Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/149


Notes of a Meeting Held in the Conference Room of the Supreme War Council at the Grand Hotel Trianon, Versailles, on Wednesday, May 7, 1919, at 4:15 p.m.

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • President Wilson
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau, President of the Council.
      • M. Simon, Minister for the Colonies.
    • Great Britain
      • The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P. Prime Minister.
      • The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O. M., M. P. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
      • Mr. C. Strachey.
    • Italy
      • M. Orlando.
      • Baron Sonnino.
Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B. } secretaries.
Count Aldrovandi
Professor Mantoux, Interpreter.

1. The Council had before them a document communicated by Mr. Lloyd George at the morning meeting (I. C. 181–E) (Appendix 1.)

The German Colonies. Allocation of Mandates President Wilson asked if there were any islands besides New Guinea in the Pacific the mandate of which went to Australia.

Mr. Lloyd George said there were a number of smaller islands to the east of New Guinea.

M. Simon said he agreed with Mr. Lloyd George’s proposals subject to a reservation in regard to the Cameroons. Some inconvenience would arise to France as a Mandatory State owing to the fact that a part of the Cameroons would pass under the direct and unrestricted sovereignty of the British Empire. He then produced a form of agreement that he had prepared (Appendix 2).

Mr. Lloyd George deprecated the reference to the agreement of the 4th March 1916 in Article 1 of M. Simon’s draft as he understood that there was not complete agreement about this.

M. Clemenceau said he preferred Mr. Lloyd George’s text.

M. Simon drew attention to the fact that the British text made no allusion to the portion of the Cameroons which Germany had forced France to give up in 1911 and which ought not to be subject to a mandate.

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Mr. Lloyd George said that this matter ought to have been raised in connection with the Peace Treaty. As it has not been raised it was difficult to prevent it being subject to a mandate.

M. Simon said that if he understood the matter right there was a joint clause in the Treaty of Peace according to which all previous treaties with Germany disappeared. This would cover the territory in question.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that France and Great Britain in his draft were entitled to make recommendations to the League of Nations on this matter.

M. Simon objected that Mr. Lloyd George’s text provided that France should have the mandate of the Cameroons except in regard to one part.

Mr. Balfour pointed out that this part only concerned the rectification of the frontiers.

Mr. Lloyd George proposed that the difficulty would be entirely met by deleting the second paragraph relating to the Cameroons and altering the first paragraph to read as follows:—

“Togoland and Cameroons. France and Great Britain shall make a joint recommendation to the League of Nations as to their future”.

2. Italian Claims in Africa M. Orlando observed that in Mr. Lloyd George’s scheme, Italy was excluded from participation in the mandates in Africa. He had spoken of this question before and had said that if mandates were a burden Italy was ready to accept them. If mandates had advantages, then Italy had the right to share them. Moreover, Article 13 of the Treaty of London (Appendix III) provided that Italy should obtain equitable compensations in those parts of Africa that specially concerned her in the event of France and Great Britain increasing their colonial territories in Africa.

M. Simon then read Article 13 of the Treaty of London.

Mr. Lloyd George said he could state at once that he fully recognised the validity of Article 13 and that the British Government was prepared immediately to enter into discussions on this matter. It was no use their doing it, however, unless France was prepared to.

M. Clemenceau agreed.

Mr. Balfour pointed out that the phrase in Article 13 of the Treaty of London referred to augmentation of British and French territory and not to mandates which, strictly speaking, were not an augmentation. He did not press the point however.

(Mr. Balfour withdrew at this point.)

The following decisions were reached:—

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(1) Togoland and Cameroons. France and Great Britain shall make a joint recommendation to the League of Nations as to their future.

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.

(2) That an Inter-Allied Committee consisting of one representative each of the British Empire, France and Italy should be formed to consider the application of Article 13 of the Treaty of London, dated 26th April, 1915.

(3) That the above decisions should be published.

Villa Majestic, Paris, 7 May, 1919.

Appendix I to IC–181G

[British Proposal for Distribution of Mandates. Same as appendix I to IC–181E, printed on page 500.]

Appendix II to IC–181G

Article 1

The administration of the territories of the former German Cameroon and the protection of the people living therein are committed to Great Britain and France under the conditions specified in the Covenant of the League of Nations, Article 22, Paragraph 5, and according to the Anglo-French Agreement of the 4th of March, 1916, which will be recommended to the League of Nations.

Article 2

Nevertheless France will re-enter in the whole possession of the territories of French Equatorial Africa, which in conclusion of the agreement of November 4th, 1911, she had handed over to Germany.

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Article 3

The territories of German Togoland will be made between Great Britain and France the subject of an agreement which will be recommended to the League of Nations.

The territories thus bounded will become integral portions of the neighbouring possession to which they will have been allotted.

Appendix III to IC–181G

Copy of Article 13 of Treaty of London, Dated 26th April 1915


In the event of France and Great Britain increasing their colonial territories in Africa at the expense of Germany, those two Powers agree in principle that Italy may claim some equitable compensation, particularly as regards the settlement in her favor of the questions relating to the frontiers of the Italian colonies of Eritrea, Somaliland and Libya and the neighboring colonies belonging to France and Great Britain.

  1. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.