Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/80
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 Saturday, November 1, 1919, at 10 a.m.
- America, United States of
- Hon. F. L. Polk
- Mr. L. Harrison
- British Empire
- Sir Byre Crowe
- Mr. H. Norman
- M. Clemenceau
- M. Pichon
- M. Berthelot
- M. de Saint Quentin
- M. Scialoja
- M. Barone Russo
- M. Matsui
- M. Kawai
- America, United States of
|America, United States of||Mr. B. Winthrop.|
|British Empire||Capt. G. Lothian Small.|
The following were also present for the items in which they were concerned:
- America, United States of
- Dr. J. B. Scott
- Rear Admiral McCully
- Mr. A. W. Dulles
- Dr. I. Bowman
- Colonel J. A. Logan
- Commander Koehler
- Captain Gordon
- British Empire
- General Sackville-West
- Admiral Groves, R. N.
- Hon. C. H. Tufton
- Mr. A. W. Malkin
- Mr. A. Leeper
- Commander Smith, R. N.
- Commander Dunne, R. N.
- Captain Fuller, R. N.
- Commander Macnamara, R. N.
- Marshal Foch
- General Weygand
- General Desticker
- General Le Rond
- M. H. Berenger
- M. Laroche
- Commandant Le Vavasseur
- M. Fromageot
- Capitaine Roper
- General Cavallero
- Contre-Amiral Grassi
- M. Ricci-Busatti
- M. Vannutelli-Rey
- M. Galli
- M. Pilotti
- Capitaine de Corvette Ruspoli
- Prince Boncompagni
- M. Adatci
- Commandant Ohsumi
- M. Nagaoka
- M. Shigemitsu
1. (The Council had before it a note from the British Delegation dated October 28, 1919 (See Appendix “A”).) Powers of General Milne in AsiaMinor
Sir Eyre Crowe stated the question was a very simple one, and was summarized in the note from the British Delegation which had been circulated among in the members of the Council. The Council had appointed, at some prior time, General Milne as Commander-in-Chief of the Allied forces in Asia Minor: It seemed that neither the French nor the Italian authorities had been informed of the decision of the Council.1
M. Pichon thought indeed that the question could not raise any difficulty so long as the beginning of the note, as submitted to the Council, was altered slightly: The British Delegation had said that the General Officer commanding the British troops at Constantinople and in Asia Minor (Syria excepted) had been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Allied forces in those regions. This assertion was correct, as far as Turkey in Asia was concerned, but the question of the command at Constantinople was the object of negotiations between the British and French Governments.
Sir Eyre Crowe agreed with this remark, but asked, above all, that the French and Italian military authorities be informed of the decisions of the Supreme Council, which had recognized the authority of General Milne.
M. Berthelot thought that there could be no doubt whatsoever on this question, and added he could not understand the misunderstanding which had taken place, for the necessary information had been given at the same time to M. de France and to General Franchet d’Esperey.
M. Scialoja asked that the same instructions be repeated to the Italian military authorities.
M. Pichon agreed that this information should be reiterated.
(It was decided:
that the French and Italian Delegations take the necessary steps to inform their representatives in Turkey that the Supreme Council had [Page 847] appointed General Milne as Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces in Asia Minor, Syria excepted. (See Appendix “A”.)
2. (The Council had before it a draft note prepared by the Drafting Committee (See Appendix “B”).)2 Draft Note to the German Government Relative to Putting the Treaty Into Force
M. Fromageot commented upon this draft note and remarked that the Drafting Committee had taken account of the observations made at the preceding meeting of the Supreme Council,3 and also that the new draft was presented by all the members of the Committee.
General Weygand said that the draft, as prepared by the Drafting Committee, invited the German Government to send representatives to Paris on November 6th. He would like to know whether on the 6th of November they could profitably discuss with the German delegates: would the Commissions be ready on that date?
M. Berthelot said that he had proposed November 6th to take into account the wish expressed by General Weygand himself that the conference should take place as soon as possible, but could easily be put off for a few days.
General Weygand thought that from a military standpoint they would certainly be ready on November 6th, but that perhaps that date might be a little early for the Commissions.
M. Pichon proposed the 10th instead of the 6th.
(This proposal was adopted)
(It was decided:
that the draft note to the German Government, prepared by the Drafting Committee, relative to putting the Treaty into force, be approved, and that the German Government be asked to send representatives to be in Paris on the 10th, and not on the 6th, of November, 1919. (See Appendix “B”).)
3. (The Council had before it a draft Protocol, prepared by the Drafting Committee (See Appendix “C”).)4 Draft Protocol Between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany Relative to Confirming the Obligations Imposed Upon the German Government by the Armistice
M. Fromageot read and commented upon the draft prepared by the Drafting Committee, and remarked that there was occasion to modify the draft on the following points:
- Page 1, point 3: Eliminate in the second line the word “immediately” and add after the words, “in Russian Territory” the words, “as soon as the Allies judge opportune.”
