Verbatim Comparison of Mantoux notes and Hankey minutes: June 3, 1919, 4 p.m.
(For the Mantoux notes presented in the following verbatim comparison, the English translation given in the Papers of Woodrow Wilson was used.)
Wilson: If you are willing, we shall begin examination of the possible modifications in the treaty with Germany with the ones relating to the Polish question.
According to the financial clauses, each of the Allied and Associated states has the right to expropriate, as a means of compensation, the German subjects whose property is found in its own territory. For example, the Government of the United States can seize sequestered German properties and use them as compensation for the losses suffered by its nationals in Germany. The difference, if there be any between the two totals, must go to the common fund of reparations.
In our minds, that clause was conceived for the benefit of the belligerents. But we see that Poland can use it to seize, through expropriation, the German mines of Silesia.
|1. President Wilson suggested that the Council should begin by discussing Upper Silesia. The aspect that took him most by surprise was that in the general financial clauses of the Treaty of Peace, provision had been made which permitted the Allied and Associated Powers to expropriate the rights of German nationals in their own territory, and use the funds so obtained to indemnify their nationals for losses in German territory. For example, in the United States all German businesses he understood had been sequestrated, and under the Treaty they would be used to make good to citizens of the United States for losses incurred in Germany. Germany was by the Treaty bound to make good their losses to German nationals. As he understood the matter there would be a certain balance in the value of German property, which formed a contribution to reparation. Under these general terms, which were intended originally to apply to belligerents, Poland as an Allied and Associated Power would be in a position to expropriate mines privately owned by German and other property in Silesia, and to make the German Government pay the German proprietors.|
|Clémenceau: Are these mines not the property of the Prussian state?||M. Clémenceau said he believed the mines in Silesia were the property of the Crown.|
|Lloyd George: I think so; the companies, which exploit them, do so by virtue of a leased concession.||M. Lloyd George said his impression was the same, but they were leased to private persons.|
|Wilson: In any case, I must say that my intention was not to permit the new states to proceed in this manner. I fear that the results may be rather serious.||President Wilson said that in that case Germany would have to make good to the German proprietors the leasehold value. He had not been conscious that the new States were empowered to do this, particularly as it had been provided elsewhere in the Treaty for payment by Poland for public buildings. The question seemed to him to present a very serious aspect with regard to many of the industries in Silesia.|
|Lloyd George: I am of that opinion regarding Silesia; it is a case which cannot be compared to that of Alsace-Lorraine; it is a question of territory which has not been Polish for several centuries.||Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that is was especially serious in Silesia which, unlike Alsace-Lorraine, had not been Polish territory for 800 years.|
|Wilson: Nor can it be said that it was German during that entire period. But it is obvious that a modification is necessary. It must be stipulated that Germany will receive the quantities of coal, which are necessary for her at the same price as Poland, and that all expropriation will give rise to a just compensation on the part of the Polish state.||President Wilson suggested that the mistakes in the Treaty about frontiers between Germany and Poland could easily be corrected. Furthermore he would be in favor of exacting from Poland an arrangement by which Germany would get her coal on the same terms from the mines transferred to Polish territory as Poland could. Provision should also be made for the property of German nationals to be paid for by the Polish Government under some fair process of assessment.|
Lloyd George: Why allow any expropriation in any manner at all?
Wilson: You cannot prevent any state from making expropriations on its own territory.
Lloyd George: It is a question of an individual case. It must not be forgotten that, in Silesia, the inhabitants of German race and language will constitute one third of the total population.
I also fear that the Poles will use the right of expropriation in order to persecute the Jews.
Wilson: The right of expropriation is not one of those which we can either confer upon them, or refuse them by the treaty; for it is a right which belongs to all states, to expropriate or to requisition properties which are found on their territory -- given just compensation.
Lloyd George: In this case, it would be necessary that a portion of the value of the expropriated properties revert to the reparations funds.
|Mr. Lloyd George asked why the Germans should lose their property at all. About one-third of the population of Upper Silesia was German, amounting in all to some 600,000; consequently it would not be right for the Poles to confiscate the property of these people. He asked if the clauses for the protection of minorities would not also protect the German minority. If the mines were the property of the German Government, their value ought to go to the Reparation Fund.|
|Wilson: In fact, many of the localities where coal is consumed will from now on be part of Polish territory. When Germany complains of losing by the cession of Silesia 24 percent of her coal, she reasons as if Posen must remain German. What must be said is that, during a certain number of years, Germany will have the right to receive a certain amount of coal under the same conditions as the Polish consumer.||President Wilson then drew attention to the German statement as to the effect of the loss of coal in Silesia. If the facts were considered they would be found to differ from the generalities in the German letter. The places in which the coal was actually consumed would no longer be in Germany, since they were in Posen. Consequently, the German contention was untrue.|
As for the modifications to be made in the frontier, Mr. Lloyd George drew our attention to the region of Schneidemuhl: that region is sparsely populated, a part of it is composed of marshes, and what influenced the conclusion of our experts is the presence of a railway line.
Lloyd George: The Highlands of Scotland are also very sparsely populated; but if it were a question of ceding them, under this pretext, to Germany or to Poland, you would have serious difficulties.
|Mr. Lloyd George agreed that the German case on the Silesian coal was no case at all.|
|Wilson: The railroad follows the ethnographic line rather closely in the region located further south. Around Schneidemuhl, the frontier could be drawn further to the east, where the railroad actually serves German regions and could remain entirely on German territory.||
President Wilson urged that provision ought to be made for allowing Germany to get the coal on the same terms as the Poles.
He then drew attention to the ethnographical map, which Mr. Lloyd George had lent him on the previous day. He said that he had conferred on this subject with Mr. Lord, the American expert.
In the Scheidemuhl-Konitz region he was advised that the country consisted principally of heath and marsh, and that the population was very sparse. Mr. Lord agreed, however, that the map should be redrawn so as to place the railway in German territory.
Mr. Lloyd George said that the population concerned numbered some 80,000.
