Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/126


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s Residence, in the Place des Etats-Unis, on Monday, April 28, 1919, at 11 a.m.

  • Present
    • United States of America
      • President Wilson.
    • The British Empire
      • Mr. Lloyd George.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau.
      • Sir Maurice Hankey: Secretary.
      • M. Mantoux: Interpreter.

1. Report of the Labour Commission Mr. Lloyd George said that Sir Robert Borden had drawn his attention to the additional protocol to Article 7 of the Report of the Commission on International Labour Legislation,1 (page 22 of the report), in which it was stated that “no High Contracting Party together with its Dominions and Colonies whether self-governing or not, shall be entitled to nominate more than one member”. Sir Robert Borden had pointed out that the effect of this was to exclude any Dominions from representation on the Council, notwithstanding that within the British Empire, at any rate, the Labour conditions of the Dominions were entirely different from those of the Mother Country. Sir Robert Borden had thought that the amendments he had moved at the last Plenary meeting2 surmounted this difficulty, but the Drafting Committee said that this was not the case, and consequently, Sir Robert Borden wished to move another amendment.

President Wilson said that his difficulty was that Mr. Gompers3 had gone home to the United States. He thought that probably there had been a tussle on the point on the Commission, and he did not feel justified in assenting without expert advice.

After some discussion, it was agreed:—

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(That Sir Robert Borden should be supported in moving an amendment on this matter, provided he could first obtain the assent to it of Mr. Robinson for the United States of America, Mr. Barnes for the British Empire, and Mr. Colliard for France.4)

2. Outstanding Chinese Question in the Treaty of Peace Sir Maurice Hankey said he was informed by Mr. Hurst, the British Member of the Drafting Committee, that there were a certain number of outstanding questions relating to China for which no provision had been made.

The following resolution was adopted.

“It is agreed that a Special Committee, composed of Mr. E. T. Williams for the United States of America, Mr. Ronald Macleay for the British Empire, and Mr. Jean Gout for France, shall meet to prepare draft articles as the basis of instructions for the Drafting Committee of the Preliminary Peace Conference in regard to any outstanding questions affecting China outside of Shantung and Kiauchau.

The Committee has authority to consult and secure the agreement of China and any other interested party”.

Sir Maurice Hankey at once forwarded the above resolution to the Members of the Committee with a letter notifying them to take immediate action.

3. Sir Maurice Hankey said that he had been informed by Mr. Hurst, the British Member of the Drafting Committee, that no instructions had been issued to the Drafting Committee about Luxembourg, although there were important questions relating to the abrogation of the Customs Union5 and the Railway Federation with Germany.6

The following resolution was agreed to:—

“It is agreed that a special Committee composed of Dr. Mezes for the United States of America, Sir Eyre Crowe for the British Empire, and M. Tardieu for France, and a Belgian representative, shall meet to prepare draft articles as an instruction to the Drafting Committee of the Preliminary Peace Conference, in regard to the position of the Customs and Railways of Luxembourg, and any other outstanding questions of the same order in regard to Luxembourg.”

Sir Maurice Hankey immediately sent letters to the Members of the Committee and to M. Hymans, informing them of this decision, and asking them to take immediate action.

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4. Prisoners of War Sir Maurice Hankey drew attention to questions relating to Prisoners of War, which had been presented by the Council of Foreign Ministers.7 (See attached note, Appendix I.)

M. Clemenceau said he was not prepared to discuss this matter today.

(The question of Prisoners of War was postponed until the following morning.)

5. Employment of German Instructors in Foreign Military, Naval and Air Services Sir Maurice Hankey drew attention to a Clause providing for the prevention of the employment of German military, naval, or air instructors in foreign services, which had been passed by the Council of Foreign Ministers, subject to a reservation by M. Pichon (for details see Appendix II).

M. Clemenceau said that the French objection in regard to this clause was that it would prevent France from recruiting Germans for the Foreign Legion, and was contrary to French law.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that the position of the French Foreign Legion was quite unique, and no other nation had anything corresponding.

(After a short discussion, the following decisions were taken:

That the Article should be approved in principle and amended by the Drafting Committee as required to carry out the following proposal by M. Clemenceau:

“Toutefois la présente disposition ne porte aucune attente [atteinte] an droit de la France de recruter la Légion Etrangère conformément aux lois et règlements militaires frangais en vigueur”.8

That the clause should be applicable to the naval and air, as well as to military services.
That Sir Maurice Hankey should notify the Secretary General accordingly for the information of the Drafting Committee.)

