Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/78
Notes of a Meeting of the Heads of Delegations of the Five Great Powers Held in M. Pichon’s Room, Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Wednesday, October 29, 1919, at 10:30 a.m.
- America, United States of
- Hon. F. L. Polk
- Mr. L. Harrison
- British Empire
- Sir Eyre Crowe
- Mr. H. Norman
- M. Clemenceau
- M. Pichon
- M. Berthelot
- M. de St. Quentin
- M. Scialoja
- M. Barone Russo
- M. Matsui
- M. Kawai
- America, United States of
|America, United States of||Capt. B. Winthrop|
|British Empire||Capt. G. Lothian Small|
The following were also present for items in which they were concerned:
- America, United States of
- General Tasker H. Bliss
- Mr. E. L. Dresel
- Colonel J. A. Logan
- Mr. A. W. Dulles
- British Empire
- General Groves
- Air Commander Smith
- Captain Fuller
- Lieut. Commander Dunne
- Lieut. Colonel Kisch
- Marshal Foch
- General Weygand
- M. Henry Berenger
- M. Laroche
- Commandant Levavasseur
- M. de Celle
- Capitaine de Corvette Fabre
- M. Kammerer
- Capitaine Roper
- General Niessel
- M. Stranieri
- Lieut. Col. Piccio
- Capt. de Corvette Ruspoli
- M. Shigemitsu
1. (The Council had before it a report from the Marshal, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies dated October 23, 1919 (See Appendix “A”), a note in three parts from the British Delegation dated October 23, 24 and 25, 19191 (See Appendix “B”) and a letter from the Minister of Finance to the Marshal, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies (See Appendix “C”). Violations by the Germans of the Armistice Clauses
General Weygand read and commented upon the report dealing with the violations of the clauses of the Armistice, the preparation of which had been entrusted to the Armistice Commission at Cologne.
Captain Fuller read and commented upon the notes from the British Delegation dealing with violations of the Naval Clauses of the Armistice.
M. de Celle read and commented upon the letter from the Minister of Finance to the Marshal, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies, and added thereto the following observations:
The Germans were to have supplied a complete list of the plunder and thefts committed by them; there were numerous omissions in the lists supplied. It had been indicated clearly to the Germans that in matters of specie and personal property omission might occur only in exceptional cases and that they should be made known within twenty-four hours of their discovery. The despatch of a new truckload of property had just been made known to them. They had to acknowledge that the German delegates in Paris were actually doing their best to give satisfaction.
Similarly, the documents which Clause 13 of the Protocol of Spa, dated December 1st, 1918,1a had in mind, concerning notes issued by towns during the German occupation (list of printed notes, lists of notes whose issue had been authorized, list of notes actually issued, list of water-marked paper stocks, etc.,) had not so far been supplied, notwithstanding the formal promise made by Germany to send them before December 10th, 1918. Those lists were of extreme importance in order to discover and suppress possible forgery.
Lastly, as for the recovery of objets d’art, if those that belonged to public museums had been restored this was not the case with objets d’avt or furniture taken from private houses. The Germans [Page 803] professed that there had been no official storage of these objects: they knew, however, that the experts who had superintended their collection had worked publicly and that furniture and pictures had been carefully packed for transport. It was impossible to admit, as the Germans pretended, that the vanished furniture had been used merely for furnishing posts of command or dugouts.
M. Clemenceau asked whether a member of the Council wished to make any remark.
Sir Eyre Crowe wished for the moment to leave aside the two most serious violations of the Armistice, namely, the question of the Baltic Provinces and the Scapa Flow incident, to which he intended to return. As for the other violations it was important to adhere to this: that obligations incurred by the terms of the Armistice be retained when the Treaty came into force. Guarantees to this effect were necessary. If their legal advisors were of the opinion that the stipulations of the Armistice would no longer subsist with the coming into force of the Peace Treaty, it was absolutely necessary to oblige the Germans to sign a special Protocol assuring to the Powers every possible guarantee corresponding to the guarantees of the Armistice.
Mr. Polk agreed with Sir Eyre Crowe that the legal advisers should be consulted.
