Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/57
Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Wednesday, June 11, 1919, at 11 a.m.
United States of America
- President Wilson.
- The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
- M. Clemenceau.
- M. Orlando.
- United States of America
|Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B.||}||Secretaries.|
|Professor P. J. Mantoux.—Interpreter.|
1. The Council had before them the revised draft circulated by Sir Maurice Hankey on the previous day for a reply to the German counter-proposals. (Appendix I.)1 Reparation
Mr. Lloyd George said that he had two alterations in principle to suggest, which he would mention at the appropriate stage of the reading of the document.
The first was that account should be taken in giving commercial facilities to Germany, of the prior claim of countries that had suffered in the war owing to German aggression, for example, France and Belgium. This should be the first obligation of their Allies in disposing of raw material; for example, in the case of the British Empire, wool.
His second proposal was that an undertaking should be given for an opportunity for the Germans of inspecting and surveying the damage done. Facilities ought to be given for this.
President Wilson then proceeded to read the draft, and in the course of the discussion the following alterations were agreed to:—
Page 1, Paragraph 1.
Mr. Lloyd George proposed to insert after the word “prepared” “with strict moderation and”.
President Wilson did not like the addition, and Mr. Lloyd George withdrew the proposal.
After the quotation from the final memorandum of 5th November, 1918,1a Mr. Lloyd George suggested another addition to the effect that the Allied and Associated Powers might, if they had wished, [Page 291] have made a much more extensive definition of the damage done to the civilian population.
M. Clemenceau suggested that this would have a bad effect on public opinion in Allied countries. The public would ask why, if they could have claimed more, they had not done so.
Mr. Lloyd George agreed, and withdrew the proposal.
Last paragraph of Page 1.2
It was agreed to delete the words “propose to”, so that the sentence should run “The Allied and Associated Powers, recognising this situation, themselves delegate power and authority to a Reparation Commission”.
Page 2, last Paragraph.3
President Wilson suggested to alter the word “distorted”.
Mr. Lloyd George suggested that it was not an offensive word and it was agreed to make no alteration.
In the following line the word “difficult” was substituted for “impossible”.
Page 3. Lines 12–164 were altered to read as follows:—“The German observations appear to miss the point that the Commission is directed to study the German system of taxation for the protection of the German people no less than for the protection of their own.”
Line 18.4 For “poverty” the word “inability” was substituted.
Page 4, 1st Paragraph,5 Line 5. Omit the words “as to” before “why”.
At the beginning of the second paragraph,
Mr. Lloyd George suggested to insert the following:—“The Allied and Associated Powers, in proof of their willingness to facilitate the execution of the Treaty, suggest the following procedure”.
After some discussion, it was agreed instead to insert the following words at the end of the first paragraph:—“The Allied and Associated Governments are therefore ready to agree to such a procedure as the following”.
Paragraph 2. The word “forthwith” was deleted.
Paragraph 3, 6th line. After the word “purposes” it was agreed to put a colon instead of a full stop.
In the 13th line, the word “service” was substituted for “assistance”.
Page 5, 6th line. Mr. Lloyd George said that this was the point6 at which he wished to introduce a phrase giving the Germans opportunities of inspecting the damage.
After some discussion the following phrase was accepted:—“Suitable [Page 292] facilities for inspecting the damage done will be afforded to Germany’s agents at reasonable times”.
M. Clemenceau said that M. Loucheur had proposed that somewhere in the last half of page 4 or the first half of page 5, words should be introduced to provide for conference between the German experts with the Allied experts in regards to the works of repair and reconstruction by Germany.
(After some discussion it was agreed to amend the sentence beginning in the 6th line of page 56a as follows:
“Three conditions and three only are imposed upon the tender of these proposals. First the German Authorities will be expected before making such proposals to confer with the representatives of the Powers directly concerned.
Secondly such offers must be unambiguous and must be precise and clear.
Thirdly they must accept the categories of the Reparation clauses as matters settled beyond discussion.”)
(It was agreed that the sentence following this should be amended to read as follows:—
“The Allied and Associated Powers will not entertain arguments or appeals directed to any alteration.”)
The sentence following this and commencing with the words “[The] Allied and Associated Powers” was considerably criticised.
Mr. Lloyd George thought on the whole it would be wiser to omit it. Either the reference to the German offer of £5,000,000,000 should be omitted altogether, or else a full explanation should be given as to why it was not a real offer.
M. Clemenceau thought the second alternative was the better.
After some discussion Mr. Lloyd George left the room to consult Lord Sumner, and later in the meeting the following passage, based on Lord Sumner’s draft slightly amended, was approved for introduction after the word “undefined”:—
The sum of £5,000,000,000 is indeed mentioned, and this is calculated to give the impression of an extensive offer which, upon examining it proves not to be. No interest is to be paid at all. It is evident that till 1927 there is no substantial payment, but only the surrender of military material, and the devolution upon other Powers of large portions of Germany’s own debt. Thereafter a series of undefined instalments is to be agreed which are not to be completed for nearly half a century. The present value of this distant proposal is small, but it is all that Germany tenders to the victims of her aggression in satisfaction of their past sufferings and their permanent burthens.”
The following addition proposed by Lord Sumner was not accepted:—
“This is not an offer at all: but it is only an admission that the minimum claims of the Allied and Associated Powers can certainly be proved at a sum exceeding £5,000,000,000.”
