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 Wednesday, July 16, 1919, at 3:30 p.m.
- America, United States of
- Hon. H. White.
- Mr. L. Harrison.
- British Empire
- The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O. M., M. P.
- Mr. H. Norman.
- M. Clemenceau.
- M. Dutasta.
- Capt. de St. Quentin.
- M. Tittoni.
- M. Paterno.
- Baron Makino.
- M. Kawai.
- America, United States of
|America, United States of||Colonel Grant.|
|British Empire||Capt. E. Abraham.|
|France||Capt. A. Portier.|
|Interpreter—Prof. P. J. Mantoux.|
(M. Venizelos was introduced.)
(Captain Fuller, Major Temperley, Captain Macindoe, and Mr. Butler, entered the room.)
1. Statement M. Venizelos Regarding the Situation in Anatolia M. Venizelos said that on the 18th June he had sent a letter to the President of the Peace Conference calling attention to the concentration of Turkish troops in various places, notably the Smyrna region. On June 23rd the situation had appeared to him to be so disquieting that he had told the Greek General to take such action as was necessary in order that he should not be driven into the sea. What he must ask the Council to grant him was either a definite line or liberty of action for his troops. He pointed out that there were three railway lines converging on Smyrna. His suggestion would be that Greek troops should occupy these lines up to a fixed point. He would further suggest that in the space left between the Greek and Turkish [Page 155] advance posts small detachments, for instance a company, of Allied troops, be placed. The moral effect of this would be great and would probably render any conflict unlikely. He wished to put an end to the present situation in Smyrna. This situation was such that he was compelled to keep a whole army there. There were five Greek divisions in the area. He wished to reduce them to two. This would enable him to reinforce his troops in Macedonia against the Bulgarians.
M. Clemenceau asked M. Venizelos to indicate on the map the area in Anatolia occupied by Greek troops.
M. Venizelos did so. He further stated that if there were real collaboration between the Greek and the Italian troops and if this collaboration were manifest to the Turks the situation would be completely remedied.
M. Tittoni agreed.
M. Venizelos said that he did not wish to extend Greek occupation. All that he wanted was to be safe in Smyrna and to maintain his hold on certain places the population of which was entirely Greek. He was well aware that no conquest would influence the decisions of the Conference.
M. Clemenceau said he understood the Greek population was entirely on the coast.
M. Venizelos replied that it extended to 80 or 100 kilometres inland.
M. Clemenceau asked M. Venizelos for his estimate of the number of Greeks in Smyrna.
M. Venizelos replied that there were 230,000 Greeks and 95,000 Turks and the rest of the population was of other nationalities. A large number of Greeks lived on the land and cultivated figs and grapes, in fact these Anatolian Greeks were among the best Greek cultivators.
