Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/41
Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House, Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Thursday, May 29, 1919, at 11 a.m.
United States of America
- President Wilson.
- Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
- M. Clemenceau.
- M. Orlando.
- United States of America
|Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B., Secretary.
|Count Aldrovandi, Secretary.
|Professor P. J. Mantoux, Interpreter.
1. The Council had under consideration a letter dated May 28th, 1919, from Mr. Hurst, the British Member of the Drafting Committee, addressed to Sir Maurice Hankey, on the subject of the Language of the Treaty of Peace. (Appendix I). The Language of the Treaty of Peace
(It was agreed that in the event of divergence between the English, French and Italian texts of the Treaty of Peace with Austria, the French text should prevail.
The Drafting Committee was authorised to insert a clause to this effect in the Treaty of Peace.
A copy of Mr Hurst’s letter was initialled by the four Heads of States and Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to communicate it immediately to the Secretary General for the information of the Drafting Committee.)
2. The Council had before them a letter dated May 28th, 1919, from Mr. Hurst to Sir Maurice Hankey, stating that the Drafting Committee had endeavoured to cut out of the Treaty of Peace with Austria, phraseology which definitely committed the Allied and Associated Powers to either view as to the relations which the new Austria bears to the old Austria-Hungary, and for this purpose, they had cut out of Article 297 (c) [(e)?] (32 of the Draft Economic Clauses with Austria) the words “tel qu’il existait au ler Août 1914”. (Appendix II). The Relations of New Austria to Old Austria
M. Orlando said this was not merely a question of drafting, but one of material importance, because it related to damage and who would bear the cost. He suggested that the question should be sent to the Reparations Commission.[Page 104]
President Wilson said that perhaps he had a different idea of the point from M. Orlando. He understood that in the Treaty, Austrian nationals could only be made to pay for damage done by Austria. Consequently, by describing Austria as being the same as she existed on the 1st August, 1914, the field of payment was not really widened. Supposing an English firm suffered by loss in Prague, and this was paid out of Austrian funds in London, this would not be fair. The sum ought to be paid out of the property of Bohemians. It was not fair to impose on an Austria reduced to narrow limits, the cost of damages in other parts of the old Austria-Hungary. It was perfectly fair to link up Hungary, but not Bohemia, and other parts which had ceased to be hostile.
(After some further discussion, it was agreed:—
- To refer the question to the Reparations Commission for remarks.
- That in the meanwhile, the words “tel qu’il existait au ler Août 1914” should remain provisionally in the Treaty of Peace, reserving the right to delete the words after receiving the views of the Reparations Commission.
Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to communicate these decisions to the Secretary-General for the necessary action.)
3. The Council had before them the following two documents,1 relating to the Articles previously approved for insertion in the Austrian and Hungarian Treaties, with regard to telegraph and telephone services with the Czecho-Slovak Republic:—2 Telegraphs and Telephones With Czecho-Slovakia
- A letter dated May 26th, addressed by the Secretary-General of the Commission on the International Regime of Ports, Waterways and Railways to the Secretary-General of the Peace Conference, stating that the Technical Committee with Austria and which drafted the Clause, proposed, in order to make its terms clearer the following additions to paragraph 2:—After the words “to demand new direct line” add “taking as a basis the reduced tariff provided for in Article 23, para. 5 of the International Telegraph Convention (as revised at Lisbon3)”. Provisions in the Treaty of Peace With Austria and With Hungary
- A letter addressed by Lord Robert Cecil to Sir Maurice Hankey,
dealing with the same subject from the point of view of the
League of Nations, and suggesting the following alterations:—
Omission of the underlined words in the following sentence:—4
“Whether concerning the conclusion of this Convention, or its interpretation or the interpretation of the present Article”
Addition of a new paragraph 7.
“In case of any dispute between the parties as to the interpretation either of the present Article or of the Convention [Page 105] referred to in paragraph 5, this dispute shall be submitted for decision to the Permanent Court of International Justice to be established by the League of Nations.
Lord Robert Cecil, in his letter, gave the following reasons for these changes:—
- The duties to be performed under paras. 5 and 6 not being of a legal character, could clearly be better performed by a single expert arbitrator backed by the authority of the League, than they could by the International Court.
