Paris Peace Conf. 184.00101/38

Minutes of the Daily Meetings of the Commissioners Plenipotentiary, Saturday, March 22nd, 1919

  • Present:
    • Mr. Lansing
    • Mr. White
    • General Bliss
    • Mr. Herter

1. Mr. White observed that in a conversation which he had had with Colonel House that morning, Colonel House inquired whether or not any steps had been taken towards actually drawing up the Peace Treaty. Mr. Lansing stated that this had already been begun by Major James Brown Scott of the American Commission, and Mr. Hurst of the British Commission. General Bliss felt that if a draft of a Treaty of Peace with Germany could be laid on the table before the Council of Ten or the Plenary Conference, and that then the Conference should be asked what clauses it wished added to this Treaty of Peace, the whole Peace problem would be accelerated considerably. Peace Treaty

Mr. Lansing observed that in connection with the above, he thought the time had now passed when the Germans would sign any Treaty of Peace without examining it in great detail, and wishing to discuss its provisions. General Bliss agreed that this was probably so, and likewise felt that the Germans should be given a hearing because they might be able to adduce convincing arguments why this or that clause should be changed. This he felt was particularly true in the case of the military and navy terms.

[Page 132]

2. General Bliss inquired why three officers whom it had been decided to send to assist General Kernan on the Inter-Allied Mission in Poland had been returned to their organizations. Mr. Lansing explained that this had undoubtedly been done because of the fact that at a previous meeting of the Commissioners they had decided that the officers in question should not go to Poland unless one or two of them spoke French fluently. General Bliss asked that he be allowed to speak to Mr. Grew about this matter, and at the suggestion of Mr. Lansing undertook to make himself alone responsible for the sending of suitable officers to Poland. Officers to Poland

3. Memorandum No. 171 was read giving the arguments for and against the sending of a Mission of further observers into Germany. After considering both sides of this question, the Commissioners felt that for the present at least, it would be inadvisable to send any further observers into Germany. Moreover, General Bliss offered to ask General Pershing whether he would instruct General Harries, who is at present in Berlin, to send in political reports to the Mission at frequent intervals. Sending Further Observers to Germany

4. Memorandum No. 172 was read with regard to the assignment of Captain Alexander Henderson for work with Mr. Norman H. Davis. The Commissioners approved of the assignment of Captain Henderson for the purpose indicated. Regarding Assignment Captain A. I. Henderson

5. Memorandum No. 173 was read in which Mr. Stabler inquired as to whether the Commissioners knew anything of the Mexican Minister’s personality or standing inasmuch as the latter was about to call on Mr. Stabler. The Commissioners observed that they had nothing particularly to indicate to Mr. Stabler in this matter, but General Bliss remarked that the Mexican Minister had previously served on the Mexican Mission which General Bliss knew well, and that he was a very able man and most friendly to the United States. Regarding Mexican Minister

6. Information Memorandum No. 48 was read regarding Lt. Foster’s and Mr. Harris’ trip to Poland. The Commissioners agreed that in view of the fact that the Foreign Office had not reserved two places for Lt. Foster and Mr. Harris it would be well for the Embassy to bring this matter to the attention of the French Government in order to indicate that the Mission had observed with regret the action of the French Government in the premises. Lt. Foster’s & Mr. Harris’ Trip to Poland