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

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • Hon. R. Lansing.
    • British Empire
      • The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau.
    • Italy
      • M. Crespi.
    • Japan
      • M. Matsui.
    • Secretaries
      • Mr. L. Harrison.
      • Mr. H. Norman.
      • M. Paterno.
      • M. Ashida.
Joint Secretariat
America, United States of Lieut. Burden.
British Empire Capt. E. Abraham.
France Capt. A. Portier.
Italy Lieut. Zanchi.
Interpreter—Prof. P. J. Mantoux.

1. M. Clemenceau said that he had bad news to give to the Council. He had a report of a still graver incident in Fiume. Nine French soldiers had been killed. The day before, General Grazioli had requested the French General to withdraw from the city with his troops. The same request was apparently made to the Serbians. What the Serbians replied, he did not know. The French General refused. It was on the morrow of this that the mob, encouraged by an Italian officer, had attacked a small French post. Sailors from the Fleet had come ashore to join in the assault and warships in the Harbour had fired on the post. This had led to the death of nine men. Situation in Italy

Mr. Lansing said that he had had a report on the previous afternoon, which he had communicated to M. Tittoni, to the effect that a French post of Annamite troops had been attacked by the mob. Then forces had been landed from Italian ships and the Barracks of the Annamites had been surrounded. It was at this stage that some of the latter had been killed. The report quoted a British observer who had seen three Annamites stabbed to death while holding up their [Page 46] hands in token of surrender. In addition to this, a French packet boat had been fired on by Italian volunteers.

M. Clemenceau said that this was more than could be endured. No one in France would submit to treatment of this sort. Therefore, his first act was to ask his colleagues what should be done. He assumed that they were ready to defend the rights of France as he was ready to defend theirs. The Italian Government had installed in Fiume a gang of men, known as volunteers, who controlled the city in the name of the King of Italy. It was to help these volunteers that the Italian General asked his Allied colleagues to withdraw from the city. He therefore proposed to retire with his British and American colleagues and to make his decision after consultation with them.

M. Crespi said that he wished to express on behalf of his Government the sincerest regret for what had taken place. He was deeply impressed by the reports received by his colleagues. He, himself, had no news later than that which had been on the previous day in M. Tittoni’s hands. He was therefore taken by surprise. He hoped and believed that the reports referred to the same incident as has been mentioned on the previous day, namely, to the incident of Sunday. The information in the hands of the Italian Delegation was to the effect that after provocation caused by a French soldier, rioting began. It was alleged that a French soldier had fired first. He had been supported by other men who came from a small post and fired on the crowd. Italian soldiers had then intervened to restore order, then French sailors had fired from ships. The information, therefore, was not quite the same as that in the hands of M. Clemenceau.

Mr. Lansing said that he had no other information than that of which he had given an account. It was therefore possible that it was a new version of the Sunday incident mentioned on the previous day.

Mr. Balfour said that by every account it was a deplorable affair. He, himself, had no information. He had no means, therefore, of judging whether there had been one incident or two. He asked M. Clemenceau whether his dispatches related to events of Sunday or to subsequent events.

M. Clemenceau said that the event described had taken place on the 6th.

Mr. Balfour said it might then perhaps be assumed that everything had taken place on one day.

M. Clemenceau said that this might be true. On the previous day he had not known how serious the matter was. He had then been content with a Commission of Enquiry. Now he thought this was not enough. He could not allow French soldiers to be murdered. It must also be borne in mind that on the day before the incident or incidents, the Italian General had desired the French troops to be removed ten kilometers west of the Town in order to avoid trouble. [Page 47] The Italian General had no right to demand anything of the sort and the French General had rightly refused. The dispatch he had received concluded by asking that Allied warships should be sent to Fiume.

M. Crespi pointed out that according to M. Clemenceau’s news, the Italian General had not given any orders to his French colleague but had only made a proposal. Moreover, General Grazioli, the day before the incident, had driven through Fiume in the same car with General Savy,1 in order to show the good understanding existing between the two Commanders. He had done everything he could to avoid disturbances. Incidents of this kind where troops of various nations were gathered were liable to occur everywhere.