- But on the other hand, the interpretation of Treaties like this, which might [?] create specific rights to find any detail, should be done by the International Court. It will exist for such purposes, and especially to deal with matters like this, which, if of minor importance, are extremely contentious.
(Both the above alterations were agreed to, and the Article, as finally approved is contained in Appendix III. The Article was initialled by the four Heads of Governments, and Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward it to the Secretary-General for the information of the Drafting Committee).
4. M. Clemenceau reported that an advance instalment of the German counter proposals to the Treaty of Peace4a had been received and was being translated. German Counter Propositions to the Treaty of Peace
Mr. Lloyd George pressed the great urgency of translating and reproducing this rapidly. This could only be done if a large number of translators were set to work, as he was informed that even this advance instalment consisted of 87 printed pages.
Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to place himself in immediate communication with the Secretary General and with the Secretary of the United States Delegation with a view to as many persons as possible being employed to translate the Treaty.
5. M. Orlando reported that the Drafting Committee had received no instructions as to the boundaries between Austria and Italy. Boundaries Between Austria and Italy
President Wilson said that according to his recollection it had been understood that the boundary would be that contained in the Treaty of London dated 26th April 1919 , with rectifications giving the Sexten Valley to Italy as well as a certain region in the vicinity of Tarvis.
At this point there was some discussion as to the arrangements to be made in regard to Klagenfurt and President Wilson explained his proposals on a map.
Note At this point the Council adjourned upstairs to meet the Experts for a discussion on the boundaries of Klagenfurt. This discussion is reported as a separate Meeting.5 On the conclusion of [Page 106] the Meeting, the Experts were left to draw the precise lines of demarcation on a map.
After their return to President Wilson’s library, the following resolution was approved and initialled by the four Heads of States:—
“The Drafting Committee are instructed to include in the Treaty of Peace with Austria the boundary between Italy and Austria as described in the Treaty of London, dated 26th of April, 1915, with the rectifications shown in the attached map, giving the Sexten Valley to Italy, as well as a certain region in the vicinity of Tarvis.
The Valley of Klagenfurt, including the Town of Klagenfurt, will be disposed of by means of a plebiscite within six months after the signature of the Treaty of Peace with Austria.
The question of the triangle, including Assling is reserved for the decision of the principal Allied and Associated Powers, and Austria is to accept their decision.[”]
Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward this decision to the Secretary General for the Drafting Committee and to see that the map on which the Experts were working was also forwarded to the Drafting Committee.
6. With reference to C. F. 37 B.,6 Mr. Jules Cambon made the following report of his interview with the Serbian, Jugo-Slav and Czecho-Slovak Delegations:—
“The question of knowing if the powers of the Austrian Delegation ought to be given in the name of the Republic of German Austria, or quite simply Delegates of the Republic of Austria, has been put before the Serbian, Jugo-Slav and Czecho-Slovak Delegations. Designation of the New Austria. The Credentials of the Austrian Delegates
The Jugo-Slav Delegation is of opinion that the word ‘German ought not to figure in the title of the Austrian Delegation for the reason that the maintenance of this word would tend to encourage the belief that outside the Duchy of Austria there is an Austria; but Dalmatia used to form the Duchy and Croatia used to form part of the Kingdom of Hungary.
The Czecho-Slovak Delegation is still more explicit:—it would attach great importance to the disappearance of the word ‘German’. In fact, if the maintenance of this word seems to lead to the re-attachment of Austria to Germany, a point of view which interests more especially the Czecs, it would create a bond between the Germans residing in Bohemia and those residing in Austria and serve as a pretext for a pro-German division in part of the territories of Czechoslovakia.
The two Delegations consulted are of opinion that the term ‘German Austria should be suppressed. On the other hand it is necessary to bear in mind that all the Official Documents of the new Austrian Republic bear this mention of German Austria. It is thus that the law of the 14th March 1919 on the representation of the people has been framed in its Article 8:
‘The President of the National Assembly represents the Republic of German [Page 107] Austria in regard to exterior relations, receives and accredits Envoys and ratifies State Treaties etc.’
Consequently the question becomes more extended: the expression ‘German Austria’ is constitutional and in asking for its suppression one does more than ask for a simple modification in the credentials of the Delegates of the Republic.”
Mr. Lloyd George agreed with M. Cambon that the term “German Austria” could not be accepted.
