Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/43


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 Saturday, August 30, 1919, at 11 a.m.

  • Present
    • United States of America
      • Hon. F. L. Polk.
    • Secretary
      • Mr. L. Harrison.
    • British Empire
      • Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour.
    • Secretaries
      • Mr. H. Norman.
      • Sir George Clerk.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau.
      • 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
United States of America Capt. Chapin.
British Empire Lt-Commander Bell.
France M. de Percin.
Italy Lt-Colonel Jones.
Interpreter—M. Meyer

The following also attended for the items with which they were concerned.

  • United States of America
    • Dr. James Brown Scott.
    • Mr. Woolsey.
  • British Empire
    • Mr. C. J. B. Hurst.
    • Mr. J. W. Headlam-Morley.
    • Major-General Sir C. J. Sackville-West.
    • Mr. H. Nicolson.
    • Mr. A. Leeper.
  • France
    • M. Tardieu.
    • M. Cambon.
    • M. Laroche.
    • M. Fromageot.
    • M. Hermitte.
    • M. Massigli.
    • M. Kammerer.
  • Italy
    • Count Vannutelli-Rey.
    • M. Galli.
    • M. Castoldi.
    • M. Ricci-Busatti.
[Page 13]

1. M. Cambon read aloud the French text of the draft covering letter, in reply to the Austrian counter-proposals, prepared by Mr. Philip Kerr. On concluding, he remarked that the letter now before the Council was longer than the former communication drafted by the Editing Committee. He further remarked, that, in Mr. Philip Kerr’s draft covering letter, no mention was made of the fact that the Allied and Associated Powers had decided to call the new Austrian State the Austrian Republic, and to avoid all mention of the expression “German Austria”. The Covering Letter in Reply to the Austrian Counter proposals. (See Appendix A)

M. Tittoni said that it had been decided that the expression “Republic of Austria” should be employed in all official communications addressed to that Country. He did not think that it was within the power of the Council to do more. (See H. D. 29, Minute 4.)1

M. Clemenceau said that he agreed with M. Tittoni.

M. Cambon read the passage in the original covering letter drafted by the Editing Committee, dealing explicitly with the point in question (see H. D. 38, Appendix “F”).2

Mr. Balfour said that he wished to make a general comparison between the former document, prepared by the Editing Committee, and the one now before the Council. He accepted M. Cambon’s statement that the new draft covering letter was longer than the former. He also agreed with him that the new letter omitted certain points which had been dealt with by the Editing Committee. With regard to the manner in which the Austrian Government should henceforth be addressed, the Council had always referred to the “Austrian Republic” in all official documents, and it was not possible to do more than this. Neither the Council nor the League of Nations could prevent any Country from conferring upon itself any title that it might desire to be known by. The original document drawn up by the Editing Committee was an extremely able one and a proof of this statement consisted in the fact that the new draft before the Council was based entirely upon the old covering letter, to which it owed everything. None the less, he preferred the new version to the old. What was desired was a document drafted in such a form, that it should be read widely in Allied, and in enemy, countries. This document should, moreover, express in the clearest and most forcible terms, the main contention of the Allied and Associated Governments, which was that the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy had largely caused the war and that the Austrian Republic was the direct successor of the old Kingdom. He thought that this main argument was expressed with greater force in the new document. If, however, [Page 14] the Council desired to adhere to the former draft covering letter drawn up by the Editing Committee, he would point out that it had not been the work of a single mind; that, in consequence, it contained a certain number of repetitions; and that it insisted on details, which, though important to the Allied Governments, and possibly to Austria, would not excite the interest of the ordinary public.

He thought that in the new document, Italy’s case had been better stated. Attention was drawn to the selfish and unscrupulous manner in which the old Austro-Hungarian Monarchy had always tried to arrange her frontiers with Italy in such a way that she would have that country at her mercy. He did not think that too much emphasis could be given to this. In favouring the acceptance of the new document before the Council, he based his preference on the conviction that it would be more accessible to the mind of the ordinary public throughout the world.

