Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/52
Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Saturday, June 7, 1919, at 4 p.m.
- America, United States of
- President Wilson.
- British Empire
- The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, O. M., M. P.
- M. Clemenceau.
- M. Orlando.
- America, United States of
|Sir Maurice Hankey.||}||Secretaries.|
|Prof. P. J. Mantoux.—Interpreter.|
Note: M. Orlando did not arrive until 4.30. Before his arrival, his three colleagues read and finally approved the proposal handed to M. Orlando later in the Meeting in regard to the Italian Claims in the Adriatic.
After the Memorandum had been agreed, there were short preliminary discussions on matters interesting the four States, and which are briefly recorded below.
1. Mr. Lloyd George said he had just seen the United States Experts, who were anxious to fix on a figure for Germany to pay.
M. Loucheur considered this difficult, and he was inclined to agree with him. Reparation in the German Treaty
President Wilson said that it might be difficult, but it would undoubtedly be best if it could be done.
Mr. Lloyd George said the figure would be so high that Germany would not be able to accept it.
President Wilson said the object of the figure was to get the Germans to agree.
Mr. Lloyd George said he preferred the plan to which he and M. Loucheur were nearly agreeing on, by which Germany would be given three or four months in which to name a figure, and by which she would be allowed to pay a part of her reparation in material and labour. He thought this would be better for the Germans also, and that they would prefer it.
M. Clemenceau said he took the same view.
M. Clemenceau said that this report would require study by the respective Military Advisers of the members [Page 241] of the Council. He thought that some immediate action could be taken pending this study. He recalled that the Roumanians had three times crossed the Armistice line that had been drawn, but they had been stopped from advancing. The Magyars had got to know that the Roumanians were being held back, and had concentrated their forces and fallen on the Czecho-Slovaks, with very serious results. Pending the study of the Versailles Report, he proposed that a dispatch should be sent to the effect that this attack on the Czechs had been made at the very moment when the Hungarians were asked to come to Paris to make peace. If they would stop, we would make peace with them. If they would not, we would take active measures against them.
(It was agreed that General Albi, who was in attendance in the next room, should prepare a draft.
At a later stage of the Meeting, General Albi’s draft was presented and approved, subject to one slight modification, namely, the substitution of some such words as “extreme measures” instead of “force” This was inserted at President Wilson’s suggestion, as he did not like to threaten force when no available force was on the spot.
The agreed dispatch is reproduced in Appendix I.
M. Clemenceau undertook to send the dispatch on behalf of the Council.)
3. The Council approved the attached dispatch prepared by Sir Maurice Hankey under instructions given at the morning’s Meeting, in regard to the fighting in Carinthia. (Appendix II.) Carinthia: Fighting Between Austrians and Yugo-Slavs
M. Clemenceau signed the despatch, and handed it to M. Mantoux, to give to the Secretary-General for immediate dispatch.
4. M. Lloyd George said that he had seen M. Venizelos and M. Paderewski. M. Venizelos was quite definite that he would prefer references to the League of Nations to be permissible only to members of the Council of the League. Both M. Venizelos and M. Paderewski had made the point that the Treaty ought not to enable minorities to insist on the use of their own language. M. Paderewski had said that the Yiddish language used in Poland was not Hebrew, but only a corrupt form of German. To make it an official language would be almost to make German a second official language in Poland. Report of Committee on New States in Regard to References to the League of Nations
President Wilson pointed out that this was not the question on which their opinion had been asked.
Mr. Lloyd George said that, nevertheless, both of them had raised it.[Page 242]
M. Paderewski had promised a written answer, and, when he had received it, he would report again.
(M. Orlando and Count Aldrovandi entered during the following discussion.)
5. The Council had before them a report dated June 6th from the Commission on Roumanian and Yugo-Slav Affairs, which had met to consider the Klagenfurt question. (Appendix III.)
President Wilson read the report. Klagenfurt. Request for Instructions From the Commission on Roumanian and Yugo-Slav Affairs
M. Orlando said that, given the present situation, which was accepted, the plebiscite appeared to him useless. The Commission recognised that in Sector B the majority of the population was Austrian, in Sector A the majority was Yugo-Slav. The result of the plebiscite in these areas was therefore a foregone conclusion, and it seemed useless to carry it out. The only basis for a plebiscite would be one for the whole area, with a view to obtaining unity for the whole district. He suggested, therefore, that it would be better to take a decision at once that area A, on President Wilson’s map, (i. e., the southern part of the area) should be Yugo-Slav; and area B (namely, the northern part) should be Austrian. He pointed out that there was a small section of the area which was traversed by the Assling-Villach railway. He must make reserves in regard to this. The reason for this was that he had already asked for the question of disposition of Assling to be reserved, and claimed it for Italy. If the railway north of it ran through the territory assigned to the Yugo-Slavs, there would be no object in his reserves in regard to Assling.
