Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/98
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 Friday, November 21, 1919, at 10:30 a.m.
America, United States of
- Hon. Henry White
- Mr. L. Harrison
- Sir Eyre Crowe
- Mr. H. Norman
- M. Cambon
- 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. B. Winthrop|
|British Empire||Capt. G. Lothian Small|
The following were also present for items in which they were concerned:
America, United States of
- Admiral McCully, U. S. N.
- Dr. I. Bowman
- Mr. A. W. Dulles
- Mr. Buckler
- Lieut-Commander L. B. Green, U. S. N.
- Captain Fuller, R. N
- Lieut.-Colonel Kisch
- Mr. E. H. Carr
- Mr. Forbes-Adam
- Mr. H. W. Malkin
- M. Laroche
- M. Hermitte
- M. Serruys
- M. Fromageot
- M. de Montille
- M. Galli
- M. Stranieri
- M. Pilotti
- M. Trombetti
- M. Shigemitsu
- M. Nagaoka
1. M. Cambon said that the British and American Delegations would make known their views on the text of Article II of the Eastern Galician Treaty.1 Status of Eastern Galicia
Mr. White summarized the American point of view (See Appendix “A”). He added that he had thought it advisable to do so as at the preceding meeting the impression seemed to have been conveyed that the American position on the question was illogical.
Sir Eyre Crowe repeated that he could not change his attitude, and if the Council decided otherwise he would have to refer the question to his Government.
M. Cambon said it was important to come to a decision on this vital matter and that he hoped the Council would give its decision at that meeting. As the Council had adopted Sir Eyre Crowe’s views, he would ask Mr. White whether he could not modify his conclusions.
Mr. White then read an alternative text which he suggested be inserted in place of the present second paragraph of Article II of the Eastern Galicia Treaty: “At the expiration of twenty-five years the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, or the Council of the League of Nations, to whom the Powers may delegate their rights under this Treaty, shall have full power to maintain, revise or change the status of the present Treaty”. He thought this text would meet the objection that the requirement of unanimous decision of the Council of the League of Nations might render impossible a state favorable to Poland through the ultimate opposition of Russia in Eastern Galicia; and further that a second objection would be made [met?], namely, [that?] which might arise from the provision forcing upon the entire League of Nations the responsibilities of a Treaty concluded by the Five Principal Allied and Associated Powers.
M. Cambon asked whether this proposed new text met with the approval of the Council.
Sir Eyre Crowe said that the modified text still raised debatable questions and that he would have to present it for the approval of his Government. At the end of twenty-five years it still gave to Poland no voice on the final decision of its affairs.
Mr. White remarked that he still feared that a Power hostile to Poland might change the status of Eastern Galicia.
M. Berthelot said there was a very sharp difference between the two points of view. To effect conciliation he thought that the Council might accept the principle of Sir Eyre Crowe’s proposal by leaving it to the League of Nations to decide in twenty-five years the procedure which it would apply.[Page 286]
M. Cambon said that, in other words, the Council might state at this time that the League of Nations would examine in twenty-five years’ time the question of Eastern Galicia, leaving it to the Council of the League of Nations to decide whether it would take its decision by a unanimous or a majority vote.
M. Laroche stated that if the procedure to be followed were not specified, it was certain that, taking into account the provisions of the Covenant, the Council would have to decide by a unanimous vote, and yet twenty-five years later the Covenant might have been changed and the procedure applied at that time might be different.
M. Cambon asked Mr. White whether, taking into account Sir Eyre Crowe’s firm stand on the question, he did not feel like accepting the point of view of the majority.
Mr. White said he withdrew his objection provided his attitude were recorded in the minutes so that in twenty-five years Poland should not consider America responsible.
It was decided:
- to accept the text of the Eastern Galicia Treaty as presented by the Committee on Polish Affairs;
- that paragraph 2 of Article II should read as follows:
“At the expiration of the period of Twenty-five years the Council of the League of Nations shall have full powers to maintain, revise, or modify the statute as defined by the present Treaty.”
2. (The Council had before it a note from the Committee on Greek Affairs (See Appendix “B”). Report of the Committee on Greek Affairs, Regarding Greek Administration in Smyrna
M. Cambon read and commented upon the draft telegram. He proposed the Council should address it to the Inter-Allied High Commissioners at Constantion in Smyrna
Sir Eyre Crowe suggested the following modifications: the first paragraph from second line beginning “Greek claims” should read, “to examine the questions relative to the Greek Administration of Smyrna raised by your telegram referred to above.” In second paragraph, in place of “the suggestions to be presented to the Supreme Council” read “those questions and to present its recommendations to the Supreme Council”. For the phrase in lines 3 and 4, “which those conflicts have made clear” read, “which have brought about the situation indicated by your telegram.” In third paragraph, second line omit “if necessary”. At the end of last paragraph add, “your information and after hearing the Greek High Commissioner at Constantinople upon the whole question”.
