Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/27

HD–27

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, August 8, 1919, at 3:30 p.m.

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • Hon. F. L. Polk.
    • Secretary
      • Mr. L. Harrison.
    • British Empire
      • The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour.
    • Secretaries
      • Mr. H. Norman.
      • Sir G. Clerk.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau.
      • M. Pichon.
    • Secretaries
      • M. Dutasta.
      • M. Berthelot.
      • M. de St-Quentin.
    • Italy
      • M. Tittoni.
    • Secretary
      • M. Paterno.
    • Japan
      • M. Matsui.
    • Secretary
      • M. Kawai.
Joint Secretariat
America, United States of Captain Chapin.
British Empire Commander Bell.
France Captain A. Portier.
Italy Lt.-Colonel A. Jones.
Interpreter—Prof. P. J. Mantoux.

(Marshal Foch and the Military Representatives of the Supreme War Council were present.)

M. Clemenceau communicated a letter from the Financial Italian Delegation on this subject to the Council (See Appendix “A”). Financial Situation in Fiume

M. Tittoni asked that the question should be submitted to the Finance Committee for examination and report.

(It was therefore agreed that the letter from the Italian Delegation with regard to the Financial Situation in Fiume should be submitted to the Finance Committee for examination and report.)

2. M. Clemenceau asked whether the Americans had any news from Budapest.

Mr. Polk communicated a telegram contained in Appendix “B”.

Situation in Hungary M. Clemenceau said that he did not see that the Council could do anything at present.

[Page 621]

Mr. Balfour, commenting upon the telegram, asked why the Allied and Associated representatives at Vienna had received some, and not all, of the instructions given to the Committee of General Officers.

Mr. Polk said that he could only say that the instructions had been sent through Warsaw [to?] General Gorton.

General Sackville-West said that the instructions had been sent on the previous day, in writing, and by telegram. The former would go by courier, but the latter would have to be communicated by the best means that the Allied representatives in Vienna could devise.

Mr. Balfour asked whether the American organisation for telegraphic communication with Central Europe had been employed.

Mr. Norman replied that an attempt had been made to send the communication by wireless telegraph from the Eiffel Tower.

Mr. Balfour said that he did not think the question was of great importance, so long as every means had been employed for communicating with the Allied and Associated representatives concerned.

M. Tittoni then drew attention to the instructions to the four Generals, dealing with the distribution of war materials to the Allies (See Appendix “B” of H. D. 24l).

He thought that the insertion of the phrase in the instructions in question was somewhat premature. He understood, that the Council was to decide finally on the distribution of the total war material taken from the enemy, on the general principle that each Ally was to have a share proportionate to its effort. The question, therefore, still remained to be settled.

Mr. Balfour said that he did not quite understand how the phrase objected to by M. Tittoni had been inserted.

M. Clemenceau agreed with the principle enunciated by M. Tittoni, and said that he thought a telegram should be sent to the Generals.

General Weygand said that he would draft the necessary telegram to the Generals.

(It was decided that General Weygand should send a telegram to the four Generals on the Commission to Budapest, informing them that as the general principle governing the distribution of enemy war material to the Allies had not as yet been decided on by the Council, their functions in the matter should be limited to making such recommendations as they might think fit.)

3. Mr. Balfour stated that the Austrian Delegation had just sent in a general reply on the subject of the peace terms. The communications in question would be sent to the various Committees for examination, in accordance with the procedure established. Furthermore, each Committee would report separately on the points in the Note with which [Page 622]it was immediately concerned. The Council, after receiving and considering the replies of these various Committees, would send them to the Co-ordinating Committee for the necessary action. He therefore proposed a modification of the procedure, which would consist in sending the replies of the various Committees to the Coordinating Committee first, which latter body, after considering them as a whole, should report to the Council. Replies to Austrian Notes

Captain Portier informed Mr. Balfour that this procedure had already been adopted.

4. (The Finance Experts entered the Room.)

M. Cheysson drew the attention of the Council to the telegram contained in Appendix “C”. He said the Council was faced with the alternative of the eventual bankruptcy of the Turkish state, or of partially consenting to the measures which the Ottoman Government were taking. He thought it would be better to have further information before taking definite measures. Such information would take the form of a general report on the financial position of the Turkish Government. He did not think that it would be proper to allow the Turks to proceed with the sale of state property without further enquiry. He suggested that they should be asked why the sale of their credits and property was so urgent, and what form of realisable property they proposed to sell. Sale of State Property by the Ottoman Government

M. Tittoni said that he agreed with M. Cheysson as to the need of a general report upon the financial position of Turkey. He thought, however, that a distinction should be made between

(1)
the private property of the Sultan
(2)
the properties of religious foundations, and
(3)
the State domains.

No. 3 constituted a fund of State property which was a most important guarantee of ultimate reparation. The private property of the Crown could be sold by the Turkish Govt. as it could not be regarded as confiscated property, subjected to the payment of war damages. The properties of religious foundations could not be seized in payment of war damages, and the Turkish Government might, in a similar manner, sell them.

M. Cheysson said that in the Peace Treaties with Austria and Germany, the Crown property had been regarded as belonging genuinely to the State, and as being, in consequence, liable to confiscation.

M. Tittoni said that he could not quite agree, as a distinction had been established between the private and public property of the Ruler, the later falling under the jurisdiction of the National Executive.

M. Pichon said that he did not think that distinctions of the kind were applicable to Eastern countries, and that it would be better to adopt a simpler general rule.

[Page 623]

M. Tittoni said that he only desired that in communicating a general report upon the financial situation in Turkey, the Financial Commission should take into consideration the point that he had raised.

Mr. Balfour asked whether, under the terms of the Armistice, we were empowered to ask for the exact information required. Could we, for instance, have made a similar request to Germany?

M. Cheysson remarked that he thought that until such time as the Peace Treaty should be signed, the Allied and Associated Governments were able to take whatever measures they thought necessary for the preservation of their interests.

Mr. Polk said that as it would be a long time before the final peace could be arrived at, with Turkey, and as the existing Armistice was incomplete in certain points, due to its having been drawn up at an early period, would it not be advantageous to draft a more complete and conclusive Armistice, which would enable us to tide over the intervening time?

