Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/79
Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Saturday, June 21, 1919, at 3:45 p.m.
- United States of America
- President Wilson.
- British Empire
- The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour.
- M. Clemenceau.
- Baron Sonnino.
- Baron Makino.
- United States of America
|Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B.||}||Secretaries.|
|M. di Martino|
|M. P. J. Mantoux—Interpreter.|
The following members of the Committee on Roumanian and Jugo-Slav Affairs were also present:—
- United States of America
- Dr. C. Day.
- Dr. C. Seymour.
- Dr. D. W. Johnson.
- Captain L. W. Perrin.
- Dr. A. C. Coolidge.
- British Empire
- Sir Eyre Crowe.
- Mr. A. W. A. Leeper.
- Major-General W. Thwaites.
- Major Temperley.
- M. Klotz.
- M. Tardieu.
- M. Laroche.
- General Le Rond.
- M. de Saint-Quentin.
- M. di Martino.
- Count Vannutelli-Rey.
- Colonel Pariani.
1. The Council had before them a Note by the Committee on Roumanian and Jugo-Slav Affairs, giving its opinion on three letters from M. Vesnitch, two of which were dated June 7th and an Armistice one dated June 9th (Appendix I). Klagenfurt and an Armistice in Carinthia
President Wilson pointed out that three points were raised:—
- The majority of the Commission were agreed that during a plebiscite the Jugo-Slavs should occupy Zone A, and the Austrians should occupy Zone B. The Italian Delegation, however, dissented from this view.
- In regard to the spaces of time to elapse between the coming into force of the Treaty and the holding of the plebiscite, the majority of the Commission preferred three months, but the Italian Delegation preferred from six to eighteen months.
- The date of the qualification of those who would have the right to vote. The majority of the Commission favoured the vote being given to residents in the Klagenfurt Basin since 1905, but the Italian Delegation wished to bring it to August, 1914.
His personal view corresponded with that of the majority of the Commission on all points.
M. Sonnino, in regard to the first point, said that he thought it might jeopardise the liberty of the plebiscite if the Klagenfurt basin were occupied by the troops of the interested parties. To secure an absolutely free vote it would be better to provide in some other way, for instance, by means of Allied troops under the direction of the Commission.
President Wilson pointed out that in any case the Commission would be there to secure fair play.
M. Sonnino said that the presence of troops would hamper the liberty of the vote. He would prefer a local police force.
Reverting then to the question of the armistice, he said he had understood that the intention of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers was to confirm the telegram of 31st May,1 demanding complete evacuation of the Klagenfurt Basin. The first telegram, he pointed out, had reached Belgrade on June 3rd, notwithstanding which the Jugo-Slavs had continued to advance. An Italian Officer who had come from Vienna had tried to get into touch with the representatives of the two armies. He was able to get into touch with the Slavs, but was prevented from getting into touch with the Austrians. Consequently, on the eve of June 6th, the Austrians had been compelled to sign a sort of an armistice. Then, an order had come from the Austrian Government refusing to ratify the armistice as concluded, and which provided for the occupation of Klagenfurt by the Slavs. He understood that the Council had wished to repeat to Belgrade and Vienna the orders to withdraw troops from the whole basin. The other Foreign Ministers, however, had not interpreted the decision of the Council in the same sense, and had thought it would be better for the troops of the two forces to occupy the two plebiscite zones. If his colleagues thought it would be easier and that a more sincere result would be obtained by the presence of the Austrian and Jugo-Slav troops, he would have nothing to say.
President Wilson pointed out that the Principal Allied and Associated Powers would appoint the Commission, which would know whether there was interference by the troops. If they discovered that there was, they would have to make other arrangements.
M. Sonnino said it would be difficult for the Commission to know exactly whether pressure was being exerted by the troops or not.[Page 583]
President Wilson asked if, in M. Sonnino’s judgment, an entire evacuation would now be safe.
M. Sonnino suggested that a local police force should be arranged for.
President Wilson asked, if this proved inadequate, what would happen.
M. Sonnino said he would consult the military advisers on the spot. He had suggested this at the Council, and had understood President Wilson to reply that the military men should inform them what was to be done.
President Wilson said that he had understood that the military advisers on the spot were only to report the cessation of hostilities.
M. Sonnino suggested that the military advisers might now be asked to report.
President Wilson said that news had reached the Council that Italian troops were moving towards Klagenfurt.
M. Sonnino said he had no news of this, but, if so, it was done by the orders of the Commission of Military Officers on the spot.
President Wilson said that the Commission of Military Officers had no authority, and no right to give such an order. If they had done so, it would be a dangerous extension of their functions.
M. Clemenceau said that his information was that an Italian officer had said that he came in the name of the Peace Conference to authorise their action.
M. Sonnino said that when the Italian representative in Vienna first heard of the telegram of the 31st May, he had referred the matter to the armies; then the four Allied Military Officers on the spot, having heard of what had been decided, insisted with the Heads of the armies on their retiring. If they had taken on themselves to order Italian troops into Klagenfurt, he knew nothing of it.
