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Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/141

IC–180C

Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Saturday, May 3, 1919, at 12.10 p.m.

  • Present
    • United States of America
      • President Wilson
      • Dr. D. H. Miller
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau
      • M. Berthelot
    • British Empire
      • The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
      • The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O. M., M. P.
      • Mr. J. W. Headlam-Morley
      • Mr. E. H. Carr
    • Japan
      • Baron Makino
      • Viscount Chinda
Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B., Secretary
M. Mantoux, Interpreter

Preliminary Report of the Committee on New States 1. The Preliminary Report of the Committee on New States was presented for consideration (Appendix).

President Wilson proposed that for “the commerce of the Allied and Associated Powers” in the last line of Annex A, the words “the commerce of other nations” should be substituted.

(This was agreed to, and it was decided that this clause should be inserted in the Treaty in substitution of the existing Article 7 of the Chapter relating to Poland.)

The Articles contained in Annex B were then considered.

On the proposal of President Wilson, it was decided that Articles 1 and 2 should be sent to the Drafting Committee with instructions that they should be inserted in the Treaty with Germany, unless the points contained therein were already adequately covered by other articles.

With regard to Article 3, Mr. Headlam-Morley explained that while accepting in principle the substance of the provisions contained in this Article, he had felt great apprehension as to the acceptance of the provisions as they stood, without a detailed consideration and without consultation with the legal authorities. It had been impossible in the very limited time at the disposal of the Committee either to consider proposals in detail or to consult the legal advisers.

Mr. Lloyd George confirmed this view.

[Page 440]

Dr. Miller pointed out that unless Article 3 or some provision of a similar character were inserted in the Treaty, there would be nothing in the Treaty binding Poland to accept provisions safeguarding the rights of individuals in the matter of citizenship.

To meet this objection President Wilson proposed that in the Article contained in Annex A, the inclusion of which in the Treaty had already been agreed to, the word “inhabitants” should be substituted for “communities” in Line 4.

(This was accepted. The Article in Annex A was as amended then sent to the Drafting Committee.)

The Committee on New States was instructed to draft for embodiment in the separate Treaty with Poland clauses giving effect to the general principles of Article 3.

(It was decided that the decisions taken with regard to Poland should apply equally to Czecho-Slovakia, and that the necessary instructions should be sent to the Drafting Committee to this effect.)

Mr. Headlam-Morley then raised the question of the proposed Article regarding railway facilities. Some uncertainty appeared to have arisen as to whether this Article should be included or not.

(It was decided that the Article should be included.)

Mr Headlam-Morley then proposed that Articles should be inserted in the Treaty containing provisions (a) to prevent the Germans building fortifications which might threaten the free navigation of the Vistula, (b) to prevent the Germans requisitioning in or otherwise injuring territory ceded by them to Poland during the interval which would elapse before the cession actually took place.

(This was approved and instructions were sent to the Drafting Committee accordingly.)

Villa Majestic, Paris, May 3, 1919.

[Appendix]

The Committee on New States

M. 103

Report to the Council of Three

In the unavoidable absence of M. Berthelot (French Representative), Dr. Miller (American Representative) and Mr. Headlam-Morley (British Representative) met on Friday, May 2nd and considered the instructions contained in Sir Maurice Hankey’s letter of May 1st.1

It was unanimously agreed that the matters raised by Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith concerning the economic and other obligations which [Page 441]it might be necessary to impose on New States, were of so extensive and complicated a nature that it was quite impossible to consider them in time to incorporate them in the Treaty of Peace with Germany.

It was therefore agreed that there must be separate Treaties negotiated between the Five Allied and Associated Powers on the one hand and the new States—for instance, Poland—on the other, in which these and other matters which might arise would be dealt with. A suitable form for those Treaties could be devised without much difficulty for though in most cases the new States have been recognised, in no case has the territory over which the Government has control been specified, and there are many matters consequential on recognition such as the establishment of consular relations, which will have to be dealt with.

Having agreed to this, the Committee then considered the question of the protection of Minorities. It was again agreed that the question, in particular so far as it affects the Jews in Poland, is so contentious and so difficult that it is impossible to come to precise conclusions about it in the short time available before the text of the Treaty with Germany is closed. It was agreed, therefore, that all the detailed clauses dealing with this matter should be placed in the separate Treaties referred to.

It was also agreed, however, that there must be inserted in the Treaty with Germany some general clause referring to the other Treaty, and that this should be made of a binding nature. The text of the clause proposed is annexed (Annex A).

It was agreed that it would be essential at some stage, either in the Treaty with Germany or in the separate Treaty to be negotiated with Poland, to insert clauses defining Polish citizenship and political and religious equality. This is necessary, as the experience of Rou-mania has shown, for the protection of the Jews and other minorities, and the importance of this has been very strongly pressed upon us by the Jewish representatives whom we have seen; it will be equally important for other minorities. Clauses have been drafted providing for this in such a form that they can be inserted in the Treaty with Germany (See Annex B).

It was agreed that it must be left to the decision of the Council of Three whether those clauses should be inserted in the Treaty with Germany or in the separate Treaty, while all were agreed that if there had been sufficient time it would have been preferable to insert them in the Treaty with Germany, the British Representative feels himself bound to point out that it has been impossible for him to consult the British Legal Advisers.

