Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/93


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Thursday, June 26, 1919, at 11 a.m.

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • President Wilson.
    • British Empire
      • The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau.
    • Italy
      • H. E. Baron Sonnino.
    • Japan
      • H. E. Baron Makino.
Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B. Secretaries.
Count Aldrovandi.
Professor P. J. Mantoux.—Interpreter.

1. Mr. Lloyd George announced his intention of making a protest against some of the statements made in public speeches by Signor Tittoni, the new Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs. His protest would be made in particular against the reference to the agreement of St. Jean De Maurienne1 and to statements about African Colonies. Italy

M. Sonnino, in reply to a question by Mr. Lloyd George, said that the proper medium for communicating such a protest would be through the British Ambassador in Rome.

2. M. Dutasta said that he had during the morning seen Herr von Haniel who informed him that the Germans had already nominated two of their plenipotentiaries, namely Signature of Treaty of Peace

  • Herr Müller, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs,
  • Herr Giesberts, the new Postmaster-General.

The third member would probably be Herr Leinert, the Chairman of the Prussian National Assembly. The German plenipotentiaries were due to arrive on Saturday morning early by the ordinary train, to which special carriages would be attached. Herr von Haniel had spoken to him as to the verification of the credentials and he had replied by proposing that it should take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 28th. Von Haniel had agreed, and had undertaken to wire to [Page 698] the Germans accordingly. Later, von Haniel had spoken of the need of verifying the text of the copy of the Treaty of Peace to which the signatures were to be appended, in order to ensure that it was identical with the 200 copies that had been sent to the German Delegation. He had replied that this would be a long operation. Von Haniel had agreed, and had said that the German Government would be willing to give up this formality if the Allied and Associated Powers would guarantee that the text to be signed was the same in every particular as the 200 copies.

Mr. Lloyd George recalled that a global list of amendments had been sent and that it was important the Germans should realise that these were included.

(It was agreed that the President of the Conference should give the German Delegation the assurance they desired.)

M. Clemenceau instructed M. Dutasta to prepare the necessary letter.

(It was further agreed that the signature of the Treaty of Peace should take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 28th, and that the verification of credentials should take place at 10 a.m. on the same date.)

3. M. Dutasta said that von Haniel had wished to know whether M. Clemenceau proposed to make a speech. He had said that he could give no official reply, but unofficially he was sure Affixing of Seals that M. Clemenceau had no such intention, and that the ceremony would be confined to the formality of signature. Herr von Haniel had then asked about affixing seals. Affixing of Seals to the Treaty of Peace

(It was agreed:—

That the seals of the representatives of the Allied and Associated Powers should be affixed to the Treaty of Peace at the Office of the Secretary-General, Quai d’Orsay, on Friday, June 27th, at 2 p.m.
That the Secretary-General should arrange with the Secretaries of the various Delegations to bring the seals at that hour.
That the seals of the German Delegates should be affixed to the Treaty on Saturday morning at the meeting held to verify credentials.)

4. M. Clemenceau stated that the French Government proposed to hold a review of troops on July 14th, when the representatives of the Army would march under the Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs Elysées and thence to the Place de l’Opera. He hoped that General Pershing and General Sir William Robertson would be able to march with the French Generals at the Head of the procession and that the American, British and Italian contingents would be furnished. He also asked that any [Page 699] Japanese Military representatives in Paris might take part. He made a special appeal that Naval contingents might in addition be available. Review on July 14th

President Wilson, Mr. Lloyd George, M. Sonnino and Baron Makino agreed to give the necessary instructions to the United States, British, Italian and Japanese Military and Naval Authorities.

