Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/20½

CF–20A

Notes of a Meeting Held in President Wilson’s House, Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Wednesday, May 21, at 11 a.m.

  • Present
    • United States of America
      • President Wilson.
    • British Empire.
      • Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau.
      • Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B. Secretary.
      • Professor P. J. Mantoux Interpreter.

1. German Request for an Extension of Time Limit M. Clemenceau handed round the attached Note from the German Peace Delegation, asking for an extension of the time limit. (Appendix I.)

(After a short discussion, Colonel Henri1 was sent for from Versailles, and instructed to ascertain informally from the Germans the extent of the time limit which they desired, in order that M. Clemenceau might have some definite proposition to make to his colleagues).

General Albi2 was introduced.

2. Polish-Ukrainian Armistice M. Clemenceau handed a despatch from the French Military Mission at Prague to the Ministry of War, to M. Mantoux, which was translated by him. This despatch stated that General Haller’s Polish troops had attacked the Ukrainian troops south of Przemysl and were threatening Borislav. The Polish troops should arrive at Drohobycz tomorrow. The Galician population were already beginning to retire towards the passes of the Carpathians in order to take refuge in Czecho-Slovakia. The Ukrainian Government had asked for support by the Czech troops in the Borislav district, but this was not likely to be granted. The Czech Government was concerned lest the Bolshevist forces should, owing to the diversion by the Polish attack, overwhelm the Ukrainians. The military command in Czecho-Slovakia under the burden of the demands from the Ukrainian front had no reserves to spare for the [Page 755]Carpathians. Communication from Transylvania to Poland through Czecho-Slovakia was interrupted.

General Albi said that this news had been brought to General Pellé3 by Ukrainian officers. He explained on a map how the Ukrainians, who had been fighting the Bolsheviks for the last two months, were under pressure from Polish, Bolshevik and Roumanian forces.

Mr. Lloyd George said that this was a breach of faith by General Haller, who had absolutely no right to take this action. He said that General Botha had been much impressed with the Ukrainians’ case, and had suggested that the Council of Four should see the Ukrainians. The Poles were helping to crush an independent movement against the Bolsheviks.

President Wilson said that Mr. Hoover had suggested that the whole group should be informed that supplies of every kind would stop if fighting did not cease.

Mr. Lloyd George said that Sir Esme Howard,4 who had always been favourable to the Poles, had sent him memorandum, advising that the Poles ought to be stopped on their present lines.

M. Clemenceau asked if President Wilson’s memorandum5 had been sent to the Poles.

President Wilson reminded him that it had been suspended owing to the receipt of M. Paderewski’s telegram.6

Mr. Lloyd George urged that the Ukrainian Delegation should be heard. These small nations were going straight to perdition, and adopting all the worst vices of which the Prussians had been accused.

President Wilson said that the first question seemed to be to define the boundaries. Until that was done, it was difficult for the Council to take up an intelligible position for stopping the fighting between these States.

Mr. Lloyd George advocated the stoppage of food and munitions as a means of bringing the fighting to an end. The Polish Ukrainian Armistice Commission had defined the boundary. General Botha told him that the Polish population in the Lemberg region was only about one-sixth of the total.

President Wilson said that M. Paderewski had told him that Lemberg was Polish.

Mr. Lloyd George said that according to General Botha, Lemberg was a Polish town in the Ukrainian district.

(It was agreed that General Botha and the Members of the Polish-Ukrainian Armistice Commission, as well as the Ukrainian Delegation should be seen on the same afternoon at 4 p.m.)

[Page 756]

(General Albi withdrew.)

3. League of Nations. Reply to the German Note President Wilson read a draft reply to the German proposals on the subject of the League of Nations. (Appendix II.) This reply had been prepared by the appropriate Committee of the Conference, of which Lord Robert Cecil had acted as Chairman.

(The reply was approved. Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to inform the Secretary-General, and ask him to prepare a French translation for M. Clemenceau’s signature).

It was at this point that Colonel Henri was seen, (see Minute I).

4. Italian Claims Mr. Lloyd George handed round a scheme in regard to Italian claims, covering both Fiume and Turkey, which he had prepared for a basic of consideration. (Appendix III.) M. Orlando had been called away to meet his colleagues on the borders of Italy, and had suggested that the opportunity might be taken for a private discussion between the other three members of the Council in regard to Italian claims, and it was for this reason that he had prepared this Scheme.

(There was a short adjournment for reading this proposal.)

