Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/44


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 Monday, September 1, 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
America, United States of Mr. C. Russell.
British Empire Capt. E. Abraham.
France M. de Percin.
Italy Lt-Colonel Jones.
Interpreter—M. Carnerlynck

The following were also present for the items in which they were concerned:—

  • America, United States of
    • Professor Coolidge.
    • Mr. A. Dulles.
  • British Empire
    • Mr. Headlam-Morley.
    • Mr. A. Leeper.
    • Hon. H. Nicolson.
    • Mr. Carr.
    • Colonel Horlick.
  • France
    • M. Tardieu.
    • M. J. Cambon.
    • General Le Rond.
    • M. Aubert.
    • M. Alphand.
    • M. Kammerer.
    • M. Laroche.
    • Colonel Jourin.
    • M. de Montille.
  • Italy
    • M. Stranieri.
    • M. Galli.
    • M. Brambilla.
    • Colonel Castoldi.
    • Capt. Rossi.

[Page 30]

1. The Council had before it the text contained in Appendix “A”.

Mr. Headlam-Morley said that the Treaty before the Council was similar to that with Roumania already approved by the Council. There were three such Treaties, one with Roumania, one with Jugoslavia and one with Greece, all on the same lines. The Treaty with Greece would be ready in a few days. The Committee had had the advantage of consultation with M. Venizelos in regard to the last of these Treaties. The suggestions he had made had been very helpful. His attitude had been very different from that adopted by the other States. As to the Treaty with the Serb-Croat-Slovene State, the Delegation of that State had protested both against the principles of the Treaty as a whole, and also against its application to old Serbia. The first of these objections was no concern of the Committee. As to the second, the Committee was of opinion that the questions involved were questions of principle which should govern the whole policy of the State. The Committee thought that it was not practically possible to distinguish between one part of the territory of the Serb-Croat-Slovene State and another. Serbia in 1912 had had a population of three millions, but after the Balkan war, this population increased to five millions, and at the present time it amounted to twelve millions. The State, moreover, had changed its name and a Constituent Assembly was to be gathered in order to draw up the Constitution for the whole territory. The Committee therefore, thought it was fair to consider the whole as a new State. It did not think that the stipulations in the Draft Treaty represented any real derogation from the authority of the sovereign State. Treaty with Serb-Croat, Slovene State for the Protection of Minorities

M. Clemenceau asked whether the supervision of the Minority Clauses was to vest in the Allied and Associated Powers, or in the League of Nations.

Mr. Headlam-Morley said that the State conferred these rights on the Allied and Associated Powers pending the creation of a League of Nations, and thereafter stipulated that they should be transferred to the latter.

M. Clemenceau said that this provision satisfied him.

Mr. Headlam-Morley said that there was agreement in the Committee on all points save one. Before proceeding to describe this point, he wished to draw attention to the very first sentence of the preamble. The date 1913 had been deliberately chosen in order to show that the Treaty had under consideration, not only the acquisition of territory made subsequent to the Great War, but also those which resulted from the Balkan War. This was the more necessary as the territory acquired in the Balkan war contained most of the [Page 31] population for whom special minority legislation was necessary, for instance, Macedonia. All were agreed that a strong and a just Government was necessary in Serbia. It was even more necessary that the Government should be strong than that it should be just. Macedonia was now to be delivered to Serbia in perpetuity. The question arose whether any restriction, not contained in the general clauses, for the protection of Minorities, should be imposed on the Serbian Government in this area. The French Delegation was of opinion that nothing should be done in this sense. The argument was that freedom of religion and language were to prevail in Macedonia and that the population would have appeal to the League of Nations. The French Delegation thought this sufficient. The Italian Delegation on the other hand proposed a far reaching scheme amounting to a special form of autonomous Government for Macedonia. He would not explain this scheme as the British Delegation had not supported it. He would prefer that it should be explained by a member of the Italian Delegation. The American, British and Japanese Delegations proposed what was included in the first version of Article 12 (see Appendix “A”). The suggestion was that the League of Nations should have their representative living in the country, who should report to the League and give advice to the Serbian Government. It was thought the presence of such a representative would be beneficial to the population as well as to the Serbian Government and might help to avoid outbreaks of violence. It was proposed that this arrangement should last five years. He had taken the liberty of consulting the Secretary-General of the League of Nations unofficially. He, on his side, made no objection.

M. Tittoni said that he would not insist on the Italian proposal (see second version of Article 12, Appendix “A”). He was ready to adhere to the proposal of the majority.

M. Berthelot said that the view of the French Delegation was that the Article proposed by the American, British and Japanese Delegations constituted an obvious mark of distrust of the Serbian Government. It had a further objectionable feature in that it left Macedonia open to Greek and Bulgarian intrigue, instead of allowing it to merge into Serbia, as it more naturally should, since it became part of Serbian territory. He thought the proposal would make it very difficult for the Serbian Government to accept the Treaty, especially as no special reasons for this distrust could be alleged.

Mr. Polk asked whether the proposal applied only to Macedonia.

Mr. Headlam-Morley said that it was intended to apply not only to Macedonia, but also to areas in the neighbourhood of Albania, where a considerable part of the population was Albanian.

[Page 32]

M. Berthelot said that those people, like other minorities, had certain guarantees, including appeal to the League of Nations. The view of the French Delegation was that the Serbian Government had not deserved any special mark of suspicion.