Mr. Polk said that there was no great choice between either draft. On the whole, however, he was ready to agree with Mr. Balfour to accept the one prepared by Mr. Philip Kerr, but drew attention to the fact that a few changes would be necessary in it.

M. Tittoni said that the new document before the Council had been very well drawn up, and that it possessed the qualities ascribed to it by Mr. Balfour. He therefore accepted it.

M. Matsui said that he accepted the English draft.

M. Cambon drew attention to the fact that in the old draft letter drawn up by the Editing Committee, the question of a possible union between Germany and Austria was dealt with. It was not mentioned in the new document.

M. Clemenceau said that the question of the future relations between Germany and Austria would be discussed.

M. Cambon drew attention to the American proposal contained in Appendix F of H. D. 38.3 This proposal pointed out that the original covering letter was not in agreement with the preamble of the Peace Treaty on the subject of the present status of Austria.

Mr. Polk, in further explanation, stated that in the preamble of the Peace Treaty the words “Austria is recognised as a new and independent State under the name of the Republic of Austria” appeared. In the original covering letter, Austria had been treated as the successor of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. He suggested that the matter could be settled by deleting from the preamble of the Treaty the phrase above quoted. In addition to this, the word “Austria” on page 8 of the preamble, should be replaced by the expression “Republic of Austria”.

[Page 15]

Mr. Balfour remarked that the words “Austria is recognised as a new and independent State” had been inserted by President Wilson, who would not, he thought, raise any objection to their suppression.

Mr. Polk said that the manner in which Austria was referred to in the preamble had an important bearing upon the future obligations of the new Republic. The phrase in question affected the Peace Treaty; the covering letter was not concerned with it.

M. Tittoni remarked that in the new document before the Council, the “tyranny” of the old Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was emphasised in one place and the “centralization” of that Government in another. He thought that the last expression weakened the first.

Mr. Balfour said that the centralization of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy had been drawn attention to, in order to show the Austrian people how much the dominant position of Vienna, in former days, stood to their prejudice at present.

Mr. Polk said that on page 7 of the English Draft, the words “Committees who reported on the question” should be replaced by the word “Conference”. He also said that the resolution passed on the previous day, with regard to Radkersburg, made it necessary to amend the statement on the subject of the Austro-Hungarian frontiers.

M. Tardieu said that a small sub-Committee of the Reparations Commission had been of the opinion that a special clause (see Appendix “B”) should be inserted in the draft letter.

Mr. Balfour said that he thought such a clause ought to be put in a separate document.

(After some discussion, it was agreed the proposed special clause should be added to the covering letter, in some way, possibly, as a footnote.)

It was decided:—

That the covering letter prepared by Mr. Philip Kerr, and submitted to the Council, should be accepted as a whole, but that the following modifications4 should be introduced:—5
Page 7 (English Text) Paragraph 4. Lines 8 & 9, the words “Committees who reported on the question”, should be replaced by the word “Conference”.
That the statements in Paragraph 4, Page 7 (English Text) on the subject of the Austrian frontiers, should be amended in [Page 16] conformity with the resolution taken on the previous day with regard to Radkersburg and Marburg (See H. D. 42, Minute L)6
That the draft resolution passed by the Sub-Committee of the Reparation Commission (See Appendix “B”) should be added to the covering letter in the form of a foot-note, or in some other suitable manner.
It was also decided that the following changes should be made in the preamble of the Peace Treaty with Austria:—
On Page 8, Line 11 from the bottom, the word “Austria” should be replaced by the words “Republic of Austria”.
On Page 8, Lines 5 & 6 from the bottom the words “Austria is recognised as a new and independent State under the name of the Republic of Austria”, should be deleted.)

2. The Council took note of the reply of the Drafting Committee to the question put before it by the Council on the 27th [28th] August.

(See H. D. 39, Minute 4,7 and See Appendix “C”.)

