Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/88


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 10, 1919, at 10:30 a.m.

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • Hon. F. L. Polk
    • Secretary
      • Mr. L. Harrison
    • British Empire
      • Sir Eyre Crowe
    • Secretary
      • Mr. H. Norman
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau
    • Secretaries
      • M. Dutasta
      • M. Berthelot
      • M. de Saint Quentin
    • Italy
      • M. de Martino
    • Secretary
      • M. Barone Russo
    • Japan
      • M. Matsui
    • Secretary
      • M. Kawai
Joint Secretariat
America, United States of Capt. G. A. Gordon
British Empire Capt. G. Lothian Small
France M. Massigli
Italy M. Zanchi
Interpreter—M. Mantoux

The following were also present for items in which they were concerned:

  • America, United States of
    • General Bliss
    • Colonel Embick
    • Mr. W. H. Buckler
    • Dr. I. Bowman
  • British Empire
    • General Sackville-West
    • Colonel Kisch
    • Mr. Tufton
    • Mr. Forbes-Adam
    • Mr. A. Leeper
    • Mr. H. W. Malkin
  • France
    • M. Cambon
    • M. Laroche
    • General Le Rond
    • General Bunoust
    • M. Fromageot
    • M. Escoffier
    • M. de Percin
  • Italy
    • Commander Mazzolini
    • M. Vannutelli-Rey
    • M. Galli
    • M. Stranieri
    • M. Pilotti
  • Japan
    • M. Shigemitsu
    • M. Nagaoka

[Page 75]

1. M. de Martino asked if he might deliver a message from M. Tittoni who wished to express his great regret at not being able to be present at that meeting; he was obliged to leave on the following day and was still ill in bed. He had particularly hoped to be able to come to that meeting to bid farewell to his colleagues. At the same time he had asked M. De Martino to submit to the Council a consideration which had occurred to him with respect to its work. The Supreme Council had organized a Committee for the execution of the Treaty and that Committee, called the Committee of Ambassadors, although other than Ambassadors might sit upon it, was to be entrusted with everything concerning the execution of the treaties; the Supreme Council, on the other hand was entrusted with all work preparatory to the same treaties. In order to facilitate this division of labor and inasmuch as the large questions were at the moment not ready for settlement—such as the Treaty with Hungary, the question of the former Ottoman Empire and the Adriatic question—M. Tittoni wished to ask the Council to consider the possibility of adjourning, after the signature of the Bulgarian Treaty, until one of those questions should be ready for settlement. In the meanwhile all remaining unfinished work relative to the execution of the treaties could be entrusted to the Committee of Ambassadors. Italian Suggestion Relative to the Prolongation or Postponement of the Work of the Supreme Council

M. Clemenceau replied that this question could not be raised without the consent of the Governments concerned. Of course three questions were raised by this suggestion: he thought that the Hungarian question would be satisfactorily settled. The question of Turkey was a difficult one, but he was willing, and thought it necessary, to take it up, and he felt that the British and American Governments would agree with his views. The question of the Adriatic was a most delicate one but it must be admitted that the Council was not at fault. The responsibility lay entirely with Italy. The Italian Government had been incapable of executing the orders given by the Council. The Council had formally decided that only one Italian battalion should remain at Fiume, but this order had been flagrantly violated in such a manner that it seemed clear that the Italian Government had no control over its army and navy. The Command at Fiume had passed to D’Annunzio. He was not hostile to Italy but he was obliged to point out that the Italian Government had not been able to make its orders respected. He had supported the Italian point of view in a long telegram that he had sent to President Wilson, but he was very much embarrassed as to what he should further say, since he had received a courteous but emphatic reply from President Wilson to the effect that it was useless to make agreements with a Government which assumed obligations that it could not fulfill. [Page 76] French soldiers had been killed at Fiume and the French Government had taken no action; but such a situation could not be prolonged indefinitely.

M. de Martino wished to be allowed to remark that a Government existed in Italy as well as in any other country. As to the point of being obeyed or not by the army at Fiume, it was in agreement with the Allied Governments that Italy abstained from attacking Fiume. If Italy was confronted with difficulties, of which the Council was well aware, that did not mean that the Italian Government had not taken up the question of Fiume with the very best intentions of settling it properly. The Italian Government had shown a spirit of conciliation which he thought M. Clemenceau would appreciate.

M. Clemenceau pointed out that nevertheless the fact remained that the Italian Government was not obeyed by its Navy. The greatest spirit of good will had been shown. For this reason no action had been taken as a result of the incidents at Fiume, but that situation must be put an end to. The postponement of the work of the Council could not be agreed to as long as that would result in the consolidation of the existing situation at Fiume.

Sir Eyre Crowe agreed with M. Clemenceau, but felt that the points at issue with Germany and the Bulgarian question must first be settled before there could be any thought of postponement. He thought that these questions might be settled before the end of the month, by which time he hoped that all other questions, except the Turkish one, would also be out of the way. He therefore felt that there was no great difficulty in practice; the object aimed at by M. De Martino could be met without necessarily adopting his plea for an adjournment of the Conference now.

