Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/77


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Saturday, June 21, 1919, at 12:30 p.m.

  • Present
    • United States of America
      • President Wilson
    • British Empire
      • Mr. Balfour
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau
    • Italy
      • H. E. Baron Sonnino
    • Japan
      • H. E. Viscount Chinda
Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B. } Secretaries
M. di Martino
Prof. P. J. Mantoux.—Interpreter

The following members of the Committee on New States were also present:—

  • United States of America
    • Mr. Hudson
  • British Empire
    • Mr. Headlam-Morley
  • France
    • Mr. Kammerer
  • Italy
    • M. di Martino

1. With reference to C. F. 74, Minute 2,1 the Council had before them a letter from M. Berthelot, dated June 19th. addressed to Sir Maurice Hankey containing the remarks of the Commission on New States (Appendix I) on M. Paderewski’s letter of June 15th, 1919.2

(After President Wilson had read a summary of the letter, it was approved. M. Paderewski’s Memorandum: Report of the Commission on New States; Draft Treaty With Poland

The Commission on New States was authorised, in consultation with the Drafting Committee, to embody the changes proposed in their letter in a final text of a Treaty with Poland. The Commission was also instructed to prepare for the consideration of the Council, the draft of a letter forwarding the text of the Treaty to the Polish Delegation.)

(At Mr. Headlam-Morley’s request, the Commission was also authorised to consider the nature of alterations required in the draft Treaty [Page 570] with Poland in order to provide that in all except the primary schools Jewish children should be instructed in the Polish, and not in the Yiddish language, thereby avoiding the risk of encouraging the use of Yiddish as one of the national languages for a part of the population of Poland.)

2. With reference to C. F. 72 [74], Minute 74 [4],3 the Council had before them a letter from M. Berthelot, the Chairman of the Commission on New States suggesting that the points referred to the Commission at the instance of M. Sonnino on June 17th. were outside the competence of the Commission, and should be referred to the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs with their legal and technical experts, which had considered the political clauses relating to Italy in the Austrian Treaty. (Appendix II.) Further Questions Referred to the Commission on New States

(The proposal of the Commission on New States was agreed to and Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to acquaint the Secretary-General.)

3. Sir Maurice Hankey drew attention to a letter from M. Berthelot, dated June 16th. 1919,4 dealing with the following Tariffs for questions:—

Clauses of a technical nature regarding the scale of tariffs for traffic towards the Adriatic intended for insertion Czecho-Slovakia and Yugo-Slavia. Tariffs for Traffic Towards the Adriatic in the Treaties for Czecho-Slovakia and Yugo-Slavia
Suggestions from the Italian Delegation with regard to the restitution of works of art carried off during the war, and removed to territory belonging to the New States. (Appendix.)5
Concerning Financial Clauses relating to Poland proposed by the French Delegation.

(The Council postponed the discussion of this letter.)

(The Meeting then adjourned.)

Appendix I to CF–77


[M. Berthelot to Sir Maurice Hankey]

My Dear Friend and Colleague: You have been good enough to transmit to the Commission on New States the copy of a Memorandum from M. Paderewski6 containing his objections to the draft Treaty [Page 571] between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Poland, which has been prepared by the Committee. The Supreme Council has sent this Memorandum to the Committee with instructions “to consider the objections raised by M. Paderewski and to seek whether some of these objections could not be met”.

In conformity with these instructions the Committee on the New States has considered M. Paderewski’s Memorandum. They have at once noted that except for some special points such as the provisions relating to the Jews and the lack of reciprocity as to the guarantees accorded to German Minorities in Poland, none of the articles in the proposed Treaty is made the subject of an investigation which would serve to suggest modifications which it might be desired to make in the text.

In reality the entire memorandum of the Polish First Minister can be summed up as an opposition in principle to the conclusion of a special treaty containing the solemn undertaking of Poland to the Allies to guarantee the rights of racial, linguistic, and religious minorities.

M. Paderewski objects both to pledging his country in this matter to the Powers and to accepting the jurisdiction of the League of Nations on any eventual violation of the agreement. It would therefore be in vain to attempt to satisfy him by modifying the particular articles of the Treaty. The difference is fundamental.

The Supreme Council alone has the authority to decide if it is desirable to impose on the Polish Government what both the Diet and its own opinion would desire to reject as an infringement of the sovereignty of Poland.

The Commission on New States, so far as they are concerned, can only comply with the decision of the Council or the Powers which has been twice published, both by the insertion of Article 93 in the Treaty with Germany and by the maintenance of the principle embodied in this Article notwithstanding the observations made at the Plenary Session by the representatives of the small Powers. It is moreover too late to alter the Treaty with Germany.

An investigation of M. Paderewski’s Memorandum calls for the following observations: It is in harmony with the practice of public law in Europe to insert in Treaties concluded with New States on the occasion of their recognition a certain number of guarantees (as has already been done in former times for Greece, Rumania, Serbia); Poland can the less refuse to conform in that she owes her liberation entirely to the efforts and sacrifices of the Powers.

The establishment of the League of Nations of which Poland is a part, moreover removes as a consequence all interference of a [Page 572] foreign Power in her internal affairs, for it assumes to her the guarantee of an impartial examination by the Court of Justice of the League of Nations, i. e. by an Assembly which is judicial and not political.

If to this is added that questions will be brought before the Court by a State which is a member of the Council of the League and not by the direct appeal of the Minorities, it will be recognised that every precaution has been taken to conciliate both the sentiment and meet the interests of the States.

