Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/44


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Tuesday, June 3, 1919, at 4 p.m.

  • Present
    • United States of America
      • President Wilson
    • British Empire
      • The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau
    • Italy
      • M. Orlando
Sir Maurice Hankey } Secretaries.
Count Aldrovandi
Professor Mantoux—Interpreter.

1. President Wilson suggested that the Council should begin by discussing Upper Silesia. The aspect that took him most by surprise was that in the general financial clauses of the Treaty of Peace, provision had been made which permitted the Allied and Associated Powers to expropriate the rights of German nationals in their own territory, and use the funds so obtained to indemnify their own nationals for losses in German territory. For example, in the United States all German businesses he understood had been sequestrated, and under the Treaty they would be used to make good to citizens of the United States for losses incurred in Germany. Germany was by the Treaty bound to make good their losses to German nationals. As he understood the matter there would be a certain balance in the value of German property which formed a contribution to reparation. Under these general terms, which were intended originally to apply to belligerents, Poland as an Allied and Associated Power would be in a position to expropriate mines privately owned by Germans and other property in Silesia, and to make the German Government pay the German proprietors. German Observations of the Treaty of Peace: Upper Silesia

M. Clemenceau said he believed the mines in Silesia were the property of the Crown.

Mr. Lloyd George said his impression was the same, but they were leased to private persons.

President Wilson said that in that case Germany would have to make good to the German proprietors the leasehold value. He had not been conscious that the new States were empowered to do this, particularly [Page 148] as it had been provided elsewhere in the Treaty for payment by Poland for public buildings. The question seemed to him to present a very serious aspect with regard to many of the industries in Silesia.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that it was specially serious in Silesia which, unlike Alsace-Lorraine, had not been Polish territory for 800 years.

President Wilson suggested that the mistakes in the Treaty about frontiers between Germany and Poland could easily be corrected. Furthermore he would be in favour of exacting from Poland an arrangement by which Germany would get her coal on the same terms from the mines transferred to Polish territory as Poland could. Provision should also be made for the property of German nationals to be paid for by the Polish Government under some fair process of assessment.

Mr. Lloyd George asked why the Germans should lose their property at all. About one-third of the population of Upper Silesia was German, amounting in all to some 600,000; consequently it would not be right for the Poles to confiscate the property of these people. He asked if the clauses for the protection of minorities would not also protect the German minority. If the mines were the property of the German Government, their value ought to go to the Reparation Fund.

President Wilson then drew attention to the German statement as to the effect of the loss of Coal in Silesia. If the facts were considered they would be found to differ from the generalities in the German letter. The places in which the coal was actually consumed would no longer be in Germany, since they were in Posen. Consequently the German contention was untrue.

Mr. Lloyd George agreed that the German case on the Silesian coal was no case at all.

President Wilson urged that provision ought to be made for allowing Germany to get the coal on the same terms as the Poles.

He then drew attention to the ethnographical map which Mr. Lloyd George had lent him on the previous day. He said that he had conferred on this subject with Mr. Lord, the American expert.

In the Schneidemühl-Konitz region he was advised that the country consisted principally of heath and marsh, and that the population was very sparse. Mr. Lord agreed, however, that the map should be redrawn so as to place the railway in German territory.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the population concerned numbered some 80,000.

President Wilson suggested that if this matter were put right, and if there were a rectification of the frontier in Guhrau-Militsch region, based on ethnographical considerations, the main difficulty [Page 149] would be got rid of. The remainder of the boundaries were drawn almost entirely on ethnographical considerations.

M. Clemenceau asked on which side the railway was now.

President Wilson said it was on the Polish side, and the proposal was to transfer it to the German side of the boundary, since it joined two German regions. It only ran just inside the proposed frontier line.

Mr. Lloyd George then drew attention to an area in the extreme North of Poland, which was entirely German in population, and ought to form part of Pomerania. He pointed out that the line had been drawn so as to include it in Poland, mainly in order to widen the corridor.

President Wilson agreed that that might be rectified.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the most important point was Upper Silesia. After long consideration he did not believe that a plebiscite could be carried out until the German officials, as well as the German troops, had been withdrawn. The officials, however, would not leave unless that were expressly provided for in the Treaty.

President Wilson said that Mr. Lord had informed him that the people in Upper Silesia were entirely dominated by a small number of magnates and capitalists, probably not exceeding 20 all together. Among them was Prince Henry of Pless. Mr. Lord actually knew the names of these magnates, who practically owned the whole Region. The people of this district had been practically feudal servants of the magnates from time immemorial. The experts did not believe that a free plebiscite was possible in these conditions.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the answer to this was that the people had actually shown their views by a vote.

President Wilson said they had voted German.

