Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/97
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 Thursday, November 20, 1919, at 10:00 a.m.
- America, United States of
- Hon. Henry White
- Mr. L. Harrison
- British Empire
- Sir Eyre Crowe
- Mr. H. Norman
- M. Pichon
- M. Dutasta
- M. Berthelot
- M. de Saint 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|
|France||M. de Percin|
The following were also present for items in which they were concerned:
- America, United States of
- Colonel J. A. Logan
- Dr. I. Bowman
- Captain Madison, U. S. N.
- Mr. A. W. Dulles
- British Empire
- Lieut-Col. Kisch
- Mr. A. Leeper
- Mr. MacFadyean
- Mr. Carr
- M. Laroche
- General Le Rond
- M. de Montille
- M. D’Amelio
- M. Vannutelli-Rey
- M. Stranieri
- M. Shigemitsu
1. Sir Eyre Crowe called the Council’s attention to the importance of definitely settling the conditions of Peace to be submitted to the [Page 237]Hungarians. The latest news from Budapest indicated that a coalition Government was in process of formation. He had just received two telegrams from Sir George Clerk (See Appendices “A” and “B”) which contained favorable news. A final, definite draft should be ready for submission by the time the Hungarians were in a position to send negotiators to Paris. But to arrive at such a final draft certain questions which were still undecided would have to be settled. The most important one related to the expenses caused by Roumanian occupation of Hungary and the means of meeting the same. If that point were now brought up for discussion it might take months to settle it. He thought it would be well to study the suggestion of the American legal experts that a clause should be inserted in the Treaty with Hungary giving the Reparation Commission power to settle that whole question in view of existing circumstances. The Drafting Committee might be asked to come at once to an agreement with the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission in order to draft such a clause. Another question to be settled related to the cession of Fiume; a formula to that effect would have to be found which could be inserted in the Treaty of Peace with Hungary. He thought that the Drafting Committee could likewise be charged with that task. Hungarian Treaty
M. Berthelot observed that as soon as the two points mentioned by Sir Eyre Crowe had been settled the Hungarian Treaty would be entirely ready for submission to the Hungarian Delegates.
It was decided:
- that the Drafting Committee, in agreement with the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission, should prepare a draft article to be inserted in the Treaty with Hungary giving the Reparation Commission full power to settle the questions raised by the expenses of Roumanian occupation of Hungary;
- that the Drafting Committee be charged with the preparation of a draft clause to be inserted in the Treaty with Hungary relating to the cession of Fiume by Hungary.
2. (The Council had before it a report of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission relating to the demands of the Serb-Croat-Slovene Delegation on the subject of the distribution of Austro-Hungarian mercantile tonnage (See Appendix “C”).) Report of the committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission Relating to the Demands of the Serb-Croat-Slovene Delegation on the Subject of the Distribution of Austro-Hungarian Mercantile Tonnage1
M. Loucheur read and commented upon that report. He was glad to be able to state that the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission, at a meeting attended by Italian and Jugo-Slav Representatives, had reached an unanimous decision. The formula agreed upon seemed to him a good one. [Page 238]With respect to vessels of less than 2,000 tons the owners were to be left a free choice of flag in accordance with their nationality. It was understood that further agreement would be reached with respect to vessels of greater tonnage and that the Jugo-Slav Delegates would be heard at the moment of reaching such an agreement.
M. de Martino wished to emphasize the importance of this solution which had been made possible as a result of a spontaneous agreement between Italy and Jugo-Slavia. He was glad to note that M. Loucheur himself had brought up that point.
M. Loucheur replied that he had appreciated the conciliatory attitude of the Italian Delegates on that point. He likewise felt called upon to note that M. Trumbitch had likewise abated his original claims.
