Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/92
Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Wednesday, June 25, 1919, at 4 p.m.
- United States of America
- President Wilson.
- British Empire
- The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
- M. Clemenceau.
- M. Sonnino.
- Baron Makino.
- United States of America
|Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B.||}||Secretaries.|
|Mr. A. Portier.|
|Prof. P. J. Mantoux.—Interpreter.|
1. (M. Dutasta, Secretary-General of the Peace Conference, was introduced.)
M. Dutasta said that he had seen von Haniel, who told him he had telegraphed twice to Berlin asking who the German representatives would be and when they were due to arrive, but had received no answer. Von Haniel had added that the German Government had removed from Weimar to Berlin and that their first Cabinet Council in Berlin was to be held this morning. On the conclusion of that, he expected an answer. M. Dutasta had asked him to communicate again and he had promised to do so immediately. According to von Haniel, the German Government was encountering great difficulty in finding persons ready to sign the Treaty. He had made von Haniel understand that an answer was expected this evening, or tomorrow at the latest. Date of Signature of the Treaty of Peace
M. Clemenceau instructed M. Dutasta to proceed to Versailles tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. unless he had heard in the meanwhile from Colonel Henri.
2. M. Mantoux said that M. Tardieu was in attendance to obtain a decision of principle on a point connected with the desire of the French Government to be allowed to buy or to borrow United States ships for communication with the French Colonies, for which France had a great insufficiency of shipping. Shipping for the French Colonies[Page 670]
M. Clemenceau said the question should first be sent to experts.
(It was agreed, on President Wilson’s suggestion:—That M. Tardieu should arrange for a joint memorandum to be prepared by the experts of the Allied and Associated Powers.)
3. M. Clemenceau, in reply to Mr. Lloyd George, said it was his intention to hand the Treaty of Peace to Parliament as soon as possible after the signature. He would not make any explanatory speech and the next step would be for the examination of the Treaty by the Commissions of the Chamber and Senate. He did not expect to make his own statement until after the various Commissions had reported, perhaps not for three weeks. Ratification of the Treaty of Peace
President Wilson said that he, himself, would leave Paris immediately after the signature of the Treaty. As soon as he arrived in the United States, he would take the Treaty to Congress.
M. Clemenceau thought there were advantages in President Wilson making the first speech on the subject.
President Wilson said that, in his country, questions would then be asked as to why other Governments had done nothing.
Mr. Lloyd George said that he could fit in his speech about the same time as President Wilson’s, although he was anxious to be away for the second and third weeks after his arrival in England.
M. Sonnino said that the responsibility would be with the new Italian Government, but he thought there was little doubt they would proceed as rapidly as possible. In view of the necessity of reports by Commissions, probably a fortnight or so would elapse before the Treaty could be ratified.
4. Mr. Lloyd George brought forward a proposal he had received from Sir Ernest Pollock, the English Solicitor-General, suggesting that, in the light of the experience gained at Scapa Flow and the burning of French flags, steps should be taken to make the execution of Clauses 214 to 224 (Repatriation of Prisoners) and Clauses 227 to 230 (Penalties) interdependent. (Appendix I.) Penalties and Prisoners
(It was generally agreed that this suggestion was a useful one and should be taken note of, but that no immediate decision should be taken for its adoption.)
5. Mr. Lloyd George suggested to his colleagues that the Trial of the Kaiser should take place in some Allied country removed from those where resentment at the Kaiser was naturally the most acute. He suggested that either Great Britain or the United States of America would be the most advantageous from this point of view. Trial of the Kaiser
President Wilson suggested that the Trial of the Kaiser should not take place in any great city.[Page 671]
M. Clemenceau said he would like to consult his colleagues on the subject and would give a reply on the following day.
6. Mr. Lloyd George read the attached note from Admiral Hope regarding the disposition of surrendered German and Austrian surface ships and submarines. (Appendix II.)
Sir Maurice Hankey pointed out that a report had already been furnished by the Allied Admirals in regard to submarines, Admiral De Bon having made a minority report. The Disposal of the German Ships and Submarines
(It was agreed that:—The Allied Admirals should be asked to prepare a report advising the Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers as to what course they now recommended on all three heads.)