Mr. Lloyd George said this was not the case. In 1907 they had returned a majority of Polish members. In 1912 the numbers of German and Polish members had been equal. That is to say in 1907 when the Germans were still complete masters, there had been only three German deputies to five Polish. Our experts believed that Upper Silesia would vote Polish. Nevertheless they strongly advised a plebiscite on the ground that it would get rid of a German grievance.

President Wilson pointed out that the property owners would be playing for high stakes, and would use every possible influence. Every possible objection would be made by the German Delegation.

Mr. Lloyd George asked who were the capitalists on the German Delegation.

President Wilson said there were none, but they were arguing the case of the German capitalists.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that Upper Silesia had not been Polish for 800 years. There was no resemblance between the case of [Page 150] Upper Silesia and Alsace-Lorraine. It was proposed to tear something from Germany that had been in the same combination as the other States of the German Empire for 800 years. In these circumstances he considered that the people must have some voice.

President Wilson said he did not dispute the right of the people to have a voice, but he doubted whether it could in practice be carried out freely.

Mr. Lloyd George considered that it would be necessary to occupy Upper Silesia temporarily. If there were any attempt at intimidation, the Allies would have to interfere. Every man should have the right to vote as he pleased. He himself had some experience of attempts to intimidate in elections, particularly in agricultural districts, but it had been overcome in Great Britain. The population of Silesia, however, was not mainly agricultural and was not likely to be intimidated.

President Wilson pointed out that the greater part of the region was agricultural.

Mr. Lloyd George replied that the bulk of the population, however, were in the towns and industrial areas. An industrial population very much resented interference by employers.

President Wilson said that Mr. Lloyd George spoke of England. The same was not the case elsewhere. Even in the United States of America there was a great deal of domination at elections by employers in the great industrial districts. He himself had done much to overcome it and would be disappointed if he did not succeed in doing so in the end.

Mr. Lloyd George then quoted the figures for the election which had taken place in 1912 in Upper Silesia, this being a less favourable election from the Polish point of view than 1907. In 1912, 97,000 Polish votes had been cast against 82,000 other votes, and these latter included Socialists, for whom a good many Poles would vote. The figures showed that talk of intimidation had no basis in fact. Even when there had been every possibility of intimidation, the Poles had cast more votes, and the capitalists did not seem to exercise much influence.

President Wilson pointed out that in the case under consideration, the vote would be to join their fellow-countrymen. If they did vote for Poland, the whole status of their principal men would be changed, and not always for the good of the population.

Mr. Lloyd George said that his understanding of self-determination was that of the people themselves, and not that of experts like Mr. Lord. He was simply standing by President Wilson’s Fourteen Points and fighting them through. He could not accept the view that any experts could judge better than the people themselves. Why should there be a plebiscite in Allenstein, Schleswig, Klagenfurt, but not in Upper Silesia?

[Page 151]

President Wilson said that if there were a chance of a free vote, he was all in favour of it. But it would be necessary to exclude both the German officials and the army.

Mr. Lloyd George said that that was exactly the argument M. Orlando had used in the case of Klagenfurt.

President Wilson said he could not allow Mr. Lloyd George to suggest that he himself was not in favour of self-determination. All he wanted to be sure of was that it was a genuine self-determination. He was assured by his representatives at Versailles that there would be armed resistance to the Polish occupation of Silesia.

Mr. Lloyd George agreed, but said the same would not apply to a plebiscite.

President Wilson asked whether Mr. Lloyd George had considered the time and the arrangements.

Mr. Lloyd George said they would be the same as for Allenstein. In order to prevent intimidation in Allenstein, he reminded his colleagues that half a dozen conditions had been drawn up. Eventually it had been decided not to embody them in the Peace Treaty, but to leave it to the League of Nations Commission to lay down the conditions.

President Wilson said he assumed that the Germans would be bound by the Treaty to accept the conditions laid down by the Commission.

Mr. Lloyd George said he was inclined to introduce a provision for occupation by United States troops.

President Wilson asked how Mr. Lloyd George would escape the argument that the Germans would use that the Allied troops were simply being used to bring about the result their Governments desired.

Mr. Lloyd George said the Germans would have to trust the Allies. His plan would be to remove both German and Polish troops and put in sufficient Allied troops to police the country.

President Wilson said that in the case of Allenstein, the idea had not been to send in the Allied troops, but to keep them in the vicinity. He felt there was a good deal of danger in Mr. Lloyd George’s plan. The main object was to get a fair plebiscite.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the impression he derived from many quarters—Berlin, Cologne, and what he heard from Versailles, was that Silesia was the point to which the Germans attached most importance. He himself wanted to avoid the necessity of occupying Berlin. He was afraid of a repetition of the Moscow campaign, namely, an easy march and, on arrival, to find no-one with whom to treat.

President Wilson said that he was less concerned with the question of whether Germany would or would not sign than with ensuring [Page 152] that the arrangements in the Treaty of Peace were sound and just. He was not moved by the argument that the Germans would not sign unless it could be shown by them that the Allied and Associated Powers had not adhered to the principles on which they had agreed to make Peace.

