Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/99
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 Monday, November 24, 1919, at 10:30 a.m.
- America, United States of
- Hon. Henry White
- Mr. L. Harrison
- British Empire
- 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
- General Bliss
- Rear Admiral McCully, U. S. N.
- Colonel Logan
- Dr. I. Bowman
- Mr. A. W. Dulles
- Lieut-Commander L. B. Green, U. S. N.
- British Empire
- General Groves
- Colonel Percival
- Lieut-Col. Kisch
- Major McCrindle
- Mr. Carr
- Marshal Foch
- General Weygand
- General LeRond
- M. Laroche
- M. Hermite
- M. de Montille
- General Cavallero
- M. Vannutelli-Rey
- M. Stranieri
- M. Mancioli
- Commandant Rugiu
- M. Shigemitsu
1. (The Council had before it two letters from Baron von Lersner to the Secretary-General of the Peace Conference dated November 21st and 23rd, 1919, (See appendices “A” and “B”).) Negotiations With the German Delegates
M. Berthelot read the first letter as well as the draft reply prepared by the French Delegation. (See Appendix “C”). He said it was evident that there was no sense in starting a discussion on the return of prisoners of war at a moment when that repatriation was to take place within eight days. Since the draft reply had been prepared they had received the second letter from Baron von Lersner which the Council had before it. The German attitude was all the more inexplicable since in the interview he had had with M. Dutasta and M. Berthelot, Baron von Lersner had asked him for the date of the first meeting of his Delegates with the Allied Commissioners; von Lersner had put a number of questions to him concerning the procedure to be followed and had expressed a desire to receive on Saturday evening the agenda of that meeting. That agenda had been sent him at the appointed hour. The attitude of Germany seemed to be determined by the delay that had occurred in the American ratification of the Treaty as well as by the Lodge motion tending to the restoration of the state of peace between the United States and Germany; Germany evidently hoped that a misunderstanding would arise between the Allies. M. Berthelot felt that it would be important to acquaint Washington with this tendency. The reply they had given on the question of the handing over of guilty individuals might have also an influence on the German decision. Von Lersner had made him understand that if the Entente maintained its demands, no German could wish to hasten by a single day the ratification of a treaty which, according to him, would plunge Germany in chaos.
M. Cambon asked whether the draft letter which had just been read by M. Berthelot was approved by the Council.
Sir Eyre Crowe thought it would be advisable to add a few words concerning the departure of the German Commissioners.
M. Berthelot agreed. The draft had been prepared before the second letter had been received. A post-script might be added.
Sir Eyre Crowe said it should be stated in that post-script that the departure of the German technical Delegates led one to think that the Berlin Government did not intend to ratify; also that it would be advisable to ask the German Government categorically yes or no, whether it meant to sign the protocol.
M. de Martino said he thought it would be unwise to look as if they had any doubt about the final putting into force of the Treaty.
After further discussion, the text of the post-script was adopted as shown in Appendix “D”.[Page 305]
Sir Eyre Crowe thought that it was important that the note should be sent without delay, and further that it should be published for the sake of the moral effect it would produce on German public opinion.
M. Berthelot said they could send the letter as soon as the President—who ought to sign it—returned, that was to say, that night.
Mr. White thought that it would be wise in that case to delay the publication for 24 hours.
M. Cambon said the note would then be published the following evening.
It was decided:
- to approve the draft reply to the President of the German Delegation, together with the post-script shown in Appendix “D”;
- that said reply be transmitted to Baron von Lersner as soon as possible;
- that it be published on the evening of November 25th, (See Appendices “C” and “D”)
2. (The Council had before it a report dated November 21st, 1919 (See Appendix “E”).) Financial Arrangements in the Plebiscite Territories and Occupied Territories of Danzig and Memel
General Le Rond read and commented upon the report of the Commission. He added that with regard to the application of the Treaty, the report had the approval of the legal experts. He would discuss separately, first the question of the Plebiscite Territories, secondly the question of Danzig and Memel.
Plebiscite Territories: the report had made no proposal except so far as concerned the normal administration expenses of the territories, and the supplementary expenses resulting from Inter-Allied government. As far as the military occupation was concerned, the Delegates had been of the opinion that it should be referred to their Governments.
