Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/51
Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Saturday, June 7, 1919, at 11 a.m.
- United States of America
- President Wilson.
- British Empire
- The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
- M. Clemenceau.
- H. E. M. Orlando.
- United States of America
|Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B.||}||Secretaries.|
|Prof. P. J. Mantoux.—Interpreter.|
1. M. Clemenceau reported that M. Loucheur was not yet ready to report to the Council on the subject of Reparation in the German Treaty. He hoped, however, to be in a position to report by 4 o’clock that afternoon, if not, by 12.30 that very morning. Later in the meeting, however, a message was received from M. Klotz at the Ministry of Finance stating that M. Loucheur would be unable to report to the Council that day. Reparation in the German Treaty
2. With reference to C. F. 49A, Minute 2 ,1 M. Clemenceau said he had now seen M. Pichon in regard to the telegram received by Mr. Lloyd George from the British High Commissioner at Constantinople. It appeared that President Poincare’s telegram to the Crown Prince was an answer to a telegram sent from the Crown Prince some four days before the proposal was discussed that the Grand Vizier should come to Paris. Turkey: Visit of the Grand Vizier
Mr. Lloyd George said that a somewhat similar telegram had been sent to him. He did not reply, but had mentioned the fact to the Council. He submitted that it was highly improper to send a telegram to a member of the royal family of a nation with which we were at war. What would the French Government say if King George were to send a telegram to a member of a German royal family? Moreover, this was encouraging the old Turkish game of playing one Power off against another. They would tell first one Power and then another that they felt warm friendship for them and would re-call old relations, but their object was simply to make dissension, and to reply without consulting an ally was merely to help their game.[Page 233]
M. Orlando said that a similar telegram had been sent to the King of Italy, and, in reply, the Italian High Commissioner had merely been told to associate himself with any action taken by his colleagues.
M. Clemenceau admitted that the action taken was improper.
3. President Wilson reported the receipt of a telegram from the American Representative at Omsk, dated 31st May,2 enclosing a copy of a very satisfactory proclamation which Admiral Koltchak was about to issue. The telegram reported that the question of recognition kept the people in Siberia in a state of expectancy, and, he hoped that, if Koltchak was not recognised, the United States would not get the blame. The gist of the proclamation was somewhat as follows. The efforts of Koltchak’s army are steadily drawing to an end. He proclaimed ceaseless war not with the Russian people but with the Bolshevists. Those people who had been forced to serve the Bolshevists had committed no crime and had nothing to fear, and a full pardon and amnesty would be granted them. Koltchak had only accepted office in order to restore order and liberty in Russia. As his army advanced, he would enforce law and restore local governments. His office was a heavy burden to him and he would not support it for a day longer than the interests of the country demanded. After crushing the Bolshevists, he would first carry out a general election for the Constituent Assembly and a commission of his Government was now working out a law. This general election would be carried out on the basis of universal suffrage. After the establishment of a representative Government, he would hand over all his powers to it. For the moment, he had signed a law giving the produce of the fields to the peasants, leaving to the large landowners only a just share. Russia could only be strong when the peasants owned the land. Similarly, workmen must be secured the same safeguards as in the countries of Western Europe and a commission of his Government was preparing data in regard to this. The day of victory was approaching. President Wilson considered this a very good proclamation. Policy in Russia
Mr. Lloyd George said that it was very important, as soon as Koltchak’s reply was received, to publish the original telegram of the Allies and the reply.
M. Clemenceau said that the whole of the telegram from Koltchak would be available by the evening.
4. M. Clemenceau reported that he had seen M. Vesnitch. The [Page 234]Delegation of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes complained that the Committee on New States had never heard them. He would reserve further report until his colleagues had seen those whom they had undertaken to interview. Committee on New States
President Wilson expressed the view that the Committee on New States had not really had sufficient authority to interview the representatives of the small States.
M. Orlando said that he had seen M. Bratiano, who was in a state of great exasperation. He would not discuss the question he put to him because he objected so much to the whole system. He said he was going to resign but did not intimate when his resignation would take place. He said that no Roumanian Government would accept these proposals.
5. M. Mantoux read a translation of M. Vesnitch’s reply (Appendix I) to the questions put to him on June 4th on the subject of Klagenfurt. (C. F. 45, Minute 1.3) Klagenfurt
President Wilson pointed out that the difference between the second proposal of the Delegation of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and the proposal of the Council was that the former proposed that the plebiscite should be conducted under the auspices of the Jugo-Slav Government.