Mr. Lloyd George said that his view of the Peace Treaty was that it was the best we could do on an ex parte hearing, for it must be admitted that the draft Treaty was entirely ex-parte. He thought that now that the Germans had made their observations, the British Delegation was entitled to see how far they had made out a case, and how far it ought to be met. President Wilson himself admitted that the Germans had made a case in regard to some districts. In regard to Silesia, the Germans said that for 800 years it had been associated with the political organisation of which the other States of Germany formed part. Under these circumstances, the British Delegation merely urged that the people should be allowed to decide it for themselves. They were ready that every possible precaution should be taken to avoid any interference by soldiers or officials. If, after this had been done, the Germans refused to sign, then the British would be ready to march with their Allies as loyally as before, and to act as solidly with them as at any time in the war He was not in the least influenced by the arguments of pacifists, but by those of men who had supported him staunchly throughout the war and would still support him provided they were satisfied that the Peace was a just one.

President Wilson suggested that perhaps he and Mr. Lloyd George were not very far apart. His position was substantially the same as that of Mr. Lloyd George. It would not be sound to yield merely because the Germans would not sign, and he was ready to make concessions where they could be shown to be in the interest of fairness. For example, in the matter of reparation, he was prepared to say not that it was not just that Germany should not make full reparation, but that if they could show that the present scheme could not be worked or would not operate fairly, it ought to be reconsidered.

Mr. Lloyd George said that he was half way between the two positions postulated by President Wilson. He was ready to make any concession that was fair, particularly if it would give the Germans an inducement to sign. For example, even though a plebiscite would make no difference in the ultimate destination of Silesia, nevertheless, if it would enable the Germans to sign the Treaty, he would be in favour of it.

President Wilson said he had no objection to doing anything which would help the Germans to sign provided he was doing right.

Mr. Lloyd George said he thought there ought to be a plebiscite [Page 153] taken where any doubt arose. There did seem to be a certain element of doubt in Upper Silesia.

President Wilson suggested that the best plan would be to appoint Commissioners to draw up the safeguards, and supervise the operation of the plebiscite.

M. Clemenceau said he was afraid that in order to avoid one difficulty we should only get into a greater one. He recognised that theoretically a plebiscite was the only method that fitted into the doctrine of the rights of people. The experience of the past, however, did not support the view that the free will of the people could be expressed under Germany. This might be the case where a plebiscite was theoretically suitable, but he took the liberty to affirm that if British, French or United States troops were employed, the Germans would simply allege that pressure had been exercised to avoid a free vote. They would say that the vote had been dictated by the Allies. Then, in Peace, you would have most of the difficulties you had in war, and in some respects they would be graver than today. Mr. Lloyd George said he did not want to have to march to Berlin. Neither did he. Neither had he wanted hundreds of thousands—indeed, millions—to be killed in the present war. But he had had to put up with that, and might have [to] put up with the other. It was difficult to say what were the views of the Polish population of Silesia. He believed the Poles were in the majority, and Mr. Lloyd George said that this was incontestable. He did not know how they would vote: but, if Allied soldiers were present, the Germans would protest just as much as they would against the transfer of Silesia to Poland without a plebiscite. Hence, he thought it would be better to stick to the Treaty of Peace as President Wilson had at first proposed. He was always ready to yield when he was convinced that a proposal was a fair one, in which case he instanced the Saar. Today we wished to know the ideas of the Poles. If an International Commission were employed to carry out the plebiscite, order would have to be assured, and for this troops would be necessary. When it was said that the German troops would be turned out, he—knowing the Germans as he did—felt absolutely certain that there would be fighting; there would be quarrels if there were not actual battles. Hence, he would take the liberty to suggest that it would be better to leave matters as they were.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that if there would be resistance to a plebiscite, there would even the more be resistance to transfer to Poland as proposed in the Treaty.

President Wilson then read No. 13 of his Fourteen Points:—

“An independent Polish State should be erected, which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose [Page 154] political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.”

All that had to be established under this was that the population of Poland was indisputably Polish.

Mr. Lloyd George said that this was exactly the challenge that the Germans made. They said that the population was not Polish in sentiment. Surely the clause just read did not mean that if the Poles preferred to remain under Germany, they would have to become Polish because they were of Polish race.

President Wilson said that we know the ethnographical facts, and there was no need to add a plebiscite, which was not imposed by the Fourteen Points.

Mr. Lloyd George appealed to the principle of self-determination. Under the doctrine proposed by President Wilson, Alsace ought not to go to France, since its population was of German origin.

President Wilson pointed out that Alsace-Lorraine was expressly provided for in the Fourteen Points. In the cases of both Alsace-Lorraine and of Poland, there were specific Articles in the Fourteen Points, to meet the special conditions, and the settlement was based on those rather than on general principles.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that before the Polish Commission met, the case of the transfer of Silesia to Poland had not been in people’s minds.