M. Clemenceau said that he could not agree with the reply of the Drafting Committee. In his opinion, Article 61 of the new German Constitution not only violated the Treaty of Versailles, but called for the collaboration of the Austrian Republic in that very violation. The situation caused was a serious one, and must be faced. In his opinion, the attention of the German Government should be called to this act of violation and should be forced to give a reply. He thought that the Drafting Committee’s argument was an extremely clever one, but the assent of the German Government to that argument must be obtained. International lawyers were notorious for their differences of opinion. One lawyer would assert that an object-was red, another that it was blue, whilst a third would be equally certain that it had no color at all. These differences of opinion, though entertaining, were not a suitable basis for measures affecting the peace of Europe. Article in the German Constitution Violating the Peace Treaty With Germany. (Reference HD–42, Minute 6)8

Mr. Balfour said that there were two questions before the Council. Firstly, the insertion of a clause in the Peace Treaty with Austria, with a view to counteracting the provisions of Article 61 of the new German Constitution; and, secondly, the action which should be taken with regard to Germany in view of her violation of the Peace Treaty of Versailles. He would like to know the opinion of the lawyers of the Drafting Committee upon the legal side of the question.

Dr. Scott said that, in his opinion, the insertion of Article 61 in the German Constitution showed that the German Government had wilfully, deliberately, and without cause, broken the pact into which she had entered at Versailles.

[Page 17]

M. Clemenceau said that it might be sufficient to make the Austrian Government undertake not to be a party to the German Government’s manoeuvre.

(It was agreed that a special clause should be inserted in the Peace Treaty with Austria.)

Mr. Balfour said that he agreed with M. Clemenceau, but that he would like to hear a concise statement of the problem in international law raised by Article 61. He believed that the Drafting Committee had not been unanimous in its opinion on the subject.

M. Fromageot said that he thought that the new German Constitution violated the Peace Treaty, and added, that the advice to the Council, in the form submitted, had been unanimously accepted by the Drafting Committee.

M. Clemenceau said that he had news, in the form of a letter, which he had not yet circulated to the Council, that the attitude of the German Government was quite unsatisfactory. They were opposing Allied action in Silesia and his latest information was to the effect, that one army corps would now be necessary for that country. All this only constituted an extra proof of the bad faith of the German people, and its Government.

Mr. Hurst said that there had been a difference of opinion in the Drafting Committee as to the extent to which the Peace Treaty of Versailles had been violated, although all were agreed that it had been violated in a certain degree. The point at issue was as follows. Article 80 of the Peace Treaty with Germany contained two references to the independence of Austria. In the first, Germany was called upon “to respect strictly the independence of Austria.” In the second, she agreed that “this independence shall be inalienable.” Undoubtedly Article 61 of the German Constitution violated the letter of the Peace of Versailles, but it was in the form of an invitation to Austria to join Germany. A country’s independence was recognised by abstaining from all acts of coercion against it; and an invitation, which was the very reverse of a coercive measure, could hardly be said to threaten the independence of a sovereign State.

M. Tardieu said that Mr. Hurst’s argument was to the effect that Article 61 of the German Constitution exerted no pressure against Austria. The Peace Treaty of Versailles, however, stipulated that nothing should be done to interfere with Austrian independence. As an act prejudicial to that independence had been taken, the question of whether there had, or had not, been direct pressure, could be laid to one side.

M. Clemenceau said that he thought a letter should be sent on the subject to the German Government, which should be called upon to reply.

[Page 18]

M. Tardieu said that the action of the German Government had been taken by the Legislative Authorities. In previous cases (Slesvig, etc.) the Executive Authorities had been concerned. In either case, the Council could act.

M. Clemenceau said that the Council was called upon to take a political and not a legal decision; and suggested that Mr. Balfour, who was a moderate man, should draft the communication to be sent to the German Government.

Mr. Balfour said that he did not think that moderation was the exact quality required, and he thought that M. Berthelot, who was not a moderate man, ought to draft the letter.

M. Tittoni remarked that the cases of Austria and of Germany was not quite analogous. Germany must be called upon to perform her Treaty engagements. He did not know whether Austria could be called upon to settle, finally, her future condition, at the dictation of the Council.

M. Pichon said that in the draft Article for insertion in the Peace Treaty with Austria (See Appendix “C”), the manner in which the future independence of Austria was to be assured by the League of Nations was clearly provided for.