M. Clémenceau asked on which side the railway was now.
|Lloyd George: I also drew your attention to a small neighboring region on the coast, which is actually part of Pomerania; but that question is of little importance compared to that of Silesia.||Mr. Lloyd George then drew attention to an area in the extreme north of Poland, which was entirely German in population, and ought to form part of Pomerania. He pointed out that the line had been drawn so as to include it in Poland, mainly in order to widen the corridor.|
Wilson: I have thought about the question of Silesia. It appears to me difficult to hold a plebiscite in that region. It would be necessary to begin by making all the German officials leave.
Lloyd George: You do not mean that it would be necessary to expel all petty civil servants?
Wilson: No, but those who administer the country.
Clémenceau: I will recall that mayors in Germany are appointed by the central government.
|President Wilson agreed that that might be rectified.|
Lloyd George: Of course, the principal German authorities must leave before the plebiscite.
Wilson: The main point is that all of Upper Silesia is in the hands of fifteen or twenty German capitalists; it is from this quarter that all the protests we hear are coming.
Clémenceau: That is correct; it is people like Henckel von Donnersmarck, who passes for the richest man in Germany.
Wilson: My advisers say that it will not be possible to obtain a truly free and genuine vote from a population which has been so long in a state of vassalage, and which will always fear the consequences, in the event the country would remain in the hands of its present masters.
Lloyd George: I will point out that in the elections of 1907, despite the feeling to which you refer, the Poles had the majority. The British experts are persuaded that a plebiscite would result in favor of Poland; they are advocates of the plebiscite; it is a question of preventing the Germans from saying later that, although Polish by race or language, these populations were in the majority attached to Germany -- as the population of Alsace, whose Germanic origin is incontestable, preserved its consciousness of being French.
Wilson: Resistance to the cession of Upper Silesia does not rest upon any popular sentiment in Germany; it is a matter of defending the interests of the great German capitalists in Silesia.
Lloyd George: The German delegation in Versailles does not represent the capitalists; it represents a government in which the Socialists are in the majority.
Wilson: In any case, it is pleading the capitalist cause.
Lloyd George: No, it speaks for its country. Prussian Poland has been part of Prussia for only 150 years, but Silesia has been detached from Poland for 700 years. All that I ask is that the population have the right to speak for itself on the fate of the region.
Mr. Lloyd George said that the most important point was Upper Silesia. After long consideration he did not believe that a plebiscite could be carried out until the German officials, as well as the German troops, had been withdrawn. The officials, however, would not leave unless that was expressly provided for in the Treaty.
President Wilson said that Mr. Lord had informed him that the people in Upper Silesia were entirely dominated by a small number of magnates and capitalists, probably not exceeding 20 all together. Among them was Prince Henry of Pless. Mr. Lord actually knew the names of these magnates, who practically owned the whole Region. The people of this district had been practically feudal servants of the magnates from time immemorial. The experts did not believe that a free plebiscite was possible in these conditions.
Mr. Lloyd George said that the answer to this was that the people had actually shown their views by a vote.
President Wilson said they had voted German.
Mr. Lloyd George said this was not the case. In 1907 they had returned a majority of Polish members. In 1912 the numbers of German and Polish members had been equal. That is to say in 1907 when the Germans were still complete masters; there had been only three German deputies to five Polish. Our experts believed that Upper Silesia would vote Polish. Nevertheless they strongly advised a plebiscite on the ground that it would get rid of a German grievance.
|Wilson: Exactly; can it do it?||
President Wilson pointed out that the property owners would be playing for high stakes, and would use every possible influence. Every possible objection would be made by the German Delegation.
Mr. Lloyd George asked who were the capitalists on the German Delegation.
President Wilson said there were none, but they were arguing the case of the German capitalists.
Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that Upper Silesia had not been Polish for 800 years. There was no resemblance between the case of Upper Silesia and Alsace-Lorraine. It was proposed to tear something from Germany that had been in the same combination as the other states of the German Empire for 800 years. In these circumstances he considered that the people must have some voice.
President Wilson said he did not dispute the right of the people to have a voice, but he doubted whether it could in practice be carried out freely.
Lloyd George: It is possible that we would have to occupy the territory during the plebiscite.
Wilson: In this case, the Germans will say that the vote took place under the pressure of our bayonets.
Lloyd George: That matters little if we ourselves have good reason to think that the vote took place freely. I know what intimidation by great landowners is like; I had some examples of it in Wales -- where, moreover, we were able to shake this yoke without any outside support. In Upper Silesia, the agricultural population, the only one that could be subject to this kind of pressure, is relatively inconsiderable; it is a question, mainly, of an industrial population, always difficult to intimidate.
Mr. Lloyd George considered that it would be necessary to occupy Upper Silesia temporarily. If there were any attempt at intimidation, the Allies would have to interfere. Every man should have the right to vote as he pleased. He himself had some experience of attempts to intimidate in elections particularly in agricultural districts, but it had been overcome in Great Britain. The population of Silesia, however, was not mainly agricultural and was not likely to be intimidated.
President Wilson pointed out that the greater part of the region was agricultural.
Mr. Lloyd George replied that the bulk of the population, however, were in the towns and industrial areas. An industrial population very much resented interference by employers.