According to the articles of the Treaty, expenses, whether they arose from administration or military occupation, should be in fine a charge on local revenues, present as well as future, but it was already certain that the existing local revenues would be insufficient to cover those expenses; they would, therefore, have to be met by advances, and it was to these that the report referred. Those advances which would properly be a charge on local revenues would have to be reimbursed later by the States to which the Principal Allied and Associated Powers would attribute the territories after plebiscite. That point being once settled it remained to determine the sources from which those advances could be drawn. That being the question for immediate solution, and the question of military occupation expenses being reserved, the Commission asked the Council to approve its conclusions numbered 1 and 2.[Page 306]
Mr. White said he had no observations to make on points 1 and 2, but he wished on the question of military occupation expenses to read the following note which defined the American point of view. (See Appendix “F”).
General Le Rond said that the American note referred to a question of form. It was quite clear that the expenses of occupation were a charge on local revenues, but those local revenues for the time being, were insufficient. They were burdening the countries where a plebiscite was to take place with expenses which were beyond their temporary power to bear. Hence the necessity of making advances. The Commission had not dealt with the means of raising those advances so far as the military occupation expenses were concerned but no fundamental doubt on the question was possible.
Sir Eyre Crowe said he agreed with the conclusions of the report and with the note that Mr. White had just read.
M. de Martino said that in a word it came down to obtaining the consent of Germany in the first instance upon the question of repayment of the costs of occupation of Marienwerder and Allenstein for which nothing had been provided in the Treaty.
General Le Rond said M. De Martino was speaking of the costs of occupation; he had to repeat that there was no possible doubt that the costs of occupation were a charge on the occupied territories and that the only question under discussion was a matter of deciding ways and means; how were they to obtain the necessary funds at the moment.
M. de Martino said that he did not see why a distinction was made between the question of costs of occupation and that of other costs.
General Le Rond said he would reply to M. De Martino by sheltering himself behind the authority of the legal experts. They had been of the opinion that the Allies did not have the legal right to make the German State, considered as a whole, pay costs which, according to the terms of the Treaty, fell upon local revenues. The Commission as a matter of fact, had not dealt with the question and had been of the opinion that it should be referred to the different Governments.
M. de Martino said that considering the importance of the question, and notwithstanding that the Commission, itself had left it in suspense, he believed it his duty to make a formal reservation on behalf of his Government.
M. Matsui said the question did not arise for Japan as it did not send troops of occupation, but they agreed with the Commission as far as the interpretation of the Treaty was concerned.
General Cavallero said that with regard to the costs of military occupation, it would be well to make a distinction between the question of advances which was referred to the examination of the various Governments concerned, and the question of repayment of those advances, which should be settled by an interpretation of the Treaty. [Page 307]In the case of Upper Silesia there was no doubt that the expenses would be borne by the local revenues in the future as well as the present. In the case of Marienwerder, on the other hand, the repayment of the costs of occupation was not provided for; possibly it was an omission, at any rate it was a point to be defined. In the case of Allenstein the occupation itself was not provided for, and still less the repayment of the costs of occupation.
Sir Eyre Crowe asked what was the intention of the Italian Delegate in declaring that the matter had to be defined. Did he mean that a new Treaty had to be concluded with Germany or simply that the Supreme Council had to take a new decision? If he meant a decision of the Supreme Council he (Sir Eyre Crowe) would remark that the Council had already decided that all the costs would be a charge on the interested territories. They had already given their interpretation: what more could be done?
M. Berthelot said that in his interview with Herr von Simson he had indicated that that question was precisely of the same type as those which were to be settled between the German delegates and the Allied Commissioners. Herr von Simson had accepted this. He, M. Berthelot, had added that the Council had decided to have Allied troops occupy Marienwerder, and that the costs of occupation should be a charge on the local revenues. Herr von Simson had made no objection to this.
M. Cambon said that that was a question of application of the Treaty, upon which it was for the Allied Commissioners and the German Delegates to come to an agreement.
