Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/135
Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Thursday, May 1, 1919, at 11 a.m.
United States of America
- President Wilson.
- The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
- M. Clemenceau
- M. Pichon.
- United States of America
|Secretary||Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B.|
|Interpreter||Professor P. J. Mantoux.|
1. It was agreed that:—
Kiauchau and Shantung Mr. Balfour should communicate the decision taken on this subject to the Chinese Delegation.
An immediate message was sent to Mr. Balfour, communicating this decision.)
2. Responsibility of the Authors of the War & Enforcement of Penalties Mr. Lloyd George brought to note certain criticisms that had been made by the British Solicitor-General and Attorney-General against the articles on this subject, (Appx IV) drafted by the Drafting Committee on the basis of the instructions given to them. In regard to Article 1, attention had been drawn to the words in line [2?]: “not for an offence against criminal law but”. It had been pointed out that the draft as it stands might possibly be construed as an admission on the part of the Allied and Associated Powers that the German Emperor had not committed any offences against criminal law. He proposed the omission of these words.
President Wilson agreed.
(It was agreed that:—
The first clause, Article 1, should read as follows:—
“The Allied and Associated Powers publicly arraign William II of Hohenzollern, formerly German Emperor, for a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of treaties.” [)]
In regard to Article 2, Mr. Lloyd George said that criticisms had been made against this Article on the ground that it might be construed to enable the German Government to secure immunity to persons who are accused of having committed acts in violation of the laws and customs of war by trying them in a German Court and passing a nominal sentence.[Page 390]
(It was agreed that:—
The Drafting Committee should be instructed to devise some means of avoiding this interpretation and the following draft of the first clause of Article 2 was suggested:—
“The German Government engages that the persons accused of having committed acts in violation of the laws and customs of war shall be brought before military tribunals by the Allied and Associated Powers and if found guilty sentenced to the punishment laid down by military law.”)
(Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to communicate these alterations to the Secretary-General for the information of the Drafting Committee.)
3. Belgium and Reparation M. Clemenceau asked if there was any news from the Belgians Belgium and about Reparation.
President Wilson said he had received none.
Mr. Lloyd George said that the Belgian financial experts had asked to see Mr. Keynes, but he did not know on what subject.
President Wilson said that Mr. McCormick1 had told him that the Belgian Delegation wished M. Cartier, who was the Belgian Minister at Washington, to see President Wilson, in order to place before him certain aspects of the question with which he was not familiar. He, himself, had refused to see them, as he did not think it was right to conduct, as it were, a separate negotiation. Mr. McCormick had also had conveyed the impression that the Belgians were alleging that the French and British Governments had in some special way granted them the value of the German marks in Belgium. He emphasised that this was only a general impression and not an exact statement.
4. Credentials of the German Delegates M. Clemenceau reported that the Credentials Committee would see the German Delegates at 3 p.m. The German Delegates had asked for the credentials of the Allied Delegates and Associated Powers. There had been some delay in regard to those of the Czecho-Slovaks and Poland.
5. Italian Credentials M. Pichon said that there would certainly be an incident when the Germans asked for the Italian Credentials and M. Jules Cambon was unable to produce them. It should be made clear, in his opinion, to the world and to the Italians that Italy was responsible for this state of affairs. Re-calling the Pact of London, to which Italy adhered, whereby France, Great Britain, Italy and Russia had agreed not to make a separate peace, M. Pichon said that we must show clearly that it was Italy who had separated. He proposed, therefore, that the incident [Page 391] should be notified by telegram to Italy through the President of the Conference and that Italy should be allowed to hear of it only through the Press. The message should not contain any invitation to the Italians to return. The responsibility for this should be left to the Italians themselves. The message should merely show that the absence of the Italian Credentials was their fault and not ours. In reply to President Wilson he said he contemplated that the message should consist merely of a simple relation of the incident. For example, that credentials had been exchanged with the German Delegates; that Germany had asked for the Italian credentials. And that M. Jules Cambon had replied that we had not got them. If the Germans did not ask for the Italian credentials, then no incident would arise.