President Wilson said he must say frankly to M. Orlando that he had gone out of his way in order to assign the junction of Tarvis to Italy on the understanding that Villach should be Austrian and Assling should be assigned to the Yugo-Slavs. The object of this was to take the line Tarvis-Trieste right out of Yugo-Slav territory. He could not assent, however, that both the lines together with all three junctions should go to Italy.
Mr. Lloyd George said he was by no means certain that M. Orlando was right in saying that area A would vote Yugo-Slav. He had gathered from M. Vesnitch’s evidence that he also was very doubtful. M. Vesnitch’s insistence that the area should be allocated to the Yugo-Slavs without a plebiscite confirmed this view. He thought M. Vesnitch’s evidence rather tended to support the views expressed by President Wilson’s Experts.
M. Orlando said that in this case it would be necessary to organise the plebiscite with all guarantees, and he did not like the proposals of the Yugo-Slav-Roumanian Commission.
Count Aldrovandi pointed out that proposal 3 of the Commission was not in accordance with their instructions.[Page 243]
Mr. Lloyd George agreed. He asked why the administration could not be by five Commissioners using the local authorities.
President Wilson said the assumption was that the local authorities were Austrian. However, any undesirable officials could be excluded during the plebiscite, and his suggestion would be that the Commission should be directed to conform with its previous instructions.
M. Orlando agreed.
(After a short discussion, Sir Maurice Hankey was directed to reply to the Commission in the following sense:—
1. The reply to the question in the second paragraph of the Commission’s Report is that the régime of local Government should apply to zone B, as well as to zone A.
2. The Council agree that the actual procedure at the plebiscite will be very different, according as the date for it is fixed at six months after the signature of the Peace, or three years after, or more. The Council have received a communication from M. Vesnitch, but, instead of giving a reply on this point, it only contained a counter proposal. M. Vesnitch has been asked to give a definite reply to the question that was put to him.
The Council agrees with the Commission that, in the first case, it will be advisable to make arrangements like those proposed for Allenstein and Sleswig, and, in the second, like those adopted in the case of the Saar Basin.
3. As regards the remainder of the memorandum, the Council has read and taken note of the observations of the Commission, but adheres to the original instructions to Mr. Leeper as the basis of the Commission’s work.)
(Admiral Hope was introduced.)
6. Admiral Hope read extracts from a Memorandum prepared by Sir Esme Howard, General Thwaites and himself, and from a Report by General Gough at Helsingfors with regard to the situation in the Baltic Provinces. These Reports revealed a very complicated state of affairs. The Germans were advancing North and North-East from Riga, thereby preventing the Esthonians from advancing on Petro-grad. They appeared to be taking this action in collusion with a Russian Anti-Bolshevist force under Prince Lievin, with whom they had established liaison by aircraft. From the available information it was evident that the Germans intended— Baltic Provinces: Action of the Germans
- In conjunction with the German Baits in Latvia to advance into Esthonia, and with the co-operation of the German Bait element in the latter country to crush the Esthonian national movement.
- To make common cause with the North-Russian corps, (whose sympathies are entirely pro-German) in an advance on Petrograd, where they presumably proposed to instal a Government of their own choosing.
Admiral Hope urged that the Germans should at once be ordered:
- To stop all further advance Northwards in the direction of Esthonia.
- To make preparations for the evacuation of Letland under the orders of the Allied High Command as laid down in Article 12 of the Armistice Commission.
(After some discussion it was agreed that the question should be referred to for report to the Military representatives of the Supreme War Council at Versailles, with whom should be associated for the purpose of this enquiry the United States of America, French and Italian navies.)
(Admiral Hope withdrew.)