M. Scialoja found the difficulty to arise out of the fact that the conventions of the Armistice, while constituting a veritable treaty, had been imposed in military form. He thought there were grounds for preparing a Protocol enumerating all the obligations still to be fulfilled, but what sanctions would the Council still wield since the coming into force of the Treaty would deprive it of the sanctions which the Armistice afforded? It was necessary that the Protocol itself incorporate sanctions.
Sir Eyre Crowe maintained that for the very reason adduced by M. Scialoja, he had drawn the distinction between the more important and the less important violations of the Armistice: was not such sanction necessary for the less important violations?
M. Clemenceau thought that they did not wish to commit themselves to a perfectly futile manifestation; a definite date had to be fixed. As a matter of form it would be well to say that unless the obligations undertaken were fulfilled they would have to demand sanctions which, as it seemed to him, ought to be of a military nature for in reality there were no others. Therefore, in the Protocol a list of all the so-called secondary violations of the Armistice had to be prepared. He thought it hardly possible to say to the Germans that they would not have the Treaty come into force until after the execution of those clauses: it would be sufficient to say that if the clauses were not fulfilled, sanctions of military nature would be imposed. The questions of Scapa Flow [Page 804] and of the Baltic Provinces remained. In the former matter they had done nothing; on the latter they had decided upon a course of action the preceding day. Would it not be necessary to know what sanctions they would employ if the mission of General Niessel arrived at no success.
Mr. Polk asked whether it was intended to tell the Germans what sanctions would ultimately be applied.
M. Clemenceau said there certainly was no such intention. It would be sufficient to say that there would be some sanction: but of course the Germans would have to sign the Protocol before the Treaty would come into force.
Mr. Polk remarked that the Protocol should be submitted first to the Council, which would then have to discuss the question of sanctions.
M. Clemenceau agreed.
Mr. Polk inquired whether the Council had communicated to the Dutch Government the note2 sent to Germany relative to the delivery of ships she had sold to Holland.
Sir Eyre Crowe said that the Dutch Government had been informed of such a note having been sent and told that if it claimed property rights in the ships in question, it would have to justify its claims before the Council.
Sir Eyre Crowe reverted to the violation of the Armistice committed in the Scapa Flow incident. The Council had been apprised some time ago of a British proposal on the subject. The sinking of the ships could be considered either the individual act of the officers and crews, or an act for which the German government was responsible. The British Delegation believed that there were grounds for holding the government responsible. In the latter case reparation was due for the value of the sunken ships, cost of salvage of the ships, cost of surveying the anchorage, buoying the wrecks and any subsequent expenses incurred, e. g., in clearing the anchorage of wrecks, etc. It was proposed further that reparation should be in kind, for example in the surrender of the five light cruisers that Germany still possessed and of floating docks, cranes, harbor craft, etc.; that the Germans should be asked further to supply to the Armistice Commission a complete list of this material, delivery of which the Armistice Commission would be authorized to accept.
M. Clemenceau said that they were agreed in considering the German Government responsible.
Mr. Polk stated that he did not yet have the report of his naval experts on the question and asked that it be adjourned.
Sir Eyre Crowe maintained that if they held the German Government responsible, they could, as the British Delegation believed, [Page 805] repatriate the German officers and seamen of the crews which had been taken prisoner on the destruction of the fleet.
M. Clemenceau proposed to discuss that question on the following day.
Sir Eyre Crowe wished to remark further that in the matter of the evacuation of the Baltic Provinces the terms of the Armistice were repeated in the body of the Treaty. In that respect, therefore, they did have guarantees.
It was decided:
- to ask the Drafting Committee to prepare a Protocol to be signed by the Representative of the German government before the Treaty came into force and to contain, along with the list of the unfulfilled clauses of the Armistice, an undertaking by Germany to fulfil those clauses within a prescribed time under penalty of such measures which the Allied and Associated Powers would reserve to themselves in the event of noncompliance;
- that the question whether the non-evacuation of the Baltic Provinces and the Scapa Flow incident were to be explicitly mentioned in this Protocol be provisionally reserved. (See appendices “A”, “B” and “C”).
2. General Niessel wished to point out to the Council that it would be difficult for his Mission to leave the Monday or Wednesday following; his Italian colleague had not yet arrived and General Turner’s officers would not be in Paris before the end of the week. Lastly there would be difficulties from the point of view of railroad transportation. Inter-Allied Baltic Provinces Military Commission
M. Clemenceau said that General Niessel would leave on Wednesday at the latest.
M. Clemenceau thought that they might agree provisionally that the expenses of the Mission would be divided between the Allies.
