Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/75
Notes of a Meeting of the Heads of Delegations of the Five Great Powers Held in M. Pichon’s Room at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Thursday, October 23, 1919, at 10:30 a.m.
America, United States of
- Hon. F. L. Polk
- Mr. L. Harrison
- Sir Eyre Crowe
- Mr. H. Norman
- M. Pichon
- M. Dutasta
- M. Berthelot
- M. de Percin
- M. Scialoja
- Don Ascanio Colonna
- M. Mafcsui
- M. Kawai
- America, United States of
|America, United States of||Capt. 6. A. Gordon|
|British Empire||Capt. Hinchley-Cooke|
The following were also present for the items in which they were concerned:
America, United States of
- Dr. J. B. Scott
- Mr. A. W. Dulles
- Mr. Tufton
- Mr. A. Leeper
- Commander Macdonald, R. N.
- Marshal Foch
- General Weygand
- General Le Bond
- M. Fromageot
- M. Aubert
- M. Ricci-Busatti
- M. Vannutelli-Rey
- M. Shigemitsu.
1. (The Council had before it a communication from the President of the German Peace Delegation, dated Paris, October 22, 1919, addressed to Mr. Polk (See Appendix “A”).) Communication From the German Peace Delegation Relative to the Sending of German and Austrian Delegates to the International Labor Congress at Washington
Mr. Polk called the attention of the Council to the second paragraph of the communication from the President of the German Peace Delegation, which stated that,
“The Austrian Government will probably likewise appoint delegates who will travel together with the Germans, and whose number and names will likewise be communicated at a very early date.”
He thought that it was most surprising that the German Peace Delegation should undertake to answer with respect to the attendance of Austrian Delegates to the International Labor Congress. He stated that a liaison officer of the American Delegation had been instructed to call Baron von Lersner’s attention to this matter and that Baron Rochoff would likewise be asked by what authority the German Delegation assumed to speak for the Austrian Government in this matter. These inquiries would be made orally and he would communicate the result thereof.
M. Pichon said that the Council approved of the action of the United States Delegation; it could not be admitted that the German Peace Delegation should assume this authority.
2. (The Council had before it a report of the Sub-Committee on the Execution of the Treaty with Germany, dated October 21, 1919 (See Appendix “B”).) Report of the Sub-Committee on the Execution of the Treaty With Germany Relative to the Organization of Plabiscite Commissions in Silesia, Allenstein and Marienwerder
General Le Rond read and commented upon this report. He pointed out that the British maintained their exception with respect to members of Plebiscite Commissions being paid by their respective Governments.
Sir Eyre Crowe replied that, pursuant to a resolution of the Council adopted October 15, 1919 (H. D. 70 Minute 4 ),1 he had referred the question of payment of members of Commissions of Delimitation by their respective Governments to his Government, which had replied that it accepted the principle that “ordinary army pay” of these members should be defrayed by their respective Governments.
General Le Rond observed that these words were the English equivalent of the “solde” mentioned in the Committee’s report.
Sir Eyre Crowe said that he was not sure of the exact definition of “ordinary army pay”, inasmuch as officers in the British Army [Page 748] were entitled, over and above such pay, to ordinary and special allowances. He would refer the question to his Government for an exact definition, but he felt confident that his Government would admit the same principle relative to the payment of members of Plebiscite Commissions. He wished, however, to now raise a somewhat more important question: strictly speaking, the cases of Dantzig and Memel were not exactly similar: the Treaty had not provided specifically for troops of occupation in these two districts, and therefore there was no provision that the: payment of such troops as might be used as troops of occupation should be a charge on local revenues. The Council, however, had decided that troops of occupation might be used in these two districts;2 it was therefore necessary to decide in principle as to the method of payment of such troops, should they be used as troops of occupation. He thought that on the principle laid down in the Treaty with respect to other troops of occupation the payment of such troops should be a charge upon local revenues.
M. Pichon saw no objection to this.
Mr. Polk suggested that, although no formal occupation of Dantzig had been decided upon, it had, nevertheless, been designated as a base. Should not the payment of these base troops, therefore, be deemed part of the expenses of the occupation of Upper Silesia?
General Le Rond added that, in accordance with this suggestion, the payment of these troops should rather be deemed part of the expenses of the occupation of Allenstein and Marienwerder, inasmuch as Dantzig was to serve as a base for these two districts.
Sir Eyre Crowe observed that the base troops, however, might be used as troops of occupation of the city of Dantzig upon the demand of the High Commissioner, in which case Dantzig should bear the expense of the maintenance of such troops.