Last paragraph of page 5,7 3rd line.
(It was agreed to substitute for the words “above proposals” the following “any proposals that may be made.”
In the following line the word “may” was substituted for “will” and in the line after that the word “proper” before “conditions” was deleted.)
8th and 9th line from the bottom of the page.8
(It was agreed on President Wilson’s suggestion to omit the following words “no one could profit more than they”.)
Page 6, 7th line.9
(Instead of “they recognise” it was agreed to substitute “they are fully alive to”.)
9th line, page 6.10
President Wilson proposed to substitute for the words “intercourse and assistance” the word “facilities”.
(After some discussion this was agreed to.)
Mr. Lloyd George said that he wished to introduce in this paragraph the point he had already alluded to, namely, that in giving commercial facilities to Germany, regard should be had to those countries which had suffered so much from German aggression. He proposed that in line 12 after the words “in advance” to insert the following “and subject also to the necessity for having due regard to the special economic situation created for the various countries by the German aggression in the war.”
President Wilson did not like the use of the term “various countries” and proposed instead to substitute “particular countries”.
Mr. Lloyd George said that he was particularly anxious not to convey the impression that most favoured nation treatment was being given to Germany.
President Wilson and M. Clemenceau thought that this was safeguarded against by the sentence “commercial facilities without which this assumption [resumption] cannot take place”.
Mr. Lloyd George in regard to President Wilson’s proposal said he did not want to be put in the position of choosing between the different Allied and Associated countries. He would be willing to use the term “belligerent Allied and Associated countries”.[Page 294]
President Wilson did not like the use of this term, which he thought was equivalent to saying to the Germans, we will let you have these facilities when we can spare them.
Mr. Lloyd George said it was a difficult point to draft but what he meant was that the Allied and Associated countries had been put in a position in which they would not have been put but for German aggression, and that this ought to be taken into account.
(After some further discussion the following form was finally agreed to for insertion after the words “in advance”.
“And subject also to the necessity for having due regard to the special economic situation created for Allied and Associated countries by German aggression and the war.”)
2nd paragraph of page 6.11
The following sentence was deleted: “The [A] great part of the damage done has been done by German hands in faithful execution of German plans.”
The reason for this change was that, Mr. Lloyd George pointed out, it was an admission that the Germans had not done the whole of the damage and would give them a loophole for arguing.
M. Clemenceau proposed to omit the last sentence on page 6,12 but
Mr. Lloyd George considered it rather valuable and M. Clemenceau withdrew his objection.
(Subject to the above alterations the draft was approved, and Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to incorporate the above alterations in the revised document.)
2. Mr. Lloyd George said that he had only received that morning a French copy of a report of the Commission instructed to draw up a Convention for the military occupation of the Rhine provinces. He had as yet received no English copy and he had not had time to study the document. Convention Concerning the Military Occupation of the Rhine Provinces
President Wilson said he was in the same position.
M. Clemenceau considered the project drawn up by the Commission too complicated, and said he had himself drawn up a 12 line project which in his view did all that was necessary. Moreover, just as he was leaving his office, Marshal Foch had come in with a project based on the German occupation of France in 1871, which ought to be considered.
(The subject was adjourned until the afternoon.)
3. Mr. Lloyd George circulated the draft of a letter covering the [Page 295] rejoinder to be made to the German counter proposals. This draft he said had been prepared by Mr. Philip Kerr, and was German Counter submitted by himself as a basis for discussion. Reply to the German Counter Proposals
Sir Maurice Hankey drew attention to a large number of reports from Commissions on the German counter proposals, and asked that they might be considered at an early date by the Council.
4. President Wilson said he had received a new draft prepared by Colonel House, Lord Robert Cecil, M. Leon Bourgeois and their group, and that Mr. House had seen M. Clemenceau.
(It was agreed to discuss this in the afternoon, and Sir Maurice Hankey was directed to reproduce and circulate it.) League of Nations. Revised Reply to the Germans
5. President Wilson and Mr. Lloyd George reported that they had received advance copies of the report of the Commision. Eastern Frontiers of Germany
(It was agreed to discuss this in the afternoon.)
6. M. Clemenceau said he had received a letter from M. Paderewski asking that the Polish army should be placed under the Polish Marshal Foch. If his colleagues agreed he proposed to give his consent. Command of the Polish Army
(President Wilson, Mr. Lloyd George and M. Orlando agreed.)
7. M. Clemenceau reported that the Italians had occupied Tarvis, and that the forces of the kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes had occupied Klagenfurt. Events on the Austrian Frontier
- There is only one appendix to CF–57.↩
- Foreign Relations, 1918, supp. 1, vol. i, p. 468.↩
- Beginning “The vast extent …”↩
- Beginning “The observations of the German Delegation …”↩
- In the same paragraph as the preceding.↩
- In the same paragraph as the preceding.↩
- Beginning “The provisions of the Treaty …”↩
- Before the words “Two conditions and two only …”↩
- Beginning in the draft “Two conditions and two only …”↩
- Beginning “Within two months thereafter …”↩
- In the same paragraph as the preceding.↩
- In the paragraph beginning “The Powers will …”↩
- In the same paragraph as the preceding.↩
- Beginning “Even if no settlement …”↩
- Beginning “By giving a satisfactory covenant …”↩
- Foreign Relations, 1918, supp. 1, vol. i, p. 12.↩