|Wilson: You are reasoning on premises based upon your experience in Great Britain. Here, the problem is completely different. I have myself lived in a region subject to capitalist influence, and I have worked to destroy it; but I can assure you that even today capitalists still dominate the electorate in Pittsburgh and in the other great industrial centers of America.||President Wilson said that Mr. Lloyd George spoke of England. The same was not the case elsewhere. Even in the United States of America there was a great deal of domination at elections by employers in the great industrial districts. He himself had done much to overcome it and would be disappointed if he did not succeed in doing so in the end.|
|Lloyd George: I can challenge you with figures. In 1912, in the seven districts, which concern us, the Polish party obtained 97,000 votes, against 82,000, this last figure including the Catholics and the Socialists, who both had Polish voters. That is what took place under a regime of intimidation. You can be sure that it is not the Prince of Pless who pushed for voting for the Socialists candidates.||Mr. Lloyd George then quoted the figures for the election, which had taken place in 1912 in Upper Silesia, this being a less favorable election from the Polish point of view than 1907. In 1912, 97000 Polish votes had been cast against 82,000 other votes, and these latter included Socialists, for whom a good many Poles would vote. The figures showed that talk of intimidation had no basis in fact. Even when there had been every possibility of intimidation, the Poles had cast more votes, and the capitalists did not seem to exercise much influence.|
|Wilson: There is a great difference between an election, which affected only the internal politics of Germany, and a plebiscite, which will decide whether the province should cease to be part of the German state. There is no doubt that if the separation occurs, capitalist interests will be affected.||President Wilson pointed out that in the case under consideration, the vote would be to join their fellow countrymen. If they did vote for Poland, the whole status of their principal men would be changed, and not always for the good of the population.|
|Lloyd George: No one has proclaimed more forcefully than you have the principle of the right of peoples to self-determination. It means that the fate of peoples must be determined by the people themselves, and not by a Dr. Lord, who thinks he knows better than they what they want. I am doing nothing but adhering to the Fourteen Points; why, after having decided that there would be plebiscites in Danzig, in Klagenfurt, in Fiume, in the Saar Basin, must we rule our that solution in Silesia?||Mr. Lloyd George said that his understanding of self-determination was that of the people themselves, and not that of experts like Mr. Lord. He was simply standing by President Wilsons Fourteen Points and fighting them through. He could not accept the view that any experts could judge better that the people themselves. Why should there be a plebiscite in Allenstein, Ashleswig, Klagenfurt, but not in Upper Silesia?|
|Wilson: I hold as much as you do to the principle of the right of peoples to self-determination. What I want to avoid is that a Polish population be called upon to make a decision under the influence of Germany and under the aegis of German officials.||President Wilson said that if there were a chance of a free vote, he was all in favor of it. But it would be necessary to exclude both the German officials and the army.|
|Lloyd George: That is more or less what M. Orlando says when he asserts that a plebiscite in Dalmatia would be worthless because of the pressure exerted by the Yugoslavs.||Mr. Lloyd George said that that was exactly the argument M. Orlando had used in the case of Klagenfurt.|
|Wilson: I cannot allow you to say that I am not for the right of peoples to self-determination. That is absurd. What I want to obtain is the true expression of popular sentiment. I am told that the impression gathered these last few days is that we can fear an armed resistance in Silesia on the part of the Germans.||President Wilson said he could not allow Mr. Lloyd George to suggest that he himself was not in favor of self-determination. All he wanted to be sure of was that it was a genuine self-determination. He was assured by his representatives at Versailles that there would be armed resistance to the Polish occupation of Silesia.|
|Lloyd George: That is what you would avoid by a plebiscite.||Mr. Lloyd George agreed, but said the same would not apply to a plebiscite.|
|Wilson: Practically speaking, what do you propose?||President Wilson asked whether Mr. Lloyd George had considered the time and the arrangements.|
|Lloyd George: I propose to act here as in the region of Allenstein, where we have decided that the terms of the plebiscite would be settled by a commission of the League of Nations.||Mr. Lloyd George said they would be the same as for Allenstein. In order to prevent intimidation in Allenstein, he reminded his colleagues that half a dozen conditions had been drawn up. Eventually it had been decided not to embody them in the Peace Treaty, but to leave it to the League of Nations Commission to lay down the condition.|
Wilson: And what means will you have to compel the Germans to execute what that commission will order?
Clémenceau: They will make promises to you, and if that is enough for you, you will be content.
|President Wilson said he assumed that the Germans would be bound by the Treaty to accept the conditions laid down by the Commission.|
|Lloyd George: It will perhaps be necessary to occupy the contested territories.||Mr. Lloyd George said he was inclined to introduce a provision for occupation by United States troops.|
|Wilson: In that case, how do we persuade the Germans that our troops are not there to force the hand of the voters?||President Wilson asked how Mr. Lloyd George would escape the argument that the Germans would use that the Allied troops were simply being used to bring about the result their Governments desired.|
|Lloyd George: I would make both the Germans and the Polish authorities leave the area, and I would put there a small force, whose task would be to make sure that everything occurs properly. One division would suffice.||Mr. Lloyd George said the Germans would have to trust the Allies. His plan would be to remove both German and Polish troops and put in sufficient Allied troops to police the country.|
|Wilson: That appears to me rather dangerous. What we seek is a genuine plebiscite. What we want to avoid is the suspicion of arbitrary intervention. The presence of troops would provide the Germans with the best argument.||President Wilson said that in the case of Allenstein, the idea had not been to send in the Allied troops, but to keep them in the vicinity. He felt there was a good deal of danger in Mr. Lloyd Georges plan. The main object was to get a fair plebiscite.|
Lloyd George: What I want is peace. All the information that I receive from Germany, all that I have heard said about the German delegation in Versailles shows that the question of Silesia is the one, which most concerns the Germans. It is better to send an American or English division to Upper Silesia than an army to Berlin.
Clémenceau: If you have the choice.
Lloyd George: I am afraid of finding in Berlin another Moscow, that is, of not having anyone with whom we can sign the peace.
|Mr. Lloyd George said that the impression he derived from many quarters - Berlin, Cologne, and what he heard from Versailles, was that Silesia was the point to which the Germans attached most importance. He himself wanted to avoid the necessity of occupying Berlin. He was afraid of a repetition of the Moscow campaign, namely, an easy march and, on arrival¸ to find no one with whom to treat.|
|Wilson: It is a little late to say all that. The question is to know whether or not our earlier decisions have been just. If we have not followed the line indicated by the ethnographic date, we can correct our mistake. But I am not moved by the argument that Germany will not sign, unless it can be shown that we have in our stipulations violated our own principles. I admit that the Germans may have something to say on the question of Silesia, and I am ready to study the question, but nothing more.||President Wilson said that he was less concerned with the question of whether Germany would or would not sign than with ensuring that the arrangements in the Treaty of Peace were sound and just. He was not moved by the argument that the Germans would not sign unless it could be shown by them that the Allied and Associated Powers had not adhered to the principles on which they had agreed to make Peace.|
Lloyd George: I do not admit that it is too late; the text, which we have drafted, is not an ultimatum, it is not viewed as such by my colleagues in the British government. We have done our best with the date we possess. The Germans present the other side of the problem; we must hear them and see whether there is anything to change in our decisions. That is the opinion of the British delegation.
