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 Friday, July 18, 1919, at 4 p.m.
- America, United States of
- Hon. H. White.
- Mr. L. Harrison.
- British Empire
- The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O. M., M. P.
- Sir Ian Malcolm, K. C. M. G.
- Mr. H. Norman
- M. Clemenceau.
- M. Pichon.
- 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||Lieut. Com. Bell.|
|France||Capt. A. Portier.|
|Interpreter—Prof. P. J. Mantoux.|
1. M. Clemenceau said that he would ask M. Loucheur1 to explain the problem of the Austrian railways.
Sudbahn Question M. Loucheur said that every year the Italian Government paid in a sum of 29,000,000 francs to the Sudbahn Company. The payment had been suspended since the outbreak of hostilities. The Italian Government had considered that it had a right to keep the annual payment of the 29,000,000 francs in question by way of reparation. The French Delegation did not agree. It had thought itself bound to protect the interests of shareholders of all nationalities, including German and Austrian Bondholders. The problem was not applicable for these latter, however. With regard to the other shareholders, the Italian Government had agreed to continue to pay in the sum in question to Paris. It had been further decided that a complete reorganisation of the Sudbahn was necessary and that this reorganisation would be both financial and [Page 204]technical, in view of the fact that the railway line in question now passed through several States. The shareholders will therefore be heard in the event of disagreement; they will be in a position to call for arbitration and the arbiter can be nominated by the League of Nations. Each person’s rights were therefore protected and all could participate in the reorganisation that had been foreshadowed.
Mr. Balfour said that the question included two problems: the first one which was financial had been settled. The second one was a question of transportation between the five countries concerned: had it been settled?
M. Loucheur said that it had not been settled up to the present but that it had been decided that in the three months following the signature of the Treaty, a general meeting would be convened in order to settle the question arising out of the reorganisation. No special clause for insertion in the Austrian Treaty had yet been thought of although possibly it would be preferable to insert one in order to be able to act at greater advantage in the case of Jugo-Slavia and the other countries concerned. If the Council so decided it could be drawn up and when decided upon, sent to the Drafting Committee.
(This proposal was accepted and M. Loucheur and General Mance2 withdrew to draw up the text of the Article in question. When the text of the Article had been prepared, M. Loucheur and General Mance re-entered the room.)
M. Loucheur said that in collaboration with General Mance he had taken the text drawn up by the Italian Delegation and accepted by the Experts, and that they had decided to add the following paragraph:—
“This arbitration might, as far as the southern railway lines in Austria are concerned, be demanded either by the Administrative Committee of the Company or by a representative of the Shareholders.”
M. Tittoni asked whether the Italian Experts had been consulted and whether the text was in agreement with what they had consented to.
M. Loucheur said that they had not been able to find M. Crespi: that the text presented differed slightly, since it gave to the Representative of the Shareholders the right to demand arbitration.
M. Tittoni said that the point was a new one and that he desired it to be laid before M. Crespi.
(After a short discussion it was decided to accept the text given hereunder subject to its being accepted later on by M. Crespi: the text [Page 205]was to be sent to the Drafting Committee for insertion in the Austrian Treaty:—
“With the object of ensuring regular utilisation of the railroads of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, owned by private companies, which, as the result of the stipulation of the Treaty, will be situated in the territory of several States, the administrative and technical reorganisations of the said lines shall be regulated in each instance by an agreement between the owning companies and the States territorially concerned. Any differences on which agreement is not reached, including questions relating to the interpretation of contracts concerning the expropriation of lines shall be submitted to an arbitration designated by the Council of the League of Nations. This Arbitration may, as regards the Company, be required either by the Board of Management or by the representatives of the bond holders.”)
