Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/102


Notes of a Conversation Which Took Place in M. Clemenceau’s Room at the French Ministry of War, 14 Rue Dominique, on Saturday, March 30 [29], 1919, at 3 p.m.

  • Present
    • United States of America
      • President Wilson
      • General Bliss
    • British Empire
      • The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.,
      • General Sir H. H. Wilson, G. C. B., D. S. C.,
      • * Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B.,
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau
      • Marshal Foch
      • General Weygand
    • Italy
      • M. Orlando
      • * General Diaz
      • General Cavalieri [Cavallero?]
      • Count Aldrovandi

Prof. P. J. Mantoux, Interpreter

(1) The Transport of General Haller’s Army to Dantzig The attached telegram from General Nudant, notifying the attitude of the German Government towards the the demand for passage of General Haller’s1 army to Poland through Danzig was discussed. (Appendix I).

After some discussion, the following decisions were reached:—

That Marshal Foch shall invite the Germans to send a plenipotentiary to meet him at Spa on April 3rd, and shall notify them that he will give them all the explanations and guarantees referred to in General Nudant’s telegram No. 808 [806?].
That Marshal Foch, in making the demand for the passage of General Haller’s army through Danzig, shall state that the Allied and Associated Governments think it right to explain to the German Plenipotentiaries that General Haller’s army consists of allied troops, who have long been fighting on the western front; that this detachment of allied troops is sent to Poland for the preservation of order under the terms of Article 16 of the Armistice of Nov. 11th, 1918,2 and they have been selected for this purpose on account of their Polish nationality; that these troops are not intended for the occupation of the town of Danzig, and will only require temporary accommodation during their passage through the port; finally, that the [Page 16] present decision has no connection with the final disposition of Danzig in the treaty of peace. This question is not decided, and will not be finally decided until the signature of the treaty of peace.
That Marshal Foch shall further be authorized, if he thinks it desirable, to arrange for the use of Stettin and other ports to supplement Danzig, where a portion of the troops will have to be disembarked.
That any refusal on the part of the Germans to accede to this demand will be interpreted as a breach of the armistice by Germany. In this event Marshal Foch shall confer with the Supreme War Council as to the action to be taken.

Note:—The text of the telegram sent by Marshal Foch to General Nudant in execution of conclusion (1) is as follows:—3

“All the information and guarantees requested will be furnished by me at Spa to the Plenipotentiary I have asked for (telegram, March 27). It is understood that he is to be given the full powers necessary to make a decision within 48 hours. The meeting will take place April 2 unless unavoidably prevented.”

(2) Hungary M. Orlando communicated the attached aide-mémoire, handed to Prince Borghese, the Italian Minister in Belgrade, by the new Hungarian Government. (Appendix II).

A proposal was made that, without sending a formal diplomatic mission, some discreet and confidential person should be sent to ascertain the real position.

No final decision was taken, but it was agreed:—

That each Prime Minister should consult his Foreign Minister on the question:
That the question should be considered again on Monday:
That President Wilson should consider the name of some discreet and trustworthy American subject, who might, subject to agreement on Monday, be sent on behalf of the Allied and Associated Powers, to Budapest, with a view to making a report. It was suggested that he might perhaps be associated with Prince Borghese in these inquiries.
The Prime Minister suggested the name of General Smuts, which did not altogether commend itself to M. Clemenceau.

(3) Reparation Mr. Lloyd George read the attached memorandum, and handed copies round. (Appendix III).

Article 1. President Wilson did not like the mention of the sum of £30,000,000 [£30,000,000,000]. He suggested that the first few articles should be re-drafted so as to commence as follows:—

“Recognizing the central fact that the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nations have been subjected as a direct and necessary consequence of the War is so [Page 17] colossal, that it would be impracticable for the enemy States to make complete reparation,” &c., &c.

Article 3. President Wilson proposed, and Mr. Lloyd George agreed, that Article 3 should be so altered as to introduce the words mentioned in the last paragraph of the observations by the Allied Governments forwarded by the United States Government with their Note to Germany of November 5, 1918,4 namely:—

“By it they understand that compensation will be paid by Germany for all damage done to the civilian population of the Allies and their property by the aggression of Germany by land, by sea, and from the air.”

Article 4 President Wilson expressed doubts as to whether Article 4 could be included within the terms of the observations of the Allies forwarded with the Note of November 5.

Article 8. M. Clemenceau was anxious, if possible, to insert the word “priority.”

The question was adjourned for independent consultation with experts.

(4) The Next Meeting It was agreed that the next meeting should take place on Monday, April 1, at President Wilson’s House at 11 a.m. when the following subjects would be discussed:—

The despatch of a Representative to Hungary:
The Saar Valley.

Villa Majestic, Paris, March 29, 1919.

Appendix I

Copy of Telegram From General Nudant to Marshal Foch

No. 806

German answer received at 20 hours.

In concluding Armistice Germans certainly had in view only passage of Allies through Danzig and not of Poles whom the German Government do not regard as forming part of Allies. Second, textually. After close examination the German Government cannot take responsibility of a measure which failing sufficient guarantees would bring about civil war in its own country.