President Wilson said that it had been generally in his own mind. In Washington, he had seen M. Paderewski and M. Dmowski, and had asked for their views about Poland. As a preliminary, he had asked for an understanding that he and they meant the same thing by Poland. They had sent him maps and papers demanding very much more than Poland was now being given, but, when he spoke of territory that was unmistakably Polish, he included generally Upper Silesia, although it might not have been very prominently in his thoughts.

Mr. Lloyd George said that he had thought mainly of the historical claim, and had not thought much of Upper Silesia.

President Wilson made the proposal that an agreement should be exacted from Germany to accept a plebiscite under safeguards to be laid down by an International Commission. If the Germans would not accept this, then the offer would be withdrawn, and the Allied and Associated Powers would be free to take any decision they pleased. This would avoid M. Clemenceau’s difficulty.

Mr. Lloyd George said he did not think that the Germans would object if United States troops were used to occupy territory during the plebiscite, and he would like to add this.

President Wilson suggested that his proposal should be accepted, [Page 155] together with the small rectifications of the frontiers which had been suggested, that is to say, the alteration of the frontier so as to include the Guhrau-Militsch region in Germany; to bring the railway in the Schneidemühl-Konitz region to the German side of the frontier; and to transfer to Pomerania the German-inhabited region which had been allocated under the Treaty to Poland. Further, the Germans should be bound to accept a plebiscite in Upper Silesia, and to accept the conditions to be laid down by an Inter-Allied Commission.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested to add “including the withdrawal of German troops and policing by Americans”.

M. Clemenceau asked how many troops Mr. Lloyd George contemplated.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested about a division.

President Wilson said he would also suggest to include such safeguards of the property of German nationals in their area as was rendered necessary by the provisions of the Treaty.

Mr. Lloyd George asked for the inclusion of a guarantee that Germany should be able to purchase coal in any region that might be transferred on the same terms as Poland.

President Wilson said that with these provisions he did not think that the Germans would have any case for objecting.

(Sir Maurice Hankey was requested to draft a reference to an Expert Committee on the above lines.)

2. President Wilson said that his position was that he saw no injustice in imposing an obligation for complete reparation on Germany. But he thought it was agreed that it was past hoping for that Germany could, in any time, make complete reparation. Ought we not therefore to instruct our advisers to re-study the method? The idea in the Treaty had been to leave the bill of the total amount undecided for two years, and to set up the Reparations Commission, first, to decide on the amount, and then, to supervise the process and means by which Germany would make good. Germany’s objection was that this constituted an undefined obligation, and that the whole industrial life of Germany would be at the disposal of the Commission, which could prescribe this or that method of payment. In short, it would put the whole economic life of Germany at the disposal of a Commission formed from outside nations. Reparation

Mr. Lloyd George thought that the Germans had overstated the case.

President Wilson agreed. One of his experts had said that, if only the matter could be explained to the Germans as to exactly what was intended, he thought they would not feel the same objections. He, himself, had replied that the present scheme would [Page 156] take 30 years to carry out. Consequently, what guarantee was there that the members of the Reparations Commission would understand the scheme in the same way as those who had drawn it up? Was it not possible, he asked, to make clearer what was intended?

Mr. Lloyd George thought that, in most points, it was perfectly clear.

President Wilson pointed out that, if the German proposal for a definite sum could be accepted, half the objections would disappear.

Mr. Lloyd George said that this was not really the case. There would still be the instalments to be considered, and the guarantees for payment and the controls. The only really important point in the German case was that until the whole liability was ascertained, Germany’s credit was gone, and she could not raise money for her current needs.

President Wilson agreed that this was the case for two years. His experts were, from the first, in favour of a definite sum being fixed.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that every possible way of arriving at a sum had been attempted, but it had not been found possible.

President Wilson said he was struck by the fact that Germany had fixed on the same sum as had most frequently been mentioned in these discussions, namely, five thousand million pounds sterling. It was true that the Germans did not mean the same as the Allies by this. The Germans meant the five thousand millions as a total, whereas the Allies had contemplated the same sum with interest. If we were to say that we would accept five thousand millions sterling if treated as a capital sum with interest to be paid after the first year or two, during which by common consent, Germany could not pay much, would it not form a good basis? Capitalised, this would mean a very large sum.

M. Clemenceau said that M. Loucheur was opposed to this.

Mr. Lloyd George asked if the following two alternative methods of dealing with Reparation, communicated by him to President Wilson and M. Clemenceau, had yet been considered by their experts:—

The Germans to undertake as a contract the whole task of Reparation, and that a sum should be fixed in the Treaty of Peace for all other items in the category of damage.
In the alternative, the Germans to sign the Reparation Clauses as they stand, but that three months should be given them to endeavour to effect an arrangement for the fixing of a definite sum in cash as a commutation for all the claims. In the event of the Germans making no satisfactory offer, the present Reparation clauses would stand.