M. de Martino wished to bring up a related point on which he had come to an agreement with the Jugo-Slav Delegate, namely; that the delivery of Austro-Hungarian Mercantile tonnage in the Adriatic should take place within the period laid down by Part VIII, Annex 3, paragraph 2, of the Treaty of Peace with Austria, that is to say, within two months after the coming into force of the Treaty.
M. Loucheur saw no objection in principle to the arrangement proposed by M. De Martino; he desired, however, further time to examine the question more closely.
It was decided:
- to approve the recommendations of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission relative to the distribution of Austro-Hungarian mercantile tonnage;
- that M. De Martino’s suggestion, relative to the period within which such distribution should be made, be referred to the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission.
3. (The Council had before it a report of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission relative to the provisional distribution of rolling stock between states forming part of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (See Appendix“D”2). Report of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission on the Provisional Distribution of Rolling Stock Between States Forming Part of the Former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
M. Loucheur pointed out that the situation with respect to the rolling stock in the States forming part of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was very serious. The majority of the States concerned had kept the rolling stock which they had at the termination of hostilities, and refused to let said rolling stock [Page 239]circulate beyond their respective boundaries. The result was that railway traffic was almost entirely stopped. To remedy this condition it seemed necessary to establish at Vienna a Commission charged with effecting arrangements with a view to reciprocal exchange of cars, without prejudice to established or alleged ownership of said rolling stock. A Commission charged with deciding questions of ownership of this rolling stock did indeed exist but it seemed essential to create a new Commission, charged with taking the necessary provisional measures, and which should be composed of representatives of each interested Government. This Commission was in principle favorable to the British proposition, but some objections having been raised by the American and Italian Delegations this proposition would have to again be examined by the sub-commission specially charged with questions concerning Austria. As the question was a very urgent one he asked that, if that sub-commission should reach a unanimous conclusion favorable to the British proposition—which would probably be reached that very day—he be authorized to take, in the name of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission, the measures necessitated by the adoption of the British proposition. If on the contrary, a unanimous solution was not reached, the question would be resubmitted to the Council.
It was decided:
- that the question of the nomination of a Commission to sit at Vienna for the distribution of rolling stock between the States forming a part of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy be referred to the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission which, if its sub-commission specially charged with Austrian questions should reach a unanimous decision in favor of said nomination, should take the measures necessary to carry such decision into effect;
- that if the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission or its sub-commission should not reach a unanimous decision, the question should again come before the Council at an early meeting.
4. (The Council had before it a report of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission on the terms of a loan of $100,000,000. by way of payment for the provisioning of Austria during the next six months (See Appendix “E”).) Report of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission on the Terms of a Loan of $100,000,000. by Way of Payment for the Provisioning of Austria During the Next Six Months
M. Loucheur said that the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission had examined the unanimous report submitted to it by the sub-commission sitting at Vienna. That sub-commission recommended as essential a loan to Austria of $100,000,000. to cover the supply of food-stuffs and coal of which Austria would have need during the next six months. The action contemplated was of a very important character and evidently [Page 240]necessitated a careful study on the part of the Governments interested. Moreover a loan, however large, would not suffice to smooth away all difficulties. It was not only money that was needed, cars and food were especially necessary. He had recently had a conversation with Mr. Benes. Apparently everything needed in the way of sugar, coal and shoes could be found in Czecho-Slovakia. Czechoslovakia had shown a willingness to join the consortium to be created with the object of restoring the economic life of Austria. On the other hand, it was essential to supply Vienna with grain. Grain was already scarce in Vienna and within three weeks it would be completely lacking. The Serbian portion of the Banat alone seemed in a position to furnish the necessary grain. He expected to see M. Trumbitch very soon and, if the Council did not object, to bring some pressure to bear on him to hasten the despatch to Austria of the grain which Jugo-Slavia had contracted to deliver and of which it had not yet delivered half. He himself thought that it became a question of a direct loan from Serbia to Austria and he would likewise confer with Mr. Trumbitch on that point. The Allied and Associated Powers in his opinion should only concern themselves with additional loans. Each Government would of course have to determine the extent of the financial aid which it was ready to give to the work of the rebuilding of Austria. He had not yet been able to see the French Minister of Finance on that point. He pointed out that the Government of the United States had several times declared that it could not participate in the loan question. The United States pointed out that as they had made large advances to the Allies it was incumbent upon the latter to make the financial arrangements which they judged essential with the States of Central Europe.
