Notes of a Meeting of the Heads of Delegations of the Five Great Powers Held in M. Pichon’s Room at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Saturday, July 12, 1919, at 3:30 p.m.
America, United States of
- Hon. Henry White.
- The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour.
- M. Clemenceau.
- M. Pichon.
- M. Crespi.
- M. Matsui.
- M. Dutasta.
- Mr. L. Harrison.
- Mr. H. Norman.
- M. Paterno.
- M. Kawai.
- America, United States of
|America, United States of||Colonel U. S. Grant.|
|British Empire||Lieut.-Commdr. Bell.|
|France||Capt. A. Portier.|
|Interpreter—Prof. P. J. Mantoux.|
(At this point M. Cambon1 entered the room.)
1. M. Clemenceau said that the Council had before them a proposal of Mr. Lansing to the effect that the Polish and Tzecho-Slovak Governments should be given 10 days to arrive at an understanding between themselves on the Teschen question. He requested M. Cambon to explain his point of view. Teschen
M. Cambon said that the Teschen question had been much discussed: no particular solution had been accepted; for it was hoped that MM. Paderewski and Benes would be able to come to an understanding. They had not been able to do so, with the result that conflict continued in the area in question. It was therefore necessary to arrive at some solution and he thought that Mr. Lansing’s proposal was a good one.[Page 117]
(After some discussion it was decided to accept Mr. Lansing’s proposal and to grant a period of 10 days to the Governments of Poland and Czecho-Slovakia to arrive at an agreement between themselves on the question of Teschen.)
2. M. Clemenceau said that Mr. Lansing had submitted a proposal to the effect that the Orava question should be referred to the Polish and Czecho-Slovak Committees, in order that they might correct the frontier previously adopted, in a manner which should conform to the ethnographical data on the subject. He therefore asked the experts to accept the ethnographical frontier and asked M. Cambon for his opinion. The Orava Question
M. Cambon said that the Czecho-Slovak Committee had examined the question with care: the Committee in question had decided to grant Orava to Czecho-Slovakia as a compensation. At present the populations affected were stated to be dissatisfied and Mr. Lansing had asked for a re-examination of the question.
Mr. White said that two peasants had visited President Wilson on the 28th June and that they had spoken to him on behalf of 50,000 inhabitants of the region in question.
M. Cambon thought that the two Committees might meet and submit a new proposal.
Mr. Balfour said that President Wilson desired strongly that the question should be examined afresh.
M. Clemenceau said that the question should be referred to the Committees, which should be asked to make a new examination of the question, without being bound by any obligation to return to the ethnographical frontier line.
(It was therefore decided that the question of the frontier between Poland and Czecho-Slovakia should be referred to the Polish and Czecho-Slovak Committees for examination and report.)
(At this point M. Cambon withdrew.)
3. M. Clemenceau said that the Council had to look into the effect upon the Russian Blockade of the termination of the Blockade of Germany. Blockade of Russia
Mr. Balfour said that whilst he recognised how urgent and important the question was, he had found that it raised points of such difficulty that he would be grateful if the Council would put off the discussion to its next meeting.
(Mr. Balfour’s proposal was agreed to.)
4. M. Clemenceau said that it was proposed that a Committee of Experts should examine the Italian demand for the cession of the Austro-Hungarian Concession in Tientsin to them. Question of Tientsin
Mr. White said that he was obliged to remark that [Page 118] the Government of the United States had always been opposed to any new concessions at Tientsin being made by China.
M. Crespi said that it was not a question of a new concession but simply of an extension of the existing Italian concession. The Note submitted by the Italian Delegation to the Council2 showed that the Italian concession only consisted of 124 acres whilst those granted to other countries were more extensive.
M. Pichon said that the question should be summarised as follows. There was an article in the German treaty by virtue of which German concessions were restored to China. Germany had ratified the Treaty. It was to be observed that none of the concessions in question had been given to the Allied and Associated Powers, but that they had been restored to China, on the simple condition that the latter country should open its ports to international Commerce. The clauses in question were contained in Articles Nos. 128 to 132. The Italian proposal was therefore no less than an abrogation of the principle accepted by the Conference.
M. Matsui said that he entirely agreed with M. Pichon. The return of the concessions to China was part of the Treaty with Germany. The same thing applied to Austria; and the Austrian Government had received a copy of the text of the Treaty. It was therefore equitable to return the Austro-Hungarian concessions to China.
Mr. White said that in spite of his keen desire to satisfy the Italian claims, it seemed impossible to him to grant to Italy what belonged to China.