M. Clemenceau said that M. Loucheur had promised him an answer this evening. He said that the period of three months in the second alternative was very short.

[Page 157]

Mr. Lloyd George said that it might be extended up to four months. He, himself, preferred the first alternative. It struck him as odd that Article 234 of the Treaty of Peace seemed to have escaped the Germans. This article provided for the right of appeal. He thought it might be desirable to draw the attention of the Germans to it.

President Wilson pointed out that the Germans had deliberately avoided mention of everything favourable to them.

M. Clemenceau said he could not agree to settle this question today, as he had not yet seen his experts.

(It was agreed that one representative each of the United States of America, the British Empire, France and Italy, should be appointed to examine the proposals made by Mr. Lloyd George, and referred to above. President Wilson nominated Mr. Baruch for the United States of America. M. Clemenceau nominated M. Loucheur for France. M. Orlando nominated M. Crespi for Italy. Mr. Lloyd George said that, for the moment, he would act for the British Empire himself.)

3. President Wilson said that the German acceptance of the military terms was conditional on their admission to the League of Nations. League of Nations

Mr. Lloyd George said that, on the question of the military terms, his military advisers said that Germany must be given an interval before being called on to reduce her army to 100,000 men. This was necessary, owing to the disturbances in Germany.

M. Clemenceau said that, if this was granted, Germany would never bring her forces down to 100,000.

President Wilson said this was exactly his fear. Moreover, he did not know exactly where the disorder was in Germany, which necessitated the employment of troops. At present their army was used for occupying the Polish frontier and Lithuania.

Mr. Lloyd George said that republics had been proclaimed here and there.

President Wilson said that Mr. Hoovers food experts who, of course, had no political instructions, reported to Mr. Hoover that the question of the entry of Germany into the League of Nations was one of the points most prominently in the German minds. They put Upper Silesia first, and the League of Nations second. It was probably a matter of national pride, which was readily understandable. It was a question of whether they were to be pariahs, or to be admitted into the League of Nations. He thought it was the common intention of the Allied and Associated Powers to admit them as soon as they were convinced that the change in the system of Government was sincere. At present, however, it was difficult to foretell what the future of Germany would be. He asked that a general assurance should be given to Germany.

[Page 158]

M. Clemenceau said Germany only wanted admission to the League of Nations to give trouble there. He, himself, had agreed to the proposal to admit them to the Labour Organisation if the Washington Conference so decided. He had no objection in principle. But peace must first be established as a living thing in Europe and Germany must show herself to be free from the old system of Government.

President Wilson said that had been exactly the view of the Commission on the League of Nations. Would it, he asked, be sufficient to reply to the Germans that they would be admitted to the League of Nations as soon as a stable Government was established?

M. Clemenceau suggested that it should be left to the League of Nations itself to decide.

President Wilson suggested that the answer should be that the Allied and Associated Powers had no intention to exclude Germany from the League of Nations, but thought they had sufficient reasons for awaiting a proof of the sincerity of the change of the system of the Government in Germany. He agreed with Mr. Lloyd George that Germany could be better controlled as a member of the League than outside it.

M. Clemenceau agreed, but said she should not be admitted until she had shown her good faith.

President Wilson pointed out that the most troublesome elements in Europe—Germany and Russia—were, at present, being left outside the League of Nations.

(It was agreed that the reply to the German Delegation should be in the sense that the Allied and Associated Powers had no intention to exclude Germany permanently from the League of Nations, but that her inclusion must be postponed until the sincerity of the change in the system of Government in Germany had been proved by experience.)

4. Mr. Lloyd George said that he had received information that Koltchak had received a bad reverse. Russia

M. Clemenceau said that Koltchak had made a speech that went far to meet the demands of the Council. He had given instructions for a despatch to be circulated to his colleagues to the effect that Koltchak’s reply would be received in a few days. He heard that M. Sazonoff was strongly opposed to the memorandum that had been telegraphed to Koltchak.

Mr. Lloyd George said he had heard of this, and as he understood M. Sazonoff was likely to advise Koltchak not to send a favourable reply, he had asked Mr. Churchill to telegraph to General Knox to urge Koltchak not to listen to Sazonoff.

[Page 159]

5. President Wilson read a telegram from the French Minister at Warsaw, dated May 31st, from General Pilsudski. (Appendix I.)