The American Representative is of the opinion that the insertion in the Treaty of Peace of some clause binding Poland in respect of [Page 442]the citizenship and rights of those millions of her population which are not German is essential.

The British Representative is inclined to think that the Article given in Annex A gives sufficient scope to enable the clauses in Annex B to be inserted in the separate Treaties.

Both are agreed that if there is time to get the consideration which is necessary from the French and British legal advisers, and if it is possible in the time to get these clauses through the Drafting Committee, they may well be inserted in the Treaty with Germany.

As to procedure, the most convenient arrangement would be that the special Treaty with Poland at any rate, should be prepared as quickly as possible and should be ready for signature at the same time as the general Treaty with Germany. There are advantages in this that Poland would be bound, not as against Germany, but as against her Allies but at the same time the Germans would have cognisance of the separate Treaty which is, as will be seen, specifically referred to in the main Treaty.

In accordance with their instructions, the Committee started with their consideration of the Polish question. It is recognised that the same problems, though in a slightly different form, arise in the case of Czecho-Slovakia, and they are agreed that apart from any detailed modifications of form which may appear necessary, these clauses which have been drafted especially for the case of Poland, should be applied also to Czecho-Slovakia.

They have unfortunately, however, not been able to procure a single copy of the chapter of the Treaty dealing with Czecho-Slovakia in its final form, or to discuss the matter with those immediately responsible for dealing with Czecho-Slovakia, and are therefore not in a position to advise as to whether any alteration in the form or details may be required.

2.5.19

Annex A

Recognition of Poland (and Czecho-Slovakia)

Article

(Substitute for Article 7 of Chapter relating to Poland)

Poland accepts and agrees to embody in a Treaty with the Five Allied and Associated Powers such provisions as may be deemed necessary by the Five Allied and Associated Powers to protect the interests of inhabitants in Poland who differ from the majority of the population in race, language or religion.

[Page 443]

Poland further accepts and agrees to embody in a Treaty with the Five Allied and Associated Powers such provisions as may be deemed necessary by the Five Allied and Associated Powers to protect freedom of transit and equitable treatment of the commerce of other Nations.

Annex B

Recognition of Poland (and Czecho Slovakia)

Chapter

Article 1

Without prejudice to the effect of any previous recognition of Poland, Germany as well as the Allied and Associated Powers recognises Poland as a sovereign and independent State.

Article 2

The boundaries of Poland not mentioned or determined by the provisions of this Treaty will be subsequently fixed by the Five Allied and Associated Powers.

Article 3

Poland undertakes the following obligations to each of the other Allied and Associated Powers, and recognises them to be obligations of international concern of which the League of Nations has jurisdiction:

1.
Without any requirement of qualifying or other proceedings, Poland admits and declares to be Polish citizens:
(a)
all persons habitually resident in territories recognised to be Polish by this or any subsequent Treaty, except those who are citizens or subjects of one of the Allied or Associated Powers or of a Power which was neutral throughout the late war; and
(b)
all persons hereafter born in Poland not nationals of another State.
The foregoing provisions shall not limit or affect any provision of Articles 4 and 5 of Chapter …
2.
Poland agrees that all citizens of Poland shall enjoy equal civil and political rights without distinction as to birth, race, nationality, language or religion.
3.
Poland assumes and will perform the following obligations:
(a)
To protect the life and liberty of all inhabitants of Poland;
(b)
To assure to all inhabitants of Poland the free exercise, whether public or private, of any creed, religion, or belief, whose practices are not inconsistent with public order or public morals;
(c)
To allow all inhabitants of Poland the free use of any language, particularly in business transactions, in schools and other educational instruction, in the press, and at public meetings and assemblies; and,
(d)
To make no discrimination against any inhabitant of Poland on account of birth, race, nationality, language, or religion.
4.
Poland agrees that the foregoing obligations are hereby embodied in her fundamental law as a bill of rights, with which no law, regulation, or official action shall conflict or interfere, and as against which no law, regulation, or official action shall have validity or effect.

Article 4

Poland accepts and agrees to embody in a treaty with the Five Allied and Associated Powers such provisions as may be deemed necessary by the Five Allied and Associated Powers to protect the interests of communities in Poland which differ from the majority of the population in race, language, or religion.

Poland further accepts and agrees to embody in a Treaty with the Five Allied and Associated Powers such provisions as may be deemed necessary by the Five Allied and Associated Powers to protect the freedom of transit and equitable treatment of the commerce of the Allied and Associated Powers.

4. railway facilities

Germany and Poland undertake within one year of the conclusion of this Treaty to enter into a Convention of which the terms in case of difference shall be settled by the Council of the League of Nations, with the object of securing, on the one hand to Germany, full and adequate railroad facilities for communication between the rest of Germany and East Prussia over the intervening Polish territory, on the other hand to Poland, full and adequate railroad facilities for communication between Poland and the City of Danzig over any German territory that may, on the right bank of the Vistula, intervene between Poland and the City of Danzig.

  1. For the discussion in the Supreme Council resulting in the creation of this committee, see IC–178D, p. 393.