2. M. Loucheur3 said that the question only concerned France, Great Britain, the United States and Belgium. The Representatives of these countries had received the Report (see Annex A). Report by M. Loucheur on the Rhineland Convention
M. Tittoni asked whether the Commission dealt with the economic questions.
M. Loucheur said that it did not do so, but that a Report had been accepted unanimously by the Experts: it was based on the two German notes annexed to the Report. In order to summarise the question it was sufficient to say that the Germans in their note had always desired to modify the text of the Treaty as submitted to them, and that they had further attempted to interpret it in their own way. Our Commission had always rejected the modifications asked for, but it had always taken up a conciliatory attitude in questions of interpretation. The Commission thought that in acting in this way it was following the political lead which had been given to it. Amongst the modifications asked for, it had been thought necessary to reject the one which dealt with an Imperial Commission. The Commissioner who would have been nominated by the Germans ought, according to them, to be consulted by the Inter-Allied Commission which ought only to act in agreement with him. The Germans had also given a wrong interpretation to certain terms in the Convention; they had thought the terms in question full of pitfalls. They thought that the Allies desired to intervene in questions of primary education and in religious problems. They had been reassured and told that such a thing had never been in the intentions of the Allies. During the discussions there had only been one difficult point. The Germans had stated that the Imperial Commissioner had been nominated: they had been told in [Page 206]reply that the Commissioner should be acceptable to the Allies. In addition to this it had not been possible to agree to the Commissioner being a Representative of the Federal States.
The Germans had been told that if all the Federal States agreed to nominate the same person he would be accepted.
Mr. Balfour asked whether the German Constitution had been examined.
M. Loucheur replied that the German Constitution had been carefully examined. The remarks made to the German Delegates on the subject of the Commissioner had been suggested to them by the members of the Commission for the Rhine Convention. In, addition, by one of the Clauses of the Convention given we had the right of having delivered to us persons who having committed crime on the left bank of the Rhine, had taken refuge on the right. The Germans replied that they could not accept this clause on account of the question of extradition. They had been told that the question of extradition did not arise since both the banks of the Rhine were German territory. The proposals had therefore been rejected and the clause in question upheld. If the report were accepted, it was proposed that it should be sent in the form of a note to the German Delegation by the President of the Peace Conference.
(The reply to the German notes on the Rhine Convention unanimously recommended by M. Loucheur’s Commission was therefore accepted, and it was further decided that an English text should be presented along with the French one after examination by the Drafting Committee.)
3. M. Tittoni said he wished to present the following note in the name of the Italian Government:—
“The Italian Delegation reminds the Conference in the following terms of the reservation which it had made previously in similar terms with regard to the Peace Treaty with Germany: the first reservation had been accepted by the Supreme War Council at its meeting of the 16 June.4 The Italian Delegation thinks that the stipulations contained in the Convention of the League of Nations do not apply to territorial questions, or to such arrangements as may arise out of them; for these latter have been part of the duties of the Peace Conference, and have not yet been definitely settled.”Reservation by the Italian Delegation on the Subject of the Austrian Peace Treaty
Mr. Balfour said that M. Tittoni’s statement amounted to this: the Italian frontiers have not yet been settled. If, therefore, the Italian Delegation agreed to sign the Treaty without reservation, as this latter includes the Covenant of the League of Nations, they might be compelled to accept decisions which they did not fully know [Page 207]before hand. It would not be just, and for this reason the Italian reservation had been made.
M. Tittoni said that the reservation only applied to frontiers not yet settled. He thought that the duty of settling such frontiers fell to the Peace Conference, and not to the League of Nations.
Mr. Balfour said he agreed entirely, but that he wished to ask a question. If the reservation were accepted and an agreement arrived at with regard to frontiers, could Italy at some future time, ten years hence possibly, raise the question again on the plea that it had made reservations? He therefore asked that the reservation should lapse at the date of the settlement of the frontier question.
M. Tittoni said that the text of his reservation allowed for that, since it dealt with frontiers “not yet definitely settled”. When once the frontiers were settled the reservation lapsed.
Mr. White said that they were only called upon to take note of a reservation.
