Paris Peace Conf. 180.03501/92


Notes of a Meeting of the Heads of Delegations of the Five Great Powers Held in M. Pichon’s Room, Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Friday, November 14, 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
      • M. Pichon
    • 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. de Percin
Italy M. Zanchi
Interpreter—M. Mantoux

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

  • America, United States of
    • Rear-Admiral McCully, U. S. N.
    • Lt-Commander Koehler, U. S. N.
    • Mr. E. L. Dresel
    • Mr. W. H. Buckler
    • Mr. A. W. Dulles
  • British Empire
    • General Hammond
    • Commander Dunne
    • Mr. A. Leeper
  • France
    • M. Henry Berenger
    • M. Laroche
    • General Le Rond
    • M. de Montille
    • M. Arnaroy
    • M. Aron
  • Italy
    • M. Vannutelli-Rey
    • Comdt. Ingianni
  • Japan
    • M. Shigemitsu

[Page 159]

1. M. Clemenceau reported his conversation of the previous day with General Coanda and M. Antonescu. They had asked that the period for a reply be extended from six to eight days inasmuch as they declared that they were able to assure him that within that time the Supreme Council would receive a favorable answer without qualifications, from the Roumanian Government. They had also asked that the sentence dealing with the conclusion of peace, while a Roumanian army of 400,000 men was still in the field, be expunged. His impression was that the Roumanians were really ready at last to give satisfaction on all points. He thought that when so doing they might try to discuss the question of the Minorities Treaty, but he did not think that they would offer serious resistance on this point and that any such discussion would really amount to nothing. Draft Note to the Roumanian Government

M. de Martino reminded M. Clemenceau that at the previous meeting he had expressed the greatest confidence in the outcome of the interview between M. Clemenceau and General Coanda and M. Antonescu, and he was glad to see that his confidence had in every way been justified.

M. Clemenceau replied that it was as a result of his association with his Italian colleagues that he had acquired diplomatic skill. He suggested that a decision as to sending the draft note to the Roumanian Government1 be postponed until all the delegates had received the instructions of their Governments.

(This suggestion was agreed to).

2. Mr. Polk desired briefly to summarize the present status of the question of oil tank ships. On September 27th, after the matter had been discussed at several prior meetings, the Supreme Council had decided to allocate the tankers in accord with the plan of the Allied Maritime Transport Executive.2 At that time he had accepted and joined in the decision without being fully aware of the purport of the prior discussions and of the attitude of his Government. The position taken by the United States was that behind this question the ultimate and beneficial ownership of the tankers was a question for the Reparation Commission. The remaining question, which was the troublesome one, was as to the temporary allocation of these tankers. Messrs. Davis and Hoover had thought that this latter question had already been decided in a sense contrary to that of the decision of September 27th, which had temporarily allocated these vessels between Great Britain, France, Italy and Belgium. When that decision had been [Page 160] communicated to his Government it had protested against it because it felt that this was contrary to a decision already taken. He now wished to suggest that pending a final decision, which he hoped would very shortly be arrived at, nine of the fourteen tankers in question be allowed to remain where they were so that there would be no change in the situation. He wished to explain the reasons for this suggestion. There was a great deal of feeling in the United States, and if the temporary allocation decided upon by the A.M. T. E. were to be put into effect it would cause his Government great embarrassment. If the decision of September 27th could be rescinded, and the tankers could be held where they then were pending a final decision, the shipping question he thought would become very simple. Question of German Oil Tank Ships

M. Clemenceau asked why only nine of the tankers were spoken of. How many were there?

M. Berenger replied that there were fourteen.

M. Clemenceau inquired why Mr. Polk had raised the point with respect to only nine of them.

Mr. Polk explained that nine of these tankers were claimed by a subsidiary of the Standard Oil Company.

M. Clemenceau said that he then understood that no question was raised as to the temporary allocation of the other five tankers.

Mr. Polk said that that was the case.