Mr. Balfour said that he thought Mr. Polk’s suggestion, if put into effect, would be a trifle high-handed.

Mr. Polk suggested that the necessary measures might be effected by mutual agreement.

Mr. Dulles drew attention to the fact that in the successive Armistices imposed upon Germany, measures had been taken with a view to preserving securities and other properties for the purposes of ultimate reparations.

Mr. Balfour agreed, but said that these additional terms had only been imposed in exchange for concessions on other points granted by the German Government.

M. Clemenceau said that he thought the necessary measures could only be put into effect by Treaty provisions.

Mr. Balfour then suggested that it might be best—

1.
To refuse to recognise the sales of property now being carried out by the Turkish Government until the final signature of the Peace Treaty. Such a measure would put prospective purchasers on their guard, and
2.
After receiving a full report on the financial position of the Ottoman Government, authorisation might be given to proceed with sales of a certain class, in order that the Turkish Empire might be saved from bankruptcy.

(It was therefore decided:—

1.
That a communication should be sent to the Ottoman Government through the French High Commissioner at Constantinople, informing it that the Allied and Associated Governments refused, and would refuse to recognise the validity of any sales, effected by such Government, between the signature of the Armistice and the ratification of the Peace Treaty.
2.
That the Allied and Associated Governments should reserve to themselves the right to grant special licenses to the Ottoman Government for the sale of such property as the aforesaid Ottoman Government might desire to realise: the conditions of sale, and the property to be realised, being specified, in detail, beforehand, to the Allied and Associated Governments.
3.
That the Financial Commission should enquire into, and present, a general report on the financial position of the Ottoman Government, and should examine the question of the sale by that Government of
(a)
Private properties of the Crown.
(b)
Properties belonging to religious foundations.
(c)
State domains.

5. (At this point Colonel Peel entered the Room and M. Cheysson withdrew.)

Colonel Peel presented and remarked on the proposals put forward by the Reparations Commission (see Appendix “D”).

He drew attention to the observations made by the Delegations of the Greek, Roumanian and Jugo-Slav Governments on the subject of the Reparation Clauses, and to the opinion of the Reparation Commission upon the criticism raised against the articles in the Peace Treaty dealing with reparations by Bulgaria. Reparation and Financial Clauses in the Peace Treaty With Bulgaria

In conclusion, he drew attention to the calculation made by the American Delegation on the subject of reparations in Balkan countries. The results of this calculation were that the reparations to be paid by Bulgaria were to be regarded as a national payment of Fes. 600. for each citizen. The total load of debt and obligations upon Serbia, represented a payment of Fes. 300. per citizen.

Finally, he wished that a modification should be inserted into Article 14, so as to enable the Reparations Commission to collect debts due by Germany to the National Bank of Bulgaria.

(It was agreed:—

(1)
To accept the figure of 2¼ milliards of Francs, which the Reparations Commission considered to be the maximum sum payable by Bulgaria.
(2)
To accept the findings of the Commission with regard to the debts due by Germany to Bulgaria, and by Bulgaria to Germany, and not to add such credits to the total sum payable by the Bulgarian Government.
(3)
To accept the findings of the Reparations Commission on the subject of the cattle and live stock to be delivered by the Bulgarians to the Serbs.
(4)
That neither Greece, nor Roumania, nor Jugo-Slavia should be represented on the Interallied Committee for Bulgaria.
(5)
That Article 14 of the Financial and Reparation Clauses should be modified in such a manner as to allow the Reparations Commission to collect debts due by Germany to the National Bank of Bulgaria.)

[Page 625]

6. Marshal Foch explained his report (see Annexe “E”) on the subject of the German Forces in the 10 kilometre and 50 kilometre zones on the right bank of the Rhine.

(It was agreed that Marshal Foch’s proposals with regard to the German Military forces for maintaining order in the 10 kilometre and the 50 kilometre zones on the right bank of the Rhine should be accepted.)

7. Marshal Foch said that the question to be discussed had been brought forward in his letter of the 6th of August to the President of the Council (see Annexe “F”). His conclusion had been, that the Council ought to take an immediate resolution with regard to the constitution of the Allied Forces, and to the total forces necessary. Army of Occupation in Upper Silesia and Dantzig Area: (a) Upper Silesia

M. Clemenceau asked whether Italy should be regarded as consenting to participate in the occupation.

Marshal Foch replied that he understood that Italy would participate, and that contributions to the forces would come from four sources.

M. Clemenceau said that the question before the Council was whether each Country consented to send a quarter of the total effectives.

Mr. Balfour said that Great Britain was quite willing to send her share; but that a practical difficulty with regard to the provisioning of the troops called for solution. It would be very difficult for Great Britain to send the necessary provisions to any of its forces stationed in Upper Silesia; On the other hand, such an operation would be relatively easy for France. He therefore proposed that the Headquarter Staffs should examine the question of distributing the troops. England might take a greater share in any operations affecting the coastal regions, such as Dantzig; whilst France might make a proportionately larger contribution towards operations in such regions as Upper Silesia. The total force would be the same; only the disposal of the troops would be modified.

M. Clemenceau remarked that a decision had been arrived at, to the effect that the forces of occupation in Upper Silesia should be taken from the Armies in the Rhine territories.3 The question of transport had not therefore arisen, since troops taken from such sources would probably be sent by land. Since the provisioning of the troops on the left bank of the Rhine was carried out en bloc, the same thing would probably hold good for military forces in Upper Silesia. It was most important that all forces of occupation sent out by the Allies to various parts of Europe should, in every case, comprise a certain number of men from each one of the Allied and Associated Powers. This principle was particularly important in such [Page 626]areas as Dantzig. He did not make any concrete proposal, but considered that the spirit of the Treaty would be violated by failing to make all forces of occupation, composite, Inter-Allied, Units.

Marshal Foch said that he concluded from Mr. Balfour’s remark that the British Army would be represented in Upper Silesia.

Mr. Balfour said the British forces would certainly take part in that occupation.