M. Clemenceau said that M. Venizelos apparently considered the Greeks in Smyrna formed a majority.
M. Venizelos said he did.
Mr. Balfour said that without going far back into the history of the case, he would like to put the present situation on a sound basis. There were three separate armies in the area; one Greek, one Italian and one Turkish. The last was of uncertain size, largely composed, presumably, of irregulars, formidable for attacks on lines of communication but not for a set battle. How this had come about was not very material. M. Venizelos had sent troops to Smyrna and beyond at the invitation of the Council of Four.1 Italy had sent troops because of her local interests and because she interpreted the Treaty [Page 156] of London as giving her certain rights. Unquestionably much of the trouble arose not from the action of the Turks but from the mutual distrust of the Greek and Italian troops. There were, therefore, three bodies of troops all afraid of attack from each other. According to his information the Turks were undoubtedly actuated by fear in all that they had done. They saw the Greeks at Smyrna spreading out to Aidin and elsewhere. This seemed to them the prelude of a great advance; this might lead to massacres. If it were made clear to the Turks that there would be no advance beyond a definite line it might be possible to control them, especially if they realised that it would not be armed action but the deliberations of the Council that would prescribe the final settlement. As to the relations between the Greeks and Italians M. Venizelos had just stated and M. Tittoni had previously more than once stated that he would base no claim to territory on armed occupation. Both agreed that the Peace Conference alone had the right to determine frontiers. M. Tittoni, while recognising this, had made an appeal to the Council begging that he be not asked to withdraw Italian troops entirely from Asia Minor by reason of the effect this would produce in Italy. M. Venizelos was in Asia Minor at the request of the Council, but no limit had been laid down to his advance. It was clear that the machinery for the co-operation of the Greek Commander and the British Commodore had not worked smoothly. It would therefore be best to lay down the principle that there were definite lines within which the Greek and Italian troops must remain and the Turks could then be told that there was to be no trespass beyond this line if they maintained a proper attitude. He would like to remind the Council that General Allenby3 was still technically in authority over the whole of Turkey in Asia on behalf of the Allied Powers. This fact had been lost sight of and he had not been consulted either by the Council of Ten or by the Council of Four, nor had the Italians or Greeks referred to him. Nevertheless, he still remained the Military Representative of the Powers in Asiatic Turkey. He suggested that General Allenby be asked to send Officers to investigate the situation at Smyrna and to mark out the boundaries of each force. Thus any difficulty as between Greece and Italy or Greece and Turkey would be avoided and the scheme would be in harmony with the general course employed elsewhere for managing conquered territory during the armistice.
M. Tittoni said that he agreed in the main with Mr. Balfour. All advance should be stopped and the Turks should be convinced that there was no intention to declare war on them and that the Armistice [Page 157] continued. Both the Greeks and the Italians should stay where they were. He would also favour the interposition of Allied troops be-between the Greeks and the Turks.
Regarding the collaboration of the Greek and the Italian Armies, Mr. Balfour suggested that the delimitation of their spheres should be carried out by General Allenby. He, himself, thought that direct agreement between the two would be more rapid and more satisfactory. Should no agreement be reached, another authority could then be called in.
M. Clemenceau said that he was disposed to favour M. Tittoni’s plan. If need be, he might even agree to the employment of General Allenby should M. Tittoni and M. Venizelos fail to reach an agreement. Happily this seemed unlikely. As to the means of reassuring the Turks, he thought this could best be done by the Conference directly. He hoped that on the following day M. Tittoni and M. Venizelos would be able to bring a definite agreement to the Council. It would then be possible to send the Turks a message telling them exactly what to expect and that the ultimate solution would not be prejudged by any military occupation.
Mr. White asked who would deliver the message on behalf of the Conference. He thought perhaps this should be General Allenby, as the Turks had the greatest respect for military authority.
Mr. Balfour agreed as General Allenby was Commander-in-Chief on behalf of the Powers.
M. Tittoni asked whether Admiral Calthorpe, High Commissioner in Constantinople, would not be the right authority.
M. Clemenceau said that he did not quite agree with Mr. Balfour. General Allenby commanded in Syria and Mesopotamia, not, he thought, in Anatolia. When the Greeks had been sent to Smyrna, General Allenby had not been consulted. Admiral Calthorpe had been informed. The Conference could correspond with the Turks and had already done so. Surely a direct message from the Council would have more effect on the Turkish Government than anything else, especially if it be made clear to the Turks that the Italians and Greeks would stop their advance.
Mr. Balfour said perhaps the advance would not be arrested for long.
M. Tittoni said that if he and M. Venizelos made themselves personally responsible, he thought there would be no further advance of their respective forces.
Mr. White said that it was of great importance that the communication to the Turks should be made in the name of the Conference, otherwise they would think that the Italians and Greeks had plotted [Page 158] to partition the country. He doubted, however, whether the authority of the Sultan really controlled events in Anatolia.
M. Clemenceau said that this was perhaps true as the rebellion of the Turks had been spontaneous and not controlled in Constantinople.
M. Tittoni said that the General in command had nevertheless come from the capital.
M. Venizelos observed that it might be necessary for the Greek troops to make certain movements. It was therefore desirable that some military authority should lay down exactly in what conditions it would be safe for the Greek advance to be halted. Where Greek and Italian troops were neighbours, both could safely halt on the same line; where the Greeks faced the Turks, it might be necessary to occupy a few additional points.