(It was agreed:—

that the draft Article regarding the independence of Austria (See Appendix “C”) should be accepted and inserted in the Austrian Peace Treaty;
that M. Berthelot should draft a letter for transmission to the German Government on the subject of Article 61 of the new German Constitution and should submit his draft to the Council at its next meeting.)

3. The Council took note of the Drafting Committee’s report on the draft articles to be inserted in the Peace Treaty with Austria, for the settlement of differences between States called upon by that Treaty to conclude special Conventions. (See Annex “D”.)

(After some discussion, it was decided that the draft articles for insertion in the Peace Treaty with Austria—See Annex “D”—should be accepted.) Draft Articles for the Treaty With Austria for the Settlement of Differences Between States Called Upon by the Treaty To Conclude Special Conventions

4. The Council took note of a document drawing attention to the divergences between the French and English texts of the Covenant of the League of Nations. (See Annex “E”.) Languages of the Peace Treaty

Mr. Balfour proposed the following draft resolution:—

“The present Treaty in French, in English and in Italian shall be ratified. In case of divergence, the French text shall prevail, except in Parts I and XIII, where the French and English texts shall be of equal force.”

[Page 19]

He said that in bringing forward this resolution, he desired to make it quite clear, that he did not wish it to be thought, that he was provoking a competition for priority between the French and English languages:

(After some discussion, it was agreed:—

That in the case of divergence between the French, English and Italian texts of the Peace Treaty with Austria, the French text should prevail, except in parts I and XIII, where the French and English texts should be of equal force.
That the Drafting Committee should insert an Article in the Peace Treaty with Austria in conformity with the aforesaid resolution.)

5. The Council took note of a communication from M. Pachitch, on behalf of the Yugo-Slav State, to the effect that the Yugo-Slav Government could not undertake to sign the Peace Treaty with Austria, until the special Treaty between themselves and the Allied & Associated Govts., provided for in Article 59 of the Peace Treaty with Austria, had been communicated to them. Proposed Treaty Between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and the Yugo-Slav State

(It was agreed that the consideration of this question should be adjourned to the Meeting of the Council on Monday, September 1st, 1919.)

(The Meeting then adjourned.)

Appendix A to HD–43

Draft Covering Letter

1. The Allied and Associated Powers have given most careful consideration to the observations of the Austrian Delegation on the draft Treaty of Peace. The reply of the Austrian Delegation objects to the draft Treaty on the ground that, in view of the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, Austria ought not to be treated as an enemy state at all, and that in consequence she ought not to be made in any special way the inheritor of the responsibilities in regard to reparation to which the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy would undoubtedly be liable, did it still exist. As these observations point to a fundamental misconception of the responsibilities of the people of Austria, the Allied and Associated Powers feel it necessary to state, as briefly as may be, the principles which they consider must be applied to the settlement of the late war, so far as Austria is concerned.

[Page 20]

The people of Austria, together with their neighbours, the people of Hungary, bear in a peculiar degree the responsibility for the calamities which have befallen Europe in the last five years. The war was precipitated by an ultimatum presented to Serbia by the Government in Vienna and requiring acceptance within 48 hours of a series of demands which amounted to the destruction of the independence of a neighbouring sovereign State. The Royal Government of Serbia accepted within the prescribed time all the demands except those which involved the virtual surrender of its independence, yet the then Austro-Hungarian Government, refusing all offers of conference and conciliation on the basis of that reply, immediately opened hostilities against Serbia, thereby deliberately setting light to a train which led directly to universal war. It is now evident that this ultimatum was no more than an insincere excuse for beginning a war for which the late autocratic Government in Vienna, in close association with the rulers of Germany, had long prepared, and for which it considered the time had arrived. The presence of Austrian guns at the siege of Liége and Namur is a further proof, if proof were required, of the intimate association of the Government of Vienna with the Government of Berlin in its plot against the public law and the liberties of Europe.

