Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/83
Notes of Meeting of the Heads of Delegations of the Five Great Powers Held in M. Pichon’s Room, Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Tuesday, November 4, 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. Pichon
- M. Dutasta
- M. Berthelot
- M. de St. Quentin
- M. de Martino
- M. Barone Russo
- M. Matsui
- M. Kawai
- America, United States of
|America, United States of||Capt. G. A. Gordon|
|British Empire||Capt. G. Lothian Small|
The following were also present for the items in which they were interested:
- America, United States of
- Dr. J. B. Scott
- British Empire
- General Sackville-West
- Captain Fuller, R. N.
- Mr. A. Leeper
- Commander Dunne
- M. Malkin
- Marshal Foch
- General Weygand
- General Desticker
- General Le Rond
- M. Fromageot
- General Cavallero
- M. Vannutelli-Rey
- M. Dell’Abbadessa
- M. Pilotti
- Prince Boncompagni
- M. Shigemitsu
- M. Nagaoka
1. Marshal Foch stated that the President of the Armistice Commission had informed him that at a meeting at Treves of the Bail-ways Commission the German delegates informed the Allied representatives that the German Government had decided to stop all passanger train service from the 5th to the 15th of November, both in the occupied and unoccupied parts of Germany. After the 15th of November passenger traffic would be restored but all express trains would be suppressed. He wished to be authorized by the Council to reply that the suspension of railway service in the occupied territories could not be admitted and that if a reduction of railway service in these territories were consented to, it would only be on condition that rapid communication with the large centers of unoccupied Germany, with respect both to passenger traffic and postal service, should continue to exist. (It was decided: Curtailment of Service on German Railroads
to approve the communication to be sent by Marshal Foch to the German Government notifying it that the Allied and Associated Powers could not permit a substantial curtailment of service on railroads in the occupied territories (See Appendix “A”).)
2. (The Council had before it a telegram from Sir George Clerk to the Supreme Council dated November 1st, 1919 (See Appendix “B”).) Hungarian Question
M. Berthelot said that it was evident from reading Sir George Clerk’s telegram that everyone in Hungary desired the departure of the Roumanian troops; they were an embarrassment both to the Friedrich Government and to the Allied Generals, whose authority was compromised by their presence. But, in spite of this fact, it remained necessary to have an Inter-Allied force on the spot. This seemed to him all the more essential as he noted that the only Allied representative having a real influence in Hungary was Admiral Troubridge, and he supposed that this was because of the vessels under the Admiral’s command. So the Roumanians should leave, but on the other hand, it was necessary to have an Inter-Allied force which would be more than a moral force. Sir George Clerk’s telegram also indicated that the Friedrich Government would retire as soon as the Roumanian troops had left. Under these conditions it seemed to him that the order of events should be as follows: (1) formation of an Inter-Allied force, if it were decided to form one;—(2) departure of the Roumanian troops, as soon as this Inter-Allied force could reach its destination;—(3) withdrawal of the Friedrich cabinet; and,—(4) formation of a Democratic government which would take charge of elections. Sir George Clerk, as a perfect gentleman, seemed to feel confidence in Admiral Horthy, in whom he [Page 937] had found a pleasing personality. As far as he was concerned, it seemed to him that the word of an Hungarian Admiral, however likeable he might be, and whose intentions moreover were known, was not sufficient.
M. de Martino said that the Italian Delegation was of the opinion that the occupation of Hungary by an Inter-Allied force composed of Jugo-Slavs and Czechs would result in trouble; these troops, particularly the Jugo-Slav troops, had shown in the past that they were not averse to pillaging. Moreover, there existed a profound hatred between Hungarians and Serbs. The Italian Delegation therefore thought that the troops which it was proposed to send to Hungary would only increase disorder. The Italian representative at Budapest had proposed an alternative plan of charging the Inter-Allied Military Mission with supervising the organization of the Hungarian army and of ensuring that it did not fall into the hands of the reactionaries. Such a mission for the Generals could be considered as falling within the terms of the Armistice and would not constitute an illegal interference in the Internal affairs of Hungary. In any case it would be well to know what kind of government it was desired to establish in Hungary. Sir George Clerk’s report seemed to place confidence in Friedrich and Horthy, while, on the other hand, the French Delegation had characterized them as tools of Archduke Joseph; a definite policy should be adopted.