M. Clemenceau said that incidents of this kind had not occurred elsewhere. There was no instance of British or American ships firing on French troops nor of French ships firing on British troops. On the previous day, he had not known that the Italian warships had acted in this manner. He must therefore insist on consulting his British and American colleagues separately as to the action to be taken. He proposed that they should withdraw together.

M. Crespi said that he would, himself, withdraw. (At this point the Italian members of the Meeting withdrew.)1a

2. M. Clemenceau nominated General Naulin as French representative.

Appointment of Inter-Allied Commission To Enquire Into Incidents at Fiume Mr. Lansing nominated Major-General C. P. Summerall.

Mr. Balfour said that he was unable to nominate an officer at that moment.

M. Crespi said he would make his nomination on the following day.

3. The following instructions were accepted:—

Instructions to Commission of Enquiry That the inter-allied Commission of Enquiry for Fiume shall investigate and report the facts as to the incident or incidents of violence, which have recently taken place in that town, and record their opinion on the responsibility therefor. They should further submit to the Supreme Council as soon as possible their recommendations as to the best means of preserving peace and safety hereafter.

4. M. Clemenceau handed M. Crespi a Note regarding the stoppage of trains at Modane.2

Stoppage of Supply Trains at Modane M. Crespi said that it was a technical matter and that he would reply on the following day.

[Page 48]

5. Mr. Balfour said that he had prepared the following draft resolution:—

In order to expedite the evacuation of the Baltic States by Germany in accordance with the decision taken by the Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers on June 13th4 and communicated to the German Government by Marshal Foch, vide his telegram No. 3029 dated June 18th President of the Inter-Allied Armistice Commission at Spa, it is Resolved: Question of Direct Relation Between General Gough and the German. (See HD–1 paragraph 10.3)

that General Gough shall be authorised to deal directly with local enemy commanders in the Baltic States on matters arising from the above decision;
that General Gough shall have similar powers with regard to the execution of any subsequent decisions of the Allied and Associated Governments in connection with the German troops now in the Baltic States, all such decisions being in the first instance communicated to the German Government through the usual channels;
that Marshal Foch will be informed of this resolution and will be requested to communicate its substance to the German Government, with a request that the German Commanders in the Baltic States may be given the necessary instructions.

There was also a resolution of the Commission on Baltic Affairs:—

The Baltic Commission having been informed of the contents of the telegram[s] from General Gough and Colonel Tallents5 of 25th, 26th and 27th June respecting the necessity of an immediate credit of £500,000 in order to pay Russian and Lettish troops in Libau required for maintenance of order, consider that it is urgently necessary that this sum should at once be placed at the disposal of General Gough on grounds of military necessity as otherwise the position of the Interallied Mission and of General Gough will become shortly untenable in Latvia, and it will be impossible to enforce the evacuation of the German troops.

The Commission, however, desire to draw attention to the fact that this £500,000 is only sufficient to meet immediate military necessities and they therefore recommend that enquiries should be made as to what securities in the way of timber, flax or other raw materials the three Baltic States can give for a loan.

In case such a loan can be raised either from one or more of the Allied and Associated Governments or from private banking institutions on the basis of such security it is recommended that the above advance of £500,000 should ultimately be merged in this loan.

The first was intended to place General Gough in direct relation with the Germans in order to ensure their retirement from the Baltic Provinces.

[Page 49]

The second related to a different point though it was also connected with the retirement of the Germans. It appeared that the Germans had been paying the Russian Forces in those parts. Those forces must be maintained, therefore paid. General Gough required £500,000 to do this. He supposed that there was no choice but to agree. He confessed that it was news to him that the Germans had hitherto paid those troops. If, however, the Allies had to become the Paymasters of those forces, he thought it best to entrust the money to General Gough, the Allied Representative, on the spot for proper disbursement.

Mr. Lansing observed that this was a new proposal. The United States were in a difficult position in matters of this kind. He knew of no fund out of which such a cost could be defrayed. American laws were very stringent on the subject of spending money. Until July 1st, while the President was in Paris, there had been funds which he could spend at his discretion. At present there were no funds available. The only means of raising money for such a purpose that he could think of was a loan. Seeing that there was no recognised Government in the Countries in question, it did not appear possible to raise a loan.

