Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/60


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Wednesday, June 11, 1919, at 5:45 p.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. The Council had before them the Report of the Committee on the Eastern Frontiers of Germany, dated June 10th, 1919.1

President Wilson drew attention to the map accompanying the report and pointed out that just as some Germans had been transferred to Germany, so some Poles had been transferred to Poland, as compared with the original scheme. Eastern Frontiers of Germany: Report of the Committee

Mr. Lloyd George said he had no objection to this, as it was in accordance with the instructions of the Committee.

2. President Wilson proposed that the Council should accept the plebiscite on the one to two years basis. Dr. Lord had told him upstairs that just before coming to the meeting he had seen an American just back from Upper Silesia, who had reported that all classes of the population were in favour of and eager for a plebiscite. Although Dr. Lord was himself opposed to the plebiscite, he had hastened to communicate this. The Plebiscite

M. Clemenceau said that he regretted the plebiscite and considered that, from a political point of view, it was not good. Henceforth, we must expect great trouble on the eastern frontiers of Germany. Nevertheless, he would not oppose his colleagues in this.

(It was agreed to accept the plebiscite on the one to two years basis.)

3. President Wilson said that Dr. Lord had also suggested to him that Mr. Headlam-Morley’s proposals for the powers of the Commission, put forward in his alternative article 5, although originally drawn for an immediate plebiscite, were much better suited to the delayed plebiscite than article 5 of the majority report. Powers of the Commission

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(After both articles had been read, it was agreed to substitute Mr. Headlam-Morley’s draft of Article 5 for the first two paras of Article 5 of the majority report.)

4. President Wilson drew attention to Article 4 and pointed out that it was hardly necessary to invite the Japanese, who had no concern in the matter, to nominate a representative to the International Commission. Composition of the Commission

(It was agreed to alter the first sentence of Article 4 in the following sense:—

“Upper Silesia should be immediately placed under the authority of an International Commission of four members, to be designated by the following Powers:—

  • United States of America,
  • Great Britain,
  • France and
  • Italy.)

5. President Wilson drew attention to Article 3 and the proposal for the removal of higher officials “in the accompanying list.” He pointed out that no list accompanied the report.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that it would be better to leave this to the International Commission. Removal of Officials

(It was agreed to amend the first sentence of Article 3 in the following sense:—

“Within 15 days of the coming into force of the present Treaty, all German troops and such officials as may be designated by the Commission to be set up under the provisions of Article 4, shall evacuate Upper Silesia.”)

6. President Wilson drew attention to the last page of the second report of the Commission on Eastern Frontiers, dated 11th June, 1919,1a in which they enclosed a draft reply to the German Application memorandum and summarised concessions which it was proposed to make in reply to the German proposals. Application of Financial Recommendations to the Whole of Poland

The first of these concessions related to the financial clauses which, it was agreed, should be applied to the German proprietors not only in Upper Silesia but also in all the territories transferred from German to Polish sovereignty.

(This was agreed to.)

7. President Wilson pointed out that the second recommendation was that if the plebiscite was applied to Upper Silesia was adopted [sic], it would be difficult to avoid applying it also to the part of Upper Silesia granted to Czecho-Slovakia, namely, the district of Ratibor. District of Ratibor

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M. Ciemenceau said that, as Ratibor had been granted to Czechoslovakia, it could not be taken back.

(It was agreed to take no action in regard to this.)

8. M. Clemenceau raised the question of the occupation.

Mr. Lloyd George said that, if necessary, all the Allies would have to contribute troops, but the British Government would prefer that the United States should undertake it. Occupation by Allied Troops

President Wilson undertook to consult his military authorities.

M. Clemenceau asked who would defray the cost.

M. Orlando said that it had been proposed that the nation which retained the sovereignty after the plebiscite should bear the cost.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that, Upper Silesia, being a wealthy district, ought to pay the cost.