M. Berthelot replied that if the Serbs and Czechs were to be commanded by Serb and Czech officers it would evidently be impossible to use them, but it was proposed to place these troops under Allied command. Moreover, whatever bitterness might exist in Hungary against the Serbs, he thought that Hungarian public opinion was resigned to the loss of certain territories. In the next place, it seemed scarcely possible that Admiral Horthy’s army could be controlled by a Commission which had no material force at its disposition: to follow any such line of action would be tantamount to insisting on a policy of impotence. Finally, as to the question of knowing what government should be supported, he thought that there was no difference of opinion, and that M. De Martino himself had no doubts concerning the true aims of Friedrich. This point of paramount importance remained: as long as the Roumanians were there, the Hungarian Government had been able to do nothing. The day the Roumanians left and nothing remained but the moral force of the Allied Generals, the country would be delivered over to reaction and monarchical restoration. It was vital to have a real force in Hungary; the question was to know what this force should be.
Mr. Polk asked who would pay the Czecho-Slovak and Serbian troops placed under Allied Command. It was evident that it would not be their governments.[Page 938]
M. Berthelot observed that the financial question would have to be examined but that it was less important than the question of principle which should be decided first.
M. Pichon pointed out that it was necessary to know if it was agreed to organize an Inter-Allied force. For his part he thought it indispensable. As long as Friedrich was there the establishment of a democratic form of government could not be counted upon. Friedrich had proved that he was either unable or unwilling to establish one.
Mr. Polk said that his difficulty was that the plan now proposed had not been suggested either by Sir George Clerk or by the Allied Generals; it was being discussed at long range. Moreover, he thought that there would be difficulties in obtaining the necessary cooperation of the Czecho-Slovaks and Jugo-Slavs; it would also be difficult to persuade the Roumanians to withdraw completely, and the Council would find it hard to maintain control of the situation. Finally, he doubted if an Allied command would suffice to prevent the pillaging and disorders that M. De Martino mentioned.
M. Pichon said that evidently no decision could now be taken and that Sir George Clerk and the Allied Generals should be consulted.
M. Berthelot observed that it would certainly be preferable to send Allied troops into Hungary, but that none were available. It was also clear that it would be difficult to eliminate the Roumanians, and that if the three countries bordering on Hungary participated in that operation the difficulties would be less. On both sides there were adverse considerations between which a choice would have to be made.
M. de Martino requested that his proposal be submitted also to Sir George Clerk. He was, moreover, greatly impressed by the fact that Sir George Clerk thought that Horthy could be persuaded to keep his promises.
M. Pichon thought it was extraordinary that Admiral Horthy, who had raised an army with certain well known intentions, should suddenly renounce his designs.
M. de Martino pointed out that Sir George Clerk had also indicated the possibility of trusting Friedrich and had spoken of private negotiations relative to the formation of a Ministry, whereas M. Berthelot had said that the Council had already pronounced against Friedrich.
M. Berthelot said that it should be recalled that after Sir George Clerk’s first trip, the Council had agreed that Friedrich must be eliminated.1 A draft telegram2 to this effect had been prepared. In order not to seem to intervene in the internal affairs of Hungary this telegram had not been sent and it had been decided to entrust Sir George Clerk with a new mission, but Sir George Clerk’s instructions [Page 939] were contained in the draft telegram.3 This draft had been prepared by Sir George Clerk and himself. Sir George had pointed out to him that it would be best not to give Friedrich an order to withdraw and to only tell him that for the last time he was asked to form a democratic government—a thing which they judged it impossible for him to do. He recalled also that the Council had thought of publishing the telegram in order to strengthen the hands of the Hungarian Democratic elements. It was clear that if Friedrich had been able to form a democratic government he would long since have done so. Sir George Clerk, moreover, did not seem to have any doubt of his withdrawal. It seemed to him that the Friedrich Government, like any monarchical Government which attempted to establish itself in Hungary, should withdraw.