Mr. Polk also agreed with M. Clemenceau and observed that there were two or three questions which had to be settled before an adjournment could be thought of. He was of the opinion that those questions could be settled before December 1st. He also felt that it would not be fair to turn such questions over to the Committee of Ambassadors, which was only supposed to coordinate questions relating to the interpretation and execution of the Treaties.

M. Clemenceau appreciated the troubles the Italian Government had had to encounter. However, that Government must settle the question of Fiume and get its army and navy under control.

M. de Martino repeated that the Italian Government had the army and navy under control and was obeyed by them. If it had not wished to take military action against Fiume, it was because the Allied and Associated Powers had likewise not wished it. They had not wished to attack Fiume and a fortiori Italy had not wished to either. The situation there did not prevent his declaring that there was a Government [Page 77] in Italy and that the army and navy were under control of the Italian Government.

M. Clemenceau declared that he must formally state that M. Tittoni had said, not once but many times, that the Italian Government could not take Fiume because the army and navy would not obey the Government. He thought M. Tittoni could not contest this, and he wished this to be formally put on record. The fact that the Italian Government had to contend with a very delicate question was no reason for attempting to place the responsibility on the other Allied and Associated Powers, who clearly could not be burdened therewith.

M. de Martino said that such was not his intention, and that the sole question raised was one of expediting the work of the Council. M. Tittoni, who had to leave for Italy on account of the political situation, had hoped to return to take up the discussion of the important questions alluded to.

M. Clemenceau observed that such a solution would greatly embarrass him in any reply to President Wilson.

M. de Martino said that he had transmitted the suggestion, but that if it were going to occasion great inconveniences he did not wish to insist upon it.

(It was decided:

to take no action on the Italian suggestion relative to the prolongation or postponement of the work of the Supreme Council.

2. (The Council had before it a note from the President of the German Delegation dated November 7th, 1919 relative to municipal elections in Upper Silesia (See Appendix “A”).) German Municipal Elections in Upper Silesia

M. Clemenceau pointed out that the proposed action of the German Government was in utter defiance of the decisions of the Supreme Council.1

Sir Eyre Crowe felt that strictly speaking the Council could not prevent such action on the part of the German Government before the Treaty came into force, but it could say that it had already warned that Government that such elections would not be recognized.

M. Clemenceau agreed.

Mr. Polk also agreed. He presumed that the Council was sure of its legal ground when sending such an answer.

It was decided:

that the Allied and Associated Powers should again inform the German Government that the municipal elections proposed to be held by it in Upper Silesia, prior to the coming into force of the Treaty, would not be recognized as valid.

[Page 78]

3. M. Berthelot commented upon the note from the Swiss Legation. (See Appendix “B”). Note From the Swiss Legation Relative to Insertion in Treaties Still To Be Drafted and Signed of Clauses Relative to Swiss Neutrality

M. Clemenceau observed that as such clauses were already contained in the Treaties with Germany and Austria there seemed no good reason for not inserting them in all the Treaties.

It was decided:

to act favorably upon the request of the Swiss Legation relative to insertion in Treaties still to be drafted and signed of clauses relative to Swiss neutrality, analogous to Article 435 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany and Article 375 of the Treaty of Peace with Austria (See Appendix “B”).

4. Mr. Polk informed the Council that he had just received a telegram from Admiral Bristol to the effect that fighting between Greeks and Turks had taken place near Soma because the Greeks had not obeyed the orders of General Milne not to advance the line of occupation until the 15th of November and to wait until the Turkish army obeyed the orders given it to retire on November 12th, and that the Greeks had acted on the orders of their own Government. Situation in Smyrna

Sir Eyre Crowe inquired if this point had not already been raised by M. Venizelos at the preceding meeting of the Council.

M. Clemenceau thought it had not.

General Bunoust was sure that it had not. The point Sir Eyre Crowe had in mind was the incident at Nazilli.

Sir Eyre Crowe felt that M. Venizelos should be asked to explain the incident referred to in the telegram read by Mr. Polk.

M. Clemenceau suggested that the information contained in the telegram be sent to M. Venizelos and that he be asked for explanations.

(This was agreed to.)