Mr. Lloyd George said that perhaps the Council would be glad to hear his reasons. He had discussed the matter for two days with some of his colleagues in the British Cabinet, who had come from London for the purpose. He first referred to the question of Asia Minor. He pointed out that there was undoubtedly a good deal of unrest in the Mohammedan world, in regard to the future of Asia Minor and Turkey generally. Great Britain was, perhaps, the greatest Mohammedan power. There were some 70 millions of Mohammedans in India and several millions in Egypt and the Soudan. There had lately been a good deal of trouble in both these countries. Now Afghanistan was in ferment, and the Amir had declared war. About one and a quarter millions of troops had been raised in India, a large proportion of the fighting men being Mohammedans. These had done the bulk of the fighting against the Turks. It was true there had been some French troops in Gallipoli and a large number of British troops had been used both in Gallipoli and in the subsequent campaigns against the Turks. Nevertheless, in the campaigns subsequent to Gallipoli, the Indian troops had preponderated. The Mohammedan world realised this. Undoubtedly, the partition of Asia Minor would cause anger in the Mohammedan world. The more he thought the matter over, the less was he, as head of the Power which had done nine-tenths of the fighting against Turkey, willing to agree to the partition of Asia Minor. This was the view of the British Cabinet. Not only would it create permanent trouble in the East, but they had come to the conclusion that it would be unjust. The Allies had no more right to split up Turkey than Germany, in former days, had had to split up Poland. [Page 757]Germany had had exactly the same justification in the case of Poland as there was now in the case of Turkey, namely, that the Government was incompetent. The Allies had a perfect right to say that the Turks should not rule over alien races like the Greeks, Armenians and Arabs, whom they had always misgoverned. But this argument did not apply in those parts of Turkey where the population was overwhelmingly Turk. If Smyrna, and Constantinople and Armenia were ruled out, the population of Anatolia would probably be more than 90% Turk. As an instance of the danger of partition, he mentioned the division of Bengal, which had caused trouble for years. Supposing Anatolia were divided, with the French in the North and the Italians in the South and the Sultan were at Brusa, would it be possible for the French to avoid interference? How could they help it with the Sultan in their sphere?

M. Clemenceau himself had said that this was an impossible situation and had suggested that there should be two Sultans, one in the North and one in the South. But this was unjustifiable to tear the population in half. It would cause constant unrest and trouble throughout the Mohammedan world and the British Delegation could not agree to it. He would like the same power which had the mandate for Constantinople to have the mandate for Anatolia. This was the view of the British Delegation after two days largely devoted to the study of the question. They considered that one power ought to control both, and that power should be the one in Constantinople. In Armenia and Mesopotamia and in Syria where there were non-Turkish races, other powers could govern. But in the case of Anatolia there should be some sort of Government by men of the Turkish race. Some sort of control, however, was desirable. Otherwise there might occur massacres of such Greeks and Armenians and the inhabitants of such other races as remained. The British Delegation would prefer America to exercise this control. The reason for this—and it was necessary to speak very plainly in considering these great problems affecting the future of the world—was that the United States of America would be more acceptable to the Mohammedan world than any other part[y]. One reason was that America was known to have a very great respect for liberty and would consequently be expected to be very fair. Another reason was that America had no past in dealings with Mohammedans. This was not the case either with France or Great Britain. The Mohammedans were honestly afraid lest the Algerian experiment should be tried in Turkey, involving the complete subservience of Mohammedans to Christians. No doubt there would be the same feeling towards Great Britain. A second reason was that if France were given the mandate for Anatolia, Italy would have the right to complain under the Treaty of London. Italy [Page 758]feared lest France should regard herself as the only Mediterranean Power. This was really the basis of the whole of Baron Sonnino’s case. Italy must also be ruled out from a mandate for the whole of Anatolia. This was hardly arguable. To give it to France, however, would make the position of Italy impossible. Hence, he could see nothing for it but for the United States of America to accept the mandate.

If, however, the United States could not see its way to accept a mandate, he saw no alternative but to continue the present system with the Turks in entire control. In reality, however, it would not work like the present system. America would have a mandate for Armenia and for Constantinople and it would not be possible for the Turk to remain absolutely free to misrule as he wished. As far as he knew the Turk never had perpetrated any very serious atrocities in Anatolia, even if he had never governed it particularly well. Moreover, the present system included certain restrictions on Turkish administration. There was a debt under an International Board; as France was the largest holder of the debt, the Board had a French President. This would continue. As regards concessions, this was probably a more nominal than real difficulty, since no one, except the United States, had any money. Hence, a scramble for concessions among the European Powers was a scramble for nothing. France had the Cameroons and Togoland to look after, both requiring a good deal of development. Moreover, his proposal gave France a provisional mandate for Syria until the report of the Commission was received. If the report was against France, there might have to be some reconsideration by the Powers in common. It was, however, essential for President Wilson to get home before very long, and the same applied to himself, and some provisional arrangement was necessary. These were his views, which had been prepared in consultation with his colleagues. He did not pretend that he had not vacillated. He had come to the conclusion, however, that any other solution would cause trouble to France and to Great Britain, and to the peace of the world. Hence, he could not consent to the partition of Anatolia. Finally, until Russia was settled, he thought it would be necessary for the United States to control the Caucasus also. The British were in control at present, but they could not see their way to remain there.