(This was agreed, and it was further agreed that that last paragraph of Article 8 should be altered in the following sense:—

“The cost of the army of occupation and expenditure by the Commission, whether in discharge of its own functions or in the administration of the territory, will be a charge on the district.”)

(Subject to the above alterations, the Report of the Committee on the Eastern Frontiers of Germany was approved, and Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to prepare a re-draft of the Articles to be initialled by the four Heads of States and to set in motion the other action to give effect to the decisions of the Council.)

9. With reference to C. F. 56, Minute 1,2 the Council had before them a report of the Council of Foreign Ministers on their interview Military with the representatives of Roumania and of the situation in Czecho-Slovak State on June 11th, at 10 a.m. (Appendix I.) Military Situatuon in Hungary

(After some discussion, Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to write to the Secretary-General, pointing out that there were certain points in connection with the report on which the Council required further information, namely:—

As to why the frontiers between Roumania and Hungary were never communicated to the representatives of the States concerned.
As to whether M. Bratiano had given any indication as to whether the proposed frontiers were acceptable or whether he had offered any criticisms.
The recommendations of the Council of Foreign Ministers as to the alterations in the frontiers asked for by the Czecho-Slovak Delegation.
The recommendations of the Council of Foreign Ministers on the proposals of General Pellé, in regard to which the Council of Foreign Ministers were, of course, at liberty to obtain any military or other expert advice if desired,

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Sir Maurice Hankey was further asked to invite the Secretary-General to arrange for an immediate further meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers on the subject.)

10. President Wilson read the reply from Admiral Koltchak which had been repeated and was now practically complete. (Appendix II.)

It was particularly noted that Admiral Koltchak had given satisfactory assurances that there would be no return to the regime which existed in February, 1917. Russia: The Reply From Admiral Koltchak

(It was agreed that, subject to the consent of the Japanese Delegation, the telegram to Admiral Koltchak and the reply should be published. Sir Maurice Hankey was directed to communicate a copy to the Japanese Delegation.

Note. Sir Maurice Hankey handed a copy to M. Saburi, the Secretary of the Japanese Delegation, at the Villa Majestic immediately after the meeting.)

11. Sir Maurice Hankey said that he had been asked by the Secretary-General to enquire whether the telegram to Bela Kun and his reply should be published. Correspondence With Bela Kun

(It was agreed that the telegrams should not be published until a cessation of the fighting had been secured.)

12. Sir Maurice Hankey reminded the Council that the question of references to the League of Nations was still unsettled. He had received a communication from Mr. Headlam-Morley, stating that the Committee could not complete its work until it received this information, which was urgently required. He understood that Mr. Lloyd George was awaiting a communication from Mr. Paderewski on the subject. Report of the Committee on Minorities: References to the League of Nations

Mr. Lloyd George said that he had not yet received the promised letter.

M. Clemenceau said that he had received a letter from M. Paderewski, but had not brought it with him.

13. Sir Maurice Hankey drew attention to several letters which had been received from M. Vesnitch on the subject of Klagenfurt. Klagenfurt.

(It was agreed that M. Vesnitch’s letters should be referred to the Commission on this subject.)

14. (It was agreed that on the following day, the Council should discuss the following questions:—

The occupation of the Rhine Provinces. Agenda for the Next Meeting

The draft replies to the German Note prepared by the Commissions.

The draft covering note prepared by Mr. Philip Kerr.

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Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to invite a Japanese Representative.)

Appendix I

[Report of the Council of Foreign Ministers]

In accordance with instructions given by the Council of the Heads of Governments, the Council of Foreign Ministers have called before them the representatives of Roumania and of the Czecho-Slovak State on June 11th, at 10 a.m.

1. The Council have communicated to Mr. Bratiano and Mr. Vaida-Voevod3 the boundaries between Roumania and Hungary which have been agreed on by the Supreme Council of the Allies.