Sir Eyre Crowe pointed out that the report of the Inter-Allied Commission of Investigation at Smyrna2 dealt with two questions. The Commission had been appointed to investigate the complaints made by the Sheik-ul-Islam.2a The Council might unwittingly have given the Commission too large a mandate but it had never contemplated that the Commission should go so far as to advise it whether or not there should have been a Greek occupation. He proposed to separate the report into its two component parts. The question raised by the second part of the report had already been presented in an acute form as a result of M. Venizelos ordering Greek troops beyond the zone of occupation laid down by the Council without consulting it. He thought that there was a good deal to be said for M. Venizelos [Page 79] in this connection inasmuch as he had sent many pressing communications to the Council which, owing to the great pressure of work, had not been promptly answered. The Council had ordered General Milne to determine the Greek zone of occupation;3 he had done so and on the other hand the Greek and Italian Governments, after satisfactory negotiations, had agreed to a line of demarcation between their zones.4 He felt that the other conclusions of the report might be accepted; but he was struck by the fact that a great deal of pertinent testimony had not been heard by the Commission, therefore it was difficult for the conclusions of the report to be accepted unreservedly, although he might have been inclined to do so if he had not heard M. Venizelos’s explanations at the preceding meeting. For instance, with respect to the affair at Menemem, M. Venizelos had pointed out that the Greek authorities had made an accurate count of the victims and found that only 20 had been killed, identifying them by name, whereas the number fixed by the Commission as a result of an investigation made by a French officer had placed the number at several hundred. He did not feel qualified to state that a different procedure could have been adopted, but he felt that if the Greek side of the case could have been heard the conclusions of the report might have been different. In his opinion this was the one reservation to be made when accepting the report.

General Bunoust observed that some question had been raised as to the Commission going beyond the mandate given it. He wished to point out that the report submitted consisted of three parts: a summary of the facts, the fixing of the responsibilities, and the conclusions. This conformed not only to the spirit but to the letter of the Council’s mandate contained in its telegram to the Commission of July 26, 1919 (See H. D. 13, Minute 12).5 It had been suggested that the Commission was not justified in taking up the question of the expediency of the Greek occupation. He wished to reply that the complaint of the Sheik-ul-Islam to the Supreme Council had formed the basis of the investigation, and this complaint had pretended that the Greek occupation was unjustified. The Commission had therefore necessarily examined that question. To take up a question of detail, in an affair such as that at Menemem it was impossible for anyone to make an accurate estimate. The Commission did not insist upon the exactness of its figures but it was convinced that figures submitted by the Greeks could not be any more accurate. With respect to contradictory testimony he wished again to cite the affair at Menemem, where all the Turks had testified in one way and all the Greeks in another. The [Page 80] Commission had therefore tried to take the testimony of the witnesses who seemed to be the most reliable and it had taken a great deal of testimony from French, English and Italian witnesses. The testimony of M. Laplanche, a French employee of the railroad, had established that the day before the massacre in question the Turks had claimed that they feared a massacre and the Greeks had been informed of this but had taken no precautionary measures. The Greek battalion retreating from Pergamum had indeed been subjected to outrages, but when it once reached Menemem not a single shot had been fired at it. Many Greek witnesses claimed to have heard and seen shots but not one of them had been able to substantiate his evidently false statements. The Commission did not insist that the Greeks had prepared this massacre, but it was convinced that they had done absolutely nothing to prevent it and that the Greek authorities were obviously incompetent.

Sir Eyre Crowe had never doubted that the Commission had proceeded in the most sincere and honorable way, but, as M. Venizelos had pointed out, the principal accused parties had not been heard. He had felt that although it had possibly been well not to acquaint the Greek representative with the names of the witnesses, it might have been possible to give him the depositions without giving him the names of the witnesses. But even this had not been done. He could not say that the conclusions of the report would have been different had such procedure been adopted, but it was evident that they might have been; therefore these conclusions were not entirely satisfactory. When the procedure adopted by the Commission had been brought to the attention of the Council it had not approved thereof; but it had then been too late to make an effective change. However, he did not wish to insist unduly upon this point for on the whole M. Venizelos had accepted the substance of the report, inasmuch as he recognized that abuses had been committed and had meted out punishment therefor. Furthermore, calm now reigned in and around Smyrna, and in fact everywhere except those points where Greeks were in armed contact with Turks. He felt that the Greeks had done their best and that on the whole they had succeeded rather well.

M. Clemenceau wished to ask General Bunoust if he felt that calm did in fact reign in the occupied territories.

General Bunoust said that it did in the town of Smyrna, but that elsewhere the calm was only apparent and might well cease to exist at any moment. Furthermore, the town of Smyrna was nothing in comparison with the entirety of the occupied territories. There certainly was no calm at Aidin.

M. Clemenceau inquired if the Greeks had withdrawn again within the Sandjak of Smyrna.

[Page 81]

Sir Eyre Crowe pointed out that General Milne had established a line beyond which the Greeks were to retire, and they had done so. There was, however, a small triangle in the region of Aidin where General Milne had proposed the following alternative: either the Greeks should be permitted to advance beyond the line of occupation previously laid down, or they should withdraw to a line behind the one at present held by them. In the latter event, General Milne had recommended an Inter-Allied occupation—i. e. Greek, French and English—of the triangle comprised between the present line of Greek occupation and that to which they would be forced to withdraw. This solution, including the exclusion of Italian troops from the proposed Inter-Allied force of occupation, had been discussed and approved by the Supreme Council (See H. D. 66),7 although he himself had found it difficult to agree with that conclusion. He felt that an Inter-Allied occupation would be the best solution possible, but it had not proven feasible. He was convinced of the impossibility of telling the Greeks to evacuate and of letting the Turks in.