M. Clemenceau said that it was not clear to him how the French contribution could be raised.

Report of Committee on Repatriation of Austrian Prisoners of War (It was decided to accept the first resolution and to refer the second for report to the Financial Commission.)

(6) The proposed reply of the Committee (see Annex 1) was accepted.

(7) After some discussion the French text (see Annex II) was accepted with slight alterations. The adjective “German” was suppressed in connection with the expression of “Austria” or “Austrian” and the sentence regarding the boycotting of Serbian cattle was struck out. Reply to the Austrian Note on the Economic Classes of the Treaty

(7) [sic] (It was decided that the answers accepted by the Council regarding economic questions, the League of Nations and Consular and Diplomatic Agents in South America should be handed to the Austrian Delegation on the 9th July, and that the replies should be given to the Press on the evening of the 9th July, so as to be published on the morning of the 10th.)Communication of Replies to Austrian Notes and Publication in the Press

Villa Majestic, Paris, 8 July, 1919.

[Page 50]

Annex I to HD–2

Report of the Prisoners of War Commission on the Observations Submitted by the Austrian Delegation Regarding the Conditions of Peace

The Chairman of the Delegation of the Austrian Republic requested in his letter of 27th May6 that General Slatin7 might be allowed to approach the Peace Conference, so as to be able to study with it the questions concerning Austrian prisoners. The Supreme Council having decided to accede to this request, the Prisoners of War Commission visited St. Germain-en-Laye on the 10th June, in order to confer with General Slatin.

The Austrian Delegate submitted two series of requests to the Commission—the first for the purpose of obtaining, without any delay, measures intended to hasten the repatriation of prisoners, the second relating to the text of the Conditions of Peace themselves, and intended to obtain the alteration thereof.

The Austrian Delegate made the following general demands, viz:—

That the first convoys of prisoners to be repatriated be formed immediately. In his opinion, as hostilities are at an end, it is very important, from a humanitarian point of view, that an end be put to the suffering entailed by prolonged captivity, and from a political point of view, that the increasing anxiety of more than a million families be allayed.
That, in any event, the Commission and Sub-Commissions referred to in Article 2 of the Conditions of Peace (Prisoners of War Section) be formed immediately and put in the way of beginning their search without the least delay.
That the Austrian Government be immediately authorized to send delegates to prison camps, for the purpose of rendering material help and moral consolation, and more especially that a delegate be authorized to proceed to Siberia for the purpose of setting repatriation in train.

The Commission has not found it possible to accede to these requests.

As regards the first two, they aim at nothing less than the carrying out of certain clauses of the Conditions of Peace before such conditions have been finally accepted by the Austrian Government. The means of hastening such execution lie ready to the Austrian Delegation’s hand—it has only to render the Treaty definitive by signing it. The Treaty forms a single whole and it would be dangerous to permit only those clauses which are favourable to our enemies to come into force.

As regards the third demand, it must be remembered (a) that admission [Page 51] of Austrian Delegates to camps in the Allied and Associated countries might result in the introduction of enemy nationals within our territories before the conclusion of peace; it would be dangerous and unjustifiable from any valid point of view. Austrian prisoners continue to be visited by delegates of the Protecting Power and by representatives of the International and the neutral Red Cross, (b) That in Siberia the work of such a Delegation would not be understood, and the latter practically would be unable to fulfill its mission. It seems to the Commission inadmissible from every point of view that the representatives of an enemy power should receive special authorization to enter into relations with authorities not representing either an Allied or Associated Power. If Austrian prisoners captured by the Allied and Associated armies are concerned, the Sub-Commissions mentioned in the Treaty will see to their repatriation; if Austrian prisoners captured by the Russian armies are concerned, the Austrian Government will be obliged to wait until some Russian Government shall be officially recognized and delegates thereof admitted as members of the Commission and Sub-Commissions provided for in the Treaty of Peace.

B. [sic] The Austrian delegate further submitted certain observations and formulated requests for alterations of various conditions of the Treaty of Peace itself, viz:—

(1) With regard to Article 2, the Austrian delegate requested that it be specified that this Article should apply to all Austrian prisoners, including those interned in Siberia and Turkestan.

The Commission considers that the contents of this Article are of a general nature, and that its application would be in accordance with the conditions specified above.