He wished to point out that these proposals were closely linked up with his proposals in regard to the Adriatic. In the interests of the peace of the world, he thought it would be worth while to press these on the Jugo-Slavs.

President Wilson pointed out certain inconsistencies in Mr. Lloyd George’s plan. Very good grounds were found in Asia Minor against handing over the population against its will to a Mandatory. But in [Page 759]the case of Jugo-Slavia the same principle was not applied. The only way to remove that inconsistency was to adopt the principle of the plebiscite which he had advocated. For example, in the case of the Islands, the only way to settle the question of which population predominated was by a plebiscite since the official statistics were disputed both by the Italians and the Jugo-Slavs. Whenever the Jugo-Slavs had been forced to intervene with a plebiscite, the figures had gone against the Italians. Even in regard to Lissa an inhabitant of that Island had told him that the population would not vote for the Italians. He, himself, all along had been willing to say to the Italians you must evacuate the whole territory which will then be put provisionally under the League of Nations, Fiume for the time being becoming a free City giving full access to the district served by the Port.

This access would continue until the construction of a Port of equivalent usefulness at Buccari. Then he would take the vote of the population in regard to Fiume.

In regard to the other territories, the League of Nations would arrange a plebiscite and Italy should be allowed to have any considerable district other than a mere Township that voted for her. This plan would square with the principles proposed by Mr. Lloyd George for Anatolia. His idea was the same as Mr. Lloyd George had suggested in a conversation with him just before the meeting in regard to Cilicia [Silesia], where Mr. Lloyd George had suggested doubts as to whether the population was Polish in sentiment. There might be cases where the preference of the population was stronger than the nationality. For example, there might be people in Cilicia [Silesia] who, though Polish in origin, preferred to remain German. The same principle might apply to the Adriatic. On the coast of Asia Minor on the Aegean littoral there was a considerable Greek population. He was fully in favour of giving the Turks complete access to the sea but he was apprehensive of extending Turkish sovereignty to the coast in the neighbourhood of the Dodecanese. If Turkish sovereignty extended to these shores, the Turks would always remember that the Islands had not long since been taken from them.

To illustrate this, President Wilson brought out an ethnographical map of Turkey pointing out that the population of the coast was very similar to the population of the Island. There was a close similarity between Mr. Lloyd George’s plan and his own proposals. He himself, had suggested that the Turks should retain full sovereignty in Anatolia but that the Sultan should be allowed to inhabit a reserved area in Constantinople in the territory of the Mandatory for the Straits. Nevertheless, he would not be hampered in his administration of Anatolia by the Mandatory of the Straits though he might sometimes be guided by the Mandatory’s advice. If the United States [Page 760]were the Mandatory of the Straits they would not in the least object if the Sultan were advised in stipulated matters by other Powers on the subject of the government of Anatolia.

Mr. Lloyd George considered that if the United States could not take a Mandatory over Anatolia, it would be better for the Sultan to clear out of Constantinople. The Sultan’s Court and guards comprising a very large number of people, would be a great inconvenience to the Mandatory Power.

President Wilson suggested the guards might be limited in number. Since Saturday he had been considering the question very carefully and he doubted the advisability of accepting a Mandate for Anatolia. If the same Power was Mandatory in Constantinople and in Armenia, it would be very difficult for the Sultan to cause much trouble.

He then adverted to the Commission for Syria. The Delegates whom he had nominated were men of such standing that he could not keep them waiting any longer in Paris, consequently he had instructed them to leave for Syria on Monday and to await there their colleagues on the Commission.7

Mr. Lloyd George said the same applied to the British Delegates and he thought he would give them the same orders.

M. Clemenceau said in this case he must drop out. He said that the promises made to him had not been kept. General Sir Henry Wilson had apparently not been in a position to discuss with M. Tardieu the question of the sphere of occupation in Syria.