Sir Eyre Crowe said that he entirely agreed that Sir George Clerk should be consulted; he himself had suggested it at the preceding meeting of the Council.4 There was first of all a point which had to be clarified, namely: what was being asked of Hungary? It was to have a stable Government which would preside over the elections and with which Peace could be concluded. The occupation which M. Berthelot thought would be a short one, was therefore bound up with the question of elections, and might well be prolonged. Furthermore, Sir George Clerk thought that Friedrich would withdraw after the departure of the Roumanians and he manifested a great deal of confidence in Admiral Horthy’s assurance that he would recognize a Government resulting from the elections. Sir George must have had serious reasons for this opinion and he, himself, attached great weight to it. Moreover, it was well known that the majority of the Hungarian population favored the establishment of a conservative form of Government; if the elections took place without mismanagement it was almost certain that the resulting Government would not be democratic. However, there existed no right to prevent the Hungarian people from forming a Government corresponding to its own tendencies, provided there were no question of restoring the Hapsburgs. He thought indeed, that Admiral Horthy was counting on the elections to bring about in Hungary a Government satisfactory to himself and that doubtless explained his attitude and the assurance he had given to Sir George Clerk. Ought military intervention to be resorted to, in order to prevent such elections? The whole question lay there. In the meantime, elections were impossible in Hungary until the Roumanians had retired beyond the Theiss. The intervention of the Czechs and Serbs might likewise create difficulties. He doubted whether that intervention [Page 940] could be obtained since the Czechs were probably not inclined to favor the formation of a Government whose tendencies would cause them anxiety. Moreover, if the intervention of the Jugo-Slavs were requested they might ask to be guaranteed against an Italian attack; what would be done then? He thought, for his part, that Sir George Clerk ought first of all to be asked if he thought it expedient to form the Inter-Allied force which had been suggested. Why not be satisfied with the departure of Friedrich and the formation of another Government? That was what had been desired by the Council. There had been no thought of military occupation and no new fact had occurred to justify that occupation.
M. Berthelot thought that there was a new fact, namely; the organization of Horthy’s army. He was very nearly in agreement with the essential part of Sir Eyre Crowe’s statements. It was indeed probable that the elections would be favorable to politicians of the same shade of opinion as Friedrich, but the principle should be agreed to that the return of the Hapsburgs could not be tolerated. It was impossible to intervene in opposition to the opinion of the country, nevertheless this opinion could not be allowed to do what it pleased. Moreover, he did not think that the Czechs would create any difficulty over giving the assistance which would be asked of them, for Mr. Benes had been the first to point out the danger. There was no doubt that the police of Friedrich and the army of Horthy would, at the time of the elections, act favorably to the reactionary elements.
Sir Eyre Crowe added that Sir George Clerk should be asked if he was sure of the good faith of Friedrich and Horthy.
M. de Martino said that Sir Eyre Crowe had alluded to a question which the Jugo-Slavs would doubtless raise if they were asked to send troops into Hungary. He could not better reply than by reiterating the opposition of the Italian Delegation to the sending of Serbian troops into Hungary.
M. Berthelot asked the reasons for this opposition?
M. de Martino said the reasons were those that he had already pointed out; he was willing, however, for Sir George Clerk to be consulted on this point provided that his (M. De Martino’s) suggestions were also submitted to him.
M. Pichon pointed out that Sir George Clerk had made another recommendation, namely sending an Inter-Allied Mission to Transylvania. For his part he approved of this recommendation.