6. Poison Gases Article for the Treaty of Peace Mr. Lloyd George drew attention to a discussion which had taken place at the Council of Foreign Ministers on a proposal to introduce in the military terms of peace an additional article designed to compel the German Government to disclose the means employed for the manufacture of poison gases. (I. C. 171, para. 6)9 It had been decided that if the British Government wished to press the inclusion of this article, the question should be raised at the Council of Four. The British military authorities, who were confirmed in their view by scientific experts, considered that there was a real danger that Germany might discover some new gas, and, without any considerable armaments, might employ this as [Page 311] a means for attacking the Allied and Associated Powers, thus frustrating the provisions made for disarmament. He then read the following proposal for an article to be incorporated in the military terms:—

“The German Government will disclose to the Allied Governments the nature and mode of manufacture of all explosives, toxic substances or other like chemical preparations used both in the war or prepared by them for the purpose of being so used, including the mode of manufacture of the synthetic and nitric acids used in the making of such explosives. As a part of such disclosure the Allied Governments shall have the right to inspect all plant used for the manufacture, and shall receive from the German Government full particulars of the processes of manufacture in such plant.”

President Wilson said that the objection to this proposal was that the Germans could not reveal this information without also revealing trade secrets. He was advised by his experts that nearly every chemical used for the war was related to commercial chemistry, and it was impossible to ascertain one secret without ascertaining others. Moreover, he did not think the proposed clause would prove efficacious. His own university experience enabled him to judge how jealously discoverers concealed their secrets, and he did not think that the German chemists would allow their true secrets to be discovered. What he wanted to avoid was an article which could be used in a round about way for irritating investigation of all possible secrets. Such matters did not come within the purview of the military terms.

Mr. Lloyd George said that it was a matter of great military importance, and that the Allies had suffered very severely owing to the advantage the Germans had had in chemical knowledge. He was advised by Lord Moulton10 that the Germans were three years ahead of the Allies in these matters.

(After some discussion it was agreed that the following article should be inserted in the military terms:

“The German Government will disclose to the Allied Governments the nature and mode of manufacture of all explosives, toxic substances or other like chemical preparations used by them in the war or prepared by them for the purpose of being so used.”)

(Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward this to the Secretary-General for communication to the Drafting Committee.)

7. Arrangements for Communicating the Preliminaries of Peace to the German Delegates The Supreme Council had before them the revised memorandum prepared by the Secretary-General on the subject of the communication of the preliminaries of peace to of Peace to the German delegates. (Appendix III.)

In regard to paragraph 1, President Wilson asked who were the examining commission referred to.

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M. Clemenceau said they were the same Commission has [that?] had been examining the credentials of the Allied and Associated Powers.

In regard to paragraph 1 (b), M. Clemenceau said he did not know what to advise as to the recognition of the Jugo-Slavs.

Mr. Lloyd George asked what the Jugo-Slavs had to do with the Treaty of Peace with Germany.

President Wilson pointed out that Servia was at war with Germany, and Serbia had made herself inseparable from the Jugo-Slavs.

Sir Maurice Hankey reported that Mr. Balfour on that very morning had told him that in present circumstances he thought the recognition of the Jugo-Slavs would produce a deplorable effect on the Italians.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that the Allied and Associated Powers were still at war with the Jugo-Slavs. He asked whether the Germans were likely to demand to see the credentials of the Allied and Associated Powers. He pointed out that they did not ask for Marshal Foch’s credentials when the armistice was signed.

M. Clemenceau pointed out that everyone knew Marshal Foch, but they were sure to ask for the credentials of the Allied and Associated Powers. If it was not for the Italian situation, he would gladly vouch for the Jugo-Slavs, but he did not want to do anything to irritate the Italians.

President Wilson said if the Jugo-Slavs were not recognised, the Germans would at once question the validity of their credentials, and say that they were not a legally constituted party to the Treaty. They would say that somebody who was nobody was trying to sign the Treaty. Serbia had, he believed, in some legal form or other, merged herself with the Yugo-Slavs; the Montenegrins had not.

M. Clemenceau suggested that M. Vesnitch, the Serbian Ambassador, might be invited to confer with them on the matter.

President Wilson suggested that in order to save the time of the Supreme Council, the Foreign Ministers might see M. Vesnitch.

(It was agreed that the Foreign Ministers of the United States of America, Great Britain, France and Japan, should confer with M. Vesnitch on the subject.)

Written Procedure. Para. II.

President Wilson suggested that in the third line the word “oral” should be substituted for “verbal” discussion.

(This was agreed to.)

Date of First Meeting with the Germans.

(It was agreed that the first meeting with the German Delegation should be on Thursday, May 1st.)

Para. III. Powers to be present when the Treaty is handed to the Germans.

