Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/37½


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House, Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Wednesday, May 28, 1919, at 11:45 a.m.

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

Colonel House and M. Jules Cambon were present at the outset.

1. M. Clemenceau said that M. Cambon had received full powers from the Austrian Delegates, which were in the name of German Austria. The question that arose was as to whether they should be accepted for German Austria. His private opinion was that this was not a question to break on, but he thought they ought to be asked to give them in the name of Austria. The Credentials of the Austrian Delegates

President Wilson asked, if, in accepting the full powers, we could not reserve judgement as to whether the designation was a correct one.

M. Cambon urged that there was only one Austria. There was the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Hungary etc., but Austria was Austria.

Mr. Lloyd George urged that the other nations, constituted out of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire should be consulted.

(It was agreed that M. Jules Cambon should see the representatives in Paris, of the Czecho-Slovaks and Jugo-Slavs, and should report the result on the following morning).

(M. Cambon then withdrew.)

2. Colonel House and Mr. Lloyd George reported the result of their conversation with M. Orlando just before this meeting. A note of this conversation, substantially identical with but slightly fuller than their report, is given in C. F. 37. A. Italian Claims

(Colonel House withdrew.)

[Page 83]

3. M. Clemenceau read a telegram from General Dupont,1 reporting preparations in Germany in the event of an Allied advance. He also read another report, according to which Herr Dernburg2 had told a Member of the French Mission in Berlin that he did not say the Germans would not sign, but if they did sign, the present Government would be replaced by a Socialist Government, which would be unable to carry out the Treaty. Germany and the Treaty of Peace

4. M. Clemenceau reported that, as agreed to on the previous day, he had instructed the French Diplomatic Representative at Warsaw that he was to let the Polish Government know that the four Principal Allied and Associated Powers were unanimous in stopping the advance of the Poles against the Ukrainians, and that they were not supported by the French Government any more than by any other Government. He said he had bad news from that front. He then read a despatch from Bucharest, according to which the Polish offensive had been pushed as far as Stryj, the objective being Stanislau. The Roumanians were pushing north with the same objective. A desperate resistance must be expected on the part of the Ukrainians. If Poland was to receive Galicia, it would be a great scandal and due to the British and French munitions that had been sent there. Polish-Ukrainian Armistice

(It was agreed that M. Paderewski should be seen at once on the subject. Captain Harmsworth was sent in a motor car to try and bring him before the end of the meeting. Captain Harmsworth., however, had not returned by 1 p.m., when the meeting was adjourned.)

5. President Wilson said he had news that, in spite of the representations that had been made, Italy was still sending troops to Asia-Minor. Italy and Asia-Minor

Lloyd George said that, when the question had been discussed at the Council, he had made it quite clear that, if Italy did not withdraw her troops, he would disinterest himself altogether in Italian claims in Asia-Minor. He adhered to this.

M. Clemenceau said that M. Barrère had reported that the trouble in Italy about Smyrna was due to the fact that M. Orlando had never let it be known that he had agreed to the Greek occupation.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the Italians had occupied the zones in Asia-Minor in defiance of the Council.

M. Clemenceau said that he had heard from General Hombert3 [Page 84] that Fiume had been occupied in the name of the King of Italy, and that all notices, etc., were issued in his name.

6. President Wilson read a letter, dated 27th May, from the Austrian Delegation (Appendix I), asking that General Slatin4 might be permitted to have direct communication with the Commission concerned with Prisoners of War, with a view to a common and prompt solution being found in regard to these questions. Prisoners of War-Meeting With Austrian Delegate

(It was agreed that the Prisoners of War Commission should be authorised to meet General Slatin.

Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to take the necessary action with the Secretary-General.)

7. Sir Maurice Hankey read a letter from M. Berthelot with an enclosure from M. Bratiano (Appendix II.). Committee on New States; Article in Austrian Treaty Concerning Roumania

(It was agreed that the following Article, already approved for insertion in the Treaty with Hungary, should be inserted in the Treaty with Austria:—

“Roumania accepts and agrees to embody in a Treaty with the Principal Allied and Associated Powers such provisions as may be deemed necessary by the said Powers to protect the interests of inhabitants of Roumania who differ from the majority of the population in race, language, or religion.

