The Secretary of State to the Commission to Negotiate Peace
Washington , November 4, 1919—3 p.m.
3664. For Polk.
Your 4946, November 2, 9 p.m.6
Attitude of Department in this matter is as follows:
- While it is possible for the President to issue invitation for first meeting of Council before Treaty goes into effect he could not act in accordance with Article 5 of the Treaty since that Article will not become effective until Treaty does.
- The issuance of such an invitation by the President for any reason other than because of his obligation under Article 5 would not be understood in this country and would be politically dangerous. (Confidential. Senator Hitchcock is most emphatic on this point.)
- Since the invitation cannot be issued until the Treaty comes into force it seems a bit absurd to have the time of the first meeting coincident with the time of the invitation. The first day thereafter was consequently believed to be the earliest practicable moment. If, however, your colleagues insist on having the meeting at the moment of the drawing up of the first procès verbal, you might confidentially assure them that an invitation will be issued at that moment. Department could notify representatives in Washington of Spain, Belgium, Greece, and Brazil in same sense.
- Your 4771, Oct. 22, noon.6 Point 5 adds nothing to alter Department’s conviction that invitation should not be issued before [Page 9] deposit of ratifications of three principal Allied and Associated Powers and Germany.
- In view of above please inform Department at earliest possible moment of time at which your colleagues desire first meeting of Council to be held.