Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/37


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House, Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Tuesday, May 27, 1919, at 4 p.m.

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • President Wilson.
      • Hon. R. Lansing.
      • Secretary.
      • Mr. L. Harrison.
    • British Empire
      • Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
      • Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O. M., M. P.
    • Secretary-General
      • Sir M. P. A. Hankey, K. C. B.
    • Secretary.
      • Mr. H. Norman.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau.
      • M. Pichon.
      • Secretaries.
      • M. de Béarn.
      • Capt. de St. Quentin.
    • Italy
      • M. Orlando.
      • Baron Sonnino.
      • Secretary-General.
      • Count Aldrovandi.
      • Secretary.
      • M. Bertelé
    • Japan
      • H. E. Baron Makino.
      • H. E. Viscount Chinda.
    • Secretary.
      • M. Kawai.
  • Also Present
    • America, United States of
      • Professor Coolidge.
      • Major Johnson.
      • Dr. Clive Day.
    • British Empire
      • Sir Eyre Crowe, K. C. B., K. C. M. G.
      • Mr. Leeper.
      • Major Temperley.
    • France
      • M. Tardieu.
      • General Henrys.
      • M. Laroche.
      • M. Aubert.
    • Italy
      • General U. Cavallero.
      • Colonel d’Etat-Major A. Pariani.
      • Commdt. G. Rugiu.
      • M. de Martino.
Joint Secretariat
America, United States of Lieut. E. C. Burden.
British Empire Major A. M. Caccia.
France Capt. A. Portier.
Italy Lieut. Zanchi.
Japan M. Saburi.
Interpreter—Professor P. J. Mantoux.
[Page 72]

1. President Wilson said that the problem the Council was called upon to solve had reference to the frontiers between Austria and Jugo-Slavia in the region of Klagenfurt. He thought the Problem could be stated as follows. As far as the so-called Klagenfurt Basin was concerned, it would be found that the economic boundary line ran south of the ethnic line. The ethnic line divided the Basin into two parts, a northern and a southern part. The southern part, although it contained a large number of Slovenes, was indissolubly tied up, economically, with the northern part. Furthermore, the southern part of the Klagenfurt Basin was itself cut off from the country to the south by one of nature’s most impressive lines of demarcation, namely, a mountain range, which was far steeper on its southern side than on its northern side, thus constituting a most serious barrier on its southern side. Frontiers of Austria

In his opinion, the question of the delimitation of the Klagenfurt Basin resembled in every respect the case of the Italian boundary line, running down the Istrian Peninsula. In that case, although it was acknowledged that many Slovenes resided on the Italian side of that line, nevertheless, it had been agreed that nature had made that the natural boundary line of the Italian Peninsula. A similar situation presented itself here in the Klagenfurt Basin. The Slovene people in the southern part of the Basin, were, economically, intimately connected with the northern people. The question could not, therefore, be considered merely from a political and ethnical point of view. In other words, the Council would have to decide whether an unnatural arrangement should be accepted for political expediency, or a natural arrangement, thus disregarding purely political consideration. He, personally, felt very much embarrassed to depart from the principle which he had agreed to follow in the case of the Italian settlement. He certainly had no desire to re-consider the arrangement made with Italy which followed the dictates of nature.

(After some private consultation, between the Heads of Governments, it was decided to adjourn the further consideration of the question.)

2. It was pointed out that the question of Bessarabia had been omitted from the despatch to Admiral Koltchak, and that this would probably cause difficulties with Roumania, when the Despatch to Admiral despatch was eventually published. Russia. The Despatch to Admiral Koltchak

(After some discussion, the following addition to the despatch was approved:—

“Sixthly, the right of the Peace Conference to determine the future of the Roumanian part of Bessarabia be recognised”.

The original Article “Sixthly” to be renumbered “Seventhly”.)

[Page 73]

A copy of the complete despatch is attached in the Appendix.1

3. The Council had before them the attached note (Appendix II) dated May 22, 1919, from the Secretary-General of the Commission on the International Régime of Ports, Waterways, and Railways. Telegraphic and Telephonic Communication With Czecho-Slovakia Across Austria and Hungary

(The Articles for inclusion in the Treaties with Hungary were approved and initialled by the Four Heads of Governments.

Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward the Articles to the Secretary-General for the information of the Drafting Committee after ascertaining that the experts were unanimous on the subject).