Sir Eyre Crowe pointed out that a formal demand had been made upon the Germans to deliver these tankers. Furthermore, in the protocol drawn up for their signature,4 the point of the undelivered tankers had been specifically brought up. With respect to the attitude to be taken towards the German Government it seemed to him quite impossible to modify this demand which had already been formally made. The Germans had been playing for time and counting on dissension between the Allied and Associated Powers. If the Germans had not yet delivered these tankers, and did not do so within a week or two, Mr. Polk’s views would be partially met and the situation would be facilitated. If the ships had been delivered he was willing in deference to Mr. Polk’s urgent representations to agree that the decision of September 27th be modified, but only to the following extent: if the tankers had been delivered to the Armistice Commission they should remain in the hands of the Armistice Commission instead of being temporarily allocated in the manner theretofore decided upon by the A.M. T. E.

M. Berenger read the decision of September 27th (H. D. 62, Minute 1). This decision had been arrived at unanimously after a long and careful study of the question.

Mr. Polk said that was not so as far as he was concerned.

[Page 161]

M. Berenger mentioned several instances showing that the United States Representatives on various Committees had been thoroughly familiar with the question in all its phases. Mr. Polk himself had had the questions put on the agenda on September 23rd. Previously there had been a full discussion at a meeting at which Mr. Dulles and others had been present. Telegrams had been exchanged and certainly the question was one of such importance that the United States Government must have been fully aware of it. As soon as the decision had been made known great pressure had been brought to bear both in New York and Berlin. The first effect of that pressure was that the Shipping Board had committed an act of violence in holding up the steamer Imperator and other passenger ships in contravention of the decision of the Supreme Council. Furthermore pressure had been exerted in Berlin to keep the tankers in Hamburg and not have them go to the Firth of Forth. This pressure had been brought by the Standard Oil Company which claimed the ownership of the stock of the Deutsch-Amerikanische Petroleum Gesellschaft. In October 1914 the tanker Leda had been taken by the British as a prize of war and condemned by a Prize Court, but thereafter, as a result of American representations, this ship had been given up by England to the American Government for the Standard Oil Company. The Leda had been given up by the British Government as a result of the Standard Oil Company’s claim of ownership of the stock of the Deutsch-Amerikanische Petroleum Gesellschaft. Twenty-seven other ships of the Deutsch-Amerikanische Petroleum Gesellschaft in United States ports had been recognized as belonging to the Standard Oil Company, and judgments of competent courts had affirmed the Standard Oil Company’s ownership of the stock in question prior to the time the United States entered the war; but the contention of the United States that the tankers now at Hamburg were in the same situation could not be sustained. He had heard rumors from well informed sources, that before the United States entered the war, i. e., in 1916, the Standard Oil Company had alienated its stock-holdings to a German concern. He agreed with Mr. Polk that the question of final ownership of the tankers could only properly be settled by the Reparation Commission. He wished to emphasize the fact that the solution of this question was most pressing; in fact it was vital inasmuch as some 50 thousand tons were involved and the scarcity of petroleum was world wide. On the other hand he agreed entirely with Sir Eyre Crowe with respect to the present disposition of these tankers. It would obviously not do to let the Germans see that there was still dissension on this point between the Allied and Associated Powers, dissension resulting from a question of private ownership and interests. The German need for petroleum had been recognized and [Page 162] that difficulty had been settled. The Germans had only begun to emphasize their lack of petroleum in July and they had requested the use of ships to remedy the existing scarcity. The Supreme Council had decided that these tankers could circulate under the Inter-Allied flag for one voyage; it had been thought that this would supply the German needs. He took note of what Mr. Polk had said regarding the feeling of the United States but he wished to point out that before any concession could be made to the views of the United States Government the Shipping Board would certainly have to release the Imperator and the other passenger steamers which were being illegally retained in United States ports. The questions were closely connected. If the Shipping Board released the ships referred to the nine tankers in question might go to the Firth of Forth and be held there until a final decision on this question was reached. In the meanwhile, the other five tankers should be disposed of pursuant to the decision of the A.M. T. E. relative to their temporary allocation.