7. M. Clemenceau adverted to the point he had raised at the morning meeting, namely, that France should be compensated for the loss she had incurred by the sinking of German ships at Scapa Flow, by being given some of the remaining German merchant ships and particularly oil tankers. Possible Surrender of Further German Merchant Ships
(It was agreed:—That a Commission, composed as follows:—
- Mr. Baruch for the United States of America,
- Mr. Hipwood (or representative) for the British Empire,
- M. Monet (or representative) for France,
- M. Crespi (or representative) for Italy, and
- A Japanese representative to be nominated by Baron Makino,
should meet to consider the possibility of exacting from Germany some reparation for the sinking of warships at Scapa Flow in the form of further merchant ships, special consideration being given to the case of oil tank vessels.)
8. President Wilson read the following questions presented by the Superior Blockade Council:—
- Does the Supreme Council, in view of the authorisation given by the Weimar Assembly to the German Delegates, desire that all restrictions upon trade with Germany shall be rescinded immediately upon the signatures of the Treaty of Peace by the German Delegation?Questions From the Superior Blockade Council
- If not, upon what date shall these restrictions be rescinded?
- When is the German Delegation expected to sign? If the Supreme Council desires that the blockade restrictions shall be raised upon the signature of the Treaty by the German Delegates and if the signature is likely to take place on Saturday, it is desirable that the Blockade Council should be so informed today. At least two days are required in which to terminate the present restrictions.
At M. Clemenceau’s request the following note prepared by M. Mantoux, was read:—
“Provision ought to be made for the eventuality of the German Government signing the Treaty of Peace, but delaying its ratification [Page 672] in the hope to embarrass the Allies and to take advantage of any incidents that might arise.
In 1871, it was stipulated by Art. 3 of the Preliminaries of Peace that the German troops were to evacuate Paris and the forts on the left bank of the Seine immediately after the act of ratification. Much to the surprise of the Germans, the Preliminaries which had been signed on February 26th, 1871, were ratified by the Bordeaux Assembly as soon as March 1st, and the exchange of ratifications took place at Versailles the day after. Paris was evacuated at once, after less than two days of occupation, and the triumphal entry of William I, which had been prepared for March 3rd, was cancelled.
It may be useful today to remind the Germans of the fact that the blockade shall cease at the same moment as the state of war, and that legally what brings the state of war to an end is the exchange of ratifications. But for the sake of humanity, the Allied and Associated Governments may concede that as soon as they have been officially notified the ratification of the treaty by the National Assembly of Germany the blockade shall be raised.
Such a declaration would encourage Germany to ratify the Treaty without delay, without fixing a narrow time limit to the debates in the representative Assemblies of the Allied and Associated countries.”
Mr. Lloyd George said that this seemed reasonable.
President Wilson reminded his colleagues of his reluctance to make women and children suffer for matters over which they exercised no influence. Nevertheless, the course proposed seemed the best in the circumstances.
M. Clemenceau said that in the Rhine provinces there was little hardship.
President Wilson said that in the interior of Germany Mr. Hoover reported great shortage.
(It was agreed:—That the Blockade should cease on the same date as the ratification of the Treaty of Peace, as provided for at the end of the Treaty.)
9. Mr. Lloyd George suggested that a special Committee should be set up to consider the working out of the various measures for putting the Treaty of Peace with Germany into effect.
(The proposal was accepted in principle, and it was agreed that the members should be designated on the following day.) Measures for Putting Into Effect the Execution of the Treaty
10. With reference to C. F. 83, Minute 3,1 the Council had before them a report by the Commission on Baltic affairs on the question submitted to it by the Council on the 23rd June, as to the effect which the evacuation of the Baltic Provinces by Germany would have on the food supplies in this region, in the event of the removal of the rolling stock by the Germans. (Appendix III.) Effect of the Evacuation of the Baltic Provinces by Germany on the Food Supplies in This Region[Page 673]
President Wilson after reading the report aloud, suggested that the second proposal of the Commission should be adopted, but he considered that the first proposal to take advantage of Article 375 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany was not feasible. He suggested that Marshal Foch should be asked to take the necessary action through the Armistice Commission.
(It was agreed that a copy of the Memorandum by the Baltic Commission should be sent to Marshal Foch, who should be asked to demand from the Germans that when evacuating the Baltic provinces they should leave behind the German railway material now in these provinces as part of the railway material which Germany was bound to deliver to the Allies in accordance with the terms of Clause VII of the Armistice of November 11, 1918, and which has not yet been delivered. The railway material so left would legally be the property of the Allied and Associated Powers and not of the Baltic States.
