Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/69
Notes of a Meeting Held in President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Saturday, June 14, 1919, at 6 p.m.
United States of America
- President Wilson
- Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
- M. Clemenceau
- M. Sonnino
- Baron Makino
- United States of America
|Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B.||}||Secretaries|
|M. di Martino|
|Professor P. J. Mantoux—Interpreter|
1. The Council had before them a memorandum on the observations presented by the German Delegation relative to Part 9 of the Treaty, (Financial Clauses) prepared by the Financial Com-Financial mission. (Appendix I.) Financial Clauses: Reply to the German Observations
(This Memorandum had been read by Members between the morning and afternoon meetings and was approved without amendment.)
A copy of the Memorandum was initialled by the representatives of the five States, since it provided for certain alterations in the Treaty of Peace.
The initialled copy for the Drafting Committee, was handed to Mr. Hurst, who, with M. Fromageot, attended the Council later in the meeting, in connection with another question.
Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to communicate a copy of the Memorandum to the Secretary-General, for the information of the Editing Committee.
M. Fromageot and Mr. Hurst, of the Drafting Committee, were present during the following discussion.
2. The Council had before them the draft reply of the Commission [Page 454] on Belgian and Danish affairs to remarks of the German Delegation on the Conditions of Peace (Appendix II).
The reply with regard to Belgium was approved subject to a verbal alteration in line 5 of the English version, the word “offset” being substituted for “effect”. Belgium and Schleswig: Reply to German Note
In regard to Schleswig, the Council decided in principle to drop the idea of the plebiscite in the most southerly of the three zones. This decision was taken in view of the objections of the Danish Government.
M. Fromageot and Mr. Hurst, of the Drafting Committee were instructed without waiting for any initialled authority to proceed with the necessary alterations in the Treaty of Peace with Germany to give effect to this decision.
The Council felt, however, that in view of M. Tardieu’s exceptional knowledge in this subject, the matter should be brought to his personal notice in case he might have any special objections to offer, in which case he should arrange with the Drafting Committee not to make those alterations without further questions.
M. Tardieu’s attention was also to be drawn to the fact that, if the plebiscite were dropped, the memorandum on Schleswig would require alteration accordingly.
The whole of the memorandum from the Heading “Article 34” onwards was struck out by the Council. A question raised in the note of the Financial Commission attached to the report of the Commission on Belgian and Danish Affairs gave rise to a discussion which led to no change in the Treaty of Peace or in the reply to the Germans (See below).
Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to communicate these decisions to the Secretary-General for the information of the Editing Committee.
3. After the reading of the memorandum from the President of the Financial Commission dated 11th June, 1919 (Appendix III) attached to the report on Belgian and Schleswig Affairs,
Mr. Lloyd George said that this raised a very important question, namely, as to what was the position in regard to Reparation of territories which were German at the beginning of the war. For example, were Dantzig and Upper Silesia, both very wealthy states, to bear no part of the burden of the reparation?Memorandum by the Financial Commission Dated 11th June, 1919
M. Clemenceau said that they ought to pay.
Mr. Hurst said that in regard to Dantzig, nothing was provided as to a contribution for reparation.
President Wilson said that whatever views anyone might hold [Page 455] about Poland, the Polish people had been compelled to fight for the Central Powers. They had had no choice. Their territory had been devastated by Russia as well as by Germany. They had suffered as hard a fate as any nation in the war. As all had from the first agreed that Poland was one of the nations to be redeemed by the war, the question arose as to whether any share of German reparation ought to be subtracted from her. The question which Mr. Lloyd George raised, he said, had been discussed again and again and had been given up because no decision could be reached. He recalled the discussions on the subject in connection with Austria and the proposals for a book-keeping arrangement.
Mr. Lloyd George reminded his colleagues that in the Austrian Treaty, an arrangement had been reached which he understood was going to be incorporated in the Treaty after discussion with the States formerly constituting Austria.
President Wilson urged that to take up this question involving a long delay was risky, in view of the urgency of obtaining peace in the following week.
Mr. Lloyd George said at least it was important to ascertain how the matter stood.
President Wilson said it had been a fixed principle that nothing must be added to the burden imposed on Germany by the Draft Treaty handed to the German Delegates.
Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that to make Dantzig and Upper Silesia take a share of Reparation would not be increasing, but lightening the burden on Germany, since these territories would not be German.
M. Sonnino suggested that as Dantzig was to be separated from Germany against its will, some consideration ought to be allowed to it.
M. Clemenceau said the amount involved was small.
Mr. Lloyd George said that there were 1,000,000 people in the Dantzig area, while Upper Silesia provided one-third of the coal of Germany. The sum involved, therefore, was by no means small. He would like to make some provision in the parts of the Treaty relating to Upper Silesia providing that if any part of Upper Silesia went to Poland, there should be a joint consideration between Germany, Poland and the Commission as to how much of the burden of reparation was to be borne.