In reply to Mr. Lloyd George who had asked in what way the promises made to him had not been kept, he said that in the Autumn of 1918 when he saw how the British were acting in Syria, he had come to London and had asked Mr. Lloyd George to say exactly what he wanted. Mr. Lloyd George had said Mosul and Palestine. He had returned to Paris, and in spite of the objections of M. Pichon and the Quai d’Orsay, he had conceded it. Then Mr. Lloyd George had said that France and Great Britain would get along all right. Nevertheless they had not succeeded in getting along all right. Early in the year the proposal had been made for the evacuation of Syria by British troops and the substitution of French troops. Lord Milner had asked him to put this aside for the moment and had undertaken to discuss it with him. He had never done so. Then Lord Milner had promised to help M. Clemenceau with Emir Feisal. He had never carried out his promise. After this, Lord Milner had produced a map by which Syria was divided in order to provide a railway for the British to Mesopotamia. Later, Mr. Lloyd George had suggested [Page 761]that President Wilson should have part of Cilicia. He had even agreed to this. Thus, he had given up Mosul and Cilicia and some more territory for the sake of the British Railway.

Mr. Lloyd George interrupting, asked what M. Clenienceau’s grievance was? What constituted a breach of faith?

M. Clemenceau continuing, said that the latest phase had concerned the withdrawal of British troops. It had been agreed to arrange for zones of occupation. It had been agreed that M. Tardieu and General Sir Henry Wilson should study the question. After three days of consultation, General Wilson said that there could be no arrangement unless the limits of Syria were fixed. M. Tardieu had quite properly said that this was not a matter that he could deal with.

France, having given up Mosul and some region required for the Railway and Cilicia, thought she had a right to compensation. He had then suggested that France should have a Mandate over part of Anatolia. Of course he recognised that no promises had been given, but the idea had been proposed in the course of their conversations. He himself, had just listened and had shown no undue hurry about it. Only yesterday it had been suggested that France should have a Mandate for the whole of Anatolia. To-day however, Mr. Lloyd George came forward with fresh combinations. He knew the cause of this. It was the arrival of Lord Curzon. He had heard all about this from London where Lord Curzon had spoken very freely. Lord Curzon was the fiercest friend France had in England. He regarded it as a good thing to take from France Mosul and part of Syria for a railway and Cilicia, and to do nothing in return. He had another objection. Throughout this Conference his policy had been the closest union between France, Great Britain and the United States of America. He had made great concessions in this respect. Only this morning he had had a meeting of certain representatives from the right of the Chamber and he had reminded them of the great service that Great Britain and the United States had rendered to France, and had insisted that their close cooperation must be continued. Was it a good thing though that France should be excluded from Asia Minor because of the susceptibilities of the Italians? He had public opinion in France to consider. France being the country with the greatest financial interests of any country in the world in Turkey surely ought not to be expelled from Asia Minor on two such grounds as the Mussulman question and the Italian question. He, like his colleagues, had been impressed by the Mohammedan Deputation. He had a genuine respect for the Moslem religion, and the Deputation had made an impression on him. He had thought that something ought to be done for them. He had no proposal to make to-day, but while something might be done for the Turkish people, he was unable to accede to Mr. Lloyd George’s proposals. He considered the two hypotheses which he attributed to Lord Curzon [Page 762]dangerous. He considered it dangerous to introduce the United States” of America in Asia Minor. To say that the United States were to have a Mandate not only for Constantinople and Armenia, but for the whole country between them would cause a bad ferment and division in the whole of the European world. It would introduce the ideas of men who had not thought of the repercussion of these events in Europe. He did not know what the effect would be in the United States of America, nor could he speak definitely for any country but France, but as regards France, though the feelings in favour of the United States were strong and of long standing, this proposal, if carried out, would not produce a good opinion. He recognised that the United States had done a great deal for France. They had struck the last blow in the war, and France was eternally grateful for it, but if the idea got about that Great Britain had brought the United States in to get France out, public feeling in France would not stand it. He did not say the idea was correct but that it would get about. Rather than sign any such agreement, he would not leave the Conference but it might be necessary for him to leave the Government. He did not say this in order merely to use a threatening argument, but he should not be doing his duty unless he gave this answer. He need hardly say that he was not going to conspire with M. Orlando and M. Sonnino in this matter but it would be impossible to prevent public feeling in France from joining with public feeling in Italy. It should not be forgotten that beyond the military and political decisions to be taken, there were human feelings and hearts to be considered, hence he begged that it would not be decided to keep France out as well as Italy by bringing in the United States of America. He was quite willing to admit, if his colleagues wished him to, that the Government of some other Power might conceivably be better in these regions but it was impossible to ignore Italy and the very bad consequent effect that such exclusion would have in France. When he had begun to speak he had had it in his mind to ask for time to examine the proposition coolly, and to-day he would make no proposal, but after having been led to believe that matters were to be arranged satisfactorily, this proposal had taken him by surprise.