(2) With regard to Article 4, the Austrian Delegate requested that the cost of repatriation be borne by the Austrian Government from the frontier of the captor state only.

It is impossible for the Commission to consider this suggestion. There is no reason why any distinction should be made in this respect between Germany and Austria. It would, moreover, be dangerous not to ensure that the Austrian Government should be interested financially in the supply to the Allied countries of all means of transport which that Government may still be in a position to provide for repatriation.

(3) With regard to Articles 5 and 6, it was asked that it should be clearly set forth that only prisoners guilty of offences against civil law are excluded from repatriation.

The same remark had already been submitted by the German Delegation.8 The liberal interpretation of this clause ought to reassure [Page 52] the Austrian Delegation sufficiently as to the manner in which it will be applied.

(4) With regard to Articles 9 and 10 which provide for the Commission to search for missing men, and the restitution of objects, valuables and papers belonging to prisoners, General Slatin requested that reciprocity be provided for.

On that point also the German Delegation submitted a similar request,9 and the reply made thereto by the Supreme Council10 applies to the present demand.

Facilities for searching for missing men have always been afforded in Allied countries, and the restitution of individual property is an obvious obligation which the Allied Powers intend to respect. By mentioning them in the Treaty with Austria, it was the intention of the Allied and Associated Powers to impose on her the fulfilment of duties which she has sometimes disregarded.

(5) A single remark appeared to the Commission to be worthy of note. The date of 1st. May settled by Article 5 as the latest date for punishment of offences against discipline which do not necessitate the detention of offenders, is the same for Germans as for Austrian prisoners. General Slatin asked that, as regards the latter, this date should be altered to June 15th. or 1st. June at least, seeing that the Conditions of Peace were communicated to the Austrian Delegation a month after their communication to the German Delegation.

This remark appeared to be reasonable. By specifying an outside date the Commission wished to be in some measure secured against lack of discipline among prisoners of war made aware, by the Treaty of Peace, of their comparative immunity. The requisite conditions would be sufficiently fulfilled, if the date of May 1st. specified for German prisoners were altered to 1st. June for Austrians.

In view of above, the Prisoners of War Commission begs to suggest to the Supreme Council that, out of the observations and demands set forth in the Report of the Austrian Delegation, only the one concerning the substitution of 1st. June for 1st. May (in Article 5 of the Conditions) be retained.

[Page 53]

Annex 2 to HD–2


Reply to the Notes of the Austrian Delegation Relating to Economic Conditions

To: His Excellency, M. Renner, President of the Austrian Delegation.

From: The President of the Peace Conference.

The notes of June 10, 12, 16, 23, and 25 have been given careful examination by the Allied and Associated Powers.

These notes pertain to two main questions, as regards matters of an economic nature;

The liquidation of Austrian property in the states formed from the former Dual Monarchy, or in the states receiving territories of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The non-reciprocity of Articles 1 to 4 of Part X (Economic clauses).

On these two points, the Allied and Associated Powers feel bound to present both complementary explanations and new texts.

1. They believe it their duty to take into consideration the remarks contained in the Austrian note of June 23 insofar as concerns the probable effect upon the economic life of Austria of the rights which the states holding territories which formerly belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy would have of retaining and liquidating all the property which Austrian nationals or companies controlled by them possessed in these territories, on the date of November 1, 1918.

They consider that the remarks in question are not without value, and in consequence they have decided to suppress Article 49 of Part X (Economic clauses) of the Draft of the Treaty previously submitted, and to substitute for it the following article, which gives complete satisfaction to the desire which the Austrian Delegation expressed in this matter, in the above mentioned notes:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 32 of the annex to Section IV of Part X (Economic clauses), all the property, rights and interests of Austrian nationals or of companies controlled by them, situated in the territories which formed part of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy will not be subjected to retention or liquidation through application of said provisions.

The property, rights and interests mentioned here do not include the property considered in Article XII of Part X [IX] (Financial clauses)”.

[Page 54]

The present article in no way affects the provisions contained in Chapter [Part] VIII (Reparations), Section I, Annex 3, insofar as the property of the Austrian nationals in the way of ships and boats is concerned.