Mr. Polk inquired if the town of Soma was in the vicinity of Aidin.

M. de Martino explained that it was to the north of Smyrna. He wished to point out the following facts with respect to the region of Aidin. When the question was submitted to the Council as a result of General Milne’s report three solutions became possible: to leave the Greeks where they were, to let the Turks occupy this territory, or else to effect an Inter-Allied occupation, necessarily including the Greeks in such a force since they were already there. Turkish occupation had not been considered. But when the point of Inter-Allied occupation was raised there was no longer a question of a line of demarcation between Greek and Italian zones of occupation; it was a question, on the one hand, of Italian occupation, and on the other hand, of Inter-Allied occupation. He felt that when the word “Inter-Allied” was used Italy could not be excluded. What had been decided upon was, he thought, contrary to the view of the French Government, because M. Pichon had told him before the meeting that M. Clemenceau’s point of view favored Inter-Allied occupation with Italian troops. He did not intend to resuscitate that question, which had already been decided, but he did wish to say that according to information he had received from Constantinople the solution which had been adopted had produced a very bad impression, inasmuch as it had been interpreted as a proof of discord between the Great Powers. He felt that if the Allies, all of whom had interests in Moslem countries, did not give evidence of solidarity towards the Moslem world they would expose themselves to the greatest danger in the future. [Page 82] He had spent eleven years in Moslem countries and could affirm that within ten or fifteen years the Allies would have the greatest difficulty in maintaining their Moslem colonies. The exclusion of Italian troops had made the Turks think that something queer was happening. When he had read the minutes of the meeting, at which he had not been present, he had seen that the reason given for exclusion of Italian troops from Aidin was the fear of disagreement and conflict with the Greeks. He wished to insist that these fears had no foundation. The Italian Government had come to two agreements with Greece. One of lesser importance, relative to the provisional line of demarcation between Greek and Italian troops, the other a more general agreement.8 He knew that the Allies were pleased that this latter agreement had been reached. In view of the terms of this latter agreement, which laid down a common line of action with a view to avoiding any cause of disagreement or conflict, he felt sure that if the Italian troops had encountered the Greek troops at Aidin no conflict would have taken place between them. He would like to have M. Venizelos himself questioned on this point. He wished to bring all this to the attention of the Council as a matter of record, although he did not intend at that time to reopen the question of Aidin.

Mr. Polk inquired if the agreements referred to had been put on record.

M. de Martino replied that the agreement respecting the line of demarcation had been put on record and that the other had not.

Mr. Polk presumed that there was no objection to it being put on record.

M. de Martino thought not, and said that he would speak to M. Tittoni on the matter.

M. Clemenceau remarked that General Milne had proposed three solutions: as two of them were impossible, he suggested the other be adopted.

Sir Eyre Crowe stated that he had asked M. Venizelos if the Greeks were certainly able to hold the territory in question and had been told that they could.

M. Clemenceau thought that the Greeks should then be allowed to remain at Aidin.

Sir Eyre Crowe agreed.

M. Clemenceau pointed out that it should not be forgotten that all those questions of occupation were purely provisional.

Sir Eyre Crowe agreed.

M. de Martino agreed.

[Page 83]

Sir Eyre Crowe pointed out that General Milne had asked that the Greeks, if they alone were to supply the occupying forces, be allowed to advance beyond the present line of occupation, as that was a necessary condition of their being able to hold the Aidin region.

Mr. Polk asked if General Milne had not made it clear that this proposed advance would necessarily mean further fighting between the Greeks and Turks.

Sir Eyre Crowe replied in the affirmative.

Mr. Polk stated that he would have to make a reservation on this point. His Government had no troops to send, therefore although he could not unconditionally object to this solution, his Government did not wish to assent thereto, and felt that it must decline all responsibility.

Sir Eyre Crowe said it had been found impossible to find French or British troops to occupy this territory, but he hoped the point might again be raised and that M. Clemenceau might once more examine the possibility of sending French troops.

M. Clemenceau said that he would again raise the question and would let Sir Eyre Crowe know on the following day, but he felt that he would not be successful inasmuch as France had no troops to spare. He thought it was no use for the Council to shut its eyes to the fact that the Turks would continue to harass the Greeks. If troops were sent to this region it would result in protecting the Greeks from attacks which they had brought upon themselves.

Mr. Polk said that he hesitated to express an opinion inasmuch as his Government could do nothing to help the situation by sending troops. But he wished to put himself on record as insisting that any further difficulties or fighting in Asia Minor would certainly make the ultimate settlement of the Turkish question more difficult. The Turks and Greeks would always fight each other; therefore, he felt that any decision which would necessarily bring them into closer and further armed contact was bad in principle.