The Germans say: For 800 years Silesia has been more or less associated with our national body. How are we to answer them, if not by consulting the population itself? It goes without saying that it is necessary to assure the independence of the vote. If the Germans do not accept the verdict of the Silesian population, then English soldiers will march on Berlin as resolutely as when they marched to defend France and Belgium. What I want is to feel the English people behind me. I do not submit to the influence of the pacifists; I am thinking about the men who supported me during the entire war and who will still support me if we take account of their present objections.
|Mr. Lloyd George said that his view of the Peace Treaty was that it was the best we could do on an ex-parte hearing, for it must be admitted that the draft Treaty was entirely ex-parte. He thought that now that the Germans had made their observations, the British Delegation was entitled to see how far they had made our a case, and how far it ought to be met. President Wilson himself admitted that the Germans had made a case in regard to some districts. In regard to Silesia, the Germans said that for 800 years it had been associated with the political organization of which the other states of Germany formed part. Under these circumstances, the British Delegation merely urged that the people should be allowed to decide it for themselves. They were ready that every possible precaution should be taken to avoid any interference by soldiers or officials. If, after this had been done, the Germans refused to sign, then the British would be ready to march with their Allies as loyally as before, and to act as solidly with them as at any time in the war. He was not in the least influenced by the arguments of pacifists, but by those of men who had supported him staunchly throughout the war, and would still support him provided they satisfied that the Peace was a just one.|
|Wilson: We are perhaps less far apart from each other than we appeared to be a moment ago. I am only saying that we do not have to make concessions to the Germans simply because they do not want to sign this or that stipulation. I am ready to make concessions wherever it will be shown to me that they are right and we are wrong. Concerning the reparations, for example, if they prove to us that the arrangement we have envisaged will not work, I will reply that I am ready to study the question.||President Wilson suggested that perhaps he and Mr. Lloyd George were not very far apart. His position was substantially the same as that of Mr. Lloyd George. It would not be sound to yield merely because the Germans would not sign, and he was ready to make concessions where they could be shown to be in the interest of fairness. For example, in the matter of reparation, he was prepared to say not that it was not just that Germany should not make full reparation, but that if they could show that the present scheme could not be worked or would not operate fairly, it ought to be reconsidered.|
|Lloyd George: There are some intermediary cases. We can make a concession to the Germans without real importance if it leads them to sign. For example, if I am persuaded that the plebiscite will give Upper Silesia to Poland and will facilitate the signing, why not consent to it? This plebiscite will remove any element of doubt about the sentiment of the population.||Mr. Lloyd George said that he was halfway between the two positions postulated by President Wilson. He was ready to make any concession that was fair, particularly if it would give the Germans an inducement to sign. For example, even though a plebiscite would make no difference in the ultimate destination of Silesia, nevertheless, if it would enable the Germans to sign the Treaty, he would be in favor of it.|
|Wilson: I am convinced of the importance of the objective, which you have in mind; but I fear that the presence of troops would prevent us from attaining. it. I wonder whether it would not suffice to prescribe certain guarantees to protect the freedom of the vote, entrusting a commission with verifying whether these guarantees are respected.||President Wilson said he had no objection to doing anything which would
help the Germans to sign provided he was doing right.
Mr. Lloyd George said he thought there ought to be a plebiscite taken where any doubt arose. There did seem to be a certain element of doubt in Upper Silesia.
President Wilson suggested that the best plan would be to appoint Commissioners to draw up the safeguards, and supervise the operation of the plebiscite.
|Clémenceau: I very much fear that in order to avoid certain difficulties. we are throwing ourselves into even greater difficulties. The plebiscite is a system very favorable to the expression of the popular will; but the entire history of Germany belies a truly free expression of will. If we could say: Hold a plebiscite, and then go and wash our hands of it, very good. But if we are obliged to occupy the contested territory, the Germans will hasten to say that the vote is not free. We will have in peace all the difficulties of war, and we will find ourselves facing a situation perhaps more serious than that of today.||M. Clémenceau said he was afraid that in order to avoid one difficulty we should only get into a greater one. He recognized that theoretically a plebiscite was the only method that fitted into the doctrine of the rights of people. The experience of the past, however, did not support the view that the free will of the people could be expressed under Germany. This might be the case where a plebiscite was theoretically suitable, but he took the liberty to affirm that if British, French or United States troops were employed, the Germans would simply allege that pressure had been exercised to avoid a free vote. They would say that the vote had been dictated by the Allies. Then, in peace, you would have most of the difficulties you had in war, and in some respects they would be graver than today.|
|Mr. Lloyd George does not want to go to Berlin; neither do I. We did not want to have millions of men killed to defend our existence, but we were forced to do so.||Mr. Lloyd George said he did not want to have to march to Berlin. Neither did he. Neither had he wanted hundreds of thousands - indeed, millions- to be killed in the present war. But he had had to put up with that, and might have put up with the other. It was difficult to say what were the views of the Polish population of Silesia. He believed the Poles were in the majority, and Mr. Lloyd George said that this was incontestable. He did not know how they would vote: but, if Allied soldiers were present, the Germans would protest just as much as they would against the transfer of Silesia to Poland without a plebiscite. Hence, he thought it would be better to stick to the Treaty of Peace as President Wilson had at first proposed. He was always ready to yield when he was convinced that a proposal was a fair one, in which case he instanced the Saar.|
We want to know the sentiment of the Poles; be assured that, if they remain under German administration, they will not be able to vote freely, and that, if they vote under a regime of Allied occupation, the protest of the Germans will be as loud as it is today. We will only have maintained and exacerbated the passions, which we should want to extinguish. It is necessary to have the courage to say No, if we believe that we are right. President Wilson has said it very well. I have shown that I myself was not hostile to any concession by accepting a modification of the clauses relative to the Saar; I did not want it to be possible for us to be reproached for having made the fate of a population dependent upon the payment of a certain sum of money.