General Bliss said that a decision had been arrived at, to the effect that every Army was to be represented on the Rhine. He was of the opinion that the command in any one locality should be homogeneous. The United States would contribute. With regard to the proportion of troops to be furnished by each nation, he reminded the Council that he had been a Member of each Committee that had examined the problem, when the question of the Army of Occupation on the Rhine had been discussed. He had told President Wilson that the figure arrived at for the United States Forces was an absolute minimum. His observations had therefore been accepted and the necessary orders given. He had thought, however, that the American troops were to remain on the Rhine, and were not to be sent into Upper Silesia. It would therefore be necessary for him to ask President Wilson whether the United States contingent for the Rhine should be considered as indivisible, and, if sent elsewhere, whether it should be replaced.

M. Clemenceau said that when the question of the occupation of the Rhine had been discussed, President Wilson’s plan of an Inter-Allied occupation had been accepted in spite of his (M. Clemenceau’s) opposition. It therefore seemed difficult to admit that President Wilson was in a position to discuss the matter further.

Mr. Balfour said that he believed General Belin had informed the Council that a Division in Upper Silesia could be of strategical use in the event of the recurrence of active operations on the Western Front.

General Bliss said that he was sure that President Wilson would make no objection. The only point to be considered was whether the United States force should be regarded as a Unit not capable of division, and whether if it were sent to Upper Silesia, it should be replaced on the Rhine by other troops.

Mr. Polk said that the question was one of numbers.

M. Clemenceau said that he realised, that, from a practical point of view, it would be better for certain Units in the Armies of Occupation not to be Inter-Allied Forces. From the political point of view, however, it was most important that Occupation Forces should be so constituted; this was more particularly desirable in view of the fact that the Allied soldiers had always worked well together, and that no friction had risen between them.

[Page 627]

Mr. Balfour said that he agreed with M. Clemenceau. It was most advantageous to show everywhere, that the Allies remained associated together in the achievement of certain objects. He did not foresee any difficulty with regard to the troops; but he did anticipate numerous practical difficulties with regard to provisioning. He proposed that Marshal Foch should examine the problem in collaboration with the Headquarter Staffs of the various Governments concerned.

M. Tittoni said that he did not think that the principle of equal contribution had ever been accepted, and that he could not undertake to furnish a quarter of the total effectives in the Division for Upper Silesia, more especially as Italy had no troops on the Rhine.

M. Clemenceau said that although there were no Italian troops on the Rhine, Signor Orlando had none the less accepted the principle of the Forces of Occupation being divided amongst the Allies.

M. Tittoni said that he thought that the American and British Governments had made reservations.

M. Clemenceau said that these Governments had consented to furnish their contingents; the only reservations that they had made, dealt with the subject of the distribution of troops in certain specified sectors.

Marshal Foch asked whether he was to understand that the United States, Great Britain, France and Italy, would participate equally in the occupation of Upper Silesia.

M. Tittoni said that he accepted the principle, but made a reservation with regard to the number of effectives to be supplied.

M. Clemenceau answered that the principle of Inter-Allied occupation had been proposed by President Wilson, and accepted by all. It had been completely understood that an equal representation was intended; for, when no such understanding had been arrived at, the question had been raised and decided. This had been the principle arrived at for the Rhine. No statement had ever been made to the effect that unequal contributions would be given by the various Governments to the Army of Occupation in Silesia. Mr. Balfour and Mr. Polk had accepted the general principle, and he asked M. Tittoni to give his consent to it.

M. Tittoni said that the theatre in which the operation was to take place was further away from Italy than it was from other countries.

M. Clemenceau said that such a fact might be an excuse for Italian troops arriving late, but that he insisted on knowing whether M. Tittoni did, or did not, accept the principle that Italy should supply a quarter of the total effectives necessary for the occupation of Upper Silesia.

M. Tittoni said that he accepted the principle.

[Page 628]

(It was decided that the United States, Great Britain, France and Italy, should each supply a quarter of the total effectives necessary for occupation of Upper Silesia.

It was further decided that Marshal Foch, in collaboration with the Allied Headquarters Staff should consider what advantage would be derived from each of that [the] Allied Governments being represented in the Forces of Occupation in Eastern Europe. Marshal Foch should further consider the disadvantages which might arise from the constitution of composite Inter-Allied Forces, owing to difficulties of provisioning each of these contingents, and from any friction that might occur between the soldiers of the Allied Nations. Finally, Marshal Foch was to submit a report on what he considered would be the most advantageous distribution of the Allied troops.)

Marshal Foch said that the same question arose with regard to Danzig and Memel, which were occupied by Inter-Allied troops. He asked whether the principle of equal contingents had been accepted. (b) Danzig and Memel

Mr. Balfour said that the principle was not disputed. What ought to be decided was whether it would not be more practical for each Government to have its forces concentrated in certain sectors, so as to simplify the problem of provisioning. The total number of effectives in each locality would not be altered; he took as an example the occupations of Upper Silesia, and of Danzig, and of Memel. It might be decided that the British contingent in Upper Silesia ought to be replaced by a French contingent of equal strength. In compensation for such an arrangement, France would not have to send any contingent to Danzig. On such a basis, France would only have to send provisions to Upper Silesia, and not to Danzig; whilst Great Britain would only send provisions to Danzig, and not to Upper Silesia. He wished the problem, as he had brought it forward, to be studied by Marshal Foch and the Allied Headquarters Staffs.

Marshal Foch stated that the Upper Silesia question had been settled and ought not to be raised afresh. He asked for a decision with regard to Danzig and to Memel.

General Weygand said that the articles in the Peace Treaty were different with regard to the two regions. The Inter-Allied occupation of Upper Silesia had been decided upon, but no such decision had been taken with regard to Danzig. The question had been laid before the Supreme Council at Versailles; but the military experts had not been able to agree to the necessity of sending troops of occupation. The French Delegation favoured such a measure; the British and American Delegations opposed it. A decision was very necessary.

M. Tittoni remarked that in a previous discussion it had been decided that German troops should evacuate Dantzig, which should not be occupied by Polish forces; and that the question of sending [Page 629]Inter-Allied troops into that region should be adjourned.5 Troops should only be sent into the Danzig region if thought necessary by the members of the Delimitation Committee on the spot.

Mr. Balfour said that in his opinion only a very few troops would be necessary for Danzig. The Germans, whose propaganda might have been serious, now seemed to be resigned and the situation in this locality had much improved. He did not think that it was therefore very urgent to come to an immediate decision.