M. Tittoni observed that the measure was a temporary one, and that the Commissioner could be withdrawn after five years.

M. Clemenceau said that he would prefer to tell the Serbian Government that the League of Nations would establish a Commissioner in the country if disturbances arose. The Minority Treaties were already ill-received by the Poles and the Roumanians. He thought it very undesirable to incur the ill-will of the Jugo-Slavs as well.

Mr. Balfour said that he also would like to avoid hurting the feelings of the Serbs. Apart from their feelings, however, he thought there were strong arguments in favour of the British, American, Japanese proposal. It was said that the people of Macedonia could appeal to the League of Nations if they were oppressed. Was it not better for the League of Nations to have an Officer on the spot who could report on the state of the country, rather than to receive Delegations from Macedonia in Geneva, Brussels or wherever the seat of the League might be? In the latter alternative, the League of Nations would have a poor chance of estimating the comparative mendacity of the reports brought to them. The Council had had experience of the kind of evidence supplied from the Balkans. There was equally hard swearing on both sides, and it was hardly ever possible to disentangle rights and wrongs. The Commissioner on the spot, assuming he were an able man, would know what really happened and he could give the League better evidence than could ever be obtained from rival Delegations. He did, however, think it was a serious matter to give offence to small Nations who were perhaps unduly sensitive about their sovereign rights. He was therefore inclined somewhat favourably towards M. Clemenceau’s proposal; but it involved delivering Macedonia to the mercy of the Serbs until such time as the arrangement broke down.

Mr. Headlam-Morley said that the Committee had been influenced by the evidence of people with a knowledge of Balkan affairs. They had led the Committee to apprehend not legal injustices as in Poland, but outbreaks of illegal violence, such as massacres and petty persecutions. He ventured to suggest that if the outbreak of such forms of disorder were to be awaited, the object of the Conference would not be attained. He thought it could be fairly stated to the Serb-Croat-Slovene Delegation that it was a matter of common knowledge that they would have trouble in governing certain areas, and it would be an advantage not only to the local populations, but also to their [Page 33] Government, to have a representative of the League of Nations on the spot.

M. Clemenceau said that the adoption of the preventive system would cause the Conference to have great difficulties with the Serbs. On the merits, he thought Mr. Headlam-Morley was quite right, but the result of any stipulation such as he proposed would be to encourage a large section of the Macedonian population to have recourse to the Commissioner of the League of Nations in opposition to the Central Serbian Government. This would in the end probably come about, but he would prefer that it should come about as the result of the faults of the Serbian Government, rather than as the result of action by the Conference.

M. Tittoni said that he thought an extraordinary commissioner might possibly cause annoyance. The desired result might be obtained by extending the powers of Consuls in Macedonia.

M. Clemenceau said that conflict would inevitably ensue with any such system. It might even amount to the re-introduction of the “capitulations”.

Mr. Headlam-Morley said that the object of the Committee should be to do away with any reminiscences of the old control of the Powers. A very careful attempt had been made to avoid this difficulty.

Mr. Polk said that he felt the same scruple as M. Clemenceau. He did not wish to hurt the national pride of the Serbs. On the other hand if nothing was done the Macedonians would suffer.

M. Clemenceau said it was for this reason that he suggested the threat of imposing a Commissioner. He suggested that a formula be introduced in the Treaty to the effect that the League of Nations would send a Commissioner to Macedonia, should trouble arise in the area. The Serbs would understand that they must behave.

Mr. Polk asked whether M. Clemenceau suggested the insertion of this in the Treaty of Peace itself.

M. Tardieu said that he thought that if anything of the sort was said, it would be better to say it in a letter, but he did not think it desirable to say anything of the kind. Why should Macedonia be specially singled out?

Mr. Polk asked whether the suggestion could not be made to the Serb, Croat Slovene Delegation. Their opinion might then be obtained.

Mr. Headlam-Morley said that though the Delegation had not seen the draft Treaty, he was quite certain they would refuse to sign it. He did, however, think it urgent to submit the Treaty to them. They would certainly make comment on the Article as at present drafted. It was better to submit it to them in a strong form, in order to have a margin for concessions.

[Page 34]

Mr. Polk said he thought in the end it would be necessary to amend the Article in the sense suggested by M. Clemenceau. He agreed, however, that the Article in its present form might be shown to the Serbs.

Mr. Headlam-Morley said that the Committee wished genuinely to obtain the views of the Delegation. The Committee had not had the advantage of discussing the question with them in consequence of their uncompromising attitude. The conversations with M. Venizelos on the other hand had been very fruitful.

Mr. Balfour asked what the Committee would do if the Serbs regarded the Article as such an insult to them that they refused to discuss it.

M. Tittoni suggested that the Article be so worded as not to impose a Commissioner, but to suggest the appointment of one if necessary.

M. Tardieu said that whatever the situation in Macedonia might be, he did not think it right to add a special provision to the clauses, which in themselves were extremely unpopular. There were other areas in which disturbances might be expected. He did not look forward to the administration of part of Serbia by the League of Nations. Such a provision could not in any case be made general.

Mr. Balfour said that the Commissioner, he thought, would not have an agreeable post. He would have no executive authority and no protection. He could only offer advice which might be neglected with impunity. There seemed to be areas in which mutual massacres were the only method of reaching conclusions.

Mr. Headlam-Morley said that this was what the Committee expected would take place, if no arrangements were made in anticipation. There would be at once considerable agitation fostered by the friends of the Bulgars, in America, Great Britain and perhaps in France. They would claim the attention of the League of Nations; and the trouble would be aggravated.

M. Tardieu said that if information was all that was desired, consuls could make reports.

Mr. Headlam-Morley said that this was the old system, which it was desirable to eschew.

