Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/46


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Wednesday, June 4, 1919, at 5 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, K.C.B. } Secretaries.
Count Aldrovandi.
M. P. J. Mantoux.—Interpreter.

1. On the motion of Mr. Lloyd George, the attached resolution was agreed to, regarding the steps to be taken for preparing a reply to the German counter proposals (Appendix I). Reply to Herr Brockdorff-Rantzau’s Letter of May 29th1

2. With reference to C. F. 44, Minute 1,2 the attached draft reference to an Expert Committee, submitted by Sir Maurice Hankey, in accordance with instructions, was approved (Appendix II). Eastern Frontiers of Germany

3. M. Clemenceau reported that the Polish Delegation had asked to be heard on the question of the Eastern frontiers of Germany. M. Paderewski To Be Heard

(It was agreed that M. Paderewski should be invited to attend the Council at 11.30 on the following morning.)

(Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to send him an invitation, and to enclose for his confidential information a copy of the terms of reference to the Committee (See Appendix II).

4. With reference to C. F. 44 Minute 9,3 Sir Maurice Hankey handed to M. Clemenceau a draft in English of letters in reply to the letters from the Roumanian and Serbian Delegations, maintaining the reserves they had made in their declarations at the Plenary Session on May 31st. Austrian Treaty: Letters of Protest From Roumania and Serbia

M. Clemenceau undertook to have these translated into French and to despatch them.

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5. M. Clemenceau said that it would be very difficult to fix the figure for the States of Eastern Europe other than the enemy States.

Mr. Lloyd George said he had no doubt what the size of their forces would be if no action were taken. Military Clauses in the Austrian Treaty: Size of the Armies of Eastern European States

President Wilson said that he fully shared the fears of Mr. Lloyd George. At present these peoples appeared to be out for fighting and for what they could get. His suggestion was that a period should be fixed within which it might be anticipated that the ferment in Eastern Europe would subside, at the end of which the armies should be reduced to the figures now settled. For example, it might be provided in the Treaty of Peace that after January 1st, 1921 the various States should agree to accept such and such limitation of forces, unless in the judgment of the Council of the League of Nations some extension was desirable.

M. Clemenceau thought that it would be better not to fix the number at present. He thought this would irritate them very much. It would be better to say that by the 1st January, 1921, the League of Nations would fix the figure.

President Wilson considered that they would resent more having to agree to an unstated figure than to one which was laid down now.

M. Clemenceau said that, with all precautions he had spoken to the representatives of some of these States, and his remarks had been very unfavourably received.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that the representatives of these States should be invited to meet the Council.

President Wilson agreed, and suggested that the larger figures of the Military Experts might then be proposed to them.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that at this meeting President Wilson should make to them the suggestions he had just offered.

President Wilson urged that only one representative of each State should be invited.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that they should be accompanied by their Military Experts.

President Wilson deprecated this, as the principal Powers would then have to bring their Experts and the numbers would become unwieldy.

M. Clemenceau pointed out the difficulty in which Greece would be, owing to the situation in Turkey.

Mr. Lloyd George said he hoped that whatever else might be imposed on Turkey, there would be a very drastic limitation of armaments.

M. Clemenceau said he was in favour of accepting the figures proposed by the Military Representatives, before seeing the representatives [Page 183] of the various States. They would then be told that the Council’s desire was that they should not be in a position to fight either against each other or to unite against Austria.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that the danger of German intrigue might be added.

President Wilson pointed out these States formed the material which Germany had worked on and used against the world. The principal Powers were entitled to see that there was no risk of a repetition of this. One argument which the principal Powers might find embarrassing was if they were asked whether they intended to impose a limitation of armaments on themselves. The reply would be, “Yes, the Council of the League of Nations is to present a plan”. To this the representatives of the Small States would reply “Are you bound to accept it” and the principal Powers would have to reply “No”.

M. Clemenceau pointed out the much greater responsibilities of the principal Powers.

President Wilson strongly urged that in the first instance only one Statesman and no Military Adviser from each country should attend the meeting. Afterwards, they could discuss the question with their own Military Advisers, and the Military Experts of the principal Powers could discuss the question with the Military Experts of the Smaller States. He suggested that the figure for Austria might be settled at once and he proposed to adopt the figure of 40,000, proposed by the Military Representatives at Versailles.

M. Clemenceau urged that this was a large figure in comparison with Germany.

President Wilson pointed out that the basis of the calculation had been 4 effectives per 1,000 of the population, a slight increase being allowed on account of Austria and Hungary, owing to the large populations of the capitals.

M. Clemenceau said that Germany would use the argument to demand an increase in her strength.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested a figure of 30,000.

(This was accepted.)