5. M. Clemenceau handed to M. Mantoux, in French the following document, which M. Mantoux read in English. (French text, Appendix I.)2

“The German Government possesses information according to which the populations of the territories in the East, which, according to the conditions of the Treaty, are to be separated from Germany, have doubts and erroneous views as to the date of the cession of these territories; the same applies to the local authorities and Military Chiefs. In order to prevent misunderstandings and disagreeable incidents, it seems desirable in the interests of the two Parties, to notify the interested circles without delay, of the fact that the Treaty of Peace will not come into force from the signature, but only at the moment provided in the definite stipulations of the Treaty, and that until then the present situation is maintained. For the territories in question which are on our side of the line of demarcation, the necessary action has already been taken on Germany’s part. Notification to Populations East of Germany Regarding the Date on Which the Treaty Comes Into Operation

The Allied and Associated Governments are asked, so far as concerns the territories situated on their side of the line of demarcation, to take as soon as possible the proper steps.”

Mr. Lloyd George said that this was the letter of a man who did not wish to see trouble.

President Wilson thought it a perfectly reasonable request. He supposed that by “line of demarcation” was meant “the Armistice line”.

M. Clemenceau said he did not understand exactly what the Germans wanted done.

President Wilson said it was for us to let the people on the other side of the Armistice line know what had been arranged.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that the document should be referred in the first instance to the Legal Advisers for their views.

(This was agreed to.)

6. With reference to C. F. 92, Minute 18,3 President Wilson read a letter he had received from Mr. Lansing covering a draft of a communication to the Government of the Netherlands. (Appendix II.) Holland and Delivery of the Kaiser; Flight of the Crown Prince

Mr. Lloyd George said he thought that this was a very able document. He questioned however, whether it would be advisable to postpone sending this document until the [Page 700] ratification of the Treaty of Peace. He said he had received information that morning (as he had notified his Colleagues on arrival) that the Crown Prince had fled from Holland, and had been identified driving to the East in a motor car in company with a German Staff Officer. He presumed that the Crown Prince’s flight was for mischief. The fact that he had gone with a Staff Officer gave the impression that there was some conspiracy. He had seen in the newspapers that an attempt was being made by the Military party in Germany to upset the Treaty of Peace. This made him wonder whether it was safe to leave the Kaiser in Holland. He had often thought that action ought to have been taken before in this matter.

Holland and Delivery of the Kaiser; Flight of the Crown Prince

President Wilson questioned whether action could be taken before ratification.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that action could be taken on the ground of public safety. If the Kaiser reached Germany a dangerous situation might arise, and war might be facilitated.

President Wilson said he did not dispute this. He was only seeking for the legal basis for action.

M. Clemenceau said that the demand could be based on the escape of the Crown Prince and the danger of renewing the war if the Kaiser escaped.

President Wilson suggested that it would be sufficient to approach Holland at once with urgent representations, begging them that the Kaiser should not be allowed to leave the country. At present the Crown Prince and the Kaiser both had the right to leave the country if they wished, but in view of the signature of the Treaty of Peace he thought that Holland would have the right to refuse their departure.

Mr. Lloyd George said that he would put the matter on the ground of the inflammable state of Germany: the escape of the Crown Prince: and the danger to the peace of the world if the Kaiser reached Germany.

M. Clemenceau suggested that Mr. Balfour should be asked to draft a despatch to the Dutch Government.

(It was agreed:—

That Mr. Balfour should be asked to draft a despatch to the Dutch Government, asking them to take precautions to prevent the departure of the Kaiser.
That Mr. Lansing’s despatch to the Government of the Netherlands requiring the Dutch Government to hand over the Kaiser should be approved for use when the occasion arose.)

Baron Makino reserved his assent to this despatch until he had had an opportunity to study it more closely.

[Page 701]

7. With reference to C. F. 92, Minute 5,4 Trial of the Kaiser in England

M. Clemenceau again asked that time might be given to him before he gave his final assent to the trial of the Kaiser in England.

8. The Council had before them a proposal which had been forwarded to President Wilson by Mr. McCormick recommending that:

After the Bela Kun Government of Hungary has withdrawn its military forces within the line fixed by the Allied and Associated Powers; Blockade of Hungary

And after the Bela Kun Government of Hungary has suspended military operations against the surrounding States as specified by the Allied and Associated Powers;

The Blockade of Hungary be raised in the same manner as has been done for German Austria, to permit shipments of food, raw materials, animal products, manufactured articles and all ordinary commodities, excluding, however, all implements of war, gold, securities or other values which would reduce the power of Hungary to complete such reparations as may be imposed upon her.