If you undertake to maintain order during the period of the plebiscite, be persuaded that the Germans, as soon as the arrival of the Americans is announced, will resist; you will have quarrels, if not battles, which will yield a result absolutely contrary to that which you desire. I am of the opinion that, apart from the rectifications of the frontier to which President Wilson consents, the best thing is to leave things as they are.
|Today we wished to know the ideas of the Poles. If an International Commission were employed to carry out the plebiscite, order would have to be assured, and for this troops would be necessary. When it was said that the German troops would be turned out, he - knowing the Germans as he did - felt absolutely certain that there would be fighting; there would be quarrels if there were not actual battles. Hence, he would take the liberty to suggest that it would be better to leave matters as they were.|
|Lloyd George: If the Germans resist the American troops, why not expect their resistance to the cession of Upper Silesia? The cession would be imposed upon them by the treaty in circumstances, which would make it easy for them to resist us.||Mr. Lloyd George suggested that if there would be resistance to a plebiscite, there would even the more be resistance to transfer to Poland as proposed in the Treaty.|
Wilson: I refer back to the Fourteen Points. Concerning Poland, it is stated that she must include all territories inhabited by an indisputably Polish population.
Lloyd George: That is precisely what the Germans are contesting concerning Upper Silesia.
|President Wilson then read no. 13 of his Fourteen Points: An independent Polish State should be erected, which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.|
|Clémenceau: German statistics reveal that the great majority of the population in Upper Silesia is Polish.||All that had to be established under this was that the population of Poland was indisputably Polish.|
|Lloyd George: The question is not only the one of language, but the one of the sentiment of these populations. All that I ask is that it be made evident in an undeniable fashion.||Mr. Lloyd George said that this was exactly the challenge that the Germans made. They said that the population was not Polish in sentiment. Surely the clause just read did not mean that if the Poles preferred to remain under Germany, they would have to become Polish because they were of Polish race.|
|Wilson: We have no doubt about the ethnographic fact. I am completely ready to add something to my earlier statements if it is right or expedient; but what I said in the Fourteen Points does not compel us to order a plebiscite in Upper Silesia.||President Wilson said that we know the ethnographical facts, and there was no need to add a plebiscite, which was not imposed by the Fourteen Points.|
Lloyd George: If we were to talk exclusively on the basis of ethnography, Alsace should remain with Germany.
Wilson: In any case, the Germans would not have the right to say that the cession of Upper Silesia is contrary to the Fourteen Points.
Mr. Lloyd George appealed to the principle of self-determination. Under the doctrine proposed by President Wilson, Alsace ought not to go to France, since its population was of German origin.
President Wilson pointed out that Alsace-Lorraine was expressly provided for in the Fourteen Points. In the cases of both Alsace-Lorraine and of Poland, there were specific Articles in the Fourteen Points, to meet the special conditions, and the settlement was based on these rather than on general principles.
|Lloyd George: I do not believe that any of us had dreamed about Upper Silesia before the commission pointed out to us that this country should be considered Polish.||Mr. Lloyd George suggested that before the Polish Commission met, the case of the transfer of Silesia to Poland had not been in peoples minds.|
|Wilson: I beg your pardon; I knew perfectly well what was involved. Receiving M. Dmowski and M. Paderewski in Washington, I said to them: It is necessary for us to agree on the definition of Poland. They then showed me a map, which revealed immense pretensions in all directions. I then said to them: As for myself, Poland must include only the whole of the regions inhabited by Polish populations.||President Wilson said that it had been generally in his own mind. In Washington, he had seen M. Paderewski and M. Dmowski, and had asked for their views about Poland. As a preliminary, he had asked for an understanding that he and they meant the same thing by Poland. They had sent him maps and papers demanding very much more than Poland was now being given, but, when he spoke of territory that was unmistakably Polish, he included generally Upper Silesia, although it might not have been very prominently in his thoughts.|
Lloyd George: We were thinking of historical Poland and not of a region, which has been separated from the Polish state for 800 years.
Clémenceau: All the Poles who presented their claims to me have mentioned Silesia.
|Mr. Lloyd George said that he had thought mainly of the historical claim, and had not thought much of Upper Silesia.|
|Wilson: We could hold a plebiscite under the surveillance of an inter-Allied commission. If that commission informs us that things did not proceed correctly, we will have the right to annul the plebiscite.||President Wilson made the proposal that an agreement should be exacted from Germany to accept a plebiscite under safeguards to be laid down by an International Commission. If the Germans would not accept this, then the offer would be withdrawn, and the Allied and Associated powers would be free to take any decision they pleased. this would avoid M. Clemenceaus difficulty.|
Lloyd George: I do not believe that the Germans would revolt against an American occupation.
Clémenceau: Try it, and you will see.
|Mr. Lloyd George said he did not think that the Germans would object if United States troops were used to occupy territory during the plebiscite, and he would like to add this.|
|Wilson: They do not like us any more than they like you. Do you favor making the modifications indicated in the drawing of the frontier? And holding a plebiscite in Upper Silesia, under conditions to be prescribed by an inter-Allied commission?||President Wilson suggested that his proposal should be accepted, together with the small rectifications of the frontiers which had been suggested, that is to say, the alteration of the frontier so as to include the Guhrau-Militsch region in Germany; to bring the railway in the Schneidemuhl-Konitz region to the German side of the frontier; and to transfer to Pomerania the German-inhabited region which had been allocated under the Treaty to Poland. Further, the Germans should be bound to accept a plebiscite in Upper Silesia, and to accept the conditions to be laid down by an Inter-Allied Commission.|
Lloyd George: It is also necessary to stipulate that the Germans will withdraw their troops from Silesia.
Wilson: Naturally, and the commission will be able, if it judges it necessary, to call upon Allied troops to police the region.
Lloyd George: We would have to make clear this latter point and to say that the troops in question will be American.
|Mr. Lloyd George suggested to add including the withdrawal of German troops and policing by Americans.|
|Clémenceau: How many will be needed?||Mr. Clémenceau asked how many troops Mr. Lloyd George contemplated.|
|Lloyd George: One division.||Mr. Lloyd suggested about a division.|
|Wilson: We can also stipulate, with respect to the private property of the Germans, all guarantees, which conform to the general disposition of the treaty.||President Wilson said he would also suggest to include such safeguards of the property of German nationals in their area as was rendered necessary by the provisions of the Treaty.|
|Lloyd George: And to assure the Germans of the supply of coal, which they need.||Mr. Lloyd George asked for the inclusion of a guarantee that Germany should be able to purchase coal in any region that might be transferred on the same terms as Poland.|
Wilson: Yes, under the same conditions as for Polish consumers. If we act in that manner, I do not believe that we will leave any valid objection to the Germans.