It was further agreed that it was to the interest of the Allied Powers to secure the restoration as soon as possible in the Baltic provinces of the Russian gauge on the railways in view of the closer economic connections of these provinces with Russia than with Germany.)
11. The Council had before them a report from the Commission on Baltic Affairs, covering the recommendation made by the United States, British and French representatives at Libau. (Appendix IV.)
President Wilson, after reading the Report and enclosure aloud, remarked that the programme unhappily was not one that was practicable. Report From the Commission on Baltic Affairs on Recommendation From United States, British & French Representatives at Libau
Mr. Lloyd George commented on the fact that peoples fighting for their liberties wanted to have even their soldiers paid by the Allies.
President Wilson said that probably they had no resources for paying them themselves.
Mr. Lloyd George read a telegram from the British Commission at Helsingfors in regard to the complicated position that had arisen involving fighting between Esthonians and Latvians.
(In the course of a short discussion it was pointed out:—
- That a military mission of the Allied & Associated Powers under General Gough, has already been sent to the Baltic Provinces.
- That Marshal Foch has already ordered the Germans to evacuate the Baltic provinces under the terms of the Armistice of November 11, 1918.
- That the Council has sanctioned supplies being given to the Baltic provinces, and that General Gough has been asked to advise as to what these supplies should consist of, as a preliminary to arrangements being made as to who was to give the supplies.
It was agreed that no further financial assistance to the Baltic provinces could be at present given.)
12. Following on the remarks he had made at the morning meeting, C.F. 91, Minute 2,2
Mr. Lloyd George proposed the text of a note to the German Delegation in regard to their intrigues on the Eastern frontier.
After the note had been read and a few suggestions made, it was approved and signed by M. Clemenceau on behalf of the Allied and Associated Powers in the attached form. (Appendix V.) Note to the German Delegation in Regard to the German Intrigues on the Eastern Frontier
(It was agreed that the letter and the enclosure should be published.)
13. Mr. Lloyd George said that the present military position in Russia was that Koltchak’s thrust, intended eventually to reach Moscow, had failed. The intention had been as a first step to unite at Kotlas with the forces based at Archangel. The Bolshevists there had driven Koltchak’s army back. Meanwhile, in the south Denikin had inflicted a severe defeat on Koltchak [sic]. The Don Cossacks had risen, and had taken 50,000 prisoners and 300 guns from the Bolshevists, and were now just outside Tsaritzen. Hence the latest information was that Koltchak was doing badly but that Denikin had routed his adversaries. Russia. Latest Military Information
14. Mr. Lloyd George said he had received a note from Mr. Churchill (Appendix VI) submitting a proposal for cooperation of the Czechoslovak troops in Siberia with the right wing of Admiral Koltchak’s army, and requesting that the matter might be dealt with as one of extreme urgency.
(It was agreed that the question should be referred to the military representatives of the Supreme War Council at Versailles, a Japanese and a Czecho-Slovak military representative being added for the purpose.) Siberia: Co-operation of Czecho-Slovak Troops With the Right Wing of Admiral Koltchak’s Army
15. M. Clemenceau said that he had received a letter from the Chinese Delegation stating that they would sign the Treaty of Peace with Germany, with a reservation relating to Shantung. He had replied that they must either sign the with the intention of abiding by it or not sign. They were just as much bound to honour their signature as the Germans were. Reservation of the Treaty of Peace by the Chinese Delegation
President Wilson said that Mr. Lansing had spoken to him of this, and had said that any sovereign Power could make reservations in signing.
M. Clemenceau reminded President Wilson that when the Roumanian [Page 675] and the Serb-Croat-Slovene Delegations had spoken of signing with reservations, they had been asked to say what they intended by this. A Treaty which was signed with reservations was not a Treaty.
Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that the Italians had said they made certain reservations, but they would sign the German Treaty without any reservation.
Baron Makino said that the Japanese Delegation had objected to many of the decisions of Commissions, but had bowed to the decision of the majority. The Treaty would have no effect if anyone could make reservations.