President Wilson suggested that the Military Experts should be instructed to draw up the Military Clauses for inclusion in the Austrian Treaty on this basis. He urged that there was no necessity in the case of Austria for the large amount of detail that was needed in the case of the German Treaty.

M. Clemenceau agreed.

M. Orlando agreed.

Mr. Lloyd George agreed, but urged that Austria should not be allowed to manufacture guns. Conditions must be provided to prevent [Page 184] Austria from becoming a supply centre to German Military activities.

President Wilson agreed, and said it was rather in such matters as the number of divisions of infantry and cavalry, etc., to which he referred.

The following decisions were taken:—

1. The Military Representatives of the Supreme War Council at Versailles should redraft the articles of the Military Terms to be included in the Treaty with Austria on the following bases:—

The strength of the Austrian effectives to be fixed at 30,000 (corresponding to the figure of 100,000 laid down for Germany):
The articles to be drawn in more general terms than in the case of Germany and not to specify details such as organisation; precise number of infantry and cavalry divisions; the exact number of educational establishments, etc. etc. as laid down in the Treaty with Germany:
Austria not to be permitted to manufacture guns, and provisions to be included for preventing Austria from becoming a manufacturing centre for the supply of war material to Germany or other States.

2. The following representatives of States in Eastern Europe to be invited to meet the Council on the following afternoon at 4 p.m.:—

  • M. Paderewski for Poland
  • Dr. Benes for Czecho-Slovakia
  • M. Vesnitch for the Serbo-Croat-Slovene Kingdom
  • M. Bratiano for Roumania
  • M. Venizelos for Greece.

The above statesmen to be informed:—

(a) That the Council had decided to invite them to accept the following military establishments:—

Austria 30,000
Bulgaraia 20,000
Czecho-Slovakia 50,000
Jugo-Slavia (including Serbia and Montenegro) 40,000
Roumania 60,000
Poland 80,000
Greece 20,000

(b) That it was not proposed that their forces should be reduced to these establishments before January 1st, 1921 (by which time it was hoped that the ferment in Eastern Europe would have subsided) and that this was subject to the right of the Council of the League of Nations to postpone the date of reduction in any particular case if it considered the circumstances justified such postponement.

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(c) That the reasons for these proposals were to limit the risk of an outbreak of war, whether between these States themselves, or by means of combinations of these States against other States, and to obviate the risk of any repetition of the German intrigues in Eastern Europe, which, in the past, had been such a fruitful cause of war.

(d) That the representatives would then be asked to confer with their Military Advisers, who might, if they wished, consult the Military Advisers of the Allied and Associated Powers.

6. The Council had before them the attached note from the Drafting Committee urging that a new section similar to those relating to Czecho-Slovakia and the Serbo-Croat-Slovene State should be inserted for Roumania, in consequence of the cession by Austria to Roumania of the greater part of the Bukovina (Appendix III). Austrian Treaty: Political Clauses Affecting Roumania

The proposal was approved and initialled in manuscript by the Four Heads of States and Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward it to the Secretary-General for the information of the Drafting Committee.

7. Mr. Lloyd George asked that action might be taken in the name of the Allied and Associated Powers by Marshal Foch to demand an apology from the Germans for the arrest of Naval Officers in Libau and at the same time he suggested that a demand should be made for the removal of the guns emplaced by the Germans in the harbour of Reval. Maltreatment of British Naval Officers by the Germans at Libau

He read the attached draft telegram which it was proposed that Marshal Foch should send to the Germans (Appendix IV).

The telegram in Appendix IV was approved, and M. Clemenceau undertook to instruct Marshal Foch to dispatch it.

8. During the above discussion M. Clemenceau read a letter from Marshal Foch advising that if pressure had to be put on the Germans to desist from action in the Baltic provinces to [of?] the former Russian Empire the best way would be by refusing to repatriate Germans from Salonika or else by tightening the blockade. He suggested that instructions should be given to the proper organisations to study these questions. German Action in the Baltic Provinces

President Wilson raised the question as to whether the Armistice provided for the retirement of the Germans from the Baltic Provinces.

Sir Maurice Hankey then read Article 12 of the Armistice of November, 1918:—

“… and all the German troops at present in territories which before the war formed part of Russia must likewise return to within [Page 186] the frontiers of Germany as above defined as soon as the Allies shall think the moment suitable having regard to the internal situation of these territories”.

President Wilson asked whether any demand had been made to the Germans to withdraw.

M. Clemenceau undertook to make enquiries on this point.

Appendix I to CF–46

Reply to German Counter-Proposals

Resolution Approved by the Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers on June 4, 1919

The Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers propose to reply to the German Counter-proposals by means of:—

A comparatively short summary letter; and
A longer memorandum dealing in detail with the specific matters under consideration.