M. Tardieu said that the old system included international gendarmerie. The appointment of a Commissioner appeared to reintroduce that system, in contradiction of the principles of the Conference, and in particular of the League of Nations.

Mr. Headlam-Morley said that he accepted M. Tardieu’s general criticism, but that he thought this special exception was justified.

Mr. Balfour said that no doubt the Serbs, if they knew their own interests, would suggest the appointment of the Commissioner themselves, but it was clear they did not.

[Page 35]

M. Pichon said that what chiefly shocked the world in the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia was the violation of Serbian sovereignty. If the Conference were to adopt the same course, Serbia would refuse to sign. M. Pachitch had already declared quite clearly that he would not.

Mr. Balfour enquired whether the League of Nations had a right under the Covenant to send representatives to make an enquiry, should massacres take place.

Mr. Headlam-Morley said that the League had this power according to the terms of the Minority Treaties; in this instance, according to Article 11, the League of Nations could act if an infraction of the Treaty occurred.

M. Clemenceau after reading Article 11, expressed the opinion that these stipulations were sufficient to protect Macedonian and Albanian minorities in the Serbian State.

Mr. Balfour agreed that it would be easier in practice to give effect to Article 11, rather than to Article 12.

M. Tittoni suggested that the words “prendre telles mesures” be substituted for the words “procéder de telle façon” in the French text of Article 11.

(It was then decided to accept the Treaty as a whole, to expunge Article 12 entirely, to amend Article 11 by the substitution of the words “prendre telles mesures” for “procéder de telle façon”, and, after the necessary drafting amendments, to communicate the Treaty to the Serb-Croat-Slovene Delegation.)

2. M. Tardieu explained the letter sent by M. Venizelos to the President of the Council on the 24th August. (Appendix “B”.) He pointed out that since then a new element in the situation had been introduced by the telegram from President Wilson (Appendix “C”). This telegram set aside both the alternatives considered. Frontiers of Bulgaria in Thrace

M. Clemenceau said that he thought that it was a very dangerous proposal to ask the Commissioner at Constantinople to take charge of an area containing 700,000 Greeks and 700,000 Turks, who would be in a continual state of warfare. He could not therefore accept the proposals made by President Wilson, but he was ready to listen to any new proposals that might be made.

M. Tittoni suggested that the question be adjourned, as no decision could be reached that day.

Mr. Balfour pointed out that the Bulgarians were awaiting the Treaty, which must be completed without further delay.

M. Clemenceau said that if President Wilson adhered to his proposal it was not possible to reach a settlement.

[Page 36]

Mr. Balfour said that the future of Constantinople and Asia Minor need not be settled before the conclusion of the Treaty with Bulgaria. It was possible to say that Bulgaria should have nothing south or south-east of a given line. The fate of the territories outside that line might be reserved.

M. Tittoni said that if this plan was followed, difficulties would arise in Western Thrace. Eastern Thrace could be reserved without any difficulty, as it was occupied by Turkish troops. But the Bulgarians would be called upon to evacuate that part of Western Thrace they at present occupied. If so, they must be told to whom they were to deliver the country.

M. Tardieu said that there was also a difficulty for Greece if the decision were adjourned until the fate of Constantinople had been settled.

Mr. Balfour said that it was possible to distinguish between the questions at issue. The most pressing of the problems was to decide what was the boundary of Bulgaria. The other questions as to exactly how the parts of the Turkish Empire South of the Bulgarian boundary should be disposed of, could be for the time being deferred. As to President Wilson’s telegram, he could not help feeling the President had not given sufficient consideration to the position of M. Venizelos. M. Venizelos was the only statesman in the Balkans who had sincerely tried to assist the Conference, and whose policy aimed at maintaining peace in the Balkans, yet if the American policy in Eastern Europe were carried out, Greece of all these States, would fare worst. Serbia would acquire three times as much territory as she previously possessed. Roumania, in spite of her constant defiance of the Conference, would double her population. Poland and Czechoslovakia, were created by the Conference itself. Greece, if a large Greek population in Thrace were not added to her, would hardly increase at all, except in national debt which was as great as Bulgaria’s, even when the Bulgarian indemnity of £90,000,000 was counted in. He thought that it was not altogether fair to treat M. Venizelos in this manner nor did he believe it to be in the interest of Peace, especially as all Greece asked for was the application of the Fourteen Points. The President’s message, however, must be seriously considered. He therefore suggested that a line be adopted for the purpose of the Treaty with Bulgaria and that the attribution of all territories south of it be reserved.

M. Tardieu said that to the reasons adduced by Mr. Balfour might be added the fact that Greece since the Armistice, at the instance of the Conference, had mobilised three more divisions than she had under arms during the war. She had increased her army from 9 to 12 divisions. Greece was the only Power which had increased her Army [Page 37] since the Armistice. Out of 7¼ million Greeks living in compact masses in Greece, Thrace and Asia Minor, 2,300,000 living at the very gates of their own country would be excluded from it by the President’s plan. He did not think this would conduce to peace. There was also another aspect to the question. The Council had seen fit to deny the Hapsburgs the recovery of the throne in Hungary. If Greece were to be treated as was now suggested, King Constantine would be back on the throne within six months. He agreed that Mr. Balfour’s solution would meet the practical necessity of framing a treaty for Bulgaria, but he thought the arguments raised against the President’s message should be put to him.