(It was agreed that this was thoroughly satisfactory.) The Polish-Ukrainian Armistice

6. Mr. Lloyd George said that the German documents had made a certain impression in the Allied countries, and it was necessary to consider the question of a general reply. He the thought it was very important to put the general case and to controvert certain points. It was desirable that a reasoned statement should be prepared. He had already instructed Mr. Kerr to set to work on the subject. The Nature of the Reply to Count Brockdorff-Rantzau’s on the Peace Treaty

President Wilson said it was very important to controvert the argument that the bases had been ignored. In fact, they had not been ignored, but if it could be shown that they had, he, for one, would be ready to make the necessary changes. The real case was that justice had shown itself overwhelmingly against Germany. This ought to be clearly shown in the reply. He was opposed to any further answers being sent to the various German letters. They should now be concentrated in the final reply to Count Brockdorff-Rantzau.

M. Clemenceau said that in the last lines of the letter the Germans should be given a final period within which to say whether they would sign or not.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that the period should not be longer than 7 days, at the end of which the Armistice would come to an end.

President Wilson said he was not at all convinced that if the concessions now proposed were made, the Germans would sign.

M. Clemenceau was convinced that they would not.

Mr. Lloyd George thought that if Brockdorff-Rantzau would not sign, he would probably be replaced by someone else, whose signature might be of little account.

7. In view of the above discussion, Replies to German Notes on Private Property, Religious Missions, Reparation and Restoration

(It was agreed that the draft replies that had been prepared to the German Note of 22nd May, on the subject of Note of German property abroad,1 to the German Note of 17th May on the subject of Religious Missions,2 and to the German Note of 24th May, on the subject of Responsibilities and Reparations,3 should not be despatched, but rather that so much of them as was necessary should be [Page 160] incorporated in the global rejoinder to the German Notes on the Treaty of Peace.)

8. (The proposal of the Council of Foreign Ministers that the Note of the French Government to the Swiss Minister in Paris, dated 18th May, should be inserted in the Treaties of Peace with Germany and with Austria, was approved.) (Appendix II.) Savoy

A copy of the note in French was initialled by the Four Heads of States.

Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward it to the Secretary-General for the information of the Drafting Committee.)

9. The Council had before them letters from the Roumanian and Serbian Delegations, dated 2nd and 1st June respectively, maintaining the reserves they had made in their declarations made at the Plenary Session on the 31st May,3a to the Treaty with Austria. (Appendix III.) Austrian Treaty: Letters of Protest From Roumania & Serbia

(On the proposal of M. Clemenceau, it was agreed that Sir Maurice Hankey should draft a letter for consideration, asking the Roumanian and Serbian Delegations what was the signification of these letters. Was the intention not to sign the Treaty, or was it proposed to sign and then not to carry it out?)

10. The Council had before them the following reports by the Drafting Committee:— Reports by the Drafting Committee on Points Raised in Connection With the Austrian Treaty

Reports by the Report on the proposition of M. Kramarcz.

Opinion as to certain modifications demanded by the Polish Delegation (Polish Note of May 30th, 1919).

Financial Clauses; opinion on certain modifications demanded by the Czecho-Slovak Delegation; Note of 30th May, 1919). (Appendix IV.)

(After a short discussion, it was agreed that the above reports should be referred in the first instance to the Territorial Co-ordinating Committee of the Peace Conference, of which M. Tardieu was President, the said committee to be empowered to invite the co-operation of such experts as it may from time to time require.)

(Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to communicate this decision to the Secretary-General for the necessary action.)

11. (It was agreed that the draft Reparation Clauses prepared by the Commission should be considered on the following day.) Austrian Treaty: Reparation Clauses

Villa Majestic, Paris, 3 June, 1919.

[Page 161]

Appendix I to CF–44

Telegram to M. Pichon From the French Minister at Warsaw


I handed to General Pilsudski the telegram which the President of the Peace Conference meant to be given to him.4 As directed by Your Excellency, I made every effort to indicate to the Head of the State that my action was taken in virtue of a decision arrived at in perfect agreement by all the Allied Governments. The Chief of the Polish Armies replied that in regard to the military measures suggested by this telegram, he was quite disposed to cease hostilities which were already in fact suspended.

“My only military objective”, said General Pilsudski, “was to effect a junction with Roumania which is all the more necessary at the present moment in that the attitude of Germany might cause me to fear being suddenly cut off from communication with the Allies; the contact of the Polish troops with the Roumanian Army having freed me from this threat, I gave the order to withdraw from the Volhynia-Galicia front, not only Haller’s divisions but also other regiments, so as to constitute reserves which may be utilised on the western Polish front”. When I pointed out to the Head of the State that the decisions of which he had informed me, and the execution of which was confirmed by General Spire, were not in harmony with the order of the day of General Haller, published that very morning in the newspapers, and concluding with the expression “forward”, the Head of the State replied: “I was as much surprised as you at such language, and I have recalled this too talkative General, who shall not return, either to Eastern Galicia, or to Volhynia”.