M. Clemenceau observed that even if it were found possible to send an Inter-Allied force, that would not solve the question of conflicts between the Greeks and Turks. The fact of having the troops at Aidin would not have prevented fighting in Soma. M. Venizelos had rather taken the Council to task and it could not leave unanswered some of the points raised by him. It was perhaps true that the procedure adopted had not always been the best. He suggested that an answer be sent to M. Venizelos stating in substance that, although M. Venizelos’ complaints as to the procedure adopted might have been justified in certain particulars, nevertheless he himself (M. Venizelos) had recognized that abuses has been committed, and further recommending to M. Venizelos the use of extreme caution in the future. In the same [Page 84] letter M. Venizelos should be informed of the decision taken with respect to maintaining Greek troops in Aidin and he should be forcibly reminded that all occupation was purely provisional.

General Bunoust wished to point out that the Council proposed to tell M. Venizelos in effect that the Commission had not proceeded in the way it should have. He wished to warn the Council that any such action would be an impeachment of its own decisions. The Council in its instructions of July 26th had marked out the exact lines of action which had since been followed by the Commission, and subsequently had decided that Colonel Mazarakis should not be present at the meetings of the Commission (See H. D. 31).9 He wished to add that the Commission, in recommending an Inter-Allied occupation, had desired to test the sincerity of the Turks who had repeatedly proclaimed that they only objected to an occupation by the Greeks.

M. Clemenceau replied that the Council had no wish to blame the Commission in any way. The question was whether the instructions had been well worded. He suggested that M. Berthelot prepare an answer to M. Venizelos, to be submitted to the Council, taking into account the views expressed at that meeting.

It was decided:

to ask M. Venizelos for explanations relative to the conflict between Greeks and Turks near Soma, reported in a despatch from Constantinople dated November 8, 1919;
that M. Berthelot should prepare, for submission to the Council, a reply to M. Venizelos, taking into account the views expressed by the Council at that meeting.

5. (The Council had before it a note from the British Delegation regarding the exportation to Russia of German munitions and war material (See Appendix “C”).) Exportation to man Munitions and War Material

Sir Eyre Crowe summarized the note from the British Delegation. He thought there was a good deal to be said in favor of helping General Denikin but he wished to point out that his Government was already heavily committed in supplying the northern Russian forces.

M. Clemenceau thought that the manufacture and exportation in question could be stopped as soon as the Treaty had been put into force.

Mr. Polk asked if it was proposed to do anything at that moment.

Sir Eyre Crowe thought that the manufacture and exportation could be stopped at once.

Mr. Polk wondered if this was wise. He inquired if any right existed to stop this manufacture and exportation at the present time.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that this right existed even under the Armistice. This was clear from the fact that the Germans themselves, in [Page 85] asking permission for this manufacture and exportation, recognized that the right to prohibit it existed under the Armistice.

Mr. Polk wished to know what the reason was for prohibiting this manufacture and exportation; was the idea that ammunition factories should not be put into operation or was it in order not to help General Denikin?

M. Clemenceau suggested that the Germans be told that they could not manufacture and export the munitions and material in question.

Mr. Polk said that he objected to these supplies being furnished by Germans but he did approve sending such supplies to General Denikin. If anyone else could supply him with the material in question he would be in favor of it. He wished to know who was going to pay for this material and how the payment would be made?

Sir Eyre Crowe replied that he was not sure. He thought that perhaps Bolshevist money would be used in payment.

M. Berthelot observed that the trouble was that there was no way of controlling the destination of this material.

Sir Eyre Crowe pointed out that the same group of manufacturers and exporters also supplied Colonel Bermondt.10

M. Clemenceau suggested that a reply be sent that inasmuch as the Council had no control over the use and destination of the munitions and war material in question, and could not even be sure that part thereof would not find its way into the hands of elements hostile to the Allied and Associated Powers, the Council could not sanction the manufacture and despatch of the munitions and war material in question. He asked who would convey this information and to whom the communication would be sent.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that he would send this answer to the British Military Representative in Berlin, in the name of the Council, for transmission by him to the proper parties.

It was decided:

that Sir Eyre Crowe, in the name of the Council, should inform the British Military Representative at Berlin, for transmission by him to the proper parties, that inasmuch as the Council had no control over the use and destination of the munitions and war material in question, and could not even be sure that part thereof would not find its way into the hands of elements hostile to the Allied and Associated Powers, the Council could not sanction the manufacture and despatch of the munitions and war material in question (See Appendix “C”).

6. (The Council had before it a note from the Drafting Committee relative to the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations (See Appendix “D”).)