Mr. Polk did not wish to take up the Council’s time by replying separately to all the points raised by M. Berenger, but he felt obliged to make a few remarks. Of course he also felt that it was advisable not to show that there was any lack of solidarity between the Allied and Associated Powers but he felt that as far as this question was concerned the Germans were well aware that there was a division of opinion. The question of the ultimate ownership of the tankers was a technical and an involved one, which should be decided by competent courts and the Reparation Commission. With regard to the rumored sale by the Standard Oil Company of the stock of the Deutsch-Amerikanische Petroleum Gesellschaft that was far more than a rumor; in fact it had been referred to by the United States representatives in reports submitted by them to their colleagues on Commissions. The question to be settled was what the legal effect of that sale was.

M. Berenger said that that was the first time he had known definitely about that sale.

Mr. Polk said that he meant the sale of the shares of the Deutsch-Amerikanische Petroleum Gesellschaft, and he wished to point out that said sale had not been recognized by the Alien Property Custodian who had seized the German securities. This had been set forth in a note presented by the United States representatives. It was not within his province to discuss the propriety of the action of the Shipping Board; what he wished to point out was that his Government felt, rightly or wrongly, that the question of title had been discussed long ago and that because such a question existed, the ownership of these tankers had not been settled, nor had the allocation thereof been settled at Brussels. The matter had been brought up at London where the United States was only formally [informally] represented; then it [Page 163] had been referred to the Supreme Economic Council at Brussels, where the United States was not represented at all. At that time it had been unknown to him that an agreement existed covering the division of passenger ships and tankers between Great Britain and France, and that the allocation made depended thereon.

M. Berenger said that he had not heard of any such arrangement between Great Britain and France.

Sir Eyre Crowe said he would have something to say on that point.

Mr. Polk said that this agreement contemplated the delivery of passenger ships to Great Britain and tankers to France; he understood that a French company had been formed to enter the oil carrying trade. He was not stating these facts with any desire to engage in a controversy. He merely wished to show the feeling which existed in the United States. He had not been fully informed of all the points of discussion in this controversy, although as to that he was not seeking to present any excuses, but he could not help feeling that the other countries concerned had been fully aware of the delicate nature of the questions under discussion. The question had arisen in the French Chamber and a modification of the temporary allocation decided upon had been discussed. Public opinion in America had looked upon this as a permanent change in the allocation, contrary to the understanding which Mr. Hoover thought had been reached. He repeated that the Germans knew that there was a division of opinion on this question. He himself had done his utmost to see that the Protocol to be signed by Germany should not specifically mention these tankers. He only asked that the tankers should remain where they were. He wished to inquire if M. Berenger meant to say that if the Imperator and other passenger ships were not released by the Shipping Board the tankers should be allocated according to the decision of September 27th.

Sir Eyre Crowe remarked that it was a notorious fact that whenever the question of oil was touched upon, great difficulties resulted. With reference to the German knowledge of the division of opinion between the Allies, he thought he could not agree with Mr. Polk’s point of view. A first decision had been taken and formally notified to the Germans. They had then received information from Standard Oil Company sources that no attention need be paid to this decision.

Mr. Polk said that this was something that he did not know.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that from the information in his possession, he felt sure that it was so. There had then been further discussion in the Supreme Council and the Germans had been a second time instructed to deliver the tank ships. The Germans had been aware that there had been disagreement prior to that final decision, but they did not know that such disagreement had continued thereafter. The situation was not now as Mr. Polk thought, and the question had become one of the honor and prestige of the Allied and Associated [Page 164] Powers in the eyes of the Germans. Mr. Polk had made two statements which it seemed to him might be interpreted as raising a question of the good faith of the British Government and to these, of course, he must object. The first statement was Mr. Polk’s reference to a decision taken at a meeting of the A.M. T. E. in London where the United States was only formally [informally] represented, and the subsequent reference of the question to the Supreme Economic Council at Brussels where it was known the United States was not represented. He wished to point out that the decision to hand over the ships was taken at a meeting at which a representative of the United States was present. The matter was then referred to the Supreme Economic Council. The suggestion therefore was that the decision had been arrived at over the heads of the Americans. He would emphasize that the proposal to refer the matter to the Supreme Economic Council was made by the United States representative himself with the implication that the United States would accept. He did not wish any possible impression to remain that the decision at Brussels was the result of taking advantage of the United States not being represented there.