The Austrian Delegation appear to think that the responsibility for these acts rested solely on the Hapsburg dynasty and its satellites, and that by reason of the dissolution of that Monarchy through the victory of the Allies, the people of Austria can escape responsibility for the deeds of a Government which was their own Government and which had its home in their capital. Had the people of Austria, in the years preceding the war endeavoured to curb the militarist and domineering spirit by which the Government of the Hapsburg Monarchy was animated, had they made any effective protest against the war, or refused to assist and support their rulers in prosecuting it, some attention might now be paid to this plea. But the fact that the war was acclaimed on its outbreak in Vienna, that the people of Austria were its ardent supporters from start to finish, and that they did nothing to dissociate themselves from the policy of their Government and its Allies until they had been defeated in the field, makes it clear, that according to any canon of justice, they must be held to bear their full measure of responsibility for the crime which has brought such misery on the world.

There is, however, a further fact to which the Allied and Associated Powers feel bound to point. The later Hapsburg system became, in its essence, a system for maintaining the ascendancy of the German and Magyar peoples over the majority of the inhabitants of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. This ancient and effete autocracy, [Page 21] with its militarist traditions, was maintained in existence through the vigorous support of the inhabitants of Austria and of Hungary, because it gave to them a position of political and economic domination over their fellow subjects. It was the policy of racial ascendancy and oppression, to which the people of Austria gave their steady support, which was one of the deeper causes of the war. It led to those irredentist movements along the frontiers of Austria-Hungary which kept Europe in a ferment of unrest. It led to the growing dependence of Austria-Hungary on Germany, and consequently to the subordination of Austro-Hungarian policy to the pan-German plans of domination, and in the end it led to a situation in which the rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy could see no other way of preserving their own power than to deliberately set to work to destroy the liberty of a small and independent State which kept alive the vision of liberty among their oppressed brethren, which blocked the way to Constantinople and the East. In the opinion, therefore, of the Allied and Associated Powers, it is impossible to admit the plea of the Austrian Delegation that the people of Austria do not share the responsibility of the Government which provoked the war, or that they ought to escape the duty of making reparation to the utmost of their capacity to those whom they, and the Government they sustained, have so grievously wronged. The principles upon which the draft Treaty was based must therefore stand. Until the signing of the Peace the people of Austria are, and will remain, an enemy people. Upon its signature they will become a state with whom the Allied and Associated Powers hope and expect to maintain friendly relations.

2. The Austrian Delegation have further protested against the arrangements under the Treaty governing their relations with the new States formed out of the late Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The Allied and Associated Powers feel bound to point out that the disabilities from which Austria will suffer will arise not from the provisions of the Treaty, but mainly from the policy of ascendancy which its people have pursued in the past. Had the policy of Austria-Hungary been one of liberality and justice to all its people, the Upper Danube States might have remained in friendly economic and political unity. As it was the policy of ascendancy produced one of the cruellest tragedies of the late war, when millions of the subject peoples of Austria-Hungary were driven, under pain of death, to fight against their will in an army which was being used to perpetuate their own servitude, as well as to compass the destruction of liberty in Europe. Many of these peoples protested against the war, and, for their protests, suffered confiscation, imprisonment or death. Many more, who were captured or escaped, joined the Armies of the Allies and played their [Page 22] part in the war of liberation. But they are now, one and all, determined, and rightly determined, to set themselves up as independent States. They will trust Vienna no more. The policy of ascendancy has borne its inevitable fruit in the fact of partition, and it is this partition which lies at the root of Austria’s troubles to-day. Vienna was made the economic and political centre of the Empire. Everything was artificially concentrated there. Outlying districts and railways were starved in order that the capital might thrive. The breakup of Austria-Hungary, cutting these centralised economic filaments in two, can hardly fail to inflict the severest blows upon the State of Austria and its capital. But the dissolution of the Monarchy, with its consequences, is the direct outcome of that fatal policy of domination for which the people of Austria are themselves principally to blame.