M. Clemenceau said that possibly they might be called upon to take note of it under Mr. Balfour’s interpretation.
M. Tittoni said that all that was asked for was that the frontiers between Italy and Jugo-Slavia should be settled by the Council and not by the League of Nations.
(Cognisance was taken of the following reservation made by M. Tittoni on behalf of Italy:—
“The Italian Delegation desired to recall and to renew in the following terms the reservation made by it on the subject of the Treaty with Germany which the Supreme Council accepted at its Meeting on June 16th.”
“The Italian Delegation is of the opinion that stipulations of the Covenant of the League of Nations are not applicable to territorial questions and to the arrangements connected therewith, which having been made the subjects of consideration by the Peace Conference have not yet been settled.”
4. M. Clemenceau said that they were called upon to send out a Commission of Enquiry into Asia Minor. Nomination of a Commission of Enquiry in Asia Minor
Mr. White said that he had examined the question, and that did not think he was able to reply to it without first referring it to his Government.
Mr. Balfour said that he accepted the principle of the Committee of Enquiry, but that he could not nominate his representatives before Monday.
M. Tittoni said that he was in the same position as Mr. Balfour.
(It was decided to send a Commission to Asia Minor consisting of one Commissioner each from Great Britain, France and Italy. The participation of the United States in this Commission was referred to the American Government.)[Page 208]
5. The question of nominating a Military Commission to enquire into the situation in Hungary was adjourned until Monday, so as to await Mr. Balfour’s and Mr. White’s acceptances. Commission of Enquiry for Hungary
6. At this moment the experts, General Bliss, Mr. Hoover, General Belin, General Cavallero, Col. MacReady, Col. Kisch, and Commandant Lacombe entered the room. Question of Russian Prisoners in Germany: Mr. Hoover’s Report
Mr. Hoover summarised the report contained in Annex B.
M. Clemenceau said that the question involved shipping.
Mr. Hoover said that M. Clemenceau’s remark was true, but that a decision had to be arrived at as to the port into which the boats were to be sent and the method of transport by railway. The repatriation of the prisoners might take two to three months, and they would have to be fed during the period.
M. Clemenceau said that he thought the question was a military one, and that it should be studied by the military experts at Versailles.
Mr. Balfour said that the British Bed Cross had spent nearly a million pounds in the up-keep of these prisoners. This would have to be dis-continued on account of the approaching demobilisation, but that the Red Cross organisation was willing to devote its stores to this purpose, they would suffice to feed the prisoners for 15 days.
Mr. Hoover remarked that the stock in question would only feed the 35,000 prisoners in the charge of the British Red Cross, and that it would not supply the other prisoners.
Mr. Balfour asked why the Germans should not be approached in this matter. We have undertaken the feeding of these prisoners for seven months without having been obliged to do so. The Allies have done it in order to prevent the Germans from repatriating the prisoners under circumstances disadvantageous to themselves. Ought not, therefore, the Germans to be invited to take charge of the feeding of the prisoners. He was told by his experts that Marshal Foch might quite well deal with the question.
Mr. White said that a plan of repatriation had been accepted by the Council of Ten in the month of June.5 He thought that the Ukrainians and the Poles had prevented the plan from being put into execution.
Mr. Hoover said that the military authorities ought, therefore to investigate the means of transport necessary, and study the question of feeding the prisoners. It should not be forgotten that a political question also arose, since the Allies had maintained the prisoners in Germany in order to prevent them joining the Bolsheviks.[Page 209]
M. Clemenceau said that he did not think Marshal Foch could deal with the question, which was a political and financial one. The Allies were not dealing with prisoners taken by themselves, but with prisoners made by an enemy army. He, therefore, proposed to deal with the political and financial questions. Once they were decided upon, the manner in which they could be carried out could be investigated. He desired to have the opinion of his Military Experts on the point in question, which was, after all, a problem of military politics. It had been desired to avoid sending the Russian prisoners lest they should reinforce the Bolshevik Army or spread themselves out over Poland. The danger to-day was not so great as far as Poland was concerned, and Military Experts could deal with it.