Mr. White observed that the Government of the United States had already several times defined its position on that question. In order to summarize the question without unduly taking up the Council’s time, he wished simply to read the following memorandum:
“Paris, November 19, 1919.
The United States Government understands that this note from the Organization Committee of the Reparation Commission must be passed on to the governments or the treasuries of the several Allied and Associated Powers.
The American Delegation desires to point out that the point of view of the United States was brought to the attention of the O. C. R. C. by a note presented at the Plenary Meeting of Friday, September 17, 1919, and by numerous notes and memoranda presented to the O. C. R. C. and its several sub-committees from time to time since then. All these notes and memoranda have been distributed among the various Delegations.[Page 241]
It is requested that the various governments or treasuries consider carefully the various American notes and memoranda in reaching a decision.
The American Delegation refers particularly to the American memoranda presented at the meeting of the Organization Committee of the Reparation Commission on November 6, 1919 (17th Meeting) and the Extraordinary Plenary Meeting of November 11, 1919.”
M. de Martino said that in short it was a question of making an important loan to Austria. It seemed to him that it was not for the Council, but for the respective Governments, to reach a decision on that question.
M. Loucheur said that it was only a question of the Council submitting a plan for the approval of the respective Governments.
Sir Eyre Crowe pointed out that the situation was as follows: The Council had before it a unanimous report of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission. He had transmitted the same to his Government. It did not seem to him that M. Loucheur’s views corresponded entirely with the plan of action which was to reach an agreement between the various Governments as soon as possible. He felt obliged to state, moreover, that he had been informed from London that Great Britain could not consent to make a loan if America did not make one. He had received two telegrams from Vienna which showed the situation to be desperate. The first telegram, dated November 19th, said that within a week flour would be completely lacking at Vienna unless immediate measures were taken, and that snow-falls threatened to interrupt traffic between Vienna and Trieste, which would have disastrous consequences. The Communist Party intended to take advantage of the threatened famine to create disorders, and as the Government was greatly weakened serious consequences were to be expected. A second telegram dated the same day stated that the railroad from Trieste was still open thus permitting the immediate despatch of flour to Vienna. The telegram added that strikes were imminent in Vienna, and also in the Province of Styria. The result of this was that the situation was most alarming and that some action must be taken within a week. He was informed that negotiations had taken place between Great Britain and Italy with a view of sending to Vienna a part of the grain then at Trieste, which would be paid for by the remainder of a loan of $2,000,000. It seemed to him that the grain could be shipped to Vienna without awaiting a final settlement of the question of credits.
M. de Martino said that he would recommend favorably to his Government Sir Eyre Crowe’s suggestion. He wished also [to] point out that Italy had already sent a large quantity of food to Austria.[Page 242]
M. Loucheur agreed fully with Sir Eyre Crowe. He thought it absolutely essential that the grain then at Trieste be immediately sent to Vienna. Moreover, he would see the Minister of Finance. He thought it important to submit immediately to the respective Governments the report of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission then before the Council. Modifications, which a closer study of the question might seem to render necessary, could later on be suggested.
M. de Martino called the Council’s attention to the first paragraph of the conclusions of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission (See Page 3 of the Report, Appendix “E”).3 It was there stated that the Austrian Government should forthwith prohibit by law the sale, transfer or disposal, outside of Austria or to other than Austrian nationals, of any assets of the country, either publicly or privately owned. That provision seemed to him unduly restrictive; its effect would be to prohibit all commerce with foreigners. The measures proposed should, he thought, only affect public property, or at the very most, real property belonging to individuals.