[Page 86]

M. Fromageot read and commented upon the note of the Drafting Committee and explained that what was proposed therein was not a formal convocation of the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations prior to the deposit of ratifications of the Treaty with Germany but only informal warning information. Reply of President Wilson Regarding the Convocation of the First Meeting of the Council of the League of Nations

Mr. Polk asked whether, assuming that the only thing the Council would do at its first meeting would be to nominate the Commission of Delimitation for the Sarre District, it would not be sufficient to call the meeting for the day after the deposit of ratifications.

M. Fromageot replied that if it was sure that nothing further had to be done it would be sufficient. It was possible, however, that many and serious questions would have to be taken up especially in the event of the United States ratifying the Treaty prior to the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations. It was therefore better to take all preliminary precautions even if they should eventually prove useless.

Mr. Polk thought that he would have to ask for an adjournment. He did not see the necessity for all these various notices. The question had once been very simple but it was now becoming very complicated. The only question he wished to raise was: did the President of the United States have the power to call the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations before the deposit of ratifications. If not, he thought the President could issue such a call on the day of the deposit of ratifications and that the meeting could be held the following day.

M. Fromageot said that the solution proposed by the Drafting Committee involved no convocation which might be deemed premature.

Sir Eyre Crowe added that a further point had been raised: the United States might or might not ratify the Treaty prior to the date of the deposit of ratifications. Mr. Polk’s point was only based on the United States not having ratified. The proposal of the Drafting Committee covered both contingencies.

Mr. Polk said that he would refer the matter to his Government although he felt confident that there would be no objection.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that he would have to make a small reservation with respect to the place of the first meeting. There had been some previous discussion on this point of whether the meeting should be in Paris, or in London where the machinery of the League of Nations already existed. When the point had come up before the Council the British Delegation had not agreed that the meeting should be held in Paris. Since that time he had obtained his Government’s consent to holding the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations in Paris if no other business was to come before the Council [Page 87] than the nomination of the members of the Commission of Delimitation for the Sarre District. That was all that he could agree to at the present time but he would try to obtain further consent for the first meeting of the Council to be held in Paris irrespective of the business to be transacted at that meeting.

M. Clemenceau observed that he of course could not make any statement as to what would be on the agenda at the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations.

Mr. Polk thought that there was a great deal of unnecessary trouble in connection with this question. It was proposed to be entirely prepared for an important meeting of the Council on the day of the deposit of ratifications. Apparently that day would be somewhere in the neighborhood of November 25th. If that was so his Government’s Delegate could not reach Paris in time, even if the United States had already ratified the Treaty.

M. Berthelot thought that the deposit of ratifications could be effected on or about November 27th, as far as the Allied and Associated Powers were concerned. It had become evident from various sources that the Germans would not sign the protocol without raising various difficulties. If the deposit of ratifications were delayed it would be on account of the German attitude.

It was decided:

to approve the recommendations of the Drafting Committee relative to the convocation of the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations (See Appendix “D”) with the following reservations:

that Mr. Polk would refer the matter to his Government.
that Sir Eyre Crowe would refer to his Government the question of holding the first meeting of the Council in Paris irrespective of the business to be transacted at said first meeting.

7. (The Council had before it a draft answer, prepared by the Commission on Belgian Affairs, to the note of the German Delegation of October 3rd, relative to the organization of the plebiscites at Eupen and Malmedy.11 (See Appendix “E”.).) Reply to the Note of the German Delegation of Oct. 3rd Relative to the Organization of the Plebiscites at Eupen and Malmedy

It was decided:

to approve the draft answer, prepared by the Commission on Belgian Affairs, to the note of the German Delegation of October 3rd, relative to the organization of the Plebiscites at Eupen and Malmedy. (See Appendix “E”)

(The meeting then adjourned.)

Hotel de Crillon, Paris, November 10, 1919.

[Page 88]

Appendix A to HD–88

president of the
german delegation

No. 48

From: Baron von Lersner.

To: President Clemenceau.

I have the honor to reply as follows to the note of the Allied and Associated Powers of October 30, 1919, No. 1251.12

The news that the Prussian Government expects very shortly, or more exactly, on November 9, 1919, to conduct municipal elections in Upper-Silesia, is authentic.

In Prussia, prior to the revolution, the so-called three-classes right of vote was in force, according to which the electors were divided according to taxation into three classes each one of which elected one-third of the municipal representatives. Thus, the greater were the differences in the taxations represented by the electors of one commune, the greater was the weight of the votes of the superior classes, and the more plutocratic was the right of vote. This institution of the former state was abandoned immediately after the revolution in favor of equal universal suffrage.

Although the elections have already taken place throughout the rest of Prussia, according to the new form, the municipal representation in Upper-Silesia is still operated according to the old form. This situation is the more insupportable in that the local professional development has greatly exaggerated the difference between the poor and rich, and as, up to the present time, especially in the communes in which are located the mines and factories, the first and second classes are almost exclusively composed of the owners, contractors and directors of these establishments, and these classes choose from among themselves about two-thirds of the municipal commissioners.

