Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/31

HD–31

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 Thursday, 14 August, 1919, at 5 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 George Clerk.
    • France
      • M. Pichon.
    • Secretaries
      • M. Dutasta.
      • M. Berthelot.
      • M. de Saint Quentin.
    • Italy
      • M. Tittoni.
    • Secretary
      • M. Paterno.
    • Japan
      • M. Matsui.
    • Secretary
      • M. Kawai.
Joint Secretariat
America, United States of Captain Chapin.
British Empire Lt.-Commander Bell.
France M. de Percin.
Italy Lt.-Colonel Jones.
Interpreter—M. Meyer.

1. M. Pichon communicated a letter from the Rumanian Minister in Paris (see Annex A), and the Council took note of a further communication from the same source intimating that Mr. Diamandy had been appointed High Commissioner for Rumania at Budapest. He then asked if Mr. Balfour had any observations to make on the Rumanian reply to the Note1 of the Allied and Associated Powers. (Annex B.)Hungarian Affairs: Rumanian Reply to the Communication of the Allied and Associated Powers

Mr. Balfour said that the letter as a whole was satisfactory, since the Rumanian government consented to abide by the decisions of the Entente Powers. With regard to the remainder of the letter, he asked whether it would be profitable to reply to all the controversial points raised. He did, however, think that the Rumanian Government had advanced several arguments, which called for discussion, and possibly a reply. The first of these arguments was that dealing with the supposition on the part of the Rumanian government, that the Armistice [Page 684]of November, 1918, had lapsed, owing to subsequent acts of war initiated by the Hungarian government, and owing to the explicit invitation of the Conference, by virtue of which Rumania was called upon to take military action against Hungary.

M. Tittoni said that he regarded the first argument as a strong one, since the attack of the Hungarian army was a positive violation of the armistice. He regarded the second argument as weak, because, whilst admitting that the Rumanians had been invited to initiate military action against the Hungarians, a similar invitation had been sent to the Czecho-Slovaks and the Yugo-Slavs; and no action by any of the parties consulted had followed upon these negotiations.

M. Pichon said that the Rumanians were not in a position to claim that the armistice had lapsed on account of the invitation sent to them by the Allied and Associated Powers for the simple reason that they were invited to enforce it by the communication to which they referred. He agreed with Mr. Balfour, that there was a satisfactory side to the Rumanian reply. He thought, however, that the Rumanians were attempting to take up too isolated an attitude. They spoke of collaborating with the Conference; they were not called upon to do that; but to obey its decisions.

M. Tittoni said that M. Pichon’s remark was a matter of nuance, since, if the Rumanians wished to conform with the decisions of the Conference, they would evidently have to collaborate with it.

Mr. Balfour said that under the circumstances, it would probably be better to make no reference, in our answer, to the ambiguous phrases of the Rumanian note; but to lay emphasis on the satisfactory assurances that it contained. The next point, to which he wished to draw attention, was the protest of the Rumanian Government on the subject of the Conference decision with regard to war material. It was obviously necessary that they should be assured, in a most formal manner, that the war material captured by them belonged to the Allies as a whole. The statement in their note, to the effect that they had not compromised the economic activities of the countries they had invaded, was contradicted by the information submitted to the Conference. It seemed as though the Rumanians assumed, that, because they had been robbed by the Hungarians at an earlier period of the war; and because booty had been carried from their country into the territories that they had now invaded, they had a right to carry away with them, whatever they could seize in order to equalise matters. This argument should be replied to, by showing them that France, Belgium, Serbia and Italy had suffered in the same manner, and would never recover the booty that had been taken from them by the German and Austro-Hungarian armies in the days of their successes.

[Page 685]

M. Pichon said that according to the information at the disposal of the Conference, the Rumanians had requisitioned 50% of everything they could lay their hands on; railway rolling stock, live stock, and agricultural implements.

M. Berthelot said that when General Mackensen had invaded Roumanian territory, a large amount of the railway material (2000 locomotives) requisitioned by him had remained in Hungarian territory. These engines could not be restored under the armistice because they were of German make and were indistinguishable from the ordinary machines, used normally on the Hungarian railways.