Coming next to the observations contained in M. Clemenceau’s telegram concerning the foreign policy of Poland, the Head of the State promised me to do immediately what was prescribed by the Polish Constitution in such cases, that is to say, to submit the suggestions of the Entente to the examination of (one group undecypherable) of the Diet, of the Ministers and of the (Parliamentary) Commission for (Foreign Affairs) in order that counsel might be taken, (which) would be at once transmitted to M. Paderewski, the responsible Head of the Government, and the only person qualified to take a decision in the last resort. After these declarations, General Pilsudski continued the conversation and confirmed the attitude which I have previously reported, by laying great stress on the fact that he had never been personally a partisan of the policy advocated by the Diet, acting under pressure of the very influential politicians of the Right. In conclusion [Page 162] General Pilsudski expressed the firm hope that the present German menace would be a means of momentarily bringing the National Democrats to reason; he promised me that he would in any case do his utmost to bring this about. At my request the General is to give me to-night his reply to M. Clemenceau on the question of the suspension of hostilities.


Appendix II to CF–44

[Memorandum by the Foreign Ministers of the Allied and Associated Powers]

In accordance with the wishes of the Supreme Council the Foreign Ministers of the Allied and Associated countries have examined the attached note and they unanimously agree that it should be inserted in the Treaties of Peace with Germany and Austria as an annex to the Article dealing with the zones of Savoy and the Gex district.


Note Presented to the Swiss Minister in Paris

In a note dated May 5th the Swiss Legation in Paris have informed the Government of the French Republic, that the federal Government adhered to the proposed article to be inserted in the Free zones Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Governments and Germany. Free Zones

The French Government have been pleased to note this agreement and, at their request, the proposed article, which had been agreed on by the Allied and Associated Governments has been inserted under No. 4356 in the Peace conditions presented to the German plenipotentiaries.

The Swiss Government, in their note of May 5th., dealing with that question have expressed various views and reservations.

Concerning the observations that refer to the free zones of Haute-Savoie and the Gex district, the French Government beg to observe that the provision of the last paragraph of Art. 435 is so clear that [Page 163] its purport cannot be misapprehended, especially where it implies that no other power but France and Switzerland will in future be interested in that question.

The French Government, on their part, are anxious to protect the interests of the French territories concerned, and having their special situation in view to that effect, they bear in mind the opportunity of assuring them a suitable customs regime and determining, in a manner better suited to the present conditions, the methods of exchanges between these territories and the adjacent Swiss territories, while taking into account the reciprocal interests of both regions.

It is understood that this must in no way prejudice the right of France to adjust her customs line in conformity with her political frontier, as is done on the other portions of her territorial boundaries, and as was done by Switzerland long ago on her own boundaries in that district.

The French Government are pleased to note with regard to that point, with what friendly dispositions the Swiss Government declare their willingness to consider any French proposal dealing with the system to be substituted to the present regime of the said free zones, which the French Government intend to express in the same friendly spirit.

Moreover, the French Government have no doubt that the provisional maintenance of the regime of 1815, with regard to the free zones, referred to in the above mentioned paragraph of the note of the Swiss Legation of May 5th, whose object is to manage the passage from the present regime to the conventional regime will cause no delay whatsoever in the establishment of the new situation which has been found necessary by the two Governments. This remark applies also to the ratification by the federal Chambers, laid down in paragraph A of 1 °, of the Swiss note of May 5th, under the heading “Neutralized zone of Haute-Savoie”.

Appendix III(a) to CF–44


[The Head of the Jugoslav Delegation (Pachitch) to the President of the Peace Conference (Clemenceau)]

Mr. President: Our delegation yesterday in the secret session of the Peace Conference had the honor to request modification of the article of the draft treaty with Austria (article 8 section II) concerning the protection of the interests of minorities and of freedom [Page 164] of commercial transit in the successor states of the former Empire of Austria-Hungary and those formed through the dissolution of that Empire.

As our proposal did not produce the change requested, we are under the necessity of reserving our rights.

We would be grateful, Mr. President, if you would bring this declaration to the attention of the representatives of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers.

Accept [etc.]

For the Delegation of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes:
Nik. P. Pachitch

Appendix III(b) to CF–44


The Roumanian Delegation has determined, on the occasion of the delivery of the draft treaty of peace to the representatives of Austria, that it is necessary to maintain the reservations contained in its declarations and proposals made at the Interallied session of May 31, 1919.9

With feelings of utmost solidarity between it and the Allied and Associated Powers it has refrained from raising before the enemy objections upon a matter upon which agreement has not yet been established among the Allies.

(seal) Roumanian Delegation to the Peace Conference

Appendix IV to CF–44

Note for the Supreme Council

Czecho-Slovakia: Proposition of M. Kramarcz

Firstly, from the juridical point of view, it does not seem possible to make a distinction between the nationality of old Austria and the nationality of new Austria; such a thing as the nationality of a State which has ceased to exist can scarcely be conceived.

