Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/125

HD–125

Notes of a Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Held at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris, Saturday, January 10, 1920, at 11:30 a.m.

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • Hon. Hugh Wallace
    • Secretary
      • Mr. Harrison
    • Great Britain
      • Mr. Lloyd George
      • Lord Curzon
      • Mr. Bonar Law
    • Secretary
      • Sir M. P. A. Hankey.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau.
    • Secretaries
      • M. Dutasta.
      • M. Berthelot.
      • M. De Saint Quentin.
    • Italy
      • M. Nitti
      • M. Scialoja.
    • Secretary
      • M. Trombetti.
    • Japan
      • M. Matsui
    • Secretary
      • M. Kawai.
Joint Secretariat
America, United States of Capt. Winthrop,
Great Britain Capt. Lothian Small,
France M. de Percin,
Italy M. Zanchi.
Interpreter—M. Mantoux

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

  • France
    • M. Cambon
    • M. Laroche
    • M. Hermite
    • M. Arnavon
  • Italy
    • Gen. Cavallero
  • Japan
    • M. Sawada

Mr. Wallace referred to a reservation made by the American Delegation to the resolution of the Supreme Council on the subject dated December 9, 1919 (H. D. 110).1

[Page 836]

He explained that he had been authorized by his Government to accept, in the name of the United States, the suggestion made by Sir Eyre Crowe on the 9th of December on the subject of employing native troops in the Togo and Cameroons; to the effect that the text of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations will be maintained but interpreted with reference to the minutes of the Council of Ten, of January 30, 1919;2 in other words, in the event only of a general war, France will be allowed to raise within the territory held under her mandate native troops to be employed in her own defence as well as in that of the territories in question. 1. Use of Native Troops of the Togoland and Cameroon for the Defence of the Metropolitan and of the Colonial Territory

Mr. Clemenceau read the text of the arrangement concerning the Interallied military organization which would take effect after the coming into force of the Treaty of Versailles; the arrangement was couched in these terms: 2. Interallied Military Organization After the Coming Into Force of the Treaty

“The Allied and Associated Governments decide that the Interallied military organization shall continue under the presidency of Marshal Foch at Versailles and shall have as terms of reference:

  • “(a) to act as advisory council to the Allied and Associated Governments in military questions arising out of the execution of the Treaty of Peace with Germany.
  • “(b) to carry into execution the orders given it by the Allied and Associated Powers in matters concerning the Commissions of Control and the Allied forces of occupation in the Rhineland and Plebiscite areas.”

Mr. Lloyd George said that in the name of the British Government he very gladly agreed to the proposal put before the Council. It was necessary that that organization should continue to sit at Versailles. Versailles was a word to which public opinion in England was accustomed. Further, he should very much like that that organization should be consulted not only upon the military questions arising out of the execution of the Treaty with Germany but also upon military questions bearing upon other issues of common interest to the Allies. Among such questions he would cite those affecting southern Russia, Azerbaidjan and Georgia, where the situation—and he was going to discuss it shortly with the Council—was very grave.

Mr. Matsui pointed out that during the war Japan had not been represented on the Versailles Military Council. The Council was now being prolonged; was it understood that Japan would be represented?

[Page 837]

Mr. Lloyd George said that that depended upon Japan; that it was Japan itself that had not wished to be represented in the former Council.

Mr. Matsui asked whether they would have any objections in the event of his Government being prepared to be represented.

Mr. Lloyd George felt that the Allies would have no objection whatever.

Mr. Nitti approved the proposal submitted to the Council.

It was decided:

that the Interallied military organization should continue under the presidency of Marshal Foch at Versailles and have for instructions:

(a)
to act as advisory council to the Allied and Associated Governments in the military questions arising out of the execution of the Treaty of Peace with Germany;
(b)
to execute the orders given it by the Allied and Associated Powers in matters concerning the Commissions of Control and the Allied forces of occupation in the Rhineland and Plebiscite areas.

It was further decided:

that, should the occasion arise, the Council could be consulted upon all military questions of common interest to the Allies which the latter might be agreed to submit to it.

Mr. Wallace would refer this resolution to Washington for instructions of his Government.

Mr. Lloyd George told the Council that they had just received from the Caucasus very disturbing news. The Bolsheviks were advancing upon the Caspian; if, having entirely defeated Denikin’s army, they should reach the sea, it was possible that the Turks might join with them, an event which would throw the States of the Caucasus into a desperate situation. It became incumbent, therefore, on the Council to find out whether it would be wise to support those States by sending them, for example, arms and ammunition to facilitate their resistance to the Bolshevist drive. He did not mean to express in that place an opinion upon so delicate a question, but suggested referring it to the military organization at Versailles which without prejudicing the political solution might be able to give them the information of a purely military nature which they required in order to take a decision. 3. Situation in the Caucasus

Mr. Clemenceau thought it might be good if the British Delegation drafted a memorandum which the Council could submit to the military council at Versailles.

It was decided:

to refer to the Versailles Military Council the question of the aid it might be necessary to give to the Caucasian States against the Bolsheviks. [Page 838]The British Delegation would prepare a memorandum upon the subject which would be submitted to the Versailles Military Council for immediate examination and report to the Supreme Council.

Mr. Lloyd George expressed his regret at again proposing a subject not down on the agenda. But the agenda for that meeting was rather long and might possibly occupy them for quite a considerable time. There was a danger of its being so on the following days. Mr. Clemenceau’s time was extremely limited as indeed was his own, for he would doubtless have to return to England shortly on account of serious labor troubles. To save time, he would suggest recourses to a method of organization that had already been tested, namely, to constitute on the one hand a Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, which would examine questions relative to the Peace Treaty with Hungary and all questions of detail on which, for that matter, Lord Curzon was much better informed than himself and to form on the other hand, a Council of the Heads of Governments who would examine only the larger questions of general policy, the discussion of which had been essentially the object of his visit. 4. Organization of the Work of the Conference

Mr. Nitti supported Mr. Lloyd George’s proposal. He too could not prolong very much his stay in Paris. He would remind them that he should have to be in Italy for labor questions, the solution of which was urgent as well as for the re-opening of Parliament which was to take place before the end of the month. The Council of Heads of Governments ought naturally to deal with the question of the Adriatic, but it was desirable that it should also examine the Albanian question which he very earnestly desired to have solved before his departure. The maintenance of a force of occupation in Albania was costing them enormous sums and they anxiously desired to have it settled.

It was decided:

that during the presence in Paris of the British and Italian Prime Ministers, there should be constituted:

(1)
a Council of the Heads of Governments who would deal with questions of general policy;
(2)
a Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs who would deal with questions arising out of the Treaty of Peace with Hungary and all matters not examined by the Council of Heads of Governments.

The meeting adjourned.

  1. Minute 6, p. 541.
  2. BC–17, vol. iii, p. 785; BC–18, ibid., p. 797.