General Le Rond said the solution would be arrived at quite naturally when the Allied and Associated Powers would attribute the territories submitted to a plebiscite. In the Treaties which would then be concluded between the Allies and the States to whom attribution would be made, nothing prevented the stipulation that costs of every kind should be a charge upon those States in exact proportion as the territories in question would be attributed to them.
M. Cambon stated that the Council agreed on the conclusions numbered 1 and 2, point 3 remaining to be settled between the Governments.
M. de Martino said the question of advances brought up the question of exchange, which was particularly important for the Italians. They proposed that the advance to be effected for troops, no matter to what nation they belonged, should be made in marks. It was not apparent why, in a country where the legal currency was the mark, allowances should be paid with another currency; all the more so inasmuch as the mark was also the legal currency in Poland. The pound sterling might serve as a basis, the rate of exchange being subject to revision on the first of each month. In that case, and to avoid considerable purchases of marks for certain countries, the Allies should agree among [Page 308]themselves so that the necessary amount of marks should be furnished by the Allied States who held the most.
General Le Rond said M. De Martino’s remarks brought up two points: on the first point, the case was quite in accord with M. De Martino. Having been forced to choose a firm basis for the calculation of the rate of the allowances, it had taken the pound; but as a matter of fact, it was the gold dollar, a fixed standard, which should be the basis of calculation. It went without saying that the payments would be made in currency of the country, that was to say, in marks. In the second point, the question of exchange was not in the province of the Commission, but M. De Martino’s remark deserved consideration.
Mr. White said he would note M. De Martino’s proposal.
Sir Eyre Crowe said he agreed with the proposals presented by General Le Rond. They could, for the moment, only take note of M. De Martino’s proposal.
General Le Rond said there remained the question of Danzig and Memel.
As for Danzig, the British Government had already declared it was ready to make the advance of necessary funds to the administrative official who would represent the Principal Allied and Associated Powers. It was clear, as for Memel, that they ought to adopt the same solution as for plebiscite territories, namely, that all the costs of administration and of occupation be a charge on the State to which Memel would be attributed by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers.
Mr. White remarked that they had just spoken of a representative of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers at Danzig. Should not the appointment of that official be approved by the Supreme Council?
Sir Eyre Crowe said the Supreme Council had already approved the nomination.
It was decided:
- to approve the conclusions of the report on the financial regime of the plebiscite territories and occupied territories of Danzig and Memel;
- that the costs of normal administration of said territories, as well as supplementary costs of administration resulting from the Inter-Allied government, should be ultimately placed by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers upon the States to whom those territories would be attributed by Treaty. (See Appendix “E”).
3. (The Council had before it a note of the Sub-Committee on the Execution of the Treaty of Peace, dated November 15th, (See Appendix “G”).[Page 309]
General Le Rond read and commented upon the note of the Sub-Commission. He added that the Italian Delegation had just communicated to him a proposal tending to modify the disposition of the scales of allowances, so as to distinguish in the allowances of presidents and commissioners, what was the representation allowance, properly so-called, the total allowance remaining the same. Allowances to Personnel of Administrative, Government, and Plebiscite Commission
Sir Eyre Crowe said he had had great difficulty in persuading his Government to accept the figures proposed by the Sub-Committee; he really thought them extravagant. He had already found the figures provided for the Delimitation Commissions too high. His Government was surprised that personnel could not be found at lower salaries. He would, however, as a compromise, and so as to hasten the entry into force of the Treaty, accept the proposed figures.
M. Berthelot said that those figures seemed high because it was forgotten that, while military personnel had their pay in addition, civil officials had not. They had, on the other hand, taken as basis for calculation of the allowances the amount allotted by the British Government to its High Commissioner on the Rhineland High Commission.
General Le Bond said that salaries, properly so-called, would remain for the Governments to bear, but only in the event that the latter thought they should be paid. It should not be forgotten that a certain number of officials employed as members of Commissions did not have any Government salary.
Sir Eyre Crowe said he thought it had been decided that it was only the allowances according to function that were to be a charge upon the occupied territories.1
General Le Bond said that the decision had been that the local revenues should pay the allowances fixed, and that, if he might say so, they need not take salaries into account, the government appointing any particular official being free to pay him if it so desired.