On the other hand it is ready to facilitate by all means disembarkation of Haller’s Army at Stettin, Koenigsburg, Memel, or Libau and thus, with all its power, assist Allied intention of maintaining order in Poland. Third. Finally, in reply to your telegram 1704 of 27th [Page 18] March, German Government with a view to preparing execution requires information regarding composition, effectives, date of first disembarkation, subsequent relays, transport, and what guarantees would be furnished to prevent all or part of Haller’s Army from participating in political manifestations or eventual rioting by Polish minority.

Appendix II

Aide-Mémoire for Prince Borghese

(Communicated to the Prime Minister by M. Orlando on 29th March, 1919)

The New Government of Hungary, the Council of the Commissioners of the People, recognise the validity of the Treaty of Armistice signed by the former Government5 and do not think that the non-acceptance of the note presented by Colonel Vix6 has infringed it.

By asking Russia to enter the alliance with the Republic of the Councils of Hungary, the Government has not thought that this step might be interpreted as an expression of its desire to break all diplomatic intercourse with the Powers of the Entente, and still less as a declaration of war on the Entente. The alliance with Russia is not a formal diplomatic alliance, it is at the most—if we may use the expression—an “entente cordiale”, a natural friendship justified by the identical construction of their respective constitution[s], which in the thought of the Hungarian Government does not in any way imply an aggressive combination. The new Hungarian Republic, on the contrary, has a firm desire to live in peace with all the other Nations and to devote its activities to the peaceful social re-organisation of its country.

The Hungarian Socialist Party has been driven by the force of the events to take hold of the executive power. It wishes to organise a new social State, a State in which every man will live of his own work, but this social State will not be hostile to other Nations. It wishes on the contrary to co-operate for the great human solidarity.

The Government of the Republic of the Councils of Hungary declare themselves ready to negotiate territorial questions on the basis of the principle of self-determination of the People, and they view territorial integrity solely as in conformity with that principle.

They would gladly welcome a civil and diplomatic mission of the Entente in Budapest and would guarantee to it the right of extraterritoriality and undertake to provide for its absolute safety.

Bela Kuhn

Commissioner of the People for Foreign Affairs
[Page 19]

Appendix III

[Memorandum Presented to the Council of Four by Mr. Lloyd George]

The loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a direct and necessary consequence of the war, imposed upon them by the aggression of the enemy states by land, air and sea, is upwards of £30,000,000,000.
Notwithstanding the indisputable claim of the Allied and Associated Governments to full compensation, they recognise that the financial and economic resources of the enemy states are not unlimited and that it will therefore, so far as they can judge, be impracticable for the enemy states to make complete reparation.
The Allied and Associated Governments, however, require that the enemy states should at least make good, at whatever cost to themselves, the value of the material damage done and of the personal losses and injuries, including those to the civilian dependents of combatants which the enemy states have caused.
Each of the Allied and Associated Powers ought to receive from Germany a just reparation in respect of the death and disablement or permanent injury to health directly caused to any of its subjects by hostilities or by operations of war, whether on sea or land or in the air, or by the acts of enemy forces, populations or authorities in occupied, invaded or enemy territory. For each Power interested this reparation may always be measured by the rate of pensions or allowances now established in its territories.
Each of the Allied and Associated Powers ought to receive from Germany a just reparation in respect of all property belonging to the State or to any of its subjects with the exception of military works or material, which has been carried off, seized or destroyed by the enemy, or damaged directly in consequence of hostilities or of any operations of war:
by immediate restoration of property carried off which can be identified in specie, with just compensation if it has been damaged;
by payment of the full cost of replacing, repairing or reconstructing such property carried off, seized, damaged or destroyed, as cannot be identified in specie, or by payment of its value.
The amounts to be paid, the time and mode of payments and the securities to be given therefor shall be determined by an Inter-Ally Commission after examining into the claims and giving to Germany just opportunity of being heard.
Compensation may be required, either in the form of payment in gold or securities or in the form of mineral deposits, delivery of commodities and chattels and other reparation in kind, to be credited by [Page 20] the recipient power at a fair value at the time of delivery. The “ton for ton” and other analogous principles being adopted.
Each of the Allied Powers interested will receive out of each payment as and when it is made by the enemy a rateable share in proportion to its losses above mentioned.
In order to enable the Allied and Associated Powers to proceed at once to the restoration of their industries and economic life pending the full determination of their claims, Germany shall pay in such instalments and in such manner (whether in gold, securities, commodities or ships as they may fix) in 1919 and 1920 the equivalent of £1,000,000,000 sterling to include a due provision for the maintenance of the Armies of Occupation and for indispensable supplies of food.
This scheme will be developed along the above lines in further discussion.


  1. Withdrew after item 1. [Footnote in the original.]
  2. Withdrew after item 1. [Footnote in the original.]
  3. For the last part of Item 1 and for the remainder of the session. [Footnote in the original.]
  4. Withdrew after item 1. [Footnote in the original.]
  5. Withdrew after item 1. [Footnote in the original.]
  6. For the last part of Item 1 and for the remainder of the session. [Footnote in the original.]
  7. Withdrew after item 1. [Footnote in the original.]
  8. Present during item 2, and until the remainder of the session. [Footnote in the original.]
  9. Gen. Joseph Haller, Commander in Chief of the Polish Army in France.
  10. Vol. ii, pp. 1, 4.
  11. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  12. Foreign Relations, 1918, supp. 1, vol. i, p. 468.
  13. Armistice of November 3, 1918, vol. ii, p. 175.
  14. Of the French Army, head of the Allied Military Mission at Budapest.