If his colleagues really wished to induce him to believe that Meso-potamia and Palestine should go to Great Britain and Asia Minor to America, he was quite ready to think the matter over. He hoped his colleagues would not think he had forgotten the past. He would never allow any impression to be given outside that he had forgotten what Great Britain and America had done for France. He would do his duty to the Peace of the world, but he hoped before any further discussion, his colleagues would think these matters over.

Mr. Lloyd George said that he must answer one or two of M. Clemenceau’s observations. France had no right to complain of the [Page 763]loyalty of Great Britain which had given substantial guarantees for France’s security. Great Britain had volunteered to make these guarantees without any pressure being put upon her. She had volunteered to put her whole strength in support of France.

As regards the charge of a break of faith, this was without any foundation. On the occasion of the London visit, Mr. Lloyd George had promised Syria to France provided that he gave up Mosul.

M. Clemenceau said that France had had a definite agreement before as to Syria.

Mr. Lloyd George said that in London it had been agreed that Syria should go to France and Mesopotamia to Great Britain, but that Mosul, which was in the same watershed as Mesopotamia, should form part of that country and go to Great Britain. In his statement M. Clemenceau had entirely ignored the article of his scheme which gave the Mandate for Syria to France. This was clearly stated in the document. Was this a case of bad faith? He recalled the proposal that he had made for a redistribution of the forces in Turkey in order to relieve the British Army which had a very large force there, occasioning demobilisation difficulties. He himself, had gone away to London and for some reason he had never quite understood, the scheme had fallen through. On his return, President Wilson had proposed the Commission to Syria. The United States and Great Britain and Italy had their Delegates all ready. It was France who had never appointed their Delegates.

This was a formal document and had been signed by all of them. M. Clemenceau had not carried out his part of the bargain. He did not say that M. Clemenceau had not kept faith, but he certainly had not carried out the bargain.

As regards General Wilson’s conversations with M. Tardieu, his account was that he had gone to M. Tardieu with a map, as it was absolutely essential to delimitate the sphere of occupation. In this map the whole of Syria had been attributed to the occupation of France. M. Tardieu replied he knew about the subject. Surely it was plain common sense to delimitate the spheres of occupation on a map. It was quite unwarrantable to charge him with a breach of faith because of this incident. As a matter of fact, no counter-proposal had been made by M. Tardieu. As regards the railway to Syria, this was part of a proposal under which half the oil of Mesopotamia was to be given to the French. The railway was essential to the transport of the oil and was in the interests of the French. It had not been a bargain but was merely a proposal that was under discussion, and there was no breach of faith here. As regards Asia Minor, he had never heard of a French claim until the previous day. There had never been the smallest indication that France wanted a mandate for [Page 764]Asia Minor. The project had arisen out of a discussion of the Italian claims. M. Clemenceau had himself made the proposal that France should have a mandate for the northern half of Anatolia. When the proposal was made, however, it was found that the claim included priority for concessions. Then President Wilson had pointed out that under the mandate scheme, priority for concessions was not permissible. It was not true that France had the greatest claim in Turkey. Within the last few days he had had the interests of the various Powers in Turkey examined, with the result that Great Britain was found to have the largest trade, Germany the second, France being a bad third. It was true that France had a large claim in the Bagdad railway, but the Bagdad line would not run mainly through the part of Anatolia which had been contemplated in the French mandate. It would run through all the mandated territory, American, French and British. Hence the basis of this claim was not in the French zone at all. He did not believe that French public opinion had made any claim for a mandate for Anatolia. He had carefully studied the French newspapers, and had only found one reference to it, namely, in the newspaper Temps, and he believed that to be Italian propaganda. He did not want to discuss in detail the agreement8 signed between Lord Grey9 and M. Cambon,10 but he meant to point out that it had always been understood that the two countries were to do their utmost to attack the Turks. He had tried to carry out this part of the agreement. He had met M. Ribot11 and M. Painlevé,12 and Marshal Foch at Boulogne, and Marshal Foch had produced a plan by which the French were to attack from the north and the British from the south. The French Government, however, would not agree. Afterwards, a document had been prepared by the military representatives at Versailles. M. Clemenceau, himself, however, had been against it. Hence, the whole policy was on the understanding of a co-operation in overthrowing the Turks, which had never been carried out on the French side. All sorts of plans had been discussed. At one time the British would have liked to have landed at Alexandretta, but could not go there, owing to French susceptibilities. There had been a project for a French landing at Tripoli, but the French had never gone there. Great Britain was the largest Eastern Power, and now the greatest of all Mohammedan Powers. This was the reason for the objections made to a French mandate over Anatolia. [Page 765]It was not in the least fair to suggest Lord Curzon was anti-French. It was not right to make a just peace in the West and not to make a proper peace in the East. It was solely in the interests of peace in the East that he had been unable to agree to a division of Anatolia. It was for this reason that he had come to the conclusion that the better plan would be for the United States of America to have the mandate. If M. Clemenceau said that this was because Great Britain was jealous of France, he made a suggestion that was not a very worthy one to a Power that had done and guaranteed so much for France.

