Paris Peace Conf. 180.03801/7


Notes of a Meeting Held in M. Pichon’s Room, Quai d’Orsay, Paris, Friday, January 16, 1920, at 4 p.m.

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • Hon. Hugh Wallace.
    • Secretaries
      • Mr. Harrison,
      • Mr. Winthrop.
    • Great Britain
      • Mr. Lloyd George.
    • Secretary
      • Sir Maurice Hankey.
    • France
      • Mr. Clemenceau.
    • Secretaries
      • Mr. Dutasta,
      • Mr. Berthelot,
      • Mr. Massigli.
    • Italy
      • Mr. Nitti.
    • Secretary
      • Mr. Trombetti.
    • Japan
      • Mr. Matsui.
    • Secretary
      • Mr. Kawai.

Interpreter: Mr. Mantoux

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

  • Great Britain
    • Mr. Wise.
  • Italy
    • Mr. Delia Torretta.

This meeting took place immediately after the reception of the Hungarian Plenipotentiaries. (See I. C. P. 19.)1

Mr. Lloyd George communicated to Mr. Matsui the report of the Committee charged with the examination of the question of the commercial policy to be followed towards Russia and approved by the Council at its morning meeting. (See I. C. P. 18.)2 1. Commercial Policy Towards Russia

Mr. Matsui: (Having read the document) I shall communicate this report to my Government. It does not, however, seem to be of very great interest for Japan.

Mr. Lloyd George: handed to Mr. Clemenceau and Mr. Nitti a draft communiqué to the Press prepared by Mr. Philip Kerr and Mr. Wise.

Mr. Clemenceau: I should like to make certain modifications of this draft, using for that purpose the draft prepared by Mr. Berthelot. (See Appendix “B” to I. C. P. 18).3

[Page 886]

After some discussion the draft communiqué to the Press, as contained in Appendix “A”, was approved.

Mr. Matsui read the text of the note addressed to the Dutch Government concerning the surrender of Wilhelm II. (See Appendix “B”.) 2. Surrender of Wilhelm II

Mr. Clemenceau: The note will be delivered this evening at 6:30 p.m. to the Dutch Minister.

Mr. Matsui: This is the first time that I have seen this document. The question has already been examined and a draft approved, but I cannot give my approval to the new text without first referring to my Government.

Mr. Clemenceau: It is impossible to delay the communication which must be made to the Dutch Government.

Mr. Wallace: I myself have not known anything about this note.

Mr. Lloyd George: This is a matter concerning the execution of a Treaty which the United States has not yet ratified. The Allies can inform Mr. Wallace of their decisions upon the subject; but it is difficult for them to ask him to participate in the discussion.

Mr. Wallace: I would simply wish to point out that I was not concerned in the drafting of this document.

Mr. Lloyd George: When we hear the Hungarian plenipotentiaries we are concerned with the preparation of a new Treaty; the presence of the American representative was therefore quite natural. In the other meeting, however, we were examining various measures of execution of a Treaty which we have ratified; only the Powers who had ratified could participate in the discussion.

Mr. Clemenceau: The note to the Dutch Government will be presented in the name of the Council, but not in the name of the United States, which have not ratified the Treaty, nor in that of Japan, which has not yet approved the draft. Mr. Matsui can, if he so desires, address a note on the subject to the Secretariat General, or present his remarks at the next meeting: they will then be recorded in the minutes.

(The meeting then adjourned.)

Appendix A to ICP–20

Note re the Decision To Permit the Exchange of Goods on a Basis of Reciprocity Between the Russian People and Allied and Neutral Countries

With a view to remedying the unhappy situation of the population of the interior of Russia, which is now deprived of all manufactured [Page 887] products from outside Russia, the Supreme Council, after having taken note of the report of a Committee appointed to consider the re-opening of certain trading relations with the Russian people has decided that it would permit the exchange of goods on the basis of reciprocity between the Russian people and Allied and neutral countries. For this purpose it decided to give facilities to the Russian Cooperative Organisations which are in direct touch with the peasantry throughout Russia so that they may arrange for the import into Russia of clothing, medicines, agricultural machinery, and the other necessaries of which the Russian people are in sore need, in exchange for grain, flax, etc., of which Russia has surplus supplies.

These arrangements imply no change in the policy of the Allied Governments towards the Soviet Government.

Paris, January 16, 1920.

Appendix B to ICP–20

Note to the Queen of Holland Demanding the Delivery of the Kaiser for Trial

The Powers, in communicating herewith to the Government of the Queen the text of Article 227 (certified copy annexed hereto)4 of the Peace Treaty with Germany, which was put into force on January 10, 1920, have, at the same time, the honor to advise that they have decided to enforce the provisions of that Article without delay.

Consequently, the Powers address the official request to the Government of the Netherlands for the surrender to the Allies of William of Hohenzollern, ex-Emperor of Germany, in order that he may be put on trial.

As the persons residing in Germany against whom complaint has been lodged by the Allied and Associated Powers must be surrendered to them in compliance with Article 228 of the Treaty of Peace, the ex-Emperor, if he had remained in Germany, would have been surrendered under the same conditions by the German Government.

The Dutch Government is aware of the unassailable reasons which imperatively demand that the premeditated violations of international treaties, as well as systematic disregard of the most sacred rules of international law, suffer, irrespective of persons, no matter of how high position, the penalties provided for by the Peace Congress.

The Powers call attention, among other crimes, to the cynical violation of the neutrality of Belgium and Luxembourg, the barbarous and merciless hostage system, the mass deportations of populations, [Page 888] the carrying away of the young women of Lille, torn from their families and thrown defenceless into the most promiscuous environment, the systematic devastation without military justification of entire territories, the unrestricted submarine warfare including the inhuman abandon of victims on the high seas, the innumerable acts committed by the German authorities against non-combatants in contempt of the laws of war, etc. The responsibility for all these acts, at least the moral responsibility, lies with the supreme chief who commanded and who took advantage of his power to break, or to permit to be broken, the most sacred rules of the human conscience.

The Powers cannot conceive that the Dutch Government could consider the tremendous responsibility of the ex-Emperor with less disapproval than they themselves.

Holland would not be fulfilling her international obligations if she refused to join the other nations within the means at her disposal in carrying out or at the very least in not hindering the punishment of the crimes committed.

In addressing this request to the Government of the Netherlands, the Powers deem it their duty to dwell especially on the particular character of this request. It is the duty of the Powers to insure the execution of Article 227 without being held back by argumentation, because the case under discussion does not fall within the lines of a public accusation of a fundamentally legal nature, but is an act of high international policy, imposed by the conscience of the universe, for which the procedure was provided in order to give the accused such guarantees as have never been known before in international law.

The Powers are convinced that Holland, a country that has always asserted its respect of Law and its Love of Justice, and which, among the first, asked for a place in the League of Nations, will not attempt to help cover with her moral authority, violations of the essential principles of the solidarity of nations, all equally interested in preventing the return of a similar catastrophe.

The people of the Netherlands have the highest interest in not appearing to protect or to shelter the principal author of these crimes on their territory, and in facilitating the trial which the voices of millions of victims demand.

  1. Supra.
  2. Minute 2, p. 863.
  3. Ante, p. 870.
  4. The document referred to does not accompany appendix B to ICP–20.