- Page 1, point 4: Substitute the word, “coercive” for the word, “consecutive.”
- Page 1, point 5: Substitute the word “fiduciary” for the word, “judicial.”
- Page 2, point 6: Add to the end of the paragraph, “destruction in the North Sea of certain submarines on their way to England to be handed over.”
- Page 3, point 11: Add to the end of the paragraph, “and various other merchant vessels.”
- Page 4: Add to the end of the second paragraph, “and the destruction in the North Sea of certain submarines on their way to England to be handed over.”
- Page 4, point 2: Add to the end of the paragraph “also the three submarine engines of U–146, which still remained to be delivered in reparation for submarines destroyed in the North Sea.”
He explained that in point 1 of Page 1 they had mentioned an interval of thirty-one days expiring December 11th, 1918. Was this exact?
Marshal Foch said it was not quite right; the time limit had been exceeded by mutual consent and in consequence of various agreements. There was no need to mention it. On the other hand, he considered that as regarded handing over of rolling stock, the Germans had not, properly speaking, committed any real violation of the Armistice. There had been certain slowness of execution. It would be a mistake therefore to treat as equally serious the nonfulfilment of that clause and specific violations of the Armistice like the Scapa Flow incident and the nonevacuation of the Baltic Provinces. It would perhaps be better to mention in the beginning of the note the more important questions, and to consider secondary violations in a final paragraph.
M. Fromageot said that they had followed the order of the clauses of the Armistice conventions; obviously that might be modified. From a legal point of view, on the other hand, he felt obliged to remark that the fact of an obligation being in course of fulfilment did not prevent their considering it unexecuted.
Marshal Foch thought that it would be sufficient to say that, on that point, the Allied and Associated Powers had not received full satisfaction. He wished to repeat, in that case, that there was no formal violation of the Armistice, and that it would be well not to confuse in the same category formal violations and incomplete execution.
M. Berthelot said it had seemed advantageous to make a complete enumeration, but he wished to remark that, in the last part, they had to take into account the arguments the Marshal had in mind, and that, doubtless, it would be sufficient to omit in that last part, paragraphs Nos. 4 and 5 of page 4.
M. Pichon summed up that they were agreed to modify the first paragraph of page 1 in the following manner: “The obligations, etc., have not been carried out, or have not received full satisfaction.”
(This suggestion was adopted)
Marshal Foch wished to remark that as for point 2, they could not reproach the Germans with not having made the reimbursement of the upkeep expenses of the troops of occupation, for the simple reason that they had not yet told them the total amount of these expenses. It would therefore be better to omit the paragraph.
M. Berthelot thought it was all the easier, as the obligation was covered by the Treaty.
M. Pichon concluded that the Council decided to omit this paragraph.
M. Fromageot stated that with regard to Germany’s obligation to deliver documents, specie, valuables carried away by her troops, they [Page 851] had not felt in a position to mention the valuables removed from the prisoners’ camps, as the Minister of Finance had demanded, because the Armistice did not speak of it.
Mr. Polk thought that, although he did not suppose that his Naval Experts would raise objections on the point, he wished to make a reservation on point 6 of the Committee’s draft. Similarly, he felt he must make a reservation on point 11 of the draft, concerning the handing over of the fourteen tank vessels which had been demanded. He believed, further, that on this point it might be possible to find a text which would satisfy at once the American Delegation on the one hand, and the British and the French on the other.
M. Berthelot stated they had already taken care to avoid a text which appeared to imply a decision by the American Government on property in these vessels.
Mr. Polk added that the American Government did not consider that the demand for the handing over of those tank vessels could be maintained.
M. Berthelot wished to remark that the Supreme Council had taken a decision on the subject,5 namely that a German obligation existed although, as between the Allies, the question might be examined anew.
Mr. Polk did not wish to raise, at that time, the question in its entirety, but could not help remarking that if the decision which M. Berthelot recalled, had not been taken, there would not have been a violation of the Armistice, in that case, on the part of the Germans. He was hoping that the Drafting Committee would prepare a text which would permit of an agreement.
M. Henry Berenger stated that they did not at that time have to examine the question of real property in the tank ships, nor what was the legal position of the Deutsch-Amerikanische Petroleum Gesellschaft. That was a question which belonged to the Reparations Commission; for the moment the question was: why had the ships which had been demanded in virtue of certain clauses of the Armistice, not been delivered, especially at a time when tonnage and fuel were everywhere the universal need. He thought the British Delegation believed, as he did, that there was there a real obstruction on the part of Germany.
