Paris Peace Conf. 184.00101/7

Minutes of the Daily Meetings of the Commissioners Plenipotentiary, Friday, February 7, 1919

1. Memorandum No. 44 was read and it was decided that no further action should be taken in regard to a decision previously arrived at, that American troops should not be sent to Montenegro. Mr. Lansing felt that there was further no necessity of sending American observers into Montenegro, and that he preferred that nothing further be done in this whole matter until a definite proposal came from either the Italian, Jugo-Slav or Montenegro governments, all of which have a direct interest in this question whereas we have only an indirect interest. Mr. Lansing also requested that Mr. Davis23 in London be informed that we saw no reason at the present time to change the decision which we had previously made in the premises, as sufficient arguments had not been presented, but that beyond that we should not commit ourselves.

. . . . . . .

3. Memorandum No. 46 was read and the Commissioners stated that they did not consider it necessary to request General Kernan [Page 23] and Mr. Lord to come to their meeting on Saturday Morning inasmuch as both Mr. Lansing and Colonel House will see each of these gentlemen separately before they go to Poland, and discuss the situation with them. Furthermore beyond the instructions which have already been issued to the whole Inter-Allied commission to Poland, the Commissioners had no special instructions to give to our delegates.

4. Memorandum No. 47 was read and Mr. Baruch’s request for the immediate assignment to duty in his office of the following officers

  • Captain John B. Dempsey
  • 1st Lt. Ernest C. Dempsey
  • 1st Lt. Ernest Angell

was approved. It was requested that the A. E. F. be notified to assign these officers to the Commission.

5. Memorandum No. 48 was read and Dr. Mezes’ recommendation that Major J. N. Merrill be assigned to the Commission for work in the Division of Western Asia was approved. Mr. Lansing stated that he would be glad to approve almost any recommendation for the assignment of useful individuals to the Commission provided such assignment involved no added expense as in the case in point.

6. Information Memorandum No. 9 was read; some of the conclusions drawn in the last paragraph were not wholly approved of by the Commissioners. Both Mr. White and Mr. Lansing felt that there were others besides the missionaries who knew Siam as well as anyone, and were not in favor of the relinquishing of extraterritorial jurisdiction. They further felt that as we were in no position to ask for any quid pro quo, and likewise did not approve of the principle of bargaining in a matter of this nature, we should judge the question of relinquishing extraterritorial jurisdiction in Siam from a purely objective point of view, and that studying it in this light it was very doubtful whether it would be advisable for us to renounce this privilege.

7. Memorandum No. 49 was read. The telegrams attached to this memorandum was [were] approved. The Commissioners felt, however, that a paragraph should be added to the telegram to the Department of State suggesting that the substance of the President’s second letter be conveyed to the Legation of the Netherlands in Washington which is in charge of the interests of Luxembourg in the United States. They believed, however, that the wording of the President’s letter should be so paraphrased as to give the impression that the delay which had occurred in the consideration of the affairs of Luxembourg had been due to the fact that the associated governments felt that this matter should be studied by them together in connection with the Peace Conference, and that they could only take joint action in the premises. At the same time such a message could be buttered [Page 24] up by a general expression of our kindly and sympathetic feeling toward the people of Luxembourg.

8. Memorandum No. 50 was read. The Commissioners thought very strongly that General McKinstry’s entire mission was a great waste of time and expense inasmuch as at best the indemnity which Germany could pay could not possibly satisfy all the demands of all of the associated governments. The Commissioners felt that our only interest in the indemnity which Germany was to pay was in the lump sum, and that the question of dividing this sum between the associated governments was one in which we had no interest. They therefore requested that a letter be drafted to the President placing this matter before him in the light of their objections, and inquiring whether he desired that General McKinstry continue with his investigations.

In the meanwhile the Commissioners were willing to abide by their decision of January 28, 1919, but wished it clearly understood that if 40 francs per day was to be allowed to the officers of General McKinstry’s staff a deduction should be made for the subsistence paid by the army to its officers either in Paris or in the Field. This amounts according to Mr. McNeir’s memorandum to the equivalent of $39.80 for a 2nd Lieutenant up to $121.20 for a Colonel.

  1. John W. Davis, Ambassador to Great Britain.