Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/96


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Friday, June 27, 1919, at 4 p.m.

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

1. (M. Paderewski and Mr. Hurst were present during this discussion.)

M. Paderewski said he had come to ask the Council to make certain modifications in the Convention to be signed between Poland and the Principal Allied and Associated Powers under Article 93 of the Treaty of Peace. The various points to which he alluded were dealt with fully in a letter, dated 26th June, 1919, he had sent to M. Clemenceau, and to which he made frequent reference.1 Convention With Poland

2. The first point raised by M. Paderewski is contained in the following extract from his letter to M. Clemenceau:—

“I have the honour to declare, in the name of the Treatment of Polish Delegation to the Peace Conference, that we are ready to sign the proposed Convention in execution of Article 93 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany, while asking you, M. le Président, in the name of justice, to stipulate that the numerous Polish population destined to remain under German domination shall enjoy the same rights and privileges so far as concerns language and culture as those accorded to Germans who become, by reason of the Treaty, citizens of the Polish Republic.”Treatment of Polcs Under German Sovereignty

There was considerable discussion on this point, which is only briefly summarised below.

President Wilson pointed out that the claim was a just one, but it was impossible now to put it in the Treaty with Germany. There [Page 724] were no means by which the Peace Conference could compel the Germans to observe any stipulation of this kind. The Poles, however, might enter into negotiation with the Germans with a view to some arrangement between them.

M. Sonnino said that the obligation by Poland to Germans resident in Poland contained in the Convention might be subordinated to reciprocity by Germany.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that the best plan would be for Poland to make an appeal to the League of Nations on the subject. He felt sure that the Council of the League would sustain them. He thought this would be a much better plan than by making any stipulation on the subject. If there were a bargain by which the Germans were compelled to treat the Poles in their territory in the same manner as the Poles were bound to treat Germans in their territory, there would continually be disputes as to whether Germany had extended these privileges, and it would be an encouragement to extremists to refuse just treatment on the ground that the other party had not done the same. It was, however, to the interests of Poland to treat Germans in their territory as well as possible and to make them contented. Troublesome times might come and it would then be a great advantage that the German population should have no cause for discontent. Further, the Poles’ appeal to the League of Nations would be much stronger if they had treated the Germans well.

M. Paderewski shared Mr. Lloyd George’s point of view in principle, but pointed out that the question arose as to when the authority of the League of Nations would extend over Germany.

President Wilson pointed out that this depended upon when Germany was admitted to the League of Nations and the conditions for this had been laid down in the reply to the German counter-propositions. He considered that Mr. Lloyd George’s plan was the best one. He pointed out that Germany was eager to qualify for admission to the League of Nations, since she was handicapped as against other nations until she had qualified. He suggested that the League might be asked to insist on corresponding treatment to the Poles in German territory as a condition for Germany’s entering into the League of Nations. He regretted that provision for just treatment of Poles in Germany had not been made in the German Treaty and that it would be necessary to postpone the matter for the present, but, in the circumstances, he thought this was the best plan.

M. Clemenceau agreed that the best plan was for Poland to apply to the League of Nations. In reply to an observation by M. Paderewski that the League of Nations might not always consist of persons actuated by the same motives as the Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, he pointed out that, in effect, the Council of the [Page 725] League of Nations could consist of the same persons as the present Council.

3, A second alteration in the Treaty, proposed by M. Paderewski, is contained in the following extract from his letter of June 26th to M. Clemenceau:— Use of the Yiddish Language in Schools

“At the same time, we beg you, M. le Président, to be so good as to modify the text of Article 9 by editing the second paragraph as follows:—

‘In the towns and districts where a considerable proportion of Polish subjects of Jewish faith reside, there shall be assured to this minority an equitable part in the division of the sums which shall be raised from public funds, municipal or otherwise, for the object of education, religion or charity. These sums shall be employed for the establishment, under the control of the Polish State, of primary schools, in which the needs of the Jewish faith shall be duly respected and in which the popular Jewish language (Yiddish) should be considered as an auxiliary language.’”

