Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/24
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 Tuesday, August 5, 1919, at 3:30 p.m.
- America, United States of
- Hon. F. L. Polk.
- Mr. L. Harrison.
- British Empire
- The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour.
- Mr. H. Norman.
- Sir George Clerk.
- M. Clemenceau.
- M. Pichon.
- M. Dutasta.
- M. Berthelot.
- M. de St. Quentin.
- M. Tittoni.
- M. Paterno.
- M. Matsui.
- M. Kawai.
- America, United States of
|America, United States of||Captain P. Chapin.|
|British Empire||Captain E. Abraham.|
|France||Captain A. Portier.|
|Italy||Lt.-Col. A. Jones.|
|Interpreter—Professor P. J. Mantoux.|
1. The Draft Telegram Annexed as Appendix “F” to the Minutes of the preceding Meeting, H. D. 23,1 was finally adopted. Marshal Foch was requested to forward this telegram. Instructions to General Franchet d’Esperey Regarding Disarmament of Bulgarians
2. Mr. Hoover, M. Seydoux, Mr. J. F. Dulles and M. Loucheur entered the room. Situation in Hungary
M. Clemenceau asked Mr. Polk if he had any news of Budapest.
Mr. Polk read the following telegram:—
“Hoover, American Relief, Paris. August 5th, 1919.
“Last night there were 15 or 20 people killed in Budapest which I have definitely verified. It absolutely necessary that the Roumanians be taken out of this situation as rapidly as possible and pending their departure General Gorton2 should act for the rest of the Commission. I was sure that these conflicts would take place. They also demand hostages and threaten definitely to kill 5 persons [Page 529]for each one who is injured in Budapest, naturally after their starting the killing further difficulties are apt to occur. The railroads are all tied up with machine-guns on the bridges. The Police Force has been dispossessed and whole city in absolute military control. This condition cannot continue and the movement to re-organise Hungary succeed. Gregory3”
Mr. Hoover said that half an hour before the meeting he had received a message for M. Clemenceau, from Lt-Colonel Romanelli:—
“Budapest, August 4th, 1919.
“I have the honour to inform you that I communicated your orders to the High Command of the Roumanian Army but the Roumanian troops have advanced in spite of this and continue to come. At the present time they have occupied the city of Budapest, have cut communications, taken hostages and made prisoner one member of the new Government. The Serbians also are advancing from the South and pillaging. The situation makes it impossible for the new Government to explain itself.”
M. Clemenceau said that under the circumstances it might be desirable to send a more threatening message than the one sent on the previous day.
Mr. Polk said that the orders referred to in Colonel Romanelli’s telegram were probably those sent on the previous Sunday.
M. Tittoni said that the moral of this was that the Military Commission should reach Budapest as soon as possible.
M. Clemenceau asked if all the members had been nominated.
Mr. Polk said that the American member had not yet been nomi nated, but informed the Council that General Bandholtz was appointed.
The Commission was composed as follows:—
|For the United States of America||General Bandholtz.|
|For Great Britain||General Gorton.|
|For France||General Graziani.|
|For Italy||General Mombelli.|
At this point Marshal Foch and General Weygand entered the room. Instructions to Military Commission at Budapest
Mr. Balfour read the following draft instructions for the Interallied Commission to Budapest:—
“The Mission are desired:—
- To enter into communication with the Hungarian Government with a view of securing the observance of the Armistice.
- To report on the present position of this question, and its probable developments.
- To enter into communication with the Roumanian Generals in order to prevent any action by the successful army which, by rousing nationalist sentiment in Hungary, or otherwise, may perpetuate the unhappy condition of that country and delay the conclusion of peace.
It may be of assistance to the Mission to remind them:—
- That the frontiers of Hungary having been already determined by the Conference, and communicated to all the Governments immediately concerned, it is the policy of the Conference to remove without any unnecessary delay all foreign troops from the country. The Roumanians, it should be noted, have promised to withdraw their Armies as soon as the disarmament of the Hungarians has been accomplished according to the terms of the Armistice.
- That orders have been given to terminate the blockade of Hungary and to further the immediate importation of necessaries.
- That the maintenance of this new condition of things must depend on the behaviour of the Hungarian Government to the Allied and Associated Powers, and
- That while those Powers have not the slightest desire to interfere with the Hungarian people in their choice of a Government, they can only have dealings with one which can be trusted loyally to carry out its international obligation.”