M. Berthelot explained that for the moment it was only a question of the immediate expenses of maintenance and voyage.
Mr. Polk said that it would be best that each Power supply the expenses of its own representatives.
It was decided:
that, subject to later examination of the question by the Supreme Council, each Power should pay the expenses of its representatives on the Inter-Allied Baltic Provinces Military Commission.
3. (The Council had before it a note from the New States Commission asking the Supreme Council for instructions (See appendix “D”).) Request for Instructions from the New States Commission Relative to the Bulgarian Counter-propositions
M. Kammerer read and commented upon the first part of the note.
M. Scialoja thought it preferable to insert in the Bulgarian Treaty a clause by which Serbia and Roumania would incur the same obligations as those of article 46 of the Treaty with Greece.[Page 806]
M. Kammerer suggested that if, in the Treaty with Bulgaria, the same terms were inserted which had prevented Serbia from signing the Treaty with Austria, the Serb-Croat-Slovene State would not sign the Bulgarian Treaty; the result would correspond to the second procedure suggested by the Commission.
Mr. Polk wondered, whether, if they made it possible to sign the Bulgarian Treaty without inserting therein the same terms as in the Austrian Treaty, they might not leave it optional to certain powers to sign one Treaty and not the other. It was most important, he thought, to tell the Roumanians and the Serbs that if they did not sign the Austrian Treaty neither would they sign the Bulgarian Treaty.
M. Kammerer agreed that the insertion of a new article might be possible; he thought, however, that it would be disagreeable to the states concerned for the Council to tell them that they could not sign the Bulgarian Treaty before signing the Austrian Treaty.
Mr. Polk did not see that they had to modify a treaty so as to satisfy a power that refused to sign.
M. Pichon considered the second method preferable; they would inform the Roumanians and Serbs that they could not sign the Bulgarian Treaty unless they signed the Austrian Treaty. The Council would thus be in possession of a further means of bringing pressure to bear upon them.
Sir Eyre Crowe considered that there should be on the agenda of an early sitting of the Council, the question of the signature of the Austrian Treaty by the Roumanians and Serbs.
M. Pichon said Mr. Trumbic had arrived and that General Coanda had left Bucarest the previous day. According to a telegram he had received that morning, he thought the signature probable.
Sir Eyre Crowe’s information did not give him the same impression.
Mr. Polk was in a similar situation. He had the feeling that the Roumanians wished simply to gain time.
M. Kammerer read and commented upon the second part of the report of the New States Commission.
Sir Eyre Crowe asked what right Bulgaria had to set up as champion of the Turkish cause.
M. Kammerer explained that it was not Turks properly speaking, but Turkish subjects who had taken refuge in Bulgarian territory. The Italian Delegation was afraid that Serbia was preventing their exercising that right of option which the 1913 treaty3 gave them, but which the outbreak of war had made impossible. There was no doubt that the insertion of special clauses in the Treaty would be unpleasant enough for Serbia.[Page 807]
Sir Eyre Crowe maintained that it was always dangerous to modify a treaty once it had been signed, and that the Allied and Associated Powers had already signed the Minorities Treaty.
M. Kammerer explained that it was the Italian Delegation that insisted upon that solution.
Sir Eyre Crowe asked if there were any evidence to show the Turks intended returning into Serbian territory?
Mr. Polk explained that it was a question of Macedonian refugees.
M. Pichon asked whether, instead of changing the text of the Treaty, a procedure which as Sir Eyre Crowe had pointed out, presented serious disadvantages, they could not demand of Serbia written declarations on the point?
M. Kammerer was of the opinion that Serbia would prefer that solution.
M. Scialoja pointed out that in the Bulgarian Treaty a clause could be inserted analogous to that in which Greece was placed by Article IV of the proposed Greek Treaty.4
M. Kammerer said that the Commission had judged that this involved difficulties and that there was no point in concealing the fact that the insertion of a clause of such nature in the Bulgarian Treaty would be extremely disagreeable to the Serbs.
M. Scialoja maintained that Serbia would have to restore to its refugees the right of option which the outbreak of war had prevented them from exercising in the prescribed time.
