Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/147


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Wednesday, May 7, 1919, at 11 a.m.

  • Present
    • United States of America
      • President Wilson.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau.
    • British Empire
      • The Rt Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
    • Italy
      • M. Orlando.
Secreties Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B.
Count Aldrovandi.
Interpreter Professor P. J. Mantonx.

1. Delivary of the Treaty to Delegations M. Dutasta was introduced, and was given authority to issue one copy of the Treaty of Peace to each Delegation with a notice that it was strictly confidential.

2. Photographs at the Meeting With the Germans M. Dutasta was instructed with reference to paragraphs that had appeared in the Press, that no photographs were to be taken of the meeting with the Germans. Sketches, however, would be allowed.

3. Polish Ukrainian Armistice Commission Sir Maurice Hankey brought to notice a letter from General Botha, the Chairman of the Polish-Ukrainian Armistice Commission, asking for authority for the Secretary General to despatch the following telegram under the auspices of the Commission:—

“Secretary of State


Since the Ukraino-Polish negotiations have been commenced under auspices of the Peace Conference at Paris, warn High Command of our army to beware of every provocation of the enemy instructing the whole army to retain composure and dignity at any price during the negotiations.”

Secretary of State
Dr. Paneyko.”

and in addition asking that general authority should be given to the Polish-Ukrainian Armistice Commission to authorise the despatch by the Secretariat-General of such telegrams as the Commission should from time to time consider necessary in connection with its duties.

President Wilson was in favour of the necessary authority being given.

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M. Clemenceau did not altogether like having telegrams sent before he had seen them, but said that he would agree with the President of the United States of America.

(At this point M. Orlando and Count Aldrovandi entered.)

(It was agreed

That the Secretary-General should have authority to send the above telegram on behalf of the Polish Ukrainian Armistice Commission.
That the Polish-Ukrainian Armistice Commission should be given general authority to authorise the despatch by the Secretariat-General of such telegrams as the Commission should from time to time consider necessary in connection with its duties.)

Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to notify the Secretary-General accordingly.

4. Russia Mr. Lloyd George said the situation in Russia was developing in a very remarkable manner, and would have to be dealt with soon. There had been a curious collapse of the Bolsheviks, and the British Cabinet were pressing for a decision. It seemed that Russia Koltchak had made such progress that he might soon be in a position to join hands with the forces based on Archangel. On the other hand, it was possible that he might march direct on Moscow. This was M. Paderewski’s view. Hence, in a short time, the Allied and Associated Powers might be faced with a Koltchak Government in Moscow. According to information furnished by M. Tchaikowski1 and M. Paderewski, Koltchak was simply a soldier and nothing more. Denekin was said to be pro-German or at any rate in the hands of a pro-German Chief of Staff. All this pointed to the desirability of imposing some conditions on Koltchak and Denekin before further supplies were furnished. Koltchak’s political programme was vague and indefinite, containing such items as “there must be land reform”.

M. Paderewski was afraid of a very powerful military Russia developing under Koltchak.

M. Clemenceau pointed out that M. Paderewski, like all Poles, was anti-Russian.

President Wilson suggested that we should demand a programme of reforms and insist that our continued support depended on its being adopted.

Mr. Lloyd George said that he and General Wilson had both formed a very high opinion of M. Tchaikowski. He thought that his colleagues ought to see him. He was sent to Siberia by the Czarist Government owing to his liberal views, and was urging that the [Page 498] Allies should prevent Russia from becoming Imperial again. He himself feared that more than he did Bolshevism.

M. Clemenceau was afraid of both.

President Wilson said Bolshevism must collapse, whereas an Imperial Russia might remain. There was nothing in the Treaty with Germany to prevent the Germans from forming a powerful industrial and commercial union with Russia. He asked what the assistance given to Russia consisted in.

Mr. Lloyd George said arms and supplies.

President Wilson asked if they had been able to build up stocks. Mr. Lloyd George thought not. Koltchak’s success was probably due to the fact that the Bolshevists had no coal or oil.

(M. Simon, the French Minister of the Colonies, entered.)

5. M. Simon said that the document he had been asked to prepare required a very careful text, and was not yet ready.

German Colonies: Mandates Mr. Lloyd George said he had telephoned to Lord Milner about the Colonies, and hoped to receive an answer that afternoon. In the meanwhile, he would ask M. Simon to consult with an official of the Colonial Office for whom he had sent in regard to an agreement which he handed to him. (Appendix.)

6. Montenegro President Wilson said he had received a letter from a gentleman who signed himself President of the Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs for Montenegro, claiming a place at Montenegro the Conference in the afternoon on the ground that Montenegro had been an effective belligerent. He did not raise the question of his being present this afternoon, but he thought a decision ought to be taken in regard to Montenegro before the Austrian settlement was concluded. (This was agreed to.)