M. Sonnino said that this would furnish a tremendous argument against a vote in favour of going to Poland.
President Wilson said he regretted the matter had been overlooked, but he thought it was now too late.
M. Clemenceau suggested that some agreement should be made with the Poles.[Page 456]
Mr. Lloyd George said it could only be a free-will offering on the part of the Poles.
President Wilson thought that in view of the political considerations involved this was the only fair method.
Mr. Lloyd George said that by not adopting his proposal, the Council would not be letting off the Poles, but only the rich Germans inhabiting Silesia would be released from their appropriate share of reparation. It was not just to say to Silesia that if she voted out of Germany, she would escape a payment of perhaps 500 million pounds. This was loading the dice against Germany.
President Wilson protested strongly against the use of this term. He pointed out that he was not obliged under the Armistice to agree to a plebiscite in Upper Silesia at all, as No. 13 of the Fourteen Points was perfectly clear on the subject. He had only conceded the plebiscite to meet Mr. Lloyd George’s principles. So far as Germany was concerned, having accepted the Fourteen Points, she had no case to claim a plebiscite. He did not say that Mr. Lloyd George had no case to claim this, but only that Germany had not. As the population had been ground down under the land-owners, it would not be loading the dice to make it exempt from sharing Germany’s burden of reparation.
M. Sonnino pointed out that the effect of no share of reparation being taken by Upper Silesia, would be to offer the rich proprietors of the land and of the mines a strong inducement to use their influence to the utmost to vote against Germany.
Mr. Lloyd George said he must make a strong protest against the release of Upper Silesia from taking any share of reparation. He did not feel that he could withdraw the suggestion that it was loading the dice, although of course, this had no personal application.
President Wilson said that nevertheless he must strongly demur to the use of this term.
M. Clemenceau said that as a matter of principle Mr. Lloyd George was right, but he thought to adopt his plan in practice would probably not be politic.
Mr. Lloyd George said that this might cost scores of millions of pounds to the British Empire, and hundreds of millions to France, and he had felt bound to make the strongest protest.
(The discussion was adjourned.)
4. The Council had before them a note by Mr. Hurst on the question of Dantzig, which they discussed with Mr. Hurst and M. Fromageot (Appendix IV).
As the result of this discussion, it was decided that the sentence as to the protection of the League of Nations in Paragraph 102 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany, [Page 457] which had been suppressed in consequence of a decision taken by the Council on May 24th,1 should be reinstated. Dantzig
M. Fromageot and Mr. Hurst were authorised to make this alteration without further authority. Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to communicate the decision to the Secretary-General.
5. Mr. Hurst said that he and M. Fromageot had been deputed by a joint meeting of the Drafting Committee and the Editing Committee to obtain a decision of the Council as to whether the five days to be allowed for the German Delegation to decide whether or not they would sign the Treaty of Peace included the three days’ notice which had to be given for the denunciation of the Armistice. A further question arose as to whether the notification of the denunciation of the Armistice should be made in a separate note or at the end of the letter covering detailed replies to the German note. Expiration of the Armistice
It was agreed:—
- That the five days allowed for the German Delegation within which to make a declaration as to whether they were prepared to sign should include the three days required for the denunciation of the Armistice.
- That a separate communication on this subject should be sent to the German Delegation.
- That the letter covering the detailed replies to the German Delegation should also end with a statement to the same effect.2
6. On the suggestion of M. Fromageot and Mr. Hurst, it was agreed that the Drafting Committee should prepare for the use of the Germans a clean copy of the Treaty of Peace, showing in red ink the alterations provided for in the reply to the to the Germans German Note. Owing to the numerous alterations in the Military Section and the Polish Section, however, re-prints of those two sections would be presented. Communication of the Final Treaty of Peace to the Germans
- See CF–29, vol. v, p. 913.↩
- For text of the letter covering the detailed replies to the German delegation, together with the accompanying memorandum, as handed to the German delegation on June 16, 1919, see p. 926.↩
- See appendix I to CF–22A, vol. v, p. 802, and CF–23, minute 3, ibid., p. 815.↩
- Appendix IA to CF–20, ibid., p. 738.↩
- British and Foreign State Papers, vol. lxii, p. 65.↩
- i. e., note printed post, p. 902.↩
- Post, p. 918.↩
- Foreign Relations, 1918, supp. 1, vol. i, p. 771.↩
- Ibid., Russia, vol. i, p. 442.↩
- British and Foreign State Papers, vol. ii, p. 3.↩
- Ibid., vol. lvi, p. 1050.↩
- See IC-176H, vol. v, p. 293.↩
- See CF–29, vol. v, p. 913.↩