Mr. Polk thought that the question before this meeting was to revise the protocol and not to discuss in its entirety the question of the tank ships which, however, he was ready to discuss. He simply wished to make a reservation, and he was convinced that the Drafting Committee would manage to agree on a text which would not bring up the whole question.
Mr. Berthelot said that a distinction should be made between the two points: 1st, the attitude of the Allies towards the Germans: the [Page 852] Germans had been asked to deliver the ships, they ought to do it. 2nd, if the Supreme Council had several times decided that the tank ships were to be sent to the Firth of Forth it was no longer a matter of settling the question in substance; and discussion remained possible as between the Allies and America. But it was important to introduce in the protocol a clause! If they were not to do so they would unintentionally be deciding the question in substance and to the advantage of Germany.
Mr. Polk thought that the remarks of M. Berthelot were probably true, but as time was short, he would for the moment confine himself to making a reservation.
M. Clemenceau concluded that it was understood, then, that the protocol would contain a clause on that subject, but for the moment the Council decided to reserve the text.
Sir Eyre Crowe asked with regard to point No. 12 of the Committee’s draft whether it would not be advisable to examine it at the same time as the draft reply to the German note of October 10th [12th]6 on the sale of Aeronautical materiel which figured on the agenda of that morning.
M. Fromageot thought that the question would present itself more profitably a little later. He would have some observations to make which would satisfy the technical experts; and at that time could also be examined the draft reply which Sir Eyre Crowe mentioned. He added that, following point No. 12, it would be right to alter the text of the paragraph beginning with the words, “A certain number of stipulations, etc”; it should read: “Unexecuted or incompletely executed stipulations” so as to take into account the observations offered some time before by Marshal Foch.
M. Clemenceau said that they then had to decide what reparations they were going to exact for the Scapa Flow incident.
Captain Fuller pointed out that the Naval Experts had not been able to come to an agreement. The Representative of the United States had made a reservation on the subject of floating docks that ought to be exacted.
Commandant Le Vavasseur stated that he for his part had submitted—and his British, Italian and Japanese colleagues were of the same opinion—that it was inadvisable to specify the percentage of large and small docks that ought to be demanded for the tonnage that was to be replaced. They had thought it sufficient to fix only the total, leaving it to the Commission of Naval Control to make the choice. The American Delegate alone had been of a different opinion.[Page 853]
Commandant Le Vavasseur repeated that they had all been agreed upon the principle that the handing over of Naval materiel ought to be demanded and agreed also upon the amount of tonnage that should be claimed as reparation. Their difference existed in the proportion as between large and small docks.
Captain Fuller agreed that was the situation.
Mr. Polk wished to ask for what reason they could not specify at this time the proportion of great docks and small docks to be delivered.
Captain Fuller replied that it was because this raised the question of the docks at Dantzig, for it was at Dantzig that two of the biggest docks Germany possessed were situated.
Mr. Polk said that, in the absence of his naval experts, it was difficult for him to take a decision. He felt, however, as he had already stated to the Council, that this question brought up the problem of the extent of Germany’s ability to make reparation, and for that reason came within the province of the Reparations Commission; he confined himself to making a reservation and proposed that the discussion be resumed that afternoon. (This proposal was adopted.)
M. Fromageot wished to draw the attention of the Council to the third obligation which the protocol imposed on Germany, to take into account the remarks which had been presented to the Committee by technical experts. They, therefore, proposed to alter the text which the Council had before it in the following manner:
“third—to make over to the Allied and Associated Governments the value of the Aeronautical materiel which had been exported, according to the decision that would be given, and the estimate made or notified by the President of the Commission on Aeronautical Control, as provided in article 210 of the Treaty of Peace, before the 31st January, 1920”.
It was the President of the Commission who would decide whether the exported materiel were civil or military, and who as a result of that decision, would determine the sum that Germany ought to pay.
M. Scialoja remarked that the notification to Germany would be made by the President, but that the decision would have to be taken by the Commission itself.
M. Fromageot explained that the technical experts had agreed that the President be trusted with the power of deciding whether the materiel in question were civil or military.
Captain Roper stated that the Supreme Council had had to make a decision on this point on the 29th September (H. D. 63),7 on the point being raised by the British Delegation. In the text prepared by the British Delegation the President had been mentioned, but in their [Page 854] minds it was clear that the President was merely the interpreter of the Commission.
M. Berthelot added that this meant the decision of the Commission as notified by the President.
M. Clemenceau explained that of course the Commission could always delegate its powers to the President.
M. Fromageot made the comment that the two following paragraphs, Nos. 4 and 5 on page 4, ought to be omitted in the light of the explanations just offered by Marshal Foch, but that the Drafting Committee thought that there was still ground for adding to the final paragraph the following phrase which was dictated by the analogous terms of paragraph 18 of the annex to part VIII of the Treaty; “Germany pledges itself not to consider these measures as acts of war.”