Lloyd George: That is what I would wish, in case the Germans should refuse to sign. I must be able to show my colleagues and British opinion that we are not responsible for this refusal.
|President Wilson said that with these provisions he did not think that the Germans would have any case for objecting.|
|Sir Maurice Hankey is instructed to have Dr. Lord and Mr. Headlam-Morley prepare a text in the sense indicated.||(Sir Maurice Hankey was requested to draft a reference to an Expert Committee on the above lines).|
|Wilson: On the question of reparations, I have already indicated my position. There would be no injustice on our part in imposing complete reparations upon the Germans; but we have recognized that that is impossible. Can we not ask our experts to examine again the system of payment? We had decided not to announce any figures for two years, to charge the Reparation Commission to make the calculations, and to determine the mode of payment. The Germans complain, in the first place, of not knowing as of today the total of the obligations incumbent upon them, and, in the second place, that their entire economic life would be at the mercy of the Reparations Commission for a long period.||2. President Wilson said that his position was that he saw no injustice in imposing an obligation for complete reparation on Germany. But he thought it was agreed that it was past hoping for that Germany could, in any time, make complete reparation. Ought we not therefore to instruct our advisers to re-study the method? The idea in the Treaty had been to leave the bill of the total amount undecided for two years, and to set up the Reparations Commission, first, to decide on the amount, and then, to supervise the process and means by which Germany would make good. Germanys objection was that this constituted an undefined obligation, and that the whole industrial life of Germany would be at the disposal of the Commission, which could prescribe this or that method of payment. In short, it would put the whole economic life of Germany at the disposal of a Commission formed from outside nations.|
|Lloyd George: My opinion is that they are exaggerating.||Mr. Lloyd George thought that the Germans had overstated the case.|
|Wilson: If we could inform the Germans of our intentions, they would undoubtedly be less frightened. But how do we give them certainty that the commission, in twenty years, will interpret the treaty as we ourselves are doing today? Can we not convey, without drastically changing our wording, what we intended to do?||President Wilson agreed. One of his experts had said that, if only the matter could be explained to the Germans, as to exactly what was intended he thought they would not feel the same objections. He, himself, had replied that the present scheme would take 30 years to carry out. Consequently, what guarantee was there that the members of the Reparations Commission would understand the scheme in the same way as those who had drawn it up? Was it not possible, he asked, to make clearer what was intended?|
|Lloyd George: I believe that we have already said it.||Mr. Lloyd George thought that, in most points, it was perfectly clear.|
|Wilson: Obviously, if it was possible to fix a sum today, that would singularly alleviate the commissions task.||President Wilson pointed out that, if the German proposal for a definite sum could be accepted, half the objections would disappear.|
|Lloyd George: There would still be left a great deal to do in order to calculate annuities, determine the modes of payment, and assure all the necessary operations. The only argument of the Germans, which is valid, is that, as long as they remain completely uncertain about the obligations incumbent upon them, they cannot find outside credit.||Mr. Lloyd George said that this was not really the case. There would still be the installments to be considered, and the guarantee for payment and the controls. The only really important point in the German case was that until the whole liability was ascertained, Germanys credit was gone, and she could not raise money for her current needs.|
|Wilson: You know that the American experts have always been strong advocates of a fixed sum.||President Wilson agreed that this was the case for two years. His
experts were, from the first, in favor of a definite sum being fixed.
|Lloyd George: There is no question, which has cost us as much time and work, and we were not able to determine that sum.||Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that every possible way of arriving at a sum had been attempted, but it had not been found possible.|
|Wilson: It is strange nonetheless to see that the Germans are announcing the same figure to which we returned so frequently, five billion pounds sterling. The difference is that for us, it is a question of capital, to which interest had to be added, whereas for them, it is the total sum of the payments. Could we not say to them: We accept the figure which you announce, but as capital, to which the interest will be added?||President Wilson said he was struck by the fact that Germany had fixed on the same sum as had most frequently been mentioned in these discussions, namely, five thousand million pounds sterling. It was true that the Germans did not mean the same as the Allies by this. The Germans meant the five thousand millions as a total, whereas the Allies had contemplated the same sum with interest. If we were to say that we would accept five thousand millions sterling if treated as a capital sum with interest to be paid after the first year or two, during which by common consent, Germany could not pay much, would it not form a good basis? Capitalized, this would mean a very large sum.|
Clémenceau: M. Loucheur is completely opposed to the idea of fixing the total now.
Wilson: Did Mr. Lloyd George not propose yesterday to indicate a fixed sum for a portion of what Germany owes?
|M. Clémenceau said that M. Loucheur was opposed to this.|
Lloyd George: Yes, but it is impossible to do so for reparations, since we ourselves do not know the total of what must be repaired.
|Mr. Lloyd George asked if the following two alternative methods of dealing with Reparation, communicated by him to President Wilson and M. Clémenceau, had yet been considered by their experts:|
We might perhaps be able, after a study of three months, to indicate an approximate sum. I must say that I prefer the other system which I proposed: to demand of the Germans to repair or to restore all that has been destroyed, whatever the value, and besides that, to pay everything for which a total amount can be stated today.
The text of the treaty, by the way, gives the Germans the right to appeal to our governments through the Reparation Commission, when they are truly incapable of paying. That is a stipulation, which we should emphasize.
Clémenceau: I do not believe that we can profitably push this discussion today; I must consult my specialists.
1. The Germans to undertake as a contract the whole task of Reparation, and that a sum should be fixed in the Treaty of Peace for all other items in the category of damage.
2. In the alternative, the Germans to sign the Reparation Clauses as they stand, but that three months should be given them to endeavour to effect an arrangement for the fixing of a definite sum in cash as a commutation for all the claims. In the event of the Germans making no satisfactory offer, the present Reparation clauses would stand.
M. Clémenceau said that M. Loucheur had promised him an answer this evening. He said that the period of three months in the second alternative was very short.
Mr. Lloyd George said that it might be extended up to four months. He, himself, preferred the first alternative. It struck him as odd that Article 234 of the Treaty of Peace seemed to have escaped the Germans. This article provided for the right of appeal. He thought it might be desirable to draw the attention of the Germans to it.