M. Tittoni said he thought the whole front should halt, otherwise the Turks would not believe in the message sent to them.
(It was decided that M. Tittoni and M. Venizelos should seek an agreement regarding the delimination of the Italian and Greek zones of occupation in Asia Minor and that they should submit the result of their conversation to the Council as soon as possible.
In case an agreement were reached, a communication would be made in the name of the Council to the Turkish Government informing the latter of the decision taken and offering assurances regarding the intentions of the Allied Governments.)
At this stage M. Venizelos and the experts withdrew.
(2) (At this point the Drafting Committee entered the room.)
Treaty With Austria: (a) Protection of Minorities M. Fromageot explained that the Drafting Committee has been asked by the commission on New States to modify the provisions in the Austrian Treaty, as handed to the Austrian Delegation, in order to make them conform with similar provisions regarding Minorities in the Treaty with Poland. This amounted to an aggravation of the terms. He therefore asked for orders from the Council.
M. Clemenceau expressed the opinion that the Commission on Minorities had no authority to direct the Drafting Committee to make this alteration.
Mr. Balfour pointed out that it had previously been decided that every mitigation made in the Treaty with Germany after considering the German Counter-Proposals, should be introduced into the Treaty with Austria without discussion.4 Any aggravation of the terms would therefore be inconsistent with this policy,
(It was decided not to accede to the request of the Commission on New States and to maintain without modification Section 6 of Part III (Protection of Minorities) of the Treaty as presented to the Austrian Delegation on the 2nd June.)[Page 159]
(b) Article 312 Regarding Reschen Pass and Predil Pass Railways M. Fromageot said that the Treaty with Germany (Article 373) contained a general provision regarding the obligation of Germany to allow the construction of certain railways on her territory. The Treaty with Austria (Article 212 ) had been endowed with a similar provision concerning the special cases of railway lines over the Reschen and Predil passes. The Treaty with Germany had been modified and the present Article 373 had been substituted for the previous one and only stipulated for the construction of certain lines interesting to Czecho-Slovakia at the cost of the latter. The Council had issued instructions on July 2nd that all concessions made in the German Treaty should be inserted in the Treaty with Austria.4a An attempt therefore had been made by the Drafting Committee to modify Article 312 accordingly. There had not, however, been unanimity and the “Drafting Committee therefore asked for instructions. The proposed Article read as follows:—
“Within five years, from the coming into force of the present Treaty, Italy may require the construction or improvement on Austrian territory of the new Trans-Alpine lines over the Reschen and Predil passes. The cost of construction or improvement shall be borne by Italy”.
M. Tittoni said that there was no analogy between the two cases. The lines which the Treaty with Germany required to be constructed on German soil were exclusively for Czecho-Slovak interests and were very trifling in extent. In the other case the lines were far more costly and though they were very necessary to Italy, they were also of great importance to Austria. He would prefer that arbitration should decide the allotment of the cost. He could see no reason for saddling Italy with all the cost without any enquiry. Should it be shown after arbitration that only Italy was interested, Italy would pay. If Austria were interested, why should Italy bear all the cost? He therefore proposed that the text on the lines of the original draft be maintained.
(General Mance and Mr. Hudson entered the room.5)
Mr. Balfour said that the original provision in the Treaty with Germany had demanded of Germany that she should construct lines on her territory at the request of her neighbours and at her own expense. The German Delegation had protested and their protest had been accepted. The general clause had been suppressed and a special clause introduced enabling the Czecho-Slovaks to build two small lines on German territory at their own expense. His feeling [Page 160] was that it would be wrong to impose on Austria anything more severe than what had been imposed on Germany. Austria would undoubtedly be poor and even though the lines in question might be advantageous to her, she might think her resources insufficient for the enterprise. If M. Tittoni’s plan were adopted, Austria might be forced into an expense which she herself judged to be beyond her means.
M. Tittoni suggested that the arbitrator might decide whether or not Austria’s resources justified any expenditure on the railways.
Mr. Balfour said that he would be prepared to agree to a formula which entitled the Austrians to plead before the League of Nations that they could not afford these lines.