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(It was agreed on President Wilson’s suggestion to add Brazil to the list of effective belligerents who would be present when the Treaty was handed over to the German Delegates.)

In regard to Poland and Czecho-Slovakia

President Wilson pointed out that the Czechs had been technically opposed to the Allied and Associated Powers in the war. The Poles had been divided.

Mr. Lloyd George thought that on the whole it was desirable that the Czechs and Poles should be present, as they had fought for the Allied and Associated Powers.

(It was agreed that the Czechs and Poles should be added to the list, and that the complete list should be as follows:—

Belgium Poland
Brazil Portugal
Czecho-Slovakia Roumania
Greece Serbia

as well as plenipotentiaries of the five great powers.)

Para. IV.

(It was agreed that the period of 48 hours should be deleted from this paragraph which should run as follows:—

“After having examined the observations presented within the afore mentioned periods, the Supreme Council will send their answer in writing to the German Delegation, and determine the period in which the final global answer must be given by this Delegation.”)

The discussion was then resumed on para. III.

(The following alterations were agreed to:—

“That the period of 15 days should apply to

Economic Clauses;
Ports, Waterways, Rivers and Railways;
Geographical frontiers of Germany;
Political clauses for Europe, (as given in the Memorandum.”)

(The following periods were agreed to for the other subjects mentioned in the Memorandum:—

Organisation of Labour 5 days
League of Nations 5 days
Political clauses for countries outside Europe (as in the Secretary-General’s lists.) 8 days
Military, Naval and Aerial clauses 10 days
Prisoners of war 5 days
Responsibilities and Punishments 5 days
Reparations and Restitutions 10 days
Financial clauses 10 days
Guarantees and Occupation of Territories 10 days
Financial clauses (as in Secretary-General’s list) 5 days.)

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(The above decision, however, was superseded.)

Mr. Lloyd George raised the question whether it was really desirable to assign different periods for the different items in the Peace Treaty. It was true that it was to some extent inconvenient not to get the answers as they were ready, and it might be suggested to the Germans that they should give their answers earlier in cases where they could do so, or that they should ask any necessary questions. He thought, however, that they should be allowed to decide the Peace Treaty as a whole. For example they would certainly desire to decide the question on indemnities in conjunction with other questions, such as territorial settlements. He thought it would be better to say to them, you have 15 days in which to give your answer, but if you like to send in written answers on particular subjects earlier you can do so.

M. Clemenceau agreed that this would be the better plan.

President Wilson agreed.

(It was agreed that the Germans should be given a total period of 15 days within which to give their decision in writing in regard to the Treaty of Peace, but that they should be informed they were entitled to send their reply on particular headings in the Treaty of Peace earlier, or to ask any question in regard to them. Sir Maurice Hankey to communicate the above decisions to the Secretary-General.)

9. Reparation communications With the Smaller States M. Clemenceau read the demands that had been made by Serbia, Belgium, Portugal and Brazil, at the meeting which their representatives had had with M. Loucheur on the subject of Reparation. The memoranda of their claims which he read (which M. Loucheur had already summarised at a meeting held on Friday afternoon, April 25th, I.C. 176D) are attached in Appendix IV.

10. Serbia’s Claim President Wilson said that it was difficult to see any practical argument in support of Serbia’s claim to be represented on the Commission, but there was likely to be a considerable public sentiment in the world in favour of it.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the position was somewhat anomalous. Serbia had no real interest in the indemnity since she was acquiring a country which was entirely free from war debt. Belgium’s claim was of quite a different order; moreover the question arose as to whether Roumania could be kept out if Serbia was admitted.

President Wilson said that if a distinction was drawn between Roumania and Serbia it would have to be by an arbitrary decision.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that the Commission would have to decide very important questions, and these questions would have to be decided by a majority. The question arose therefore as to whether it was desirable to introduce additional Powers. He thought the [Page 315] Experts of the Allied and Associated Powers ought to be consulted before a decision was taken.

It was agreed:—

That Sir Maurice Hankey should ask the Experts of the Allied and Associated Powers to consult together as to the advisability of Serbia being represented on the proposed Commission.
That Belgium representatives should be heard by the Council of Four.

The question was raised as to the attitude to be adopted with the Belgian Plenipotentiaries on the subject of Reparation.

President Wilson said they should be told that it was impossible to admit claims on a different basis to those granted to other countries. He thought, however, it might be agreed in principle for some system of credit to enable Belgium to start her national life again.

Mr. Lloyd George agreed in this view.

President Wilson asked what was to be done about Brazil’s claim in respect of shipping.