Mr. Lloyd George doubted if the Germans would ask for the Italian credentials.
M. Clemenceau said that in their case he would certainly ask for them. M. Jules Cambon would certainly make no answer today about the Italian credentials, beyond merely stating that he had not got them. The Germans might raise this when they met the representatives of-the Allied and Associated Powers. But M. Jules Cambon would simply say he had no power to discuss.
Mr. Lloyd George asked what attitude should be taken if the Germans pressed the question when they met our plenipotentiaries.
M. Clemenceau said that we should simply reply that we were ready to make peace and leave on Italy the responsibility for breaking the Treaty.
President Wilson pointed out that Italy had broken the Treaty or was contemplating breaking the Treaty in a most peculiar way. They said they would not agree to sign the Treaty with Germany because the Treaty with Austria was not settled, which was an irrelevant matter.
Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that they represented that the League of Nations was their difficulty in the circumstances.
M. Clemenceau said the Italians had promised to him, in front of his colleagues, to telegraph from Rome if they were coming back. They had not done so.
President Wilson said he thought it inadvisable to send any message, even of the most formal character. By implication, it would constitute an invitation to the Italians to return. His interpretation of the news from Rome was that in reality they were anxious to come back and he thought if they were left alone they might come back in 10 days’ time.
In the course of the discussion, Mr. Lloyd George read the following message from M. Poincaré to Italy (published in the Temps):— [Page 392]
“L’Italie et la France, étroitement unies dans la guerre, resteront unies dans la paix. Rien ne les séparera. Le refroidissement de leur amitié serait une catastrophe pour la civilisation latine et pour l’humanité. La France, fidèle à ses engagements, à ses sympathies et à ses traditions, gardera les mains jointes aux mains de l’ltalie.”2
There was some discussion on this subject, in the course of which it was pointed out that this message might be construed as a declaration on behalf of the French Government. Under ordinary circumstances the message was perfectly beyond criticism, but at the present juncture it was susceptible of misinterpretation.
M. Pichon said he attached no importance to it.
Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that to some extent it might be taken as confirming the impression conveyed in the Italian newspapers to the effect that French public opinion was rather rallying to the side of Italy.
(After some further discussion, it was agreed that:—
No message in regard to what might occur at Versailles on the subject of the Italian credentials should be sent to Italy.)
6. Submarine Cables After a short discussion, it was agreed that:—
The question of submarine cables should be discussed with the Foreign Ministers at the Quai d’Orsay at 4 p.m. in the afternoon.
7. The Peace With Austria & Hungary M. Pichon asked for a re-consideration of the decision taken on the previous day to invite the representatives of Austria and of Hungary to Paris on the 12th May. (I. C. 178 A. Minute 2.2a) He observed that, at Vienna, there was & Hungary a Government with which the Allied and Associated Powers could negotiate. In regard to Hungary, however, the news was to the effect that the Government was tottering and that the country was not behind it. This made it desirable to wait some days before sending an invitation. This would also have the advantage of giving a few more days to see what happened on the side of Italy and it must be remembered that the great question in the Austrian settlement was the frontier of Italy. Hence, it would be better not to act too soon. If something was to be done immediately, it would be a good plan to bring the Hungarians to Paris by the middle of May. The Treaty could be ready for them, but it was not desirable to have the Austrians and Hungarians before we were ready.[Page 393]
President Wilson said that the principal reason for inviting the Austrians was to steady the Government at Vienna by showing to Austrian public opinion that we were ready to deal with it. According to his information, no delay in this matter was possible. The case of Hungary was different, and, as Mr. Lloyd George had said, perhaps stronger. Even there, we might help to prevent constant changes of Government. Our expectation of [omission] was less strong. He hoped, however that the invitation would not be delayed and he, himself, would like to have it sent in 6 hours.
M. Clemenceau agreed and said he would discuss the details with M. Pichon later.
Mr. Lloyd George agreed with President Wilson.
(M. Pichon withdrew.)