Mr. White in turn suggested that, at the end of the first sentence of paragraph 3 there be added: “and to submit therewith your observations and if necessary your recommendations”.[Page 287]
It was decided:
to send to the Inter-Allied High Commissioners at Constantinople, the draft telegram after modifications suggested by Sir Eyre Crowe and Mr. White, as follows:
“Reference your telegram 2045.2 The Supreme Council has entrusted the Commission on Greek Claims to examine those questions relative to the Greek Administration in Smyrna raised by your telegram referred to above.
In order to study those questions and present its recommendations to the Supreme Council, the Commission would like to know with certainty the concrete facts of every kind which could be considered to have brought about the situation indicated in your telegram, especially in the matters of criminal and civil jurisdiction, customs, postal and press censorship, administration of the port, etc.
You are consequently requested to collate without delay and in agreement with the Allied High Commissioners the information furnished by your representatives at Smyrna on the concrete facts specified above, and to submit therewith your observations and if necessary your recommendations. You will be good enough to communicate these to Paris as early as possible by means of a telegram drafted in agreement with your colleagues and indicating as far as possible the sources of your information, after having heard the Greek High Commissioner at Constantinople upon the whole question.”
3. M. Berthelot said M. Dutasta and himself had seen on the previous day the two German Delegates Herr Von Simson and Baron Von Lersner. The interview bore on the note sent to the German Government as well as the protocol annexed thereto.3 Mr. von Simson spoke practically all the time and Baron von Lersner did not take active part in the conversation. Mr. Berthelot had emphasized to Herr von Simson that he spoke in a personal and not in an official capacity. Herr von Simson first raised the question of participation by America in the Commissions on the execution of the Treaty. He had replied that it had been decided that America would not be represented finally on any of these Commissions until the Senate had ratified the Treaty, and that this decision had been accepted by all the Allies who agreed that the American seats on these Commissions, though they remained vacant, would be reserved. Communication by M. Berthelot of His and M. Dutasta’s Interview With the German Delegates
Herr von Simson then raised questions of detail; first, Memel: he wished to know what would be the situation of that city and under what conditions it would be occupied by the Allies. He had replied that this was a subject which only interested the Allies, and that in any case, the situation of Memel would be settled in such a way as [Page 288] not to impose too severe charges on the city, and also the Allies considered that Memel would be incorporated in a new State.
Herr von Simson did not insist and next raised the question of the Sarre. To his questions he had replied, without feeling obliged to give him a full statement. He had told him that President Wilson had agreed to call the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations, although the Senate had not yet ratified the Treaty; he had thought it inadvisable to inform him that the Council would settle only the question of delimitation of the Sarre and that the question of sovereignty over that territory would remain in abeyance.
Herr von Simson had then referred to the occupation of Allenstein and Marienwerder. He had indicated that articles 95 and 97 of the Treaty did not consider the question in the same manner for the two Provinces; for Marienwerder the question of the possibility of occupation had been raised, which was not the case with Allenstein. That observation had embarrassed him somewhat and he had answered that his personal opinion was that it seemed possible to occupy both territories and that in any event, the Principal Allied and Associated Powers did not intend to impose too heavy a burden on those territories. When the German Delegates met the Allied Commissioners, observations could be made by the Germans and information would be given on those points. Incidentally he had informed him that a general meeting of the Allied and German Delegates would be held the following Monday, and that the Allies considered that only questions of principle should be raised and the discussion be as succinct as possible in the interest of Germany herself. Herr von Simson had agreed on the last point.
Herr von Simson had then raised the question of the Protocol: he said he did not understand the classification adopted by the Allies to distinguish between the Armistice Clauses partially fulfilled, unfulfilled, and violated. He had not understood why the Protocol referred only to the Clauses whose execution was not provided for in the Treaty of Peace. In spite of three successive explanations, Herr von Simson professed not to understand. Mr. Berthelot had assured Herr von Simson that the Protocol specified only certain “violations, among others;” the Allies did not intend to raise the others.
The question of the Baltic Provinces preoccupied greatly the German Delegates: Herr von Simson had asked him whether, if the evacuation was not completed at the time the Treaty came into force, the Allies would continue the blockade. He had replied that the Allies did consider the question with a broad-minded spirit, and that if they had had recourse to a blockade, that was only because satisfaction had not been obtained. In proportion as the Allies recognized loyal and honest efforts on the part of Germany to expedite the evacuation, the blockade, he thought, would be relaxed.[Page 289]
Mr. Berthelot asked whether in that statement he had properly interpreted the spirit of the Supreme Council.