General Le Rond desired to point out to the Council the situation which his Committee had considered. In determining whether or not troops of occupation should at once be sent to Dantzig, it had thought that inasmuch as the present situation in Dantzig was a provisional one there was no basis in right, at the present time, for sending troops of occupation to Dantzig. The troops which would be sent there could at present only be used as base troops, but could not be used as troops of occupation before the appointment of the High Commissioner; thereafter they could only be so used upon the demand of the High Commissioner.
(It was decided:
- to approve the recommendations of the report of the Sub-Committee on the Execution of the Treaty with Germany relative to the organization of Plebiscite Commissions in Silesia, Allenstein and Marienwerder (See Appendix “B”), with the reservation that Sir [Page 749] Eyre Crowe should request the agreement of the British Government to the opinion, expressed by the other Delegations, that the members of such Commissions should be paid by their respective Governments;
- that the principle that the payment of troops of occupation should be a charge upon the local revenues of the territories occupied should apply to such troops as might be used as troops of occupation in Dantzig and Memel.)
3. (The Council had before it a report of the Committee on the Execution of the Treaty with Germany on the Commissions to be named during the first weeks following the entry into force of the Treaty. (See Appendix “C”.)) Report of the Committee on the Execution of the Treaty With Germany on the Commissions To Be Named During the First Weeks Following the Entry into Force of the Treaty
The report of the Committee on the Execution of the Treaty was read, and in the course of its reading the following remarks were made:
Mr. Polk reminded the Council that the United States could not be represented on any Commissions prior to the ratification of the Treaty by the Senate.
Sir Eyre Crowe remarked that although he had a complete list of British appointments to the Commissions in question, he thought it inadvisable to present these piece-meal during the reading of this report and suggested that each Delegation present to the Secretary-General of the Conference its nominations for the Commissions mentioned in the Committee’s report. This suggestion was approved.
Sir Eyre Crowe said that with respect to the Delimitation Commission for Dantzig, the Treaty provided that three Nations should be represented on this Commission, but it had not yet been decided which three nations were to be so represented.
General Le Bond pointed out that the Council had already approved the recommendations of a prior report of the Committee on the Execution of the Treaty that the members of the Delimitation Commission for Dantzig should be drawn from the Germano-Polish Delimitation Commission and that the presidency of these two Commissions should be held by the same person, in this case General Dupont.3 Therefore, only two members of this Commission still remained to be named.
M. Pichon thought it would be well that one of these members should be British.
Sir Eyre Crowe agreed.
M. Pichon added that since the United States could not be represented the choice lay between Italy and Japan.
General Le Bond thought it was more suitable for Italy to be represented, since Japan had fewer representatives on the Germano-Polish Delimitation Commission.[Page 750]
M. Scialoja said that although Italy did not ask to be represented it did not object to being represented.
General Le Rond pointed out that the Treaty provided that Germano-Polish Delimitation Commission should be constituted 15 days after the entry into force of the Treaty, but that the Supreme Council on July 16th4 had decided that this Commission should be on the spot and enter into operation on the day of the entry into force of the Treaty. The same was true of the Dantzig Delimitation Commission by virtue of the Supreme Council’s decision of October 15, (H. D. 70, Minute 4 ).5
M. Berthelot observed that this brought up again the whole question of what was the proper day for putting the Treaty into force: he remarked that it had also been decided that the troops of occupation were to be on the spot on the day in question.
General Weygand pointed out that there were three questions to be considered; first, the Delimitation Commissions, second, the Plebiscite Commissions, third, the troops of occupation. Did the Council fully intend to have the troops ready to be at their appointed destinations on the day the Treaty came into force?
M. Pichon said that this was the Council’s opinion and he wished to know what date the troops would be ready to start.
General Weygand replied that the French troops could entrain on November 5th, and he thought the British troops were now ready. The question of the number of battalions to be furnished by Italy was still unsettled: the three battalions that Italy had agreed to furnish for service in Upper Silesia were now ready to start, but the question of whether Italy would furnish the remaining four battalions designated as her share in the report of the Special Commission (See Appendix 1 [A], H. D. 72),6 was still undetermined. He had been informed by General Bliss that, although American troops could not be used as troops of occupation prior to the ratification of the Treaty by the United States Senate, troops were now on their way to Coblenz and would be held there until such time as this ratification might take place. They would then at once be ordered to proceed to zones of occupation. He pointed out that the question of transportation still remained to be solved. This question was most serious with respect to troops destined to occupy Upper Silesia. It was extremely difficult to ask the Germans for more transportation than they had been asked for upon the occasion of the passage of General Haller’s troops. Having in mind the transport of supplies, [Page 751] as well as of troops, at the rate of six trains per day, the movement would require fifteen days.