Marshal Foch said that he agreed to these instructions, but would like to add to them certain more definite instructions regarding the Armistice. The Hungarians must have no more than six divisions. They must be made to deliver war material, not only Hungarian war material, but the war material left by General Mackensen’s Army. He therefore suggested the following draft instructions:—
“The Mission of Allied Generals sent to Budapest in the name of the Supreme Council is to be entrusted with the duty:—
- of supervising the execution of the military armistice
signed on 30th [13th] November,
between the Allied Command and the Hungarian Government
and in addition of the following measures:—
- The establishment of the maximum number of effectives under arms, in each branch of the Hungarian Army, with the sole purpose of insuring the maintenance of internal order.
- The disarmament of all demobilised units and the dispersal of Depots or Centres of mobilisation.
- Delivery to the Allies of arms, munitions and war material in excess of material necessary for the units maintained, including material having belonged to General Mackensen’s Army.
- In concert with the Allied Staffs, to regulate the distribution of this material among the Allied Powers concerned, in proportion [Page 531]to the military contribution made by each, and in consideration of the present war situation.
- Immediate stoppage of production in the arsenals or industrial establishments producing war material.
- The Mission will further:—
- Determine according to present circumstances the strength and distribution of Roumanian and Serbian troops which it may be necessary to maintain on Hungarian territory to ensure order and the execution of the Armistice.
- Arrange with the Roumanian and Serbian Commands for the withdrawal of any superfluous troops.”
Mr. Balfour said that he wished to ask two questions regarding this proposal. Firstly, had the Allies any right to make the terms of the Armistice more onerous? In the Armistice, there had been no question of demobilising six divisions. He thought, perhaps this might be justified on the ground that Hungary had, in the interval, made war. Secondly, he agreed that the evacuation of Hungarian territory should be gradual and under control. Unfortunately Marshal Foch was not Commander-in-Chief of the Roumanian Army. He was afraid that four Generals escorted by two Companies of Interallied troops would not be able to control the Roumanian Army.
M. Clemenceau said the violation of the Armistice gave the Allies a right to enhance the terms.
Mr. Balfour observed that he felt uneasy in that not only were the Armistice terms made more onerous, but the increased severity of the terms was coupled with orders given to the Command of the Roumanian Army. It was probable that the first part would be carried out by the Hungarians. Could he be assured that the second part would be carried out by the Roumanians? If not, the Conference would incur great discredit. It might be argued that because the Hungarians had made war, they deserved severer terms, but it must be admitted that they had made war against people who had invaded their territory in spite of the orders of the Conference.
Marshal Foch said that he admitted his proposals exceeded the terms of the Armistice. The Armistice, however, had been made a year ago. At that time it had been necessary to leave the Hungarians a certain force on a war footing, in order that Hungary should be defended against the Germans, who were then still in the field. The situation was now quite different. It was quite unnecessary for Hungary to maintain any forces on a war footing. The Hungarian Army should be demobilised. As to the Roumanians, he thought that, if properly addressed, they would do as they were told.
General Weygand said that the Roumanian Military Adviser to the Peace Delegation, Colonel Dimitresco, had called on him to say that the Roumanian Army considered itself in Hungary as the mandatory [Page 532]of the Conference. It wished to carry out Marshal Foch’s orders. In other words, he asked for instructions from Marshal Foch, although he was not in command of the Roumanian Army. He added that the Roumanian Commander in the field had been instructed to send direct reports to Marshal Foch.
M. Pichon said that the Roumanians had not actually disobeyed the Conference. They had been given a certain frontier which they had declared they could not defend. While this was being discussed, the Hungarians had attacked them. In self-protection they had advanced beyond the line fixed for them.
Mr. Balfour said that he had no wish to make a case against the Roumanians, but he thought that M. Pichon’s statement was too favourable to them. On the 14th June, the Roumanians had been ordered to retire by a certain date.5 They had not done so, and they had not given any explanation.
Mr. Polk added that in February last they had flatly refused to obey the orders of the Conference.6
M. Tittoni said that he had the greatest confidence in the moral authority of the four Generals who would go to Budapest. He believed that neither the Roumanians nor the Serbians would disobey them. To reinforce their action, he suggested that a diplomatic démarche be made at Belgrade and Bukarest.