President Wilson pointed out that the Germans had deliberately avoided mention of everything favorable to them.
M. Clémenceau said he could not agree to settle this question today, as he had not yet seen his experts.
Lloyd George: I do not favor placing these questions before a great number of experts, who will embark upon interminable discussions; they must be brought before three or four carefully chosen men.
In our delegation, opinions are divided. Mr. Keynes adopts a position of great moderation towards the Germans, while Lord Sumner and Lord Cunliffe appear very intransigent. Perhaps it will be necessary for me to ask Mr. Bonar Law to come here; he and Mr. Chamberlain would provide good advice.
|(It was agreed that one representative each of the United States of America, the British Empire, France and Italy, should be appointed to examine the proposals made by Mr. Lloyd George, and referred to above.)|
Wilson: As you know, the American experts are in accord in principle; any one of them can take care of it. The man who knows best the two questions of reparations and finances is probably Mr. Baruch.
What provides the Germans with an argument is the indefinite feature of our arrangement.
Lloyd George: We can reply to that that the losses are also indefinite; do we know what the Allies lost in the way of houses, factories, etc?
|President Wilson nominated Mr. Baruch for the United States of America. M. Clémenceau nominated M. Crespi for Italy. Mr. Lloyd George said that, for the moment, he would act for the British Empire himself).|
|Clémenceau: The Germans link that question to the one of their admission to the League of Nations.||3. President Wilson said that the German acceptance of the military terms was conditional on their admission to the League of Nations.|
|Lloyd George: Our military experts make an observation on the clauses relating to the army. They think that, during the period of uncertainty and trouble, which Germany is going through, she must be allowed to keep more than 100,000 men afoot.||Mr. Lloyd George said that, on the question of the military terms, his military advisers said that Germany must be given an interval before being called on to reduce her army to 100,000 men. This was necessary, owing to the disturbances in Germany.|
|Clémenceau: If they maintain more than 100,000 men today, be sure that they will keep them forever.||M. Clémenceau said that, if this was granted, Germany would never bring her forces down to 100,000.|
|Wilson: I do not see any disorder in Germany. German troops are massed on the Polish frontier.||President Wilson said this was exactly his fear. Moreover, he did not know exactly where the disorder was in Germany, which necessitated the employment of troops. At present their army was used for occupying the Polish frontier and Lithunia.|
|Lloyd George: Small republics are springing up on all sides, in Hesse, on the Rhine.||Mr. Lloyd George said the republics had been proclaimed here and there.|
Wilson: Mr. Hoovers agents, entrusted with a task, which is in no way political, nevertheless observe what they see and have sent us reports on German opinion. They consider that admission to the League of Nations is one of the things, which most preoccupies the Germans. When it is a question of knowing whether they will sign the treaty, the question, which comes first in importance, is that of Silesia; then comes that of the League of Nations.
Lloyd George: That is also what they tell me.
Wilson: These are simple questions that people understand. Concerning the League of Nations, the Germans ask if we will treat them as pariahs. We agree to admit them to the League when we are convinced that their democratic regime is durable and genuine.
|President Wilson said that Mr. Hoovers food experts, who, of course, had no political instructions, reported to Mr. Hoover that the question of the entry of Germany into the League of Nations was one of the points most prominently in the German minds. They put Upper Silesia first, and the League of Nations second. It was probably a matter of national pride, which was readily understandable. It was a question of whether they were to be pariahs, or to be admitted into the League of Nations. He thought it was the common intention of the Allied and Associated Powers to admit them as soon as they were convinced that the change in the system of Government was sincere. At present, however, it was difficult to foretell what the future of Germany would be. He asked that a general assurance should be given to Germany.|
|Clémenceau: They want to be in the League of Nations to create difficulties among us. I am not against the principle of their admission, and I have accepted without difficulty their impending admission into the International Labour Organization. But we must first assure ourselves that the peace is solidly established, and that Germany respects it.||M. Clémenceau said Germany only wanted admission to the League of Nations to give trouble there. He, himself, had agreed to the proposal to admit them to the Labor Organization of the Washinton Conference so decided. He had no objection in principle. But peace must first be established as a living thing in Europe and Germany must show herself to be free from the old system of Government.|
|Wilson: Can we not give them some assurance for the future?||President Wilson said that had been exactly the view of the Commission on the League of Nations. Would, it, he asked, be sufficient to reply to the Germans that they would be admitted to the League of Nations as soon as a stable Government was established?|
|Clémenceau: I would leave the question in the hands of the League of Nations itself.||M. Clémenceau suggested that it should be left to the League of Nations itself to decide.|
Wilson: Certainly, it is the League of Nations, which pronounces on the admission of its new members. But what we can say today is that we will wait until we are assured of the permanence and genuineness of the democratic government of Germany.
Lloyd George: It is necessary to give them some hope.
Wilson: My opinion is that, in our interest, it is better to have the Germans in the League of Nations than outside it.
|President Wilson suggested that the answer should be that the Allied and Associated Powers had no intention to exclude Germany from the League of Nations, but thought they had sufficient reasons for awaiting a proof of the sincerity of the change of the system of the Government in Germany. He agreed with Mr. Lloyd George that Germany could be better controlled as a member of the League than outside it.|
|Clémenceau: We must see what proof of good faith they will give in the years following the conclusion of peace.||M. Clémenceau agreed, but said she should not be admitted until she had shown her good faith.|
|Wilson: At present, not only Germany, but also Russia and Hungary are outside the League of Nations.||
President Wilson pointed out that the most troublesome elements in Europe - Germany and Russia - were, at present, being left outside the League of Nations.
(It was agreed that the reply to the German Delegation should be in the sense that the Allied and Associated Powers had no intention to exclude Germany permanently from the League of Nations, but that her inclusion must be postponed until the sincerity of the change in the system of Government in Germany had been proved by experience).
|Lloyd George: I fear that Kolchak has suffered a serious setback.||4. Mr. Lloyd George said that he had received information that Kolchak had received a bad reverse.|
|Clémenceau: He made a speech in the sense asked of him.||M. Clémenceau said the Koltchak had made a speech that went far to meet the demands of the Council. He had given instructions for a dispatch to be circulated to his colleagues to the effect that Kiltchaks reply would be received in a few days. He heard that M. Sazonoff was strongly opposed to the memorandum that had been telegraphed to Koltchak.|
Lloyd George: But we have not received his reply.