M. Berthelot calculated that on this basis the 11th of November might be a suitable date for putting the Treaty into operation.
General Weygand said that this date was satisfactory as far as the troops were concerned but it should be remembered that very little time was left in which to take various other necessary measures. The various Commissions had to arrive at their destinations prior to the entry into force of the Treaty and likewise the Germans should be informed of that date as far ahead as possible in order that they might take all necessary measures of evacuation.
Mr. Polk asked, for information, whether the troops of occupation were to be at their appointed destination on the day of ratification or within fifteen days thereafter.
General Weygand replied that the troops were to be in place within fifteen days after ratification but that in order to effect this result it would be necessary for the troops of occupation to begin to arrive in their respective zones on the day the Treaty came into force: clearly these zones could not be occupied prior to the ratification of the Treaty.
M. Pichon asked again if the Council desired to decide on the 11th November as the day of putting the Treaty, into operation.
General Weygand repeated that this would be satisfactory from a military point of view, except that the question of the contingent to be furnished by the Italians must be settled before a definite decision could be arrived at. He wished to add that the Italian Military Representative had always maintained a reservation on this point.
M. Pichon said that the distribution of forces decided upon by the Supreme Council must be followed out, and he desired to insist most pressingly upon Italy furnishing the full contingent demanded of her by the Special Commission’s report, especially since, prior to the ratification of the Treaty by the United States Senate, the four American battalions destined for Upper Silesia would not be sent there.
Sir Eyre Crowe inquired if the absence of American troops of occupation prior to the ratification of the Treaty by the United States Senate would not adversely affect the distribution of troops of occupation provided for by the report of the Special Commission.
M. Pichon said that the eventual use of United States troops was to be considered, and added that he did not wish an attitude to be adopted which would appear to exclude United States troops from eventually participating in occupation.
Mr. Polk remarked that everything depended upon the ratification of the Treaty by the United States Senate. He wished to repeat that United States troops were en route and would be held at Coblenz ready to be sent to zones of occupation.[Page 752]
M. Pichon asked Marshal Foch whether, in the present absence of United States troops destined eventually for participation in the occupation of Upper Silesia, he had enough troops to maintain order there.
Marshal Foch said that he must first know if he was going to have at his disposal the remaining fourteen battalions, all ready to move on November 5th.
M. Scialoja said he would try to obtain a satisfactory reply from his Government immediately.
General Le Rond pointed out that the Plebiscite Commissions, for instance in Silesia, being essentially Government Commissions, they should arrive at their destination in plenty of time to confer with the outgoing German officials, so as to be able on the day of the entry into force of the Treaty to take up the Government of these districts without any hitch.
Sir Eyre Crowe observed that as soon as the date of the entry into force of the Treaty was definitely determined upon, someone should be designated to settle all such matters with the German Government.
M. Pichon said that Marshal Foch was the best person to do this.
M. Scialoja objected that plebiscite Commissions were not of a military nature.
M. Berthelot replied that they were closely concerned with military affairs. Until the Armistice came to an end Marshal Foch was the properly qualified person to treat with the German Government on all such matters.
Mr. Polk asked with reference to the Committee’s report respecting “Persons to be delivered by Germany”, when the demand for such individuals would be made.
Sir Eyre Crowe replied that, for many reasons which had already been discussed, the day of the entrance into force of the Treaty would be the appropriate date for making such a demand.
M. Berthelot, in pointing out the provision in the Committee’s report with reference to the Government of Memel, said that in view of the small size of the Memel district there was no objection to the British Commander exercising both civil and military functions.
M. Pichon suggested that the whole question could be settled by agreeing to take all necessary measures for putting the Treaty into force on November 11th, 1919. M. Dutasta had informed him that he was going to see Baron von Lersner on that night, and he wished to inquire whether M. Dutasta should tell Baron von Lersner that the Treaty would be put into force on November 11th.[Page 753]
Mr. Polk observed that if Baron von Lersner were told this he would undoubtedly publish it immediately.
Marshal Foch said that it would be better to simply inform Baron von Lersner that his Government would be notified of the date of entrance into force of the Treaty in sufficient time for it to take all measures necessary to be taken by it prior to that date.