President Wilson suggested that someone should be asked to enquire from the Chinese Delegation what was reserved and what was intended by their reservation. If it was merely a protest, they were entitled to make this. He understood the Chinese Delegation were acting under specific instructions from their Government.
M. Clemenceau instructed Captain Portier to ask M. Pichon to see a representative of the Chinese Delegation and to enquire the subjects on which they were making reservations, and whether their reservation amounted to more than a protest.
(Captain Portier telephoned this decision immediately to the Quai d’Orsay.)
16. Mr. Lloyd George asked that the question of Turkey might be considered. President Wilson would shortly be leaving. It was unreasonable to maintain a state of war with Turkey for the next two months. Would it not be possible, he asked, to agree on some Peace Terms which would put Turkey out of her misery, outlining the frontiers of Turkey, but leaving the final dispositions of the territory that had not to remain Turkish until it was known whether the United States would accept a mandate. Turkey
President Wilson agreed that the final dispositions of Turkey ought not to be left for two months. His colleagues knew his mind on the subject, and could discuss the future arrangements of Turkey. He suggested that the portions which Turkey was to lose might be cut off and the Treaty might provide that she should accept the dispositions of the Allied and Associated Powers in regard to them, just as had been done in the case of Austria.
M. Clemenceau pointed out that this involved the question of Constantinople.
President Wilson said that the amputations would involve Mesopotamia, Syria and Armenia. The Allied troops would remain there to keep order until the final settlement between the Allied and Associated Powers.
Mr. Lloyd George asked what would be done about Armenia. There were no Allied troops there. Turkey at present had some [Page 676] responsibility for the maintenance of order. If Armenia was cut off from Turkey, the Turkish troops would be withdrawn, and the Armenians would be left at the mercy of the Kurds. It would involve putting in some garrisons.
M. Clemenceau asked what would be done about the Italians in Asia-Minor.
President Wilson said that this would not concern the Turks. He thought some formula might be worked out.
Mr. Lloyd George said that the district in question either belonged to the Turks or it did not. If it did, the Turk would say: “What are the Italians doing here?”, and the Allies could only reply that the Italian occupation had been made without their knowledge or consent.
M. Sonnino demurred to this statement.
President Wilson said that his proposal in regard to Turkey would be to cut off all that Turkey was to give up; and to oblige Turkey to accept any conditions with regard to over-sight or direction which the Allied and Associated Governments might agree to. His present view was that a mandate over Turkey would be a mistake, but he thought some Power ought to have a firm hand. Constantinople and the Straits should be left as a neutral strip for the present, and it was already in Allied occupation. He would make the Sultan and his Government move out of Constantinople and he would say what was ceded to the Allied and Associated Powers. He was only arguing now as to what could be legally settled as a basis for a Treaty, and he was not attempting to decide an ultimate settlement. He only proposed an arrangement similar to what was being made in the case of Austria.
Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that this involved the question of whether the Turk was to go out of Constantinople.
President Wilson said that so far as his judgment was concerned, that was decided. He had studied the question of the Turks in Europe for a long time, and every year confirmed his opinion that they ought to be cleared out.
17. Mr. Lloyd George said he had received a telegram from Feisal in regard to the United States Mission complaining of a breach of faith that the Commission was not an Allied Commission. Feisal had interpreted a telegram that General Allenby had sent him, as suggesting that Great Britain would take a mandate for Syria if no other Power would do so. At his request, Mr. Balfour had drafted a telegram to General Allenby stating in the most specific terms that in no circumstances would Great Britain take this mandate, and calling his attention to Mr. Lloyd George’s [Page 677] statement on this subject made at an earlier Meeting3 in General Allenby’s presence. Syria
18. President Wilson said that the hour was approaching when some demand would have to be made to Holland in regard to the surrender of the Kaiser. He was anxious that the demand should be made in such a form as would relieve Holland of any appearance of breach of hospitality. Holland and the Delivery of the Kasier
Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that a new principle was involved in this Treaty. A great crime had been perpetrated against the nations of the world. It had taken five years to bring this question to fruition, and the Allies could not afford to allow Holland to stand in the way.
President Wilson agreed that Holland was morally obliged to surrender the Kaiser, but he wished to make it as easy for her as possible.