Mr. Lloyd George read an extract from the conclusions of the previous meeting (C. F. 45), and pointed out that M. Vesnitch had not answered the question put to him.
(Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to write a letter to M. Vesnitch, taking note of his proposals, but asking him if he would be so good as to answer the question which had been put to him.)
6. M. Orlando communicated the information contained in Appendix II, indicating that so far from ceasing fighting, the Jugo-Slav troops had pressed on from June 2nd to the 5th, and that two Jugo-Slav officers had actually entered Klagenfurt.
(Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to draft a further telegram to the Government of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, asking for explanations and insisting on the carrying out of the previous demands.) Carinthia: Fighting Between Austrians and Jugo-Slavs
7. President Wilson informed M. Orlando that each of the three Governments had designated an officer to proceed to the region of Klagenfurt, in order to watch the Armistice negotiations. Carinthia: Fighting Between Austrians and Jugo-Slavs
8. M. Orlando reported that he was leaving the same evening for Rome and would be absent for some days. It would be of the utmost assistance to him if the question of the Italian claims could be settled immediately. Italian Claims[Page 235]
9. With reference to C. F. 44, Minute 10,4 the Council had before them a letter from M. Tardieu, the President of the Coordinating Committee addressed to the Secretary-General of the Peace Conference and dated 5th June, 1919, covering a report by the Drafting Committee on proposals by M. Kramarcz. (Appendix III.) Report by the Coordinating Committee on Points Raised in Connection With the Austrian Treaty
(The report of the Coordinating Committee was approved, and Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to notify the Secretary-General, in order that action may be taken to give effect to it.)
10. Mr. Lloyd George read the following minute that he had received from Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith:—
“We have now reached a stage when it is desirable if possible to have clear directions from the Council of Four, whether it is or is not desired that the Commission on International Transit, Waterways, Railways & Ports should after completing the Articles for the various Peace Treaties endeavour to settle General Conventions with regard to the various matters within the scope of the Commission applicable to the Allied and Associated States generally. It will be remembered that such Conventions are foreshadowed in the Treaties which bind the Enemy States in advance to adhere to them. They are also foreshadowed in the Articles proposed to be inserted in the Convention for the New States. The International Regime of Ports, Waterways, and Railways: The Question of Drawing: Up an International Convention
“The alternative courses are to endeavour to settle these Conventions now, or to postpone such an attempt to a future Conference under the League of Nations.
“The British Empire Delegation took the view that it would be well to make the attempt now, when everybody is here, the work three parts done and the whole matter fresh in our minds. We may never get so good an opportunity again and if we separate without coming to an agreement we may never come to one at all.
“This is still our view, but on the other hand it may be argued that neutrals are not here, that everyone is anxious to get away, and (above all) that America is not at present willing to commit herself to general agreements binding on her. President Wilson holds the key of the situation, and it seems very desirable that it should be raised and settled. Could this be arranged for?”
President Wilson asked whether the Treaty of Peace with Germany provided for the acceptance by Germany of a General Convention.
Sir Maurice Hankey pointed out that this was provided for in Article 379 of the draft Treaty of Peace with Germany, which is as follows:—
“Without prejudice to the general obligations imposed on her by the present Treaty for the benefit of the Allied and Associated Powers, Germany undertakes to adhere to any General Conventions regarding an international regime of transit, waterways, ports and [Page 236]railways which may be concluded by the Allied and Associated Powers with the approval of the League of Nations within five years of the coming into force of the present Treaty.”
President Wilson undertook to consult Mr. Henry White on the subject.
11. President Wilson said that he was in favour of conversations between the economic group of experts of the Allied and Associated Powers and German experts, in order that the meaning of the more technical parts of the Treaty might be explained to them. Verbal Discussions With the Germans
M. Clemenceau said the object of the Germans in asking for conversations was to divide the Allies. They would say that M. Loucheur said one thing, Lord Cunliffe another, and Mr. Keynes a third.
Mr. Lloyd George said that he would rather that a single representative saw them alone.
M. Clemenceau said he would not like any Frenchman to undertake this duty.
President Wilson suggested that the group should have definite instructions as to the interpretation they were to give to the clauses and should not be allowed to give different explanations.
M. Clemenceau urged that the matter should be postponed until it was known what points required further elucidation.
Mr. Lloyd George mentioned a request that the Swedish Financier, M. Wallenburg, had made to Lord Robert Cecil that he should be allowed to see the Germans without any authority from anyone, merely to try and ascertain what was the minimum they would accept.
(The subject was adjourned.)