2. The second claim of the Austrian Delegation concerns the non-reciprocity of Articles 1 to 4 of Part X (Economic clauses).

Certain arguments in the way of facts which the Austrian Delegation opposes to these clauses cannot, it seems to us, be admitted:

In the first place, the objection raised by the Austrian Delegation on the question of monopolies is not justified by the text of the articles. It is in no way the intention of the Allies to do anything further than demand that the Austrian Government make identical contracts with each country for the furnishing of products which would form the object of a state monopoly. All that is demanded is that a monopoly be not systematically used, either to favor one state at the expense of another, or to institute a systematic difference in the treatment of the products of the Contracting Powers which would oppose the object which these articles have in view.

Moreover, concerning the restrictions of imports necessitated by the existence of epizootics, it is recognized that the treatment of live stock imported from a country suffering from an epidemic must necessarily be different from that accorded to the countries not suffering from it. All that is asked is that all the laws in the matter be uniformly applied to the countries in similar conditions, and that no legislative or administrative measure of this nature be made in the future, as has sometimes happened in the past, the subject of discrimination to the detriment of products of one of the Allied or Associated States unless the circumstances justify it.

Concerning the general thesis of the Austrian Delegation, in virtue of which it claims that the absence of reciprocity for clauses 1 to 4 endangers the economic life of the country, it must be remarked that this fact is nullified by the provisions of Article 6.

Article 6 provides, in fact, for the conclusion between Austria on one hand and Czecho-Slovakia or Hungary on the other of special customs agreements, the benefit of which will not extend to the other Allied and Associated States. The effects of these agreements, which may be concluded immediately after the signing of the Treaty, is to make it possible for Austria to insure for herself, within the limit of these agreements, not only the treatment of the most favored nation in Czecho-Slovakia, but even an exceptionally favorable treatment which Czecho-Slovakia will be able to accord to her without extending it to her neighbors.

The provisions of Article 6 are destined to make it possible for Austria to effect commercial exchanges with the countries from which [Page 55] she drew her principal resources and to which she sent her products for the most part. The possibility of these preferential exchanges destroys the force of the Austrian claims.

The Allied and Associated Powers desire nevertheless that Austrian exports should not be exposed to unfriendly restrictions, and that moreover the essential interest of the new states be respected in such a way that they may, for a period of five years at least, insure the introduction of their products to the Austrian markets under reasonable conditions.

Circumstances resulting directly from the war, and which affect many of the Allied and Associated Powers, absolutely exclude, on the other hand, the possibility of their opening their markets at once to Austrian products under conditions as favorable in all respects as they can do for other nations.

Under these conditions, the Allied and Associated Powers are led to the conclusion that, if the period during which Articles 1 to 4 of Part X must remain in force is not to be modified, it is not inadmissible that before the expiration of the period above provided, the States which seek to obtain the benefit of these articles should fulfill certain correlative conditions.

Under these conditions, the Allied and Associated Powers are ready to accept the addition to Article 15 of Part X of a supplementary paragraph in the following form:

“It is nevertheless understood that the obligation imposed on Austria by Articles 1 to 4 of Part X will not be invoked, unless the League of Nations decides differently, after the expiration of a time limit of three years from the date when the present Treaty goes into force, by an Allied or Associated Power which does not accord to Austria a correlative treatment.”

  1. Commander of the French forces in Fiume.
  2. For notes of this separate meeting of the heads of the American, British and French delegations, see HD–2A, p. 56.
  3. The note does not accompany the minutes.
  4. CF–63, minute 5, vol. vi, p. 373.
  5. Ante, p. 41.
  6. Chief of the British Economic Mission to Latvia.
  7. Appendix I to CF–37B, vol. vi, p. 86.
  8. Gen. Rudolph Slatin, expert adviser on prisoners of war, Austrian delegation to the Peace Conference.
  9. Appendix III to CF–9, vol. v, p. 574.
  10. Appendix III to CF–9, vol. v, p. 574.
  11. Appendix IV to CF–20, vol. v, p. 749.
  12. The French text which accompanies the file copy of the minutes is the text of the note as transmitted; this translation of it is filed under Paris Peace Conf. 185.22/59 and has been slightly revised by the editors.