Colonel Pariani said there was no information to this effect.
M. Tardieu said that the Commission had been impressed by the consideration that it would be better now for the armies to adopt as the limits of military occupation their future military frontier. The Commission had accordingly reported in this sense in their remarks on M. Vesnitch’s letters. The most simple plan was to take the purple line on President Wilson’s map2 as the limit between the Austrians and the Yugo-Slavians. This accorded with the views of all the Foreign Ministers except Baron Sonnino.
President Wilson said that the matter was really simpler than what appeared from this discussion. The premise on which the Commission had proceeded was that it was not safe to clear all the troops out of the Klagenfurt area; they assumed that some [Page 584] steadying force was necessary. If this view was accepted, the Council had only to decide what the force should consist of. There was no mixed Allied force in the neighbourhood. The only possible Allied force was an Italian force, but, as the Italian claims conflicted with the Yugo-Slavs in this part of the world, it might cause trouble to introduce Italians. Consequently, there was no alternative but to choose Austrians in the “B” area and Yugo-Slavs in the “A” area.
M. Tardieu said that if the purple line did not exist, he could understand the plea for total evacuation of the area, but, if it was agreed to take the purple line as the boundary between the two plebiscite areas, he could not understand what objection there was to using it as the armistice line.
President Wilson said that he understood that Baron Sonnino was prepared to waive his objections if his colleagues were all agreed.
M. Sonnino said his point of view was that it was predetermining the plebiscite.
President Wilson said that the Commission could clearly object to any abuse of their position by the Military.
Mr. Balfour suggested that it should be laid down that the Commission was to be the controlling power of the forces.
M. Tardieu pointed out that this was already in the report on the Vesnitch letters.
President Wilson suggested the following formula:—
“Both bodies of troops to be reduced to the dimensions necessary for the observation of order, and to act to that end under Inter-Allied control. Both bodies of troops to be replaced as rapidly as possible by a police force locally recruited.”
(This was accepted, and it was agreed that the Commission should be instructed to insert words to this effect in their draft.)
The Council then discussed the third question mentioned by President Wilson, namely, as to the date of qualification of persons to vote.
M. Tardieu explained that the majority of the Commission had based their proposal for 1905 on the belief that at that time a systematic introduction of a German element into Klagenfurt Basin had commenced.
M. Sonnino said that possibly there had been a predominance of Austrian immigration at that time, but he could not see the argument for choosing the particular year 1905. According to the facts as stated to him, before that date there had been a systematic and arranged Slovene immigration. He could not see why, because M. Vesnitch said that after that date there had been an Austrian immigration, this date should be fixed. Surely the proper date to take was immediately before the war. The pre-war population was the one that [Page 585] ought to determine the sovereignty under which it should exist. He did not see how that principle could properly be departed from.
President Wilson said that Dr. Seymour informed him that a new railway had been opened in 1907, after which there had been a great influx of German workmen. Also, after 1907, there had been a change in the school administration.
M. Tardieu said that many special reasons had been given, but there was also a general reason, namely, that after the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Austrian Government had directed itself to anti-Slovene organisation. If he himself had to give a date, he would choose 1909 rather than 1905.
M. Sonnino said that all these dates were artificial. The only proper persons to vote were those who had inhabited the district immediately before the war. That was the only date to take. Otherwise, it would be better to have no plebiscite at all.
President Wilson said that this was not a new precedent. In the narrow neck of Poland there had been a belt of German-inhabited territory, deliberately created by the Germans to separate the Poles.
M. Sonnino said that in that case there had been German laws and funds voted in the budget to Germanise Poland.
President Wilson said there had been a somewhat similar policy after the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
M. Sonnino said it had only been a very general policy. If workmen had been introduced, they remained just as much citizens as anyone else.
President Wilson said that in all previous cases there had been a qualifying period of residence, and the date immediately before the war had never been chosen.
M. Sonnino said that this was no argument for adopting M. Vesnitch’s date.
President Wilson then suggested 1912 as the date.
M. Sonnino accepted, and the proposal was adopted.
The Council then discussed the period which should elapse after the coming into force of the Treaty of Peace before the plebiscite took place.
M. Sonnino said he would accept the views of the majority of the Commission that it should take place after three months.
(The following decisions were reached:—
- In regard to the armistice, that the forces of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and of the Austrian Republic should be withdrawn south and north of the purple line on President Wilson’s map.
- M. Tardieu undertook to draft a telegram in this sense, to be sent by the President of the Conference to the Governments of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and of the Austrian Republic.
- That a copy of this telegram should be communicated to the Officers representing the Allied and Associated Powers in the Klagenfurt area.
- That the Committee on Roumanian and Jugo-Slav Affairs should
proceed to draw up the articles for the Treaty of Peace with
Austria relating to the plebiscite in the Klagenfurt area and
connected questions on the following bases:—
- With a view to the plebiscite, that Austrian troops in the “A” area, and troops of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in the “B” area, should be reduced to the dimensions necessary for the observation of order, and should act to that end under Inter-Allied control. Both bodies of troops should be replaced as rapidly as possible by a police force locally recruited.