Mr. Balfour said that he would like to know the opinion of the French Foreign Office, and of his colleagues on the Rumanian protest, to the effect that the Allies had allowed themselves to be swayed by the calumnious accusations of an unscrupulous enemy.

M. Pichon said that we had not received information from such a source, but from our accredited representatives. He further remarked that the Rumanians admitted implicitly the accusations, against which they protested, by trying to justify them on the plea of military necessity.

M. Tittoni suggested that there should be no recriminations; the main point being that the Rumanians should be made to conform to the decisions of the Conference.

M. Pichon said that he agreed with M. Tittoni, but thought that the question of war material must be dealt with in our reply, which, he thought, M. Berthelot might possibly draft.

M. Berthelot said that he would draft a reply, and asked whether it should not deal also with the entire disarmament of the Hungarian army, and the withdrawal of the Rumanians behind the Theiss; since these points had been decided upon by the Conference, before sending out instructions to the Mission of Allied Generals to Budapest.

Mr. Balfour remarked that the Rumanians must be made to retire to their frontier and not only to the Theiss. They had already promised to do so after the disarmament of Hungary.

M. Tittoni remarked that the moment at which the withdrawal of the Rumanians should begin ought to be left to the Generals to decide. Further events in Hungary might make it most desirable to have a strong force of Rumanians present in Budapest, which had been, during the past few months, the scene of Bloodshed and massacre.

General Weygand said that, under the circumstances, it might be best to examine carefully the instructions given to the Generals, and to see whether they were complete in all points. If it should be found that they were not, they could be revised and added to them if necessary.

[Page 686]

Mr. Balfour asked whether it had not been decided in these instructions what particular strategic points should be occupied by the Rumanian army.

General Weygand replied that the Generals had been left free to decide on the points in Hungarian territory which ought to be occupied by the Rumanians, and what forces should be employed by these latter for this purpose.

M. Berthelot then read the draft of the telegram that he had prepared for communication to the Rumanian government. (See Annex C.)

Mr. Balfour asked whether special mention should not be made of the rule laid down with regard to war booty and requisitions since the rule in question had been accepted by the governments of other Allied countries which had been invaded. He further asked whether these countries should not be mentioned by name.

Mr. Berthelot [said] that it would, in his opinion, be unwise to mention Allied countries by name in this connection, on account of the Serbian actions in the Banat.

Mr. Polk asked whether it was desired that the Rumanian statement with regard to the lapse of the armistice should be allowed to stand.

M. Berthelot said that he thought it would be unwise to argue the question closely. There had been two armistices with Hungary. The first had not been very successful, and it had been altered by subsequent decisions of the Conference, since, by its provisions, Hungary was allowed to remain in Slovakia. The second armistice had then been substituted. It was now superseded by a third one, imposed on the Hungarians by the Rumanians. The Conference could not very well re-open the whole discussion on armistices by replying in detail to the Rumanian argument on the subject.

Mr. Polk said that the sentence of the Rumanian note stating that the armistice had lapsed owing to an invitation to take military action, communicated to Rumania by the Allied and Associated Governments, could hardly be allowed to stand.

Mr. Balfour suggested that a general sentence might open the reply, saying that the Conference did not wish to discuss the controversial points in the Rumanian note.

(It was agreed to send a telegram drafted by M. Berthelot (see Annex C) to the Rumanian Government and to the Mission of Allied Generals at Budapest.)

(At this point Mr. Hutchinson1a entered the room.)

2. Mr. Hutchinson reported and commented on the Report of the Economic Commission with regard to the Economic Clauses in the [Page 687]Peace Treaty with Bulgaria (see Appendix D). Economic clauses in the Peace Treaty

Mr. Balfour asked whether the modification proposed to Article 25 would entail the acceptance on the part of the Allied and Associated Governments of the clauses in the Peace Treaty of Bucarest of 19132 whereby Roumania obtained a certain portion of the Dobrudja.