M. Clemenceau suggested that the instructions drafted by Mr. Balfour and Marshal Foch should be welded in one, and that M. Tittoni should prepare a dispatch to be sent to the Roumanians and the Serbians.
Mr. Polk said that he wished to enquire whether an alteration of the Armistice terms would not put the Council in contradiction with itself, seeing that on August 2nd the Council had addressed the Hungarian Government,7 and taken its stand on the Armistice as it originally stood.
Marshal Foch said that it was absolutely necessary to obtain demobilisation in Hungary at the present time. A year ago, this had not been desired. The situation had entirely changed since then.
Mr. Polk said that whatever the reasons might be, and however good they might be, the Council was committed by what it had said three days before.
Mr. Balfour said that Marshal Foch wished to reduce the Hungarian forces below the figures stated in the Armistice. He wished [Page 533]to draw attention to the fact that the Armistice conferred on the Allies a right to occupy such places as they wished in Hungarian territory, in order to establish peace. Would it not be possible to offer the Hungarians the choice either to reduce at once to the allotment which was to be made to them in the Peace Treaty, in which case no occupation by Allied troops would be required, or to submit to occupation by Roumanians.
Marshal Foch said that if the Hungarians were offered two solutions, they would propose a third. This would lead to endless argument. He suggested that the military Mission be instructed to obtain such reduction as they could.
Mr. Polk said that he did not object to any attempt the Mission might make by persuasive methods, but he thought the Council should not contradict itself and order the Generals to violate the Armistice.
Marshal Foch pointed out that the instructions he had drawn up were addressed not to the Hungarians, but to the Allied Generals.
Mr. Polk observed that if the Roumanians were asked to occupy Hungary in the name of the Conference, they would be entitled to demand the cost of occupation, presumably out of the available resources of Hungary.
M. Clemenceau said that for the time being the Roumanians were asking for nothing. Nor was it Marshal Foch’s idea to employ Roumanians as agents of the Conference. He asked Marshal Foch if he required a Company of French troops.
Marshal Foch replied in the affirmative.
M. Tittoni said that he would supply a Company of Italian troops.
Mr. Balfour said that Admiral Troubridge and a monitor would be available from the British side.
M. Tittoni then proposed a draft telegram to the Roumanian and Serbian Governments.
(After some discussion, this telegram was agreed to in the form given in Appendix “A”.
It was agreed that this telegram should be communicated in toto to the Roumanian and Serbian Governments and the first part of it to the Hungarian Government by M. Pichon.
It was further decided that the instructions contained in Appendix “B” should be given to the Allied Military Mission to Budapest.
Marshal Foch was asked to transmit these instructions to each of the four Generals nominated.)
3. Mr. Hoover made the following statement:—
“I desire to again raise to the Council the Coal situation in Europe.
Under the direction of the Supreme Council and the Supreme Economic Council, my Administration undertook the promotion of production and so far as [Page 534]possible to control the distribution of coal during the Armistice in Central and Eastern Europe. A considerable staff has been employed upon this labour and numerous agreements and undertakings entered upon, involving the old States of Austria, the Balkans, Poland and to some extent Germany. While the result could not be ideal they have at least served to maintain sufficient supplies for the transportation of municipal and domestic services necessary to maintain life. With the ending of the Armistice (and this authority) and with the super-imposition of the Reparation Commission over a considerable part of this problem, the supervision which we have exerted must necessarily cease. The Coal Situation in Europe
Colonel A. G, Goodyear and Colonel W. G. Atwood, of our staff have compiled a summary (See Appendix “C”) of the 1913 production and consumption of the principal countries in Europe (excluding Russia and the Balkan States) and have also conducted a careful inquiry into the probable production during the year 1919, based upon the experience of the first six months of the year. The net result shows that from a production of about 679,500,000 tons in the principal countries in Europe (except Russia) the production in these States has fallen to a rate of about 443,000,000 tons per annum. Of the 1913 production above mentioned about 614,000,000 tons were consumed in these States (i. e. outside the Balkan States and export markets foreign to Europe). In other words, the production has fallen approximately 236,500,000 tons, or down to 65% of normal production. The consumption cannot be decreased in this ratio (35%) upon certain vital consumers, such as transportation and municipal and other essential services, so that a shortage for manufacture and household use must be on a far greater ratio. Beyond this, the very natural tendency of productive countries to reserve a larger degree of their normal consumption will and does result in an under-supply to the non-producing countries far below a 35% reduction. Furthermore, the summer accumulation against winter use has not been in progress and therefore the hardships of the coming winter are even further increased.