Mr. Lloyd George considered that this claim ought not be allowed. If it was, Brazil would positively make a net gain of over 200,000 tons of shipping although she had only made a very small contribution to the war.

President Wilson asked if Brazil should come into the common pool in regard to shipping.

Mr. Lloyd George replied that she should and that the same applied to Portugal.

(It was agreed that M. Loucheur should be asked to reply to the Brazilians and to the Portuguese that it was not feasible to meet their claims in regard to shipping and that they would share in the common pool in this respect.)

11. League of Nations President Wilson read a series of Resolutions which, with the approval of his colleagues, he proposed to move at the Plenary Meeting to be held that afternoon.10a (Appendix V.)

(This was agreed to.)

President Wilson then gave an outline of the remarks he proposed to make in the afternoon.

12. Baltic commission With reference to the decision taken on April 16th that an Inter-Allied Commission should be sent to the Baltic to study conditions in Livonia, Esthonia, Finland, etc., (I. C. 171 B. Para. 3),11 President Wilson said that as each Government had its own observers in the Baltic provinces, it had been suggested to him that the Commission should sit in Paris instead of proceeding to the Baltic.

Mr. Lloyd George said he was informed by Sir Maurice Hankey that similar advice had been given by the British experts.

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(It was agreed that the Baltic Commission should be nominated at once and should meet in Paris and not proceed to the Baltic.)

13. Finland President Wilson read a letter he had received from Mr. Hoover pleading for the recognition of the Finnish Government.12 This letter gave very powerful reasons in support of the proposal, pointing out that Finland at the present time had ships which could not sail the seas because they had no flag to sail under; that they had need of credit but no banker would give it to a Government that was unrecognised; that they were subjected to severe censorship and had no means of issuing recognisable passports. (The remainder of the Letter was not heard as the Secretary was called out of the room.)

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that the attitude of the Finnish Government up to very recently had been very dubious. One of the reasons for the Murmansk expedition had been to prevent the Finns with the help of the Germans from getting possession of the Murman coast. Until the collapse of Germany Finland had, on the whole, been hostile. After that he had for a time been very doubtful whether Finland would be Bolshevist or Anti-Bolshevist. Now she had put on white gloves and was demanding recognition.

President Wilson admitted that it would be agreed to recognise Finland as this was the equitable course.

Mr. Lloyd George said that personally he had no objection, but he would wish to consult the Foreign Secretary.

M. Clemenceau said he would have to consult M. Pichon.

14. Shantung and Kiauchow Mr. Lloyd George handed round a memorandum which Mr. Balfour had prepared as a result of his conversation with the Japanese undertaken at the request of the Supreme Council on Saturday [Friday] last.13 (Appendix VI.)

President Wilson said that this was not sufficiently explicit but showed a decided approach in the Japanese attitude.

Mr. Lloyd George said that Baron Makino had, on behalf of the Japanese Delegation, accepted Mr. Balfour’s memorandum.

President Wilson asked what the effect would be of saying to the Japanese—“We transfer to you the German rights but we do not confirm any arrangement you made with the Chinese earlier in the war and we do this provided that you give a definite assurance that you will not exercise your provisional rights for employing military forces in Shantung”. There was nothing on which the public opinion of the United States of America was firmer than on this question that China should be not oppressed by Japan. Public opinion expected him to take the same line for Japan as he had taken for Italy. There [Page 317] was certainly some difference between the two cases inasmuch as there was a definite undertaking by China to transfer territory to Japan.

(After an interval during which other subjects were discussed, Mr. Balfour was introduced and the discussion was continued.)

Mr. Balfour said that by the instructions of the Supreme Council he had seen Baron Makino and Viscount Chinda on Saturday. The Supreme Council had his memorandum in their hands. Baron Makino had come again to see him on Sunday evening. With great delicacy but perfect clearness he had indicated that Japan wanted a decision on the Japanese claims as a whole. He had pointed out that Japan was asked to agree to the League of Nations although she could not obtain recognition of her claims for equality of treatment. He did not want to make trouble, but public opinion in Japan was very much concerned on this question. If Japan was to receive one check in Shantung and another check as regards the League of Nations the position would be very serious. Consequently, it was very important to obtain a decision on the question of Shantung before the Plenary Meeting to be held the same afternoon on the subject of the League of Nations. He understood that if Japan received what she claimed in regard to Shantung, her representatives at the Plenary Meeting would content themselves with a survey of the inequality of races and move some abstract resolution which would probably be rejected. Japan would then merely make a protest. If, however, she regarded herself as illtreated over Shantung, he was unable to say what line the Japanese delegates might take.