M. Loucheur said that the paragraph criticized by M. De Martino would be studied anew; that, however, should not hinder the submission to the various Governments of the report in its present form. He wished to point out that said first paragraph, among other points, was aimed at the question of works of art, which had given rise to certain difficulties.
M. de Martino replied that, in conformity with the Treaty of Saint Germain,3a his Government was conducting pourparlers on that subject with the Austrian Government.
M. Matsui feared that the geographic situation of Japan would make it difficult for his Government to render effective aid in a matter of such great urgence. However, he would not fail to telegraph his Government.
It was decided:
- that the report of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission on the terms of a loan of one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) by way of payment for the provisioning of Austria during the next six months (See Appendix “E”) be submitted by the various Delegations for the examination of their respective Governments;
- that the first paragraph of the conclusions of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission, beginning with the words, “First: Require the Austrian Government forthwith …” be examined again by the said Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission.
5. M. Loucheur, before leaving the room, wished to call the Council’s attention to the serious results, from the point of view of the execution of the Treaty, of the delay in the exchange of ratifications. The Germans had to make a series of deliveries the details whereof had to be settled before December 31st. With respect to coal, for instance, under the terms of the Treaty the Germans had to furnish fifteen hundred thousand tons per month; as the Treaty was not yet in force they had furnished only five hundred and ten thousand tons the preceding month and it was probable that their November deliveries would be even smaller. On the other hand, with respect to personal property, the Allied and Associated Powers were unable to consummate any of the necessary arrangements. It would be easy to cite examples showing how serious a matter was the delay in the deposit of ratifications. Date of the Deposit of Ratifications of the Treaty with Germany
M. Berthelot said that the date of exchange of ratifications could not be fixed before Germany had made known its intentions with respect to signing the Protocol.4 Moreover, the organization of the Plebiscite Commissions would have to be completed. Everyone was unanimous in wishing that the Treaty enter into force as soon as possible. But, certain questions had to be settled first. Among them might be mentioned the negotiations between Poland and Germany, whose transfer to Paris had been requested by Poland.
M. Loucheur thought certainly that before the exchange of ratifications the Germans should be made to sign the Protocol relative to violations of Armistice clauses. But, it did not seem to him that the question of Germano-Polish negotiations was germane to the putting into force of the Treaty. With respect to the Commissions, he thought that the Allied and Associated Powers could dictate their decisions to the Germans and that long negotiations would consequently be unnecessary. In any event, he wished to insist that the putting into force of the Treaty should not be indefinitely postponed. The Allied and Associated Powers were running the risk of being foreclosed with respect to certain of their demands. The Germans should at once be notified of a date on which the Treaty would be put into force. If they created difficulties the responsibility for delay would at least lie at their door. Moreover, the Allied and Associated Powers possessed the means of bringing effective pressure to bear upon the Germans. The latter could be prevented from disposing of their foreign securities which they had great need of selling in order to procure foodstuffs.[Page 244]
General Le Rond called the Council’s attention to the difficulties experienced by the Commissions in recruiting the necessary personnel. The British Treasury had not yet given an answer on the question of allowances to members of Commissions. That delay made recruiting very difficult. A Commission had been established to examine into the financial organization of plebiscite zones and it was necessary that an agreement on that point be reached before the negotiations with the German Delegates could advantageously be begun.
M. Pichon proposed to settle upon December 1st as the date of exchange of ratifications.
Sir Eyre Crowe added that the Germans must be notified of that date and told that they would accordingly have to sign the Protocol before December 1st.
It was decided:
- that the first of December be fixed as the date for the deposit of ratifications;
- that the Secretary General of the Conference notify the German Delegation of the foregoing decision, and inform it at the same time that the Protocol relating to the nonfulfilment by Germany of certain Armistice Clauses must be signed by the German Delegates before that date.