Secondly, the changes demanded by the Czecho-Slovak Government would not be without inconvenience. Their tendency is, in effect, to make the recognition of the new Austrian State date back to a [Page 165] period before the Treaty; they make the rights of the Czecho-Slovak State originate in the revolution itself and not in the decisions of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, and in consequence they affirm the freedom of action of the Czecho-Slovak State irrespective of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers.

Lastly, either these are modifications to which satisfaction has already been given, as in Part III, Section V (Protection of Minorities), or they are modifications which involve, without any sufficient reason to the advantage of the Czecho-Slovak State, departure, particularly in financial matters, from rules which have been carefully studied by the competent committees with due regard for this State and for the other new States.

For these reasons the Drafting Committee considers that the modifications asked for cannot be made in the Draft Text which they have prepared unless instructions to the contrary are issued by the Supreme Council.

Opinion of the Drafting Committee as to Certain Modifications Demanded by the Polish Delegation (Polish Note of May 30th, 1919)

1. State property (forests, buildings, etc.)

The Drafting Committee consider that until the definitive assignment to Poland of some Austrian territory, the proposed provision should be reserved.

2. Division of pre-war debt.

It appears that the Polish proposal should be submitted to examination by the Economic or Financial Commission.

3. Financial clauses. Payment of obligations in kronen.

The Polish proposal falls within the competence of the Financial Commission.

For the Drafting Committee.

Financial Clauses: Opinion of the Drafting Committee on Certain Modifications Demanded by the Czecho-Slovak Delegation (Note of 30th May, 1919)

The proposed additions to the second paragraph of article 3, and to article 6 fall within the sphere of the financial Commission.
The proposed additions to the first and third paragraphs of Article 10 would be intelligible if a provision analogous to that stated in the Czecho-Slovak note as being proposed by that Delegation for insertion in the part of the Treaty relating to Reparation were inserted in the Treaty.
The proposed addition to the first paragraph would be too restrictive even if this insertion were made.
Article 15, line 5. The text prepared by the Drafting Committee reads “… interests of her nationals” (“… that Austria become possessed of any rights and interests of her nationals”.)
The proposed addition to Article 19 would create great ambiguity and consequently would seem to give rise to the risk of subsequent difficulties.
Article 19. Subject to the opinion of the Financial Commission within whose sphere lies the consideration of the proposed addition, it seems that the presence of the provisions already figuring in articles 8 and 19 render the insertion of new paragraph in question unnecessary.
Article 20. The addition of the word “recognised” seems justifiable and the text has been modified accordingly.

Part III.—Political Clauses10

Section III.—Czecho-Slovak State

Article 1

New Austria, etc. … Para. 2. In consequence she (New Austria) recognises that Czecho-Slovak nationality is acquired ipso facto by persons who on the 27th October 1918 possessed rights of citizenship in the Czech countries.

Article 2

New Austria declares that she possesses no rights and title over …

Article 3

Nothing to add.

Article 4

Nationals of New Austria habitually resident in the territory ceded to the Czecho-Slovak State under Article … of Part II. (Frontiers of Austria) of the present Treaty will obtain Czecho-Slovak nationality ipso facto and lose the nationality of New Austria.

Article 5

  • Para. 1. Within a period of two years from the coming into force of the present Treaty, German nationals of Old Austria over eighteen [Page 167] years … Czecho-Slovaks who are nationals of New Austria and also Czecho-Slovaks who were nationals of Old Austria and are habitually resident in the territory of old Austria over …
  • Para. 2. Nothing to add.
  • Para. 3. Nothing to add.
  • Para. 4. add: It is well understood that persons who have taken advantage of the right of option under this Article will not in respect of their property have any greater rights than the nationals of the State in the territory of which the property is situated.

Article 7

  • Para. 1. The proportion and the nature of the financial liabilities of New Austria to be borne by the Czecho-Slovak State by reason of the territory of New Austria ceded to the Czecho-Slovak State will be determined …
  • Para. 2. Nothing to add.

Opinion of the Drafting Committee as to Certain Alterations Requested by the Czecho-Slovak Delegation (Note of May 30th, 1919)

The Drafting Committee can only refer to the observations relating to the same proposals which they had the honour to address to the Supreme Council on May 29th.

  1. Appendix I to CF–26, vol. v, p. 865.
  2. Post, p. 779.
  3. Appendix V to CF–32, p. 38
  4. For minutes of the plenary session of May 31, see vol. v, p. 394.
  5. Appendix to CF–35A, p. 61.
  6. For text of article 435, see Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–1923, vol. iii, p. 3516.
  7. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  8. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  9. Protocol No. 8, plenary session of May 31, 1919, vol. iii, p. 394.
  10. Of the draft text of the Austrian treaty. Apparently the articles as here given indicate the changes called for in the “Proposition of M. Kramarcz;” see the first section of this appendix, p. 164, and CF–43, minute 7, p. 131.