President Wilson asked if they would go to the length of refusing to adhere to the League of Nations. His difficulty was that he could not possibly abandon China. He had told the United States’ delegation that his line was this:—“If Japan will return Kiauchow and Shantung to China and relinquish all sovereign rights and will reduce her claims to mere economic concessions foregoing all military rights, I would regard it as returning these possessions to China on better terms than Germany had held them.”

Mr. Balfour said that there was no doubt whatsoever that Japan was returning these territories to China on incomparably better terms than Germany had held them.

President Wilson said his experts did not agree.

Mr. Balfour said that the United States’ experts had not heard the Japanese case. The same had applied to his expert, Mr. Macleay, who had signed the expert Report furnished at the request of the Supreme Council.14 After hearing the Japanese representatives and cross-examining them for an hour he had been entirely satisfied.

Mr. Balfour, continued that the Japanese Government now in power was not the same Government as had made the Treaty of 1915 [Page 318] with China. He honestly believed that this Government intended adopting a more liberal policy and had been influenced by what the Japanese representatives had learned in Paris. He said that Baron Makino had arrived on Sunday evening just after he had dictated his memorandum. His shorthand-writer had read it out to Baron Makino who had accepted it.

Mr. Lloyd George said it showed a very considerable improvement in the position.

President Wilson drew attention to the fact that Japan retained the right to keep troops in Shantung and Germany had had no such rights, even temporarily.

Mr. Balfour said that the Japanese representatives had made it clear that this right would only be exercised temporarily during the period of transfer, from Japan to China.

President Wilson said that if the Japanese would concede all military rights and make their agreement a purely economic one, he would agree to what they desired. He referred to a subject he had mentioned at previous meetings, namely, that when the League of Nations was set up he would make a proposal for the cession by all the Powers concerned, including Japan, of their rights of extraterritoriality.

Mr. Balfour thought that Japan would be willing to limit herself to purely economic claims. He suggested that he should be authorised to write a letter to Baron Makino.

(After a short discussion as to the line to be taken in the letter, it was agreed that Mr. Balfour should do as he had proposed and he accordingly sent the letter attached in Appendix VII.)

It was also agreed that the Japanese representatives should be asked to meet the Supreme Council on the following day at 11 a.m.)

15. Military Engagements Imposed Upon Germany. Majority and Not Unanimous Vote of the Council of the League of Nations M. Clemenceau drew attention to the military engagements to be imposed upon Germany, which had been approved at a meeting held on April 22nd.(I. C. 175.B. Minute 5, and Appendix 3.15) The last paragraph of this he pointed out was as follows:

“As long as the present Treaty remains in force the pledge by Germany to respond to any enquiry that the Council of the League of Nations may deem necessary.”

He pointed out that according to Article 5 of the League of Nations Covenant decisions, except as provided in the Covenant, would require the agreement of all the members of the League represented at the meeting. It might, however, he pointed out, be difficult to obtain a unanimous decision, and he suggested that in these matters the Council of the League ought to be able to decide by majority.

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President Wilson reminded his colleagues that a decision had been taken within the last few days with [regard to?] the Council of the League of Nations, and decided certain economic question by majority vote not by unanimity. Mr. Miller, his legal adviser on the League of Nations Covenant pointed out that this was not consistent with the Covenant, and had proposed to insert in Article 5, line 1, after the word “Covenant” the following words “or accept as otherwise provided in this Treaty”. If this was decided upon action ought to be taken in the matter in the afternoon.

M. Clemenceau considered it very necessary in this case.

President Wilson said that it might be supposed that there would be unreasonable persons on the Council.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that sooner or later Germany or Austria might enter the League of Nations and be represented on the Council, and in this case it would be impossible to get a unanimous vote on this subject.

(The following alterations were agreed to

In the League of Nations Covenant, Article 5, the first clause should run as follows:—

“Except where otherwise expressly provided in this Covenant or in the terms of this Treaty decisions at any meeting of the Assembly or the Council shall require the agreement of all the members of the League represented at the meeting.

In the document entitled military engagements imposed upon Germany, Clause 3 should be as follows:—

“As long as the present Treaty remains in force, a pledge to be taken by Germany to respond to any enquiry that will be deemed necessary by the Council of the League of Nations, which, in this matter, will act by a majority vote.”

N. B. The new passages are underlined16)

(Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to notify these decisions to the Secretary-General for the information of the Drafting Committee.)

Villa Majestic, Paris, 28 April, 1919.

Appendix I to IC–177A

Prisoners of War

Note for the Council of Four (prepared by Sir Maurice Hankey)

[Same as appendix I to IC–177C, printed on page 339.]