M. Clemenceau did not think this a very happy addition. What were they going to do if Germany should refuse to sign that phrase.
Marshal Foch announced himself quite hostile to that phrase.
M. Scialoja wished to raise another question. In his opinion it would be well to ask the Germans to come armed with full powers to sign the Protocol, but expressly on the understanding that that Protocol would not be still subject to ratification by the National Assembly. Were they not to take this precaution they would expose themselves to the anomaly that the Treaty would have come into force while the protocol was in the air; for certain articles of the German Constitution left it an open question whether the document that they wished to have the German representative sign would be valid without ratification by the legislative authorities.
M. Fromageot wished to point out that in their draft note it was stated on Page 28 that the German representative who was to sign the protocol must be armed with full powers.
M. Scialoja explained that this meant full powers to sign, but it was necessary that this signature should hold Germany without ratification.
M. Fromageot thought it would be sufficient to modify the first paragraph on Page 2 of the draft note in the following manner:
“The German Government is therefore asked to give to the German representatives, authorized to sign the procès-verbal for the deposit of ratifications, full powers to sign at the same time the protocol of which a copy is hereto attached and which provides without further delay for this settlement.”
(It was decided:
to approve the draft Protocol prepared by the Drafting Committee (See Appendix “C”) to be signed by a representative of the German Government upon the deposit of ratifications of the Treaty of Peace, with the following modifications: [Page 855]
- Page 1, paragraph 1: “The obligations have not been executed or have not been entirely fulfilled.”
- Page 1, paragraph 2: Eliminate the words, “within a period of thirty [-one] days ending on December 11, 1919 
- Page 1, paragraph 3: This paragraph to be entirely eliminated.
- Page 1, paragraph 4: Eliminate in the second line the word, “immediately” and add to the fourth line the words, “as soon as the Allies judge opportune.”
- Page 1, paragraph 6: In the third line substitute the word, “coercive” for “consecutive”.
- Page 1, paragraph 7: In the third line substitute the word, “fiduciary” for the word, “judicial”.
- Page 2, paragraph 2: Add at the end of this paragraph the words, “and the destruction in the North Sea of certain submarines on their way to England to be handed over”.
- Page 2, paragraph 3: This clause is provisionally reserved.
- Page 2, paragraph 4: line 1, substitute for, “Clauses of the Armistice, “Armistice Convention”.
- Page 3, paragraph 3: The first part of this paragraph is reserved, and at the end thereof are to be added the words, “and various other merchant vessels”.
- Page 3, paragraph 5: Between the words, “unexecuted” and “stipulations” insert the words, “or incompletely executed”.
- Page 4, paragraph 2: Add at the end of this paragraph, “and the destruction in the North Sea of certain submarines on their way to England to be handed over”.
- The next paragraph was reserved provisionally.
- Page 4, paragraph 4: This paragraph to be modified so as to read: “To deliver within a period of ten days, from the date of the signature of the present Protocol, the machinery and engines of submarines U–137, U–138, and U–150 by way of reparation for the destruction of submarine UC–48, as well as of the three engines of submarine U–46, which still remained to be delivered in reparation for the submarines destroyed in the North Sea.”
- Change paragraph 5 on Page 4, to read: “. … according to the decision that will be taken, the estimate made and modified [notified] by the Aeronautic Control Commission as provided for in Article 210 of the Treaty of Peace and before January 31, 1920.”
- To omit the two last paragraphs of the same page.
It was further decided:
that on account of the changes made in the Protocol, the first paragraph on page 2 of the draft note to the German Government should be modified in the following manner:
“The German Government is therefore asked to give to the German representatives authorized to sign the procès-verbal for the deposit of ratifications, full powers to sign at the same time the Protocol of which a copy is hereto attached and which provides without further delay for this settlement.”
4. (The Council had before it a draft reply prepared by the French Delegation (See Appendix “D”).) Draft Reply to the German Note Upon the Sale of Aeronautical Matériel[Page 856]
Sir Eyre Crowe proposed to refer this draft back to the Drafting Committee for examination, and also to state whether the text thereof agreed with the resolutions which had just been taken.
(This proposition was adopted)
(It was decided:
- to refer back to the Drafting Committee the draft reply to the note from the German Government dated October 12th.9 (See Appendix “D”.)
- that the Drafting Committee would decide whether the note and the protocol which the Allied and Associated Powers had decided to send, did not render superfluous the sending of that specific reply.)