M. Pichon believed that Serbia should make the declaration in a letter.
(It was decided:
- that the Principal Allied and Associated Powers should make known to the Roumanian and Serb-Croat-Slovene Delegations that these latter countries would not be allowed to sign the Treaty with Bulgaria before having signed the Treaty with Austria and the Minorities Treaty;
- that the Serb-Croat-Slovene Government be asked to make known by written declaration that it would authorize its Ottoman subjects who, owing to the war, had not been able to avail themselves in the prescribed time of the right of option envisaged by the Treaty of 1913, to take advantage of that right. (See Appendix “D”).)
4. (The Council had before it a note from the British Delegation dated October 27th (See Appendix “E”).)
(After a short discussion Request for instructions From the Chairman of the Inter-Allied Aeronautical Commission of Control in Germany
It was decided:
to refer to the military representatives at Versailles, for examination and report, the request for instructions addressed to the Supreme Council by the Chairman of the Inter-Allied Aeronautical Commission of Control in Germany. (See Appendix “E”.)
5. (The Council had before it a draft note to the German Government, prepared by the Polish Commission (See Appendix “F”).)
(It was decided: Note to the German Government on the Municipal Elections in Upper Silesia
to approve the draft note to the German Government on the question of municipal elections in Upper Silesia as prepared by the Polish Commission. (See Appendix “F”).)
6. (The Council had before it a note from the British Delegation dated October 27th (See Appendix “G”).) Salaries and Allowances for the Administrator of Dantzig and His Staff and for the Administrative Staff of Memel
M. Pichon considered it logical to adopt the proposal, which conformed to previous decisions of the Supreme Council.
Mr. Polk asked who would fix the salaries.
M. Pichon said it would be a matter for deciding as in analogous cases.
(It was decided:
- that the salaries and allowances of the temporary Administrator of the Free City of Dantzig and his staff, and of the Administrative Staff of Memel should be a charge upon local revenues (See Appendix “G”);
- that the rate of these salaries and allowances should be fixed by the Sub-Committee on the Execution of the Treaty with Germany.)
7. (The Council had before it a report of the Commission entrusted with examining the question of the repatriation of German and Austrian prisoners from Siberia (See Appendix “H”).)
Captain de Corvette Fabre read and commented upon the report of the Commission. Repatriation of Allied Contingents and Enemy Prisoners From Siberia
Mr. Polk thought that the order of repatriation could be modified by financial considerations. As regarded the Czechs, an agreement had been arrived at, which placed the immediate expenses of repatriation on Great Britain, the United States and France. No account had been taken so far of the Poles, the Roumanians and the Serbs. Perhaps the United States would be led to assume responsibility for this repatriation. In any case, he was obliged to remark that the financial rulings of the United States Treasury Department forbade his government from participating in expenses of a provisional nature that might be subject to a later readjustment among the Powers; the United States could only make direct advances to the small nations concerned.
M. Pichon held that the thing to do at the moment was for each Power to appoint a financial expert and a political representative to be attached to the Commission actually existing.
Captain de Corvette Fabre remarked that the Commission was qualified to deal only with prisoners. It was therefore asking the [Page 809] Council to decide whether it would be competent to deal likewise with the volunteers of friendly nationalities who ought to be repatriated.
M. Kammerer insisted on the necessity of the Commission being empowered to deal with volunteers as well as prisoners. The two questions were bound together from the point of view both of transport and of finance.
Sir Eyre Crowe did not think his Government inclined to participate in the expenses of repatriating 250,000 German and Austro-Hungarian prisoners; they had the repatriation of their Allies to consider.
M. Berthelot held that distinction must be made between repatriation of their Allies and of prisoners belonging to one of the enemy powers: from the humane point of view these were alike; politically, there were raised questions of quite different kinds. The Council had already decided that the repatriation of enemy prisoners should wait until after that of Allied volunteers.5 They were informed that the Germans had already been trying to conclude private contracts with Japanese ship owners. If they were to let Japanese shipping companies repatriate enemies who were ready to pay a very high price, the effect would be disastrous, and it was important that M. Matsui should draw the attention of his government to the question.
M. Matsui stated that his government had informed him that the statement that ships had been chartered on behalf of Germany was incorrect. The Japanese government had no ships at its disposal; and private ship owners had concluded agreements to charter ships for the purpose of repatriating Czechs. Once the Treaty came into force it would be for each government to get into direct touch with the ship owners. He had already acquainted Tokio with that decision of the Supreme Council, which had in mind giving priority to the repatriation of the Allies.