Mr. Hutchinson replied that he was unable to answer Mr. Balfour’s question as the Economic Commission could not deal with territorial questions.

(It was decided:—

(1)
That the proposed modification to Article 25 should be submitted to the Drafting Committee who should inform the Council whether by virtue of the aforesaid modification the Allied and Associated Governments would be bound to recognise as valid the territorial clauses in the Peace Treaty of Bucarest of 1913, more particularly those whereby a certain portion of the Dobruja was ceded to Roumania.
(2)
That the proposed modification to Article 36 should be accepted.)

3. The Council took note of a telegram from the High Commissioner at Constantinople (see Appendix E).

Commission of Enquiry Into the Events at Smyrna M. Pichon said that he believed that it was intended that the Greek Officer should be present at the meetings of the Commission. (See H. D. 12 paragraph 5.3)

M. Tittoni remarked that in his opinion the decision only implied that the Greek Officer was to be at the disposal of the Commission without being present at every sitting.

Mr. Balfour said that he agreed with M. Tittoni.

M. Tittoni then accentuated his previous statement by saying that in his opinion the witnesses cited before the Commission would be intimidated by the presence of a Greek Officer.

M. Pichon said that a decision in the same sense as the one previously taken must be made with regard to the Turks.

M. Tittoni then remarked that he did not think that the resolution in H. D. 12, paragraph 5, had been accurately drafted, and pointed out that he had drawn attention to the inaccuracy in question on the following day.

Mr. Balfour replied that the decision had been communicated to the Greeks and could not now be altered or modified.

M. Pichon then said that the previous decision could be interpreted as excluding the Greek Representative from the deliberations of the Commission. The words of the decision had been that he was [Page 688]to “follow the labours of the Commission”. He was therefore in a position which could be compared with that of a foreign Military Attaché who followed the deliberations of the Headquarters Staff to which he was attached, without taking part in them.

(After some further discussion, it was decided that the previous decision of the Council (See H. D. 12, Article 5) should be explained to the High Commissioner at Constantinople in the sense that the Greek Representative should not be present at the meetings of the Commission of Enquiry at Smyrna. All necessary data should be communicated to him, however, and similar facilities should be given to a Turkish Representative, if subsequently appointed.)

(The Meeting then adjourned.)

Villa Majestic, Paris, 14 August, 1919.

Appendix A to HD–31

[The Roumanian Minister at Paris (Antonescu) to the French Minister for Foreign Affairs (Pichon)]

[Translation4]

The Roumanian Minister in France has the honor to inform His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs that in a telegram, dated at Bucharest, on August 12, Monsieur Bratiano directs him to deny that the Roumanian Government has favored in any manner the installation of the Archduke Joseph in the Government of Hungary.

The Roumanian Government has no sympathy whatever either for the person of the Archduke Joseph, or for the reactionary ideas which he represents, and in general it does not intend to support any government which should not be approved by the Entente.

Appendix B to HD–31

rumanian delegation
to the peace conference

Translation

The Rumanian Delegation has the honour to submit herewith the reply of the Rumanian Government to the communications of the [Page 689]Peace Conference, presented at Bucarest on August 9, 1919,5 concerning the situation in Hungary.

To His Excellency the President
of the Peace Conference.

[Enclosure]

Reply of the Rumanian Government to the Communications of the Peace Conference Presented at Bucharest on August 9, 1919

The Rumanian Government has been very painfully surprised by the communication received from the Peace Conference. It has deserved neither the reproaches nor the accusations contained in this communication. Rumania could not defy a Conference in whose decisions she is to participate as a result of her co-operation with the Allies in the work of justice which the victory of the Allies assures to the world, as well as the national claims that the Rumanians formulated precisely when they formed the entente with the Allies. Rumania has not changed her territorial claims according to the success of her army, but she does consider that the new military efforts that she has been constrained to make in order to throw back the Hungarian offensive, and the services that she has rendered to civilization by her sacrifices, give her a new title to claim her rights.