7. Persia President Wilson said that he understood that the Persians were much depressed at not being consulted in regard to the Peace Persia Settlement. They said that their interests were not being considered.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that the Austrian [Turkish?] problem had not yet been discussed in any detail. WTien it was discussed, he wished the Council to hear what the representatives of India had to say, particularly in regard to Constantinople and the future of Islam. He thought that Persia ought then to be heard.

8. Austria M. Clemenceau reported that the Austrian Government had accepted the invitation to send a delegation. He then read a dispatch from the French representative in Vienna, somewhat in the following terms:—

“The Press Bulletin of Berne has announced that the Austrian Delegation will be called to Paris onlv in the second half of the [Page 499] month. The Minister of Foreign Affairs asks if this is correct. I replied that the Austrian Delegation must be ready to leave on Saturday evening. Will you let me know whether the date of arrival on the 12th is maintained. A difficulty has arisen as regards the selection of delegates. The Christian Socialists were a powerful political party and insist that the views of the Allied and Associated Powers should be met and that the Head of the Delegation should not be Dr. Klein, who is an out and out supporter of union with Germany. Hence, the exact composition of the Delegation cannot yet be indicated, although it will not exceed the numbers already indicated.”

He then read another telegram from the Head of the French Mission in Vienna, according to which the Head of the British Mission had asked to see him to ask if the arrival of the Austrian Delegates at Paris could not be postponed, and he had replied that his own instructions came from the President of the Conference, and he had no authority to discuss the matter.

Mr. Lloyd George said he knew nothing of this, and gave instructions for enquiries to be made.

9. The Settlement of Austria Mr. Lloyd George said he did not see why the Austrians should be mixed up in the settlement with the Jugo-Slavs and other parts of the old Austrian Empire. He suggested that Austria should be told that the general settlement was our affair, and that as far as she was concerned, it was only proposed to draw her frontiers. No difficulty would arise about the frontiers between Austria and Italy. All the difficulties concerned Croatia and Italy.

President Wilson said he would like time to think this proposal over.

M. Orlando in reply to Mr. Lloyd George, said that peace with Austria-Hungary could not be made, because there was now no Austro-Hungarian State in the sense that there had been before the war. Austria-Hungary having disappeared, could not become a High Contracting Party. What would take place, he said, was a general settlement of the boundaries of the new States and Austria was one of these states. Hence, it was necessary to determine the frontiers with other states at the same time.

Mr. Lloyd George agreed, but could not see that Austria had anything to do with the boundaries of other States than those contiguous to her.

President Wilson said that as M. Orlando had indicated, the boundaries of all the states of Austria-Hungary must be made simultaneously, and a general settlement reached. The Czechs had fought for the Allied and Associated Powers, and the Jugo-Slavs had remained at war with them practically to the end. He thought the boundaries of the whole of the states must be settled together.

[Page 500]

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that a beginning had to be made somewhere. Why, he asked, should Austria starve because peace had not been made with Croatia. Bolshevism and difficulties of that kind would increase in Austria the longer the delay. There was no difficulty, he understood, between the boundary of Hungary and Croatia.

President Wilson said the Peace Settlement could not be made so easily, namely, by merely cutting up the countries into bits.

M. Orlando suggested that the various negotiations should be carried out simultaneously.

President Wilson agreed, and suggested that every step should be taken as completely as possible in order that it might not transpire afterwards that there were no guarantees of the execution of the Treaty.

(The Meeting was then adjourned to the Offices of the Supreme War Council, after the Meeting with the Germans.)

Villa Majestic, Paris, 7 May, 1919.

Appendix I to IC–181E

[British Proposal for Distribution of Mandates]

It is agreed that in the case of:—

Togoland. France and Great Britain shall make a joint recommendation to the League of Nations as to its future.

Cameroons. The mandate shall be held by France subject to a rectification of the Western boundary in favour of Nigeria—a recommendation as to the nature of the rectification to be made to the League of Nations by France and Great Britain.

German East Africa The mandate shall be held by Great Britain.

German South West Africa. The mandate shall be held by the Union of South Africa.

The German Samoan Islands. The mandate shall be held by New Zealand.

The Other German Pacific Possessions South of the Equator, excluding the German Samoan Islands and Nauru, the mandate shall be held by Australia.

Nauru. The mandate shall be given to the British Empire.

German Islands North of the Equator. The mandate shall be held by Japan.

  1. N. V. ChaikoTskl, President of the Russian Provisional Government of the Northern Region and member of the Russian PoUtical Conference at Paris.