5. (The Council had before it the report from the Central Territorial Committee concerning the Serbo-Bulgarian frontier (See Appendix “E”), and a draft reply from the same Committee to the Bulgarian note concerning Thrace (See Appendix “F”).) Reply to the Bulgarian Counter-Propositions. (Questions of the Dobrudja and of the Serbo-Bulgarian Frontier
M. Laroche explained that the Committee had not been able to agree. Although it was unanimous, as far Thrace was concerned, in refusing the Bulgarian claims, on the contrary, a disagreement existed on two other points. Two delegations, the American and the Italian, were of the opinion that there should be a modification of the Serbo-Bulgarian frontier line as it was defined in the conditions of Peace, in two places, namely in the region of Tsaribrod and in the region of Bossiligrad. On the contrary, the three other Delegations were of the opinion that the original conditions should remain. With regard to the Dobrudja, the Committee was equally divided. On September 5,10 the Supreme Council had decided to examine the question of the Dobrudja when it would reply to the Bulgarian propositions. At the preceding meeting,11 Sir Eyre Crowe had proposed that they should confine themselves to answering the Bulgarians that the question should not come up in a Treaty between Bulgaria and the Allied and Associated Powers, but the American and Italian Delegations insisted that the question should be examined anew: As far as they were concerned, the question was bound up with that of the Serbian frontier. That was the opinion of the majority of the Commission. In justification of the changes which they proposed to make in the conditions of Peace, the American and Italian Delegations laid stress on arguments which were already known, and they also emphasized the feeling which was being shown in Bulgaria, they were afraid that the decision of the Conference would leave behind them lasting marks of resentment. [Page 857] These arguments were not of sufficient value for the majority. The Majority as a matter of fact, pointed out that the Serbian Delegation was familiar with the Peace conditions: Should the Council change them at the last minute, the Serbian Allies would be the ones to experience that feeling referred to by the minority Delegations. The majority was of the opinion that the reasons which had modified the line of the former Serbo-Bulgarian frontier were still good: they had wished to protect in the Vranje region the Belgrade–Salonika railroad from a Bulgarian aggression; indeed, it should not be forgotten that it was in that region, and by reason of the proximity of the railroad to the former frontier, the Bulgarian attack had begun in 1915.
Mr. Polk wished to remark that as far as the Dobrudja was concerned, he thought it might be sufficient to insert a phrase on the subject in the covering letter; that the Allied and Associated Powers would declare, for instance, that the time had not come to discuss the question. Should the majority insist, he would not oppose himself to that decision, but he wished to state that he would have to make a formal reservation in the name of the American Government. The Dobrudja might become a cause of future war in the Balkans, and America would have some difficulty in interfering in a conflict which might be brought about by that question. He therefore wished to ask that this reservation be set forth upon the record: that the American Delegation would prefer the insertion in the covering letter of a line stating that the matter would be taken up with Roumania. Was the Supreme Council hostile to this solution? He did not wish to hide the fact that it seemed to him a great pity, at a time when they were guaranteeing the protection of Minorities, to go against the rights of these Minorities in the Dobrudja.
M. Pichon remarked that the Treaty of 191312 which had decided the future of the Dobrudja was prior to the war; there was no reason why they should change it as far as Roumania was concerned.
M. Scialoja did not wish to insist that the question of the Dobrudja should be taken up, but he, however, thought that it could very well be said that it did not concern the Treaty with Bulgaria.
Mr. Polk reiterated the fact that he did not ask for the insertion of a disposition to that effect in the Treaty itself, nor even for the addition of a phrase in their reply to the Bulgarian counter-propositions; he was only asking that some words to that effect might be put in the covering letter.
M. Clemenceau thought this amounted to the same thing; such a phrase would be offering a pretext for war.[Page 858]
M. Laroche continued his comment, and said that in the region of Tsaribrod, the Serbians had asked for a rectification of frontiers as far as the Dragoman Pass which protected Sofia. The Conference did not wish to go so far, but they had to point out that there was a series of mountain railways which in that region converged on Pirot and which consequently were the roads leading to Nisch; that was the traditional road of the Bulgarian invasions. It had appeared to them that there was reason for giving to the Serbians the strategic key of that road: indeed Serbia did not have any more claims to set up against Bulgaria, and therefore it was right to believe that there would be no further ambition to satisfy in that direction. On the contrary, Bulgaria would not cease to claim Serbian territories and on that side, the reasons for aggression subsisted. As a matter of fact the rectification of frontiers in question would only have the effect of passing approximately 20,000 inhabitants under Serbian authority.