(It was agreed that the Superior Blockade Council should be authorised to carry out this recommendation as soon as they are notified by the Allied and Associated Powers that Hungary has actually complied with the requirements of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers.)

9. M. Clemenceau communicated the attached letter which he had received from Bela Kun (Appendix III) stating that the Roumanian Army had not conformed to the formal request of the Peace Conference to put an end to all bloodshed.

It was agreed:—That the telegram should be sent to General Bliss, who should be asked if Bela Kun’s statement in regard to the attitude of the Roumanians were correct.

10. M. Mantoux read a despatch from the Military Representative in Paris of the Serbo-Croat-Slovene State addressed to Marshal Foch, (Appendix IV) indicating that Italian units had attacked Jugo-Slav units and occupied certain districts in the region of Tarvis. Klagenfart

M. Sonnino said he knew nothing about any action in the region of Tarvis. All he knew was that at an earlier date some Italian troops on the invitation of the four Military representatives of the Allies had advanced in the region of Villach. If he was given a copy he undertook to make enquiry.

M. Clemenceau instructed Captain Portier to send him a copy.

[Page 702]

11. With reference to C. F. 92 Minute 14,5 Mr. Lloyd George said he had received a letter from Dr. Benes.

(It was agrees that this letter should be circulated both to the Military Representatives of the Supreme war Council at Versailles and to the Members of the Council (Appendix V.)) Siberia: Cooperation of Czcho-Slovak Troops With the Right Wing of Admiral Koltchak’s Army

12. Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that a question of shipping the Czecho-Slovak forces from Vladivostock was raised by the above letter. He asked that President Wilson and Baron Makino respectively would enquire as to whether any United States shipping or Japanese shipping was available for this purpose.

President Wilson said that most of the United States shipping had been taken away from the Pacific Coast and he doubted whether much could be done. He agreed however to make enquiries.

Baron Makino said that a similar enquiry had been made by the Roumanian Government who wished to repatriate Hungarian prisoners in Siberia and natives of the districts which were being transferred to Roumania. He undertook to make enquiries.

13. With reference to C. F. 92 Minute 9,6 it was agreed:—That the Committee proposed on the previous day should be set up to enquire how far steps have already been taken by the Allied and Associated Powers to carry out the various provisions of the Treaty of Peace with Germany and to make recommendations as to such further measures as should be adopted for this purpose. Measures for Executing the Peace Treaty

M. Clemenceau nominated M. Tardieu to represent the French Government; President Wilson said that Mr. Lansing should be asked to nominate a representative of the United States of America; M. Sonnino undertook to nominate an Italian Representative; Baron Makino undertook to nominate a Japanese Representative and Mr. Lloyd George undertook to nominate a British Representative.

14. (It was agreed that the Military Representatives of the Supreme War Council at Versailles, with whom should be associated Belgian and Japanese Military Representatives as well as Naval and Air Rep-representatives of the five Principal Allied and Associated Powers, should work out for the consideration of the Council all details of the Interallied Military, Naval and Aerial Supervisory Commissions of Control to be set up to ensure execution by Germany of the Military, Naval and Aerial clauses in the Treaty of Peace.) The Military Naval, and Aerial Commissions of Control

[Page 703]

15. (It was agreed that a proposal by the Admirals of the Allied and Associated Powers that the Commission to supervise the destruction of the fortifications, etc. of Heligoland, should be a Sub-Commission of the Naval Interallied Commission of Control, should also be referred to the Military Representative[s] as above.) Heligoland Commission

16. Sir Maurice Hankey drew attention to the Report that had been furnished by the Prisoners of War Commission as to the measures to be adopted for the fulfilment of the terms of the Treaty of Peace in regard to Prisoners of War. Prisoners of War

M. Clemenceau asked that the subject should be reserved for the present.

M. Mantoux, at M. Clemenceau’s request, read a telegram from General Dupont on the subject of Polish prisoners in Germany.