President Wilson said he hoped, in the first place, the consideration of this question would be postponed for a time, since great issues were involved. He would contemplate with the greatest uneasiness and distrust any misunderstanding that might arise in this matter. He must say at once that the United States would find it very difficult to take any part in Asia Minor where they had no material interests. Any part in the sacrifices and burdens of this mandate would be politically disadvantageous to America. Hence, America desired nothing in Asia Minor. What they did desire most of all was first, the accord between the great powers, and second, peace with the world. He hoped therefore, that the question would be viewed solely from these points of view. Mr. Lloyd George’s plan might or might not be the best. But whether they agreed or disagreed in this particular plan, they must find one which would be best for the peace of the world. He had formed no judgement on the scheme for himself, and would think it over. He could only say at this stage, that he feared it was impossible for the United States to take a mandate for Asia Minor. It was difficult for her to take a mandate even for Armenia, where she had permanent interests of long standing, and where a good deal of money had been spent by Americans for the relief of the Armenian people. As regards Constantinople, he thought that even some of the public men who were opposed to him politically would support him in taking a mandate. He did not, however, think that he could persuade them to accept a mandate for Asia Minor. Although he did not exclude the possibility of altering his opinion, his present conviction was, that it would be better not to divide Anatolia, and that the Sultan should be left in Constantinople. If that caused too great complications, he should be removed to Brusa. His present judgement also was that it would be dangerous to bring the Turks to the coast in the neighbourhood of the Dodecanese, supposing that these islands were to go to Greece. He suggested that instead of a mandate to the United States, something should be laid down to provide for giving advice to the Turks. What had been suggested was that the Sultan should accept advice in regard to certain [Page 766]specific matters, for example, finance, commercial matters and gendarmerie. In discussions with his United States colleagues, he had told them that France was already in the position of advisor as regards the Ottoman debt. He had told his colleagues that he thought the other processes of advice might come from the French Government, He thought that M. Clemenceau had misunderstood his proposal that the United States Delegates on the Syrian Commission should proceed to Syria to await their colleagues. At any rate, they were men of such standing that he could not keep them waiting in Paris. If they did not go to Syria they must go back to the United States.

Mr. Lloyd George said he thought they ought to go to Syria.

M. Clemenceau said that he was ready for the French representatives to go, as soon as the British troops in Syria had been replaced by French. The question had been referred to Sir Henry Wilson and M. Tardieu. He did not think that General Wilson could have reported the result of this interview correctly. General Wilson had said that the limits of Syria must be fixed and M. Tardieu had replied that only the Council of Four could do that.

Mr. Lloyd George said that General Wilson had submitted a document to M. Tardieu. There had been no breach of faith here.

Sir Maurice Hankey said possibly the misunderstanding was due to him. The conversation between General Wilson and M. Tardieu had been interrupted in order that certain decisions might be taken, which could only be taken by the Council of Four. On the previous day, just as he was entering the meeting, a large map had been thrust into his hand, containing the proposal for the line of delimitation for Syria, which General Wilson had put forward. At the morning meeting he had had no opportunity to bring this matter forward, and there was no afternoon meeting and the map was still lying in the room.

Mr. Lloyd George insisted that the negotiations in regard to the railway were to the advantage of France. However, he must put a stop to these negotiations until the present misunderstanding was cleared up.

(It was agreed that the Syrian question should be discussed the same evening.)

(The Meeting then adjourned until 4 p.m. the same afternoon.)

Villa Majestic, Paris, 21 May, 1919.