“Roumania further accepts and agrees to embody in a Treaty with the said Powers such provisions as they may deem necessary to protect freedom of transit and equitable treatment of the commerce of other Nations.”

The above Article was initialled, and Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward it to the Secretary-General for communication to the Drafting Committee.

Note. M. Orlando had initialled this Article before the meeting.)

8. Sir Maurice Hankey reminded the Council that, on May 20th, they had approved the proposals of the Reparation Committee in regard to a request by the Serbian Delegation for one-tenth of the total of the first instalment of reparation demanded from Germany.5 He had felt some doubt as to how this decision was to be translated into action, and had accordingly referred to Mr. Keynes for advice. Mr. Keynes had replied with a memorandum, from which Sir Maurice Hankey read the following extract:— Reference to CF–20, Minute 9, And Appendix

“Altogether, therefore, Serbia has already had, apart from other loans, a sum of nearly double that proposed in the memorandum as an advance in respect of indemnity receipts. She is also currently [Page 85] receiving money at a monthly rate greater than that recommended. I suggest, therefore, that, in view of these circumstances, no action is needed.”

Sir Maurice Hankey asked for instructions as to what action, if any, he should take.

(It was agreed that the question should be referred to a Committee, composed of Mr. Keynes, M. Loucheur and Mr. Norman Davis, who should be asked to consider what executive action should be taken, and to make such communications as might be necessary to the Serbians.)

9. Mr. Lloyd George asked if there was any objection to boots, munitions, etc., being sent to Esthonia. Esthonia

M. Clemenceau said there was none.

10. President Wilson said he had received the draft Articles prepared by the Italian Delegation in regard to the territory of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire to be transferred to Italy, together with some remarks by Mr. Lansing. Among other things, Mr. Lansing had proposed that several of the Articles should be referred to the appropriate Commissions of the Conference. This would involve some delay, so that these clauses could not be handed to the Austrians on Friday. Austrian Treaty: Political Articles in Regard to Territory Transferred to Italy

Mr. Lloyd George said they could be sent subsequently. He insisted strongly that the Czecho-Slovak, Yugo-Slav and Polish Delegations should see these Articles.

(It was agreed:—

To approve the suggestion of the American Delegation that certain of the Articles should be referred to the appropriate Commissions of the Conference.
That the draft articles should be communicated to the Czechoslovak, Yugo-Slav and Polish Delegations, and any other Delegations concerned, for their remarks.

Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to arrange with the Secretary-General to give effect to this decision.)

11. It was agreed that a Plenary Conference should be held on May 29th at 3 p.m., to which should be invited the plenipotentiaries of the following States:— Plenary Conference

The Principal Allied and Associated Powers.
All States which were at war with Austria-Hungary.
The new States formed out of the territory of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, and all States which are receiving territory from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Sir Maurice Hankey was directed to communicate this decision to the Secretary-General.)

[Page 86]

11. [11a.] Sir Maurice Hankey reported that a summary of the Austrian Treaty was being prepared in the British Delegation. Publicity of the Austrian Treaty

M. Clemenceau asked that Sir Maurice Hankey would communicate a copy to M. Tardieu, in order that it might be translated into French.

(It was agreed that the summary of the Treaty should be published after communication of the Treaty to the Austrian Delegates.)

12. M. Clemenceau asked how long a time would be given to the Austrian Delegates to give their reply?Time for the Austrian Reply

Lloyd George urged the time should be short.

President Wilson thought the same time should be given to the Austrians as had been given to the Germans. The Austrian Delegation had not nearly so many experts with them as the Germans.

13. President Wilson said he had read in the newspapers that 60 of the German Experts had left for Berlin. Reduction in the German Delegation

M. Clemenceau reported that this was the case. They had accomplished their work and their presence was no longer required.