General Weygand said that the difficulty arose from the fact that officers sent out to the regions in question might at any moment ask for troops. The High Command must keep this in mind in drawing up its general military programme. At the present moment all armies were demobilising. Soldiers were returning to their civil occupations and if the constitution of this contingent were not decided upon it might be impossible to form it when desired.

M. Tittoni said that the troops would only be sent if the officers on particular Commissions and Committee asked for them. Such officers could not even take up their posts until the ratification of the Treaty and this fact gave us time to consider the question.

M. Clemenceau said that it was therefore decided that Marshal Foch should only examine the question of Upper Silesia.

General Weygand said that the Danzig question was also important and read out a telegram received that day from General Henrys:6

[Translation7]

The Polish Government requests me to intervene with you in order to obtain the dispatch of two Allied battalions to guard the supplies transported from Dunkerque to Dantzig, and to prevent thefts at Dantzig.

I should be grateful to be informed of the intention of the Allies on the subject of the operation of the Polish base at Dantzig. If an Interallied Commission is to be charged with the management of the port and of transportation at Dantzig, I consider that it would be to my advantage to be represented on the Commission for questions of transport which directly concern the forwarding of supplies to Poland.

The question of sending Allied troops to Dantzig and Memel was adjourned.

M. Georgi then entered the room. Allied Armies and the Clearing Up of Battlefields

M. Clemenceau asked M. Georgi to explain the question of the participation of the armies in the work of clearing up battlefields in the liberated regions.

M. Georgi explained the text of the letter, dated 30th June, 1919, [Page 630]and sent by the Minister of the liberated regions to the President of the Peace Conference (See Appendix G).

Mr. Balfour said that the question was simply a labour problem.

General Weygand said that the position was as follows: after the armistice of the 11th November, 1918, the American army had been split up into two portions. The first portion had moved eastwards towards the Rhine; the other had moved back towards its bases preparatory to re-embarkation. As a result of this, the zone occupied by it at the time of the armistice had been completely evacuated. But the zone in question had not been the theatre of protracted battles; it had therefore been less devastated, and less obstructed by débris, than other portions of the front.

The French troops that had taken over the old American sectors had cleaned up the area and restored order, with the result that the general work of clearance was in a more advanced state in that sector than it was in others. In the British sector, on the other hand, English troops had remained in occupation throughout, since they needed it as a means of communication with their bases. In addition to this, the sector occupied by the British army in November 1918 had been the theatre of long and protracted struggles, in which the artillery of the combatants had deluged the whole area with machine gun fire and projectiles.

Extensive protective fortifications had been set up throughout the area. The result was, that in this zone, the work of reconstruction and clearing was enormous, and was, moreover, very far behind. The British sector ran into Belgian territory; and the Belgians had asked frequently for assistance in restoring order in their war zone. It was in the sector just described that the assistance, and collaboration, of British troops was asked for. At the present moment, General Asser8 was concerned in sending back to England all men who could possibly be of use. All deteriorated ammunition, and all abandoned German ammunition had been left behind.

M. Clemenceau called attention to the fact, that an agreement had been reached between the Allies, to the effect that each body of troops should be responsible for cleaning up the sector occupied by it at the time of the armistice.

Mr. Balfour said that he did not know it.

M. Georgi said that the agreement in question was recorded by a letter dated 14th January, 1919, in which Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig undertook to clean up the zone occupied by the British Armies. He had also offered to assist the peasants.

Mr. Balfour said that the result of the situation was that the more an ally had fought, the longer it would remain behind after [Page 631]the conclusion of hostilities, to clear up the sector occupied by its armies.

M. Clemenceau objected to the form in which the question had been raised. He reminded the Council that it had been France’s misfortune to supply the battlefields. He did not lay particular emphasis on this sad privilege, but merely stated it. It had been decided that each combatant should clear up in its own sector. If one of the Allies could not consent to doing this, France would necessarily have to carry it out.

Mr. Balfour said he had only wished to draw a conclusion, and to note that, as the Americans had not fought for such a long time, and had been engaged in an easier sector, the French had done the work of clearing for them, after they had left. The British troops had been bitterly engaged for four years, and they were now asked to remain behind, for many months, in order to clear up the sectors that they had occupied. The British Government in no way withdrew from the obligations that it had entered into.

M. Clemenceau said that there was no question of obligation. It was simply one of assistance.

Mr. Balfour said that he fully understood the situation in which France stood. More than that, every Englishman understood it, and all the other Allies as well. All obligations would be carried out.

M. Clemenceau said that he only wished the question to be put before the British military men, to see whether help could be given. By doing this, the French would be gratified and assisted.

General Weygand said that he wished to make a practical proposal. Would it not be possible to form an Interallied military committee at the Ministry of Liberated Regions, in order to study the question in detail? It would be quite sufficient that each Government should make Mr. Balfour’s words the instructions to its representative. This would ensure the problem being examined in a general spirit of good will.

M. Clemenceau said that the French were not asking for British troops, because the clearing work was being carried out, as far as possible, with German prisoners. Great Britain was asked to help, simply because it had not been possible to carry on the work of clearing in the zones of the British Armies. He asked, therefore, whether it would not be possible for the British Government to employ the German prisoners at present in the British Army zones.

(It was decided to nominate an Interallied Military Commission, which should sit at the Ministry of Liberated Regions, and should study the practical means that might be employed to ensure the cooperation of the Allied Armies in the work of clearing up the munitions, and war materials, left in the liberated regions.

[Page 632]

It was further decided that Marshal Foch should collaborate with the Commissariat-Général for the reconstruction of the liberated regions in making nomination to the above Interallied Committee.)

9. (M. Georgi then left the room, and General Nollet entered.)

Organisation of Inter-Allied Committees of Control General Nollet said that as he was the President of the Interallied Commission of Military Control, he could not speak for the Naval and Aerial Commissions of Control. The Military Commission was divided into three sub-committees:—

(a)
The Sub-Committee for Arms and Munitions.
(b)
The Sub-Committee for Effectives and Recruiting.
(c)
The Sub-Committee for Fortifications.

