Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/97


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Saturday, June 28, 1919, at 11 a.m.

  • Present
    • United States of America
      • 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.
Captain A. Portier.
Professor P. J. Mantoux.—Interpreter.

1. The following Treaties were signed to provide for assistance to France in the event of unprovoked aggression by Germany.

For assistance by the United States,1 signed by M. Clemenceau, M. Pichon, President Wilson and Mr. Lansing. Assisitance to France in the Event of Unprovoked Aggression by Germany
For assistance by Great Britain,2 signed by M. Clemenceau, M. Pichon, Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Balfour.

2. The representatives of the five Principal Allied and Associated Powers initialled the Reparation Clauses for the Austrian Treaty. Austrian Treaty: Reparation Clauses

3. The representatives of the five Principal Allied and Associated Powers initialled the Financial Clauses for the Austrian Treaty. Austrian Treaty: Financial clauses

Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward both the Reparation and Financial Clauses to the Secretary-General for communication to the Drafting Committee.

4. With reference to C. F. 93.A. Minute 2,3 owing to the receipt of information that the Crown Prince had not escaped, it was agreed that the despatch to the Dutch Government in regard to the security of the ex-German Kaiser should be communicated to the Dutch Government but not published. Holland and the Delivery of the ex-Kaiser

[Page 741]

5. The Council had before them a letter addressed by Mr. Hoover to President Wilson, suggesting the appointment of a single temporary Resident Commissioner to Armenia, who should have the full authority of the United States of America, Great Britain, France and Italy, in all their relations to the de facto Armenian Government, as the joint representative of these Governments in Armenia. (Appendix I) Armenia: Proposed Resident Commissioner

(This proposal was accepted).

6. With reference to C. F. 96, Minute 11 [10],4 the Council had before them a draft letter prepared by Mr. Balfour inviting the Delegation to return to Paris [sic]. Turkish

Mr. Lloyd George suggested that the first paragraph of the letter should make it clearer that the Turkish Delegation had come here on their own initiative and had not been invited by the Powers.

(Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to ask Mr. Balfour to modify the letter accordingly.)5

7. With reference to C.F. 96, Minute 7,6

Sir Maurice Hankey reported that he had not been quite clear as to the precise terms of reference to the Commission on Mandates, which it had been decided to set up on the previous day. Mandates: Terms of Reference to the Commission

(It was agreed that the terms of reference should be as follows:

To consider the drafting of model mandates.
To hear statements of the Belgian and Portuguese claims in regard to German East Africa.
To hear statements by the Aboriginese Societies in regard to German East Africa.
To make a report on the Belgian and Portuguese claims in German East Africa.)

Note. At this point there was a long discussion on the question of the Sud-Bahn railway, in which M. Claveille, General Mance, M. Crespi and Captain Young took part. This is recorded as a separate meeting.7

8. Mr. Hoover, Lord Robert Cecil, Mr. Wise, M. Clementel and M. Crespi were introduced.

Lord Robert Cecil said he had asked to see the Council because he was afraid of a hiatus occurring between the disappearance of the Supreme Economic Council and the setting up of new machinery for economic consultation under the League of Nations. As the Council were aware, the Supreme [Page 742] Economic Council provided all the necessary means of consultation at present. He felt it was hardly necessary to notify to the Council the very serious position that existed in regard to the economic state of Europe in matters of relief, transportation, supplies, etc. It was not too much to say that we were on the verge of disaster in the majority of the countries in Europe. At any moment there might be the greatest necessity for the Governments to consult on the subject. It would be most serious if there were a gap in the means of consultation. If only the ordinary diplomatic channels were available for consultation,—it would be impossible to get anything done. The decision required might be a question of days or almost of hours. He was anxious, therefore, to remove any possibility of such a gap. He hoped that it would be one of the first tasks of the Council of the League of Nations to provide for machinery for economic consultation. At one time the French representatives had put forward a scheme, but this had happened at the very end of the proceedings of the Commission and it had not been thought possible to adopt it. President Wilson, he thought, would not be disposed to under-rate the importance of the economic side of international relationships. These were the reasons for formulating the following proposal. Consultation in Economic Matters

“That in some form international consultation in economic matters should be continued until the Council of the League of Nations has had an opportunity of considering the present acute position of the International economic situation, and that it should be remitted to the Supreme Economic Council to establish the necessary machinery for the purpose.”

Lord Robert Cecil said he was prepared to substitute the word “propose” for “establish”.

M. Clemenceau, after reading the French text, accepted.

President Wilson said he understood that he was the only obstacle to the acceptance of this resolution. All agreed that the Economic Council would continue to function till Peace was ratified, which, he feared, might be some six weeks or two months hence. Consequently, there was ample time in which to consider other methods. What he wished to guard against was any appearance that the Powers who had been Allies and Associates in the war were banding themselves together in an economic union directed against the Central Powers. Any appearance of an exclusive economic bloc must be avoided. Any means of consultation set up must not be open to this suggestion. He agreed, however, that some means of consultation was desirable and even necessary. As regards his own powers, he had to point out that his authority to sanction such consultation ended with the ratification of peace. After that, he would have no authority, and he was not entitled to delegate authority. Hence, it would be necessary for him to consult with his advisers as to whether any machinery could be [Page 743] devised within the Statutes of the United States of America, and if this was impossible, he might have to get a new Statute. He had no objection to the economic Council considering plans of consultation not having that appearance, but the wording must be very careful, and he must be very careful about his own attitude.