M. Fromageot expressed the opinion that a clause could be drafted to cover this case.
M. Tittoni said that the arbitrator might also be empowered, even should the initial cost be furnished by Italy, to decide whether or not profits had accrued to Austrian lines, as a consequence of the construction, and to apportion to Italy out of these profits, if any, something towards the cost of construction.
(It was decided that the cost of constructing the railways mentioned in Article 312, if desired by Italy, should be borne by Italy. If, however, the construction of these lines should subsequently prove to have increased the profits of Austrian railways, part of the cost of construction should be made good to Italy out of the increased profits above mentioned, in accordance with the decision of an arbitrator, to be nominated by the League of Nations.)
The Drafting Committee was asked to draft an Article in the above sense.
(3) (a) General Recommendations.
Reports of the committee To Supervise the Execution of Peace With Germany M. Tardieu read and explained the General Recommendations contained in Appendix “A”.
(The report was accepted.)
M. Tardieu read and explained the report contained in Appendix “B”.
With the exception of the passage at the end of paragraph 8, requiring the German Government to issue certain orders to its military and civil authorities in the third zone and under certain conditions to evacuate the area, the report was accepted.
It was pointed out that these provisions went beyond the stipulations of the Treaty.
(It was therefore agreed to suppress these passages, and only to ask the German Government to abstain from making any arrests for political reasons in the area concerned.
With this exception, the report was accepted.)[Page 161]
M. Tittoni said that should the Inter-Allied Commission consider that the voting had been influenced by German action in the third zone, the result might be declared void.
(This was agreed to.)
With regard to Article 3 of the report, Mr. Balfour said that he understood that the American and British arrangements were complete. There was some difficulty about the French arrangements, but the British Admiral had undertaken to step into the breach and furnish the required number of troops should French troops be lacking. He suggested, therefore, that the arrangements made by the Americans and British be allowed to proceed and that French help be called for only in case of need.
(This was agreed to.)
(c) Poland, East Prussia and Dantzig.
M. Tardieu read and explained the report given in Appendix “C”.
The proposals contained in it were accepted, and it was agreed that the nominations for the Commission should be made on the 18th instant.)
On the subject of the supply of an Inter-Allied force, M. Tardieu expressed the hope that it might be possible to do without. In any case, the Commission could proceed to the spot without troops, and report at a later date whether it required any.
4. Committee To Supervise Execution of Economic and Colonial Clauses of the Treaty With Germany M. Tardieu pointed out that the Committee over which he presided had been asked to provide for the execution of the political and territorial clauses of the Treaty of Peace with Germany. M. Loucheur presided at a Committee to supervise the execution of the Reparation Clauses. There remained economic and colonial clauses, the execution of which was at present supervised by no Committee. He suggested that the former be entrusted to the Supreme Economic Council. The latter, might perhaps, be dealt with by the Committee which had just met in London to consider the question of Mandates.
(It was agreed that this question should be brought up on the following day.)
The meeting then adjourned.
Villa Majestic, Paris, 16 July, 1919.[Page 162] [Page 165]
- For the decision of the Council of Four authorizing M. Venizelos to land Greek troops at Smyrna, see IC–181C, minute 17, vol. v, p. 484.↩
- Gen. Edmund H. H. Allenby, commander in chief of the British Expeditionary Forces in Egypt and Palestine.↩
- FM–29, minute 6, p. 15.↩
- FM–29, minute 6, p. 15.↩
- Respectively British and United States representatives, Commission on the International Regime of Ports, Waterways, and Railways.↩
- Translation is that given as annex B to S–H Bulletin No. 497, July 16, 1919 (Paris Peace Conf. 184.611/548).↩
- Translation is that given as annex C to S–H Bulletin No. 497, July 16, 1919 (Paris Peace Conf. 184.611/548).↩
- Parentheses are inserted as they appear on French text which hears the notation in English: “Note: The passages within the brackets were not accepted.”↩
- Translation is that given in S–H Bulletin No. 488, July 15, 1919 (Paris Peace Conf. 184.611/539).↩