Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/51

CF–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.

  • Present
    • United States of America
      • President Wilson.
    • British Empire
      • The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau.
    • Italy
      • H. E. M. Orlando.
Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B. } Secretaries.
Count Aldrovandi.
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 [4],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.

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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

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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.)

Appendix I to CF–51

[Translation]5

[The Head of the Jugoslav Delegation (Vesnitch) to the President of the Council (Clemenceau)]

Mr. President: I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the Delegation of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes has examined the suggestion of the Council of Four, of June 4, with the greatest of care. After a thorough study we take the liberty of proposing to the High [Page 237]Council to kindly settle the problem in one of the two following manners:

First Proposed:

Joining of Zone “A” to the Serbo-Croat-Slovene State, but, during the three or at most six months following the entry into force of the treaty, registers will be opened by the Yugoslav authorities, and the inhabitants of said territory will have the opportunity of expressing in writing their desire to see this territory placed under Austrian sovereignty.

Joining of Zone “B” to the Austrian State, but the same opportunity reserved to the inhabitants in favor of the Serbo-Croat-Slovene State.

Second Proposal:

Joining of Zone “A” to the Serbo-Croat-Slovene State, but recognition to the inhabitants of the right of declaring by a plebiscite, within a time-limit of two or at most six months, the desire to see this territory placed under Austrian sovereignty.

Joining of Zone “B” to Austria, but reciprocally, the same right reserved to the inhabitants of said territory in favor of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

I hope, Mr. President, that the Council will be good enough to take under kindly consideration these proposals which we have the honor to submit to it, in the sincere desire of responding to its intentions and thus contributing to the prompt settlement of this delicate question.

Accept [etc.]

Vesnitch

Appendix II to CF–51

situation in carinthia from 29th may to 5th june

On the evening of May 29th the situation of the Carinthian troops, which was already very critical, grew rapidly worse, so much so that the Carinthian Government took the requisite steps for removing during the night the public authorities, the banks, and the Government itself from Klagenfurt to Spittal. Moreover further appeals were made to the Italian garrisons stationed along our armistice line to intervene; and it was decided to send a bearer of a flag of truce to obtain from the enemy the cessation of hostilities.

The Carinthian troops, consisting of twelve tired and demoralised battalions, after abandoning the line of the Freibach torrent, fell back in disorder on the Drava, always under pressure of the Jugoslavs. On the evening of the 30th the Carinthians were maintaining themselves with difficulty of [on?] the Caravanca mountains to the west of the Assling tunnel, and defended the left bank of the Drava from Feistritz to Lavamünd. The Jugoslav forces which were more numerous and comprised also regular Serbian units, had concentrated in two masses, in the regions of Ferlach and of Eisen Kappel.

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The offensive push, which had declined in vigour on May 31st and June 1st, was resumed by the Jugoslav forces from the 2nd to the 3rd [during] which they effectively bombarded the ground to the South of Klagenfurt and the surroundings of Grafenstein.

On the 5th, the Jugoslavs passed the Drava in correspondence to the passes of Kappel and Stein, and arrived at a distance of from 6 to 8 kilometres from Klagenfurt. They continued to advance, in spite of the fact that Italian officers notified them of the request to cease hostilities which had been transmitted from Paris to the Serbian Government. A little before midnight, two Jugoslav officers entered Klagenfurt.

Our Mission, at the urgent request of the communal authorities of Klagenfurt, took measures to avoid disorders and the pillaging of the city, which was completely evacuated by the Austrians and is now guarded by the citizen police force.

It should be noted that on the evening of June 3rd, the Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, on receiving the telegram sent him by the Council of Four, had informed the French representative that hostilities had already ceased.

Appendix III to CF–51

M–236

From:—The President of the Co-ordination Commission.

To:—The Secretary General of the Peace Conference.

In accordance with the note from Sir Maurice Hankey dated June 3rd,6 which you were so kind as to transmit to me, the Coordination Commission held a meeting at 2.30 p.m. to-day with the assistance of the advisers of the different Delegations.

Their answer is as follows:

1. As regards the financial clauses, the representatives of the Financial Commission declared that this Commission had deliberated and come to a unanimous decision on the question raised by the Polish Delegation and the Czecho-Slovak Delegation.

The answers recording these decisions will be sent direct to you by the Financial Commission.

2. As regards the questions of nationality raised by the Czechoslovak Delegation, the coordination commission concur with the whole of the objections raised by the Drafting Committee and laid by them before the Supreme Council.

They are notably of opinion that the Czecho-Slovak proposals relating to paragraph 2 of article I, to articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 (new Austria) should not be retained.

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The Commission consider that the wording of Article 4, such as it was communicated, to the Austrian Delegation gives entire satisfaction to the Czecho-Slovak desiderata and that the adoption of the wording suggested by M. Kramarcz would, on the contrary, result in a limitation in the carrying out of the change in the nationality.

With reference to paragraph 4 of article 5 proposed by M. Kramarcz, the commission consider that the wording of this paragraph such as it is to be found in the Draft Treaty handed over to the Austrian Delegation implies that the immovable property possessed by people having made use of the right of option shall not be entitled to a privileged treatment.

The Commission having expressed this opinion on the substance leaves it with the Drafting Committee to appreciate whether it is advisable to render the expression more definite by adding, for instance, after the word “keep” “by the same right as the Czechoslovak Nationals”.

The various opinions, summed up in this letter, have been unanimously adopted by the Coordination Commission.

Tardieu

[Annex]

My Dear Colleague: The Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, this afternoon, considered the following Reports of the Drafting Committee:—

  • Czecho-Slovak 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.)

A copy of the Drafting Committee’s notes referred to is appended to this letter.7

It was decided that these Reports should be referred, in the first instance, to the Territorial Co-ordinating Committee of the Peace Conference, of which M. Tardieu is President.

I am directed to request that your Excellency will take the necessary steps for the consideration of this question by the Co-ordinating Committee, which is empowered to invite the co-operation of such experts as it may from time to time require.

Believe me [etc.]

M. P. A. Hankey

His Excellency Monsieur Dutasta.

  1. Ante, p. 215.
  2. See undated telegram from the Minister in China, Foreign Relations, 1919, Russia, p. 371.
  3. Ante, p. 173.
  4. Ante, p. 160.
  5. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  6. Infra.
  7. The documents referred to have been printed as appendix IV to CF–44, p. 164.