President Wilson pointed out that no steps could be taken for the repatriation of Polish prisoners until after the ratification of the Treaty of Peace.

17. President Wilson said that the only forms of mandate that he had seen were some that had been prepared by Lord Robert Cecil. Mandates

Mr. Lloyd George said that he would circulate Lord Milner’s proposals on the subject.

18. Sir Maurice Hankey said that he and Captain Portier had made enquiries and had ascertained that the Reparation Commission had failed to secure an agreement with the states acquiring territory formerly part of the Austrian Financial clauses Empire in regard to the reparation and financial clauses. Austrian Treaty: Reparation and Financial Clauses

A further Meeting was to be held at 11 o’clock that morning.

19. (It was agreed that the letter to M. Paderewski7 that had accompanied the Polish Treaty should not be published until the signature of the Treaty.) Polish Treaty: Letter to M. Paderewski

20. Sir Maurice Hankey handed round a document relating to the size of the Army of Occupation on the Rhine for consideration at an early date. Size of the Army of Occupation on the Rhine

Note. It has since been ascertained that the document handed round was incomplete. The complete document will be circulated.

21. M. Clemenceau said that he thought the Council ought to hear the views of Marshal Foch as to what action should be taken if trouble should arise on the Eastern Frontier of Germany in Frontier of connection with the Treaty of Peace. The Allied and Associated Powers had the duty to help the Poles to defend themselves if attacked, but it was a very difficult thing to do [Page 704] as if the Germans opposed, it would not even be possible to send any supplies through Dantzig. The Eastern Frontier of Germany

(After a short discussion it was agreed that the Military Representatives of the Supreme War Council at Versailles should be asked to consider the following questions:—

In the event of trouble in the area ceded by the Treaty of Peace with Germany to Poland, what would they advise as to how the Allied and Associated Powers could best assist the Poles to establish their authority.
The composition and size of the Army of Occupation of the Plebiscite area in Upper Silesia, and the method of occupation of this area.)

(The Meeting then adjourned.)

Appendix II to CF–938

[The Secretary of State to President Wilson]

My Dear Mr. President: Enclosed please find a proposed draft of a request to the Government of the Netherlands for the surrender of the ex-German Emperor to the Principal Allied and Associated Governments.

As the Netherlands Government is not a party to the Treaty it was necessary to quote the text of Article 227 so as to inform it of its existence.

In the next place it seemed advisable to state that all the signatories (necessarily including Germany) had agreed to this action and then to ask for the surrender. It is next stated and most clear that the offense is moral and that even if political the submission to a court makes it judicial. The authority for this last statement is that of the Supreme Court in the well known and leading case of Rhode Island vs Massachusetts (12 Peters Reports 657, 737) decided in 1838. I did not quote it but in such an important matter it is well to have an unimpeachable authority.

You will observe that the time and place of delivery are not specified. These are perhaps best stated indefinitely at present. The Treaty must be ratified before it is binding and the “place” must be agreed on. Perhaps it would be proper to say within a month after the deposit of ratifications of the Treaty. Perhaps the ex-Emperor should be delivered to the country in which he is to be tried. These [Page 705] are however matters that can be settled later. England has seemed to be most eager for the ex-Emperor’s surrender and trial and he might therefore be handed over to authorised agents of that country.

Finally the request, in the form of a Memorandum, might properly be delivered with a brief covering note by the French to the Netherlands as the Conference meets in Paris, the Treaty is to be signed at Versailles, ratifications deposited in Paris so that France acts as a general mandatory of the Powers in all matters pertaining to the Conference. It will be noted that the customary phrase “international comity” is omitted owing to the large number of powers concerned ‘which goes further than mere comity could possibly go.

