish Minister in Paris, to M. Clemenceau, Ger President of the Peace Conference. (For full text see Annexure “B.”) Readjustment of the Danish-German Frontier
A mémoire by Mr. Jonas Collin, Professor at the Academy of Surgery in Copenhagen, one of the representatives of the Central Schleswig Committee, had also been forwarded to the Secretariat-General and would be distributed. The conclusion reached in this mémoire was that Central Schleswig up to the Sli-Danevirke-Husum frontier should be ceded to Denmark.
He would now call on M. Bernhoft to make a statement.
(a) Statement by M. Bernhoft M. Bernhoft then read the following statement. (See Annexure “C.”)
Mr. Lansing enquired up to what line the German troops should be withdrawn, if such a proposal were agreed to.
M. Bernhoft replied that there were five German Garrisons at present in Northern Schleswig, and he thought the German troops should be withdrawn to the Southern line of Central Schleswig.
Mr. Lansing enquired who would maintain order in these territories after evacuation by the German troops.
M. Bernhoft expressed the view that the population would be able to govern themselves to a certain extent. He thought that the German civil authorities and priests and schoolmasters should be allowed to remain, because the people themselves were strong enough to keep these down. The Danish workmen in this region were so strongly organized that small controlling Committees had already been appointed to supervise the work of the Landrats and of the local Police Officials. The only danger spot was at Flensbourg, a town of 67,000 [Page 66] inhabitants, which contained anarchical elements, and there a strong military force might be required to maintain order.
Mr. Lansing further enquired whether any arrangement was contemplated for the assumption of part of the German National debt.
M. Bernhoft replied that Denmark had hoped that if the country were restored to Denmark, it might come back without a debt.
Mr. Lansing asked whether that would be an inducement for the German population to remain and form part of Denmark.
M. Bernhoft agreed that that would probably be the case.
(The Danish representative and the Experts withdrew.)
(b) Committee on Belgium to report on Danish-German Frontier Mr. Balfour said he had intended, as in previous cases, to move a resolution for the appointment of a new Committee to enquire into the Danish claims. Mr. Lansing had, however, suggested to him that this enquiry could best be carried on Committee already occupied in considering Belgian questions. He wished, therefore, to propose the following resolution:—
It is agreed that the questions raised in M. Bernhoft’s statement on the Danish territorial interests in the peace settlement shall be referred for examination, in the first instance, to the Committee now examining the Belgian problems.
It shall be the duty of the Committee to reduce the questions for decision within the narrowest possible limits, and to make recommendations for a just settlement.
The Committee is authorised to consult the representatives of the peoples concerned.
M. Pichon said he had no objection to make to the proposal, except that the Kiel Canal question was involved. This was a very important matter, and he felt some doubt as to whether the existing Belgian Committee were the best prepared to advise on that question.
Mr. Balfour said he had reason to believe that the members of the Belgian Committee were fully qualified to report on the question to be referred to them.
(It was agreed that the questions raised in M. Bernhoft’s statement on the Danish territorial interests in the peace settlement shall be referred for examination, in the first instance, to the Committee now examining the Belgian problems.
It shall be the duty of the Committee to reduce the questions for decision within the narrowest possible limits, and to make recommendations for a just settlement.
The Committee shall be authorised to consult the representatives of the peoples concerned.)[Page 67]
6. Mr. Balfour said that he understood the statement of the Albanian claims would be heard on the following day. He wished to give notice that he proposed to submit to the Conference a resolution on the general conduct of business, which would be circulated to the Conference that evening. He thought the time had now come to take a survey of the immediate task of the Conference. Agenda for Next Meeting
(It was agreed that the following questions should be discussed at the meeting to be held at 3.0 o’clock on Saturday afternoon, the 22nd February, 1919:—
- General conduct of business.
- Statement of the Albanians’ Claims. (Hearing of Albanian representatives.)
(The Meeting then adjourned to Saturday, 22nd February, 1919, at 3.0 p.m.)
Paris, 22nd February, 1919.[Page 72]
- Vol. ii, p. 183.↩
- Italy, R. Ministero degli Affari Esteri, Trattati e convenzioni fra il regno d’Italia e gli altri stati, vol. 23, p. 412.↩
- Foreign Relations, 1918, supp. 1, vol. i, p. 809.↩
- See Foreign Relations, 1919, vol. ii, p. 741.↩
- Translation from French text supplied by the editors.↩
- See BC–11, vol. iii, p. 730.↩
- French text, arranged in parallel column with English text, not printed.↩
- See vol. ii, pp. 450 ff., and infra. ↩
- Vol. ii, p. 457.↩
- British and Foreign State Papers, vol. lvi, p. 1050.↩
- Ibid., vol. lxix, p. 773.↩
- Ibid., vol. liv, p. 522.↩
- Not filed with the minutes.↩
- The maps referred to are not filed with the minutes.↩
- The maps referred to are not filed with the minutes.↩