M. Polk asked if the members of this proposed Mission could not be taken from the Allied officers at Budapest.
Sir Eyre Crowe recalled that Transylvania was to be given to Roumania, and inquired whether such a Mission could be sent without previous negotiations with Roumania.[Page 941]
Mr. Polk suggested that Sir George Clerk be asked what part of Transylvania was referred to in his telegram.
M. Pichon added that he might also be asked to specify the accusations made against the Roumanians.
M. Berthelot read a draft telegram which he had prepared in conformity with the views expressed in the course of the discussion.
Mr. Polk asked if the sense of the Council was that the Roumanians should eventually be represented in the Inter-Allied force?
Sir Eyre Crowe said that he, just as did the American Delegation, saw difficulties in such a course.
M. Pichon said that he was not desirous to have the Roumanians included in this force but he thought that their exclusion would create additional difficulties.
Mr. Polk remarked that he had only said that it seemed to him difficult for the Roumanians to accept exclusion from the Inter-Allied force.
Sir Eyre Crowe called attention to the fact that Sir George Clerk had asked if he was authorized to state that the Allies would recognize a Government, acceptable to him, which did not include Friedrich. A reply on this point should be sent to him.
Mr. Polk said he took it as understood that the telegram would be submitted to the Council before being despatched.
It was decided:
that at its next meeting the Council would examine a draft telegram to Sir George Clerk to be prepared by M. Berthelot in conformity with the discussion of this question at the meeting of November 4th.
3. (The Council had before it a note from the French Delegation dated November 3, 1919 (See Appendix “C”).)
General Le Rond said that there had already been preliminary conferences between the British and French delegates on the various Plebiscite Commissions. It would be very advisable for the Italian delegates to participate as soon as possible in these conferences. The Council should not forget that these Commissions were important bodies, that each country had to organize a numerous personnel and that such organization would necessarily entail a long delay. In these preliminary conferences it would be necessary to agree on the personnel to be furnished by each Allied country and to prepare the negotiations with the Germans. Conference Preparatory To Putting Into Force the Treaty With Germany
M. de Martino thought that November 7th was somewhat early. The 8th or 9th would be better.
General Le Rond observed that there was no obligation to commence negotiations with the Germans exactly on the 10th.[Page 942]
M. Pichon wished to draw the attention of the Italian Delegation to the question of the contingent to be supplied by Italy for the forces of occupation; the Council did not yet know if Italy had withdrawn her reservation.
General Cavallero said that the instructions he had just received authorized him to withdraw that reservation. The Italian contingent would consist of five battalions and two batteries of Field Artillery, that is to say, three battalions and two batteries of Field Artillery would be sent to Upper Silesia, one battalion to Marienwerder and one to Teschen. He would come to an agreement with Marshal Foch’s Staff to have the strength of the three battalions destined for Upper Silesia sufficiently reinforced to equal approximately the five battalions demanded.
Marshal Foch said that this plan ought to be examined more closely but in principle it seemed admissible.
M. Pichon said that the Presidents of the Commissions should be named. The Council had decided on the 18th October5 that the Presidents should be elected by the Commissions themselves, but it later seemed preferable to have the Council appoint them directly.6 Ought it to wait until the Commissions had been formed?
General Le Rond thought that it was important to make these appointments as soon as possible. Indeed the Presidency carried with it certain obligations; the nations furnishing the Presidents would also have to furnish a larger personnel. They, therefore, should be settled upon as soon as possible. If it were decided that the Presidency of each Commission should be given to the Nation to which had been entrusted the command of the troops in the same zone, he wished to recall that at Allenstein the military command would be British, at Marienwerder Italian, in Upper Silesia French, and at Teschen American; but as for Teschen the American participation was awaiting the ratification of the Treaty by the Senate, and the question was all the more urgent inasmuch as only two months were left in which to hold the plebiscite.