Sub-Committee (a) was at the present moment the most important. There were large numbers of trained men in Germany at the present time. If German arms and munitions were taken away, the value of these trained men would disappear, and security would result. This had been the reason for the provision in the Peace Treaty whereby the time for the reduction of the German forces to an ordinary standard had been limited to three months. The Sub-Committee in question would have to see to it, that all material, in excess of what had been laid down, should be handed over to the Allied and Associated Governments. It would, moreover, actively supervise the production of the numerous factories in Germany to prevent the country from taking up the production of war material in a disguised form. It was evident that this sub-committee ought to have a considerable personnel, and a large number of specialists, in order to be able to act with rapidity. The field of its operations extended over the whole German Army, and all the factories of Germany.

Sub-Committee (b) had a different character. Its immediate functions were obviously most important, but its work in the future would be of far greater consequence. The avowed, and actual, intentions of Germany could only be ascertained with certainty by studying closely the manner in which German mobilisation would be carried out, and by examining the new legislation of that country. The members of this Sub-Committee would have to study German organisation from this point of view, and would have to see how all the questions enumerated affected the general situation. The Sub-Committee might be composed of a smaller, non-specialist, personnel.

Sub-Committee (c) on fortifications would have an easier task. Fortified works could not be disguised. Their position was actually known, and they were largely in the territory that had fallen to France. The remainder were mostly in the Rhine territories, now under French occupation.

[Page 633]

The whole Military Commission of Control, as outlined, would be very important. It would have to be constituted by 350 officers, 150 Interpreters, and 800 ordinary soldiers. He thought that the figures given ought to be regarded as the minimum of what was necessary, in view of the large number of problems that would have to be studied locally, and the rapidity with which examinations would have to be effected. After the ratification of the Treaty, it would be necessary to spread a whole network of investigating bodies over Germany. He called upon the Council to examine the figures put forward by him, and to remember that the whole Committee would be an Inter-Allied body, and not a French one.

Mr. Balfour said that he was entirely in agreement with General Nollet’s conclusion with regard to the numerous personnel necessary for carrying out the work of the Inter-Allied Commission of Control. Practical difficulties would, however, arise in points of detail, such as the transporting, provisioning and quartering of the staffs. As British representative, he would like to propose that the three Inter-Allied Commissions of Control should come under Marshal Foch’s orders, or else, later on, under the orders of the French General commanding on the Rhine.

(It was decided that Marshal Foch’s Headquarter Staff, or the Headquarter Staff of the French Commander on the Rhine, should settle all questions arising out of the transportation into Germany of the Inter-Allied Committees of Control, as well as the questions affecting their quartering and provisioning, when established in that country.

It was further decided to accept General Nollet’s proposals on the subject of the personnel out of which the Inter-Allied Commission of Control should be constituted.)

10. (At this point General Nollet left the room.)

Agreement Between the Military Clauses in the Peace Treaty With Hungary and Those in the Austrian Peace Treaty General Sackville-West said that a report had been presented to the Council on the subject of the Military forces, which might be maintained by the various States of Central Europe. The report on Austria had been sent back to be modified. Certain alterations had been put into it, and he asked the Council whether the articles affecting Hungary were to be remodelled, and brought into conformity with those in the Peace Treaty with Austria as finally modified.

General Belin said that the Council had decided on the maximum number of effectives which were to constitute the new Hungarian Army.

M. Clemenceau said that the Council could not reply; since the Hungarian Treaty was not yet complete.

[Page 634]

General Belin said that the Military Representatives had proposed a maximum figure of 40,000 men for Austria. The Supreme Council had lowered the figure to 15,000. The final decision was that an Army of 30,000 men should be allowed. In the case of Hungary the two extreme figures were 45,000 men and 18,000 men respectively. What figure between these two latter was the Council going to decide upon.

M. Tittoni said that if the Austrian Peace Treaty was to be taken as a basis, Hungary ought to be allowed an Army of 35,000 men.

M. Clemenceau said that in the present state of the Peace Treaty with Hungary it was difficult to arrive at an exact figure. He did not see that there was any particular need for deciding immediately.

M. Tittoni said that the figure had to go into the Peace Treaty.

M. Clemenceau said that he agreed that the Military Representatives ought to make the two Treaties agree in such articles as had been definitely settled. It was quite impossible to settle the question in the case of articles not decided upon. Austria had been allowed a large number of effectives in order to conciliate her and to detach her from German influence. His own suggestion had been for an Austrian Army of 15,000 men. It was not possible to settle the Hungarian Army on the basis of the Austrian.

(It was decided that the Military Representatives should co-ordinate the articles in the Peace Treaty with Hungary now definitely decided upon, with the corresponding articles in the Peace Treaty with Austria.)

11. M. Clemenceau asked that the question should be adjourned in order that he might discuss it with Mr. Polk. German Prisoners in the Custody of the American Armies

(It was therefore decided to adjourn the question.)

12. Mr. Balfour said that it had been the wish of the British Government not to declare a Blockade on Russia, but to concert measures for closing the ports of Baltic Russia to International traffic in which all the Allies could act conjointly. President Wilson had just replied (See Appendix H) to the effect that he could not participate in the Allied policy. It was, therefore, not possible to come to a decision at once, for, whilst regretting the necessity of abandoning the policy suggested, he would not adopt another unacceptable to America. At the present moment commercial transit was not active in the region in question, and, in another three months, ice conditions would make it impossible. All that was necessary was to tide over this short period, and to be ready to reexamine the question if any important change took place. Blockade of Russia

M. Tittoni remarked that the Blockade of Hungary had only been declared because Bela Kun had not carried out the Armistice conditions. [Page 635]We were now refusing to Blockade Russia despite the fact that Lenin, the head of the Bolshevik Government, had defied the elementary laws of human society. Would not the Allied and Associated Governments be fully justified, in view of this comparison, in declaring a blockade on Russia? He was willing, however, to submit to the opinion of his colleagues.

Mr. Polk said that morally he agreed with M. Tittoni. But there was an important legal point, which should not be forgotten. No war had been declared against Russia. He proposed that President Wilson’s suggestion should be accepted, and that the Experts should study a means of effecting what was desired by means of mutual co-operation.

Mr. Balfour accepted Mr. Polk’s proposal.