They request the various commissions concerned to submit to them by Monday morning replies which they recommend for incorporation in the above-mentioned Memorandum. These replies should be as clear and as short as possible. They should set forward clearly whatever concessions should be made to meet the German proposals and they ought to be concerned rather to explain and justify the proposals in the Treaty of Peace than to combat the arguments in the German Reply.

As no general explanation has yet been made of the principles and reasons underlying the Draft Conditions of Peace, it is important that the Memorandum now to be issued should make these as clear as possible. The decision of the Council in regard to modifications in the Draft Treaty of Peace on large questions will be communicated to the Commissions in the usual way.

Appendix II to CF–46

[Draft Reference to an Expert Committee Regarding Eastern Frontiers of Germany]

It is agreed:—

That a Committee composed as follows:—

  • Dr. Lord for United States of America
  • Mr. Headlam-Morley for Great Britain
  • General Le Rond for France
  • Marquis della Torretta for Italy.

shall meet to work out the basis of Articles for amending the portions [Page 187] of the draft Treaty of Peace with Germany concerning the Eastern frontiers on the following lines:—

The rectification of the frontier so as to include in Germany the Guhrau-Militsch region except such portion as is necessary to maintain the Lissa-Rawitsch railway in Polish territory.
The rectification of the frontier in the Schneidemühl-Konitz region so as to leave the railway within the boundaries of Germany.
The rectification of the frontier so as not to take from Germany any part of Pomerania.
Provision for acceptance by Germany of a plebiscite for the portions of Upper Silesia transferred to Poland by the Clauses of the draft Treaty of Peace with Germany. The Committee to draw up the general conditions of the plebiscite.
Provision for ensuring to the inhabitants of Germany the right to purchase coal from the coal-mines of Upper Silesia on the same terms as the inhabitants of Poland in the event of the plebiscite resulting in the transfer of the greater part of Upper Silesia to Poland.
Modifications in the application to Upper Silesia of Parts III and IV of the Economic Clauses so far as relates to the treatment of the property of German nationals, the application of the proceeds of that property if liquidated by the Polish Government, and the indemnification of the owners in the event of the plebiscite resulting in the transfer of the greater part of Upper Silesia to Poland.

The Committee to be authorised to confer with the experts of other Commissions as required.

Appendix III to CF–46

Treaty With Austria, Part III.—Political Clauses

Austria is ceding to Roumania the greater part of Bukovina. The transfer of sovereignty is covered by Section VI.

The protection of minorities is covered by Article 5 of Section IV.

Financial charges are covered by Article 254 of the Financial Clauses.

On the other hand, nothing is said on the subject of nationality and the right to opt allowing Austrians to retain their nationality.

This lacuna should disappear.

A section (similar to those relating to Czecho-Slovakia and the Serb-Croat-Slovene State) should therefore be inserted. It would contain the whole of the clauses relating to Roumania. A draft prepared with this object is attached.4

  • G. C.
  • W. W.
  • D. Ll. G.
  • V. E. O.
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Appendix IV to CF–46

[Draft Telegram Proposed by Mr. Lloyd George for Marshal Foch To Send to the Germans]

On May 23rd two German soldiers at Libau arrested a British Midshipman in uniform on the pretext that he was carrying a gun; he was released but no apology made.

On May 24th five British Naval Officers in uniform were arrested by German soldiers, were disarmed and their pockets searched. After being rudely treated by soldiers they were taken before German officer. German officer made no sort of enquiry as to arrest and the officers after two and a half hours detention were released and escorted back to shore.

Pretext of arrest was that they crossed ground near old ammunition dump guarded by sentry. Latter, however, gave them express permission to go there and our officers have frequently been there before.

They disobeyed no injunction and they carried passes signed by Admiral Cowan which have been specially recognised by German authorities. In a written explanation German Governor states that soldiers evidently thought that they were dealing with persons disguised as naval officers.

Admiral Cowan has already demanded an apology for these incidents from German Command at Libau.

This demand for an apology, which has been refused by the local German command, is now insisted on by the Allied and Associated Governments to the German Government.

The Allied Governments at the same time demand the removal of the guns which have been placed by the Germans to command the Naval Harbour at Libau.

The attention of the German Government is again drawn to the conditions attached to General von der Goltz’s5 continued employment in Marshal Foch’s telegram of May 28th, No. 2726.

Until the above demands are complied with, no German ships will be allowed to enter or leave Libau.

  1. Post, p. 795.
  2. Ante, p. 147.
  3. Ante, p. 160.
  4. Such a draft does not accompany the minutes. The original copy as initialed was forwarded by Sir Maurice Hankey to the Secretary General of the Conference for transmission to the Drafting Committee (Paris Peace Coot 180.03402/37).
  5. Gen. Rudiger von der Goltz, commander of the German armies in the Baltic Provinces.