Mr. Polk said he would gladly send the arguments to President Wilson. He heartily agreed with what Mr. Balfour had said concerning the attitude of M. Venizelos during the Conference. This attitude had always been most loyal and generous. It was therefore most distasteful to the American Delegation to adopt any decision not immediately acceptable to M. Venizelos. He did not wish to enter into all the reasons which had determined President Wilson. He would only point out to M. Tardieu that, if all the Greeks outside Greece were allowed to join Greece, it was rather the territory round Constantinople than the territory round Adrianople which would become Greek. He felt sure that the danger of the restoration of Constantine was recognised by President Wilson.

(It was decided that the Central Territorial Committee should determine a boundary line in accordance with President Wilson’s message, as the Southern frontier of Bulgaria. The portion of Western Thrace to be ceded by Bulgaria would be ceded to the Allied and Associated Powers. This territory would be occupied by British, French, Italian and Greek troops, the last being kept in the portion of this territory by general agreement attributed to Greece. The Treaty should, further, stipulate for Bulgarian access to a port on the Aegean.)

3. Mr. Balfour said that he had sent M. Clemenceau’s proposals (See H. D. 42, Minute 4,)1 to the British Government with a personal opinion in their favour, and was waiting to hear further as to representatives being sent out to confer regarding details. Situation in Armenia

(It was agreed the question should be adjourned.)

4. Mr. Balfour said that he understood the policy of the Conference to be that repatriation of the German prisoners in British and American hands should be carried out without delay under the auspices of an Inter-Allied Commission. It was not intended that the Commission should delay [Page 38] repatriation, even for an hour. The Commission itself was mere camouflage. He was ready to discuss any report the Commission might make, provided repatriation went on in the meantime. He did not, however, think that it was necessary for the Commission to make any report. All it had to do was to give a free hand to the British and American Authorities to carry out the repatriation. On Saturday he had heard that the engine drivers on the French trains said that they would take no German prisoner trains into Germany without a direct order from M. Clemenceau. Repatriation of Prisoners of War

M. Clemenceau said that no obstruction had been put by him on the process of repatriation.

M. Alphand explained the report made to the Council (Appendix “D”) and the interpretation of its orders made by the Commission. He further pointed out that the Treaty stipulated that repatriation of prisoners should be carried out with the help of German rolling stock.

M. Clemenceau pointed out that it had not been intended that the Commission should make any arrangements with the Germans. All it was to do was to facilitate in every way the repatriation of the prisoners held by the British and the Americans.

M. Matsui asked whether there was any objection to a discussion within the Commission regarding repatriation of prisoners held by the Japanese.

M. Clemenceau said that he saw no objection.

M. Alphand asked whether German civilian prisoners held by the French Government should also be repatriated.

M. Clemenceau replied in the negative.

5. The Council had before it a draft note to the German Government regarding the violation of the Treaty constituted by Article 61 in the new German Constitution. (Appendix “E”.)

M. Clemenceau said that he saw several solutions, constitution none of which were entirely satisfactory. One was to tell the Germans that the Treaty would not be ratified unless they altered their Constitution. Another was to say that, as Article 178 of the German Constitution rendered Article 61 inoperative, the German Government was asked to acknowledge the nullity of the latter. The third idea that struck him was that the Council should avail itself of the article in the Treaty providing for a prolongation of the occupation of the Rhine if guarantees against German aggression appeared insufficient. Article 61 of the New German Constitution

M. Tardieu pointed out that Article 428 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany stipulated for something to take place after the lapse [Page 39] of 15 years. The breach of the Treaty complained of had just occurred. It seemed a long time to wait before taking action.

Mr. Balfour said he thought the notion of not ratifying the Treaty must be rejected. He thought, however, it would be quite legitimate to occupy more territory on the East of the Rhine should the Germans not amend their Constitution.

M. Tardieu agreed with Mr. Balfour that action should be taken at once of such a kind as to discourage Germany from a repetition of the offence.

Mr. Balfour pointed out that the German Government alone could do nothing. It could not alter the Constitution. It could interpret it but its interpretation could be called in question by another Government. Only the German Parliament could deal with the matter and the German Parliament was not sitting. He suggested that the German Government be told that it had committed a breach of the Treaty which could not be accepted, and that this breach must be remedied within a certain time, failing which the Allied and Associated Powers would take such action as they might think fit.

M. Clemenceau suggested that such action might be the occupation of Frankfurt.

(It was decided that M. Berthelot should re-draft the message to the German Government regarding the breach of the Treaty constituted by Article 61 of the new German Constitution in the spirit of the discussion and that the new draft should be considered at the following meeting.)

(The meeting then adjourned.)

Appendix A to HD–44

kingdom of the serbs, croats and slovenes

Draft of a Treaty 2


The United States of America, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, Described as the Principal Allied and Associated Powers,

On the one hand;

And The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes,

On the other hand;

Whereas since the commencement of the year 1913 large accessions of territory have been made to the Kingdom of Serbia and

[Page 40]

Whereas the Croat and Slovene peoples have, of their own free will, determined to unite with Serbia in a permanent union for the purpose of forming a single sovereign independent State under the title of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and Words in Bracket proposed by the British and Japanese Delegations, Not Accepted by the French, American and Italian Delegations

Whereas the Prince Regent of Serbia and the Serbian Government have agreed to this union (and have agreed to summon a Constituent Assembly-elected on a basis of free and universal suffrage for the establishment of the Constitution of the Kingdom), and

Whereas the Kingdom of Serbia has, in consequence, been transformed into the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and has assumed sovereignty over the territories inhabited by these peoples, and

Whereas it is necessary to regulate certain matters of international concern arising out of the said accessions of territory and of this union and

Whereas it is desired to free Serbia from certain obligations which she undertook by the Treaty of Berlin of 18783 to certain Powers and to substitute for them obligations to the League of Nations, and

Whereas the Serb-Croat-Slovene State of its own free will desires to give to the populations of all territories included within the State, of whatever race, language or religion they may be, full guarantees that they shall continue to be governed in accordance with the principles of liberty and justice.