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Appendix II to IC–177A

Military Terms of Peace

The draft of an additional article to the Military Terms of Peace which is reproduced below was passed by the Council of Foreign Ministers on Monday, April 21st, subject to a reservation made by M. Pichon.17

According to the Procès-Verbal of the Meeting, M. Pichon only accepted the Clause under reserve for the following reasons:—

  • “Firstly, recruitment for the French Foreign Legion constituted a military question which the President of the Council, as Minister for War, would alone be competent to decide.
  • “Secondly, the employment of any German nationals in foreign armies constituted a political question, which he thought would have to be submitted to the Council of Four for final decision. Subject to these reservations, he was prepared to accept the draft clause.”

In the following reproduction of the Clause, words have been inserted in brackets and underlined,18 to apply it to the naval and air Services as well as to military Service.

This has been asked for by the British Naval and Air Delegations.

“Germany hereby agrees from and after the signature of the present Treaty, not to accredit to any foreign country or to send or to allow any military [naval or air] mission to leave its territory for any foreign country, and Germany further agrees to take appropriate measures to prevent German nationals from leaving its territory to become enrolled in the army [navy or air service] of any foreign Power or to be attached to such army [navy or air service] for the purpose of assisting in the military [naval or air] training thereof, or otherwise for the purpose of giving military, naval, or air instruction in any foreign country.

The Allied and Associated Powers agree, on their part, from and after the signature of the present Treaty, not to enrol in their armies, or to attach to their armies, or naval or air forces, any German national for the purpose of assisting in the military training thereof, or otherwise to employ any such German national as military, naval, or aeronautic instructor.”

A decision of the Council of Four is asked for on the following points:—

Is the Clause to be passed.
Shall it be applied to the naval and air services, as well as to military service.

M. P. A. Hankey

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Appendix III

Communication of the Preliminaries of Peace to the German Delegates

(Draft by the General Secretary assisted by MM. Harrison, Norman and Saburi, as modified on instructions of the Supreme Council)

I.—Examination of Credentials by the Examining Commission presided [over] by M. Jules Cambon.

a) Credentials of the Germans:

The President of the Conference determines the date and hour of the examination as soon as the German Delegation arrives.

b) Credentials of the Allies:

It is possible that the Germans may ask for an examination of the Allies credentials. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes will be recognised by the British and French Governments before the Germans arrive at Versailles. This decision to be postponed for the next few days in the hope that an opportunity may arise to discuss it with M. Orlando.

II. Written Procedure.

The President will inform the German Delegates as to the procedure which will be adopted by the Conference. He will let them know that no verbal discussion will take place and that their observations will have to be submitted in writing. The President will further point out to the German plenipotentiaries that they must within a maximum period of fifteen days present in English and French their written observations on the whole of the treaty. An earlier limit will be fixed for particular subjects.

The period of fifteen days will apply to:

—Economic clauses.
—Ports, waterways, rivers and railways.
—Organization of labour.

The period will be cut down:

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For: to:
Geographical frontiers of Germany 5 days.
Political clauses for Europe (Belgium, Luxemburg, Sarre, Alsace-Lorraine, Austria, Czech-Slovachia, Poland, and Eastern Prussia, Denmark, Heligoland, clauses concerning Russia and the Russian States, recognition of new European States) 8 days.
Political clauses for countries outside Europe. (General clause of renunciation colonies, Siam, Liberia, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey and Bulgaria, Shantung) 8 days.
Military, naval, and aerial clauses 6 days.
war prisoners 10 days.
Responsibilities and punishments 5 days.
Reparations and restitutions 10 days.
Financial Clauses 10 days.
Guarantees and occupation of territories 5 days.
Final clauses (Execution of the Armistice, and of the war, state of Peace) 5 days.

Note.—Sir Maurice Hankey draws attention to the fact that the draft of the Covenant of the League of Nations is not included in the list of subjects. Should it be included, and if so, what limit should be given?

III.—Handing Over of the Treaty.

The President will hand over the Treaty to the German delegates in the presence of the Plenipotentiaries of the 5 Great Powers and of the plenipotentiaries of the other effective belligerents, namely:

  • Belgium
  • Greece
  • Portugal
  • Roumania
  • Serbia

The question of the Poles and Czecho-Slovaks was discussed without a decision being reached.

Paragraph IV was not yet discussed by the Supreme Council.

After having examined the observations presented within the aforementioned periods, the Supreme Council will send their answer in writing to the German delegation, and determine a period of 40 hours within which a final global answer must be given by this delegation.

Appendix IV to IC–177A


[Memorandum by M. Loucheur]

(A) Serbian Claim

The Council of Four has decided upon the creation of a permanent commission charged with pronouncing upon all questions concerning the reparation of damages caused by the war.