This modification, M. Paderewski explained, had been asked for by the Polish Jews.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that this proposal went far beyond what was contemplated under the present draft of the Treaty.

President Wilson agreed and pointed out that the intention of the present Treaty was that Yiddish should only be used as a medium of instruction and was not to be taught as a separate language.

M. Paderewski said that, as this had been put forward by an influential Jewish body, he had felt it his duty to present it to the Council.

4. M. Paderewski further raised objection to the provision in the Convention with Poland for the Internationalisation of the River Vistula and its tributaries. He feared that this would enable the Germans to obtain advantages. Germany already had advantages in the control of many of the markets affecting Poland. He was ready to conclude any arrangement with the Allied and Associated Powers, but Poland had to remember that Germany did not consider herself bound by treaties. It was being openly declared in German newspapers that Germany would not be morally bound by the Treaty of Peace. The internationalisation of the Vistula was not provided for in the Treaty with Germany. It had been proposed in Commissions and Sub-Commissions, but the proposal had been withdrawn, and thus the Vistula had been recognised as a national Polish river. This was why the Polish Delegation proposed the suppression of Article 6. In reply to questions as to how far the Vistula ran through territory other than Polish, he said that the river itself ran entirely through Polish territory. Its tributary, the Bug, ran part of its course through Ruthenian territory. Internationalisation of the Vistula

[Page 726]

President Wilson pointed out that by this article Poland was merely bound to accept for her rivers, the same international regime as Germany had accepted for German rivers. Poland was only asked to come into the same international scheme as was contemplated in other parts of Europe.

M. Paderewski said he felt that this clause gave privileges to the Germans.

5. In the course of the above discussions, the question was raised as to the equipment of the Polish military forces.

Mr. Lloyd George said that in a short conversation he had with M. Paderewski on entering, he had asked him about the condition of the Polish army. He was disturbed to find that this bore out the accounts that he had lately received from General Sir Henry Wilson, namely that part of the Polish forces were quite inadequately armed. The Allied and Associated Powers had plenty of material, and he could not imagine how Poland had been allowed to be short. Military Supplies and Equipment to Poland

President Wilson thought it was due to the difficulty in getting supplies through.

M. Paderewski regretted that this was not really the reason. He had been told to appeál to the Supreme Council. When he had appealed some time ago not one had been willing to help except the Italian Government who had sent several trains of ammunition through Austria. Except for General Haller’s army, however, he had received nothing from the United States of America, France or Great Britain.

Mr. Lloyd George said that Great Britain had been asked to supply Admiral Koltchak, General Denekin and the Archangel Government, and they had done so. He asked if they had refused any specific appeal from Poland.

M. Paderewski said that the appeal had not been made individually to Great Britain but was made to the Council without any result.

President Wilson said that his own recollection was that nothing had been sent, because it was impossible to get any material through.

Mr. Lloyd George said there should be no difficulty about getting it through now. The whole of General Haller’s army had been transported and Dantzig was also available.

M. Paderewski said that the passage of food through Dantzig was being stopped. Many of the soldiers in Poland had not even cartridge belts. He had applied to the United States Army and to Mr. Lansing personally and in writing but could not get any belts, though the surplus of these was actually being burnt in some places. The equipment of General Haller’s army was absolutely first-class, but Poland had some 700,000 men who needed everything. They had no factories themselves, and had an entire lack of raw material.

[Page 727]

(It was agreed that the Military Representatives at Versailles should be informed that the Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers were anxious to complete the equipment of the Polish Army. The Military Representatives should be directed to make immediate enquiry as to the deficiencies of the Polish Army in equipment and supplies, and to advise as to how and from what sources these could best be made good. The Military Representatives should be authorised to consult the Polish Military Authorities on the subject.)

