Paris Peace Conf. 184.6/72

Bulletin No. 20 of the Commission to Negotiate Peace, February 17, 1919

Confidential Character of Reports of Minutes of Quai d’Orsay Conversations

Attention has been directed informally by the Secretary General of the Peace Conference to the fact that the number of copies of the minutes of the Quai d’Orsay Conversations which are at the present time under distribution to representatives of the Four Allied Great Powers and the United States is much greater than was at first anticipated.
Mention is also made of the publication in the press of certain confidential material from or about these conversations.
In view of the importance set by President Wilson and the Prime Ministers on the confidential character of their conversations, the evident embarrassment to the American Commission should leakage occur through an act either of omission or commission on the part of any person in the American Delegation in whose possession these reports may be or into whose knowledge their contents may come, and finally in view of the warning from the Secretary General of the Conference, may I request the earnest cooperation of all concerned in a concerted and continued effort to protect their secrecy?
This will involve, naturally, care in the use, filing and retention of the reports and except, of course, where it may be required for official purposes in connection with the work of the Commission, particular avoidance of discussion of their contents.
With an increasing number of copies distributed among the representatives of all the Governments concerned, it is obvious that chances of leakage of secret information are increased.
As has been stated previously, every effort is made to insure safe and prompt delivery of the minutes sent out by this office to the [Page 509] persons whose names are listed with the approval of the American Commissioners.
Each copy bears a number which is charged to the person opposite whose name the number appears on the “Distribution Receipt List.” A certain number of copies are received in this office, each is numbered, and an effort is made to keep a definite tally on all copies distributed or on file.
Should you deem it desirable, the copies may be returned to the office of Mr. Harrison, Room 302, Hotel Crillon, where they will be held readily available for your use, provided you do not wish to retain them in your own files.
Whatever can be done to reduce all chance of leakage to a minimum will be appreciated, in view of the international character of the responsibility attaching to the possession of these reports.

By direction of the American Commissioners.

J. C. Grew