Paris Peace Conf. 184.00101/32

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

  • Present:
    • Mr. Lansing
    • Mr. White
    • General Bliss
    • Mr. Herter
Memorandum No. 156 was read regarding the assignment, at the request of Mr. Norman H. Davis, of Captain E. L. Sanborn to assist with work in connection with the Armistice Commission. The Commissioners approved of the assignment of Captain Sanborn for this purpose.
Memorandum No. 157 was read regarding the proposed Mission to Esthonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Commissioners approved of the assignment of Lt. Colonel Warwick Greene as the chief of this Mission, and likewise approved of the rest of the personnel suggested to accompany Colonel Greene.
Information Memorandum No. 33 was read regarding the confidential interview which Mr. Franklin Day had recently had with Prof. L. Beer, a professor of International law at Leipzig. The Commissioners were very skeptical in regard to Prof. Beer’s statements as to his conviction of the Emperor’s personal responsibility on the origin of the war, and believed that this expression of opinion was one which could commonly be found among those who now in Germany were trying to save their own skins.
Mr. Herter brought up the question of Prof. Lord’s recall from Poland, and explained that General Kernan had not been recalled owing to the importance of his presence in Poland at the present time. The Commissioners approved of the telegram drafted by Mr. Grew recalling Prof. Lord.
Mr. Herter distributed to the Commissioners copies of a memorandum prepared by Captain James Bruce regarding the situation in Montenegro. The Commissioners were much interested in this memorandum, but felt that they could not agree to the recommendations [Page 115] proposed. Recommendation No. 2 particularly was disapproved. At the moment, all the Commissioners stated they would examine the question further before reaching any final decision.
The controversy which had arisen at the Council of Ten in regard to the Jugo-Slav-Italian dispute was discussed. Mr. Lansing felt that the American Delegate should adopt the attitude that if this question was further discussed at the Council of Ten either both Italy and Serbia should be represented or else neither one nor the other. He also felt that immediately upon the arrival of the President the American Delegation should adopt a definite policy in regard to territorial claims such as those in dispute, and that this policy should be approximately the following:

“The disposition of territory should be considered from the point of view of the ethnic condition of the Hinterland and not of the littoral or of individual ports on the coast.”

Mr. Herter referred to a second informal gathering which had taken place yesterday afternoon to discuss Russian matters in the Hotel Crillon, and mentioned certain reports which had been read at that meeting by Lieut. Williams and Lieut. Bell. The Commissioners expressed enthusiastic approval of the proceedings of this informal gathering and requested that they be supplied at once with copies of the reports which had been read as well as of the map which had been prepared by Lt. Bell.