The Rumanian Government, at Budapest as elsewhere, intends to work in collaboration with the representatives of the Allied Powers. The Rumanian military command has received orders to collaborate with the military missions at Budapest, in order to fix together the measures necessary to facilitate the possibility of a Hungarian Government, which will assure order in the country and guarantee the security of peace relations on the Rumanian frontier. With this very object in view the Royal Government has instructed its High Commissioner, Monsieur Diamandy, to go to Budapest, where, thanks to the order established by the victory of the Rumanian army, he will be able to meet the representatives of the Allied Powers. Rumania is decided in her intention of acting in accord with the policy that the Conference may henceforth fix in regard to Hungary, as a result of the new order of things established by the intervention of the Rumanian army.

Concerning the attitude of the Rumanian Government and of the Command towards the decisions of the Conference concerning the occupation of Budapest, it is well known that the Rumanian troops were already there when the communication was made to the Royal Government, and that the other four were presented to it simultaneously, and not earlier than the afternoon of the ninth of August. [Page 690]Moreover, this occupation, which does not imply the bloodshed that the Conference fears is indispensable if it is desired to bring an end to the state of affairs that has troubled the centre of Europe too long already. Previous events have proved this.

The Rumanian Government could not foresee that the Peace Conference would consider the Armistice of November, 1918, as still existent, after having received from it the invitation to co-operate in a military action against the Hungarian army. Still less could it foresee this attitude after having been the object of a general offensive on the part of this army.

Rumania could not conceive that, after the severe fighting which resulted in the surrender of all the enemy’s organized forces to the Rumanian army, she would not have the right to take possession of the war material that the former had used to attack her, without being prevented by the situation created by the previous armistice. As to the other requisitions, they were levied only in proportions that assured, in addition to the needs of the population, large quantities for exportation, and did not compromise economic activity of the country.

Rumania was obliged to take such action as a result of the state of complete exhaustion due to the Hungarian and German invasions and by the fact that it was in these regions,—now occupied by her—that the greater part of the spoils of war taken by the armies of the Central Powers were deposited. It would be difficult to conceive that this right should be denied to Rumania when other Allied armies were able, without any obstacle on the part of the Conference, to completely drain and exhaust occupied territories, which should have been, according to the Peace, turned over not to a former enemy but to an Ally.

The Rumanian Government regrets that the Allies should have taken into consideration the slanderous accusations preferred by an unscrupulous enemy. Far from encouraging pillaging, the Rumanian troops, by their very presence re-established order and checked anarchy and devastation. The presence of the Representatives of the Allied Powers at Budapest is a testimony to such a state of affairs. The Rumanian Command, from the very first days, adopted measures to insure the provisioning of the Hungarian Capital which he had found completely deprived of provisions. Railroad transportation was interrupted only temporarily in the strict interest of military security. Concerning the Governments which have succeeded Bela Kun, they have been neither established, nor replaced nor interfered with by Rumanian troops.

The Rumanian army has proved, in the midst of all the hardships which it has had to sustain, the high spirit with which it is animated and the discipline which reigns, and has never lost sight of the duties [Page 691]towards humanity and civilization which were incumbent upon it. The reception given to the army by the population in all the occupied territories is a brilliant proof of the equity of their actions. If the Rumanian military accomplishments, thanks to the direction of the operations and to the bravery of the troops, have developed and culminated so rapidly, Rumania has the clear conviction that she has rendered eminent service towards the work of peace which is the object of the Peace Conference.

Appendix C to HD–31

[Translation6]

Telegram to the Roumanian Government (Forwarded Through the French Chargé d’Affaires at Bucharest)—Communicated to the Interallied Military Mission at Budapest

The Peace Conference, while not adverting to a certain number of points which would call for rectifications on its part, takes note with satisfaction of the declaration by the Roumanian Government “that it has been decided to act in accord with the policy which the Conference will determine in regard to Hungary.”

The Conference interprets this declaration as indicating that Roumania, as a state participating in the Peace Conference, intends to conform to the decisions communicated by the Supreme Council through the Military Mission delegated to Budapest by the Supreme Council.