On this commission all the great powers will be represented. Belgium also will be represented thereon.

Other states, among them the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes will have the right to take part in the work of the commission when questions interesting them are discussed. However, these states will have only the right of discussion without that of voting.

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Serbia, for the reasons explained at length in the memorandum, asks the right to be represented on the commission by a delegate having the right to vote.

(B) Belgian Claim

Plan for reparations.

Belgium claims the sum total of the costs and of the damages she has suffered as a result of the war.

Belgium asks for the insertion in Annex No. 1 of the Treaty of provisions which would allow her to receive reimbursement for:

The costs of the war.
The expenses necessitated by the provisioning of the people.
The expenses of the Government compelled to take refuge in France.
The expenses necessitated by the redemption of German money introduced into the country at a compulsory exchange rate of 1 fr. 25.

The memorandum asks also that Belgium be reimbursed at least to a certain extent for literary and artistic losses and proposes the insertion in the treaty of clauses to that effect.

(C) Belgian Claim

Belgium having been completely ruined from the industrial point of view by the occupation asks that she receive in the division of the first installment from Germany at least 2½ milliards.

Belgium should be empowered to dispose of this sum for reconstruction purposes without restriction. The engagement to refund credits advanced to her should not apply to this installment.

(D) Portuguese Claim

Portugal asks for payment of the costs of the war.

Portuguese economic losses resulting from the war amount to 225,550,000 1. representing 37% to 47.5% of the public wealth.

If these costs were not repaid the country would find economic recovery impossible.

In regard to ships, the delegation agrees with the decision relating to German vessels considered lawful prizes.

As for ships requisitioned or used by an allied country, the delegation considers that they can be returned taking account of their value in sum total of the indemnity assigned to Portugal.

(E) Brazilian Claim

The memorandum discusses the legal aspects of the requisitioning of ships, which is actually an act of expropriation.

The state which engages in the requisitioning acquires ipso facto, the ownership of the vessel with, however, the requirement of paying indemnity.

The conventions or agreements with France and the United States, have established this principle.

[Page 324]

The Brazilian Delegation hopes that it will also be adopted definitively by the Conference and that the right to retain requisitioned enemy property, subject to payment of indemnity, will be upheld.

Appendix V

Resolutions for the Plenary Conference on the Covenant of the League of Nations

The Conference, having considered and adopted the amended Covenant presented by the Commission on the League of Nations, resolves:—

That the first Secretary-General of the League shall be Honourable Sir James Eric Drummond, K. C. M. G., C. B.
That until such time as the Assembly shall have selected the first four members of the League to be represented on the Council in accordance with Article IV of the Covenant, representatives of Belgium, Brazil, Greece and Spain shall be members of the Council.
That the Powers to be represented on the Council of the League of Nations are requested to name representatives who shall form a Committee of nine to prepare plans for the organisation of the League and for the establishment of the Seat of the League, and to make arrangements and to prepare the Agenda for the first meeting of the Assembly. This Committee shall report both to the Council and to the Assembly of the League.

Appendix VI

[Memorandum by Mr. Balfour]

The result of my conversations with the Japanese may, I think, be summarized somewhat as follows:—

In the first place, the Japanese strenuously deny either that they intended to modify in their own favour the conditions which the Germans had imposed upon the Chinese in connection with the Shantung Peninsula, or that, in fact, their treaties with China would have had that effect.

They say, on the contrary, that they propose surrendering all military control over the Peninsula, including the 50-kilometre zone round Kiaochow within which German troops were allowed but not Chinese, and all interference with the civil administration of the territory. Their intention is fully to restore Chinese sovereignty within the leased territory.

The provisions that appear in the Treaty of 1918, with regard to maintaining a garrison at Tsinan and guarding the railway with [Page 325] Japanese troops, are purely provisional, and refer only to the period of transition immediately following peace, and this period it is their intention to make as short as posible. No date was named, however, for the determination of this transitory arrangement.

In these circumstances, the German rights which the Japanese propose still to retain are economic in their character. They consist in:—

1. A right to claim a concession at Tsingtau, which, however, does not exclude, and was not intended to exclude, the right also for other countries to organise an international concession, if that is desired;

2. The German rights in the railways already built, and the mines associated with them. The railways are built on land which is in full Chinese sovereignty, and subject to Chinese law.

3. Concessions granted to the Germans for building two other railways. These railways are to be built with Japanese capital, and the Japanese capitalists are at this moment negotiating with the Chinese Government as to the terms on which the necessary money will be provided. The Chinese Government will be able to secure the same position in regard to these railways as it has over other railways constructed by foreign capital.