For this purpose the following Representatives of the High Contracting Parties:

The President of the United States of America, His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the british Dominions Beyond the Seas, Emperor of India, the President of the French Republic, His Majesty the King of Italy, H. M. the Emperor of Japan, His Majesty the King of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

After having exchanged their full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed as follows:

The Allied and Associated Powers, signatories to the Treaty of Berlin of the 13th July, 1878, taking into consideration the obligations contracted under the present Treaty by the Serb-Croat-Slovene State, recognize that the Serb-Croat-Slovene State is definitely discharged from the obligations undertaken in Article … of the said Treaty of Berlin.

[Page 41]

Chapter I

Article 1

The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes undertakes that the stipulations contained in Articles 2 to 8 of this chapter shall be recognised as fundamental laws, and that no laws, regulation or official action shall conflict or interfere with these stipulations, nor shall any law, regulation or official action prevail over them.

Article 2

The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, undertakes to assure full and complete protection of life and liberty to all inhabitants of the Kingdom without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race or religion.

All inhabitants of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, shall be entitled to the free exercise, whether public or private, of any creed, religion or belief, whose practices are not inconsistent with public order or public morals.

Article 3

The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes admits and declares to be Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals ipso facto and without the requirement of any formality Austrian, Hungarian or Bulgarian nationals habitually resident [or: having indigénat]3a at the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty in territory which is or may be recognised as forming part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes under the Treaties with Austria, and Hungary respectively.

Nevertheless, the persons referred to above who are over eighteen years of age will be entitled under the conditions contained in the said Treaties to opt for any other nationality which may be open to them. Option by a husband will cover his wife and option by parents will cover their children under eighteen years of age.

Persons who have exercised the above right to opt must, except where it is otherwise provided in the Treaty of Peace with Austria and Hungary, transfer within the succeeding twelve months, their place of residence to the State for which they have opted. They will be entitled to retain their immovable property in the territory of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. They may carry with them their movable property of every description. No export duties may be imposed upon them in connection with the removal of such property.

[Page 42]

Article 4

The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes admits and declares to be Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals ipso facto and without the requirement of any formality persons of Austrian, Hungarian or Bulgarian nationality who were born in the said territory of parents habitually resident [or: having indigénat] there, even if at the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty they are not themselves habitually resident [or: having indigénat] there.

Nevertheless, within two years after the coming into force of the present Treaty, these persons may make a declaration before the competent Serb-Croat-Slovene authorities in the country in which they are resident, stating that they abandon Serb-Croat-Slovene nationality, and they will then cease to be considered as Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals. In this connection a declaration by a husband will cover his wife, and a declaration by parents will cover their children under eighteen years of age.

Article 5

The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes undertakes to put no hindrance in the way of the exercise of the right which the persons concerned have, under the Treaties concluded or to be concluded by the Allied and Associated Powers with Austria or Hungary, to choose whether or not they will acquire Serb-Croat-Slovene nationality.

Article 6

All persons born in the territory of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes who are not born nationals of another State shall ipso facto become Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals.

Article 7

All Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals shall be equal before the law and shall enjoy the same civil and political rights without distinction as to race, language or religion.

Difference of religion, creed or confession shall not prejudice any Serb-Croat-Slovene national in matters relating to the enjoyment of civil or political rights, as for instance admission to public employments, functions and honours, or the exercise of professions and industries.

No restriction shall be imposed on the free use by any Serb-Croat-Slovene national of any language in private intercourse, in commerce, in religion, in the press or in publications of any kind, or at public meetings.

[Page 43]

Notwithstanding any establishment by the Government of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes of an official language, adequate facilities shall be given to Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals of other than Serb, Croat or Slovene speech for the use of their language, either orally or in writing, before the courts.

Article 8

Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals who belong to racial, religious or linguistic minorities shall enjoy the same treatment and security in law and in fact as the other Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals. In particular they shall have an equal right to establish, manage and control at their own expense charitable, religious and social institutions, schools and other educational establishments, with the right to use their own language and to exercise their religion freely therein.

Article 9

The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes will provide in the public educational system in towns and districts in which a considerable proportion of Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals of other than Serb, Croat and Slovene speech are resident adequate facilities for ensuring that in the primary schools the instruction shall be given to the children of such Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals through the medium of their own language. This provision shall not prevent the Government of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes from making the teaching of the (Serbo-Croat) language obligatory in the said schools.

In towns and districts where there is a considerable proportion of Serb-Croat-Slovene nationals belonging to racial, religious or linguistic minorities, these minorities shall be assured an equitable share in the enjoyment and application of the sums which may be provided out of public funds under the State, municipal or other budget, for educational, religious or charitable purposes.

[The provisions of the present article apply only to territory transferred to Serbia or to the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes price [since] the 1st January 1913].3b

Article 10

The Kingdom of the Serbs-Croats-Slovenes agrees to grant to the Musulmans in the matter of family law and personal status provisions suitable for regulating these matters in accordance with Musulman usage.

The Kingdom of the Serbs-Croats-Slovenes shall take measures to assure the nomination of a Reiss Ul Ulema.