6. (At this point M. Patek and M. Grabski entered the room). Status of Eastern Galicia
M. Pichon asked the Polish Delegates to be good enough to give the Council their views on the status of Eastern Galicia.
M. Patek replied that they would be glad if they could first obtain the new draft which had been submitted to the Council.
M. Pichon explained that the Council wished to know their feeling on the general question.
M. Patek said that M. Paderewski and M. Dmowski had already had occasion to speak to the Council on the status of Galicia.5 He wished to add several general words on the proposal under discusssion, as well as on the impression which its adoption would certainly create in Poland. Until the present time, Eastern Galicia had formed an integral part of Poland. Even during the partition Eastern Galicia had not been separated from the Polish provinces annexed to Austria. At the present time Poland was being offered a mandate for a territory which had never ceased to belong to it. Poland had indeed been told that the terms of this mandate were especially favorable; nevertheless, it meant separating Eastern Galicia [Page 245]from Poland. When Spisz and Orava were under consideration it was a question of territories belonging to Hungary which had not formed a part of the former Kingdom of Poland. Furthermore, the Poles had had to reach an agreement with the Czecho-Slovaks. But in Eastern Galicia they had no opponents. In fact, opposition could not be predicated of the Ukraine, which had no real existence, nor of Russia, which had no concern with Eastern Galicia. Therefore, if Eastern Galicia were no longer to be directly attached to Poland, the unanimous impression in his country would be that the Allies were taking away a province which belonged to Poland, and which was claimed by no other Government. Three days from that time Lemberg would celebrate the anniversary of its liberation from the Ukrainian yoke. Was he then to be told that a city in whose defense all classes of the population had freely shed their blood, was no longer on Polish soil? On the very day when celebrations would be held in honor of those who had heroically fallen in the streets of Lemberg, would it be announced in Paris that they had fallen on soil foreign to Poland? The Polish Army was at that very time opposing the Bolsheviks. Was it not to be feared that that Army would become demoralized if it suddenly learned that the city for which it had fought, that the territory which it had freed, were no longer to be considered as belonging to Poland. If the Polish troops got the impression that their leaders had deceived them when telling them a year ago that they were fighting in defense of Polish territory, it was to be feared that they would again believe themselves deceived when they were told that the Bolsheviks were the enemy to be fought. The objection indeed was made to the Polish argument that the population of Eastern Galicia was mixed and that hatred existed between Ruthenians and Poles. His reply was that in Eastern Galicia the proportion of mixed marriages was more than 35%. How could one speak of hatred under these conditions? The conclusion was inevitable that selfish intrigues of neighboring countries and Austrian, and especially German money, which had sown seeds of discord in Eastern Galicia, were responsible for the bloody conflicts of recent times. It had been proven that Ruthenian agitators prior to the war had received money from German sources. That question had been brought up in the Reichstag and in the Parliament at Vienna, and no denial had been made of the specific facts adduced at that time. He recalled that the Germans had played a prominent part in the conflict which ravaged Eastern Galicia, and that in many cases, Ukrainian troops had been commanded by German officers. At the time when he spoke all conflict had ceased and calm had returned in Eastern Galicia. The representatives of the western nations found it difficult to appreciate the conditions existing [Page 246]in countries possessing less culture than theirs. The Ukrainian and Polish peasants had fought without being too clear as to the reasons therefor. While he spoke they were once more working shoulder to shoulder and living in perfect harmony. He also wished to present geographical considerations of great weight. Free access to the sea was a necessity for Poland. It did indeed reach the sea at Dantzig but only by a narrow corridor which was constantly threatened by Germany. It was essential for Poland to obtain access to the Black Sea through Roumania, and possession of Eastern Galicia was vital from that point of view. He wished to add a word on the internal situation. The Diet at Warsaw had unanimously voted that there could be no Poland without Eastern Galicia. It was far from his intention to wish to use Poland’s internal situation as a threat but the Allied and Associated Powers must understand that the unanimous opinion of the Polish people had to be considered. M. Paderewski had been obliged to declare in parliament that he would not sign a Treaty which would take Eastern Galicia from Poland. If the solution of a mandate were imposed upon Poland, Paderewski’s cabinet would have to resign; the Polish army, ill fed, ill clothed, engaged in a severe struggle against the Bolshevists, would be threatened with demoralization. The Polish people, finally, would not understand how its Allies could have taken from it Galicia which had always formed part of Poland and which no one was claiming. It was important that the Council should realize the gravity of the situation in Poland; on one side Bolshevism, on the other, German revolution. In the interior a threatened famine. The Polish army was strong and Poland counted on it as an element of order. If the Army became demoralized Poland’s situation would become most serious and it would be threatened with extinction. That would be a catastrophe which would certainly have an effect on the situation of the western Powers. The only solution was to allow Eastern Galicia to become an autonomous province of Poland, subject if necessary, to an effective international control. Any other solution would entail consequences for Poland which were greatly to be dreaded.