(The Council agreed that he had.)
M. Berthelot continued that Herr von Simson had discussed the Scapa Flow sinking. M. Dutasta and himself had informed him that they were not qualified to discuss the question, but that a written answer should be made by the Germans. Thereupon Herr von Simson had stated that the attitude of the German Government had been quite correct and that the sinking of the German Fleet was due to a misinterpretation of facts, namely, that Admiral von Reuter had not been notified in due time of the renewal of the Armistice. He had given him to understand that whatever interpretation Admiral von Reuter put upon the incident, the Fleet at Scapa Flow had represented a German asset. That asset had disappeared and the responsibility of the German Government remained undiminished. As Herr von Simson considered that the responsibility of the Allies was involved, he had informed him that the Allies had examined from the technical and political points of view the question of interning the German Fleet in a neutral port; that the experts had explained that such a solution was impossible, as no neutral port had facilities to receive the German Fleet. On the other hand neutral Governments had been disinclined to have this responsibility placed upon them; no Allied Power had wanted to retain the German Fleet, least of all the British. He had asked whether it was Herr von Simson’s wish that he should say to the Supreme Council that the German Government denied responsibility for the Scapa Flow incident. Herr Von Simson refused to commit the German Government to that and said that a written explanation would be forthcoming.
After a brief reference to the submarines destroyed in the North Sea and on the Spanish coast, Herr von Simson had raised the vital question, from the German point of view, of the handing over of guilty individuals. He had stated that it was materially and morally impossible for the German Government to comply with that demand. To that statement Mr. Berthelot had replied that he was not qualified to discuss the execution of the Peace Treaty, but that if his personal opinion were asked for, he would say that the whole question had been examined by the Allies with the greatest care and that they had made every effort to see it from the German point of view. He had asked Herr von Simson whether he admitted that crimes had been perpetrated and that the guilty individuals should be punished. Herr von Simson agreed as far as to say that the guilty parties should be brought to judgment, but only before German tribunals; to which he had replied that the situation in that case would be yet more [Page 290] difficult for the German Government. Herr von Simson claimed that America, while admitting the principle that the guilty individuals should be handed over, did not insist on their being actually delivered up. Mr. Berthelot replied that he did not know the correctness of the statement, but that Herr von Simson certainly ought to realize that populations which had suffered directly from the war could not have the same feeling on that question as those that had not. There were crimes which families could not forget and, speaking to him as man to man, he had asked him whether if the German Government considered its duty in a loyal spirit, it would not find the difficulties less than it had at first believed. The Allies would not be implacable and if they recognized that a sincere effort was being made to hand over the guilty individuals, they might not insist on the extreme fulfilment of this clause; he had asked whether Herr von Simson did not think that there would be found German individuals, courageous and patriotic enough to surrender themselves voluntarily. Herr von Simson did not think so and Mr. Berthelot had replied that such would not be the case in the Allied countries.
He had finally explained to Herr Von Simson that the Council had fixed the deposit of ratifications for December 1st but this would only be possible if Germany did not create any difficulty. Germany had had the protocol for the last three weeks and if Germany had observations to make she should do so immediately; the German Government should not forget that the execution of the Treaty would mean the repatriation of her prisoners.
The Council expressed thanks to M. Berthelot for his very valuable summary.
4. Mr. White stated that the Labor Conference at Washington which had been unofficial up to that time, wished to know, as it intended to adjourn on November 29th, whether the deposit of ratifications was set for December 1st; in that case the Conference would hold over until the 2nd or 3rd of December to pass official resolutions to confirm the work previously covered unofficially. Labor Conference at Washington
M. Cambon replied that December 1st had been set and that the fact could be officially communicated to the Labor Conference.
5. (The Council had before it a report of the Special Economic Commission (See Appendix “C”).) Report of the Special Economic Commission Regarding the Confiscation of Greek Orthodox Property in Hungary
M. Serruys read and commented upon the report. He said the Economic Commission was unanimous but not in agreement with the Drafting Committee. The Drafting Committee wished to insert in article 232 bis in the Hungarian Treaty the following paragraph, “The Greek Orthodox Communities established at Budapest and other cities of Hungary as well as religious or other foundations [Page 291] are particularly included in the companies and associations referred to in this article.” If this paragraph were inserted an ambiguity would be caused as the word “Orthodox” had a political meaning broader than the religious one, and he did not think that it came within the province of the Economic Commission to decide this point.