Mr. Bratiano remarked that the line was for the first time brought to his notice. He declared that under these conditions he could not assume the responsibility of stating his opinion without consulting the Royal Government. He asked that he might be allowed to postpone his final answer for ten or twelve days, this delay being necessary for a messenger to go to Bucarest and return.

2. The Council communicated to Mr. Kramarcz and Mr. Benes the boundaries between the Czecho-Slovak State and Hungary, which had been agreed on by the Supreme Council of the Allies.

Mr. Kramarcz declared that the Czecho-Slovak delegation accepted on the whole these decisions, but he requested that the kind attention of the Supreme Council might be called to two alterations, which in his opinion both involved but a slight change in the frontier; the first of which being of primary importance for the Czechoslovak State.

A—The present frontier assigns to the Czecho-Slovak State both ends, and to Hungary the Central portion of the railroad Czata-Kalonda-Losoncz, which ensures direct communication from west to east to southern Slovakia.

Thus the frontier leaves in Hungarian territory the junction of this line with the Korpona branch-line which is almost entirely included in the Czecho-Slovak territory.

The Czecho-Slovak delegation pointed out that in spite of the international guarantees which might be given with regard to the working of the said line, the vital economic interests of southern Slovakia and more especially of the Korpona district might be subject to suffer from the unamicable feelings of the Hungarian authorities.

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Therefore they requested that the frontier might be shifted a few kilometers to the south so as to include in the Czecho-Slovak territory the whole of the Csata–Kalonda–Lozoncz railroad.

B. The Czecho-Slovak delegation requested that a portion of territory on the southern bank of the Danube opposite Pressburg might be assigned to the Czecho-Slovak State, so as to remedy the inconvenience which would result from the close proximity of the town to the frontier line.

3. The Council of the Foreign Ministers have examined the telegram sent to the Ministère de la Guerre by General Pellé, suggesting that the Hungarian troops should be withdrawn to a line to be subsequently determined south of the localities of Tisza-Lucz, Miskolcz, Vacz, thence to the West of this latter town and as far as the Austrian frontier, to a line running 25 kilometers south of the Danube.

The Council of the Foreign Ministers agreed that it would be undesirable from a political standpoint to fix a military line of demarcation divergent from the frontier laid down by the Supreme Council and accepted by the Czecho-Slovak delegation.

They were of opinion that the Supreme Council only was in a position to decide on the military considerations which might support the solution suggested by General Pellé.

Appendix II to CF–60

(Translation from French as finally amended in the light of a repetition of the telegram)

Telegram From Mr. de Martel, French Chargé d’Affaires at Omsk, to French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Despatched Omsk, 4th June } 1919
Received Paris, 5th June

Most Urgent

Admiral Koltchak, to whom I handed at the station of Tiumen the telegram of Mr. Clemenceau4 requests me to communicate the following reply to Mr. Clemenceau:

“The Government over which I preside has been happy to learn that the policy of the Allied and Associated Powers in regard to Russia is in perfect accord with the task which the Russian Government itself has undertaken, that Government being anxious above all things to re-establish peace in the country and to assure to the Russian people the right to decide their own destiny in freedom by means of a Constituent Assembly. I appreciate highly the interest shown by the Powers as regards the national movement and consider their wish to make certain of the political convictions with which we are inspired as legitimate; I am therefore ready to confirm once more my previous declarations which I have always regarded as irrevocable.

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1. On November 18, 1918, I assumed power and I shall not retain that power one day longer than is required by the interest of the country; my first thought at the moment when the Bolsheviks are definitely crushed will be to fix the date for the elections of the Constituent Assembly. A Commission is now at work on direct preparation for them on the basis of universal suffrage. Considering myself as responsible before that Constituent Assembly I shall hand over to it all my powers in order that it may freely determine the system of Government; I have moreover, taken the oath to do this before the Supreme Russian Tribunal, the guardian of legality. All my efforts are aimed at concluding the civil war as soon as possible by crushing Bolshevism in order to put the Russian people effectively in a position to express its free will. Any prolongation of this struggle would only postpone that moment: the Government, however, does not consider itself authorised to substitute for the inalienable right of free and legal elections the mere re-establishment of the Assembly of 1917, which was elected under a régime of Bolshevik violence and the majority of whose members are now in the Sovietist ranks. It is to the legally elected Constituent Assembly alone, which my Government will do its utmost to convoke promptly, that there will belong the sovereign rights of deciding the problems of the Russian State both in the internal and external affairs of the Country.