6. M. Mantoux read the following note from M. Fromageot.


The Treaty with Germany must be ratified by Poland of the Poland in order that it may benefit from it. On the other hand the application of this Treaty so far as concerns Poland is not subordinated to the ratification by Poland of this special Treaty with the Powers for the guarantee of minorities. Importance of Ratification by Poland of the Treaty With the Allied and Associated Powers

It might happen from this that Poland, while refusing to ratify this special Treaty, might become the beneficiary of the Treaty with Germany, a Treaty of which Article 93 however, provides for the protection of minorities in Poland in the form of an engagement with this country.

M. Fromageot has notified the Minister of Foreign Affairs of this question, and Mr. Hurst has equally notified Mr. Balfour.

M. Paderewski said there was no doubt that the Polish Diet would ratify the Treaty.

(It was agreed that no action was called for on this note.)

(M. Paderewski and Mr. Hurst withdrew.)

7. The Council had before them forms of Mandates which had been prepared by Lord Milner and circulated by Mr. Lloyd George. The Form of Mandates: The Belgain Claims in East Africa

President Wilson said that there was some criticisms to make against Lord Milner’s proposals. In his view they hardly provided adequate protection for the native population; they did not provide sufficiently for the open door; and the Class “C” Mandates did not make provision for missionary activities. He thought that if the Council devoted themselves to this question now, they would find themselves in the position of drafting the Mandates themselves, and he did not feel they were suitably constituted for that purpose. He thought the best plan would be to appoint a special Committee for the purpose.

Mr. Lloyd George did not agree that Lord Milner’s draft did not go sufficiently far as regards the open door. He thought that in some respects his Forms went beyond what was originally contemplated. He agreed, however, in remitting the matter to a special Committee. He thought that perhaps the Committee might transfer its activities to London as this would be more convenient for Lord Milner. Colonel [Page 728] House was about to proceed to London, and as he was informed by Baron Makino, Viscount Chinda, the Japanese Ambassador in London would be the Japanese member of the Committee.

President Wilson suggested that the best plan would be to set up the Commission at once and ask them to hold a special preliminary meeting to arrange their own procedure. He thought it would be a good plan to draw up the Mandates and publish them in order to invite criticism before adopting them. He was prepared, however, to leave this also to the Commission.

Mr. Lloyd George said that a closely connected question was that of the Belgian claims to a part of German East Africa. Lord Milner had agreed a scheme with the representatives of the Belgian Government which the British Government was ready to accept. He felt bound to mention, however, that the Council of the Aborigines Society had lately come to Paris and had raised objections to the allocation of this territory to Belgium. He understood the difficulty was that Belgium desired these territories mainly for the purpose of raising labour rather than for what they contained.

President Wilson said that he believed Belgium had reformed her Colonial administration but the difficulty was that the world did not feel sure that this was the case. He thought the best plan would be to ask the special Committee to hear the Aborigines Society.

Sir Maurice Hankey, alluding to a proposal that M. Clemenceau had made that the question should be discussed on the afternoon of the following day at Versailles after the signature of the Treaty of Peace, said that not only the Belgian representatives would have to be heard, but in addition, the Portuguese representatives who had asked to be heard when questions relating to German East Africa were under consideration.

President Wilson suggested that the Special Committee might hear the Portuguese representatives in addition.

Sir Maurice Hankey pointed out that this would considerably extend the reference to the special Commission.

President Wilson said that the Aborigines ought to be heard in connection with the Mandates.

Mr. Lloyd George said he supposed the question of German East Africa would have to be put off until the Aborigines Society had been heard.

It was agreed that a special Commission should be immediately set up composed as follows:—

  • Colonel House for the United States of America.
  • Lord Milner for the British Empire.
  • M. Simon for France.
  • M. Crespi for Italy.
  • Viscount Chinda for Japan.

