Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/64
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, September 30, 1919, at 10:30 a.m.
America, United States of
- Hon. F. L. Polk
- Mr. L. Harrison.
- Sir Eyre Crowe
- Mr. H. Norman.
- M. Clemenceau.
- M. Pichon.
- M. Dutasta.
- M. Berthelot.
- M. de St. Quentin
- M. Scialoja
- M. Matsui.
- M. Kawai.
- America, United States of
|America, United States of||Captain Chapin|
|British Empire||Captain Hinchley-Cooke|
The following were also present for the items in which they were concerned:
America, United States of
- Rear Admiral McCully
- Colonel Logan
- Colonel Browning
- Major Tyler
- Mr. E. L. Dresel
- General Sackville-West
- Lt.-Col. Kisch
- Mr. McFadyean
- Mr. Ibbetson-James
- Mr. Forbes-Adam
- Mr. Bourdillon
- M. Loucheur
- M. Clementel
- M. Tardieu
- General Weygand
- General Belin
- M. Laroche
- M. Kammerer
- M. Brambilla.
1. (The Council had before it a report of the Supreme War Council dated April 22nd, 1919, on the subject of cost of maintenance of the troops of occupation in Rhenish territory. (See Appendix “A”.).) Cost of Allierd Occupation in Germany
M. Loucheur explained that the question under discussion was the cost of the armies of occupation from the signing of the Armistice until the ratification of the Peace Treaty. He then read and commented upon the report of April 22nd, summarizing the present status of the matter.
An Allied Subcommission which had met at Spa had undertaken to define the phrase “expenses of maintenance of the troops of occupation” (“dépenses d’entretien des troupes d’occupation”). This body had decided upon the following definition for this phrase:
“During the present Armistice, which includes war occupation, by expenditures for the upkeep of the troops of occupation of the Ehenish territories, are meant all the expenditures imposed upon the Allied Governments for the daily life of the occupying troops as well as all those brought about by the obligation of maintaining constantly the fixed effective of these troops and to keep them in such a state as to allow them at any time to resist an aggression or to resume hostilities immediately.”
Upon the basis of this definition, the expenses of maintenance had been determined upon at the following rates per man per day:
|For the French Army,||Fes. 16.60|
|For the Belgian Army,||Fes. 16.13|
|For the British Army,||Fes. 17.06|
|For the American Army,||Fes. 31.14 (The dollar
figured at Fes. 5.70).
During the course of the discussions the Belgian and later, the British delegates had agreed upon the adoption of an average uniform figure for all the occupying armies, and which would be the cost of maintenance of one man per day for the French Army. The American delegate had inclined to adopt this solution, but General Pershing subsequently rigorously opposed the same. The Conferences at Spa, therefore, had resulted in a disagreement.
The question thereafter came before the Reparations Commission, but the same differences of opinion arose in this body. In his capacity as president of the Committee for the Organization of the Reparations Commission, he now wished to bring the matter before the Council for decision.
The opinion of the French delegation was based on the following arguments: In the first place, when the Council created the Commission for the Left Bank of the Rhine, in which the United States was represented by General Bliss and Mr. J. W. Davis, the British Empire by Lord Robert-Cecil and Field-Marshal Wilson, France by Marshal [Page 458] Foch and M. Loucheur, the question of the cost of maintenance of the armies of occupation had arisen. At various times during the discussion the Commission had thought that it would be well to adopt the French price as an average figure. Marshal Foch had even suggested that it would be well to adopt a lower figure for the cost of maintenance of the armies of occupation after the ratification of the Peace Treaty, and only include within the phrase “expenses of maintenance to be borne by Germany”, the cost of food and billeting. It had been upon this basis that the calculations had been made to reach the sum of 240,000,000 marks gold yearly, as the maximum cost of maintenance of the armies of occupation after the ratification of the Peace Treaty. This figure had been agreed upon in a proclamation which had been signed on June 16th, 1919 by President Wilson, M. Clemenceau and Mr. Lloyd-George (C. F. 73 A. Minute 2 and Appendix).1 Mr. Lloyd-George had even expressed the opinion that it would be well to reduce the cost of this maintenance to the minimum.