It seems almost unnecessary to repeat the causes of this diminished production but they may be again summarised as due to certain specific causes which in fact are much the same in all productive industries.
To a minor degree, compared with the whole, there has been a loss of equipment and skill, due to the war; there has been a retardation of advance exploitation during the war; there has been a relaxation of effort as a reflex from the physical exhaustion of large sections of the population through privations and the mental and physical strain of the war; there is a shortage of railway rolling stock for prompt movement from the mines; there has been an unsettlement of political destiny of a number of coalfields by the peace terms; and, above all, the proper and insistent demand of labour for higher standards of living in the general unbalance of economic conditions has been manifested in repeated strikes and other deterrents to production. Unfortunately European labour at many points has become infected with the theory that the limitation of effort below physical necessity and the obstruction of labour-saving devices will increase their own comfort and improve their conditions. In turn, the reactions from undue [Page 535]profits earned by proprietors during the war has brought a shock to the theory of private ownership, which has discouraged further investment and consequently a renewed opening of new areas which the maintenance of production demands. All these causes are operating to varying degree in different localities but their summation is shortage of production below the living necessity of the population of Europe.
With the arrival of a harvest and thus the solution of immediate food pressure, the problem of coal now comes to the front as the greatest menace to the stability and life in Europe. It is a problem domestic to Europe and incapable of solution from the United States. Disregarding all other questions, an additional load of 1,000,000 tons per month on American ports would indeed be a large tax in the face of the trebling of the United States food exports above pre-war normal. Furthermore, even such a tonnage would entail a tax on the world’s shipping that cannot but affect freight rates generally. With a shortage in production of 20,000,000 tons per month a contribution of even double this amount from the United States would be but little help.
The solution of the problem demands, first, increased production and second, organisation of distribution.
It would perhaps contribute to the first problem if the coal miners and coal owners of all Europe could be brought to a realisation that the fate of European civilisation now rests in their hands to a degree equal to—if not greater than—in the hands of providers of food supplies during the next year.
The solution of the second problem—distribution—is vital if the non-producing States are not to collapse and in its conduct it should be possible to force the maximum production in those States who are partially supplied.
I urgently recommend that some form of coal control should be set up in Europe with view to the stimulation of production and to secure a distribution that will maintain the essential services upon which economic and political stability must rest. The problem cannot be solved for any one European country alone but the energies of all must be enlisted and the position of all must be considered. It is purely a domestic problem for Europe.”
He therefore proposed the following Resolution:—
“That the Supreme Council should invite the British, French, Italian, Belgian, Polish and Czecho-Slovak Governments each to nominate one member to a European Coal Commission to be immediately set up to undertake the co-ordination of the production, distribution and transportation of coal throughout Europe. The Reparation Commission, the Teschen Commission, the Plebiscite Commission for Silesia, and the different Commissions charged with matters of transport by sea, railroad and canal, should all be instructed to co-operate with this Coal Commission and to assist the work of the Coal Commission to the full extent of their powers”.
Mr. Loucheur agreed with Mr. Hoover except in one particular. He considered that the United States should be represented upon the proposed Commission.[Page 536]
Mr. Hoover stated that American representation had been omitted because it was felt that this matter was a domestic problem of Europe. Furthermore, the United States was faced with a crisis at home. At the best, the United States could only ship to Europe about 500,000 tons in a year, by reason of Port troubles and lack of shipping. As production of coal in Europe had declined 25% [35%?] this assistance was negligible. Under the authority of the Council he had been concerned with the coal production in Central and Eastern Europe, but the Reparation Commission set up under the Treaty was now taking charge of the mines, and his own work was therefore coming to an end.
