Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/14


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Thursday, May 15, 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.
Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B. Secretary.
Professor P. J. Mantoux Interpreter.

(Note. This was not a regular meeting, but there was some delay in the assembly of the experts for the discussion of the Military, Naval and Air Clauses for the Austrian and Hungarian treaties, and advantage was taken of this interval to deal with the following questions.)

1. Prisoners of war Letter From Brockdorff-Rantzau With reference to C. F. 13, Minute 3,1 Mr. Lloyd George produced a re-draft of the reply to Herr Brockdorff-Rantzau’s letter on prisoners of war: subject of Prisoners of War. (Appendix I.) Before the reply was sent, however, he wished to raise a question of principle, namely, as to whether supplies of clothing, including underclothing and boots, if available, ought not to be given to prisoners of war on release, as proposed by Brockdorff-Rantzau. He thought it possible that some stocks of German uniforms and clothing might have been captured in the advance of 1918, and he suggested that these, supplemented by any other stocks that might be available, might be used to provide some outfit to prisoners of war.

M. Clemenceau doubted whether any stocks were available, but had no objection to inquiry being made.

President Wilson agreed that inquiry should be made.

(It was agreed:

That the reply in regard to Prisoners should be suspended pending inquiry by the Governments concerned as to whether any stocks of German uniforms and clothing, or other stocks, were available for the purpose of providing against repayment an outfit to German prisoners.)

[Page 625]

2. International Agreement on Labour: Reply to Brockdroff-Rantzau With reference to C. F. 13, Minute 4,2 M. Clemenceau said he had understood on the previous day that the intention was to send the reply drawn up by the expert Committee to which it had on been referred. Consequently, he had despatched the letter to Herr Brockdorff-Rantzau. If necessary, a supplementary letter could be sent on the subject, when the Committee reported on the question of whether the Germans should be admitted to the Labour Organisation, before they were admitted to the League of Nations.

3. Reparation in the Austrian & Hungarian Treaties Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to write a letter to Lord Cunliffe, informing him, for the information of the Committee on Reparation, that the Supreme Council would be glad to receive the draft clauses on Reparation for inclusion in the Austrian and Hungarian Treaties not later than Saturday, May 17th.

4. Montenegro Sir Maurice Hankey reported that, as requested on the previous afternoon, he had made inquiries as to how the question stood of the representation of Montenegro. He found that on January, 12th, 1919, it had been decided in principle that Montenegro should be represented at the Conference, but the decision had been left open as to how her Representatives should be chosen. On that occasion M. Sonnino had suggested that in the meantime the United States of America should send a representative to discover how things were in that country. M. Clemenceau had pointed out that if President Wilson wished to send someone to inquire, he would do so without any authority from the Powers associated with him. President Wilson had then said he was willing to send someone, but not an official representative on behalf of this Conference, and Mr. Lloyd George had agreed. (See Proces-Verbal of March [January] 12th, I. C. 104 [BC–A1], p. 6.)3

President Wilson undertook to inquire if any action had been taken in the matter by his Government.

5. League of Nations & Labour Convention in the Treties of Peace With Austria & with Hungary M. Orlando approved and initialled the proposals of the drafting Committee on this subject, which had been approved and initialled by his colleagues on the previous afternoon.

6. New States: Report of Committee Sir Maurice Hankey handed copies of the Report of the Committee on New States to M. Clemenceau, President Wilson, Mr. Lloyd George and M. Orlando.

[Page 626]

Appendix to CF–14

[Draft Reply to Herr Brockdorff-Rantzau Regarding Prisoners of War]

[This draft was approved by the Council at the meeting of May 20, 11 a.m. (CF–20), and the reply, dated Paris, May 20, 1919, signed by G. Clemenceau, is printed as appendix IV to CF–20, page 749.]