These arguments appeared to him to be sound, and he added that wherever the question of reaching an average figure had arisen in the Peace Treaty, the French figure had been adopted, as, for example, in the matter of pensions and allowances. He therefore strongly urged that the French rate be adopted in this instance, and that it be taken as a basis for calculating the cost of maintaining the armies, not only before the ratification of the Treaty (total maintenance), but also after such ratification (partial maintenance).
Mr. Polk asked whether the figures agreed upon by President Wilson applied to the cost of upkeep of the armies after the ratification of the Treaty.
M. Loucheur answered that this was the case, and he added that it applied more especially from the moment at which Germany carried out the military obligations incumbent upon her by the Treaty.
Mr. Polk said that he had always believed that the question at issue was the same during the entire period of occupation; namely, that each occupying country should be paid its expenses of occupation by Germany. The cost of maintenance of the American Army during the armistice had amounted to a certain figure, and this Germany was called upon to repay. M. Loucheur’s suggestion appeared to him to place a new interpretation upon the matter, as he had always believed up to the present time that the total cost of maintenance was under discussion, and not merely the cost of food and billets.
M. Loucheur said that a slight misunderstanding was apparent. The French proposition had been that it was necessary to make a distinction between the maintenance prior to the ratification of the [Page 459] Treaty and that subsequent thereto. The difficulty of the situation lay in another direction. The fact existed that the American soldier cost his Government Fes. 31.14, while the French soldier cost only Fes. 16.60. What he asked was that, in order to make a calculation as to what Germany should pay each occupying Power, the same figure should be taken as a basis for each of the Allied Armies. He remarked further that when the same question had arisen regarding the pensions called for as part of the reparations, it had been agreed that the calculation should be made on the basis of the French rate.
Mr. Polk said that the matter resolved itself into ascertaining how much the American Armies cost the United States. The question was not one between the United States and its Allies, but rather between the United States and Germany. The situation would not be helped by the fact that the French and Belgian Governments were reimbursed in full for their expenses, while the United States was but partially repaid. The result would be that the American Treasury Department would be obliged to pay the difference, with the consequent danger that further burdens might be placed upon the American taxpayer. The moment the latter discovered that they would be obliged to pay a portion of the expenses of maintaining an army of occupation, they would demand the recall of this force.
M. Loucheur said that the matter was one which interested all the Allies in general, for it was Germany who was called upon to pay. The more money which Germany was obliged to use in paying for the armies of occupation, the less she would have for the reparations claims.
Mr. Polk answered that he believed the United States would consent to accept reimbursement for the time being upon the basis of the average figure determined upon (French rate). The difference between the sum thus reimbursed and the actual cost of maintenance might be included in the sums due the United States by way of reparations.
M. Loucheur called attention to the fact that, as the Treaty imposed an absolute priority for the sums representing the costs of maintaining the armies of occupation, the difficulty would not be done away with.
Mr. Polk replied that he would be willing to waive the priority for that portion of the expenses of maintenance which would be included in the reparations figure. The all important point was that the American Treasury Department should not have to defray any of the expenses of the armies of occupation.
M. Loucheur said that in view of the propositions which Mr. Polk had put forward, he would like to study the matter somewhat more fully. His only wish in that question had been not to prejudice the reparations account.[Page 460]
M. Pichon drew the attention of the Council to the fact that, at the time the rate of allowance for the officers of the Commission of Control had been determined upon, it had been expressly stated that Germany would be called upon to pay the same, but not the salaries of the officers.2
Sir Eyre Crowe said that the British delegate on the subcommission at Spa had stated that he would accept the compromise figure if the same were accepted by all the Governments involved, but that no definite decision had been given in the matter. He thought that in view of the attitude of the United States, the British Government would stand by its first proposal, as it was not favorably disposed to sustaining a burden for the maintenance of its armies of occupation. The question at issue was very complicated and raised many technical points. He wished to know to what competent body the Council thought of referring the matter.