M. Kammerer held that they could and, indeed, ought to leave to the Germans the care of arranging the repatriation of their prisoners. It was for the Commission only to make sure that that repatriation should not precede the repatriation of volunteers of friendly nationalities.
Captain de Corvette Fabre pointed out that it was exactly for that reason that the Commission had asked enlargement of its powers. It had been formed originally to organize the repatriation of German and Austrian prisoners of war, but had found itself confronted by a resolution of the Supreme Council which specified that the repatriation of those prisoners should not take place until after the repatriation of volunteers of friendly nationalities. So long as the repatriation [Page 810] of those volunteers had not been begun, the Commission could not work to any purpose.
Mr. Polk thought that the Commission could confine itself to examining the repatriation of prisoners without taking any executive steps.
Sir Eyre Crowe asked why the Commission should have to concern itself with German and Austrian prisoners of war at all. Article 215 of the German Treaty envisaged the setting up of a special commission, for the repatriation of prisoners. This question was its peculiar concern, and he understood that it was forming a Sub-Commission to take care of this particular case.
Captain de Corvette Fabre stated that the Commission referred to in article 215 had to deal exclusively with enemy prisoners taken by the Allied and Associated Powers; the repatriation of prisoners from Siberia taken by the Russians did not concern it. Indeed practically all the prisoners in Siberia had been taken by the Russians, and it would be impossible to repatriate them without authorization of the Government of Omsk which might wish to retain them as hostages.
M. Pichon acknowledged that they had no legal obligation towards enemy prisoners who had been retained in Siberia.
It was decided:
- that the Commission entrusted by the Supreme Council with studying the repatriation of German and Austrian prisoners from Siberia should examine at the same time the question of repatriating the volunteers of friendly nationalities;
- that, in view of the consequent extension of their powers and because of the complexity of the problems raised by the question of repatriation, each of the Allied and Associated Powers should nominate to the Commission representatives for political and financial questions. (See Appendix “H”.)
(The meeting then adjourned.)
Hotel de Crillon, Paris, October 29, 1919.[Page 811] [Page 821]
- Only two parts, dated October 23 and 25, appear in the Department files.↩
- Martens, Nouveau recueil général de traitds, 3 ser., tome xi, p. 185.↩
- Appendix A to HD–70, p. 649.↩
- Treaty of peace between Bulgaria and Turkey, September 16 (29). 1913, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cvii, p. 706.↩
- Appendix F to HD–82, p. 922.↩
- HD–62, minute 7, p. 411.↩
- HD–73, minute 8, p. 714.↩
- Initial convention of November 11, 1919 , renewal of conventions and protocols. [Footnote in the original.]↩
- For text, see vol. ii, p. 1.↩
- Appendix E to HD–62, p. 419.↩
- Appendices D and E to HD–67, pp. 546 and 547.↩
- For text, see vol. ii, p. 11.↩
- Telegrams to the Permanent Armistice Commission on August 7, August 26, September 30, and October 18th. [Footnote in the original.]↩
- HD–63, minute 2, p. 430.↩
- Addressed to Marshal Foch as a report. [Footnote in the original.]↩
- Transmission of Telegrams Nos. 3765 of August 7th and 4111 of August 27th [26th?]. [Footnote in the original.]↩
- This note (Paris Peace Conf. 185.001/121) transmitted the text of the proposals accepted by the Supreme Council on August 6, HD–25, minute 14, vol. vii, p. 563.↩
- For text, see appendix C to HD–37, ibid., p. 823.↩
- HD–62, minute 1, p. 403.↩
- HD–70, minute 1, and appendix A thereto, pp. 639 and 649.↩
- Appendix B to HD–63, p. 443.↩
- BC–52, minute 1, vol. iv, pp. 355, 370.↩
- HD–25, minute 14, vol. vii, p. 563.↩
- HD–75, minute 2, p. 747.↩
- HD–62, minute 7, p. 411.↩
- HD–65, minute 4, p. 488.↩
- résumé hereto annexed. [Footnote in the original.]↩
- this category does not include any Czecho-Slovaks, all having been mobilized. [Footnote in the original.]↩