M. Laroche stated that the report of the Minority had been distributed and that he was ready to read it.
Mr. Polk wished to bring out certain points: first, should they consider the text of their first Peace conditions as intangible? Secondly, when the question had come up for the first time, M. Tardieu had told them that it was only a matter of 7,000 Bulgarians being turned over to Serbian authority. On verifying these figures, it was found that as a matter of fact, it was a total of nearly 42,000 Bulgarians being turned over as against 93 Serbian inhabitants. The only possible justification for this proposed change was to give the Serbians the means to attack Sofia without being stopped by any intermediary obstacles. He, therefore urged the Supreme Council to think over the consequences entailed in a decision which meant the handing over of 40,000 Bulgarians to the Serbians, so as to facilitate a Serbian attack upon Sofia. Even in Serbia the wisest people had seen that this would be a mistake which would make more difficult their mission of conciliation. He did not wish, however, to retard in any way the hour of Peace, but he felt it was his duty to express a very definite protest on this question.
M. Laroche wished to answer Mr. Polk’s arguments by stating briefly that 40,000 Bulgarians in a total population of 4,000,000 inhabitants did not represent a very large figure. They had not left Sofia without protection since they had let the Bulgarians keep the Dragoman Pass which formed a defensive strategic position of the greatest value; and should it be found correct that they had ensured advantages to the Serbians, the reason was that they were convinced it was the Bulgarians who would attack. A concession at Tsaribrod would not make the Bulgarians forget either Stroumitza or Monastir.
M. Scialoja agreed with the American thesis. The arguments of the majority, as a matter of fact, did not seem convincing in the least. [Page 859] The ethnographic question was a clear one: This was a question of a population purely Bulgarian, of a territory which was Bulgarian by its nature and history. The only argument which had been invoked was that of the railway; on this point, he wished to bring their attention to the fact that there were other points on which the Serbo-Bulgarian frontier came nearer thereto than in the Bossiligrad region. Why then base upon the existence of a railroad the determination of a frontier? From the military standpoint, they could no more give Serbia the means of invading Bulgaria than give Bulgaria the means of invading Serbia. If Serbia had legitimate fears, one might, to allay these impose on Bulgaria the disarmament of the entrenched camp of Slivnitza. The truth was that Serbia wished to have an open door on Sofia. They ought to be working to insure equilibrium; they should not admit the violation of those very principles of peace which they were striving to establish. There would always be causes for war, it was not for them to try and bring them about. It was clear that Bulgaria would never admit that the Serbs get an open road to Sofia. Lastly, he wished to remark that the text which they had communicated to the Serbs was only a draft, and that they had a perfect right to change it.
M. Laroche stated that at the present time, from a strategic point of view, the Serbs were in a position of clear inferiority. It was the line of the present frontier which had allowed in 1915 the Bulgarian invasion. The Peace conditions which they had handed to Bulgaria, at the same time as to all their Allies, were more than a simple draft. They would be taking a very serious responsibility should they modify these conditions. As for the disarmament of Slivnitza, which M. Scialoja proposed, this would appear to the Bulgarians as much more serious than the loss of Tsaribrod.
Mr. Bowman resumed the arguments of the minority as follows: First, he thought it was useless to reinforce the feelings of reciprocal hostility between the Bulgarians and the Serbs; secondly, the minority did not consider that reasons existed to foresee an invasion of Serbia by the Bulgarians. Bulgaria was vanquished, and the Treaty disarmed her as well on land as on sea. Precautions had been taken to prevent her reorganizing an army; under these conditions she could not think of starting a new war for a long time. It was correct that in the Bossiligrad region, the railroad was at a distance of about ten miles from the frontier. It was proposed to withdraw this frontier to twice this distance, although the population was entirely Bulgarian; the minority would consent to accept this modification, but the case of Tsaribrod was entirely different. The frontier on that point formed a salient which protected the railroad, and on the other hand, in the southwest, on a point where [Page 860] they had been asked to rectify the line, the frontier came much nearer to the railroad. The American and Italian Delegations were aware of the fact that if one wished to modify the frontier line, the new line as proposed was a good one, but the question was whether such modification was necessary. They still thought that no sufficient reasons were adduced to justify such a change; and when, on the other hand, they pointed out that this was the question of greatest interest to Bulgarian opinion, that it would likewise in itself be sufficient to prevent a rapprochement between Serbia and Bulgaria; that further the draft proposed to them was even opposed by influential men in Serbia, they deemed it their duty to maintain their conclusions.