M. Clemenceau said he would be surprised if Holland objected.
(It was agreed that Mr. Lansing, who had acted as Chairman on the Commission on Responsibilities, should be asked to draft for the consideration of the Council, a despatch to the Dutch Government. President Wilson undertook to inform Mr. Lansing.)
19. The Council took formal note of the attached Note prepared for them by the Drafting Committee. (Appendix VII.) Presentation of Corrections to the Treaty of Peace With Germany
20. The Council approved the attached Note to the Polish Government submitted by the Council of Foreign Ministers, (Appendix VIII).
(The following Note was signed by the four Heads of Governments:— Galicia: Authorisation to the Polish Republic To Extend Their Operations
“25 Juin, 1919.
Gouvernement Polonais, Varsovie.
En vue de garantir les personnes et les biens de la population paisible de Galicie orientale contre les dangers que leur font courir les bandes bolchévistes, le Conseil Suprême des Puissances alliées et associées a décidé d’autoriser les forces de la République Polonaise à poursuivre leurs opérations jusqu’à la rivière Zbruck.
Cette autorisation ne préjuge en rien les décisions que le Conseil Suprême prendre ultérieurement pour régler le statut politique de la Galicie.”4
The Note was signed by the representatives of the Five Powers, and was communicated by Captain Portier to a messenger who had brought it from the Council of Foreign Ministers.)
21. With reference to C. F. 83, Minute 1,5 the Council agreed that the final text of the Note to the Turkish Government, together with the document read by the Turkish Delegation to the Council of Ten,6 should be published after it had been sent to the Turks. (Appendix IX.) Note to the Turkish Government
22. The Council had before them the Note from the Turkish Delegation dated June 23rd, which was read aloud by President Wilson (Appendix X).
(It was generally agreed that the document was not a very serious one.) Note From the Turkish Delegation
Mr. Lloyd George asked that before a reply was sent, a full discussion on the Turkish question should take place. It would be a great advantage if a short, sharp Peace with Turkey could be decided on while the Turkish Delegation were still in Paris.
M. Clemenceau said he was not very hopeful of reaching a result.
(The proposal was agreed to.)
23. (It was agreed that, if possible, the questions of Reparation and Finance in the Austrian Treaty, which were at Reparation and present the result of negotiation with the New States formerly forming part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, should be considered on the morrow.) Austrian Treaty. Reparation and Finance
24. The Council had before them a draft letter to the German Delegation prepared by Mr. Balfour and M. Loucheur, with the assistance of M. Fromageot and Mr. Hurst. Sinking of German ships
(The letter was approved with the substitution in the seventh paragraph of the word “justification” for the word “explanation” (Appendix XI).
(It was agreed that the letter should be sent to the Germans immediately, and published in the newspapers on Thursday, June 26th.)
25. Mr. Lloyd George insisted on the importance of settling the form of the Mandates.
President Wilson agreed, but said he wished to read the question up. Mandates
Villa Majestic, Paris, June 25, 1919.[Page 679] [Page 680] [Page 684] [Page 695]
- Ante, p. 621.↩
- Ante, p. 656.↩
- IC–163A, vol. v, p. 1.↩
The following translation is that appearing in S-H Bulletin No. 422 (Paris Peace Conf. 184.611/466):
“June 25, 1919.
Polish Government, Warsaw.
With a view to protecting the persons and the property of the peaceful population of Eastern Galicia against the dangers to which they are exposed by the Bolshevist bands, the Supreme Council of the Allied and Associated Powers decided to authorize the forces of the Polish Republic to pursue their operations as far as the river Zbruck.
This authorization does not, in any way, affect the decisions to be taken later by the Supreme Council for the settlement of the political status of Galicia.”
- Ante, p. 617.↩
- See BC–62, vol. iv, p. 509.↩
- CF–83, p. 621.↩
- The text of the document in question does not accompany the minutes.↩
- Gen. Maurice Janin, of the French Army; supreme commander of the Czechoslovak Army in Siberia.↩
- Gen. G. B. Gayda, Czechoslovak officer, in command of a division of the Czechoslovak Army in Siberia.↩
- Maj. Gen. William Edmund Ironside, of the British Army, commanding the Allied forces in North Russia.↩
- CF–30, p. 5.↩
- BC–62, vol. iv, p. 509.↩
- See BC–62, vol. iv, p. 509.↩
- Post, p. 926.↩