Appendix I to CF–37B


[The Austrian Chancellor (Renner) to the President of the Peace Conference (Clemenceau)]

Prot. No. 109

Mr. President: Allow me to bring to your kind attention the following request:

Among the members of the delegation of German Austria to the Peace Conference is General Slatin who from the beginning of the war has devoted himself exclusively to the humanitarian service of the Red Cross and especially to the needs of prisoners of war and interned civilians.

He has had occasion during the past four years to address himself to the Governments of the Allied States, either through the intermediary of representatives of the protecting powers, or directly as an officer of the Red Cross, to bring to their attention desiderata and requests in connection with all questions relating to the treatment of prisoners of war. He has also had occasion to confer personally [Page 87] on these questions several times with representatives of the Allied Powers duly authorized by their Governments.

A prompt solution of all of these questions concerning prisoners of war, which are still in suspense is of extreme importance for German Austria, where millions of relatives anxiously await news of their loved ones who have languished in captivity for years, especially those in Siberia. Such a solution could contribute largely to moderating the feelings of those who are embittered or in fear. Therefore, I would be most grateful, Mr. President, if an opportunity were given to General Slatin to enter from now on and in a manner suitable to the Conference into direct contact with the Commission dealing with prisoners of war, in order to seek by a common work of preparation a prompt and satisfactory solution so far as the technical side of this humanitarian activity is concerned.

Allow me, Mr. President, to request you to give the above request your favorable consideration, and accept assurances of my high consideration.


Appendix II to CF–37B


[M. Berthelot to Sir Maurice Hankey]

Dear Mr. Hankey: The Commission on New States sent to M. Bratiano a request for information concerning the guarantees which Roumania would be willing to give to minorities within her territory.

The Commission received from M. Bratiano a reply, a copy of which follows, indicating that in a general manner the Roumanian Government would assure to minorities the most extensive rights and liberties and that it would accept all the provisions which other states which were members of the League of Nations might make, but Roumania would not permit under any circumstances the intervention of foreign governments in the application of her domestic laws.

Under these circumstances the Commission considered that it was proper to bind Roumania at the time of the signature of the treaty with Austria, taking as occasion the cession of a part of Bukovina, to the execution of the general provision already written into the treaty with Germany in articles 86 and 93, in order that the delay to the Hungarian treaty should not permit Roumania to escape obligations [Page 88] which would result from the signature of a special treaty between the great powers and the new or enlarged states.

Accordingly the Commission on New States requests the Supreme Council to direct at this time the insertion in the treaty with Austria, of the clause on Roumania which it was intended to insert only in the treaty with Hungary.

Yours truly,


M. Bratiano, Roumanian Minister, to M. Berthelot


In reply to the letter that you addressed to me under date of May 23, I have the honour to inform you that Roumania has assured complete equality of rights and liberties, religious and political, to all her citizens, without distinction of race or religion. She considers as Roumanian citizens all individuals born in Roumania and possessing no foreign nationality, as well as all inhabitants of territories newly united with Roumania, who were subjects of the States to which these territories belonged, except those who express their will to opt for another nationality.

In conformity with these principles the Royal Government, in accord with the representatives of Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina, has decided to assure throughout the new kingdom the rights and liberties of minorities by a generous decentralisation of the administration such as to guarantee to alien populations free development in their language, education and worship.

In general Roumania is ready to accept all the provisions that all States members of the League of Nations accept for their own territories in this matter.

Under any other condition Roumania could not admit the intervention of foreign governments in the application of the domestic laws.

  1. Gen. Charles Joseph Dupont, chief of the French Military Mission at Berlin.
  2. Bernhard Dernburg, Vice President of the German Ministry and Minister of Finance from April 1919.
  3. Of the French Army; in command of the Allied troops in Hungary.
  4. Gen. Rudolph Slatin, expert adviser on prisoners of war, Austrian delegation to the Peace Conference.
  5. Vol. v, p. 738.
  6. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  7. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  8. The translation here given is that which appears as annex A to the thirteenth meeting of the Commission on New States (Paris Peace Conf. 181.23201/13).