[Page 44]

The Kingdom of the Serbs-Croats-Slovenes undertakes to insure protection to the mosques, cemeteries and other Musulman religious establishments. Full recognition and facilities shall be assured to Musulman pious foundations (Vakoufs) and religious and charitable establishments now existing, and the Kingdom of the Serbs-Croats-Slovenes shall not refuse to the creation of new religious and charitable establishments any of the necessary facilities guaranteed to other private establishments of this nature.

Article 11

The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes agrees that the stipulations in the foregoing Articles, so far as they affect persons belonging to racial, religious or linguistic minorities, constitute obligations of international concern and shall be placed under the garantie of the League of Nations. The United States, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan hereby agree not to withhold their assent from any modification in these Articles which is in due form assented to by a majority of the Council of the League of Nations.

The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes agrees that any Member of the Council of the League of Nations shall have the right to bring to the attention of the Council any infraction, or any danger of infraction, of any of these obligations, and that the Council may thereupon take such action and give such direction as it may deem proper and effective in the circumstances.

The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes further agrees that any difference of opinion as to questions of law or fact arising out of these Articles between the Government of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and any one of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers or any other Power, a Member of the Council of the League of Nations, shall be held to be a dispute of an international character under Article 14 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. The Government of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes hereby consents that any such dispute shall, if the other part[y] thereto demands, be referred to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The decision of the Permanent Court shall be final and shall have the same force and effect as an award under Article 13 of the Covenant.

Article 12

In view of the peculiar conditions which have arisen in the former Ottoman provinces of Serbia, as a result of the wars of the last six years, and in order to inspire confidence in the populations concerned, [Page 45] the Serb-Croat-Slovene Government undertakes to invite the Council of the League of Nations at its discretion to nominate a Commissioner who shall reside in the district and who shall advise the Serbia-Croat-Slovene Government in its execution of the foregoing clauses. The functions of this Commissioner shall be advisory only, and he shall furnish periodical reports to the Council of the League of Nations. Proposed by the British, American and Japanese Delegations—Not Accepted by the French Delegation

The Commissioner and his staff shall be accorded diplomatic privileges, and the Serb-Croat-Slovene Government undertake[s] to give him all necessary assistance in the performance of his duties. His appointment shall in the first place be for five years, but will be renewable at the expiration of this period by a decision of a majority of the Council of the League.


Article 12

I. The Kingdom of the Serbs-Croats-Slovenes agrees to grant to the districts of Macedonia (within the boundaries fixed by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers) autonomy in matters of language, instruction and religion as well as in questions of local administration. Proposed by the Italian Delegation—Not Accepted by the French Delegation

II. A Central Administrative Council whose seat shall be at Monastir and an Administrative Council for each district shall have the power to regulate these matters, as well as all others over which jurisdiction shall be granted to it by the laws of the Serb-Croat-Slovene State.

The number of elective members in the Administrative Councils shall be at least three times as large as that of the de jure members.

The Religious Heads of each confession shall be de jure members of the Administrative Councils. The other members shall be elected in conformity with the laws of the Serb-Croat-Slovene State.

III. The Administrative sub-division of the Macedonian territory shall be made so as to group, as far as possible, the populations of the same nationality and religion.

IV. The Kingdom of the Serb-Croat-Slovenes agrees that the officials of the districts of Macedonia shall be chosen among the inhabitants of these districts.

V. The Governor of each district shall be appointed by the Serb-Croat-Slovene Government, taking into consideration, as to their choice and designation, the numerical importance of the population as regards nationality and religion.

VI. An organic regulation shall be prepared, within three months after the signing of the Peace Treaty, to determine the powers and [Page 46] the attributions of the Governors as well as the administrative, judicial and financial regime of the districts of Macedonia, taking as a starting point the preceding regulations on that matter.

Provisions shall be included concerning the right of the General Council to propose modifications to this regulation, in the course of its first session.

The final text, once decided upon, can be modified only on the initiative of the Scouptchina.

Chapter II

Article 13

Pending the obligations of new treaties or conventions, all treaties, conventions, agreements and obligations between the Kingdom of Serbia, on the one hand, and any of the principal Allied and Associated Powers on the other hand, which were in force on August 1st, 1914, or which have since been entered into, shall ipso facto be binding upon the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Proposed by the American, French, Italian, and Japanese Delegations


The High Contracting Parties agree that all treaties, conventions, agreements and obligations to which on August 1st, 1914, the Kingdom of Serbia, was a party, or to which it has subsequently become a party, shall ipso facto apply to all the territories which are or may be recognized as forming part of the Kingdom of Serb-Croat-Slovenes. Proposed by the British Delegation

Article 14

The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes undertakes to make no Treaty, Convention or arrangement and to take no other action which will prevent her from joining in any general Convention for the equitable treatment of the commerce of other States that may be concluded under the auspices of the League of Nations within five years from the coming into force of the present Treaty.

The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes also undertakes to extend to all the Allied and Associated Powers any favours or privileges in Customs matters, which it may grant during the same period of five years to any State with which since August 1914 the Allied and Associated Powers have been at war or to any State which in virtue of Article 6 of Part X of the Treaty with Austria has special Customs arrangements with such States.

[Page 47]

Article 15

Pending the conclusion of the general convention referred to above, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes undertakes to treat on the same footing as national vessels or vessels of the most favoured nation the vessels of all the Allied and Associated Powers which accord similar treatment to Serb, Croat and Slovene vessels. As an exception from this provision, the right of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes or of any other Allied or Associated Power to confine her maritime coasting trade to national vessels is expressly reserved. The Allied and Associated Powers further agree not to claim under this article the benefit of agreements which the states obtaining territory formerly belonging to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy may conclude as regards coasting traffic in the ports of the Adriatic sea.