(It was decided that the Experts of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers should examine the problem of carrying out, conjointly, measures which should be equivalent to a Blockade of Russian Baltic ports. When the problem had been fully examined a report should be made to the Council.)

(The Meeting then adjourned.)

Villa Majestic, Paris, August 8, 1919.

Appendix A to HD–27

[The Italian Plenipotentiary (Tittoni) to the President of the Peace Conference (Clemenceau)]

[Translation]9

Mr. President: I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the Italian Government has just received news of increasing seriousness on the subject of the monetary situation at Fiume.

The public has withdrawn from circulation and has hoarded almost all of the crown pieces which were struck off by the city last April while awaiting the exchange into Italian money; a great many Austro-Hungarian notes, with a counterfeit Fiume stamp, are coming into circulation and the public is compelled to accept them in order to meet the necessities of existence. Trade with foreign countries is excessively difficult on account of the scarcity of money which causes a rise in the price of all commodities and consequently very deep unrest among the people.

[Page 636]

The situation is indeed very grave, and might induce very troublesome consequences if the necessary measures should not be taken with the greatest promptness. The National Council of Fiume has made this suggestion: that the Italian Government lend its own government notes and bank-notes to the city of Fiume in the sum required to retire all the crown pieces struck off by the city itself, which would adopt provisionally the Italian currency. The Royal Government would not have any difficulty in accepting this proposal, but it wished that the Allies be informed of it in advance. It is with that object that I venture to have recourse to your kindness and to request you to be so good as to lay this matter before the Conference: and as any delay might be very injurious, I should be grateful to you if you would be good enough to have the question entered in the order of the day for one of the sessions of this week.

Accept [etc.]

Tittoni

His Excellency, M. Georges Clemenceau,
President of the Peace Conference, Paris.

Appendix B to HD–27

[The Representative at Vienna of the American Relief Administration (Gregory) to the Director General of Relief (Hoover)]

Telegram

Hoover, Paris.

Number HAM 1099 for Logan. Details continue to arrive from Budapest showing the effect of cutting of communications. Hospitals are without food. Children also in desperate circumstances. Arranging to send down immediate temporary supply from Vienna stocks under convoy of British and Italian and American soldiers. Roumanians continue to conduct their occupation in the most harassing manner and their attitude towards Entente representatives who are there is distinctly hostile and puts us in a humiliating position. The taking away of horses and cattle is going to still further complicate harvest and food situation and no doubt withdrawal of army when ordered will be accompanied by loss of cars, locomotives, horses, cattle and foodstuffs. The political problem and the independent government of Hungary is a comparatively simple proposition but must be based on two propositions, first the immediate withdrawal of Roumanian troops out of the city and back to their frontiers and second, close supervision by the four generals who will soon be there of the conduct of that withdrawal with reference to asportations [deportations?] and pillaging. We have not yet received full text of instructions [Page 637]given to four generals and do not know extent of their jurisdiction. Please wire that at once. Borghese and Cunninghame in full accord and while Allizé9a has expressed his personal opinion on withdrawal does not care to officially show any interest on the ground that it is outside his sphere. From certain reliable reports it appears that communist agitators are already endeavouring to influence Roumanian troops in Budapest with success. This still further complicates the problem and accentuates necessity for immediate withdrawals. Only quick communication with Paris from Budapest of course by wireless which is now under Roumanian control. Would suggest hereafter that any messages intended for consideration of any of Entente representatives be sent over our lines as we have direct telephone and telegraph office at Budapest. Please repeat to Italian and British mission.

Gregory

Appendix C to HD–27

[Translation10]

Telegram From the French High Commissioner at Constantinople

The Ottoman Government, the financial situation of which is very critical, has sold stocks of material belonging in particular to the administration of the Hedjaz railways.

It proposes to offer for sale the properties of the Domain and of the Evkaf.

These alienations raise the question of ascertaining whether the Ottoman Government, during the armistice, has the right to diminish its properties and, in consequence, the common security of the Allies, of it whether they should, or should not, signify to the Ottoman Government from procuring indispensable resources and so to drive it into bankruptcy, or else to allow it to reduce the security upon which the Allies can count for the reparations which are due them.

The High Commissioners of the powers at Constantinople have agreed to submit this question to the Supreme Council and to inquire of it whether they should, or should not, signify to the Ottoman Government a prohibition against alienating its properties.

[Page 638]

Appendix D to HD–27

[Translation11]

Note for the Supreme Council

Observations presented by the delegations of Greece, Roumania, and the Serb-Croat-Slovene state on the reparations clauses to be inserted in the conditions of peace with Bulgaria.

The Commission on Reparations has examined the objections presented by the representatives of Greece, Roumania, and the Serb-Croat-Slovene state on the clauses of the Bulgarian treaty.

The principal objections are the following:

(1) “The sum demanded from Bulgaria under the head of reparations would not be large enough”.

The Commission estimated that 2,250,000,000 francs represented the maximum sum which Bulgaria was in a position to pay. The Commission sees no reason to modify its opinion (Article 1).

(2) “No allowance should be made to Bulgaria for the debt which she contracted with Germany and Austria for loans and war supplies.” (Article 4).

The Commission believes that it would be quite illogical, after fixing the maximum that Bulgaria can pay, to add an indeterminate sum, of which the total is, besides, a matter of dispute. The Commission, when determining the total of the debt imposed upon Bulgaria, expressly took into account, not only the claims put forward by Germany and Austria, but also the provisions of article 14 of the financial clauses, by which the obligations of Bulgaria toward these same powers are transferred to the Allies.

(3) “The numbers of live-stock assigned to Greece, Roumania, and Serbia by way of restitution would be insufficient” (Article 7).

The Commission, after having consulted the representatives of the Allies in Bulgaria, has somewhat raised the proposed figures.

The persistent claims of the powers with special interests reveal that they have an inexact understanding of the situation.

These powers appear to believe that the reparations to which they will be entitled by reason of their losses in live-stock, etc., will be limited to what they can get from Bulgaria under the head of restitution. That is not the case; the total of reparation due them undergoes no reduction because of restitutions provided in the treaty; it is apparent, however, that these powers cannot be indemnified twice for the same injury. They will have applied to them from the common [Page 639]fund the portion which is legitimately theirs. Their claims are valid as regards all the enemy powers, who are jointly and severally bound to discharge them, and not only as regards Bulgaria.