Sir Eyre Crowe stated that Mr. Polk was perfectly right in saying that the Peace conditions which they had handed to the Bulgarians were not inalterable. Any modification was difficult when it bore upon a question which had been discussed for many months and which had been the result of compromise. As a matter of fact the only new point brought up at this meeting was more complete statistical information. All the other arguments had already been discussed, and he admitted that in the first Commission, all the military experts had agreed that the proposed frontier did not give the Serbians offensive military advantages, but only defensive. They were now told that the idea of protecting a railroad had no sense, and that a strategical argument could never be adduced as against an ethnical one; he would point out that the Yugo-Slavs had said the same thing about the line proposed for the new Italo-Slav frontier. In preparing the treaties, they had had to make compromises on all points. Why maintain that in this question particularly principles were sacred? Would it not be wiser to stand by the clauses on which they had agreed? They were as a matter of fact assured that the Bulgarian Delegation would sign the Treaty in any event: on the contrary the conversations he had had with the Serbs had convinced him that if they were to make concessions to Bulgaria so as to facilitate in Sofia a signature which appeared certain, they were running the risk of having the whole treaty jeopardised at Belgrade. The Serbian Delegation which had arrived in Paris was in a difficult situation: it was ready to sign the Treaty with Austria. If this new sacrifice were imposed on Serbia, would the delegation still be able to sign? Their common desire was to sign Peace as soon as possible. They were sure to have the Bulgarian signature; ought they to jeopardise the Serbian signature?
M. Pichon wished only to add one word to Sir Eyre Crowe’s statement. The Serbian Delegates had told him that a concession would mean for certain political men a decisive argument in favor of the refusal of Serbia’s signature. On the other hand, the intentions [Page 861] of Mr. Trumbic were conciliatory. Had the Bulgarians deserved that the Allies should bully the Serbs? He did not think so.
Mr. Polk wished to rectify on one point the statements of Sir Eyre Crowe: the American and Italian experts had never accepted the new line of frontier, they had always pointed out its dangers. The new line was not the work of the Commission, the Supreme Council alone had decided in its favor.13 He did not wish to complicate a difficult situation and he accepted that the Council should maintain its former decision, but in that case he felt it his duty to protest, to point out once more the dangers of such a decision, and to repeat that this decision was made against the advice of the American Delegation. The American Delegation did not wish to assume any responsibility whatsoever in the event of future conflicts which this decision might bring about.
M. Scialoja wished to associate himself with Mr. Polk’s declaration.
(The meeting then adjourned.)
- HD–10, minute 4, vol. vii, p. 194.↩
- Appendix B is not the draft but the final text of the note.↩
- HD–79, minute 1, p. 830.↩
- Appendix O is
the final text of the protocol. The English text of the draft
protocol cannot be found in the Department files. A translation, by
the editors, of the French text (Paris Peace Conf. 185.182/153)
reads as follows (the page numbers of the original are given in
At the very time of proceeding to the first deposit of ratifications of the Peace Treaty, it was ascertained that the following obligations which Germany had agreed to execute, in the Armistice Conventions and the complementary agreements, have not received full satisfaction, viz:
- Armistice Convention of November 11, 1918, Clause VII: Obligation of delivering within a period of thirty-one days ending on December 11, 1918, 5,000 locomotives and 150,000 cars. Forty-two locomotives and 4,460 cars are still to be delivered.
- Armistice Convention of November 11, 1918, Clause IX: Obligation of the cost of the troops of occupation. The reimbursements have not been made.
- Armistice Convention of November 11, 1918, Clause XII: Obligation of withdrawing immediately within the frontiers of Germany, the German troops which are in Russian territory.
- This withdrawal of troops has not been as yet executed, in spite of the reiterated injunctions of August 27, September 27, and October 10, 1919.
- Armistice Convention of November 11, 1918, Clause XIV: Obligation to discontinue immediately all requisitions, seizures or consecutive measures in Russian territory. The German troops continue to use these measures.
- Armistice Convention of November 11, 1918, Clause XIX: Obligation of immediately delivering all documents, specie, securities (transferable and judicial, together with plant for issue thereof) concerning public
or private interests in the invaded countries. The complete statements of the specie and securities removed, collected, or confiscated by the Germans in the invaded countries, have not been delivered.
- 6th. Armistice Convention of November 11, 1918, Clause XXII: Obligation of delivering all German submarines. Destruction of the German submarine UC–48, off Ferrol, by order of her German Commander.
- 7th. Armistice Convention of November 11, 1918, Clause XXIII: Obligation of maintaining in the Allied ports the German battleships designated by the Allied and Associated Powers, these ships being destined to be subsequently delivered; Clause XXXI: Obligation of not destroying any ships before delivery—on June 21, 1919, destruction at Scapa Flow of the said ships.
- 8th. Protocol of December 17, 1918, annexed to the Clauses of the Armistice of December 13, 1919: Obligation of restoring all works of art and artistic documents removed from France and Belgium. All works of art which were transported into unoccupied Germany have not been restored.