Article 16

Pending the conclusion under the auspices of the League of Nations of a general convention to secure and maintain freedom of communications and of transit, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes undertakes to accord freedom of transit to persons, goods, vessels, carriages, wagons and mails in transit to or from any Allied or Associated State over Serb, Croat and Slovene territory, including territorial waters, and to treat them at least as favourably as the persons, goods, vessels, carriages, wagons and mails respectively of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes or of any other more favoured nationality, origin, importation or ownership, as regards facilities, charges, restrictions, and all other matters.

All charges imposed in the territory of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes on such traffic in transit shall be reasonable having regard to the conditions of the traffic. Goods in transit shall be exempt from all customs or other duties.

Tariffs for transit across the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and tariffs between the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and any Allied or Associated Power involving through tickets or waybills shall be established at the request of the Allied or Associated Power concerned.

Freedom of transit will extend to postal, telegraphic and telephonic services.

Provided that no Allied or Associated Power can claim the benefit of these provisions on behalf of any part of its territory in which reciprocal treatment is not accorded in respect of the same subject matter.

[Page 48]

If within a period of five years from the coming into force of this Treaty no general convention as aforesaid shall have been concluded under the auspices of the League of Nations, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes shall be at liberty at any time thereafter to give twelve months notice to the Secretary General of the League of Nations to terminate the obligations of the present Article.

Article 17

All rights and privileges accorded by the foregoing articles to the Allied and Associated Powers shall be accorded equally to all States members of the League of Nations.

The present treaty, of which the French and English texts are both authentic, shall be ratified. It shall come into force at the same time as the Treaty of Peace with Germany.

The deposit of ratifications shall be made at Paris.

Powers of which the seat of the Government is outside Europe will be entitled merely to inform the Government of the French Republic through their diplomatic representative at Paris that their ratification has been given; in that case they must transmit the instrument of ratification as soon as possible.

A procès-verbal of the deposit of ratifications will be drawn up.

The French Government will transmit to all the signatory Powers a certified copy of the proces-verbal of the deposit of ratifications.

In faith whereof the above-named Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Treaty.

Done at Versailles, in a single copy which will remain deposited in the archives of the French Republic, and of which authenticated copies will be transmitted to each of the Signatory Powers.

Appendix B to HD–44

hellenic delegation
at the peace congress

[The President of the Greek Delegation (Venizelos) to the President of the Peace Conference (Clemenceau)]

Mr. President: About ten days ago M. Tardieu informed me, regarding the question of Thrace, that two solutions were in view.

According to the first, Greece would obtain in Western Thrace the Kazas of Xanthi and of Gioumouldjina, while the territories situated on the north of these Kazas would be left to Bulgaria, and [Page 49] an international state would be made of the eastern part of Western Thrace. There would be accorded, besides, to Greece, Eastern Thrace having as its boundary on the north and the west the Turko-Bulgarian frontiers of 1915, and on the south a line passing from the Gulf of Xeros to a point south of Midia on the Black Sea.

The second of the solutions under consideration would attribute to Greece Western Thrace, except a part on the northwest, as well as the adjacent part of Eastern Thrace—about two-fifths of it. Only the city and port of Dedeagatch and the railway leading to it would be internationalized.

Between these two solutions I felt myself obliged to prefer the latter in order to avoid the great inconvenience of discontinuity in Greek territory.

M. Tardieu then suggested to me that I see Mr. Polk who had said that he would gladly telegraph my opinion to President Wilson and await a reply.

I had, in fact, an interview with Mr. Polk last Friday, August 15, and at his request I addressed to him on the same day a letter, of which a copy is attached,5 summarizing what I had just explained to him orally.

Unfortunately, up to the present moment, no reply has as yet come from President Wilson, and it has not been possible, therefore, for a decision to be taken by the Supreme Council on the question of Thrace.

This being so, I venture to inform you that since I am anxious to hasten the settlement of this question I should be disposed, if necessary, to accept even the first of the proposed solutions.

Nevertheless, in order to diminish the inconveniences attending this solution, it is necessary:

that a right of commercial and military transit, in time of war as in time of peace, be accorded to Greece, not only across the territory of the international state, but also through the port of Rodosto.
that the Greek and Moslem inhabitants of the territories to be included in the new international state, who were forced to leave their homes at the time of and during the Bulgarian occupation, shall be repatriated under the supervision and protection of an international commission and shall be reinstated in their possessions which were confiscated by the Bulgarian Government.

May I add, finally, that if this international state should be created, there would be no justification for incorporating also in the international state the purely Turkish population of 100,000 souls who inhabit the territories north of Western Thrace awarded to Greece.

Accept [etc.]

E. K. Venizelos
[Page 50]

Appendix C to HD–44

[Statement of President Wilson’s Views on the Frontiers of Bulgaria 6]

We are unable to justify in our own minds the acceptance of the suggested compromise.

The rejection of the proposals, it should be stated, is not on account of any lack of warm friendship for Greece or because of sympathy with Bulgaria. The loyal and worthy service rendered by the Greeks is by no means overlooked by us. We have furthermore given sympathetic consideration to their natural wish to include all territories inhabited by those of Greek blood within the boundaries of Greece. We cannot, however, allow our judgment regarding a settlement upon which depends the stability of future peace to be affected by sentiments of friendship and regard. If the United States is to be a signatory of the Bulgarian and Turkish treaties as well as one of the guarantors of the territorial settlements set forth therein, these settlements must not be based exclusively upon the principle of the national aspirations of a brave people or of reward. Primarily, they must be based upon the purpose of removing the causes of future wars and upon the permanence of the settlements, because of their reasonable and equitable nature. In our opinion these conditions are not met by the compromises suggested. The separation of the Greek territories and the separation of the territories of the international state would make neither for stability nor for continued peace.