[Page 729]

for the following purpose:—

To consider the drafting of Mandates.
To hear the views of the Aborigines Society in regard to the Belgian claims in German East Africa.
To hear the Portuguese claims in regard to German East Africa.

(Mr. Philip Kerr was summoned into the room and given instructions to invite Lord Milner immediately to summon a preliminary meeting of the Commission.)

8. With reference to C. F. 93, Minute 11,2 Mr. Lloyd George suggested that a telegram ought to be sent to Admiral Koltchak asking him whether he was willing to agree in the scheme for the co-operation of the Czecho-Slovak forces in With the Right Siberia with the right wing of his army.

(It was agreed that a telegram in this sense ought to be sent, and Mr. Lloyd George undertook to submit a draft to the Council at the Meeting on the following morning.) Siberia: Co-operation of Czecho-Slovak Troops With the Right Wing of Admiral Koltchak’s Army

9. President Wilson suggested that after he himself and Mr. Lloyd George had left, the main work of the Conference should revert to the Council of Ten at the Quai d’Orsay. He said that Mr. Lansing’s presence was required for a time in the United States, and that Mr. Polk3 would temporarily take his place. Future Work of the Peace Conference

Mr. Lloyd George agreed in the new procedure.

(It was agreed that on the departure of President Wilson and Mr. Lloyd George, the Council of Ten should be re-established at the Quai d’Orsay as the Supreme Council of the Allied and Associated Powers in the Peace Conference.)

10. Mr. Lloyd George said he understood that the upshot of recent conversations was that the Turkish question must be postponed until it was known whether the United States of America could accept a mandate. Turkey

(It was agreed:—

That the further consideration of the Treaty of Peace with Turkey should be suspended until such time as the Government of the United States of America could state whether they were able to accept a mandate for a portion of the territory of the former Turkish Empire.
That the Turkish Delegation should be thanked for the statements they have made to the Peace Conference, and that a suggestion should be conveyed to them that they might now return to their own country.

[Page 730]

The view was generally expressed that Mr. Balfour should be invited to draft the letter to the Turks.)

11. (M. Tardieu was introduced.)

The Council had before them the attached report on the proposals of the French Government in regard to the allocation of certain former German passenger ships to relieve the difficulties of France in regard to passenger tonnage, especially so far as her Colonial lines are concerned. (Appendix I.) Shipping and the French Colonies

Mr. Lloyd George commented that if France and Italy were in a difficult position as regards tonnage, so was Great Britain. He said he could not accept the report because no representative of the Ministry of Shipping had been available to take part in it. He could neither give an assent or a dissent on a shipping question unless the proper expert was available. He had telegraphed on the previous day to the Minister of Shipping, and he hoped that an expert would be available immediately.

(It was agreed that the report should be considered as soon as a representative of the British Ministry of Shipping was available.)

(M. Tardieu withdrew.)

12. (M. Dutasta entered.)

With reference to C. F. 91, Minute I,5 M. Dutasta handed a letter from the German Delegation on the subject of the signing of the special Convention in regard to the Rhine to M. Mantoux, who translated it into English (Appendix II). In this letter the German Delegation protested against having to sign the Rhine Convention simultaneously with the Treaty of Peace, on the ground that Article 232 provided only for a subsequent convention. They intimated, however, that they would not press their objection if conversations could take place later on the subject. Signing of Rhine Convention

(On M. Clemenceau’s suggestion, it was agreed to reply in the sense that the Rhine Convention must be signed on the same day as the Treaty of Peace with Germany, but that the Allied and Associated Powers would not object to subsequent meetings to discuss details.

Captain Portier drafted a reply,5a which was read and approved. M. Clemenceau undertook to dispatch it immediately.)

13. M. Dutasta also handed a Note from the German Delegation to M. Mantoux, which he translated into English, containing the German consent to the addition of a special Protocol to the Treaty of Peace with Germany, as proposed some days before. (Appendix III.) German Agreement to a Special Protocol

(M. Dutasta withdrew.)