M. Crespi said that the Italian Government had long been asking for an improvement in their concession from China.
The concession in question was very limited and surrounded by marshy ground. It did not even contain any land suitable for setting up a hospital for the sick and wounded. The Conference was very cognizant of Chinese methods and the discussions had been so drawn out that the Italian Government had received no satisfactory reply. It had therefore been decided to put the question before the Conference, with a view to making the concession a question of reparation. The Italian concession was too small to allow of any economic development and he was of opinion that the Chinese Government would not oppose the enlargement of the concession in question.
M. Clemenceau said that he proposed to nominate a Committee.
Mr. White said that he opposed any Committee being nominated, since the question before it would be that of ceding Chinese property. He did not see any objection to the Italian Government raising the question direct with China; but if Austria-Hungary were deprived [Page 119] of the concession by virtue of the Treaty, it must inevitably be returned to China.
M. Crespi proposed that the question should be referred to the Reparation Committee.
M. Clemenceau stated that he preferred that it should be examined by experts. He reminded Mr. White that no decision would be taken unless he authorised it, since every member had a right of veto. But it seemed difficult and not very conciliatory to oppose the nomination of a Committee.
Mr. White said that he agreed under the reservations which he had already made.
Mr. Balfour remarked that the representative of the American Delegation would always be able to refuse to accept the decisions of the Committee in question.
Mr. White stated that he agreed to the nomination of a Committee, but that he would be opposed to its decisions. The United States had renounced all claims to any concession and was, moreover, opposed to concessions in principle. He could not, therefore, recognise the necessity of nominating any Committee.
M. Crespi said that he did not wish to press the discussion further, but that he begged Mr. White to agree to the nomination of a Committee without thereby engaging himself in any way.
Mr. White stated that under these circumstances, he agreed.
Mr. Balfour stated that he agreed to the proposal but that he did not see what good would come of it in view of the American right of veto. The work of the Committee would be without effect, but if it could give any satisfaction to the Italian Delegation, he would not be opposed to the nomination of the Committee.
Mr. White stated that he thought the question should be dealt with by direct negotiation and read Article 3 of Section IV, Part III, of the Peace Treaty with Austria:—
“Austria cedes to China all her rights over the buildings, wharves and pontoons, barracks, forts, arms and munitions of war, vessels of all kinds, wireless telegraphy installations and other public property which belonged to the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and which are situated or may be in the Austro-Hungarian Concession at Tientsin or elsewhere in Chinese territory.”
M. Crespi stated that the Article in question had not yet been submitted to the Austrian delegation and that it was only a project.
(It was decided to nominate a special Committee to examine the Italian demand that a clause which should cede to Italy the Austrian concession in Tientsin should be introduced into the Peace Treaty with Austria.)[Page 120]
(The American Delegation accepted the proposal whilst making a reservation that it would not be bound by the findings of the Committee appointed.)
5. M. Clemenceau stated that he was obliged to submit to the Council a document which had been communicated officially by the Serbian delegation (see Appendix A). It had been found in Klagenfurt in the Office of the Senior Officer of the District. The document seemed to show that the Austrians had been informed of the movements of the Serbian army by the indiscretion of the Italian Authorities. A Document Communicated by the Serbian Gobvernment
(It was decided to communicate the document to the various Delegations for their scrutiny.)
6. M. Clemenceau produced a document addressed to him directly by Bela Kun. Wireless Message From Bela Kun
M. Mantoux then read it aloud (see Appendix B).
Mr. Balfour stated that it seemed to him that the Council was in a very difficult position with regard to the document in question. It should be remembered that the Allied and Associated Powers had approached Hungary with a view to making that country withdraw its troops from Czecho-Slovakia on the condition that an analogous order should be imposed upon Roumania. Hungary had accepted and had withdrawn its troops. Roumania had not obeyed the order. M. Bratiano had said in a private conversation with him that it would be impossible for Roumania to withdraw her troops before Hungary had disarmed. The argument was strong. Roumania was threatened by Russian Bolshevism on its eastern frontier and by Hungarian Bolshevism on its western frontier. Up to the present time the country had managed to hold its own, owing to the fact that on the Hungarian side, it was protected by the line of the Theiss which could easily be defended. The Roumanians stated that if they were to abandon this line and attempt to defend themselves further back, they would have no guarantee against an attack from Bela Kun which, if made, would make it difficult for Roumania to defend herself. Although M. Bratiano had not made a precise statement to that effect, he had given the impression that if Hungary had disarmed according to the conditions of the Armistice, Roumania would carry out the wishes of the Allies and would retire to the line which had been laid down. M. Bratiano had further explained that Hungary by withdrawing its forces from Czecho-Slovakia had not lessened the danger to Roumania, which was on the contrary more than ever menaced by the Hungarian movement.
M. Clemenceau said that he supposed that Bela Kun’s ready [Page 121] obedience to the orders he had received could be explained in this way.