President Wilson also agreed.
The following resolution was approved and initialled by the four Heads of States:—
“The Drafting Committee is instructed to provide in the Treaty of Peace with Austria that the Allied and Associated Powers recognise the new State of Austria under the title of the ‘Republic of Austria.’[”]
Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward this decision to the Secretary General for the information of the Drafting Committee.
(M. Jules Cambon withdrew.)
7. (Note. Sir Maurice Hankey was engaged outside the Council Room during the following discussion.) The Proposals by M. Krammarsch and M. Pasitch
Notes sent up as a question of urgency by the Secretary General from MM. Krammarsch and Pasitch, urging the omission from the Treaty with Austria of certain political clauses, including clauses proposed by the Committee on New States, were considered.
(It was agreed to refer these clauses to the Drafting Committee and to give M. Krammarsch and M. Pasitch an opportunity of stating their views at the Plenary Conference in the afternoon. Verbal instructions to this effect were given to the Secretary General’s messenger by President Wilson.)
8. M. Clemenceau handed Sir Maurice Hankey, for translation and circulation, two despatches from the Armistice French Minister at Warsaw, in regard to General Haller’s Army. Poland. The Polish-Ukrainian Armistice
9. President Wilson read the following Note prepared for the Council by the Drafting Committee:— Dantzig
Instruction of Supreme Council of 24th May, 1919, for Modification of Text of Articles 102 and 104.
The Drafting Committee has the honour to draw the attention of the Supreme Council to the following observations:—
The modification of the text of Articles 102 and 104 of the German Treaty in such a way as to provide for the existence of Dantzig as a free town only after the conclusion of the Treaty with Poland, and the elaboration of the constitution, does not appear to agree with Article 5 of the Instructions of 22nd April (now Article 105 of the German Treaty) according to which “from the coming into force of the present Treaty” the Germans inhabiting Dantzig become “citizens [Page 108] of the free town of Dantzig”—which pre-suppose apparently that the free town of Dantzig will be in existence at that moment.
The terms of the instructions of 22nd April define the purpose of the stipulations in the following terms: “to establish the free city of Dantzig”.
Under these circumstances, the Drafting Committee would be grateful if the Supreme Council would confirm the modifications it desires to have made in the Text in question.
For the Drafting Committee.
(Signed) H. Fromageot.
(It was agreed that the Drafting Committee should receive instructions that the other parts of the Treaty of Peace with Germany should be modified so as to conform with the decision for the modification of Articles 102 and 104 in such a way as to provide for the existence of Dantzig as a free town only after the conclusion of the Treaty with Poland.)
Sir Maurice Hankey was directed to prepare an instruction for the Drafting Committee for the initials of the four Heads of States.
10. Sir Maurice Hankey reported that this subject had originally been referred to the Military Representatives at Versailles, who had drawn up a Convention for submission to the Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers. On the date when this report was to come forward a letter had been received by Mr. Lloyd George from Lord Robert Cecil asking that the Supreme Economic Council’s views might be heard. The Convention had then been remitted for discussion in the first instance between the British Military Representatives and the British representatives on the Supreme Economic Council. A report had now been received which had been agreed to in both cases reluctantly by Lord Robert Cecil and General Thwaites. Sir Maurice Hankey suggested that this revised report should be referred for consideration by the Military Representatives at Versailles together with representatives of the Supreme Economic Council. Convention for the Occupation of the Rhine Provinces. Size of the Army of Occupation
President Wilson did not like this procedure as he felt that very large questions of policy were involved. He read a letter he had received from Mr. Noyes, the American delegate on the Inter-Allied Rhineland Commission (Appendix IV).
Mr. Lloyd George said he thought that the whole question of the occupation of the Rhine provinces would have to be re-considered and re-argued. The occupation of Russia by foreign troops had, according to many accounts he had received, created Bolshevism. This had happened both in Archangel and in the Ukraine. It seemed as though troops felt less responsible when in occupation of a foreign country than in their own country. The antagonism of the people was then excited. The army of occupation in this case would have [Page 109] to be maintained at German cost and this would subtract from the fund for reparation. Troops in a foreign country would cost two or three times as much as they would in the home country. Consequently, he took the view that the prolonged occupation of German territory had been agreed to too readily. There would be no danger from Germany for the next fifteen years owing to German exhaustion. After that, however, the danger might recommence, for in fifteen years Germany would be much stronger than she is now. The Peace Treaty provided that the stronger Germany became the fewer troops would be in occupation of German territory.
