The Secretary of State to the Commission to Negotiate Peace
3906. In view of the failure of the Senate to ratify the Treaty the President feels that you should withdraw immediately the American representatives on all Commissions growing out of or dependent on either the Peace Conference or the Treaty except those dealing with Reparations Commission which are being further considered by the President. The Department feels that this Government has an interest apart from the Treaty in keeping in touch with economic and financial questions. Of course the foregoing does not apply to [Page 22] matters pertaining entirely to the armistice. After receiving the President’s views a further telegram on this subject will be forwarded to you.
Pending your departure from Paris you should continue to represent the United States on the Supreme Council, with the understanding that any matters requiring a definite expression of opinion by this Government must be referred to the Department.
With reference to the withdrawal of American representatives on all Commissions, the Department means
- That an American representative should not be appointed to the Rhineland High Commission at the present time.
- That no American arbitrator can be nominated to determine the disposition of river material on the Danube and other European rivers.
- That no American should at the present time represent the United States on any of the various plebiscite or boundary commissions provided for by the Treaty.
- That the United States should not at the present time be represented on any of the military commissions of control provided for by the Treaty.
- That no American representative should participate in the Commission to hold a plebiscite in Teschen even though this Commission is not directly dependent upon provisions of the Treaty of Peace. A reconsideration of this decision might be possible should a request of the interested Powers (Czecho-Slovakia and Poland) be made to this Government in the premises.
Should the question arise as to the participation of this Government in the Commissions provided for by the Austrian, Hungarian or Bulgarian Treaties, you may inform your colleagues that the position of the United States with reference to these other treaties is the same as outlined above with reference to the German Treaty.
In view of this situation the Department would be glad if you could arrange to sail with personnel of the Commission at an earlier date than December 6, provided that could be arranged by you with General Connor.
With reference to the questions outlined in your 5187, November 14, 8 p.m. I agree, that matters which have not been settled when the Supreme Council ceases to function, might possibly be referred to the Committee of Ambassadors or handled by the Reparations Committee or the Department respectively as you suggest. For the present, however, I feel that the United States should not be represented on the Committee of Ambassadors and I shall instruct Ambassador Wallace accordingly. After your departure from Paris matters which require the action of this Government should be presented to the Department through the usual diplomatic channels.[Page 23]
For your information and guidance I should add that until the Senate takes some action, the Department proposes to express no opinion concerning questions arising under the terms of the treaty except those in which it may interest itself because of the necessity to protect American interests.