In the hope that the Draft may serve the purpose for which it has been prepared, I am

Faithfully yours,

Robert Lansing

Annex to Appendix II to CF–93

Draft of Communication to the Government of the Netherlands

The Governments of the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan have the honour to call the attention of the Netherlands Government to Article 227 of the Treaty of Peace, signed at Versailles, the … day of June 1919, to which the twenty-seven Allied and Associated Powers and Germany are Signatory and Contracting Parties.

Article 227 is thus worded.

“The Allied and Associated Powers publicly arraign William II of Hohenzollern, formerly German Emperor, for a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of Treaties.

“A special tribunal will be constituted to try the accused, thereby assuring him the guarantees essential to the right of defence. It will be composed of five judges, one appointed by each of the following Powers: namely the United States of America, Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan.

“In its decision the tribunal will be guided by the highest motives of international policy, with a view to vindicating the solemn obligations of international undertakings and the validity of international morality. It will be its duty to fix the punishment which it considers should be imposed.

“The Allied and Associated Powers will address a request to the Government of the Netherlands for the surrender to them of the ex-Emperor in order that he may be put on trial.”

Persons residing in Germany against whom judicial proceedings are to be taken by the Allied and Associated Powers will be delivered to them in accordance with the terms of Article 228 of the Treaty of Peace. If the ex-Emperor had remained in Germany he would have been delivered to them by the Government of that country upon [Page 706] the request of the Allied and Associated Powers. As, however, he is temporarily residing in the Netherlands the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, acting in their own behalf and in behalf of all the signatories of the Treaty of Peace and in accordance with its terms, have the honour respectfully to request the Government of the Netherlands to deliver to them the ex-Emperor at a time and place to be later specified to be proceeded against in the manner provided in Article 227 of the Treaty.

The Principal Allied and Associated Governments respectfully call the attention of the Netherlands Government to the fact that the delivery of the ex-Emperor is requested “for a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of Treaties”; that proceedings against the ex-Emperor are before a special tribunal in which the accused is to have “the guarantees essential to the right of defence”; that the decision is to be “guided by the highest motives of international policy”, and that the punishment to be inflicted upon the accused, should he be found guilty of the offence with which he is charged, is to be fixed by the Tribunal “with a view to vindicating the solemn obligations of international undertakings and the validity of international morality.”

The Principal Allied and Associated Powers further call the attention of the Government of the Netherlands to the well established principle of universal application that even if the offence with which the ex-Emperor is charged were to be considered political at the date of its commission the agreement of the nations to submit it and its submission to a judicial tribunal, thus transferring it from the political to the judicial forum, make that judicial which would have otherwise been political.

The Principal Allied and Associated Powers will be happy to receive the assurance of the Government of the Netherlands that it will take the necessary measures to comply with the present request.

Appendix III to CF–93


Despatch From Beta Kun

M. Clemenceau,
President of the Peace Conference, Paris.

We regret not having received a reply to the question which we addressed to you on the subject of guarantees to be given by the [Page 707] Roumanians.10 We have ceased hostilities and we have complied with the wish of the Peace Conference to put an end to all shedding of blood and yet while we have stopped fighting and have forbidden our troops to carry on warlike operations, the Roumanian troops are profiting by this attitude of our Army to attack us at Kiralyhelmec. The Roumanians have thus anew in a flagrant fashion disregarded the formal order of the Peace Conference to put an end to all useless bloodshed and as they have shown by this act that they do not respect in any way the decisions of the Peace Conference, who is there to guarantee to us that the Roumanians will withdraw their troops from the occupied territories as the President has promised in the name of the Allied and Associated Powers?

Awaiting your reply,

Bela Kun

Commissar of Foreign Affairs,
The Hungarian Soviet Republic

Appendix IV to CF–93


General Pechitch, Chief of the Military Mission of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, to General Alby, Chief of the General Staff of the Army, Paris

I have the honor to bring to your attention this telegram which 1 have just received from our General Headquarters:

“On the 19th of this month Italian units commenced military actions against our detachments in the region of Wurzen, on our extreme left wing opposite Tarvis, and have occupied Petslinegg and Kamen.