[Page 731]

14. The Council had under consideration the question of the size of the Army of Occupation of the Provinces west of the Rhine. In this connection they had before them the report of the special Commission appointed to consider this question as well as to draw up a Convention regarding the military occupation of the territories of the Rhine. Size of the Force for the Occupation of the Rhine Provinces

(It was agreed to refer the question to the Military Representatives of the Supreme War Council at Versailles.)

15. (With reference to C. F. 79, Minute 4,6 it was agreed that the Secretary-General should be authorised to communicate the decision concerning the frontier between Roumania and Jugo-Slavia in the Banat to the representatives in Paris of the countries concerned.)

16. With reference to C. F. 92, Minute 20,7 the following telegram was approved and initialled by the representatives of the Five Principal Allied and Associated Powers:—

“The Supreme Council of the Allied and Associated Powers has decided to authorise the Polish Government to utilise any of its military forces, including General Haller’s army, in Eastern Galicia.”Use of General Haller’s Army in Eastern Galicia

N. B.—It was explained that this decision was consequential to the decision that the Polish Government be authorised to occupy with its military forces Eastern Galicia up to the River Zbruck, and had been recommended by the Council of Foreign Ministers on June 25th.

(Captain Portier undertook to communicate the initialled telegram to the Secretary-General for despatch.)

17. (M. Claveille and General Mance8 were introduced.)

General Mance explained that the Sudbahn was the railway from Vienna to Trieste with a branch to Fiume and a branch to Innsbruck, which went through to Irent. By the Treaty of Peace, it was divided into five parts. The bondholders were largely French. The Governments of Austria, Jugo-Slavia, Italy and Hungary each had the right under the Treaty of Peace with Austria to expropriate the portion running through its territory. Various proposals had been made for meeting the difficult situation created. The simplest was that of the Czecho-Slovak Government, which, moreover, was disinterested. Their proposal was that there should be an agreement between the four Governments in regard to the status of the railway, including the rights of expropriation and the financial arrangements. Failing agreement between the four Governments, arbitration should be arranged by the Council of the League of Nations. The Sudbahn

[Page 732]

(At M. Sonnino’s request, the subject was postponed until the following day, when Italian, as well as British and French experts might be present.)

Appendix I to CF–96

[Report on Allocation to France of Certain Former German Passenger Ships]


The Committee are of opinion that in view, on the one hand, of the decisions of the A. M. T. C.9 as to the allocation of enemy ships for management, and on the other hand of the provisions of para. 2, Annex III, Part VIII (Reparation) of the Treaty of Peace, they have no authority to propose a distribution of enemy ships, either for management or final allocation.


They recognise the extremely critical position of France as regards passenger tonnage, specially insofar as her colonial lines are concerned the decrease being figured by France at about 60%, without any means of rapidly making good the deficit with her own resources.


They are of opinion that, in view of the fact that the passenger ships allocated for management to the United States for the transportation of troops will soon become available, the present Reparation Commission under the Peace Conference should report to the Supreme Council on the possibility, pending a final decision on the above mentioned problem, to place the said passenger ships at the disposal of France.

Ch: Hardy
J. R. Gordon
(United States)
André Tardieu

The Italian Delegate, who has not been able to attend to the meeting, agrees, but he observes that the condition of Italy must be considered at the same time, as this condition is more grave than the condition of France.