3. The Allied and Associated Powers, however, have no wish to add to the hardships of Austria’s position. On the contrary, they are anxious to do all in their power to assist her people to accommodate themselves to their new position and to recover their prosperity, provided always it is not at the expense of the new States formed out of the late Empire. The break-up of the Monarchy has given rise to many difficult problems in the relations between the new States which under the Treaty are its heirs. It has always been recognised as reasonable that the relations between the citizens of the succeeding States should be regulated in certain respects differently from the relations between the citizens of Austria and those of the other Allied and Associated Powers. But, in view of the observations of the Austrian Delegation, the Allied and Associated Powers, while adhering to the general lines of the Treaty, have made considerable modifications in its economic provisions. The property of Austrian nationals in the territories ceded to the Allied Powers is to be restored to its owners free from any measures of liquidation or transfer taken since the Armistice, and is guaranteed similar freedom from seizure or liquidation in the future. Contracts between Austrian nationals and persons who acquire under the Treaty an Allied nationality are maintained without the option of cancellation. Provision is made to ensure to Austria the supplies of coal from Czecho-Slovakia and Poland upon which she is dependent, in return for the reciprocal obligation to supply certain raw materials. Outstanding questions affecting nationals of Austria, which require settlement between Austria and its inheriting neighbours, are to be regulated by separate conventions, and these conventions are to be drawn up by a Conference to which Austria will be admitted on a footing of equality with the other States concerned. Details of these and other concessions will be found in the annexed reply.

[Page 23]

Finally, the Reparation Commission will be instructed to carry out the duties confided to it in a strictly humanitarian manner. It will have due regard to the vital interests of the community, and will permit any mitigations which it may consider required by the food situation in Austria.

4. As regards the territorial limits established for the Republic of Austria, the Allied and Associated Powers are unable to admit any modifications in the decisions already communicated. Those decisions were arrived at after months of careful examination, and the observations furnished by the Austrian Delegation have been found to contain no arguments which had not been considered by the Conference.

In general, the Allied and Associated Powers have endeavoured to determine the boundaries of the States formed out of the late Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in such an equitable way as to conduce to the lasting peace of Central Europe. Thus they have drawn for Czechoslovakia the historical frontiers of the crown of Bohemia, and, so far as Austria is concerned, they have only departed from this frontier in two minor instances where the economic interests of the new State appeared, and still appear, to outweigh the claims of the Austrian Republic. In the case of Yugo-Slavia the Allied and Associated Powers have so far as possible followed the admitted linguistic boundary. As regards Hungary they have included within Austria certain German-speaking districts hitherto included within the Hungarian frontier. They believe that the frontiers now arranged are those which will best guarantee the existence of all the peoples concerned, including the Austrian, without exposing them to anarchy or internecine competition.

As regards the Tyrol, the Allied and Associated Powers have been impressed by the fact that for decades the Italian people have suffered from the menace deliberately directed at their heart by the retention in Austro-Hungarian hands of military outposts commanding the Italian plains. In these circumstances they have thought it best to accord to Italy the natural frontier of the Alps, which she has long demanded.

5. The Allied and Associated Powers would further remind the Austrian Delegation that the Treaty of Peace makes special provisions for the protection of small communities such as the new Austria. It will no longer be possible for powerful empires to threaten with impunity the political or economic life of their lesser neighbours. The clauses relating to Ports and Waterways guarantee to Austria under international sanction access to the sea by land and water. The Labour clauses will help to preserve the rights and raise the standards of life of her working population. The minority Treaties will safeguard the political, religious and linguistic rights of minorities transferred [Page 24] to a new sovereignty under the Treaty of Peace. The League of Nations is not only a protector of Austria’s rights and liberty, to which the Allied and Associated Powers hope that the Republic of Austria will be admitted at a very early date, [sic]9 will not only protect the right of all signatories to the Treaty, but creates the means whereby such adjustments as facts or changing circumstances may prove to be necessary in the peace settlement itself, can be peacefully and lawfully made. These features of the settlement proposed should not be forgotten.

6. In conclusion, the Allied and Associated Powers wish to make it clear that the modifications which they have now made in the draft Treaty are, final. They wish further to state that if they have not replied specifically to every point in the reply of the Austrian Delegation, it is not because they have not taken them into careful consideration, nor must the absence of any reply be taken as an acquiescence in, or an approval of, these contentions, nor must the present reply be taken as an authoritative interpretation of the text of the Treaty.