“We addressed a request to the Interallied Military Commission at Klagenfurt asking that they take the necessary steps to stop these Italian attacks against our detachments. The Interallied Commission replied that it was not competent to regulate this dispute.

“Please take urgent steps with our Allies to give to the Interallied Military Commission the necessary instructions to deal with this troublesome incident.”

I ask that you kindly take under consideration this request from our General Headquarters and support with your high authority on this question whatever step may be taken in the direction desired by our General Headquarters.

General Pechitch

Chief of the Mission
[Page 708]

Appendix V to CF–93


[The Czechoslovak Minister for Foreign Affairs (Beneš) to the British Prime Minister (Lloyd George)]

Monsieur le Ministre, Further to the conversation which I had the honour of having with you yesterday, I beg to set forth my point of view with regard to the question of our army in Siberia and its transport to Bohemia, whilst stating that in view of the present situation in Bohemia, I express my point of view subject to that of my colleagues in the Prague Government and of the President of the Republic.

Our soldiers in Siberia have already suffered so intensely that their one desire is to return home as soon as possible. That is the reason actuating them at present, and all action undertaken should be looked at from this point of view.
Would it be possible to consider the transport of our troops from Siberia by two routes, either via Vladivostock or via Perm, Viatka and Archangel? The latter route would probably be the shortest and quickest.
This second route, however, might probably cause our soldiers to come once more into conflict with the Bolsheviki and to fight by the side of Admiral Koltchak’s troops. This would be very serious for us in view of the political situation in Bohemia, and of the general state of affairs among our soldiers in Siberia.
It would perhaps be possible to send part of our soldiers (about 20,000) via Vladivostok, and to make the others understand that they would travel more rapidly via Perm, Viatka and Archangel (30,000). I do not, however, conceal from myself the great difficulties which would confront our soldiers. If these 30,000 soldiers were sent to the North, not with the idea that they were to fight against the Bolsheviki and to support Admiral Koltchak’s policy, but merely to be taken home after having joined the English troops operating in North Russia, we might have a chance of success.
All this, however, would be subject to the preparation of public opinion in Bohemia, and to the state of mind of our soldiers in Siberia. I will not conceal that our public opinion in Bohemia and our soldiers in Siberia have not at present any very great faith in this enterprise. In any case, it would be necessary to demonstrate either to our public opinion in Bohemia or to our soldiers themselves that they were being looked after, and that those available and ready were going to be immediately transported from Vladivostok. A very detailed plan would have to be drawn up for the purpose, the Czecho-Slovak [Page 709] Government would have to be given the assurance that the Allies were preparing such-and-such a number of ships for such-and-such a date, and that they intended to complete the transport of our troops before the end of this year. If our public and our soldiers were further informed—as you informed me—that without the use of these two routes the transport of our troops could not be completed for two years, our public opinion and our soldiers in Siberia might perhaps accept the plan which you explained to me.
I consider it essential to draw up an exact programme, to set forth the two above possibilities therein, and to give precise assurances to our Government, as also to draw up a mutual agreement wherein precise details should be set forth as to the conditions and time of return of our troops. If I had such a programme in my possession and could submit some precise assurances to my Government, we could probably arrive at a successful result.

I would ask you, therefore, if you consider it possible and advisable, to let me have details as to such programme or as to the assurances and conditions under which this operation would be effected. I would hope to obtain the consent of the Prague Government very quickly.

With apologies for a slight delay in sending this letter, I beg, etc.

Dr. Edvard Benes
  1. Current History, March 1920, vol. xi, p. 500.
  2. Appendix I, containing the French text of the letter dated June 25, is not printed.
  3. Ante, p. 677.
  4. Ante, p. 670.
  5. Ante, p. 674.
  6. Ante, p. 672.
  7. Concerning this letter, see CF–85, p. 624, and appendix I thereto, p. 629.
  8. Regarding appendix I, see footnote 2, p. 699.
  9. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  10. See appendix II to CF–73, p. 518.
  11. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.