The Polish Government declares itself in general ready of itself to grant the most complete guarantees of liberty and equality to all citizens without distinction of race, religion or language; there is then complete harmony on the fundamental matter between the Powers and Poland.

Three questions however are made the subject of special reserves:

The special guarantees accorded to the Jews in Articles 10 and 12.
The absence of reciprocity in the protection of German Minorities in Poland and Polish Minorities in Germany.
Finally the interference in the fundamental laws of the Polish Constitution which results from the general application of the provisions of Article 1.

(1) M. Paderewski is of opinion that by giving to the Jews special privileges in regard to education and language, they will be placed outside the national community and difficulties will be created which it would be desirable to avoid. To this argument it can be replied that the immense majority of the Jews in Poland demand precise guarantees, and that the information as to the present situation of the Jews in Poland and the attitude towards them seems to justify special provisions; these provisions have besides been most carefully arranged in order to leave the Jewish institutions under public control and absolutely to avoid forming them into a separate national community. The Committee is prepared, in order to meet the suggestion, to modify the terms of Article 12 which, according to M. Paderewski, might justify the Jews in refusing public service in the army. It is for the Supreme Council to decide whether it is possible to go further and suppress the two articles referring to the Jews who, in that case, would only get the benefits given by the more general guarantees to all Minorities.

(2) With regard to the absence of reciprocity of the guarantees given to the Germans and the Poles, the Committee must point out that there will remain very few groups of Poles in Germany (apart from the miners in Westphalia who are foreign workers occupied in [Page 573] this district and not minorities definitely established) while more than 800,000 Germans will be incorporated in the Polish State As the Allied Powers have assumed this responsibility, they are bound to assure to the latter the indispensable guarantees.

If the Committee had known at an earlier date that a plebiscite would be arranged in Upper Silesia, they would have asked for the insertion in the Treaty with Germany of a clause protecting Polish minorities; but even on the hypothesis that the plebiscite would result in the retention of a Polish population under the sovereignty of Germany, it would be the obvious interest of Germany to grant them the indispensable guarantees and the Powers would certainly be able to get an undertaking when the time came.

(3) Finally, the Committee, in order to meet in every possible manner the objections of M. Paderewski, in conformity with the instructions of the Supreme Council, suggest that the draft Treaty be modified in the five following points: the Drafting Committee might be instructed in concert with the Commission to draft the necessary articles.

The three first lines of Article 1 should be made applicable only to Articles 2–8 i. e. to the exclusion of the special articles 9, 10 and 12.
In the two last lines of Article 1 the words “the majority of the Council of the League of Nations” should be substituted for “the League of Nations”.
The Allied and Associated Powers would undertake to accept any modification determined upon by the majority of the Council of the League of Nations.
Article 9 would be altered so as to limit the privileges provided in this article to former nationals of the State to which the territories transferred to Poland had previously belonged.
Article 12 would be altered as indicated above in regard to military service.

These are the conclusions to which the Committee of the New States has come after a careful examination of M. Paderewski’s memorandum.

I should be obliged if you would have the goodness to bring them before the Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and request them to give us their instructions in view of the urgency of a final drafting of the Treaty with Poland, the signature to which ought apparently to be coincident with that of the Treaty with Germany.

[Page 574]

Appendix II to CF–77


[M. Berthelot to Sir Maurice Hankey]

Dear M. Hankey: The Committee on New States has taken note of the communication of Baron Sonnino,8 which you transmitted to me on June 17, on the subject of the conditions to be inserted in the Peace Treaty concerning the relations between former Austro-Hungarian nationals who have become Polish subjects and those who have become subjects of the other Allied States to which territory of the former monarchy has been ceded.

The Committee, after having carefully examined the question, is of the opinion that it does not lie within its competence to establish the indispensable solutions which can be imposed on the various States receiving Austrian territories neither by virtue of Articles 86 and 93 of the Treaty with Germany nor by virtue of the other similar articles to be inserted in the Treaties either with Austria or with Hungary.

It considers, however, that the conditions in question have a great importance for the peace of the New States and the maintenance between them of normal relations of public and private right. It thinks, therefore, that it is necessary to find some means of requesting from the various New States and from those receiving territories of Austria-Hungary the adoption of the clauses covering this problem. To this effect it recalls that the similar clauses concerning the relations between former Austro-Hungarian nationals who have become Italian and those who have remained Austrian or Hungarian have been examined, according to the instructions of the Council of Four, by the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, who have for this purpose called in juridical or technical delegates.

It has seemed to the Committee on New States that this procedure, which has made it possible to arrive at a text acceptable to everyone, might be followed in this case, the same persons being evidently the best qualified to treat an identical problem.

The Committee on New States, while waiting for the decision of the Council of Four, will suspend all further examination of the question.

  1. Ante, p. 529.
  2. Appendix II to CF–74, p. 535.
  3. Ante, p. 530.
  4. This letter is printed as appendix V to CF–79, p. 593.
  5. No such appendix accompanies the minutes of this meeting. The document in question is printed as part of appendix V to CF–79, p. 596.
  6. Appendix II to CF–74, p. 535.
  7. The translation Is that appearing In the minutes of the meeting of the Commission on New States of June 20, 1919 (Paris Peace Conf. 181.23201/25).
  8. Appendix III to CF–74, p. 541.