M. Grabski desired to add a few words to what M. Patek had said in order to show the Council the serious economic results for Eastern Galicia of any solution which would not make it an integral part of Poland. The situation in Eastern Galicia was in no way comparable to that of other regions which had suffered damages by the war. By virtue of the Treaty the Allied and Associated Powers were entitled to reparation for damages caused by the war, provided that they had taken part in the struggle on the side of the Entente. The Countries which during the whole war had been part of Austro-Hungary, which was the case of Eastern Galicia, had no legal right to any reparation. [Page 247]Eastern Galicia, however, was one of the regions which had suffered the most. It had been devastated successively by the Russians, Austrians and Ukrainians. If to these devastations, estimated at 22,000,000,000. crowns, were added the loss resulting from the depreciation of Austrian currency, the economic situation in Eastern Galicia would be seen to be desperate. Out of 2,500,000 hectares of agricultural land, 2,000,000 hectares were not under cultivation. If left to its own resources Eastern Galicia would be unable to bear the burden placed upon it. It had a vital need of the help of all Poland. Poland had not waited for Eastern Galicia to be given it to come to the help of its inhabitants which it justly considered brothers. Although Poland itself lacked rye and wheat and had had to solicit the help of the United States she had not hesitated to share her meager resources with Eastern Galicia. If the solution of a Mandate prevailed, separate liabilities would have to be established which Eastern Galicia could not meet. France, which so admirably understood the duty of national solidarity towards its devastated regions must understand that Galicia could only exist with the support of the remainder of Poland. Galicia’s resources in petroleum would not suffice to amortize the numerous sums which would have to be advanced if its economic rehabilitation were to be made possible. The situation of Eastern Galicia had been compared with that of Austria, but it had been forgotten that there was still large fortunes in Austria and that Austria had not been devastated by the war. Any solution which would paralyze Poland in the work of rehabilitation she had undertaken in Galicia would be disastrous to the economic future of that province.
M. Patek said that the Poles had been told that there was little difference between a long term mandate given to Poland over Galicia and an annexation pure and simple of that province to Poland. In reality the difference was considerable, especially if account were taken of the fact that four plebiscites had already been imposed upon Poland, which had not failed to have a depressing effect on Polish public opinion. In conclusion he wished to point out that Poland was not asking her Allies to give her anything at all; she was only asking not to be deprived of the territory which she considered belonged to her as of right.
(At this point M. Grabski and M. Patek left the room.)
M. Pichon asked whether any member of the Council thought that the views just expressed by the Polish Delegates necessitated a change in the conclusions already reached by the Council.6
M. de Martino was struck by M. Patek’s observations on the necessity of a territorial connection between Poland and Roumania through [Page 248]Eastern Galicia. He did not propose, however, to reopen the discussion.