M. Loucheur said that there was a body already in existence; namely, the Subcommission for the Cost of the Armies of Occupation, which was attached to the Committee on the Organization of the Reparations Commission.
(It was decided:
that the question of the cost of the armies of occupation should be referred to the special subcommission of the Committee on the Organization of the Reparations Commission for further examination and report.)
2. General Weygand read and commented upon a memorandum from the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies, dated September 24th, (See Appendix “B”).
The Lithuanians had asked for permission to receive 50,000 litres of fuel oil which Germany was in a position to turn over to them. From a military point of view, Marshal Foch had raised no objections to this request, but a political question was involved therein; namely, that of trading with the enemy, and this was beyond the Marshal’s jurisdiction. Should the delivery be sanctioned, it was necessary that adequate steps should be taken to insure the fact that the Germans themselves should not be benefited by this fuel oil. Proposed Supply of Oil by Germany to Lithuania
Mr. Polk asked whether any guarantee actually existed that a military organization under German control would not profit by the delivery.
M. Clemenceau suggested that the matter could await the ratification of the Peace Treaty, at which time the Allies would be in a position to supervise the delivery.[Page 461]
Sir Eyre Crowe said that the British Military Authorities agreed with General Weygand, but that there were two difficulties in the situation. In the first place, the Council would be deciding to authorize a delivery of fuel oil at the same moment that it had resolved upon the exercise of economic pressure on Germany; and in the second place, no information was at hand as to whether an actual guarantee could be had that the oil would not benefit Germans in the Baltic Provinces. He proposed that Allied Representatives in these provinces should be asked whether, if the Council were to authorize the delivery, they could guarantee that it would not benefit the Germans.
(It was decided:
to request the Marshal, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies to ascertain from the Allied Military Authorities in the Balkan [Baltic?] States whether the latter were able to guarantee that such oil, as the Allied and Associated Governments might authorize to be delivered to the Lithuanians, should not fall into the hands of German organizations.)
3. (The Council had before it a memorandum of the Supreme Economic Council dated September 29th, 1919. (See Appendix “C”).)
M. Clementel said that the Supreme Economic Council had created a Supply Committee whose function was to insure that the Allies should not become competitors in the world markets for the purchase of articles of prime necessity. At the time when the Germans and Austrians are to be allowed to make purchases on their own account the Supreme Economic Council believed that it would be advantageous to prevent the former enemies from competing with the Allies in the markets, and thus contributing to a rise in the prices of indispensable articles. For this reason the Supreme Economic Council believed that the Committee of Supply should be consulted regarding the German requests. The problem had already arisen in matters of finance and shipping, at which time it was decided that the competent Commissions should be responsible to the Supreme Economic Council with regard to the requests of the Allies, and to the Reparations Commission relative to the applications made by the Germans, because it was to the latter Commission that the German requests would be made. The United States of America was not represented at the present time on the Supreme Economic Council, a most regrettable fact, but they were represented on the Committee for the Organization of the Reparations Commission. They might, therefore, be represented on the Supply Committee on behalf of the Reparations Commission. The other Allies might be represented both from the point of view of the Reparations Commission and of the Supreme Economic Council. In this manner [Page 462] one single Commission, on which all the Allies were represented, would be competent to deal with the situation. Proposal of the Economic Commission Relative to the Procedure To Be Fallowed for the Supply of Foodstuffs and Raw Material to Genniny and Austria
Mr. Polk said that he regretted his inability to accept at the present time the proposal put forward by M. Clementel. He had talked with Mr. Hoover prior to the departure of the latter and they had both been of the opinion that the United States should not be represented on the Supreme Economic Council. On the other hand, they should be represented for all questions of reparations. The matters within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Economic Council, such as division of foodstuffs and coal, were questions which were of vital importance to Europe but not of interest to the United States. Consequently, the latter had no need of representation in this body. It was only on the Reparations Commission that the American Representatives could advantageously function. Therefore, in view of Mr. Hoover’s opinion, and also that of the American Treasury Department, he was unable to agree with M. Clementel at the present time.
