Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/73½
Notes of a Meeting Held at Mr. Lloyd George’s Residence, 23 Rue Nitot, Paris, on Tuesday, June 17, 1919, at 3 p.m.
United States of America
- President Wilson.
- The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
- M. Clemenceau.
- United States of America
|Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B.—Secretary.|
|Prof. P. J. Mantoux.—Interpreter.|
1. Mr. Lloyd George showed to his two colleagues a memorandum written by General Sir Henry Wilson.
M. Clemenceau said that he had seen Marshal Petain in the morning. He had told him exactly what had occurred with Marshal Foch on the previous day. Marshal Petain had said he was not surprised. Marshal Foch had communicated to Marshal Petain part of his plan and Marshal Petain thought it rather rash in parts. Of course, M. Clemenceau commented, their natures were quite different. Marshal Petain was wise, prudent, square and rather on the cautious side. He recalled that, when Marshal Foch had been appointed, Marshal Petain had advised him to insist on seeing his plans before they were carried out, but when he had shown to Marshal Petain a year ago the plan that Marshal Foch worked out for a continued offensive against the Germans, he had replied that it was a very fine thing, and that with Marshal Foch’s initiative and drive it ought to work out. Marshal Petain’s view on the present situation was that Marshal Foch’s plan should be executed, but with prudence, but, in making this observation, he had remarked that he only knew the French Army’s part in the plan and did not know the part of the British and American Armies. Action in the Event of the Germans Refusing To Sign
Mr. Lloyd George and President Wilson said that neither did they.
M. Clemenceau said he had then asked Marshal Petain to return to Chantilly, where he had a first rate Chief of the General Staff, and study the plan with great care as far as he knew it and then come back to report to him. Later in the day, he, himself, had received Marshal Foch’s plan.
Marshal Foch’s plan was then read aloud. (Appendix I.)[Page 524]
After the reading of the plan, President Wilson said that it left the Council exactly where they were yesterday, with the substitution of an armistice for the previously proposed separatist policy. An armistice was not the business of the Governments but of the military authorities.
M. Clemenceau agreed, and did not think the Council could take any part in it. He remarked that, when Marshal Foch had been told yesterday that Mr. Lloyd George and President Wilson would, if it were essential, ask their Legislatures for more troops, Marshal Foch had not replied. He was particularly anxious not to have any trouble with Marshal Foch before the Germans had given their reply and hence he saw no need to rush matters. He asked if, in the meanwhile, the British Navy could prepare to do something against Dantzig.
Mr. Lloyd George said that he had already enquired into this when there was a question of landing the Poles there, and he had been told that it was heavily fortified and that the ships could do nothing. He suggested that orders to Marshal Foch should be carefully prepared and signed by the Council of Five, instructing him that his objective in the event of the Germans refusing to sign was Berlin and the object to get peace signed. It should be stated that the aim of the Allied and Associated Powers is to get peace signed, and that the centre of Government was to be the military objective. Copies should be given to General Pershing and General Robertson. He suggested that someone with a military mind should prepare it, in order that it might be framed like a military order with an unmistakable meaning, such as Marshal Foch would understand.
M. Clemenceau undertook to prepare a document and to let his colleagues have it on Thursday night.
2. In reply to a question by Mr. Lloyd George, President Wilson said that if the Germans signed the peace he proposed to return to the United States as soon as possible, in order to Movements get the Treaty through the Senate. President Wilson’s Movements
Mr. Lloyd George said he had received a well considered memorandum from a Member of the British Delegation Staff, urging that the Austrian Treaty should be amended with the object of detaching Austria from Germany. He undertook to give a copy to President Wilson. The Detachment of Austria From Germany
Villa Majestic, Paris, 17 June, 1919.[Page 525] [Page 527]
- Translation from the French supplied by the editors.↩
- Service by the railroads is necessarily dependent upon German personnel. [Footnote in the original.]↩
Belgian forces 6 divisions of infantry and 1 division of cavalry British forces 10 “ “ “ “ 1 “ “ “ United States forces 3 “ “ “ French forces 18 “ “ “ “ 3 “ “ “ 37 “ “ “ “ 5 “ “ “
[Footnote in the original.]↩
3 Belgian divisions of infantry 2 British divisions of infantry 1 United States division of infantry 6 divisions of infantry
The French forces of occupation being taken from outside of the units indicated above.
[Footnote in the original.]↩