(It was decided:
- that the Delegations of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers should immediately submit to the Secretary General of the Peace Conference the list of the representatives they desired to name upon the Commissions which, under the terms of the Treaty with Germany, must begin to operate during the first weeks following the entry into force of said Treaty;
- that the 11th day of November, 1919, should provisionally be considered the date of the entry into force of the Treaty with Germany;
- that everything should be done to insure the completion prior to that date of all measures constituting conditions precedent to the proper and effective entry into force of said Treaty, and to effectually dispose of all reservations hindering or preventing such entry into force;
- that the German Peace Delegation should not yet be informed of the tentative date of the entry into force of the Treaty, but that in reply to this Delegation’s inquiry as to such date it should be informed that the German Government would be informed of the date of the entry into force of the Treaty in ample time to enable it to take all measures necessary to be taken by it prior to such date.)
4. (The Council had before it a report of the Drafting Committee on the cost of transportation to and maintenance in foreign countries of German subjects convicted of serious offenses against members of the forces of occupation or against the property or authority of forces of occupation in Germany. (See Appendix “D”.) Report of the Drafting Committee on Cost of Transportation to and Maintenance in Foreign Countries of German Subjects Convicted of Serious Offences Against Members of Forces of Occupation or Against the Property of Authority of Such Forces in Germany
Mr. Polk stated that he was entirely satisfied with the report of the Drafting Committee. He wished to add that he had already recommended to the military authorities that the procedure in question should only be followed in very serious cases and he hoped there would be very few more of these.
(It was decided:
to adopt the report of the Drafting Committee on cost of transportation to and maintenance in foreign countries of German subjects convicted of serious offenses against members of the forces of occupation or against the property or authority of forces of occupation in Germany. (See Appendix “D”).)
5. (The Council had before it a note from the Bulgarian Delegation dated Neuilly-sur-Seine, October 12th, 1919, (See Appendix “E”), and another note from the Bulgarian Delegation dated Neuilly-sur-Seine, October 21st, 1919, (See Appendix “F”).) Protest of the Bulgarian Delegation Against the Evacuation of Western Thrace
M. Berthelot read the two notes of protest. He pointed out that a fait accompli now existed and that the question raised by the Bulgarian Delegation had become purely academic. He added that the occupation of the district in question by the Greek troops had taken place without any disturbance, and he thought that as the Bulgarians would deliver their answer to the Peace terms on the following day there was nothing further to be done until this answer had been received.
Mr. Polk submitted a draft of the following questions to be addressed to General Franchet D’Esperey and requested that General D’Esperey should be asked to report immediately by telegraph on the following points:
- whether the Bulgarians were actually evacuating Thrace.
- what troops were proceeding to the evacuated territory.
- whether other Allied troops than Greek were taking part in the preliminary occupation.
- whether satisfactory precautions were being taken to prevent a possible Greek occupation of territory outside of their zone of occupation.
General Weygand replied that Marshal Foch was in possession of the information requested and that he would reply to all these questions.
Mr. Polk stated that if all the information was here he would merely ask Marshal Foch to give him the answers to these questions.
(It was decided:
- that there was no necessity at the present time of replying to the Bulgarian protest against the evacuation of Thrace;
- that Marshal Foch should supply the Council with all pertinent information relative to the conditions of the evacuation of Thrace and its occupation by Allied troops.
5 . M. Berthelot referred to the decision of the Supreme Council (H. D. 72, Minute 1, (7), October 18th, 1919)7 “that the Inter-Allied Commissions sent into the zones of occupation should choose their own Presidents, without it being necessary for them to be of the nationality as the Commanding Officers in the corresponding zones of occupation.” He stated that M. Clemenceau thought it better for the Council to designate the Presidents of these Commissions after the lists of appointees to these various Commissions had been transmitted [Page 755] to the Secretary General of the Conference by the various Delegations. Presidency of Commissions in Zones of Occupation
M. Pichon said that when the lists were submitted to the Secretary General, this question could be taken up again.
(The meeting then adjourned)
- Ante, p. 648.↩
- HD–70, minute 3, p. 641.↩
- HD–70, minute 5, and appendices C and D thereto, pp. 643, 651, and 655.↩
- HD–8, minute 3 (c), vol. vii, p. 160.↩
- Ante, p. 643.↩
- Ante, p. 695.↩
- Ante, p. 684.↩
- For draft of letter, see appendix A to HD–68, p. 583.↩
- HD–72, minute 10, p. 694.↩
- Principal Allied and Associated Powers.↩
- The mission of governing which devolves on the Commission, carries a permanent Presidency during the entire duration of the Commission. [Footnote in the original.]↩
- Vol. ii, p. 241.↩
- Supra. ↩