The Japanese Plenipotentiaries, for reasons of national dignity which are easy to understand, are unwilling to modify the letter of the treaties which they have made with China, but they are ready (if I understand them rightly) to give explicit and binding assurances—

That any concession which China gives them at Tsingtau will not exclude other foreign enterprise from the Fort.
That the economic control of the railway, which the possession of the majority of the shares gives them will not be used in any way to discriminate between the trade facilities of different nations.

Appendix VII

[Letter From Mr. Balfour to Baron Makino]

Dear Baron Makino, Through no fault of mine, there has, I fear, been some misunderstanding with regard to to-day’s Meeting, and the business of Shantung in which you are particularly interested.

I was not myself present at the Meeting until I accidentally heard that the question of Shantung was deferred until to-morrow, when they propose asking you to give them the honour of your presence. As soon as I heard of this decision I went over to President Wilson’s house, and again explained that you thought it due to you to [Page 326] have the Shantung question settled one way or the other before the discussion on the League of Nations came on this afternoon at the Plenary Conference. It was unfortunately then much too late to ask you to discuss the matter with your colleagues from America, France, and England. But after hearing what I had to say in supplement of the paper which I read to you yesterday, I was authorised to tell you that if—which they did not doubt—the view which I represented to them as being yours was held by you, they were quite satisfied as regards the permanent arrangements come to between Japan and China on the question of Shantung. The essence of these arrangements, as I repeated to them, is that after German rights have been ceded to Japan, Japan will hand back to China the whole of the leased territory in complete sovereignty; that the only rights which Japan will retain are the economic rights enumerated in my Memorandum; and that Japan proposes to take every precaution to prevent undue discrimination in matters of railway rates, or port and harbour dues, or other cognate matters between nation and nation; in fact, that the policy of the open door should be fully carried out in the spirit as in the letter.

The only points on which your colleagues expressed anxiety were the temporary arrangements with regard to guarding the line and garrisoning Tsinan. These, as they pointed out, were not merely interferences with Chinese sovereignty, but interferences in excess of anything which the Germans could claim under their Shantung arrangements. They hoped you would consent to discuss this relatively unimportant aspect of the Shantung problem to-morrow at 11 o’clock. They quite recognise, and greatly regret, the inconvenience to which you may have been put owing to the fact that the Plenary Conference will, under this arrangement, precede the Shantung discussion; but they hoped that, inasmuch as the main doubts and difficulties connected with the surrender of the German lease appear to be already satisfactorily disposed of, you will forgive the inevitable postponement of conversations upon the purely temporary arrangement which still in their view seem to raise questions of difficulty.

Yours &c.

A. J. B.
  1. The reference is to the protocol to article 7 of the draft convention creating a permanent organization for the promotion of the international regulation of labor conditions, which accompanied the report of the Commission on International Labor Legislation. It is printed as annex II to the minutes of the plenary session of April 11, 1919, vol. iii, p. 270.
  2. See the minutes of the plenary session of April 11, 1919, vol. iii, p. 257.
  3. Samuel Gompers, American representative on and chairman of the Commission on International Labor Legislation.
  4. American, British, and French representatives respectively on the Commission on International Labor Legislation.
  5. Treaty of February 8, 1842; British and Foreign State Papers, vol. xxxi, p. 1352; treaty of April 2, 1847, ibid., vol. xxxvii, p. 806; treaty of October 20–25, 1885, P. Ruppert, Le Grande-duché de Luxembourg dans ses relations internationales, recueil des traités, conventions et arrangements internationaux et dispositions legislatives diverses concernant les strangers (Luxembourg, 1892), p. 367; treaty of November 11, 1902, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. xcv, p. 780.
  6. Treaty of June 11, 1872, Ruppert, op. cit, p. 105; treaty of November 11, 1902, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. xcv, p. 780.
  7. See FM–9, vol. iv. pp. 631639.
  8. Translation: “However the present provision shall not interfere with the right of France to recruit the Foreign Legion in accordance with French laws and military regulations now in force.”
  9. FM–4, vol iv, p. 560.
  10. British Director General of Explosive Supplies in the Ministry of Munitions.
  11. Minutes of the plenary session of April 28 are printed in vol. iii, p. 285.
  12. The minutes of this meeting are not in the Department files.
  13. Printed as appendix I to IC–177E, p. 357.
  14. See IC–176F, p. 247.
  15. Appendix II to IC–176C, p. 227.
  16. Ante, pp. 113 and 116.
  17. The underlined passages are printed in italics.
  18. See FM–7, vol. iv, p. 596.
  19. The underlined words are printed in italics.
  20. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.