M. Laroche read and commented upon the report of the Committee on Polish Affairs dated November 20th (See Appendix “F”). The Commission had been unanimous on all the articles considered, except on the second paragraph of article 2, where the majority of the Commission had proposed to insert after the words, “The Council of the League of Nations”, the words, “deciding by a majority of votes”.
M. Pichon pointed out that according to the covenant of the League of Nations the general rule was that a decision should be by unanimous vote, but that when it was a question of the status of certain territories in analogous circumstances—like that of the Sarre—a majority of votes sufficed.
Sir Eyre Crowe wished to point out that he had had some difficulty in inducing his Government to make the concessions which had finally rendered a unanimous agreement possible. If the question had to be reopened he could not be responsible for the consequences. That was why he preferred to abide by the text proposed by the British Delegation which, moreover, corresponded to that which had been adopted at a meeting of the Council.
M. Laroche said that there might be serious disadvantages if the opposition of a single power could render impossible the adoption of a measure agreed upon by all the other Powers represented in the Council of the League of Nations.
Sir Eyre Crowe said that as the other Delegations were favorable to a mandate of unspecified duration, he could not see why they should feel the adoption of the principle of a unanimous vote to be dangerous.
M. Pichon remarked that possibly in 25 years Germany would be represented on the Council of the League of Nations. He asked if it would not be dangerous to give Germany the possibility of preventing the unanimous will of the Allied and Associated Powers from taking effect.
Sir Eyre Crowe repeated that he was most reluctant to reopen that question. Moreover he pointed out that an agreement had been reached by the Council on the text presented by the British Delegation. It was on the Commission’s own initiative that the question had again come before the Council at a time when it had a right to consider it finally settled.
Mr. White said that he could not agree with Sir Eyre Crowe’s arguments. He felt that it was after all a question which concerned Poland rather than Great Britain.[Page 249]
Sir Eyre Crowe inquired if it was not the American Delegation itself which had insisted that the question of a mandate should receive a permanent rather than a provisional settlement.
Mr. White said that he was informed by his experts that this interpretation of the attitude of the American Delegation was not exact.
M. Laroche explained that the text referred back to the Commission by the Supreme Council was open to revision. The jurists had brought up the question of the procedure to be followed by the Council of the League of Nations. Moreover, it should be noted that there was a great difference between a mandate of unlimited duration and a mandate perpetually renewed. If the Poles had been offered a mandate of unlimited duration their objections would have probably been much weaker. The attitude of the British Delegation did not seem to him entirely logical. That Delegation had insisted that the mandate be open for revision at the end of 10 years, it should, therefore, not favor a solution which would make any modification in the existing situation very difficult.
Sir Eyre Crowe thought that the arguments advanced by M. Laroche ran counter to the resolution previously adopted by the Council.7
M. Pichon said that he favored the point of view of the majority of the Commission but in order to arrive at an agreement he was ready to support the text proposed by Sir Eyre Crowe.
Mr. White stated that he was obliged to maintain his point of view and he asked M. Pichon to call upon Dr. Bowman who had some additional information to give.
Dr. Bowman thought that it would be well to define clearly the American Delegation’s point of view, which did not seem to have been entirely understood. The statements of the American Delegates on the Commission of Polish Affairs showed that they had desired a mandate of unlimited duration. On the other hand the British Delegation wished the mandate to be open for revision at the end of 10 years. By way of compromise a term of 25 years was agreed upon, and this had been accepted by the Council. When the question had come back to the Commission a further question had arisen as to the procedure to be followed by the Council of the League of Nations. That was an entirely different question from the previous one, and one on which no agreement had as yet been reached. If a unanimous vote was necessary, a single nation, possibly Germany, could prevent the opinion of all the Allies from taking effect. If what was aimed at was to reserve the possibility of taking Galicia from Poland, in [Page 250]the event of the latter committing abuses, it was necessary to provide for a decision to be reached by a majority vote. That would constitute a sufficient guarantee. On the contrary, if a unanimous vote was required, that would mean practically giving Poland a free hand. The idea of a majority vote was perfectly consistent with the idea previously expressed when asking that the mandate should be of unlimited duration. In both cases it had been desired to ensure to the League of Nations an effective control over the mandatory power. The original proposition of the American representative on the Commission on Polish Affairs was that at any time the Council of the League of Nations, deciding by a majority vote, could revise the mandate.