M. Berthelot said that the case of military officials—a special one—should be placed on one side. On the other hand, the principle might be advanced that all officials be paid exclusively by the territory, the administration of which they belonged to. Officials who came for a country’s welfare should be paid from the resources of that country. The case was similar to that of “counsellors” whom certain oriental or Far Eastern powers asked western nations to send them.
General Le Bond said the rate of allowances had been fixed in uniform fashion for all officials of a similar category, no matter what their salary might be in their own country.[Page 310]
Mr. White said he had not had time to discuss the question with his experts and must for the time being reserve his decision.
Sir Eyre Crowe said that the explanation furnished by M. Berthelot and by General Le Rond changed the aspect of the question: it would obviously be much easier for his Government to accept that proposal which came nearer the point of view it had always supported. It was, then, understood that the rate of payment being thus reckoned, the Council considered that officials who received these payments should have no further claim.
M. de Martino said he wished to know why a distinction had been drawn between allowances provided in the cases of Allenstein and Marienwerder and those provided for in the case of Upper Silesia?
M. Berthelot said that a decision had already been given which explained itself through the relative importance of territories to be administered and also through the duties which the officials would have to assume thereby.2
M. de Martino said it should be borne in mind, however, that the shorter the occupation the heavier relatively would be the expenses that members of the Commissions would have to incur.
General Le Rond said another consideration should not be neglected, however: an official who would be sent for instance, to Allenstein knew that he was only going there for a few months. In the case of Upper Silesia, on the contrary, they were quite uncertain, as the occupation might last anything [anywhere?] from 8 to 20 months; therefore, to recruit the necessary personnel higher payments would have to be made.
Sir Eyre Crowe agreed with General Le Rond: it was certain that a man who left a position for 18 months would have greater difficulty in having it kept for him than the man who only left his position for a few months.
M. de Martino asked whether the question of allowances for troops of occupation could not be settled immediately?
General Weygand said it had seemed to them there was no reason to adopt on that subject a different ruling from that which had been followed for the troops of occupation of the Rhine. Each Government was free to fix for its troops the allowances which it thought advisable.
General Cavallero said that the situation of troops which would occupy for instance, Upper Silesia could not be compared to that of French troops on the Rhine. There would be very great practical difficulties. It seemed impossible to the Italian Command not to fix a higher allowance for battalions which would be sent to Allenstein than to troops which occupied the armistice zone. It seemed very [Page 311]difficult to the Italians, for all kinds of reasons, to fix the rate of supplementary allowances to be given without previous agreement with the other General Staffs.
General Weygand replied that the French Government and the other interested Governments, with the exception of the Italian, had been of the opinion that it was for each of them to settle the rate which it thought advisable. They had not wished to fix a uniform rate. He felt no hesitation in saying that the French troops sent into Upper Silesia would receive slightly higher allowances than the troops on the Rhine.
Sir Eyre Crowe said that the question had already been the subject of discussion in the Supreme Council a long time before: but had not then been settled.3
General Cavallero said that uniform allowances had been agreed upon for personnel of Commissions of Control, no matter what the army of origin. If, however, in zones of occupation the allowances varied according to the army a very disagreeable situation might arise for soldiers in receipt of the lower allowances. The line officers who would receive a much smaller amount than officers, members of a Commission, would find themselves in a painful situation. They might at least agree to fix tables roughly analogous.
General Weygand said the case of isolated officers or non-commissioned officers could not be compared to that of commissioned or noncommissioned officers living with their formations. The latter had every kind of facility which isolated officers could not find. On the other hand officers of each nationality would live, each one in the sector allotted to his troops; there would be, therefore, no occasion for officers of the different armies to compare their respective positions. Had it not for that matter been thus all through the war?
General Cavallero said they were not at war any longer and the situation was a rather different one. He wished to point out that officers would probably sit on Commissions, whose situation would be clearly more attractive than that of their comrades of the line although their position might not be much more important.
