Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/81
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 3:30 p.m.
- America, United States of
- Hon. F. L. Polk
- Mr. L. Harrison
- British Empire
- Sir Eyre Crowe
- Mr. H. Norman
- 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||Capt. Gordon|
|British Empire||Capt. G. Lothian SmaU|
The following were also present for the items in which they were concerned:
- America, United States of
- General Bliss
- Rear Admiral McCully
- Lt. Commander Roehler
- Dr. I. Bowman
- Mr. A. W. Dulles
- British Empire
- Hon. C. H. Tufton
- Lt. Col. Kisch
- Captain Fuller, R. N.
- Commander Dunne, R. N.
- Commander McNamara, R. N.
- Mr. A. Leeper.
- General Weygand
- General Desticker
- M. Sergent
- M. Henri Berenger
- M. Laroche
- M. Larnaude
- Commandant Le Vavasseur
- Commandant La Combe
- M. de Montille
- General Cavallero
- M. Vannutelli-Rey
- M. Mancioli
- Capt. de cor. Ruspoli
- Prince Boncampagni
- M. Shigemitsu
- M. Nagaoka
- M. Adatci
- Commandant Ohsumi
1. Sir Eyre Crowe stated that he had reached an agreement with Mr. Polk and M. Henri Berenger with respect to paragraph 3, page 3, of the Drafting Committee’s draft Protocol,1 concerning which a reservation had been made at the preceding meeting of the Council. That paragraph now read[s] as follows: Protocol Relative to Unec=xecuted Clauses of the Armistice Clauses of the Armistice
“10—Convention of January 16th, 1919, Clause VIII: Obligation to put the entire German Mercantile Marine at the disposal of the Allied and Associated Powers. A certain number of vessels, whose delivery had been demanded by virtue of this clause, have not yet been handed over.”
The question of the final distribution of tank ships remained undecided as between the Allies.
(It was decided:
that the third paragraph of page 3 of the draft Protocol should read as follows:
“10—Convention of January 16th, 1919.—Clause VIII: Obligation to put the entire German Mercantile Marine at the disposal of the Allied and Associated Powers. A certain number of vessels, whose delivery had been demanded by virtue of this clause, have not yet been handed over.”)
2. (The Council had before it the draft reply prepared by the Central Territorial Committee (See Appendix “A”).) Reply to the Bulgarian Counter-Proposals
M. Laroche stated that, as a result of the decision the taken by the Council at its morning meeting,2 this Committee had prepared a draft reply relative to the frontiers of Bulgaria (See Appendix “B”).
(He then read the text of this draft reply, which was approved.)
(The draft replies concerning Part I (Covenant of the League of Nations), Part III, Section IV (Protection of Minorities), Part IV, Section II (Naval Clauses), and Part IV, Section III (Clauses concerning Military and Naval Aviation), were approved, with the exception that the third paragraph of this last draft reply (Part IV, Section III) was eliminated.)[Page 875]
M. Laroche said that the Military Representatives were in favor of suppressing Secret Articles I, II and III of the Military Convention. The Naval Commission, which had met that morning, was likewise in favor of suppressing Secret Article IV. Thus, all the Secret Articles were suppressed, and the answer could be made to Bulgaria that she would not have to concern herself with expenses of occupation after the coming into force of the Treaty, inasmuch as after that time there would be no occupation. The Military Representatives were disagreed on two points of the Military Clauses. Three Delegations thought that Bulgaria’s demands concerning the reintroduction of obligatory military service could not be accepted at the present time, but that the question should later be examined anew. This was the opinion of the American, French and Italian Delegations. The Japanese Delegation was not represented. The British Delegation was opposed to this concession. Likewise, the British Delegation could not agree to the recommendation of the majority of the Military Representatives that Bulgaria should be authorized to form a corps of frontier guards consisting of 3,000 men.
Sir Eyre Crowe said that the first question was one on which the British Government could not change its position. If the head of his Government were there, he was sure that he would not yield; for a principle was at stake on which there could be no compromise. If a concession were made to Bulgaria on this point she would be granted an advantage which no other enemy had obtained. Moreover, having in mind the principle of eventual disarmament, the abolition of conscription was an unquestioned step in advance. The British Empire had introduced this principle and he thought the United States would likewise do so. On the other hand, with respect to the second point, the British Delegation might accept a compromise; it would accept the view of the majority if it were distinctly understood that the corps of frontier guards should only be recruited by voluntary enlistment.
M. Pichon said that he agreed with the British argument. This principle had been applied with respect to other enemy Powers, and there was no reason to make an exception here.
General Desticejsr explained that all the Military Representatives had realized that it was a serious matter to modify an accepted principle, but that Bulgaria had adduced concrete arguments which appeared to be of considerable weight; he pointed out that, for a population of 65,000,000 inhabitants in Germany, the Council had allowed an Army of 100,000 men. Being an agricultural country, Bulgaria, with 5,000,000 inhabitants could never recruit 20,000 men. If the proportion was to be maintained, either the Bulgarian Army should [Page 876] be reduced to 7,000 or 8,000 men, or the German Army should be increased to 260,000 men.