For this reason, and now that tranquillity and order have been restored in Upper-Silesia, the German Government can no longer defer the municipal elections, delayed for numerous motives, and especially on account of riots. This is the more necessary in that the municipal elections are conducted in anticipation of the intermediary elections for the Landtags of districts and provinces, in particular the new provincial constitution of Upper-Silesia can only be applied as a basis of these elections.

In the course of the municipal elections, the interests of the portion of the population of Polish tongue will also be given due consideration. It is known that the Polish elements in Upper Silesia are found among the poorest part of the population, and for that reason it is clear that the maintenance of the superannuated voting [Page 89] system, and of the municipal representation thereby instituted, would be unrepresentative of the rights of that part of the population.

All guarantees are given for full liberty in the conduct of the elections. In particular, the Government has ordered, in favor of the Upper-Silesia fugitives, that upon their return to their domicile they will be given an opportunity to register on the supplementary lists of electors.

Finally, concerning the Peace Treaty, there is no motive given therein, in particular in the annex of Article 88, tending to prevent the Prussian State from exercising its sovereignty rights by insuring, until the entry into force of the Treaty, the administration of the territory which is to be submitted to a plebiscite in the future, or that the question of the elections is to be in any manner submitted to the competency of the International Council.

The German Government entertains no doubt that, under these circumstances, the Principal Allied and Associated Powers will forego their original objections to these elections in Upper-Silesia, considering that the Powers have declared their intention to pave the way for democratic principles in their establishment of peace.

Accept, etc.

Baron von Lersner

Appendix B to HD–88


swiss legation
in france

From: Dunant.13

To: President Clemenceau.

Article 435 of the Peace Treaty signed at Versailles on June 28, 1919, recognized the guarantees stipulated by the Treaties of 1815, and especially by the act of November 20, 1815,14 in favor of Switzerland, guarantees which, by the terms of Art. 21 of the covenant of the League of Nations, constitute international obligations for the maintenance of peace.

A similar article (375) is incorporated in the Treaty signed at St. Germain on September 10, 1919.

The Federal Government is of the opinion that it is of primary importance that all the States which may in the future be members of the League of Nations, formally recognize the situation established by [Page 90] the provisions above referred to; therefore it attaches the highest importance to having an analogous clause inserted in all the Peace Treaties yet to be concluded. It may be objected that neither Bulgaria nor Turkey had any part in the Treaties of 1815; but such an objection is countered by the recognition of the Monroe Doctrine in Article 21 of the Covenant which is reproduced in the draft of the Peace Treaty with Bulgaria; for this reason it seems necessary that the Swiss Federal Council act in accordance with the only engagement which has been concluded in the interest of all Europe and with a view to the maintenance of peace.

I have the honor to bring the preceding to the attention of Your Excellency and I would be deeply grateful if you would have this desiderata expressed by my Government presented for a prompt examination.

Please accept, etc.


Appendix C to HD–88

Note by the [British] Delegation for Submission to the Supreme Council

The British Delegation has received a Despatch from the British Military Representative at Berlin containing the following information:—

“There is a definite Group in Berlin known as the Anti-Bolshevik League. They meet at the “Adlon” Hotel.

The members are:—

German: General von Lettow Vorbeck
Graf, von Donau.
Prof. Schiemann.
“Staff” Officers—Hauptman von Lubers,
Lieut. Danks.
Russian: Bogdanoff, Russian merchant from Rostow.
Podalinski, formerly Governor of S. Russia.
Beck, Marmarcheff (formerly mixed up with Bermondt.)

Noske sometimes attends meetings. Probably only internal anti-Bolshevik measures are discussed in his presence.

This group have been, and still are, engaged in organizing the despatch of munitions to Denikin and munitions and money to Bermondt.

They obtain munitions from the Schilde Konsortium, Schwabische-strasse, 30 Berlin, W. 30. Krupps and Stiler have representatives working with Schilde in this office.”

At its meeting on Saturday, October 11th,15 the Supreme Council decided that the Inter-Allied Commissions of Control set up by [Page 91] Articles 203–210 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany should direct, if they found it possible, that Russian arms, munitions and war material retained by Germany should be delivered to the Russian Armies recognized by the Allied and Associated Governments.

The transaction described in the above quoted extract from General Malcolm’s despatch, however, is apparently concerned with new ammunition manufactured by a firm in which Krupp is largely interested, and is therefore not covered by the Supreme Council’s resolution of October 11th.

It would accordingly appear necessary for the Supreme Council to decide the two following questions of principle:—

Whether Germany is to be encouraged to proceed with the manufacture of ammunition.
Whether it is desirable to facilitate the supply of German war material to the Army of General Denikin.

November 7, 1919.