Mr. Balfour said that he was not quite sure that he understood what Mr. Hoover meant by saying that the coal crisis was a European domestic problem. As the British representative, he might in the same way say that the problems of continental Europe were domestic problems in which Great Britain was not concerned. In reality, all countries of the world were inter-dependent, and their mutual interests in one another’s condition had never been better understood than by Mr. Hoover himself. Therefore, he did not quite follow Mr. Hoover’s reasoning in excluding America from representation on the Commission. He had no doubt, however, that the Port and Shipping difficulties mentioned by Mr. Hoover made it difficult for America to do all she would wish to do to help Europe. One portion of the Resolution proposed by Mr. Hoover appeared to him a little obscure. He alluded to the passage in which it was said that the Commission should “undertake the co-ordination of the production, distribution and transportation of coal throughout Europe”. Did this mean that the Commission would take charge for instance, of the Belgium coalfields and the coalfields of Northern France? Would it attempt to regulate the conditions of production in England? As was well known to the Council, it was difficult to obtain coal from English coalfields even to keep British industries going. In what manner could the proposed Commission intervene in the internal affairs of the various countries?
Mr. Hoover said that the question of the sovereignty of Commissions of this kind had always proved an insuperable difficulty. In practice, it had always been agreed that such Commissions had no authority. No Government could give a right, even to its representative, to dispose of its national resources. The Commissions therefore, confined themselves to giving advice as to ways and means, and the best methods of co-ordination. For instance, Germany was in a position to produce more coal than was required of her for indemnity purposes and for home consumption. Italy had offered a supply of skilled workmen; by offering a bonus on production, a [Page 537]surplus could be obtained for the benefit of the world at large. In Silesia, on the other hand, the production of coal had diminished 50% by reason of the political situation in that area. The Relief Commission which had formerly controlled the production of coal in Silesia had been superseded by the Plebiscite Commission; the resulting situation had had a detrimental effect on the output. In Teschen for similar reasons the production of coal had also diminished. The political situation there had re-acted on the mines. Czecho-Slovakia produced an excess of brown coal. This coal was useless for transportation purposes but was employed in certain industries which by reason of the political situation could not obtain it, and were now using black coal. An exchange of this brown coal for black coal could be suggested as a means of obtaining a more profitable distribution. In fact, the Commission could suggest many ways of co-ordination which the ordinary play of political affairs impeded.
Mr. Loucheur suggested that if an American Member could not be appointed to the Commission, Mr. Hoover’s Agents should at least be allowed to continue their work in Poland and Czecho-Slovakia.
Mr. Hoover said that he thought perhaps a solution could be found if he were allowed time for consultation with Mr. Polk.
M. Tittoni suggested that Mr. Hoover might at least continue his activities for the first six months of the operations of the Commission.
Mr. Balfour said that he was in entire agreement
Mr. Polk asked that the question should be left open for a decision between himself, Mr. Hoover and Mr. Loucheur.
It was then resolved:—
“That the Supreme Council should invite the British, French, Italian, Belgian, Polish and Czecho-Slovak Governments each to nominate one member to a European Coal Commission to be immediately set up to undertake the co-ordination of the production, distribution and transportation of coal throughout Europe. The Reparation Commission, the Teschen Commission, the Plebiscite Commission for Silesia, and different Commissions charged with matters of transport by sea, railroad and canal, should all be instructed to cooperate with this Coal Commission and to assist the work of the Coal Commission to the full extent of their powers.”
It was further decided that Mr. Polk, Mr. Hoover and M. Loucheur should confer regarding American representation on this Commission.
4. Mr. Balfour said that he wished to introduce a subject not on the Agenda. He did so with all due apologies. He would remind the Council that at the same time as the Treaty with Austria, the Treaty with Czecho-Slovakia must be signed. The latter had not yet been passed by the Conference. Seeing that the Austrian Delegation had been in St. [Page 538]Germain since May, he thought the Conference should be ready to deal with their final reply as soon as it came. Treaty With Czech-Slovakia
(It was agreed that the question of the Treaty with Czecho-Slovakia, together with that of the Treaty with Roumania should be placed on the Agenda for the following day.)
5. M. Clemenceau said that after hearing General Baird and Colonel Mougin, he had come to the conclusion that it would be desirable to hear M. Venizelos regarding some of the problems raised. He had taken the liberty of asking M. Venizelos to address the Council, and he had also summoned M. Tardieu. He had done this without consulting his colleagues, and hoped they would forgive him. Situation in Bulgaria
(At this stage M. Venizelos, M. Tardieu, and a number of experts on Bulgarian Affairs entered the room.)