M. Pichon pointed out that the same reasoning could have been applied to Austria. Nevertheless the army of Austria, with a population of 6,000,000 had been fixed at 30,000. To violate a principle is more serious than to be illogical in a matter of proportion.
General Cavallero observed that the Military Representatives had not failed to bear in mind the question of Austria; they had thought, however, that Austria, a country with a large urban population and comprising in its territory the remnants of a large army, would only encounter difficulties of a financial nature in recruiting a volunteer army. On the other hand, Bulgaria was an agricultural country whose population showed no taste for military service. They had thought that an army of 20,000 men was necessary to Bulgaria. She should be able to recruit such an army, or else the contrary to what was necessary for the maintenance of order would be arrived at. Finally it should not be forgotten that there were in Bulgaria extreme elements, comitadjis and others. It was almost certain that these elements would constitute the bulk of the army, and they were elements of disorder.
Sir Eyre Crowe observed that the arguments advanced by General Cavallero proved that the Council had been right in adopting the principle of voluntary recruiting. The difficulties which the Balkan States would encounter in the formation of volunteer armies would deter them from adopting a war-like policy.
M. Pichon thought that the most reasonable course was to maintain the principle which had been adopted.
Mr. Polk agreed.
M. Matsui likewise agreed.
M. Scialoja suggested that it could be said that the Council of the League of Nations would be competent to modify the Peace conditions on this point.
M. Laroche thought it would not be well to put this in writing.
M. Pichon pointed out that it was a reply that could be delivered orally to the Bulgarians if the question were raised.
The draft replies concerning Part V, Section I, (Prisoners of War and Graves), Part VI (Penalties), Part VII (Reparations), Part VIII (Financial Clauses), Part IX (Economic Clauses) and Part XI (Ports, Waterways and Railways), were approved.
The draft reply concerning Part XII (Labor), was adopted after suppressing the second paragraph thereof.
It was understood that if the Bulgarian Delegation asked that Bulgarian Representatives should attend the International Labor Conference at Washington a favorable reply should be given them orally.[Page 877]
M. Laroche pointed out that in the draft covering-letter the Bulgarian Delegation was accorded 10 days within which to submit its reply. This delay had seemed necessary on account of the distance and of the fact that there were no daily trains to Sofia.
Mr. Polk asked if such a long delay was absolutely necessary.
M. Pichon observed that the reply to the Bulgarian counter-proposals would be delivered on November 3rd and that the time for the Bulgarian final reply would run until November 13th. He proposed to grant the Bulgarians 10 days but not to consent to any prolongation.
Sir Eyre Crowe suggested that when the reply was delivered the Bulgarian Delegation could be orally informed that it would be useless for it to ask for a further delay.
Sir Eyre Crowe wished especially to thank the Commissions entrusted with preparing the replies to Bulgaria and the draft protocol, for the energy and ability they had shown: Thanks to their untiring efforts two very important questions had been settled in an exceedingly short time.
Mr. Polk wished to join in this expression of thanks.
M. Pichon said that the Council was glad to extend its hearty congratulations to these Commissions.
It was decided:
- to accept the draft reply prepared by the Central Territorial
Committee to the three letters of the Bulgarian Delegation dated
October 24th (See Appendix “A”), with the following
- Military Clauses.—In the reply to the Bulgarian Delegation it should not be stated that the Allied and Associated Powers reserve the right to examine anew article 65 of the Treaty of Peace, at such time as the Commissions of Control which will be sent to Bulgaria shall have given them exact information as to the possibilities for recruiting the Bulgarian Army.
- Military Clauses.—It should be stipulated that the special corps of frontier guards whose creation is authorized and whose strength may not exceed 3,000 men, cannot be recruited in any other way than by voluntary enlistment.
- Clauses concerning Military and Naval Aviation.—The third paragraph of the draft reply on this point should be eliminated.
- Part XII, (Labor)—The second paragraph of the draft reply on this point should be eliminated.
- that the draft covering letter should likewise be approved.
It was further decided:
to approve the reply prepared by the Central Territorial Committee, relative to the frontiers of Bulgaria, in conformity with the [Page 878] decisions taken by the Council at its preceding meeting. (Appendix “B”.)
3. M. Berthelot communicated to the Council a memorandum from Marshal Foch concerning a request for assistance made by the Latvian Government and a draft reply to this request (See appendix “C”). Assistance to the Latvian Government
It was decided:
- to approve the recommendations of Marshal Foch with respect to the reply to be made to the Latvian Government’s request for assistance;
- that Marshal Foch should communicate this reply to the Latvian Government. (See Appendix “C”.)
4. Captain Fuller read a report of the Naval Representatives dated November 1st, 1919, (See Appendix “D”).
Sir Eyre Crowe asked how much of this report should be inserted in the protocol to be signed by the representative of the German Government. Part of the report only concerned the Allied and Associated Governments and could only be discussed between them. Reparation for the Sinking of the German Fleet at Scapa Flow
Captain Fuller said that paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 1 and all of Section 2 should be inserted in the protocol.
Sir Eyre Crowe inquired whether Section 3 should likewise be inserted.