(8) New States. Conditions To Be Accepted by Them. Protection of Jews and Religious Minorities President Wilson said it had been brought to his attention that the Jews were somewhat inhospitably regarded in Poland. In Roumania also they depended only on statutory rights. While we could not deal with Roumania, we could deal with their position in Poland and Czecho-Slovakia. Certain safeguards had been suggested to him.
(He then read the following two clauses, one of which he had drafted himself, while the other had been prepared by a United States legal draftsman:—
- The State of . . . . . . . . . . covenants and agrees that it will accord to all racial or national minorities within its jurisdiction exactly the same treatment and security, alike in law and in fact, that is accorded the racial or national majority of its people.
- The State of . . . . . . . . . . . covenants and agrees that it will not prohibit or interfere with the free exercise of any creed, religion or belief whose practices are not inconsistent with public order or public morals, and that no person within its jurisdiction shall be molested in life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness by reason of his adherence to any such creed, religion or belief.”)
Mr. Lloyd George said he was going to propose that some similar provisions should be introduced in the Mandates.
President Wilson then read a draft of clauses for the Treaty of Peace which had been prepared by Dr. Miller3 concerning the protection of minorities in Poland, (Appendix I.) He said that the draftsman had consulted the representatives of smaller nations and of the Jews in preparing this draft.[Page 394]
Mr. Lloyd George said that this really formed part of a bigger subject. He himself had received a note on the subject from Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith,4 which opened up some wider aspects of the conditions which should be accepted by the new nations. He asked why some such provision should not be laid down as a condition for admission to the League of Nations.
President Wilson said these States were already admitted to the League.
Mr. Lloyd George said that M. Paderewski had made to him a very able defence of the attitude of Poland towards the Jews, and had pointed out that the Jews had themselves to blame to a considerable extent.
President Wilson said that the reason the Jews had caused trouble was because in those countries they were not really welcome citizens. They did not care for any country where they were badly treated. In the United States of America, Great Britain or France, those questions did not arise. They were only disloyal in countries where they were not treated properly.
Mr. Lloyd George and M. Clemenceau said that the Jews were very good citizens in their countries.
Mr. Lloyd George said that in Poland he understood the Jews were really more efficient men of business than the Poles.
M. Clemenceau said that in Poland a Pole who wanted to carry out any transaction—for example, to buy a horse—would send for a Jew.
President Wilson pointed out that in England the Jews had been bad citizens before they were properly treated.
Mr. Lloyd George remarked that Cromwell was the first person to recognise the importance of treating the Jews properly.
President Wilson proposed that a body of experts should be got together to draw up clauses, if not for the present Treaty, at any rate for subsequent Treaties.
Mr. Lloyd George thought the matter should be put in hand at once.
President Wilson suggested that his documents should be sent to this Committee as a basis for their enquiry. His draft about the protection of religious minorities would probably be sufficient.
M. Clemenceau agreed.
Mr. Lloyd George said that there were other more mundane matters referred to in Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith’s memorandum. He pointed out that the new States ought to assume the same obligations [Page 395] as other States in regard to matters adhering to general Conventions such as the Postal & Telegraph Convention; Industrial, Property and Copyright Conventions; and International Transit Conventions. He suggested that Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith’s memorandum should also be sent to the Committee.
President Wilson agreed.
President Wilson suggested that the Committee should examine how these questions were to be fitted into the Treaty.
Mr. Lloyd George said the difficulty was that the new States had already been recognised, but they had not been created.
President Wilson asked what was the act of creating a new State?
Mr. Lloyd George said that the Treaty would be the act of creation, since, until the Treaties were signed, they would be part of Germany or Austria.
(It was agreed that a Committee composed as follows:—
- Dr. Miller for the United States of America;
- Mr. Headlam-Morley for the British Empire;
- A French Representative to be nominated by M. Clemenceau;
should meet immediately to consider the International obligations to be accepted by Poland and other new States created by the Treaties of Peace, including the protection of racial and religious minorities and other matters raised in the following documents:—
- The two drafts produced by President Wilson and quoted above;
- The clauses forwarded by Dr. Miller (Appendix I);
- Memorandum by Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith (Appendix II all of which should be regarded as an indication to the Committee of the subjects they were to consider.)