The system adopted by the Commission on Reparations has consisted in estimating the highest sum which could be paid by Bulgaria; to that end the Commission has taken into consideration all the resources of Bulgaria, including the live-stock. To discharge its obligation, Bulgaria will without doubt, have to export great numbers of live-stock.

The Commission considers that nothing will more surely risk the provocation of trouble in the Balkans than disputes over restitutions of live-stock. Such restitutions degenerate quickly into cattle raids, a costly practice to the inhabitants of the frontier zones. It would be very unpleasant if these raids should seem to be justified by the treaty.

Consequently, the Commission vigorously maintains its point of view on the limitation of restitutions in kind.

(4) “Greece, Roumania, and the Serb-Croat-Slovene State are not represented on the Interallied Commission for Bulgaria” (Article 9).

A decision by the Supreme Council has already been taken upon this subject and the Commission desires to declare once more that it considers that the article ought to be preserved as it is.

Appendix E to HD–27

[Translation12]
3714

From Marshal Foch, Commander in Chief of the Allied Armies.

To the President of the Council, President of the Peace Conference.

By my letter No. 3401 of July 17, I submitted to you some proposals on the subject of measures to be taken to assure the maintenance of order in the 50 kilometre zone on the right bank of the Rhine.

These proposals had in view, particularly, to permit for a period of not more than three months from the time the treaty goes into force, the maintenance of military forces, as a garrison for security, in the 50 kilometre zone on the right bank of the Rhine, these forces to be subjected to the regime similar to that in force at present for the neutral zone of 10 kilometres.*

[Page 640]

On the subject of the strength of the forces, the maintenance of which in the 50 kilometre zone might be provisionally allowed, I think it my duty to give you the following explanations:

After the armistice the Germans were authorized to maintain in the neutral zone military forces comprising a total of:

  • 10 battalions, and
  • 10 squadrons.

Subsequently, on account of disturbances, partial reinforcements were granted by the Allied High Command; these reinforcements brought the German forces of the neutral zone up to

15½ battalions with an average effective of 500 men
8 squadrons 150 men
2 field batteries 120 men

These are the German forces at present in the neutral zone.

In order to make sure of the maintenance of order in the 50 kilometre zone, the German Government should be authorized to maintain provisionally in that zone a certain supplement, in addition to the forces mentioned above. But this supplement should be of little strength.

It is only a question, indeed, of holding certain industrial centers, like Essen, or certain large cities, like Frankfort. The number of additional garrisons which is required is, therefore, limited.

Account must be taken, besides, of the fact that the internal situation in Germany is less disturbed than it has been.

Finally, it would be illogical to permit Germany to keep relatively strong forces in the 50 kilometre zone for 3 months, when, during those 3 months, they must reduce their total forces to 200,000 men.

For these reasons I propose to fix the supplementary force to be granted at 4½ battalions and 2 squadrons; that is to say, to authorize for the whole of the 50 kilometre zone, from Holland to Switzerland, the provisional maintenance of:

  • 20 battalions,
  • 10 squadrons,
  • 2 batteries.

As a matter of information, the German forces stationed in this 50 kilometre zone in time of peace included:

  • 39 battalions,
  • 30 squadrons,
  • 60 batteries.

I request that you will be good enough to advise me as soon as possible of the decision of the Allied Governments upon this question, so that the measures to be taken may be applied as soon as the Treaty of Peace goes into force.

[Page 641]

I think I should add that General Michel, Commander of the Belgian army of occupation, and General Fayolle, who have received through the German Command requests looking toward the maintenance of order in the 50 kilometre zone, have both expressed an opinion in agreement with the proposals which I am submitting to you.

Foch

Appendix F to HD–27

troops of occupation in upper silesia and dantzig

From: Marshal Foch.

To: The President of the Peace Conference.

The military representatives at Versailles have studied, on the invitation of the Allied Supreme Council,13 the composition of the Allied forces of occupation in the plebiscite zone of upper Silesia, and the effectives to be sent there. On July 10th they unanimously pronounced for one division at a strength of about 13,000 men.

Since, in its session of July 26th,14 the Supreme Council decided that this force would be taken from the occupation troops of the Rhenish territories. But no decision has as yet been made to determine the contribution of each of the Great Powers toward the constitution of this force.

In the same way, the military representatives at Versailles, increased by a military representative of Japan and a naval representative from the Five Great Powers, have been invited by the Supreme Allied Council to determine the military and naval steps to be taken in the territories of Danzig and Memel.15 Without its having been possible to reach an agreement on this question, a certain number of them concluded, on June 24, the advisability of employing forces equivalent to one division for the whole of the two territories.

Since, in its session of July 31,16 the Supreme Council, examining the Danzig question, postponed the examination of the military force which is to occupy this territory.

These two questions remain thus in suspense, and the command may expect to have requested of it to furnish important contingents for Silesia and the Danzig zone. It may also have to furnish troops for the occupation of the Sarre territory, concerning which no decision has yet been made.

[Page 642]

Now the resources at the disposal of the French command at the present moment are strictly limited. The demobilisation allows it indeed to draw, for the missions in question, only on the 9 divisions made up exclusively of the classes 18 and 19, which are consequently not affected by the demobilisation, and are maintained at a sufficient strength (2000 men per regiment).

Out of these 9 divisions, 6 are designated to form the French army of occupation, 1 has just been dissolved in order to obtain regiments for the guard of German prisoners of war.

There thus remain only the equivalent of two divisions to furnish the French effectives which the Supreme Council may decide to assign either to the Sarre territory, or to Upper Silesia, or to Danzig and Memel.

Consequently, it is indispensable to solve simultaneously and in the shortest possible time these three questions, so that a general plan may be established for the employment of this force of two divisions, with which the chief of the General Staff of the Army has just requested, in addition, the taking of a considerable new contingent to strengthen the P.W.17 guard, which has become insufficient.

I have the honour, consequently, to request you to be good enough to have these three questions decided without any delay by the Supreme Allied Council: Strength and composition of the forces designated for the occupation of Upper Silesia, as well as the territories of Danzig, and Memel, and finally the Sarre territory.