Captain Fuller said that it was not necessary.
Mr. Polk felt sure that during the coming week it would not be difficult for an agreement to be reached as to the details of this Section but he thought it better to insert in the protocol only the provisions essential thereto.
Captain Fuller said that with respect to delivery of the light cruisers it should be specified that their delivery should take place within two months, that is to say, within the period which had elsewhere in the Treaty of Peace been provided for the delivery of vessels. On the other hand, the list of material to be delivered should be transmitted to the Allied Naval Commission of Control within 10 days as provided in the report. The majority of the Naval representatives thought that the Allied Naval Commission of Control should itself draw up the list of material whose delivery was demanded in accordance with certain principles indicated in the report. The American representative had asked that the powers of this Commission of Control should be limited to determining the percentage of the different classes of maritime material demanded. In order to arrive at an agreement with the American Representative the majority had been prepared to ask as much as 80% [Page 879] of the floating docks, floating cranes, tugs and dredgers which belonged to the German Government on November 11th, 1918, and 80% of the floating docks, floating cranes, tugs and dredgers in which the German Government had a predominant interest on November 11th, 1918, but it had not been possible to arrive at an agreement.
Mr. Polk said he had no objection to make with respect to light cruisers but that his Naval Advisers had made reservations with respect to floating docks of over 10,000 tons whose delivery was provided for.
Sir Eyre Crowe observed that it was, nevertheless, necessary that the protocol indicate the total tonnage demanded from the Germans.
Mr. Polk inquired if it would not suffice to state in the protocol that the Germans should deliver a number of floating docks, floating cranes, tugs and dredgers equivalent to the displacement of 400,000 tons.
Captain Fuller thought not; he thought it important that the Germans should have definite information as to what they would be asked to deliver.
Sir Eyre Crowe observed that the question was complicated by the fact that two of the most important floating docks owned by Germany were at Dantzig. If they were taken there was a risk of incurring protests on the part of the Free City of Dantzig and of the Polish Government. Therefore, it was important to specify the percentage of docks of over 10,000 tons displacement which were to be demanded.
Mr. Polk asked if Paragraph (b) of Section 1 of the report could not be drafted as follows:
“Such number of floating docks, floating cranes, tugs and dredgers, up to a total displacement of 400,000 tons, as the Allied and Associated Powers may demand.”
Captain Fuller thought that it was better to say: “equivalent to the displacement,” otherwise the Germans might think that the 400,000 tons constituted a maximum, and the Allied and Associated Powers would run the risk of not obtaining the full amount.
Mr. Polk said that he did not wish to make the Allies lose a single ton to which they were entitled, but if a wording was insisted upon which might involve stripping the German ports of all their maritime materiel he would have to ask for instructions from his Government.
Sir Eyre Crowe replied that the information at his disposal showed that there was no question of stripping the German ports.
Mr. Polk said that he could not unreservedly accept the figures given by the majority because they had not yet been verified. However, he was ready to accept the wording proposed by the majority, if it was clearly understood that the German ports would not be stripped of all their matériel and that the composition of the reparation to be [Page 880] demanded would only be decided by the Council after he had received instructions from Washington on that point.
Captain Fuller pointed out that Sections 4 and 6 should equally be inserted in the protocol.
(This recommendation was adopted.) (It was decided:
- that paragraph 1–(b) of the report of the Naval Kepresenta-tives concerning the compensation to be demanded of the German Government for the sinking of its warships at Scapa Flow (See Appendix “D”) be modified to read: “Such number of floating docks, floating cranes, tugs and dredgers, equivalent to the displacement of 400,000 tons, as the Allied and Associated Powers may demand. The lifting power of a dock to be taken as displacement, and approximately 75% of the docks over 10,000 tons are to be included”; and that as thus modified, the said report should be approved; provided that the composition of the compensation to be taken from the German Government should only be decided by the Supreme Council after Mr. Polk had received the instructions of his Government on that point.
- that paragraph 1, modified as above, paragraph 2, paragraph 4 and paragraph 6, of the said report be incorporated in the Protocol relative to unexecuted clauses of the Armistice.)
5. M. Berthelot stated that the Drafting Committee had found, after examination, that it would be superfluous to send the draft reply submitted to it by the Council, in view of the stipulations contained in the Protocol to be signed by Germany (See H. D. 80, Minute 4).4 Draft Reply to the German Note of October 12th, Relative to the Sale of Aeronautical Matériel
(The meeting then adjourned)
- Footnote 4, p. 847.↩
- HD–80, minute 5, p. 856.↩
- Ante, p. 855.↩
- Martens, Nouveau recueil général de traités, 2 sér., tome xxxiii, p. 277.↩
- HD–67, minute 4, and appendices D and B thereto, pp. 536, 546, and 547.↩
- HD–62, minute 3, and appendix E thereto, pp. 406 and 419.↩
- HD–74, minute 9, p. 736.↩
- There remains about 40 cars, in course of transport, and which will not reach Boulogne before November 4th, to be shipped. [Footnote in the original.]↩
- HD–68, minute 6, p. 580↩
- Appendix A to HD–66, p. 517.↩