M. Clementel replied that it was not a question of asking the United States to take part in the work of the Supreme Economic Council, however greatly this might be desired. The matter was simply to know whether the buyers of the Supreme Economic Council were to ignore the German and Austrian purchasers, and whether or not these two groups were to become competitors.
Mr. Polk said that he had realized that the question would come up for discussion in the Council and had therefore telegraphed his Government for instructions in advance. These had not yet been received, and until they should be he was unable to take any decision in the matter. He therefore requested that the discussion be adjourned, but said that in the interval Mr. Dresel and Colonel Logan might discuss the matter with M. Clementel.
(The discussion of the proposal of the Supreme Economic Council regarding the procedure to be followed for the supply of foodstuffs and raw materials to Germany and Austria was adjourned.)
4. (The Council had before it a note of the Supreme Economic Council dated September 20th, 1919. (See Appendix “D”.)
(At the request of Mr. Polk, the detailed examination of this note was adjourned until such time as the proposal of the Supreme Economic Council for the supply of foodstuffs and raw materials to Germany and Austria should be considered.) Note of the supreme Economic Council on the General Economic Situation of Europe
5. (The Council had before it a note of the Supreme Economic Council requesting the appointment by the United States of America of an arbitrator for the distribution of shipping on the Danube (See Appendix “E”).) Appointment of Arbitrators for the Division of Tonnage on the River Danube
Mr. Clementel said that article 300 of the Peace Treaty with Austria provided for the appointment by [Page 463] the United States of America of one or several arbitrators, whose duties would be to distribute among the interested parties the tugs and other vessels forming part of the commercial fleet of the Danube River. In a telegram from Budapest, Admiral Troubridge urgently requested that the American Arbitrator provided for in the Treaty should begin his work as quickly as possible. The Supreme Economic Council therefore asked that the United States hasten the appointment of its arbitrators.
Mr. Polk said that the Austrian Treaty had not yet been ratified by any Government. He would take the responsibility of naming an arbitrator but he did not believe that such an appointment would result to any good effect in view of the fact that Austria itself had not yet ratified the Treaty. Sir Eyre Crowe had called his attention to the fact that a similar article existed in the German Treaty and that, following the ratification of this document by Germany, a special arrangement had been made and an arbitrator nominated. The same procedure might be followed in this instance with regard to Austria without waiting for the ratification by the American Senate. Colonel Logan could take up the question with Mr. Clementel.
It was decided:
that Colonel Logan should confer with Mr. Clementel with regard to the nomination of the American Arbitrators provided for by article 300 of the Austrian Peace Treaty (Distribution and Control of shipping on the Danube).
6. (The Council had before it two letters from Mr. Venizelos dated August 22nd and September 28th respectively (See Appendices “F” and “G”.).)
Mr. Berthelot read and commented upon the letter of September 28th. Protest From the Greek Delegation Regarding the Composition and Functioning of the Commission of Inquiry at Smyrna
Mr. Polk remarked that the question had been of raised, while Mr. Balfour was sitting in the Council, as to the exact powers of the Greek Officer who had been authorized to follow the labors of the Commission of Inquiry at Smyrna.
Sir Eyre Crowe said that a resolution in this matter had been taken by the Council on August 14th (See H. D. 31, Minute No. 3),3 as follows:
“It was decided:
that the previous decisions of the Council (See H. D. 12, article #5)4 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 Inquiry at Smyrna. All necessary [Page 464] data should be communicated to him, however, and similar facilities should be given to a Turkish Representative, if subsequently appointed.”
Me. Berthelot answered that Mr. Venizelos maintained that the Allied Commissioners had kept Colonel Mazarakis completely in ignorance of their labors and have not even furnished him with the minutes of their meetings.