Mr. Polk said that of course he had meant to imply nothing of the kind.

Sir Eyre Crowe said that the second point referred to by him was the alleged secret agreement between the French and British Governments.

(He then read from a letter received from the Ministry of Shipping on the subject).

There was no such agreement in existence. There was an agreement between Mr. Kemball Cooke and M. Loucheur in regard to allocation of passenger steamers which was perfectly plain and above-board. In fact, Mr. Cooke had announced it himself to the A.M. T. E. and had it circulated to all the Delegates with the Minutes. The following wording occurred in that agreement: “in consideration of the allocation to France of the tank steamers as decided by the A.M. T. E.” Mr. Cooke [Sir Eyre Crowe] presumed that Mr. Polk was referring to that clause. If so it was a mare’s nest, as that simply referred to the withdrawal of Great Britain’s claim to certain tank steamers which was disclosed by the first examination of the percentage due to her on a rigid ton for ton basis in comparison to losses. As a matter of fact no bargain was possible with the French as neither were they in a position to make one nor were the British in a position to guarantee the delivery of the tank steamers. All the British had said was that they would not claim what they considered their just proportion of the tank steamers. The French Oil Shipping Companies were, of course, preparing for the management of these tankers. As it was then five weeks since the Supreme Council [Page 165] had allocated a considerable proportion of the steamers to France it did not seem unreasonable that the French should have been making preparations to take them over.

M. Berenger pointed out that the agreement was dated November 10th and could therefore have had no effect on the decision taken by the Supreme Council on September 27th.

Mr. Polk said that he had not claimed that the agreement was a secret one but had merely said that he had not known of it.

Sir Eyre Crowe said the whole trouble was that the United States claimants would not admit that the allocation was purely temporary; they wished to mix it up with the question of permanent ownership. He now found himself in a difficult position. The question had been raised of the 10 passenger steamers illegally held by the Shipping Board in the United States. He wished to remark that though there might be considerable feeling in the United States the indignation in England was even greater. He had just received peremptory instructions from his Government to submit the following decision to the Supreme Council: that the Supreme Council should now address a formal demand to the United States Government that the 10 passenger steamers illegally retained by the Shipping Board in United States ports should be immediately released. He had not wished to present this question at that session, but as the matter of the retention by the Shipping Board of 10 passenger steamers had been raised, he felt obliged to inform the Council of the instructions he had received.

M. Clemenceau pointed out that public opinion in France was also greatly aroused over this question.

Mr. Polk said that Sir Eyre Crowe had felt that he had laid great stress on his statements with respect to the fact that the decision reached by the Supreme Economic Council at Brussels was taken in the absence of American representation, and with respect to the formation of French Oil Shipping Companies. He wished to remind the Council that he was only stating the case as it was seen in the United States, whether rightly or wrongly. It was, of course, not his intention to make imputations of any kind; he merely wished to show that public opinion in America felt that a decision had been taken at Brussels when the United States had not been represented there.

M. Clemenceau asked why the United States had not been represented on the Supreme Economic Council at Brussels?

Mr. Polk explained that since Mr. Hoover had left American representation on the Supreme Economic Council had ceased. With respect to the formation of French Oil Shipping Companies the impression existed in the United States that these Companies were being formed to use ships to which United States interests had a valid claim.

M. Berenger said that as far as he knew no French oil shipping companies had been formed.

[Page 166]

Mr. Polk said that their formation had been reported in the French press.

M. Berenger replied that that was no more accurate than a great deal of other information appearing in the press.

M. de Martino said that he did not wish to go into detail, but he desired to make a general observation. A good deal had been said about the impression that the Germans would have as to dissension among the Allied and Associated Powers on this question. He felt that on this occasion not only would the Germans receive such an impression but they would, for the first time, profit by it, and the prestige of the Council would be very badly affected. There was no country which did not have a very great interest in this question. Oil was badly needed everywhere and it was most injudicious to keep these tank steamers in idleness. He thought that public indignation would surely be aroused if the impression was created that these ships were not being used as a result of a theoretical discussion. He fully agreed with M. Berenger with respect to the nine tankers; that is to say, that they should go to the Firth of Forth and remain there until a final decision could be reached; while the other five tankers should be allocated according to the decision of the Allied Maritime Transport Executive.