Mr. Balfour said that he thought the Roumanians would be justified in not withdrawing their army so long as the Hungarians were not prevented from re-enforcing theirs and from manufacturing munitions and war materials.
M. Clemenceau said that he proposed that Mr. Balfour should prepare a reply.
M. Crespi said that new facts had to be taken into consideration, which had occurred since the withdrawal of the Hungarian troops. Massacres and looting subversive of human rights had taken place. The Italian representative, who was President of the Interallied Armistice Commission, had formally protested to the Government of Bela Kun and had been able to prevent certain executions.
Mr. Balfour proposed that a reply should be given to the effect that no discussion could be undertaken with Bela Kun so long as he did not comply with the Armistice conditions.
M. Pichon said that the Italian representative had evidently done everything within his power. He drew the attention of the Council to a telegram received by him. (See Annex C.)
M. Clemenceau said that he thought that Mr. Balfour’s proposal was the best.
(It was therefore decided to send the following telegram in reply to the wireless telegraphic message sent by Bela Kun to M. Clemenceau:—
“The Peace Conference cannot discuss any matter with you whilst you do not carry out the conditions of the Armistice.”)
6. [sic] M. Clemenceau asked whether M. Crespi had the report on this subject asked for by the Conference. Supply Trains at Modane
M. Crespi said that the report in question would be ready during the afternoon. The examination that had been made showed that the trains had not been held up at Modane except for a few hours on account of customs formalities.
M. Clemenceau said that he would examine the report.
7. M. Crespi said that he wished to draw the attention of the Council to the following note on the subject of the actions of the Greeks in Asia Minor. (See Annex D.)Greeks in Asia Minor
Clemenceau said that even though the Greeks had passed the lines of demarcation laid down, they were none the less in the country with the authorisation of the Peace Conference, and this could not be pleaded for the Italians, who, in spite of our wishes and of our decisions, had occupied the country. In a full Conference, at which M. Orlando and M. Sonnino were present, Italy [Page 122] had been asked to withdraw her troops.3 She had not done so. If the Greeks had acted in the manner described, in the note, it was regrettable, but how could they be blamed for it? He therefore proposed that Mr. Balfour should send a despatch to the British Commodore on the spot, instructing him to report on the situation.
Mr. Balfour said that he would do so, but was the Commodore to confine his enquiry to the actions of the Greeks in the region in question, without taking note of the actions of the Italians?
M. Clemenceau said that what the Italians had done was well-known. The Italian forces were in the region in violation of a formal decision of the Conference. M. Orlando and M. Sonnino had taken no notice of the requests made to them, nor of the decisions made. Together with Mr. Balfour, he had sent a memorandum to M. Tittoni,4 to which a reply had just been received. It had been agreed that the Italians should send no more troops into the regions in question, and in spite of this, three thousand more had been sent. He therefore proposed that an enquiry should be made by the British Commodore, but he did not see how he could place any blame upon the Greeks.
M. Crespi said that M. Tittoni would soon be back, and that he, personally, did not wish to enter into the discussion, more particularly as a memorandum had been sent. He would confine himself to saying that the Italian Government thought that it possessed rights over the region in question by virtue of Article 9 of the Treaty of London.5 He none the less thanked the Council for the proposal for an enquiry, which he agreed to.
(It was decided that Mr. Balfour should direct the British Commodore in command on the Coast of Asia Minor to send in a report on the subject of the incidents that had occurred between the Greeks and Italians in the region in question.)
Villa Majestic, Paris, 12 July, 1919.[Page 123] [Page 124] [Page 128]
- Jules Cambon, French representative and president, Commission on Czechoslovak Affairs.↩
- This document does not accompany the minutes.↩
- For previous discussion of this subject, see CF–9, CF–10, CF–17, CF–19, vol. v, pp. 570, 577, 686, 716, and CF–37B, CF–93A, vol. vi, pp. 83 and 712.↩
- Apparently a reference to the declaration by Great Britain and France to the new Italian delegation, June 28, 1919. For text, see appendix I to CF–99A, vol. vi, p. 760.↩
- Great Britain, Cmd. 671 Misc. No. 7 (1920): Agreement Between France, Russia, Great Britain and Italy, Signed at London, April 26, 1915. ↩
- Translation from the French supplied by the editors.↩
- Appendix V (A), V (B), and V (F) to CF–65, vol. vi, pp. 411, 412, and 416.↩
- Appendix II to CF–73, vol. vi, p. 518.↩
- Appendix III to CF–93, vol. vi, p. 706.↩
- Dr. Otto Bauer, Austrian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, November 12, 1918–July 27, 1919.↩
- CF–19, vol. v, p. 716.↩