M. Cambon thought it would be better to leave each Government its freedom in the matter.
It was decided:
to approve the report of the Sub-Committee on the Execution of the Treaty, dated November 15th, concerning the rate of monthly allowances to the personnel of Plebiscite Commissions, with the reservation that the American Delegation communicate at the next meeting whether it accepted the proposals of the report. (See Appendix “G”).
4. Sir Eyre Crowe said Sir George Clerk had telegraphed that he was on the point of leaving Budapest, having fulfilled his mission. [Page 312]Should the Council wish him to remain or have some communication to make to him, it should do so without delay. Sir George Clerk’s Mission
M. Berthelot said Sir George Clerk gave the Council the assurance that Mr. Huszar was not Friedrich’s strawman. Sir George Clerk had succeeded fully in his mission. It seemed that the Council could allow him to return. Sir Eyre Crowe might wire him that the Council was not opposed to his return and would be glad to hear his report.
5. (The Council had before it a letter from the Polish Delegation dated November 17th, 1919 (See Appendix “H”) and a letter from the same Delegation dated November 19, 1919 (See Appendix “I”).) Negotiations Between the Polish Government and (a) the City of Dantzig, (b) the German Government
M. Laroche read and commented upon the letters. He added that it would be advantageous to be able to follow the negotiations in Paris itself.
Sir Eyre Crowe said the question was not exactly the same for the negotiations between Poland and the German Governments and between Poland and Dantzig. In the former case there was no difficulty in transferring the negotiations to Paris. In the latter, on the other hand, it should not be forgotten that the local factor played an important part. The Treaty to be concluded would go into all sorts of detail concerning the port, docks, customs, railroads, etc. Would it be wise to transfer to Paris the seat of these negotiations when an account had to be taken of local conditions? The representative of the Allies at Dantzig had a part to play in the negotiations: was it wise to eliminate him?
M. Laroche said the Polish Commission had quite definitely thought that because of local passions it would be wiser to withdraw the negotiations from the atmosphere of Dantzig just as it would be to withdraw them from Warsaw. That transfer would not prevent the representative of the Allies at Dantzig from intervening: his advice would be asked for. Indeed in matters of technical details it would be easy to detach to the spot a sub-commission. To take into account the objection formulated by Sir Eyre Crowe, they might decide in principle that the negotiations would take place in Paris although the details should be settled on the spot.
Sir Eyre Crowe said he of course agreed that the decision should be taken at Paris but he considered it difficult to divide the negotiations into two classes. He would rather propose that Dantzig be made the seat of negotiations, it being understood that the scheme worked out at Dantzig be subject to revision in Paris.
M. Berthelot said the Council could adopt a formula of that kind.
M. Cambon suggested that they could say—and in that way indicate that the Allied Representative at Dantzig had to take part in the matter—that the preliminary investigations should take place at [Page 313]Dantzig, that they would be carried out on the spot and that they would be transmitted to Paris for final decision by the Allied Representative who would submit the report.
Mr. White asked whether originally it had not been decided that the negotiations take place in Warsaw, the question interesting Poland in the first place.
M. Laroche said the Japanese Delegation had been opposed to that proposal as it did not have a representative at Warsaw who could follow the negotiations.
M. de Martino said his instructions gave him authority to approve the transfer to Paris of all the negotiations in progress, whether in Berlin or Warsaw, between Germany and Poland. He asked whether the negotiations relative to Dantzig fell within that category.
M. Cambon thought not.
Mr. White asked how the Commission would be composed, and why it could not meet at Warsaw.
Sir Eyre Crowe replied that it was because Dantzig was the object of the negotiations; the Commission would include representatives of the free city and Poles.
M. Laroche said it was understood, then, that the scheme prepared at Dantzig could be modified in Paris. All the questions would be studied anew in Paris under the auspices of the Great Powers and with the cooperation of the delegates of Dantzig and of Poles.
Mr. White said he agreed on the principle, but he wished to read over the text of the resolution once it had been drafted.
It was decided:
- that the negotiations between the Polish Government and the German Government take place in Paris;
- that the negotiations between the Polish Government and the Free City of Dantzig take place in Paris, with the cooperation and under the direction of representatives of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers;
- that, prior to the opening of negotiations as provided for in the last paragraph, preliminary discussions, at which the Allied representative in the Free City of Dantzig is to be a party, should take place at Dantzig. That representative should send to Paris, with a report, the proposals which would have been prepared at Dantzig, and which would serve as a basis for the negotiations provided for in paragraph 2.