Mr. Polk said he would cable his Government with respect to this point.

M. Clemenceau pointed out that the only point of agreement was that the ownership of the tankers in question should eventually be determined by the Reparation Commission. He agreed with Sir Eyre Crowe that the question raised by the action of the Shipping Board in the United States should not be taken up at that meeting. He thought it would be better to have the nine tankers go to the Firth of Forth until a final decision were had on the question. He appreciated the difficulties of the United States Government and wished to be of assistance to it as far as possible, because he thought it was not ultimately responsible for what had happened. He wished to point out, however, that with respect to the United States, the question was fundamentally one of private interests, whereas in France and England the question was one of general interest which affected everybody. Under these conditions he felt that private interests should give way. He trusted that when Mr. Polk, as he had said he would, sent a telegram to his Government relative to the suggestion that the nine tankers should go to the Firth of Forth and stay there until a final decision had been reached on the matter, he would at the same time take into consideration the view he (M. Clemenceau) had just expressed, and that feeling in France and England was as fully aroused as it was in the United States.

[Page 167]

Mr. Polk wished to make it clear that his Government’s solicitude was not for the Standard Oil Company; his Government felt that a matter of principle was involved. He thought that the Standard Oil Company did not consider that the present administration was in its favor.

3. (The Council had before it three joint notes from the Polish and Czecho-Slovak Commissions relative to the plebiscite in Teschen. (See Appendix “A”). Joint Report From the Polish and Czecho-Slovak Commissions Relative to the Plebiscite in Teschen

M. Laroche read and commented upon the joint report of the Polish and Czecho-Slovak Commissions consisting of these three joint notes.

It was decided:

to accept the recommendations of the joint report of the Polish and Czecho-Slovak Commissions relative to the plebiscite in Teschen, contained in the three joint notes (See Appendix “A”).

4. Mr. Polk explained that Colonel Haskell, Inter-Allied High Commissioner for Armenia, was leaving Paris that night and that prior to his departure he thought it would be well for him to give the Council a brief summary of the conditions in Armenia. Situation in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan

Colonel Haskell informed the Council that the three republics of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan were at daggers drawn with each other on almost all points. Georgia and Azerbaijan had perhaps some slight degree of good feeling towards each other, evidenced by a loose defensive alliance concluded between them as a protection against a possible advance southward of General Denikin’s army. Armenia had refused to join this alliance. Political and economic conditions in each of the three countries were in as bad a condition as could be imagined. He wished to point out that these three countries had been arbitrarily carved out and delimited. The only railway system from the Black Sea through to Persia traversed all three of these republics and either one of them had it in its power, under present conditions, to paralyze traffic. Aside from the animosity existing between these states, further material difficulties resulted from their arbitrary delimitation: for instance, all the railway repair shops were in Georgia and all the fuel for the operation of the railway system came from Baku in Azerbaijan. Furthermore, between these three republics there were various contested districts, and neutral zones which had been marked out by the British, which it had not been possible to change because they gave rise to such burning questions that no change could be adopted until all three republics were consolidated under one administration. He had been entrusted by the Supreme Council with representing it in Armenia, but he could not efficiently carry out the necessary work as long as Georgia and Azerbaijan remained without his jurisdiction. Moreover, [Page 168] owing to the fact that these two latter republics did remain without his jurisdiction, an anomalous situation was presented. Thousands of inhabitants of Azerbaijan were receiving relief in Baku and other localities, and the same was true of many Georgians at Tiflis and other points; though those destitute people were entirely dependent on the relief they received, the Relief Administration had no control whatever over the local administration. If all three republics were put under one administration the neutral zones referred to could be eliminated, and a definite frontier temporarily fixed. Such a solution would preclude the existence of a situation such as now existed, where a large number of Armenians found themselves within the political limits of Georgia. The Georgians would not feed them because they were of Armenian nationality, and on the other hand, the Armenians refused to give them any assistance inasmuch as they were living within the territorial limits of Georgia. There were no foodstuffs available anywhere, and all three of the republics were virtually living on the salvage of the Russian collapse. Economic life was at a standstill. Practically nothing could be imported inasmuch as the money of all three of the republics had no purchasing value. The Caucasian ruble, which should be worth 51 cents was now only worth about 1 cent, and it had actually been found impracticable to issue paper money in smaller denominations than 10 rubles because the value of the paper was greater than the money. Foreign merchandise shipped on the railroad through to Persia was liable to be requisitioned by any one of the three Republics, as their need for everything was so great. The most essential need perhaps, was to control the system of through railway transportation. In Armenia alone some 800,000 destitute were being relieved and about 15,000,000 francs per month was being spent on this relief work. Armenians in foreign countries did indeed attempt to send some relief to their starving countrymen. Although those supplies got through the ports of Batum and its surrounding territory, where the British had an efficient administration, they were held up at various points in the interior by the Georgian authorities, and the same situation applied to all railway traffic.

