Paris Peace Conf. 184.00101/10

Minutes of the Daily Meetings of the Commissioners Plenipotentiary, Wednesday, February 12, 1919

1. The draft of telegram appended to Memorandum No. 57 was considered. The Commissioners felt that proposal No. 1 was a little [Page 33] difficult to understand and that it would perhaps be better for us not to commit ourselves on the question as to whether the Prinkipo invitation involves an evacuation by the Soviet troops of the Baltic provinces. In regard to point No. 2, the Commissioners felt that it was going a little too far to state that the meeting at Prinkipo was destined to provide for the settlement of just such problems as this. The Commissioners further objected to calling the meeting at Prinkipo a conference, feeling that too much dignity would be given this meeting by honoring it with the title of conference.

The suggestion that the Minister at Stockholm should be advised that we would be glad to have representatives from Latvia attend the meeting at Prinkipo was approved.

2. A memorandum regarding Mr. Burgos, a delegate from Panama to the Peace Conference was read, and it was agreed that Mr. White would see him as soon as possible.

3. Memorandum No. 59 was read with a recommendation that Major de Lancey Kountze be assigned to Mr. Dresel’s Division. This was approved.

4. Memorandum No. 60 was read and Mr. Lansing requested that all the facts that are available in regard to the report that the French and British governments were sending dye experts into Germany be compiled in the form of a memorandum for him. The Commissioners felt that this was an extremely important matter, and that if the facts as reported were found to be true, a strong protest should be made by us. Mr. Lansing did not wish to decide, however, from whom this protest should emanate until he had all the facts in the premises before him.

5. Memorandum No. 61 was read. It was decided in regard to the question put up in this memorandum that Mr. Beer should be authorized to keep the Liberian delegation informed of such matters in connection with the German cable controversy as might be in his discretion communicated to them without prejudice to the interests involved or the further development of the negotiations.

6. Memorandum No. 62 was read and it was decided that it was important to set aside a time at which the Photographic Division of the Historical Branch of the General Staff could take a photograph of the five Commissioners with the heads of Departments and their assistants. It was requested, however, that the President be immediately gotten in touch with to ascertain what time would be the most convenient for him. This matter is considered very urgent as the President’s stay in Paris is coming to an end.

7. Information Memorandum No. 11 was read and the Commissioners requested that some member of the Secretariat be instructed [Page 34] to ascertain discreetly from Mr. King31 the truth about the report that Mr. Dunbar32 was a lawyer of the German South American Telegraph Company.

8. Information Memorandum No. 12 was read and the Commissioners noted with interest the statements contained in Mr. Page’s telegram. Previous to the reading of this memorandum, however, Mr. Herter had read a telegram from The Embassy at Rome dated February 8th which gave an entirely different attitude in regard to the Franco-Italian relations. The Commissioners were much amused by the apparent discrepancy in the conclusions reached.

9. Information Memorandum No. 13 was read and Mr. Lansing observed that he had been told that this matter had been referred to Mr. McCormick, and that he preferred that no action should be taken upon it by the Commissioners until Mr. McCormick’s opinion in the premises had been heard.

10. Information Memorandum No. 14 was read, and was listened to with great interest by the Commissioners. Their only comment was that Mr. Creel’s statements was [were] typical and ridiculous and that it was absurd for Karolyi33 to expect the United States to indicate what Hungarian Peace delegates would be acceptable.

11. Information Memorandum No. 15 was read and the Commissioners expressed surprise at the fact that there might be some agreements now in existence between Japan and China of which the President of China had no knowledge. They supposed that these must be agreements between the military authorities of the two countries and that they would not be binding upon China as a whole.

12. Information Memorandum No. 16 and Memorandum No. 63 was [were] read. The Commissioners felt very strongly that both Captain Voska and Lieut. Voska should be immediately required to report in Paris in regard to their activities. They suggested that a recommendation in this sense be made to the competent officer of the A. E. F. in order that these men may be immediately withdrawn from the territories of the former Austro-Hungarian state and ordered to Paris.

14 [sic]. Information Memorandum No. 17 was read [and] the Commissioners requested that Mr. Beer be instructed to ascertain whether there were any funds available from any source whatever, whereby the Liberian delegation could be assisted financially. Mr. Lansing felt that we had absolutely no obligation in this matter, but that it would be well to assist these gentlemen if possible. Mr. Lansing further asked for a report on the solvency of the Liberian government in case it were decided advisable to make them a small loan whereby they could finance their Peace delegation.

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15. Information Memorandum No. 18 was read and Mr. White stated that he would be glad to append a written statement of the exact facts in the case for the future guidance of anyone who might be interested in this matter.

16. Information Memorandum No. 19 was read and Mr. Lansing requested that no action be taken in regard to Dr. Herron’s request for advice until he (Mr. Lansing) had had an opportunity of speaking to the President about this matter. Mr. Lansing added that he had himself sent to the President a copy of the recent telegram received from the Department of State quoting an article from the New York Sun about Dr. Herron.

  1. C. D. B. King, of the Liberian delegation.
  2. C. B. Dunbar, of the Liberian delegation.
  3. Count Michael Karolyi, President of the Hungarian Republic.