Mr. Clemenceau said that this appeared excessive. A telegram should be sent at once to Constantinople instructing that the minutes should be communicated to the Greek Representative and, should the latter have any complaints to make thereon, he should present the same to the Commission. The attention of the representatives should also again be drawn to the former resolutions of the Council in the matter.
It was decided:
- that the minutes of the meetings of the Commission on Inquiry at Smyrna, including the testimony of witnesses, should be communicated to the Greek Representative attached to this Commission;
- that said Representative should be asked and permitted to notify the Commission of any criticisms which he desired to formulate regarding the matters in question.
7. (The Council had before it a memorandum from the British Delegation dated August 11th, 1918 , (See appendix “H”).)
Sir Eyre Crowe said that the events at Smyrna had British Proposal indisputably called forth a certain number of complaints against the Greek and Turkish Governments. The Commission of Inquiry which had been appointed might form a sub-commission on the ground to deal with these protests. It might be, however, that such a proposal was now too late as a telegram had been received from the British High Commissioner at Constantinople, dated September 8th, stating that the Greeks had already formed such a Commission. In view of this fact he asked that the Council permit him to telegraph Constantinople for further information and to await the receipt of this before formally presenting his proposal. British Proposal for the Investigation of Complaints Arising Through the Incidents at Smyrna
(The study of the British proposal was adjourned until such time as Sir Eyre Crowe should receive additional information.)
8. Mr. Polk said that it would be as well to adjourn this matter pending the receipt of an answer from the Swedish Government on the subject of the Blockade of Soviet Russia. Question of the Aaland Islands
(The question was adjourned.)[Page 465]
9. (The Council had before it a report of the Baltic Commission dated August 25th, 1919, in this matter, (See Appendix “I”).) Questions of Karelia and Petchenga
Mr. Kammerer read from and commented upon the report in question and said that the Commission had not made any proposal to the Council. They asked merely whether, despite the absence of a responsible Russian Government and regardless of the fact that Petchenga was situated in Russian territory, they might be allowed to study the means of giving satisfaction to the desires of Finland.
Mr. Clemenceau answered that he was prepared to authorize the Commission to make such a study, but that neither he nor any of his colleagues at the present time recognized their right to dispose of Russian territory.
Mr. Kammerer remarked that in 1862 a discussion had taken place between the Governments of Finland and of Imperial Russia for the cession of the port of Petchenga to Finland. An agreement had been reached but had not been executed and its validity was even open to doubt.
Sir Eyre Crowe said that the Council might later have to discuss the question with the Finns and it would be well to have a solution ready at that time.
(It was decided:
that the Baltic Commission should be authorized to make a study of the ways and means by which the claims of Finland for a modification of its frontiers in Karelia and the district of Petchenga might receive satisfaction.)
(The meeting then adjourned)
- Vol. vi, pp. 521 and 522.↩
- HD–32, minute 11, vol. vii, p. 707; HD–58, minute 3, ante, p. 305.↩
- Vol. vii, p. 687.↩
- Ibid., p. 238.↩
- See the detail of it on table No. 1 appended. [Footnote in the original. The table appears as “Table A” in the Department’s files.]↩
- Post, p. 468.↩
- Does not accompany the minutes.↩
- Do not accompany the minutes.↩
- Admiral Sir Ernest C. T. Troubridge, British Admiral commanding on the Danube.↩
- HD–11, minute 4, vol. vii, p. 207.↩
- Appendix E to HD–12, ibid, p. 249.↩
- HD–12, minute 5, ibid, p. 238.↩
- Appendix A to HD–10, ibid, p. 200.↩
- Does not accompany this appendix; see HD–12, minute 5, vol. vii, p. 238.↩
- Appendix I to CF–37, vol. vi, p. 73.↩
- FM–11, minute 2, vol. iv, p. 662.↩
- No Italian Representative was present at this meeting. The Japanese representative had reserved the opinion of his Government, which, however, adhered later to the decision adopted. [Footnote in the original.]↩
- HD–15, minute 8, vol, vii, p. 324.↩