Mr. Polk explained that the Council had sent Colonel Haskell as its representative for relief work in Armenia and Colonel Haskell felt that it was necessary for him to have the same functions in Georgia and Azerbaijan in order to efficiently accomplish his mission. That matter could be settled later when the experts had been heard. As Colonel Haskell was leaving Paris that night, he (Mr. Polk) had thought that it might be of interest to the Council to hear his views.

M. Clemenceau thanked Colonel Haskell for his presentation of the question.

(At this point Colonel Haskell left the room.)

[Page 169]

5. (The Council had before it a note from the British Delegation relative to measures to be taken to remedy the dearth of rolling stock in Austria. (See Appendix “B”). British Proposition Regarding Measures To Be Taken To Remedy the Dearth of Rolling Stock in Austria

M. Pichon suggested that the British note be referred to the Committee on Organization of the Separation Commission.

It was decided:

to refer to the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission the British note relative to measures to be taken to remedy the dearth of rolling stock in Austria. (See Appendix “B”).

6. (The Council had before it a proposal from the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission relative to the distribution of Upper Silesian Coal. (See Appendix “C”). Proposal of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission Relative to the Distribution of Upper Silesian Coal

Major Aron read and commented upon this proposal.

General Le Rond suggested that paragraph 2 of the proposal of the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission relative to the distribution of Upper Silesian coal be modified so as to provide that the requirements of Upper Silesia should first be satisfied.

It was decided:

to adopt the draft decision submitted by the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission relative to the distribution of Upper Silesian coal (See Appendix “C”), after modifying it so that the end of paragraph 2 should read as follows:

“A—to Upper Silesia the tonnage which the Commission shall judge suitable to attribute to it.
—to Austria 200,000 tons per month.
—to Poland 250,000 tons per month.
B—to Germany the surplus.”

(The meeting then adjourned.)

Appendix A to HD–92

Report to the Supreme Council

Date of the Plebiscite at Teschen, Spisz and Orava

Article 4 of the Act of September 27,5 determining the conditions of the plebiscite in the Duchy of Teschen and in the territories of Spisz [Page 170] and Orava, stipulates that the Commission charged with the organization of this plebiscite, should proceed to it “in the shortest time possible and, in any case, within the maximum period of three months from the notification of the present decision” to the Polish and Czecho-Slovakian Governments.

This notification having been given under date of October 1st, the time limit fixed expires on December 31, 1919.

The International Commission charged with the organization of the plebiscite has not yet left Paris. For reasons of a practical nature, it seems preferable that it proceed to Teschen only at the moment when the Plebiscite Commission of Upper Silesia itself will proceed to the territories which it is instructed to administrate. Now, the departure of the latter cannot take place before the going into force of the Treaty with Germany. The departure of the Teschen Mission is subject to the same delay.

Therefore, it seems impossible that the Teschen Commission will proceed to the plebiscite before December 31, because after its arrival on the ground—at a date which it is impossible to determine so far—it will not only have to organize the plebiscite zones, but to provide for the administration of the country and control the establishment of the electoral lists, according to the instructions given to it.