Appendix I

M–190 (Final Revise)

Despatch to Admiral Koltchak

The Allied and Associated Powers feel that the time has come when it is necessary for them once more to make clear the policy they propose to pursue in regard to Russia.

It has always been a cardinal axiom of the Allied and Associated Powers to avoid interference in the internal affairs of Russia. Their original intervention was made for the sole purpose of assisting those elements in Russia which wanted to continue the struggle against German autocracy and to free their country from German rule, and in order to rescue the Czecho-Slovaks from the danger of annihilation at the hands of the Bolshevik forces. Since the signature of the Armistice on November 11th, 1918. they have kept forces in various parts of Russia. Munitions and supplies have been sent to assist those associated with them at a very considerable cost. No sooner, however, did the Peace Conference assemble than they endeavoured to bring peace and order to Russia by inviting representatives of all the warring Governments within Russia to meet them in the hope that they might be able to arrange a permanent solution of Russian problems. This proposal and a later offer to relieve the distress among the suffering millions of Russia broke down through the refusal of the Soviet Government to accept the fundamental condition of suspending hostilities while negotiations [Page 74] or the work of relief was proceeding. Some of the Allied and Associated Governments are now being pressed to withdraw their troops and to incur no further expense in Russia on the ground that continued intervention shows no prospect of producing an early settlement. They are prepared, however, to continue their assistance on the lines laid down below, provided they are satisfied that it will really help the Russian people to liberty, self-government, and peace.

The Allied and Associated Governments now wish to declare formally that the object of their policy is to restore peace within Russia by enabling the Russian people to resume control of their own affairs through the instrumentality of a freely elected Constituent Assembly and to restore peace along its frontiers by arranging for the settlement of disputes in regard to the boundaries of the Russian state and its relations with its neighbours through the peaceful arbitration of the League of Nations.

They are convinced by their experiences of the last twelve months that it is not possible to attain these ends by dealings with the Soviet Government of Moscow. They are therefore disposed to assist the Government of Admiral Koltchak and his Associates with munitions, supplies and food, to establish themselves as the government of all Russia, provided they receive from them definite guarantees that their policy has the same objects in view as that of the Allied and Associated Powers. With this object they would ask Admiral Koltchak and his Associates whether they will agree to the following as the conditions upon which they accept continued assistance from the Allied and Associated Powers.

In the first place, that, as soon as they reach Moscow they will summon a Constituent Assembly elected by a free, secret and democratic franchise as the Supreme Legislature for Russia to which the Government of Russia must be responsible, or if at that time order is not sufficiently restored they will summon the Constituent Assembly elected in 1917 to sit until such time as new elections are possible.

Secondly, that throughout the areas which they at present control they will permit free elections in the normal course for all local and legally constituted assemblies such as municipalities, Zemstvos, etc.

Thirdly, that they will countenance no attempt to revive the special privileges of any class or order in Russia. The Allied and Associated Powers have noted with satisfaction the solemn declaration made by Admiral Koltchak and his associates that they have no intention of restoring the former land system. They feel that the principles to be followed in the solution of this and other internal questions must be left to the free decision of the Russian Constituent Assembly; but they wish to be assured that those whom they are prepared to assist stand for the civil and religious liberty of all Russian citizens and will make no attempt to reintroduce the régime which the revolution has destroyed.

[Page 75]

Fourthly, that the independence of Finland and Poland be recognised, and that in the event of the frontiers and other relations between Russia and these countries not being settled by agreement, they will be referred to the arbitration of the League of Nations.

Fifthly, that if a solution of the relations between Esthonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Caucasian and Transcaspian territories and Russia is not speedily reached by agreement the settlement will be made in consultation and co-operation with the League of Nations, and that until such settlement is made the Government of Russia agrees to recognize these territories as autonomous and to confirm the relations which may exist between their de facto Governments and the Allied and Associated Governments.

Sixthly, the right of the Peace Conference to determine the future of the Roumanian part of Bessarabia, be recognised.

Seventhly, that as soon as a Government for Russia has been constituted on a democratic basis, Russia should join the League of Nations and co-operate with the other members in the limitation of armaments and of military organisation throughout the world.