M. Clemenceau said that he wished to have a conversation with M. Venizelos about Thrace and Asia Minor. The troops of the Great Powers were being demobilised very rapidly. It would therefore be impossible for any of the Great Powers to undertake a new campaign. The situation in Asia Minor, according to his information, was not good, and as M. Venizelos knew, a Commission of Enquiry had been sent. The Turks appeared to be greatly incensed against the Greeks. The situation in Bulgaria, on the other hand, caused anxiety also. The Bulgarians had demobilised in accordance with the terms of the Armistice, but they still had a respectable force under arms. In Thrace, even should the Bulgarian Government not interfere, there might be popular risings against the Greeks, should the country be given to them. What had taken place in Asia Minor had produced the effect of making the Turk and Bulgarian in Thrace feel a common interest antagonistic to Greece. France had, in the Balkans, 15,000 men, but he must warn M. Venizelos that the French Government had no intention of embarking those troops in a campaign. They were needed at home, and he wished to recall them as soon as possible. All the Powers were in the same case. The evidence led to the conclusion that if the Peace terms offered to Bulgaria were not to her taste, the resulting situation might be very serious. Greece, at the present moment, had five divisions in Asia Minor.
M. Venizelos said that there were four Greek divisions in Asia Minor; owing to the improvement of the situation there, a fifth division, which had been forming, had been withdrawn to Macedonia.
M. Clemenceau said he had not been made aware of any improvement in the situation in Asia Minor. On the contrary, he had heard that the situation there had re-acted unfavourably in Constantinople. The Allies had somewhat ingenuously undertaken to disarm the Bulgarians beyond the stipulations of the Armistice. They would doubtless understand that this intention of disarming them was a prelude [Page 539]to something not to their advantage. They would probably decline to be disarmed. The question he personally wished to ask M. Venizelos was this:—Could the Greeks undertake to defend themselves on two fronts—in Thrace and in Asia Minor—without any assistance from the Allies?
M. Venizelos said that before replying to this question, he would like to speak a few words regarding the Greek Army in Asia Minor. He begged the Council to reserve its opinion on this subject. The Turks had made a great outcry, which had perhaps been too much attended to in certain quarters. No doubt excesses had taken place but there were extenuating circumstances. The troops had been attacked in the streets by people firing at them out of windows and from roofs. He did not attempt to exonerate the massacre of prisoners, but he would assure the Council that after investigation, it would be found that these were very rare and isolated instances. He need not remind the Council that the Greek troops which had fought in Macedonia and Russia side by side with the troops of the Great Powers had borne themselves well. Greek troops had been accused of excesses at Menemen. In all seventeen people had been killed and twenty wounded. Trouble had arisen there because a tired Greek Battalion withdrawing from Bergama had been attacked as it entered the town with sloped arms. Regarding what had been alleged at Aidin, he begged leave to read a telegram received from the Commander-in-Chief of the Greek forces. (See Appendix D.) As to the effect of these events on the feelings of the Turkish population in Thrace, he thought it would be a mistake to attribute much importance to it. On July 29th, he had received a telegram from Kavalla, conveying the appeal of a number of Thracian Mohammedans for liberation from Bulgaria. (See Appendix E.)
As to M. Clemenceau’s question, whether Greece could undertake simultaneous action in Asia Minor and in Thrace, he was bound to answer in the negative, but he hoped that simultaneous action would not be required. The local situation in Asia Minor had improved, and he expected to reduce the Greek forces there by one division. Latterly, one Greek division from Bessarabia had been brought back to Greece, which it had been intended originally to send to Asia Minor. It might be possible therefore to leave only three divisions in Asia Minor, though doubtless it might be necessary to restrict the area occupied. This was all the easier as, in consequence of the agreement with Italy, there was nothing to fear on the side of Aidin, and only two roads of access to Smyrna needed guarding. This left eight divisions for use on the Greek front in Europe. He fully understood that the Great Powers could not undertake to enforce the Peace for him. He fully understood that Greece must help herself in this respect. Two things were possible. Bulgaria would sign the Treaty, [Page 540]or would refuse to. If she signed it, he thought she would also execute it and withdraw her troops from Thrace. The occupation of Thrace under these conditions would be an easy operation. All measures would be taken to avoid resistance by the population, and damage to property. He would like to suggest that the best means of obtaining these results would be to send British and French officers to advance in front of the troops. If Bulgaria refused to sign the Peace, he thought that not Greece alone, but Greece and Serbia, and perhaps also Roumania would be together in forcing Bulgaria to comply. He had heard it said that the Southern Dobrudja was to be restored to Bulgaria. Should this not be the case, and should Bulgaria attempt to resist the Treaty, he was confident that Roumania would help Greece and Serbia, though she was not definitely pledged to do so. He thought it would be of advantage to let the Bulgarians understand that if they did not accept the Treaty offered to them, they would have to be coerced by their neighbours, who would compensate themselves at her expense and eventually impose upon them much harder terms. For instance the Dobrudja would not be left to them. He thought this would make the Bulgarians think twice before resisting. There would be against the Bulgarians the overwhelming force of eight Greek divisions, two Serbian divisions, (at least two Serbian divisions could reasonably be expected) and five or six Roumanian divisions. Should the last not act, the eight Greek and two Serbian divisions, by prompt intervention, could easily take Sofia and dictate Peace.