M. Pichon said that the Council felt that it was fitting that the military command in each territory to be occupied, and the Presidency of the plebiscite Commission in the same territory, should pertain to the same Nation.
Sir Eyre Crowe suggested that while waiting for America to assume the Presidency of the Teschen Commission it should be held [Page 943] by France, which already administered the neighboring territory of Upper Silesia.
Mr. Polk agreed.
General Weygand said that a telegram had just been received from General Henrys containing information of the agreements concluded between the Germans and Poles with respect to regulating the taking over by Poland of territories to be immediately ceded to it by virtue of the Treaty of Peace. The application of these agreements, moreover, raised certain difficulties; for instance, it involved the passage over part of the territory of the free city of Danzig of German troops. Under these circumstances he thought it important to notify the Poles to send here representatives qualified to continue their negotiations with the Germans under the auspices of the Conference. (This recommendation was approved.)
It was decided:
- that the representatives of the Allied and Associated Powers on Plebiscite or Administrative Commissions, to the extent of at least one Delegate from each Power on each Commission, should assemble at the Quai d’Orsay as soon as practicable—November 7th if possible;
- that the Polish Government should be invited to send to Paris representatives empowered to conduct with the German Government—under the auspices of the Conference—the negotiations rendered necessary by the cession to Poland of German territory, at the same time as the representatives of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers discussed with the German Delegates questions raised by the putting into force of the Treaty of Peace.
It was further decided:
- that the Presidency of the Plebiscite Commissions should at Allenstein be held by the British Representative, at Marienwerder by the Italian, in Upper Silesia by the French, and at Teschen by the Americans; although provisionally it should be held at Teschen by the French Representative;
- that the question of the strength of the Italian troops of occupation should be settled by Marshal Foch and the Italian Military Representative.
4. (The Council had before it a note from the Belgian Delegation to the President of the Peace Conference dated October 25th, 1919 (See Appendix “D”).) Transportation on the Baltic of Wood Destined for Belgium
Sir Eyre Crowe thought that the question was decided by the former decisions of the Council.7 The best course would be to transmit this note to the Allied Naval Armistice Commission stating that the Council was of the opinion that the instructions previously given by it to this Commission involved the granting of the Belgian Delegation’s request.[Page 944]
It was decided:
to transmit to the Allied Naval Armistice Commission the note from the Belgian Delegation relative to German vessels laden with wood destined for Belgium, and to inform that Commission that the Supreme Council was of the opinion that the instructions previously given by it involved the granting of the Belgian request.
5. General Weygand stated that with respect to their railway system the Baltic Provinces were in a peculiar situation. During the war the Germans changed the tracks to normal gauge with the result that at present only German material and transformed Russian material could circulate on the Baltic system. It was evident that in order to assure the continuance of the economic life of the country part of the German material should be retained on the spot. Neither the Armistice nor the treaty accorded the right to demand this. He proposed that the German Government be informed that, by reason of Germany’s deliberate transformation of the railways of the Baltic Provinces, General Niessel should be empowered to determine the amount of German material to be retained in those territories. Railway System of the Baltic Provinces
It was decided:
that the German Government should be informed by Marshal Foch that, in consequence of the transformation of the railways of the Baltic Provinces effected by the Germans during the war, General Niessel would be empowered to determine the amount of German rolling stock which should be left in those regions.
6. (The Council had before it the draft letter to the Chargé d’Affaires of the Dutch Government relative to the vessels sold by Germany during the war to Dutch Navigation Companies. (Appendix “E”).) Note to the Chargé d’Affaires of the Dutch Government
It was decided:
to approve the text of the note to the Chargé d’Affaires of the Dutch Government relative to German ships sold during the war to Dutch Navigation Companies.
7. (The Council had before it a note from the Drafting Committee dated November 3rd, 1919 (See Appendix “F”).)