- 9th. Armistice Convention of January 16, 1919, Clause III and Protocol 392/1, additional Clause III, of July 25, 1919: Obligation of delivering agricultural implements in lieu of the supplementary railroad material provided for in tables 1 and 2 annexed to the Protocol of Spa, of December 17, 1918. The following were not delivered on the date fixed (October 1, 1919): 40 “Heucke” plowing outfits; all the personnel necessary to operate the apparati, all the spades; 1,500 shovels, 1,130 plows T. M. 23/26; 1,765 plows T. F. 18/21; 1,512 plows T. F. 23/26; 629 Belgian plows T. F. Om 20; 1,205 Belgian plows T. F. Om 26; 4,282 harrows of 2k.500; 2,157
steel cultivators; 966 fertilizer spreaders 2m 50; 1,608 fertilizer spreaders 3m 50.
- Armistice Convention of January 16, 1919, Clause VI: Obligation of restoring the industrial material removed from French and Belgian territories. All this material has not been restored.
- Armistice Convention of January 16, 1919, Clause VIII: Obligation of placing the entire German Merchant Fleet at the disposal of the Allied and Associated Powers. The following have not been delivered: 14 tankers, total tonnage of 63,143, lying at Hamburg; five steamers, total tonnage of 62,456, lying at Bremerhaven, Geestemunde, and Bremen; all of which were to be surrendered in the Firth of Forth.
- Protocols of the Brussels Conference of March 13th and 14th, 1919: Obligation of not exporting any war material of any nature. Exportation of aerial material to Sweden, Holland, Denmark.
A certain number of the above unexecuted stipulations were renewed by the Treaty of June 28, 1919, the going into force of which will of right render applicable the sanctions provided for. This applies, in particular, to the various payments in kind stipulated as reparation.
On the other hand, the question of the evacuation of the Baltic Provinces was the object of an exchange of notes and decisions, which are in course of execution. The Allied and Associated Powers expressly confirm the contents
of their notes, the execution of which Germany, by the present Protocol, agrees to carry out loyally and strictly.
Lastly, the Allied and Associated Powers cannot overlook, without sanction, the other infractions committed against the Armistice Conventions, and violations as serious as the destruction of the German Fleet at Scapa Flow and the destruction of the submarine UC–48 off Ferrol.
Consequently, Germany agrees:
- To deliver within a period of ten days, from the date of the present protocol . . . . . . . . . as reparation for the destruction of the German Fleet at Scapa Flow.
- To deliver witlxin the same period, the machinery and engines of the submarines U–137, UT–46 [sic], and U–150, as reparation for the destruction of the submarine UC–48.
- To pay to the Allied and Associated Governments, the value of the exported aerial material, according to the estimate that will be made by the President of the Aerial Control Commission as provided for in Article 210 of the Treaty of Peace, and within five days following the notification of this estimate.
- To make within a period of 10 days from the date of the present protocol, reimbursement with 10 percent interest for the cost of the troops of occupation.
- To effect, within the same period, the delivery of the 42 locomotives and 4,460 cars in accordance with clause VII of the Armistice Convention of November 11, 1918.
In case Germany should not fulfill these obligations within the time above specified, the Allied and Associated Powers reserve the right to have recourse to any coercive measures, military or other, which they may deem appropriate.
Done in Paris . . . . . . . . . . 1919.↩
- HD-62, minute 1, p. 403.↩
- Appendix A to HD–78, pp. 811, 816.↩
- Minute 2, p. 430.↩
- See final text of note, appendix B, p. 863.↩
- Appendix A to HD–78, pp. 811, 816.↩
- HD–48, minute 2, p. 116.↩
- HD–79, minute 4, p. 837.↩
- Treaty of peace between Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, Roumania, and Serbia, July 28 (August 10), 1913, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cvii, p. 658.↩
- FM–16, minute 1(d), vol. iv, pp. 716, 720.↩
- HD–10, minute 4, vol. vii, p. 194.↩
- Appendix C, infra.↩
- Vol. ii, p. 1.↩
- Not fonnd in Department files.↩
- Appendix E to HD–62, p. 419.↩
- HD–67, minute 4, and appendices D and E thereto, pp. 536, 546, and 547.↩
- The English text of the Armistice reads: “documents, specie, stocks, shares, paper money, together with plant for the issue thereof vol. ii, p. 5.↩
- Appendix A to HD–78, pp. 811, 816.↩
- HD–37, minute 5, and appendix C thereto, vol. vii, pp. 816 and 823.↩
- HD–25, minute 14, ibid., p. 563.↩
- HD–63, minute 2, p. 430.↩
- FM–16, minute 1 (d), vol. iv, pp. 716, 720.↩
- Foreign Relations, 1918, supp. 1, vol. i, p. 771.↩