Moved by a strong desire to meet the wishes of the Greek nation as far as is compatible with his conception of a settlement which is to be permanent in nature, the President would agree to the cession to Greece of the west portion of western Thrace, while the east portion of western Thrace as well as all of eastern Thrace should be included in the international state. According to this arrangement the division of the territory would be as follows:—in Western Thrace the eastern boundary of Greece would be a line running due north from the Aegean Sea through Maronia to a point just south of Chelepi. From that point the line would run in a westerly direction until it touched the 1913 Greek-Bulgar boundary. The territory of the international state in west Thrace would lie east of the Greek territory. It would be bounded on the north by a line commencing at the northeast corner of the Greek territory and running in an easterly direction through Karakalissa to the Maritza River and thence northward and following the Turkish-Bulgar boundary up to the [Page 51] Black Sea. A land right of way to the Aegean Sea across the territory of Western Thrace included within the international state as well as the free use of the port of Dedeagatch should be granted to Bulgaria.

The foregoing settlement, in the President’s opinion, appears to have elements of permanency which the others lack. The Greek aspiration to secure sovereignty over the greater part of Eastern Thrace is of course denied. In view, however, of the mixture of races in that region hostility and bitterness would be excited by the grant of sovereignty to one of the races. The populations would be free from national intrigues and quarrels if incorporated in the international state.

It may be pointed out that the maintenance of the government of Constantinople will be a constant and very considerable expense to the power or group of powers which is charged with the government unless a considerable territory is attached to it.

Appendix D to HD–44


Commission on Prisoners of War Constituted in Accordance with the Decision of the Supreme Council of August 27, 1919 8

Report to the Supreme Council

In accordance with the decision of the Supreme Council on August 27, the Interallied Commission on Prisoners of War has met, and has the honor to submit to the Supreme Council the following proposals:—

1. The subcommissions provided for in paragraph 2 of article 215 of the Treaty of Versailles will be immediately formed so far as concerns the United States of America and Great Britain.

These subcommissions, so far as they deal with prisoners now in France, should meet at Versailles, and, because of passage through France, French delegates should be associated with them.

2. The Japanese delegation has requested that the Japanese sub-commission for the repatriation of prisoners in Japan be immediately constituted.

3. The Commission having ascertained that the Allied and Associated Powers acquiesce in applying by anticipation article 214 of the Treaty of Versailles, it is expedient to request forthwith the application [Page 52] of articles 222 and 223, and to organize immediately the Commission to search for missing men, and to retrieve the property of prisoners and internees which has been kept by the German authorities.

Appendix E to HD–44


[Draft Note to the German Government]

The Allied and Associated Powers have taken note of the German Constitution of August 11, 1919, and inform the German Government that the provisions in the second paragraph of article 61 are in absolute contradiction to article 80 of the Treaty of Peace signed at Versailles on June 28, 1919.

Article 80, by which Germany has undertaken “to acknowledge and respect strictly the independence of Austria” and has agreed “that this independence shall be inalienable, except with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations,” was prompted by two considerations: on one hand, by the impossibility that the first result of the peace should be an increase of German population and strength by the union of Germany and Austria whose common action provoked the war; and on the other hand, by respect for the right of peoples to dispose of themselves as confided to the League of Nations, whose function it is to control the expression of that right and to weigh the proofs and guarantees given by Germany of a change of heart.

The Allied and Associated Powers consider that the second paragraph of article 61 of the German Constitution violates not only the spirit but also the letter of article 80 of the Treaty of Peace.

This violation is twofold: In the first place, article 61, in stipulating the admission of Austria into the Reichsrat, assimilates Austria to the German territories (Deutsche Lander) which composes the German Empire, an assimilation which is incompatible with respect for the independence of Austria.

In the second place, in granting and regulating the participation of Austria in the Council of the Empire, article 61 creates a political bond and a common political activity between Germany and Austria, absolutely opposed to the independence of Austria.

The Allied and Associated Powers are not in the least disposed to engage in a judicial controversy regarding this matter: at the meeting of June 28, 1919, before proceeding to the signature of the Treaty of Peace with Germany, the President of the Conference expressly reminded and declared to the German plenipotentiaries that the treaty [Page 53] was a treaty of good faith, and was to be interpreted and executed as such. From the point of view of political action as well as from the point of view of interpretation article 61 of the Constitution is a violation of article 80 of the treaty. Article 178 of the German Constitution, which declares that “the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles cannot be affected by the Constitution,” of itself establishes the nullity of article 61.

The Supreme Council warns the German Government, therefore, that it regards the maintenance of the terms proposed in the second paragraph of article 61 as a violation tending to prevent the ratification of the Treaty of Peace, and it invites the German Government to cause the suppression of those terms, and to advise at once of the steps taken to that effect.

  1. Ante, p. 5.
  2. Dated August 22, 1919; draft in French and English.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1878, p. 895.
  4. Brackets here and in article 4 appear in the original.
  5. Brackets appear in the original.
  6. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  7. Does not accompany appendix B to HD–44.
  8. Based on telegram No. 2981 from Secretary Lansing to Mr. Polk, August 28, 1919, 4 p.m. (Paris Peace Conf. 868.00/194).
  9. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.
  10. HD–40, minute 6, vol. vii, p. 945.
  11. Translation from the French supplied by the editors.