Lord Robert Cecil said that the Trades Union Congress at South-port had voted a demand for the Supreme Economic Council to continue as the only means of assisting Germany to tide over her economic difficulties. Credit, currency and many other matters must be dealt with as a whole for a year or two. Economic questions were very much interlaced. They could not be considered for one country alone, hence consultation was essential.

President Wilson said he was fully agreed in this.

(After some further discussion the following resolution was adopted:—

“That in some form, international consultation in economic matters should be continued until the Council of the League of Nations has had an opportunity of considering the present acute position of the International economic situation and that the Supreme Economic Council should be requested to suggest for the consideration of the several governments the methods of consultation which would be most serviceable for this purpose.”)

9. The Council had before them the attached draft telegram to Admiral Koltchak in connection with the proposal for the use of the Czecho-Slovak forces in Siberia to cooperate with the right wing of Admiral Koltchak’s Army (Appendix Right II). Co-operation by the Czecho-Slovaks With the Right Wing of Koltchak’s Army

(It was agreed that subject to the approval of the Military Representatives of the Supreme War Council at Versailles, who, with the addition of representatives of Japan and Czecho-Slovakia, are considering this subject, the telegram should be despatched on behalf of the Allied and Associated Powers by M. Clemenceau as President of the Peace Conference, to Admiral Koltchak.)

Appendix I to CF–97

[Mr. Herbert Hoover to President Wilson]

Dear Mr. President: In accordance with your discussion with Mr. Morgenthau8 and the several discussions with myself in connection [Page 744] with Armenia, we make the following joint recommendation to be brought to the attention of the Chiefs of States before your departure.

We suggest that a single temporary resident Commissioner should be appointed to Armenia, who will have the full authority of the United States, Great Britain, France and Italy in all their relations to the de facto Armenian Government, as the joint representative of these Governments in Armenia, His duties shall be so far as he may consider necessary to supervise and advise upon various governmental matters in the whole of Russian and Turkish Armenia, and to control relief and repatriation questions pending the determination of the political destiny of this area.
In case the various Governments should agree to this plan immediate notification should be made to the de facto Governments of Turkey and of Armenia of his appointment and authority. Furthermore, he will be appointed to represent the American Relief Administration and the American Committee for Relief in the Near East, and take entire charge of all their activities in Russian and Turkish Armenia.

The ideal man for this position would be General Harbord,9 as I assume under all the circumstances it would probably be desirable to appoint an American. Should General Harbord be unable to undertake the matter, I am wondering whether you would leave it to us to select the man in conjunction with General Pershing.

I assume that the personnel of this Mission would be necessarily comprised of army and navy officers who would retain their rank and emoluments and I understand from the Commission for the Near East that they would be prepared to supply such funds as were required for incidental expenses until such other arrangements could be made.

Faithfully yours,

Herbert Hoover

Appendix II to CF–97


Telegram to Admiral Koltchak

Following for Admiral Koltchak.

The Principal Allied and Associated Governments have under consideration the following scheme for repatriating and utilizing Czecho-Slovak troops in Siberia:—
Allied and Associated Governments will find shipping to move all Czecho-Slovak troops who can reach Archangel before the closing of the port by ice, and to do their best to find shipping at Vladivostock.
30,000 men to take part in an operation on right wing of Koltehak’s [Page 745] army with a view to establishing a junction with Archangel forces at Kotlas, whence they would be repatriated before end of current year.
Remainder of Czecho-Slovak troops to be moved gradually to Vladivostock, and thence embarked for Europe as shipping becomes available.
Sector of railway now guarded by Czecho-Slovaks to be taken over by Americans or by Japanese, or by both conjointly.
Apart from the very substantial advantages which it is hoped to obtain by enabling you to effect a junction with the Archangel forces, above scheme offers prospect of relieving dangerous situation now developing in Central Siberia through the discontent which has arisen among the Czecho-Slovak troops.
It is recognised that the morale of these troops is at present low, and success of scheme is obviously dependent on sufficient men being willing to fight the Bolsheviks with a guarantee of earning repatriation as a reward for success.
It is also recognised that transportation of Czecho-Slovaks by rail to Perm will interfere with your normal despatch of supplies and munitions unless running of increased number of trains can be arranged for the purpose.
It is obviously impossible to guarantee success of proposed operation, and even assuming success, there is a risk of the Czecho-Slovaks reaching Archangel too late for repatriation before the port is ice bound. It has, however, been calculated that there is a reasonable possibility of Czechs reaching Kotlas by middle of October provided the military operations involved are successful, in which case repatriation this year would be possible.
The Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers wish you to consider this project carefully in all its aspects, and to telegraph your views on the various points raised above with the least possible delay, since, if the project is to be carried out, every day is of importance. The project is, of course, dependent on the consent and co-operation of the Czecho-Slovak Government which the Powers will endeavour to obtain if you consider this scheme both practicable and desirable. To avoid subsequent misunderstanding, it is pointed out that there can be no question of retaining any of the Czecho-Slovak troops once their junction with Archangel forces has been effected.
  1. Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–1923, vol. iii, p. 3709.
  2. Ibid., p. 3711.
  3. Ante, p. 710.
  4. Ante, p. 729.
  5. For the final text of this document, see appendix II to CF–99, p. 757.
  6. Ante, p. 727.
  7. CF–98, p. 746.
  8. Henry Morgenthau, American Ambassador to Turkey, 1913–16.
  9. Gen. G. Harbord, Chief of Staff, American Expeditionary Forces in France.