M. Pichon said that Dr. Bowman’s arguments only strengthened the opinion he had already expressed, but in consideration of the attitude of the British Delegation, which had already made numerous concessions, he remained inclined to support Sir Eyre Crowe’s proposition.
M. de Martino said that he was likewise disposed to support Sir Eyre Crowe’s proposition, always provided that a unanimous agreement could be reached on that very day. Personally he remained convinced that the solution of the majority of the Commission was preferable and he retained his freedom of action if the United States maintained its point of view.
Mr. White asked if the question could not again be referred to the Commission, which should try to reach an agreement.
Sir Eyre Crowe observed that that would mean reopening the whole question.
M. Laroche pointed out that the Commission had already tried in vain to reach an agreement and he did not believe that a further discussion would succeed.
Mr. White asked to have until the following day to think the matter over. He felt that the question under discussion involved the very principle of the solution to be reached, and that that principle might become of vital importance. It would have seemed to him more natural for an agreement to be reached in favor of the majority point of view, rather than that the majority should abandon its original point of view to agree with the ideas of a single Delegation. A very dangerous situation would be created if Germany might become a possible arbitrator of the decisions of the Allied and Associated Powers in such a grave question.
M. Pichon said that for practical reasons, in view of the necessity of reaching a conclusion, and of the fact that the attitude of the British [Page 251]Government did not seem likely to be modified, he hoped that the Council could agree on the following day on the text proposed by the British Delegation.
(The discussion of this question was adjourned until the following meeting).
7. At the request of Mr. White this question was adjourned as well as the question relative to the request of the Polish Delegation that the negotiations between Poland and Germany on questions relative to the execution of the Treaty of Versailles be transferred to Paris. Request of the Polish Delegations That the Negotiations With Regard to the Relations Between Poland and Danzig Be Transferred From Warsaw to Paris
(The meeting then adjourned.)
- Appendix B to HD–89, p. 103.↩
- No such report of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission has been found in the Department’s files. The document filed with HD–97 as appendix D duplicates note of the British delegation, appendix B to HD–92, p. 172, together with the resolution of November 14, referring this document to the Organization Committee of the Reparation Commission, HD–92, minute 5, p. 169.↩
- Post, p. 254.↩
- Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–1923, vol. iii, pp. 3149, 3215.↩
- Appendix C to HD–80, ol. viii, p. 865.↩
- For the statement of M. Paderewski on the status of Galicia, see HD–59, minute 5, vol. viii, p. 330.↩
- HD–89, minute 7, p. 99.↩
- See HD–86, minute 3, p. 20.↩
- Appendix B to HD–93, p. 185.↩
- Appendix A to HD–91, p. 149.↩
- Appendix E to HD–90, p. 138.↩
- Appendix B to HD–89, p. 103.↩
- CF–24/1, minute 5, vol. v, p. 834.↩
- HD–66, minute 3, vol. viii, p. 508.↩
- Vol. ii, p. 175.↩
- Annex B, p. 264.↩
- For the document filed as annex B there has been substituted a different translation of the same document taken from the minutes of the Financial Sub-Commission of the Supreme Economic Council (filed under Paris Peace Conf. 180.05201/1).↩
- Translation from the German supplied by the editors.↩
- Filed separately under Paris Peace Conf. 181.213202/13.↩
- Translation from the French supplied by the editors.↩
- HD–89, minute 7, p. 99.↩
- Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–1923, vol. iii, p. 3714.↩