M. Fromageot admitted that the argument of the Economic Commission had some weight, but the Drafting Committee did not think an ambiguity existed as the article referred to Allied subjects. He thought it would be sufficient, however in order to prevent any such ambiguity, to add to the paragraph read by M. Serruys the following phrase: “when subjects of Allied or Associated Powers are interested in those Communities or foundations”.
It was decided:
that the third paragraph of article 232 bis of the Hungarian Treaty be modified as follows:
“The Greek Orthodox Communities established at Budapest and other cities of Hungary as well as religious or other foundations are particularly included in the companies and associations referred to in this article, when subjects of Allied or Associated Powers are interested in those Communities or foundations.” (See Appendix “C”)
6. (The Council had before it the documents covered by Appendix “D”). Draft Answer to the Danish Request Regarding the Liquidation of Property of Schieswigers Residing Abroad
M. Serruys read and commented upon the documents numbered II and III in the Appendix. He the Liquidation of added that in the question concerning liquidation of enemy property there had never been unanimity between the Allied and Associated Powers. Article 297 of the Versailles Treaty spoke explicitly of the power and not of the obligation to liquidate. As a matter of fact England had already liquidated German property, France on the contrary had confined itself to sequestration, and as there had never been a common policy it might well be dangerous to give the impression that a common theory and common arrangements were now obtaining. It was exactly to avoid that inconvenience that the Economic Commission had proposed a noncommittal text. The Drafting Committee, on the other hand, in the draft it proposed (Number 4) was less noncommittal, and the Economic Commission saw great disadvantage in leaving the impression that a unanimous policy had been agreed upon by the Allies. The first sentence of the second paragraph as drafted by the Drafting Committee was too vague; it would be necessary to specify that the Allies should not undertake new measures of liquidation since at that moment measures were actually being executed in England, which could not be stopped. On the contrary the second sentence of the second paragraph did not go far enough; it anticipated only restitution of the [Page 292] proceeds of liquidation whereas in certain cases it was the liquidated property that would be handed over.
M. Fromageot said that the Drafting Committee had considered that matter from a purely practical point of view. As he had explained at a previous meeting of the Supreme Council,4 he had been mainly concerned with the difficult situation in which the Schleswigers were placed. Besides, the Drafting Committee’s reply was merely a draft letter to the Minister of Denmark, not a legal document.
M. Cambon said that the Council was not prepared to enter into questions of technical details. It would be well for the experts to come to an agreement and submit the agreed text to the Council at a future meeting.
It was decided:
that the special Economic Commission and the Drafting Committee should prepare a draft letter to be written to the Danish Minister, and that the draft agreed upon be presented to the Council at a future meeting.
7. (The Council had before it a note of the Drafting Committee (See Appendix “E”). Report of the Drafting Committee Relative to the Request of the Dutch Government for Permission To Export From Germany Certain War Material for Its colonies
M. Fromageot read and commented upon the note. He said it was for the Council to decide whether it should maintain the terms of the Treaty and the legal position already adopted by the Council.
It was decided:
that a letter be sent to the Dutch Minister at Paris advising him that the Supreme Council maintained that no departure could be made from its rule vetoing the export of war materiel from Germany.
8. (The Council had before it the proposed Treaty (See Appendix “F”), the report from the Spitzbergen Commission (See Appendix “G”), and the addition to the draft reply to the Norwegian Minister (See Appendix “H”). M. Laroche read and commented upon the report. Draft Treaty Regarding Spitzbergen
(After a short discussion.
It was decided:
- to approve the proposed Treaty presented by the Spitzbergen Commission;
- to approve the report of the Spitzbergen Commission, including the annexed letters;
- to accept the addition to the draft reply to the Norwegian Minister, proposed by the Drafting Committee.)
(The meeting then adjourned).
Hotel de Crillon, Paris, November 21, 1919.[Page 293] [Page 296]
- Appendix F to HD–97, p. 271.↩
- Appendix B to HD–90, p. 133.↩
- Appendices B and C to HD–80, vol. viii, pp. 863 and 865.↩
- HD–85, minute 7, and appendix M, pp. 6 and 18.↩
- FM–27, minute 1, vol. iv, p. 848.↩
- Appendix C to HD–57, vol. viii, p. 280.↩
- HD–57, minute 3, ibid., p. 270.↩
- Appendix K to HD–60, vol. viii, p. 368.↩
- HD–90, minute 1, p. 121.↩
- Appendix C to HD–90, p. 134.↩
- Appendix B to HD–90, p. 133.↩
- Appendix B to HD–90, p. 133.↩
- Appendix B to HD–74, vol. viii, p. 740.↩
- See appendix M to HD–85, p. 18.↩
- See appendix C to HD–60, vol, viii, p. 354.↩