Appendix D to HD–88

Note for the Supreme Council Relative to the First Meeting of the Council of the League of Nations

1. It would seem to be acknowledged on the one hand, that the order of the day for the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations depends on the ratification of the Treaty by the American Senate, the important questions being reserved until that time,—and on the other hand, that the designation of the representatives may depend on this order of the day, that is to say on the importance of the questions to be considered.

2. However, in case the American ratification would allow the consideration of important questions in the first meeting of the Council, there would be a great advantage in having this consideration take place at as early a date as possible, because, if this ratification had to be awaited to prepare the first meeting of the Council, there would be a regrettable loss of time.

It would therefore seem useful at the present time to anticipate the first meeting, while reserving the order of the day and the liberty of the Powers to designate their representatives in consequence.

3. With this end in view, the President of the United States could, at this time, notify the Powers that the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations will be held at Paris immediately after the signing of the Procès-Verbal of the deposit of the ratifications of the Treaty and that an official convocation will follow, as soon as possible, giving the date and order of the day.

[Page 92]

4. This note might be addressed by the President of the United States to the interested diplomatic missions at Washington, and the official convocation, addressed by the President of the United States, conformably with the Treaty, could be delivered on the spot by the American representative at the Peace Conference to the President of the Conference, and by the latter to the representative of each interested Power.

Proposed Note To Be Addressed by the President of the United States to the Interested Diplomatic Missions at Washington Relative to the First Meeting of the Council of the League of Nations

The President of the United States of America has the honor to inform the Government of . . . . . that the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations will be held at Paris immediately after the signing of the first Procès-Verbal of the deposit of ratifications of the Treaty of Versailles.

The date, hour and order of the day of this meeting will be advised in the official convocation which the President of the United States will request the American representative to the Peace Conference to transmit on the spot to each interested Power, through the kindness of the President of the Conference.

Appendix E to HD–88

Proposed Reply to the Letter of the German Delegation of October 316 on the Question of Eupen and Malmedy, Submitted to the Supreme Council by the Commission on Belgian Affairs

Mr. President: In reply to your letter of October 3 last, relative to the circles of Eupen and Malmedy, I have the honor to inform you that the interpretation given to this communication is not in conformity, either with the letter or the spirit, of Article 34 of the Treaty of Versailles.

A glance at this article suffices to show immediately that the intention of the Allied and Associated Powers was not to institute a plebiscite at Eupen and Malmedy similar to that to be operated in Upper-Silesia or Schleswig, but to allow those of the inhabitants of the interested circles, who desire to see the territory to which they belong maintained under German sovereignty, to freely express their wish.

[Page 93]

If furthermore, reference be made to the reply of the Allied and Associated Powers made to the observations of the German Delegation under date of June 16, 1919,17 the interpretation of Article 24 [34] leaves no room for doubt.

In the covering letter accompanying this reply, it is said that the plebiscite provided for in Article 34 will be organized “with such precautions that the freedom of vote shall be entire”. Belgium, who is to assume full responsibility for all the necessary measures, will not fail to assume, in conformity with this obligation and under the conditions provided for by the Treaty, the free manifestation of the will of the inhabitants.

The last paragraph of Article 34 furthermore obliges Belgium to report the result of the popular expression to the League of Nations, and to accept its decision. The League of Nations, under whose auspices the plebiscite will thus take place, as confirmed by the reply of June 16 (Part II, Section I), will therefore be fully qualified to deal with the conditions under which the plebiscite will be effected, which is to be the base of its decision, and to take, in consequence, the necessary measures.

Please accept, etc.,

  1. See HD–76, minute 7, vol. viii, p. 769; also HD–78, minute 5, and appendix F, ibid., pp. 808 and 824.
  2. Appendix A to HD–87, p. 44.
  3. Appendix A to HD–10, vol. vii, p. 200.
  4. HD–10, minute 4, ibid., p. 194.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid., p. 264.
  7. Minute 9, vol. viii, p. 512.
  8. For text of general agreement, see Amedeo Giarmini, I documenti diplomatict delta pace orientate (Rome, Edizione di politica [1922]), p. 27.
  9. Minute 3, vol. vii, p. 687.
  10. Colonel Prince Avalov-Bermondt, commander of the Russian Western Army of Volunteers.
  11. For note from German delegation of October 3, see appendix B to HD–86, p. 25.
  12. See HD–78, minute 5, and appendix F, vol. viii, pp. 808 and 824.
  13. Dr. A. Dunant, Swiss Minister at Paris.
  14. Declaration regarding the Helvetic Confederation, March 20, 1815, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. ii, p. 142; Protocol regarding Cessions to Geneva, March 29, 1815, ibid., p. 149; Final Act of the Congress of Vienna, June 9, 1815, ibid., p. 3; Act of November 20, 1815, ibid., vol. iii, p. 359.
  15. HD–68, minute 6, vol. viii, p. 580.
  16. Appendix B to HD–86, p. 25.
  17. Vol. vi, pp. 926, 932, 941.