Finally, that they abide by the declaration made by Admiral Koltchak on November 27th, 1918, in regard to Russia’s national debts.2

The Allied and Associated Powers will be glad to learn as soon as possible whether the Government of Admiral Koltchak and his associates are prepared to accept these conditions, and also whether in the event of acceptance they will undertake to form a single government and army command as soon as the military situation makes it possible.

  • G. Clemenceau
  • D. Lloyd George
  • V. E. Orlando
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • Saionji

Appendix II to CF–37


The Secretary General of the Commission on the International Regime of Ports, Waterways and Railways to the Secretary General of the Peace Conference

By its letter of May 15th, 1919, the Economic Commission called the attention of the Commission on the International Régime of Ports, Waterways & Railways to a question raised by the Czechoslovak Delegation relative to the international régime of the telegraph and telephone service.

The Czecho-Slovak Delegation considers that, given its geographical position, it is absolutely indispensable for it to have certain [Page 76] guarantees for its telegraph and telephone services, without which it would be at the mercy of the Enemy Powers.

It demands the insertion of stipulations to that effect in the Treaties of Peace with Austria and Hungary.

In view of the urgency of the matter, instructions were given to me to cause the question to be examined by a Technical Committee of the Commission on the Régime of Ports, and to forward to you direct the result of this examination. This Technical Committee proposes the insertion of the clause, copy of which is enclosed.

This clause, which bears the number 38a, should follow Article 38 of the clauses for insertion in the Treaty of Peace with Austria forwarded as an enclosure in the letter of May 12th from the President of the Commission on the Régime of Ports.3

It should, by the way, be observed that it would have been most desirable to insert a similar clause in the Treaty of Peace with Germany, but doubt regarding the extent of the respective powers of the Commission on Ports and the Economic Commission, and the fact that the Czecho-Slovak Republic was not represented on the latter Commission, delayed the examination of the Régime of telegraph and telephone services, so that this question could not be settled before May 21st.

A. Chargueraud

Enclosure to Above

Article 38a

In consequence of the geographical position of the Czecho-Slovak Republic, Austria Hungary accepts the following modifications in the International Telegraph and Telephone Conventions referred to in Article … (renewal of these Conventions—Article 283 of the Treaty with Germany):

On the demand of the Czecho-Slovak Republic, Austria Hungary will provide that State with direct telegraph lines across Austrian Hungarian territory and will ensure their upkeep;
The annual rent which the Czecho-Slovak Republic will have to pay for each of these lines will be reckoned in accordance with the stipulations of the Conventions above mentioned. However, this rent, in default of agreement to the contrary, shall not be less than the sum which, in accordance with those Conventions would have to be paid for the number of messages laid down by the said Conventions as conferring the right to demand new direct lines.
So long as the Czecho-Slovak Republic pays the above minimum annual rent for a direct line: [Page 77]
this line shall be exclusively reserved for transit service from and to the Czecho-Slovak Republic;
the authorization given to Austria Hungary by Article 8 of the International Telegraph Convention of July 22nd 18754 to suspend the International Telegraph Service shall not apply to this line.
Similar conditions shall apply to the placing at the disposal of the Czecho-Slovak Republic and to the upkeep of direct telephone circuits. However, in default of agreement to the contrary, the rent payable by the Czecho-Slovak Republic for a direct telephone circuit shall be double the rent to be paid for a direct telegraph line.
A subsequent Convention between the States concerned shall indicate the special lines with which Austria Hungary shall be bound to provide the Czecho-Slovak Republic, and the administrative, technical and financial conditions not laid down in the International Conventions or in the stipulations of the present Article. In case of disagreement, whether concerning the conclusion of this Convention or its interpretation, or the interpretation of the present Article, an Arbitrator appointed by the Council of the League of Nations shall decide the points which form the subject of the disagreement.
At any time the stipulations contained in the present Article may be modified by an agreement between Austria Hungary and the Czechoslovak Republic. In case of disagreement between the parties and after the expiration of a period of ten years from the coming into force of the present Treaty, the conditions in accordance with which the Czecho-Slovak Republic shall enjoy the rights given to it by the present Article may be modified on the demand of either of the parties by an Arbitrator appointed by the Council of the League of Nations.

  1. Appendix I, infra.
  2. See CF–31, p. 16.
  3. See appendix to CF–11, vol. v, p. 593.
  4. British and Foreign State Papers, vol. lxvi, p. 19.