The directions sent on three occasions by the Conference to the Mission of Allied Generals, and communicated to Bucharest, defined in a detailed and explicit way the policy of the Allied Powers toward Hungary in the present situation (disarmament of the Hungarian troops, maintenance of order with the minimum of foreign troops, provisioning of Hungary, abstention from any meddling in internal politics so long as there is free expression of the national will).

The Supreme Council lays stress on the point that no definitive recovery of military, railway, or agricultural supplies or of live-stock etc. can take place at present.

In accordance with the principles of the Conference accepted by all the Allied states and applied in particular in the treaty with Germany, it is for the whole body of the Allied and Associated Powers alone to determine the reparations to be furnished by Hungary and their distribution among the interested states. Neither the Roumanian Army nor the Roumanian Government is authorized to fix by themselves the portion [Page 692]which goes to Roumania, the Hungarian properties of every sort being the common security of the Allied Powers.

S. Pichon

Appendix D to HD–31

[Translation7]

From the Chairman of the Economic Commission of the Peace Conference

To the President of the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers.

The Supreme Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers has referred for examination by the Economic Commission two proposals relative to article 25 and article 36 of the draft treaty with Bulgaria, previously approved.

1. Article 25. On the subject of this article, the Roumanian delegation proposed a revision to the effect that the abrogation of past treaties by Bulgaria with Roumania should have regard only to treaties concluded from the date of August 15, 1916, up to the coming into force of the present treaty.

The Economic Commission, admitting the justice of the Roumanian proposal, unanimously suggests for article 25 the following wording:

“Bulgaria recognizes as now and forever abrogated all treaties, conventions, and agreements which it concluded with Russia, or with any state or government whose territory formerly constituted a part of Russia, before August 1, 1914, or since that date and up to the coming into force of the present treaty, as well as those concluded with Roumania since August 15, 1916, and up to the coming into force of the present treaty.”

2. Article 36. Upon the proposal of the British delegation, the Economic Commission was unanimously in favor of revising the wording of article 36 on a point of detail. Express terms have been introduced into the text in order to make clear that the obligations resulting from this article will be confined to Bulgarian territory as constituted by the present treaty; the new wording unanimously proposed is the following:

“In case of abnormal conditions in the operation of concessions, or in case of their expropriation, the guarantees of receipts and the terms of exploitation which affect the interests of nationals of the Allied or Associated Powers, or the interests of companies or associations [Page 693]controlled by those nationals, may be extended, within Bulgarian territory as constituted by the present treaty, on application of the interested party, for a term to be fixed by the Mixed Arbitral Tribunal, which shall take into account the duration of the period of dispossession or of abnormal conditions in operation.

In the same territory, the various conventions approved or agreements reached, before Bulgaria’s entry into the war, between the Bulgarian authorities and companies controlled by Allied financial groups are confirmed; the time limits, prices, and conditions shall be revised, however, having regard to the new economic circumstances. In case of disagreement, the Mixed Tribunal shall decide.”

The Secretary General of the Economic
Commission of the Peace Conference
Serruys

Appendix E to HD–31

Translation

Telegram From the French High Commission on Behalf of the Interallied Investigation Commission

The Investigation Commission of Smyrna is composed as follows:—

Admiral Bristol for the United States of America, General Bunoust for France, General Hare for England, General Dallolio for Italy. The Greek Government has designated Colonel Mazurakis to follow the meetings.

It would be well to [be] precise whether or not the Greek Officer can be present at all the sessions. That might have the disadvantage of preventing the Turkish witnesses from making their depositions freely before him. It is probable that the Turks will ask that the Turkish Officer be authorised to be present at the sessions under the same conditions as Colonel Mazurakis.

The first meeting of the Commission will take place to-morrow.

DeFrance
  1. Appendix B to HD–26, p. 615.
  2. H. J. Hutchinson, British economic expert.
  3. British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cvii, p. 658.
  4. Ante, p. 238.
  5. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  6. Appendix B to HD–26, p. 615.
  7. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  8. Telegram drafted August 12; transmitted to the French Chargé d’Affaires at Bucharest, August 14. (Paris Peace Conf. 181.9202/12a.)
  9. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.