The text of the Treaty which we send you to-day following upon that of the 20th July last, which had already undergone considerable changes since the original text of the 2nd June, must be accepted or rejected in the exact terms in which it is now drafted.

Consequently the Allied and Associated Powers require from the Austrian Delegation within a period of five days counting from the date of the present communication, a declaration informing them that they are prepared to sign this Treaty as it now stands.

So soon as this declaration has reached the Allied and Associated Powers, arrangements will be made for the immediate signature of peace at St. Germain-en-Laye.

In default of such a declaration within the period above specified, the armistice concluded on the 3rd November, 1918, shall be considered as having terminated, and the Allied and Associated Powers will take such steps as they may judge necessary to impose their conditions.

Please accept, Monsieur le President, the assurances, etc.

[Page 25]

Appendix B to HD–43


Draft of a letter, agreed upon by the Representatives on the Reparations Commission:—

United States Mr. J. F. Dulles.
British Empire Colonel Peel.
France M. Loucheur.
Italy M. d’Amelio.

In the carrying out of article 175 of the Conditions of Peace with Austria, the Reparations Commission can delegate such powers as it will judge proper to the section formed to consider the special questions arising from the application of the treaty.


The Commission shall receive instructions so that this special section may assemble in regular manner at Vienna and in the shortest possible time after the coming into effect of the treaty.

This section, acting as representative of the Reparations Commission in all matters relating to a survey of the resources and capacities of Austria, shall receive all the information which it may require and which is provided for in article 182 of the Conditions of Peace.

It shall be charged with “hearing all the arguments and testimony presented by Austria on all questions relating to her capacity to make payment” (Annex II of Part VIII).

To facilitate the presentation of documents and testimony, Austria will be represented before the section by a commissioner who will be summoned to the sessions of the section whenever it may be deemed necessary, but who shall not have the right to vote.

The section shall be charged with observance of the financial adjustments, with mediation between the interested governments under the conditions prescribed in article 211, and with naming arbiters upon demand of the interested governments.

Appendix C to HD–43


[Report of the Drafting Committee]

Article 61 of the German Constitution

In response to the decision of August 27th [28th] last,11 the Draft, ing Committee has agreed to submit to the Supreme Council the following opinion:—

[Page 26]

(1) Article 61 of the German Constitution of August 11, 1919, is not consistent with the spirit of article 80 of the German Treaty.

(2) The dispatch of the note formulated below, and the insertion of the following stipulation in the Austrian Treaty would tend to prevent subsequent disputes:

(a) Note to Germany:

The Allied and Associated Powers, having taken note of the German Constitution of August 11, 1919, inform the German Government that they consider that the provision in article 61, paragraph 2, of the said Constitution does not satisfy the spirit of article 80 of the Treaty of Peace signed at Versailles on June 28, 1919, and that, in accordance with article 178 of that Constitution, the provision referred to above cannot have any effect out of harmony with the conditions stipulated in article 80 of the said Treaty of Peace.

(b) Draft of an article to be inserted in the Austrian Treaty:

The independence of Austria is inalienable except by consent of the Council of the League of Nations. Austria undertakes, therefore, to refrain, unless by consent of the said Council, from any act tending to compromise its independence directly or indirectly and by any means whatever, and particularly, before its admission as a member of the League of Nations, by way of participation in the affairs of some other power.

For the Drafting Committee,
Henri Fromageot

Appendix D to HD–43


[Report of the Drafting Committee]

By its resolution of August 23 [22]14, the Supreme Council has asked of the Drafting Committee the folowing question:

“Numerous points in the treaty must be settled by convention between interested states. What procedure is to be followed? To what arbitration is there to be an appeal if one of the interested states raises objections? Is article 13 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which provides for a procedure, adequate?”