[Page 733]

Appendix II to CF–96


[The President of the German Delegation (Von Haniel) to the President of the Peace Conference (Clemenceau)]


No. 139

Sir: The Imperial Minister for Foreign Affairs has instructed me to inform Your Excellency as follows:—

“The Allied and Associated Governments demand, with reference to Article 432 of the conditions of Peace, that the draft Agreement regarding the military occupation of the Rhine districts communicated to the German Peace Delegation on the 16th inst. should be signed by Germany without any negotiation and at the same time as the Treaty of Peace. The German Government must make the following observations in regard to this:

“The sense of Article 432 should not, in the opinion of the German Government, be interpreted to mean that Germany is bound to recognise as binding without any further negotiation the contents of an Agreement drawn up by the Allied and Associated Powers alone. An ‘arrangement’ (agreement), as it is described in the Article, presupposes agreement. If Germany undertakes beforehand to fulfil the terms of the ‘arrangement’ it can only be for the purpose and with the object of investing the submission of Germany to the Agreement to be concluded with a solemn form and with greater significance, and also of guaranteeing the other Powers concerned against the danger of Germany fundamentally opposing such an Agreement or making impossible proposals in the course of the negotiations thereon (see observations on pages 44 et seq. of the memorandum of the Allied and Associated Governments of the 16th instant10 regarding Articles 283 and 284 of the draft). It must moreover be pointed out that the signature of the Agreement was not made one of the conditions of the ultimatum of the 16th instant. The request which is now made that the Agreement should be signed at the same time as the Treaty of Peace implies a new demand which is not based on any of the conditions hitherto imposed by our opponents and seems to have all the less foundation in view of the fact that it demands of Germany in an even more unilateral manner than in the case of the Treaty of Peace to sign an Agreement without the opportunity of formulating any expression of her views. Apart from the above mentioned juridical point of view it would, in the opinion of the German Government be to the interest of both parties if the Draft in question in the first instance formed the subject of special negotiations. As at present worded the Agreement can hardly be in accordance with the intentions of its authors. The conditions are apparently intended to be adapted to the situation in Germany, but they do not fulfil their object for the very complicated state of affairs in the [Page 734] German States concerned was not known to those authors. Other stipulations do not fulfil practical requirements and would probably in the course of oral discussion have been modified in such a way as to be more in harmony with the interests both of the troops of occupation and of Germany. The German Government is not in a position to refuse to sign the Agreement if the Allied and Associated Powers make this a subsequent condition for the conclusion of Peace. In case the Allied and Associated Governments maintain their point of view, therefore, it (the German Government) will give the German Delegates who are empowered to sign the Treaty of Peace full powers to sign the Agreement at the same time. It must, however, be pointed out that the Agreement, the conditions of which encroach in a far-reaching manner on the juridical rights of Germany, requires ratification like the Treaty of Peace itself, and Germany is ready to effect this rapidly. It would, moreover, in any case be necessary directly after signature for Plenipotentiaries of both contracting parties to meet together in order to complete and rectify the stipulations of the Agreement.”

I have [ectc].

Von Haniel

Appendix III to CF–96

[The President of the German Delegation (Von Haniel) to the President of the Peace Conference (Clemenceau)]


No. 138

Sir: The Imperial Minister for Foreign Affairs has instructed me to inform Your Excellency as follows:—

“The German Government gathers from the Note of the 16th [21st] instant11 that the Allied and Associated Governments consider also as binding those promises contained in their memorandum of the 16th instant,12 which were not specially noted in the provisions of the Treaty of Peace. In order to avoid misunderstanding it has no objection to some of those promises being laid down in a final Protocol, as proposed in the Note of the 21st instant.”

I have [etc.]

Von Haniel
  1. The text of the letter does not accompany the minutes of this meeting.
  2. Ante, p. 702.
  3. Frank L. Polk, Counselor for the Department of State.
  4. Ante, p. 655.
  5. The text of the reply of June 27 does not accompany the minutes of this meeting.
  6. Ante, p. 587.
  7. Ante, p. 677.
  8. French and British representatives respectively on the Commission on the International Regime of Ports, Waterways, and Railways.
  9. Abbreviation for “Allied Maritime Transport Council.”
  10. Part X, section II, paragraph 2 of the memorandum, p. 975.
  11. Appendix I to CF–80, p. 601.
  12. Post, p. 926.