Under these conditions, the Commissions on Czecho-Slovakian and Polish affairs, assembled, have the honor to propose to the Supreme Council to notify the Polish and Czecho-Slovakian Governments, that the plebiscite cannot take place before December 31.

If the Supreme Council shares this point of view, the French Government, which notified these two Governments of the Act of September 27th, might inform them that, on account of the delay occasioned by the circumstances at the beginning of the operations of the International Plebiscite Commission for the regions of Teschen, Spisz and Orava, the period of three months provided for by Article IV of this Act will begin, not from the date of the notification of October 1, but only from the day when the International Commission, arrived on the ground, will inform the Principal Allied and Associated Powers that it is beginning its operations.

This communication might be made to the Polish and Czecho-Slovakian Governments at the same time as that relative to the instructions given to the Plebiscite Commission of Teschen, and the general sense of which the Commissions on Polish and Czecho-Slovakian affairs, assembled, suggest, on the other hand, to communicate to those two Governments.

Paris, November 8, 1919.

[Page 171]

Report to the Supreme Council

Plebiscites of Teschen, Spisz and Orava

Proposed Letter to the Polish and Czecho-Slovak Governments

The Commission on Polish and Czecho-Slovak Affairs assembled, are of the opinion that the Polish and Czecho-Slovak Governments should be advised of the departure of the Interallied Commission of Teschen, indicating in a general way what the instructions of this Commission are.

The communication might be drafted as a letter to be addressed by the President of the Conference to each of the interested Delegations:

Mr. President: The decision of the Allied and Associated Powers under date of September 27, last, relative to the organization of a plebiscite in the regions of Teschen, Spisz and Orava, took into consideration the observations of the Polish and Czecho-Slovak Delegations regarding the conditions for voting.

I have the honor to inform you that the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, after careful examination of the question, gave instructions to the Interallied Commission of Plebiscite clearly indicating the meaning and purport of the conditions for the voting in question. These instructions are inspired by the idea that only persons who, in good faith, can be considered as having tangible ties with the country, will be allowed to participate in the plebiscite.

The Commission has received plenary powers from the Principal Allied and Associated Powers to apply this decision.

A similar communication has been addressed to the

Polish } Delegation.

Note for the Supreme Council

Plebiscite in Teschen

The Commissions on Polish and Czecho-Slovakian affairs, after having examined the enclosed letter of the Interallied Control Commission of Teschen (Annex “A”), propose that the Secretary General of the Conference address to this Commission the answer in Annex “B”.

[Page 172]
[Annex A]
interallied commission of teschen
No. 326

From: The President of the Interallied Commission of Teschen.

To: The Secretary General of the Peace Conference, Paris.

In a short time, the Interallied Commission of Teschen, which has been functioning since February last, will be replaced by a new International Commission, charged with supervising the plebiscite operations, and to assure the administration of Eastern Silesia during this period. I have the honor to ask you to kindly inform the Commission what it should do with its archives. As a great number of elements of these will be necessary for the new Commission, it seems advisable to leave them at Teschen at the disposal of the latter; but it should be understood that they will constitute a part independent of the archives of the new Commission, and that, when the operations of the latter will come to an end, it should have them sent to the Peace Conference in Paris, at the same time as its own archives.

Lieut. Col. A. Rissi
Italian Delegate.

Annex B

From: The Ambassador, Secretary General of the Peace Conference,

To: The President of the Inter-Allied Commission at Teschen.

I am directed by the Supreme Council to inform you that it approved the suggestions contained in your letter No. 326 of the 8th instant. It would be advantageous for the Plebiscite Commission to be placed in a position to refer to the archives of the Control Commission. Therefore, these archives should be placed at its disposal when it arrives in Teschen, although they should remain separate from those which it will have to constitute itself.

As to the powers of the Control Commission, they will cease when the Plebiscite Commission, assembled at Teschen, will officially inform it, at the same time as the Conference, that it begins its operations.