General Bliss said that the question did not seem to him to be in a condition to be submitted to Versailles. It contained two problems. Mr. Hoover had stated that there were no funds available for feeding the prisoners. How could they be supported, therefore, if the Germans refused to have anything to do with it? After that, the question arose as to how they should be repatriated and this raised the following problems; Firstly, were the prisoners to be repatriated immediately? Secondly, were they to be repatriated through Poland to the nearest Russian territory. Thirdly, were they to be repatriated to Black Sea Ports? Fourthly, if one of these alternatives is accepted, who would undertake to execute it? Fifthly, who would undertake to send the supplies and the personnel necessary in the interval? Could not the proposal made by the Economic Commission on the 17th June, be accepted? In any case, it was necessary to take immediately the necessary measures for repatriating the prisoners. Some solution had to be adopted rapidly, because the operations would require a good deal of time and must be concluded before Winter. If the proposal is accepted, our own Delegation and the Allied Delegations could telegraph to their Governments to obtain the necessary powers. The repatriation must be carried out as rapidly as possible. The Military Authorities could then be put in touch with the question and may study the best means of carrying out the repatriation.
M. Clemenceau said that it involved a great danger for Poland. As far as the Russian prisoners were concerned, the question was not one of feeding 35,000 under the charge of the British Red Cross, but of supplying all.
General Bliss said that some decision must be arrived at, because the repatriation will take a long time.
M. Clemenceau said that the question should have been presented to the Council at an earlier date.
Mr. Balfour said that Marshal Foch had received a communication on the subject four months ago.[Page 210]
Mr. Hoover said that the Council had been put in touch with the question four months ago, and that it was noted that nothing had been done. There was a solution possible. There were Armies of Occupation in Germany with the necessary Army Service Corps Units attached. The Armies of Occupation had been reduced in number on account of demobilisation with the result that the Army Service Corps Units could take charge of the prisoners.
Mr. Balfour said that Mr. Hoover’s solution was very ingenious, but that it only settled one of the two questions, that of feeding. The repatriation question remained open, and to settle it more tonnage was necessary together with the consent of the Polish Government with regard to the passage across that country of the prisoners in question. The method of repatriation was the most difficult. Were the Military Authorities at Versailles competent to resolve the question? If they were not, a special Committee would be necessary in which the Versailles Experts should be represented, together with Naval Experts and possibly political Experts.
M. Clemenceau said that the Council could decide on political questions.
Mr. Balfour said that at the present time 500 Americans were dealing with the supplies and feeding stock. It had been said to him that these 500 Americans were about to be withdrawn, but that the Army Service Corps Units in the Armies of Occupation could carry on the work. The Commission would, therefore, only be concerned with the question of railways, ports, etc.
M. Clemenceau said that, under these circumstances, the question could very well be dealt with by the Military Experts at Versailles, to whom Naval Experts could be joined. His proposal was accepted.
(It was therefore agreed
- That upon the failure of the supplies already provided for the feeding of Russian prisoners now in Germany, they should be fed and supplied by the Military Authorities of the Armies of Occupation until repatriated.
- That the means of repatriation of the Russian prisoners now in Germany and maintained at the cost of the Allies should be referred for study to the Military Representatives at Versailles with whom would be associated for this purpose the Naval Advisers.)
7. Mr. Hoover made a short résumé of the memorandum contained in Appendix “C”. He drew the attention of the Council, moreover, to the fact the Georgian Authorities had only agreed to allow the supplies to pass through their territory on condition of a certain proportion being given to them. They now demanded one-half of the supplies. This demand was not from necessity, because they did not lack food, but was made simply for the purpose of speculation. ForCommunication From Mr. Hoover With Regard to Russian Armenia [Page 211]this reason, the Council was asked to send a menacing telegram to the Georgian Authorities, in order to facilitate the transport of supplies during two or three months. The future destiny of Georgia depended on the Conference, and there was every hope that they would yield to our wishes.