Appendix G to HD–27

[Translation18]

ministry of blockade and of the liberated regions
commissariat general for restoration of liberated regions

From: the Minister of the Liberated Regions.

To: the President of the Peace Conference.

As a consequence of an agreement concluded last January with the marshal, commander in chief of the British forces, it was understood that the English Army would lend its assistance toward the restoration of the liberated regions particularly by undertaking, throughout the zone which it occupied, a search for and a systematic destruction of implements of war of all sorts.

On May 24, contrary to this agreement, General Asser, commander of the British forces stationed in the liberated regions, announced that, in consequence of demobilization, the cooperation of the British [Page 643]Armies would be limited thereafter to the removal of English munitions in good condition and of valuable stores which could be sold at a profit or be put to further uses.

On June 6, 1919, I requested the marshal, commander in chief of the Allied Armies, to intervene with the British authorities to have them reverse their decision. On June 13 Marshal Foch informed me that General Asser replied directly from the War Office that the same problem arose in the American and Belgian zones as well; that the question was, therefore, quite of a general nature and should be submitted to the Peace Conference.

In consequence of this reply, I called together, on June 26, at the Ministry of the Liberated Regions, a conference in which the representatives of the various interested French Services took part. This conference unanimously passed a resolution with which I associated myself entirely, and which I have the honor to communicate to you herewith.

Among all the questions which the restoration of the liberated regions presents, the destruction and removal of war materials are assuredly the most harassing.

There is no other more urgent and the approaching disappearance [repatriation?] of prisoners of war further augments its acuteness.

A. Lebrun
[Enclosure—Translation19]

[Resolution by a Committee Summoned by the French Minister for the Liberated Regions]

The Committee summoned by the Minister for the Liberated Regions, for the purpose of studying the question of the collaboration of the Allied Armies in the task of clearing the ground and in the operations concerning the removal and the destruction of munitions in the liberated regions;

Whereas:

(1)
The accumulation of discharged and undischarged projectiles, and of stores of munitions and all kinds of implements of war, creates a permanent danger to the populations of the liberated regions and a serious obstacle to the resumption of their local life, and has daily caused a great number of accidents, particularly the death of several hundreds of children since November 11;
(2)
The clearing away of these implements of war and their destruction calls for considerable labor force, supervised by numerous specialists, which it is impossible to find outside of the armies, and which France cannot furnish by herself alone so as to bring the task to completion within a reasonable period of time.

[Page 644]

Resolves:

(1)
That this important question be brought before the Peace Conference;
(2)
That the Conference should recognize the principle that the clearing of the ground and, above all, the destruction and removal of munitions in the liberated regions constitutes an obligation for each one of the Allied Armies in the zone which each occupied at the moment of the armistice and that this task cannot be deferred;
(3)
That there be constituted at once an Interallied Committee for the immediate realization of this programme.

Appendix “H” to HD–27

Reply of President Wilson to Inquiry of July 21,19 From the British, French, Italian and Japanese Representatives in the Council of Five, on the Question of a Proposed Blockade of Soviet Russia

“The President is not unmindful of the serious situation which exists in relation to neutral trade in the Baltic with the Russian ports controlled by the Bolsheviks. He has given careful consideration to the arguments advanced in the message transmitted at the request of Monsieur Clemenceau, and is not unmindful of their force in support of the proposed interruption of commerce with the ports mentioned. However, while he fully understands the reasons for employing war measures to prevent the importation of munitions and food supplies into the portion of Russia now in the hands of the Bolsheviks, he labours under the difficulty of being without constitutional right to prosecute an act of war such as a blockade affecting neutrals unless there has been a declaration of war by the Congress of the United States against the nation so blockaded.

The landing of troops at Archangel and Murmansk was done to protect the property and supplies of the American and Allied Governments until they could be removed. The sending of troops to Siberia was to keep open the railway for the protection of Americans engaged in its operation and to make safe from possible German and Austrian attack the retiring Czecho-Slovaks. The furnishing of supplies to the Russians in Siberia, while indicating a sympathy with the efforts to restore order and safety of life and property, cannot be construed as a belligerent act.

The President is convinced that if proper representations are made to the neutral countries during the war they can be induced to prohibit traffic in arms and munitions with the portions of Russia controlled by the Bolsheviks. The avowed hostility of the Bolsheviks to all Governments and the announced programme of international [Page 645]revolution make them as great a menace to the national safety of neutral countries as to Allied countries. For any Government to permit them to increase their power through commercial intercourse with its nationals would be to encourage a movement which is frankly directed against all Governments and would certainly invite the condemnation of all peoples desirous of restoring peace and social order.

The President cannot believe that any Government whose people might be in a position to carry on commerce with the Russian ports referred to would be so indifferent to the opinion of the civilised world as to permit it. The President therefore suggests that the so-called neutral Governments be approached by the Allied and Associated Governments in joint note setting forth the facts of the case and the menace to such countries and to the world of any increase of the Bolshevik power, and requesting the neutral Governments to take immediate steps to prevent trade and commerce with Bolshevik Russia and to give assurance that the policy will be rigorously enforced in conjunction with other Governments which are equally menaced”.

  1. Ante, p. 542.
  2. HD–12, minute 3, and HD–14, minute 5, pp. 236 and 308.
  3. HD–20, minute 2, p. 443.
  4. General Paul Henrys, chief of the French Military Mission to Poland.
  5. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  6. Lt. Gen. Sir Joseph John Asser, commander of the British forces in the liberated regions.
  7. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  8. French representative at Vienna.
  9. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  10. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  11. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  12. However, the control of the Military Regions of the 50 kilometre zone would belong not to the Command of the Forces of Occupation, as is at present the case for the neutral zone, but to the Commission of Control of the Military Clauses. [Footnote in the original.]
  13. CF–93, minute 21, vol. vi, p. 703 and HD–12, minute 3, p. 236.
  14. See HD–14, minute 5, p. 308.
  15. FM–25, minute 2, vol. iv, p. 833.
  16. HD–20, minute 2, p. 443.
  17. Prisoners of war.
  18. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  19. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  20. Appendix D to HD–14, p. 312.