M. Clemenceau said he could not agree to a reconsideration of what had been written in the Treaty.
Mr. Lloyd George said that as one of the Powers which had inflicted defeat on Germany he intended to insist on re-consideration of this question and he was entitled to be heard.
President Wilson said his point of view was that we must insist on the civil life of the people continuing without interference.
M. Clemenceau said he was willing to accept President Wilson’s point of view, but he was not willing to have the decision re-considered.
President Wilson suggested that a special Commission composed of persons of political experience should be appointed to re-write the Convention on the lines suggested in Mr. Noyes’ letter.
M. Orlando said that M. Mantoux reminded him that during the German occupation of France in the War of 1870 they had not participated in any way in the civil occupation.
M. Mantoux said that they had established garrisons and that was all.
Mr Lloyd George said that the question of the size of the army of occupation must be considered at the same time. At the present time he had not the slightest idea of what it was to consist.
President Wilson recalled that he had told M. Clemenceau that he could not keep many United States troops on the Rhine, only enough indeed, to show the flag. Mr. Lloyd George had said the same and it had been understood that France was to provide the necessary force on the understanding that it was an international force.
Mr. Lloyd George said that it was, nevertheless, necessary to know what its size would be.
Sir Maurice Hankey reported that this question had been referred to the Military Representatives at Versailles, but that General Bliss had first postponed discussing the question until after a conversation between General Pershing and Marshal Foch on May 24th, and had subsequently stated that as no more American troops were being withdrawn for the present, it had no urgency and that in any case he could not discuss it as for the moment it was before the President.[Page 110]
President Wilson said he felt sure that General Bliss would have no objection to a discussion of the strength of the total force, irrespective of the numbers to be supplied by each Power.
Mr. Lloyd George suggested that civilians with political experience ought to be included on this enquiry also.
M. Clemenceau suggested a Commission composed of four civilians and four military men.
President Wilson agreed, and pointed out how closely the two questions were interwoven. If the army were simply concentrated in garrison without interference with the administration, a relatively small force might be fixed, whereas if martial law were imposed and the troops dispersed, a much larger force would be necessary.
Mr. Lloyd George then read a letter which had been sent from the Secretary-General by General Weygand recommending that barracks should be built for the troops required for the occupation of the Rhine provinces and urging that this should be done at German expense.
After some further discussion it was agreed:—
- That a Commission composed of a representative of the United
States of America, to be nominated by President Wilson, Lord
Robert Cecil for Great Britain, M. Loucheur for France and the
Marquis Imperiali for Italy, should be appointed to re-write the
draft Convention relating to the occupation of the Rhine
provinces on the skeleton plan suggested in the letter from Mr.
Noyes, the American delegate on the Inter-Allied Rhineland
Commission, to President Wilson, dated May 27th, 1919, namely:—
- As few troops as possible concentrated in barracks or reserve areas with no “billeting”, except possibly for officers.
- Complete self-government for the territory with the exceptions below.
- A Civil Commission with powers:—
- To make regulations or change old ones
whenever German law or actions:—
- Threaten the carrying out of Treaty terms, or
- Threaten the comfort or security of troops.
- To authorise the Army to take control under martial law either in danger spots or throughout the territory whenever conditions seem to them to make this necessary.
- That the following Military Representatives should be
associated with the above Commission:—
- General Bliss for United States of America
- General Sir Hy. Wilson for Great Britain
- Marshal Foch for France
- General Cavallero for Italy,
- for the purpose of making recommendations as to the total size of the Army of Occupation of the Rhine Provinces without specifying the strength of the force to be maintained by the various nations concerned.
- That in view of the fact that the German counter provisions are now under consideration the two Commissions should be asked to report at the earliest possible moment.
- Copies of these documents do not accompany the minutes of this meeting.↩
- See CF–37, p. 73, and appendix II thereto, p. 75.↩
- British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cii, pp. 214, 234.↩
- The underlined words are printed in italics.↩
- For text of the German observations of May 29, see p. 795.↩
- CF–40, supra. ↩
- Ante, p. 82.↩