Communication From Mr. Hoover With Regard to Russian Armenia
(It was therefore decided that M. Clemenceau, as Chairman of the Peace Conference, should send the following telegram in the name of the Allied and Associated Powers to the Government of Georgia:—
“The Council has been made aware of the interference of the Georgian Authorities when food supplies were sent into Armenia in an endeavour on the part of the Allied Governments to stem the tide of starvation and death amongst these unfortunate people. The Council cannot state in too strong terms, that such interference and that such action taken by the Georgian Authorities together with the continuation of such action must entirely prejudice their case. The Council therefore expects that the Authorities in Georgia shall not only give the privileges of transportation over the Railway routes at which they at present control, but will devote themselves to assisting in the transmission of these supplies at no more than the normal charge and remuneration for such service. The Council awaits the reply of the Authorities in Georgia as to whether or not they are prepared to acquiesce in this arrangement.”)
8. M. Pichon read an extract from a report of the military authorities dated 11th July, who had studied the question.
Repatriation of the Czecho-Slovak Forces in Siberia Baron Makino said that he wished to make a remark. It had been decided some time back by the Supreme Council that the Czecho-Slovaks should be evacuated through Omsk to Archangel, and that the Japanese Government should then be asked to protect the railway.6 He had telegraphed to his Government in that sense. Their reports tended to show that since the Czecho-Slovaks did not accept the proposal the Japanese Government had suspended its decision. The question now was of repatriation by Vladivostock. This was a new proposal which must be submitted to the Japanese Government. It was probable that it would wish to obtain all the information possible and possibly would desire to consult the local authorities. The examination would take several days during which it would be impossible for him to reply to the Supreme Council.
(After a short discussion it was decided that with regard to the repatriation of the Czecho-Slovaks from Siberia, that M. Clemenceau should send a copy of the following telegram to the American Government and that Baron Makino should send the same telegram to the Japanese Government:—
“In view of the condition and wishes of the Czecho-Slovak troops [Page 212]in Siberia, the Council of the Allied and Associated Powers consider it urgently necessary that arrangements should be made for the systematic repatriation of the troops from Vladivostock.
This involves the replacement of those troops along that portion of the trans-Siberian railway which is at present guarded by them.
Information is therefore requested as to whether the American/Japanese Government will furnish the necessary effectives or will co-operate with the Japanese/American Government to this end. A similar telegram has been addressed to the Japanese/American [Government?].”)
Villa Majestic, Paris, 18 July, 1919.[Page 226] [Page 230]
- Louis Loucheur, French representative, Commission on Reparation Clauses in the Treaties with Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria.↩
- Brig. Gen. H. O. Mance, British representative, Commission on the International Regime of Ports, Waterways, and Railways.↩
- French representative and president, Inter-Allied Commission on the Left Bank of the Rhine.↩
- CF–70, minute 9, vol. vi, p. 472.↩
- Probably a reference to the plan of repatriation accepted by the Council of Foreign Ministers, May 14, 1919. See FM–15, minute 3, vol. iv, p. 706.↩
- For previous discussion of this subject, see CF–86, minute 1 and CF–92, minute 14, vol. vi, pp. 635 and 674; also HD–3, minute 10, ante, p. 63.↩
- The document printed here is filed under Paris Peace Conf. 181.22401/7 and is the English text of the final reply. It has been substituted here for the French text of the draft reply which was modified by the Drafting Committee in a few minor respects before it was delivered on July 29, 1919.↩
- The translation is that found under 763.72119/5949, with minor revisions by the editors.↩
- Foreign Relations, 1907, pt 2, p. 1204.↩
- Theodor Lewald, Member of the German Delegation.↩
- The text of this German note is not attached to the file copy of appendix A to HD–11. This translation is filed under 763.72119/5965.↩