Paris Peace Conf. 102.1/84a: Telegram

The Commission to Negotiate Peace to the Acting Secretary of State

775. D–52 for Rathbone14 [from Davis, Lamont, and Strauss]. While Strauss and Lamont were in transit, Davis cabled you regarding (1st) numbering cables, and (2nd) removal of all records to Paris and arrangements for getting needed information from London. See cables D–25 and D–5.15

Organization now consists of Davis, Lamont, Strauss, Jeremiah Smith, Loree, Cook, Whitney and sufficient stenographers.16 Harris will probably remain, but status not settled. Cables are coded by Ammission. Cook has just arrived after having closed London office. He and Loree are dealing with daily cables, but Loree is taking his family back to New York next week and cannot, until his arrival there, tell if he can return. Davis, Lamont, Strauss, with Smith as Counsel, will keep each other thoroughly posted and consult on all matters daily. Work of Mission here is done through Committees, American membership of which is settled by President, who has appointed Davis on Committee for Reparation of Damages and Armistice Committee. Strauss, besides other more temporary tasks assigned to him, while in transit, was named on Finance Committee. Members of Committees can designate alternates and we expect to conduct our affairs interchangeably, Lamont to act on Armistice Committee, Davis on Reparation, Strauss on Finance. Treasury [Page 506] point of view as to advances and terms of obligations and generally of settlement of all financial questions by Secretary of Treasury, is fully understood by all and Davis has heretofore succeeded by insisting on this view in warding off numerous requests for advances. Lamont has been laid up with influenza, but is well now. Strauss has gone to most meetings with Davis, getting acquainted with people and organization. These meetings have so multiplied recently that there has been practically no time to draft cables posting you generally, which we hope to find time for shortly. The Supreme War Council has set up a Supreme Economic Council consisting of representatives of five principal powers, on which President has named for United States, Davis, Hoover, McCormick, Hurley, Baruch. Supreme Economic Council constituted under following resolution of Supreme War Council:

  • “(1) Under present conditions many questions not primarily of military character which are arising daily and which are bound to become of increasing importance as time passes should be dealt with on behalf of the United States and the Allies by civilian representatives of these governments experienced in such questions as finance, food, blockade control, shipping and raw materials,
  • (2) To accomplish this there shall be constituted at Paris a Supreme Economic Council to deal with such matters for the period of the Armistice. The Council shall absorb or replace such other existing inter-allied bodies and their powers as it may determine from time to time. The Economic Council shall consist of not more than five representatives of each interested government,
  • (3) There shall be added to the present International Permanent Armistice Commission two civilian representatives of each government, who shall consult with the Allied High Command, but who may report direct to the Supreme Economic Council.”

Supreme Economic Council, like all other interallied bodies, can only act by unanimous consent. Financial questions to come before Economic Council are likely to be limited to relief questions, also methods in which Germany and Austria will pay for food or kindred questions. Davis will not of course act without your instructions in any cases except where your views or instructions have been communicated.

All Inter-Allied questions are becoming more and more Armistice questions or Peace Treaty questions, consequently present Inter-Allied bodies are referring more and more problems to Supreme War Council which has neither time nor organization to deal with them. Supreme Economic Council is therefore intended as a sort of Executive Committee of Supreme War Council to settle questions on which after discussion unanimous consent may be obtainable leaving, it is hoped, only a few clear-cut issues to be presented for decision.

We have taken every occasion to impress on all National representatives that we meet, the limits on power of the United States to [Page 507] make advances because of legislative limitations and also impossibility of placing unlimited Liberty Bonds and have urged them to induce their merchants and bankers to make private arrangements with American business men, encouraging them with our opinion that credit and investment markets in the United States if properly cultivated can probably deal with all needs for purchases in the United States. Davis, Lamont, Strauss.

Am[erican] Mission
  1. Albert Rathbone, Assistant Secretary of the U. S. Treasury.
  2. Neither printed.
  3. Organization representing the U. S. Treasury.