(9) Provision for the Post-Bellum Occupation of German Territory Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that no arrangements had been made to regulate the post-bellum occupation of German territory. It was important that provision should be made for the relations between the Army and the civil authorities, etc. He was informed that General Woygene [Weygand?] was discussing this with General Thwaites and General Bliss, but, in the meantime, some provision had to be made in the Treaty of Peace. He suggested the following clause:—
“All matters regarding occupation not provided for by the present Treaty shall be regulated by a subsequent Convention or Conventions which shall have the same force and effect as if embodied in the present Treaty.”
(This was agreed as a basis for the preparation of an Article by the Drafting Committee.)[Page 396]
(10) Mandates Mr. Lloyd George urged that the conditions of the Mandates should be fixed. He asked if they ought not to be inserted in the Treaty with Germany.
M. Clemenceau said this was unnecessary.
President Wilson agreed.
Mr. Lloyd George said that at any rate there ought to be a clear understanding on the matter. The British Dominions laid great stress on this.
President Wilson said that there was a tacit agreement as to the assignment of the Mandates.
Mr. Lloyd George said it was rather the conditions of the Mandates he was referring to.
President Wilson said that the Supreme Council was too much pressed to take up that matter.
(11) Plenary Conference M. Clemenceau said he did not think that the Treaty of Peace would be ready before Monday. He suggested that the plenary Conference at which he would read the summary to the States with special interests should be held on Sunday.
President Wilson and Mr. Lloyd George both demurred to a Sunday meeting.
M. Clemenceau said it would have to be held on Saturday.
(12) Enemy ships in United States ports There was a short discussion on this subject, which was postponed for further consideration.
(13) Blockade There was a short discussion in regard to the opinions expressed by the United States, British and Italian Delegations on the Supreme Economic Council in favour of relaxation of the blockade.
President Wilson said that if the blockade was not removed until the Peace had been ratified, Germany would go to pieces.
Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that the real difficulty in revictualling Germany was not so much the blockade as the fact that Germany had no financial resources wherewith to pay for food or raw material, hence it was necessary to provide some means for supplying credit. He had put forward a scheme which he understood was not acceptable to the United States experts. He did not attach any special importance to any particular scheme, but he felt sure it was necessary to have some scheme, and the subject ought to be discussed. All his information tended to show that Germany’s signature to Peace would depend mainly on her prospects of getting food and raw materials.
President Wilson suggested that it would not be necessary to propound any particular scheme. It would be sufficient to say that effective co-operation would be given.[Page 397]
Mr. Lloyd George said he did not think this would suffice. The Germans would say that promises of the kind were held out to them in the Armistice discussions, but that nothing had resulted. It was necessary to propound a definite scheme which would be acceptable to the Germans.
(The Subject was adjourned.)
(14) Reparation The formal Minute in Appendix I [III] was signed in triplicate by M. Clemenceau, President Wilson and Mr. Lloyd George as giving effect to the decision taken on the previous day as to the proportions in which the receipts paid by Germany for reparation were to be divided between the Allied and Associated Governments.
One copy was kept by President Wilson, one by M. Clemenceau and one by Mr. Lloyd George.
Villa Majestic, Paris, 1 May, 1919.
- Vance C. McCormick, Chairman of the War Trade Board; United States representative on the Commission on the Reparation of Damage.↩
- Translation: “Italy and France, closely united in the war, remain united in peace. Nothing shall separate them. A cooling of their friendship would be a catastrophe for Latin civilization and for humanity. France, faithful to her engagements, to her sympathies and to her traditions, will keep her hands joined with the hands of Italy.”↩
- Ante, p. 368.↩
- David Hunter Miller, Technical Adviser on International Law to the American Commission to Negotiate Peace.↩
- Appendix II, infra. Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith was Permanent Secretary of the British Board of Trade; British representative on the Commission on the International Regime of Ports, Waterways, and Railways and on the Economic Commission.↩
- See IC–177E, p. 355.↩