The Drafting Committee has the honor to reply as follows:

Article 13 of the Covenant contemplates a dispute between members of the League of Nations, and is not applicable, therefore, [Page 27] to a dispute with Austria so long as the latter is not included in the League;
So far it would not appear that a method of arbitration or other procedure is provided by the treaty for the case under consideration;
The following arrangement may be proposed:
In every case in which the present treaty provides for the settlement of a particular question between certain states by means of a special convention to be concluded between the interested states, it is now and hereafter understood among the High Contracting Parties that the difficulties which may arise in this respect should be settled by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, until such time as Austria may be admitted as a member of the League of Nations.

For the Drafting Committee,
Henri Fromageot

Appendix E to HD–43

Divergences in the Covenant

Report of the Committee shows that the French text is in many places capable of bearing a different interpretation to the English, though the English was the text originally agreed to.

Article 1. French text might mean that a signatory power who fails to ratify the Treaty might join the League by adhering. The English text makes it plain that it is only non-signatories who can adhere.

Again as to withdrawal. Withdrawal is only permissible if two years notice is given and all obligations have been fulfilled “à ce moment”. Under the French text these words are ambiguous, but the English makes it clear that it applies to the moment of withdrawal.

Article 10.—in many ways the most important of the Covenant. The English text makes it clear that the guarantee is only against external aggression, whereas the French is vaguer and might imply a guarantee against aggression including internal.

The English text is necessary therefore to give precision to the meaning.

The German Treaty has now been signed and cannot be altered. In that Treaty the French and English texts are of equal value; consequently the divergences cannot be got rid of.

If the Austrian Treaty is signed with a provision that the French text shall prevail, additional complications to those given above will ensue.

e. g. China, having refused to sign the German Treaty will come into the League through the Austrian Treaty: her rights and her obligations under the League and those of other Powers towards her would be that of the French text alone. The somewhat serious [Page 28] divergence in Article 10 under which the Powers undertake to preserve the Members from all aggression, including internal, in the French text, and from external aggression in the English text is of particular importance in the case of China.

It would be equally impossible in the Austrian Treaty to make the English text alone the predominant text, because that again would change the status quo created by the German Treaty.

The position of neutral States which are to adhere must be borne in mind. There is but one League and one Covenant, and it would be intolerable if a State might claim to have adhered under the Austrian Treaty and therefore be bound by slightly different rules.

The only course is to perpetuate the conditions of the German Treaty and to make the French and English text of the Covenant of equal value in all treaties in which the Covenant is reproduced.

The Labour Convention is also reproduced textually from the German Treaty and will appear in all the Treaties of Peace. Whatever rule is adopted as to the Covenant should apply to the Labour Convention.

To give effect to the suggestion the Drafting Committee should be directed to word the Final Clause as follows:—

The present Treaty in French, in English and in Italian shall be ratified. In case of divergence the French text shall prevail, except in Parts I and XIII where the French and English texts shall be of equal force.

  1. Vol. vii, p. 672.
  2. Ibid., pp. 859, 860.
  3. Vol. vii, pp. 859, 912.
  4. Modification (a) has already been made in the copy of the draft letter which accompanies the minutes as appendix A.
  5. In Resolutions Adopted by the Supreme Council, August 30, 1919 (Paris Peace Conf. 180.03502/43), this paragraph reads as follows:

    “It was agreed that the covering letter prepared by Mr. Philip Kerr and submitted to the Council should be accepted as a whole, but that the following modifications should be introduced therein by Mr. Philip Kerr, who should transmit his text to the Editing Committee:”

  6. Ante, p. 2.
  7. Vol. vii, p. 937.
  8. Ante, p. 5.
  9. This clause is misplaced and apparently is a typographical error. The final text of the letter, as printed in Senate Document No. 121, 66th Cong., 1st sess., p. 7, reads as follows: “The League of Nations to which the Allied and Associated Powers hope the Republic of Austria may be admitted at an early date is not only the protectress of the rights and liberties of Austria; it will protect not merely the rights of all the signatories of the Treaty; it institutes at the same time the organism by grace of which all arrangements may be made to intervene, in calm and legality, which events or new circumstances may render necessary in course of the settlement of the peace.”
  10. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  11. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  12. HD–41, minute 3, vol. vii, p. 957.
  13. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  14. HD–36, minute 3, vol. vii, p. 789.