2. We gladly consent to discuss at once with the Powers all international questions, and in doing so shall aim at the free and peaceful development of peoples, the limitation of armaments, and the measures calculated to prevent new wars, of which the League of Nations is the highest expression.

The Russian Government thinks, however, that it should recall the fact that the final sanction of the decisions which may be taken in the name of Russia, will belong to the Constituent Assembly. Russia cannot now and cannot in future ever be anything but a democratic State where all questions involving modifications of the territorial frontiers and of external relations must be ratified by a representative body which is the natural expression of the people’s sovereignty.

3. Considering the creation of a unified Polish State to be one of the chief of the normal and just consequences of the world war, the Government thinks itself justified in confirming the independence of Poland, proclaimed by the Provisional Russian Government of 1917, all the pledges and decrees of which we have accepted. The final solution of the question of delimiting the frontiers between Russia and Poland must, however, in conformity with the principles set forth above, be postponed till the meeting of the Constituent Assembly. We are disposed at once to recognise the de facto Government of Finland, but the final solution of the Finnish question must belong to the Constituent Assembly.

4. We are fully disposed at once to prepare for the solution of the questions concerning the fate of the national groups in Esthonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and of the Caucasian and Transcaspian countries, and we have every reason to believe that a prompt settlement will be made, seeing that the Government is assuring as from the present time, the autonomy of the various nationalities. It goes without saying that the limits and conditions of these autonomous institutions will be settled separately as regards each of the nationalities concerned.

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And even in case difficulties should arise in regard to the solution of these various questions, the Government is ready to have recourse to the collaboration and good offices of the League of Nations with a view to arriving at a satisfactory settlement.

5. The above principle, implying the ratification of the agreements by the Constituent Assembly should obviously be applied to the question of Bessarabia.

6. The Russian Government once more repeats its declaration of the 27th November, 1918, by which it accepted the burden of the national debt of Russia.

7. As regards the question of internal politics which can only interest the Powers in so far as they reflect the political tendencies of the Russian Government, I make a point of repeating that there cannot be a return to the régime which existed in Russia before February 1917. The provisional solution which my Government has adopted in regard to the agrarian question aims at satisfying the interests of the great mass of the population and is inspired by the conviction that Russia can only be flourishing and strong when the millions of Russian peasants receive all guarantees for the possession of the land. Similarly as regards the régime to be applied to the liberated territories, the Government, far from placing obstacles in the way of the free election of local assemblies, municipalities and zemstvos, regards the activities of these bodies and also the development of the principle of self-government as the necessary conditions for the reconstruction of the country, and is (already) actually giving them its support and help by all the means (at its) disposal.

8. Having set ourselves the task of re-establishing order and justice and of ensuring individual security to the persecuted population, which is tired of trials and exactions, the Government affirms the equality before the law of all classes and all citizens without any special privilege . . . . . all shall receive, without distinction of origin or of religion, the protection of the State and of the Law.

The Government whose Head I am is concentrating all the forces and all the resources at its disposal in order to accomplish the task which it has set itself; at this decisive hour I speak in the name of all National Russia. I am confident that, Bolshevism once crushed, satisfactory solutions will be found for all questions which equally concern all those populations whose existence is bound up with that of Russia.[”]

  1. This report does not accompany the minutes.
  2. This report does not accompany the minutes.
  3. Ante, p. 281.
  4. Alexander Vaida-Voevod, Roumanian Minister of State, plenipotentiary to the Peace Conference.
  5. Appendix I to CF–37, p. 73.