763.72119/6742: Telegram

The Commission to Negotiate Peace to the Secretary of State

4216. Confidential for the President and Secretary of State [from Polk]. Lloyd George told me Friday night in the course of general discussion that he wanted to clear up everything immediately that could be cleared up and adjourn the Conference. He said he [Page 645] was leaving town Monday night, that no cabinet officer was willing to stay here and therefore he expected to do what could be done on Monday and then adjourn. He said that the Italian question should be settled and he was in favor of letting the Italians have Fiume. As to Fiume I told him that as he knew a compromise had been submitted to President Wilson and pending an answer from him I did not see that any discussion could be of any use but that as he was aware the United States Government could not consent to any such arrangement named in connection with the adjournment of the Conference. I saw him on Saturday afternoon and told him that while I agreed with him that the Conference should be hurried up he must remember the delay was not our fault and that there were many matters pending which must be settled, in my opinion, before an adjournment could be taken. I specified particularly the Roumanian, Galician and other pending matters. I told him that it was necessary to deliver the Bulgarian treaty and to complete the Hungarian treaty and that some organization should be kept here for the purpose of watching the Hungarian and Roumanian situation, that these might be cleaned up this week but that in any event I did not think the British Government had the right to issue an ultimatum and close the Conference when we were ready and willing to dispose [of] the subjects still pending. He finally said that he agreed with me and promised to have someone stay here after he left and suggested Sir Eyre Crowe. I told him that in my opinion he should have one of the regular plenipotentiaries or a cabinet officer, that the appearance of the British withdrawing at this time would be extremely bad. He said he would try to see what he could do to persuade Milner or Bonar Law to stay here for this week.

I will report further after our conference this morning. Polk.

American Mission

The Secretary of State to President Wilson95


On May 17th Bullitt resigned by letter96 giving his reasons, with which you are familiar. I replied by letter on the 18th97 without any comment on his reasons. Bullitt on the 19th asked to see me to say good-bye and I saw him. He elaborated on the reasons for his resignation and said that he could not conscientiously give countenance to a treaty which was based on injustice. I told him that I [Page 646] would say nothing against his resigning since he put it on conscientious grounds, and that I recognized that certain features of the Treaty were bad, as I presumed most every one did, but that was probably unavoidable in view of conflicting claims and that nothing ought to be done to prevent the speedy restoration of peace by signing the Treaty. Bullitt then discussed the numerous European commissions provided for by the Treaty on which the United States was to be represented. I told him that I was disturbed by this fact because I was afraid the Senate and possibly the people, if they understood this, would refuse ratification, and that anything which was an obstacle to ratification was unfortunate because we ought to have peace as soon as possible.

  1. Reprinted from Lansing, The Peace Negotiations, p. 270.
  2. Ante, p. 572.
  3. Not found in Department files.