7. President Wilson on behalf of M. Clemenceau, Mr. Lloyd George and himself, handed M. Orlando the attached Memorandum, containing proposals agreed to by himself and his colleagues in regard to the Italian claims in the Adriatic. (Appendix 4.) He explained that the Memorandum was only a sketch containing principles, and the scheme had not yet been formulated in detail by experts. The only parts of the project worked out in detail were the boundaries of the proposed free state. It was hardly necessary for him to remind M. Orlando of the scruples he had in arriving at any half-way agreement. He had thought and still thought that it would be an assumption of unwarranted authority on his part to concur in any suggestion for the transfer of people against their will from one sovereignty to another. At every turn, however, he found himself faced with the difficulty in which his British and French colleagues were involved, but in which the United States of America was not involved in agreeing. Rather than reach an absolute impasse and after conferring repeatedly with his colleagues, he had in association with them formulated this suggestion. Without discussing or expounding it he would place it in M. Orlando’s hands as the joint suggestion of the three Governments. He could not help adding that reasonable people in the United States of America would probably think he was not justified in assenting to the scheme until he had had an opportunity to explain to them the whole circumstances. He made this explanation only to indicate to M. Orlando the impossibility for his Government to go further. He begged M. Orlando to put that aspect of the matter before his colleagues in considering this proposal. As a matter of detail he said he had changed one or two words as compared with a copy sent to his experts owing to the difference in the nomenclature on the map. He would also mention that there was a reference in the memorandum to the line of the Treaty of London. The line adopted was what experts called the Italian version of the [Page 245] line of the Treaty of London. He recalled that the streams in this part of the country ran under ground for a certain distance, and the British had drawn the line at the point where the streams disappeared below ground, whereas the Italians had drawn it where they came out again. Italian Claims
M. Orlando said it was impossible to study the scheme here and now. He thanked President Wilson for all the trouble he had taken in the matter. In loyalty he felt bound to declare that the Tardieu scheme had been studied with an open mind, and when accepting it the Italian Delegation had felt they were making an extraordinary sacrifice. In doing so they went beyond what was their minimum. They only accepted it in a spirit of resignation. He himself was not an extremist and always sought compromise. After waging this war, however, he felt very distressed that the doors of Italy were not closed. He had something in him of the Franciscan spirit, but it was extremely bitter for him to have accepted the Tardieu scheme. On Fiume Italy had received no satisfaction. This was an Italian town that was treated in the same way as some barbarous half civilised people, or as an enemy town. Here was a people of the highest and most ancient civilisation, who had emerged from a victorious war, and yet they were subjected to the same system as some Pacific Island or the Saar Valley. This was a terrible sacrifice, but nevertheless he had accepted it. It was the extremity of the effort which he could make in sacrifice, and he must assure the President and his colleagues that if, as he feared, the new proposal was less favourable than the Tardieu proposal, it would be impossible for him to accept it.
President Wilson said he hoped M. Orlando would not say this, because there were impossibilities on his side also.
Mr. Lloyd George asked what M. Orlando meant by not closing the gate?
M. Orlando said he referred to the Alps and the Istrian Peninsula.
President Wilson pointed out that the crest of the ridge was given to Italy.
M. Orlando pointed out that the proper crest of the Alps was to the eastwards of this ridge.
Mr. Lloyd George objected to the suggestion that the people of Danzig were semi-barbarous. They were one of the most civilised and cultured people in the world.
M. Orlando said he only referred to them as an enemy people.
He undertook to consider the proposal.[Page 246]
8. President Wilson read a proposed reply to Germany’s demand for admission to the League of Nations which he had received from Colonel House, Lord Robert Cecil, M. Leon Bourgeois and their associates (Appendix V.) Proposed Reply to Germany’s Demand for Admission to the League of Nations
Mr. Lloyd George said he could not agree to the admission of the Germans to the League of Nations within a few months.
President Wilson agreed and suggested to substitute within a “short time.”
M. Clemenceau expressed the gravest doubt as to the wisdom of some of the proposals.
(After a short discussion it was agreed that the document required very careful study, and Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to get it copied and circulated to the Council the same evening.)
9. The Council had before them a report from the Financial Commission on various points raised by the Polish, Roumanian, Serbian and Czecho-Slovakian Commissions. (Appendix VI.) Report by Financial Commission on Points Raised in Connection With the Austrian Treaty (Reference to CF–51, Minute 92a)
These reports had been remitted to the Financial Commission by the Co-ordinating Commission whose report had been approved on the same morning.
The report of the Financial Commission was approved and initialled by the four Heads of the State. Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward it to the Secretary General for the information of the Drafting Committee.
- Ante, p. 189.↩
- This document does not accompany the minutes.↩
- Ante, p. 235.↩
- No map accompanies the minutes.↩
- Translation from the French supplied by the editors.↩
- The text of the remaining portion of this appendix appears in the minutes in both English and French. The French text has been omitted.↩