Paris Peace Conf. 184.00101/21

Minutes of the Daily Meetings of the Commissioners Plenipotentiary, Tuesday, February 25, 1919

  • Present:
    • Mr. Lansing
    • Mr. White
    • Mr. H. R. Wilson
Mr. White stated that Mr. Hoover had discussed with him the matter of the interest due on the Austrian-Hungarian war loan, stating that it had been proposed that a declaration be made “no interest, no food”. Mr. White had stated that this in his opinion was not a matter for the Inter-Allied Food Commission, to which statement Mr. Lansing agreed.
The matter of General Churchill was referred to General Bliss.
Mr. White stated that the Spanish Ambassador had asked him for his interpretation of the meaning of Article 7 of the League of Nations. Mr. Lansing suggested that Mr. White inform the Ambassador that until further discussion and clarification of this article was made, an explanation of its meaning was premature.
Mr. White brought up the question of his attending the Conference this afternoon for the Algeciras matter. Both Mr. Lansing and Mr. White were opposed to the expression that had been used that this treaty48 had been “imposed by Germany”. Mr. Lansing declared that Mr. Balfour had stated that it had not been imposed on England, and the two Commissioners present united in declaring that it had not been imposed on the United States. Mr. White and Mr. Lansing both felt that the only thing that interested us in the treaty was the “open door”.
Mr. Wilson presented the memorandum of Mr. A. W. Dulles concerning the appointment of Captain Huntington Gilchrist to Mr. Dresel’s office. Mr. Lansing stated that he knew Captain Gilchrist, that the force was already adequate and that he disapproved the appointment.
Mr. Wilson introduced a memorandum from Mr. Grew and Mr. Patchin giving Mr. Patchin’s explanation of the cause of the delay in bringing to the attention of the Commission the President’s telegram of February 19th concerning the withdrawing of our military forces in Russia. Mr. Lansing declared that in such cases, a memorandum should be attached to the telegram when delivered stating that it was “garbled and delayed for necessary repetition”.
Mr. Wilson introduced the question of Austro-Hungarian prisoners in Siberia. Mr. Lansing and Mr. White both approved the specific recommendations concerning the telegram to the Department, and the desirability of discussing the matter with the American Red Cross in view of Mr. Davison’s49 presence in Paris. Mr. Wilson raised the project that had been submitted by the Austro-Hungarian Red Cross representatives in Switzerland as to the use of Austro-Hungarian money in the hands of the Alien Property Custodian for the relief of these prisoners. Mr. Lansing stated that such procedure was impossible since the Alien Property Custodian could not take such measures without an act of Congress authorizing him to take that step.
Mr. Wilson introduced the matter of the proposed liaison officer between the Commission and the Red Cross. The idea contained in Mr. Grew’s memorandum of February 25th was approved by Mr. Lansing and Mr. White, and Mr. Grew is requested to select the liaison officer and inform the Commission as to the choice.
  1. Act of Algeciras, signed April 7, 1906; Foreign Relations, 1906, pt. 2, p. 1495.
  2. Henry P. Davison, chairman of the War Council of the American Red Cross.