M. Clemenceau asked M. Venizelos what he thought about the Turkish population in Thrace. The information he had received was that these Turks were in league with the Bulgarians against Greece.
M. Venizelos said that if it was only the Thracian population that gave trouble, eight divisions was an ample force to cope with the situation.
M. Clemenceau said that he was not entirely re-assured. M. Venizelos answered his question by saying that though he could not conduct a simultaneous campaign in Asia Minor and in Thrace, he hoped the Turks would be good enough not to attack him in both places at once.
M. Venizelos said he had understood M. Clemenceau to ask whether Greece could fight Bulgaria and Turkey at the same time. This, Greece could not do, but she was not afraid of local risings in the population. Before concluding his remarks, he would like to draw the attention of the Council to a curious historical fact. It had often been alleged that the shape of Greece towards the East was such as to render her Eastern frontier untenable.
He showed by the help of an atlas the persistence throughout the [Page 541]centuries of a territorial distribution of the Hellenic world very similar to the territorial claims of the Greek Delegation.
(The work quoted was “The Bulgarians and their historical ethnographical and political frontiers, 679–1917”. Preface by Dr. Rizoff, published in Berlin, 1917.)
M. Clemenceau said that a suggestion had been made by M. Venizelos which he would not accept. If he was unable to send French troops, he was equally unable to send French officers to risk their lives in Thrace.
M. Pichon said that M. Venizelos had only considered the hypothesis of resistance by Bulgaria to the Treaty. In that case the Serbians and Roumanians were excepted to make common cause with Greece. But was it not possible that Bulgaria would acquiesce in all the clauses concerning Roumania and Serbia, in order to detach them from Greece and in order to be able to cope with Greece alone?
M. Venizelos said that as to Serbia, he felt certain of her cooperation. He had stood by Serbia at the risk of civil war in his own country and he had no doubt of Serbia’s loyalty. There was, moreover, a Treaty between Greece and Serbia. There was none with Roumania and he admitted that Roumanian co-operation was less certain. He did not, however, think that Bulgaria would abandon the Dobrudja without contest.
(M. Venizelos then withdrew.)
M. Tardieu then explained that the Commission had attempted to work on the lines suggested by M. Tittoni, but that no agreement had been reached up to the present.
(Certain alternative suggestions were made and the question was deferred for discussion at a later date.)
Villa Majestic, Paris, 5 August, 1919.
- Brig. Gen. Reginald Gorton, head of the British Military Mission and member of the Inter-Allied Military Mission at Budapest.↩
- Capt. Thomas T. C. Gregory, member of the American Relief Administration at Vienna.↩
- vol. ii, p. 183.↩
- Apparently a reference to the telegram sent to Roumania, dated June 13, 1919. See appendices V (A) and V (D) to CF–65, vol. vi, pp. 411 and 413.↩
- Apparently a reference to the advance of the Roumanian forces beyond the limits of the neutral zone between Hungarian and Roumanian troops in Transylvania. See BC–40 and 41, vol. iv, pp. 145 and 172; and CF–53, 54, and 56, vol. vi, pp. 254, 260, and 281.↩
- HD–22, minute 1, and appendix B thereto, pp. 480, 490.↩
- Translation is that found under Paris Peace Conf. 180.03502/17.↩
- Translation is that found under Paris Peace Conf. 180.03502/17.↩
- including Ostrau-Karwin (Tesehen) [Footnote in the original.]↩
- including Saar [Footnote in the original.]↩
- including Upper Silesia [Footnote in the original.]↩
- The French text is a translation, apparently from the Greek. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.↩
- Translation from the French supplied by the editors.↩