After this transfer of powers is effected, the members of the Control Commission are requested to kindly extend their stay in Teschen a few days, in order to personally give to their colleagues of the Control Commission, information which will be very useful to them.

Appendix B to HD–92

Distribution of Rolling Stock Under the Austrian Treaty

Note by British Delegation, for Submission to the Supreme Council

Sir Francis Dent, President of the Commission of Experts for the Distribution of Boiling-Stock under Article 312 [318] of the Treaty of [Page 173] Peace with Austria, has drawn attention to the fact that the main cause of the conditions which threaten the economic life of the Central European States is the want of movement of rolling-stock, which is in turn largely due to the hesitation shown by the various States to allow their wagons, including those claimed by them as booty, to pass out of the limits of their own territory.

As the result of Conferences held at Vienna between Sir Francis Dent, Mr. Lindley, British High Commissioner at Vienna, General Mance, President of the Communications Section of the Supreme Economic Council, and the technical representatives of the various States concerned, it was unanimously decided that the best method of overcoming the situation was for the Supreme Council to invite these States to send representatives to form a Committee at Vienna under the presidency of an independent Allied Chairman. There is a Railway Committee in existence, but it cannot be used for this purpose as it lacks the necessary powers. The matter is very urgent as the economic conditions, and in particular the question of coal supply, are critical. It is therefore recommended that the Supreme Council should express its concern at the aggravation of the serious economic situation in Central Europe by the present restrictions on wagon movement between the different States, and draw attention to the urgent need for creating an effective organization for wagon exchange, if the decisions of the Commission for the Distribution of Rolling-stock are to be executed. The Governments of Italy, Austria, Hungary, Czecho-Slovakia, Poland, Rumania and Jugo-Slavia should be invited to send representatives to form a Committee at Vienna, which should hold its first meeting on December 4th. These representatives should have full powers to enter into arrangements for free wagon exchange without prejudice to the ownership of rolling-stock established or claimed, and based on the right of maintaining equally [equality?] of wagon exchange subject to special arrangements agreed to by the Government concerned, of which the Committee should be advised. The Committee would have the right to make representations to the Governments concerned. Sir George Clerk might be asked to arrange for the nomination of a representative for Hungary. It would be desirable that the Ukrainian representative on the existing Committee at Vienna should become a member of the proposed new Committee. It is recommended that the Supreme Economic Council should suggest the desirability of appointing an independent Allied Chairman and designate for this post Sir Francis Dent, acting when necessary, through a deputy.

In the above proposals the American, French and Italian representatives on the Allied Railway Missions at Vienna agree.

[Page 174]

Appendix C to HD–92

Draft Decision To Be Submitted to the Supreme Council

1. The Upper Silesia Commission is invited to come to an agreement with the Reparation Commission, and pending the constitution of the latter, with the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission regarding everything which concerns the distribution of Upper Silesian coal.

A Liaison Officer appointed by the Reparation Commission or by the Committee on Organization of the Reparation Commission will be placed at the disposal of the Upper Silesia Commission, both to accelerate the solution of this question and to study any other questions which may fall within the sphere of the Reparation Commission.

For technical questions relating to coal, the Upper Silesia Commission will take the opinion of the Coal Sub-Commission for Mahrisch Ostrau.

2. Previous to a concerted decision, as said above, with regard to the distribution of Upper Silesian coal, the Upper Silesia Commission will adopt provisionally the following distribution of the present output:

(A)—to Upper Silesia the tonnage which the Commission shall judge suitable to attribute to it;
to Austria 200,000 tons per month;
to Poland 250,000 tons per month;
(B)—to Germany the surplus.

  1. Appendix F to HD–91, p. 154.
  2. HD–62, minute 1, vol. viii, p. 403; for discussions at previous meetings, see HD–59, minute 1, ibid., p. 323; HD–60, minute 2, ibid., p. 339; HD–61, minute 1, ibid., p. 374.
  3. Appendix G to HD–80, vol. viii, p. 865.
  4. See HD–58, minute 2, and appendix B, vol. viii, pp. 300 and 308; also HD–62, minute 8, ibid., p. 412.