- That the plebiscite should be held within three months of the coming into force of the Treaty of Peace with Austria, in the zone “A”, and, in the event of this vote being given in favour of union with the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, a plebiscite should be held within three weeks from that date in the “B” zone.
- That the International Commission should consist of four permanent members representing respectively the United States of America, the British Empire, France and Italy. When dealing with matters affecting the “B” area, there should be added an Austrian representative, and when dealing with matters in the “A” area, there should be added a Jugo-Slav representative.
- That persons should be qualified to vote who had resided in the district since January 1st, 1912. In other respects, the proposals of the Commission in their letter of June 18th, 1919, were approved.
- That the Commission should be authorised to communicate their completed draft direct to the Drafting Committee, who should have authority to prepare the necessary clauses on this basis without further instructions from the Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers.
(The Members of the Committee on Roumanian and Jugo-Slav Affairs withdrew at this point.)
2. The Council had before them a Report from the Commission on the International Regime of Ports, Waterways and Railways, dated June 18th, 1919 (Appendix II), recommending the insertion of an additional article in the Treaty of Peace with Austria concerning freedom of transit for telegraphic correspondence and telephonic communications. Freedom of Transit for Telegraphic & Telephonic Communications; Additional Article in the Treaty of Peace With Austria
(The Article was approved and initialled by the representatives of the Five Principal Allied and Associated Powers. Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward it to the Secretary-General for the Drafting Committee.)[Page 587]
3. The Council had under consideration a Note from the Superior Blockade Council containing a proposed agreement by Austria regarding Trade with Hungary and Germany, (Appendix III).
(The Note was approved and initialled by the representatives of the Governments of the United States of America, the British Empire, France and Italy, the representative of Japan not initialling it, as he said that Japan was not concerned. Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward this to the Secretary-General for the information of the Drafting Committee.) Proposed Agreement by Austria Regarding Trade With Hungary & Germany
4. The Council had under consideration a Note prepared by the Council of Foreign Ministers, dated May 24th, 1919, in regard to the Roumanian frontiers in territories which were included in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. (Appendix IV.)
(The Note was approved and initialled by the representatives of the Five Principal Allied and Associated Powers. Roumanian Frontiers in Territories Formerly Part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to communicate the Note to the Secretary-General for the information of the Drafting Committee.)
5. The Council had under consideration a letter, dated June 16th, 1919, addressed to Sir Maurice Hankey by M. Berthelot on behalf of the Commission on New States. (Appendix V.)
(It was agreed:—
- That the document attached to the letter headed the Adriatic “Proposals concerning Traffic in the Adriatic” to-gether with Annex I, should be referred to the Commission on the International Regime of Ports, Waterways and Railways. Letter From the Commission on New States in Regard to Tariffs for Railway Traffic Towards the Adriatic Works of Art, and Financial Clauses
- That the proposal of the Italian Delegation to submit a clause relating to the restitution of works of art carried off during the war and removed to territory belonging to New States should be referred to the Reparations Commission.
- That the proposed Financial Clauses relating to Poland suggested by the French Delegation and attached as Annex II to M. Berthelot’s letter, should be referred to the Financial Commission.
Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to communicate this decision to the Secretary-General for the necessary action.)[Page 588]
6. M. Loucheur, who entered towards the end of this meeting, reported that good progress was being made with the completion of Reparation and Finance Clauses for the Austrian Treaty. He hoped that the report would be ready Treaty for consideration by Monday afternoon or Tuesday. Reparation & Finance in the Austrian Treaty
7. During the meeting, a message was received from the British Admiralty to the effect that a number of German ships had been sunk by the maintenance crews on board. Sinking of German Ships in the Orkneys
8. M. Clemenceau reported that, after personal consultation with President Wilson and Mr. Lloyd George, he had taken the action recommended by the Military Representative[s] in their report on the Transfer of the 4th Polish Division from the Bukovina to Poland. (Appendix VI.) Transport of 4th Polish Division From the Bukovina to Poland
(At this point, the Drafting Committee were introduced for the consideration of the Note prepared by them in reply to the German Delegation. This discussion is recorded as a separate meeting.)3
- See paragraph 5 of appendix I to CF–43, p. 134.↩
- The map referred to does not accompany the file copy of the minutes.↩
- CF–80, p. 600.↩
- Appendix I to CF–51, p. 236.↩
- The document erroneously inserted in the file copy of the minutes as appendix V to CF–79 is the same as appendix I to CF–77 and has not been reprinted. Instead there is printed as appendix V the document described as such in the text of the minutes, p. 587, i. e., M. Berthelot’s letter of June 16, 1919, on behalf of the Commission on New States appearing in the minutes of that Commission (Paris Peace Conf. 181.23201/24).↩
- Note. The American Military Representative notified in a letter dated June 13th, 1919, that as he had received no instructions from his Government on the above subject he could not participate in any recommendations of the Military Representatives of the Supreme War Council. [Footnote in the original.]↩