[Page 767]

Appendix I to CF–20A

[The Head of the German Delegation (Brockdorff-Rantzau) to the President of the Peace Conference (Clemenceau)]

Sir: The German Peace Delegation intends during the next days to submit communications to the Allied and Associated Governments on the following points, which in the eyes of the Delegation fall under the definition of suggestions of a practical nature:

1.
a note concerning territorial question in the East;
2.
a note concerning Alsace-Lorraine;
3.
a note concerning the occupied territories;
4.
a note concerning extent and discharge of the obligation undertaken by Germany in view of reparation;
5.
a note concerning the further practical treatment of the questions of Labour Law;
6.
a note concerning the treatment of German private property in enemy countries.

Besides this, a syllabus is being prepared of the observations which the German Government are called for by the Draft of the Treaty of Peace in its detailed provisions.

The problems hereby involved being in part of a very complicated nature and it having been necessary to discuss them extensively with the experts in Versailles as well as with those in Berlin, it will not be possible to dispose of them within the time limit of 15 days notified by your Excellency on the 7th inst., although the Delegation will take pains to transmit as many notes as possible within the limit. Having regard to this I beg, in the name of the German Peace Delegation, to move that the contents of the intended notes be regarded as having already been made the subject of discussion in writing, and that the requisite time be granted to us for a more detailed exposition.

Accept [etc.]

Brockdorff-Rantzau

Appendix II to CF–20A

M. 171

league of nations

Draft Reply to the German Proposals

The Committee of the Allied and Associated Powers appointed to consider the proposals of the German Government on the subject of the League of Nations have examined these proposals with care.13 [Page 768]They note with interest the stipulations contained in the project of the German Government, and have considered that a suitable opportunity for the general discussion of these stipulations will arise when the League has been definitely constituted. For the moment, they limit themselves to drawing attention to a certain number of the specific points raised.

They beg to point out that the proposals of the German Government deal with matters which have been discussed at length by the Commission of the League of Nations. But they consider in general that the proposals of the Covenant are much more practical than those of the German Government and better calculated to secure the objects of the League.

They are glad to note that the German Government is in favour of a League for the maintenance of peace which shall be based on, and which shall give effect to, the general principles of democratic government. With that point of view they are in hearty agreement. But they do not consider that all the specific proposals of the German scheme would, in practice, be an advantage for the purpose.

They submit the following observations on certain of the suggestions put forward by the German Government:—

i.
With regard to the establishment of a separate International Mediation Office (paragraphs 16–18, and 62 of the German project), they do not consider that any body of Mediators chosen in accordance with the German plan would in fact have the necessary authority to settle international disputes or to maintain the peace of the world. That will be the function of the Council as constituted by the Covenant.
At the same time they are in sympathy with the view that some system of impartial Commissions for conciliation may in many cases be the most suitable and the most effective means for the preliminary investigation, and where possible, for the settlement, of disputes not taken to arbitration; and they beg to point out that there is nothing in the Covenant to prevent the use of such Commissions. They anticipate that in practice such Commissions will be set up whenever they would serve a useful purpose.
ii.
The proposals of the German Government for the composition, jurisdiction and procedure of a Permanent Court of International Justice (paragraphs 14–15, 29–36) have been carefully reviewed, and will be submitted for detailed consideration to the Council of the League of Nations, when it prepares a plan for the establishment of a Permanent Court in accordance with Article 14 of the Covenant.
iii.
The League of Nations Commission of the Conference at an earlier stage considered the principle of obligatory Arbitration (paragraphs 30–33), and decided that its universal application in the form proposed is not practicable at the present time. The Committee point out, however, that they have provided for an obligatory recourse to pacific means for the settlement of all disputes and they believe that the establishment of a Permanent Court will do much to encourage the extension of the principle of arbitration. They are in sympathy [Page 769]with many of the proposals made in paragraphs 44–53 of the German Government’s project with reference to Freedom of Transit and Communications and the economic and commercial relations between different peoples. They beg to point out that general agreements on these matters, of the sort suggested by the German Government, are already under consideration by the Allied and Associated Powers, and that they will be submitted in due course to the League of Nations.
iv.
With regard to the proposal that all costs and damages resulting to Members of the League from a breach of the Covenant should be paid by the Covenant-breaking State (paragraph 65), the Allied and Associated Powers recognise generally the justice of the principle laid down by the German Government, which is indeed of general application. They are, however, so confident that this measure would in fact be adopted by the League in the unfortunate event of a breach of the Covenant that they do not consider any modification of the provisions of the Covenant to be required.
v.
They are glad to note that the German Government is in favour of Disarmament (paragraphs 40–42). They beg to point out that the Covenant provides for the preparation and submission to the Members of the League of proposals for international disarmament.
vi.
They note the proposals of the German Government (paragraphs 62–64) as to sanctions for breach of obligations of the Members of the League. They are however, of opinion that the automatic economic pressure on Covenant-breaking States provided by Article XVI of the Covenant, to be followed by such international military or naval action as may be necessary, is likely to be speedier and more effective than the German suggestions.