Sir Eyre Crowe observed that the only thing to do was to approve the recommendations of the note. The Council at that moment agreed that the Secretary-General of the European Danube Commission, that is to say, Colonel Rey, should be Secretary-General of Conference provided for by Article 349 of the Treaty of Versailles. Representation of the European Danube Commission Conference Provided for by Article 349 of the Treaty of Versailles
(It was decided:
- to approve the recommendations of the note prepared by the Drafting Committee (See Appendix “F”) relative to representation [Page 945] of the European-Danube Commission in the Conference provided for by Article 349 of the Treaty of Versailles;
- that the Secretary-General of the European-Danube Commission should act as Secretary-General of the said Conference.)
8. M. Fromageot said that the Drafting Committee wondered whether it would not be expedient to have Bulgaria sign a Protocol similar to those signed by the German and Austrian Delegations at Versailles and at St. Germain. It was difficult to take the Versailles Protocol as a guide for the Protocol in question. On the other hand, the St. Germain Protocol contained provisions which it would be advantageous to have Bulgaria sign. For instance, it provided, in Section 1, that the list of persons to be handed over to the Allied and Associated Governments by Austria pursuant to Article 173, paragraph 2, of the Treaty, should be sent to the Austrian Government within a month of the coming into force of the Treaty. A similar clause could be inserted in the Bulgarian Protocol. The provisions contained in Section 2 seemed inapplicable to Bulgaria. The same was not true of the provisions of Section 3; but as the Bulgarian Treaty, with respect to reparations, differed greatly from the Austrian Treaty, he thought that the opinion of the Reparation Commission should be asked on that point. Finally, Section 4 could be advantageously reproduced. Austria had also signed at St. Germain a declaration by which it undertook to communicate to the Allied and Associated Governments all the information at its disposal relative to vessels sunk or damaged by Austrian naval forces during the war. It might not be very beneficial to have Bulgaria sign a corresponding declaration, but at least it could not be prejudicial. Protocol TO Be Signed by Bulgaria
(It was decided:
- that the Drafting Committee should prepare, to be signed at the same time as the Bulgarian Treaty, a draft protocol similar to the protocol signed September 10, 1919, at Saint Germain, by the Austrian Delegation, subject to the decision of the Reparation Commission as to the expediency of repeating in the said protocol the provisions of Sections 2 and 3 of the protocol of Saint Germain;
- that the Drafting Committee should prepare, to be signed by the Bulgarian Delegation at the same time as the Treaty of Peace, a declaration similar to the one signed on September 10, 1919, by the Austrian Delegation.)
9. M. Matsui stated that he had been telegraphically informed that the Emperor of Japan, on October 30th, had ratified the Treaty of Versailles. Under the final clauses of the Treaty of Peace it became his duty to make a formal notification of this ratification. Should he do so at once or await the signature of the procès-verbal relative to the deposit of ratifications? It seemed to him that he might await this latter date. Ratification of the Treaty of Versailles by Japan[Page 946]
M. Pichon said that the Conference would approve the procedure prescribed by the Drafting Committee.
M. Fromageot said that that Committee had provided for this contingency in the draft procès-verbal of the deposit of ratifications which had been approved by the Council. This draft had spoken of “deposit of ratifications or of notifications of ratifications.”
(The meeting then adjourned.)
- HD–67, minute 7, p. 539.↩
- Appendix C to HD–68, p. 586.↩
- HD–69, minute 3, and HD–71, minute 2, pp. 603 and 674.↩
- HD–82, minute 3, p. 908.↩
- HD–72, minute 1, p. 684.↩
- HD–75, minute 6, p. 754.↩
- HD–74, minute 9, p. 736.↩
- Commission Interalliée des Chemins de Fer de Campagne (Inter-Allied Campaign Railway Commission).↩
- Appendix B to HD–80, p. 863.↩
- HD–72, minute 1, p. 684.↩
- HD–75, minute 6, p. 754.↩
- Appendix G to HD–82, p. 929↩
- Vol. ii, p. 11.↩