- (The Council reserves to itself the final approval of the present resolution until a further examination.)
6. (The Council had before it a draft note dated November 24th, 1919 (See Appendix “J”) Note to the German Government Concerning the Sale of German Aeronautical Matérial
(After a short discussion,
It was decided:
to adopt the draft note to the President of the Inter-Allied Aeronautical Commission of Control in Germany [Page 314]for transmission to the German Government, once the Peace Treaty came into force (See Appendix “J”)
7. (The Council had before it a note from the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission relative to the appointment of a Sub-Committee charged with the improvement of circulation of rolling stock in the ex-Austro-Hungarian Empire. (See Appendix “K”). Sub-Committee of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission Charged With the Improvement of Circulation of Rolling Stock in Ex-Austro-Hungarian Empire
M. de Martino said he accepted the draft recommendation of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission, but wished to make the following declaration: It was well understood that the Sub-Committee would only function until a decision had been taken on the distribution of rolling stock between the several States inheriting territory of the ex-Austro-Hungarian Empire, in accordance with Article 318 of the Treaty of Saint Germain. That was in order to avoid possible confusion of competence.
Sir Eyre Crowe said he was surprised that the question had come up again. The Council had given the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission full powers to act in the event of its sub-commission on Hungarian [Austrian?] affairs being unanimous.4 M. Loucheur had told them that only questions of detail remained to be settled. He therefore could not understand, and thought the Council had grounds for being surprised that the matter was submitted to them a second time, considering the extreme gravity of the situation in Austria.
M. Massigli pointed out that the terms of the decision adopted on November 20th, were unambiguous; in the case of unanimity the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission was to have acted without referring the subject anew to the Supreme Council.
(The Council took note of the declaration made by M. De Martino on the subject of the duration of that Sub-Committee’s activities.)
It was decided:
to approve the terms of the draft note of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission concerning the appointment of a Sub-Committee on rolling stock in the Ex-Austro-Hungarian Empire, an appointment which the Council considered as decided in its resolution of November 20th. (See Appendix “K”).
8. (The Council had before it the note of the British Delegation dated November 22nd (See Appendix “L”). German Soldiers in the Schlesvig Plebiscite Area
(After a short discussion,
It was decided:
to refer to the Drafting Committee for examination and immediate report the note of the British Delegation on demobilization by German [Page 315]authorities of a great number of soldiers in the Schlesvig plebiscite area. (See Appendix “L”).
(The meeting then adjourned).
- See HD–32, minute 10, vol. vii, p. 706; HD–58, minute 3, vol. viii, p. 305; and HD–75, minute 2, ibid., p. 747.↩
- HD–75, minute 2, and appendix B, vol. viii, pp. 747 and 755.↩
- HD–58, minute 3, ibid., p. 305.↩
- Meeting of November 20, HD–97, minute 3, p. 238.↩
- Does not accompany the minutes in Department’s files.↩
- Minute 2, vol. vii, p. 957.↩
- Appendix A, p. 315.↩
- Appendices B and C to HD–80, vol. viii, pp. 863 and 865.↩
- HD–41, minute 2, vol. vii, p. 957; the text of the resolution is also attached to appendix A, ante, p. 315.↩
- HD–96, minute 5, p. 225.↩
- Appendix B to HD–75, vol. viii, p. 755.↩
- HD–75, minute 2, ibid., p. 747.↩
- Vol. viii, p. 816.↩
- This telegram transmitted the text of the proposals accepted by the Supreme Council on August 6, HD–25, minute 14, vol. vii, p. 563.↩
- For text, see appendix C to HD–37, ibid., p. 823.↩
- This note transmitted the text of the decision of the Supreme Council of September 29, HD–63, minute 2, vol. viii, p. 430.↩
- Appendix H to HD–94, p. 209.↩
- HD–66, minute 3, vol. viii, p. 508.↩