Appendix III to CF–20A

[Memorandum Submitted to the Council by Mr. Lloyd George]

Scheme for the Settlement of Italian Claims

1. Fiume On the signature of peace with Austria, Fiume to be held provisionally in trust by the League of Nations pending the construction of a harbour for Yugo-Slavia at Italian expense.

On the completion by Italy of a harbour on the Adriatic which shall be deemed by the Council of the League of Nations to provide a satisfactory substitute to Fiume with sufficient anchorage, wharfage, and railway facilities and connected by a practicable line of railway with the railway system of Yugo-Slavia—Fiume to be handed over to the sovereignty of Italy. Italy to allow railway facilities within Fiume itself should this be necessary in order to provide railway connection.

(2) Dalmatia Italy to resign all claims on the mainland of Dalmatia.

(3) The Islands Italy to have the Island of Cherso when Fiume is handed over [Page 770]to her. Italy to have immediately on the signature of the Treaty of Peace with Austria in full sovereignty those islands south of Cherso in which the Italian nationality preponderates including the island of Lissa.

May 21, 1919.

Scheme for Settlement in the Turkish Empire

(1) Constantinople and the Straits The United States of America to have a full mandate over Constantinople and The Straits of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus.

(2) Asia Minor First Alternative: The United States of America to have a Asia Minor light mandate over the whole of Anatolia. The Sultan of Turkey and the Government to remain at Constantinople.

Second alternative: If the United States of America cannot accept a mandate over the whole of Anatolia this region to remain subject to the sovereignty of the Sultan of Turkey without a mandatory.

(3) In either alternative provision to be made for access from Anatolia to the Mediterranean, Sea of Marmora, and Black Sea.

(4) Smyrna The portion of the vilayet of Aidin proposed by the Greek Commission to be united with Greece in full sovereignty. No mandate to be given to Greece over any more extended zone.

(5) Armenia and Cilicia The United States of America to have a full mandate over Armenia and Cilicia.

(6) Caucasus The mandate for Armenia to include a provisional mandate Caucasus over Russian Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the whole Caucasus region pending a solution of the Russian problem.

(7) Syria France to have a provisional mandate over Syria pending the report of the Commission which is proceeding to the Near East.

(8) Mesopotamia and Palestine Great Britain to have a provisional mandate over Mesopotamia and Palestine pending the report of the Commission that is proceeding to the Near East.

(9) Arabia To be independent.

(10) The Holy Places These arrangements have been made after sympathetic consideration of the just claims of Mohammedans in the interests of the peace and good government of the world. They have been framed with the fullest desire to safeguard the essential interests of the Moslem faith.

The Allied and Associated Governments pledge themselves to leave to Mohammedan Guardianship the Holy Places of the Moslem faith wherever situated and declare that they will not assist or countenance [Page 771]any interference with the present purposes to which any religious edifice is dedicated.

The Allied and Associated Powers state emphatically that they regard the question of the Kaliphate as being one purely for decision by Mohammedans and that they will in no case intervene in the matter.

  1. Lt. Col. Marie Joseph Henri, of the French General Staff; head of the liaison group with the enemy peace delegations at Versailles.
  2. Chief of the French General Staff.
  3. Gen. Maurice C. J. Pellé, of the French Army, chief of the General Staff and Commander in Chief of the Czechoslovak Army.
  4. British representative on the Interallied Mission to Poland.
  5. See CF–16, p. 677, and appendix I to CF–22, p. 782.
  6. See appendix I to CF–18B, p. 711.
  7. The Americans appointed were Charles R. Crane and H. C. King.
  8. Sykes-Picot Agreement, May 9–16, 1916, Current History, vol. xi (March, 1920), p. 499.
  9. British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, December 1905–December 1916.
  10. Paul Cambon, French Ambassador in Great Britain.
  11. Alexandre Felix J. Ribot, French President of the Council of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs, March–September 1917.
  12. Paul Painlevé, French Minister for War, March–September 1917; President of the Council of Ministers, September–November 1917.
  13. See CF–8 and appendix, pp. 559 and 563. For text of the German proposals, see vol. vi, p. 765.