Clémenceau: I received a telegram indicating that our note reached him and that he is preparing his answer. M. Sazonov is very hostile to that note which we sent.
Lloyd George: I know that, and I had Admiral Kolchak warned that we will withdraw our support of him if he does not grant us the guarantees demanded.
Mr. Lloyd George said he had heard of this, and as he understood M. Sazonoff was likely to advise Koltchak not to send a favorable reply, he had asked Mr. Churchill to telegraph to General Knox to urge Koltchak not to listen to Sazonoff.
5. President Wilson read a telegram from the French Minister at Warsaw, dated May 31 from General Pilsudski. (Appendix I).
(It was agreed that this was thoroughly satisfactory).
|Lloyd George: The most difficult questions, which remain for us to resolve, are those of reparations and the occupation. Must we not begin by replying in general terms to the German counterproposals? I believe that it is necessary to give our reasons. There is no doubt that the German document has made some impression, and we can and must defend ourselves. There are a certain number of points on which we must explain ourselves; for if the Germans refuse to sign, we must have done everything to insure that our public opinions are behind us. For that, it is necessary to make an appropriate declaratioin to carry conviction.||6. Mr. Lloyd George said that the German documents had made a certain impression in the Allied countries, and it was necessary to consider the question of a general reply. He thought it was very important to put the general case and to controvert certain points. It was desirable that a reasoned statement should be prepared. He had already instructed Mr. Kerr to set to work on the subject.|
Wilson: This statement must be written clearly and without harshness. Could Mr. Balfour not take care of it?
Lloyd George: I have asked Mr. Philip Kerr to present us with a draft. Mr. Balfour might perhaps have done it in too watered down terms.
Wilson: We have to reply to the inadmissible accusation of having ourselves put aside the principles, which we established as the basis of the treaty of peace. It is on this point that it is necessary to reply first. It is also necessary to prepare a series of replies indicating the concessions that we can make.
|President Wilson said that it was very important to controvert the argument that the bases had been ignored. In fact, they had not been ignored, but if it could be shown that they had, he, for one, would be ready to make the necessary changes. The real case was that justice had shown itself overwhelmingly against Germany. This ought to be clearly shown in the reply. He was opposed to any further answers being sent to the various German letters. They should now be concentrated in the final reply to Count Brockdorff-Rantzau.|
|Clémenceau: The text must not be too long. We must conclude by setting for the Germans a deadline for their final reply.||M. Clémenceau said that in the last lines of the letter the Germans should be given a final period within which to say whether they would sign or not.|
Lloyd George: If we can come to an agreement on a common reply, we can conclude by giving the Germans a period of five or seven days.
Wilson: If, at the end of the fixed period, the Germans refuse to sign, will we give them the three days notice, which must precede the end of the Armistice?
Clémenceau: No, it is necessary to act immediately.
|Mr. Lloyd George suggested that the period should not be longer than 7 days, at the end of which the Armistice would come to an end.|
Wilson: I think that, if we make concessions to them on the points indicated, they will sign.
Lloyd George: I believe it.
|President Wilson said he was not at all convinced that if the concessions now proposed were made, the Germans would sign.|
|Clémenceau: I dont believe it; but the signing will soon come, after the first refusal.||M. Clémenceau was convinced that they would not.|
|Lloyd George: In that case it is not the present German government, which
will sign; it will be neither Brockdorff nor Scheidemann.
Clémenceau: No, but others will sign.
Lloyd George: That would be a Haase government; this would not be very satisfactory.
Hankey: The Drafting Committee points out that you have neglected to add to the treaty the article relative to the abolition of the neutralized zones of Savoy and of the Gex district, it proposes to add the article as approved by you to the final text.
Lloyd George: There is no news from Turkey?
Clémenceau: I have received a new dispatch from the Grand Vizier, which only repeats the first.
Lloyd George: Have we replied?
Clémenceau: We decided to reply through our representatives in Constantinople.
Wilson: It seems that in Schleswig we proposed plebiscites in a more extended region than the Danes themselves request. The Germans note this. It should be easy to resolve that question.
Lloyd George: Undoubtedly.
Hankey: I recall the reservations formulated by the Serbian and Rumanian delegations on the subject of the treaty with Austria.
Lloyd George: What do they mean?
Clémenceau: Undoubtedly that they will sign the treaty but not carry it out.
Wilson: Surely, they cannot sign and then refuse to honor their signature.
Orlando: That means rather that they will not sign.
Clémenceau: They must be asked the question; I will do it in your name.
|M. Lloyd George thought that if Brockdorff-Rantzau would not sign, he
would probably be replaced by someone else, whose signature might be of
7. In view of the above discussion:
(It was agreed that the draft replies that had been prepared to the German Note of 22 May, on the subject of German property abroad, to the German Note of 17th May on the subject of Religious Missions, and to the German Note of 24th May, on the subject of Responsibilities and Reparations, should not be dispatched, but rather that so much of them as was necessary should be incorporated in the global rejoinder to the German Notes on the Treaty of Peace).
8. (The proposal of the Council of Foreign Ministers that the Note of the French Government to the Swiss Minister in Paris, dated 18th May, should be inserted in the Treaties of Peace with Germany and with Austria was approved.) (Appendix II)
A copy of the note in French was installed by the Four Heads of States. Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward it to the Secretary-General for the information of the drafting Committee.)
Hankey: The council has not yet taken any decision on the amendments proposed by the Czechoslovak delegation. The Drafting Committee presents conclusions contrary to these amendments. It is necessary to realize that it is impossible to take into account today an Austrian nationality other than that of the new state, since the former Austria has ceased to exist.
The Drafting Committee does not believe itself authorized, moreover, to admit the assertion that the Czechoslovak Republic existed legally before any decision of the Allies, and that it had, consequently, an unconditional liberty of action. For these reasons, it does not believe that it can make the modifications proposed without new instructions from the Council of Four.
I have other notes on questions, which are pending, concerning state properties in the territories reunited to Poland and the division of the prewar debt among the states of central Europe.
Wilson: All that must be studied.
Lloyd George: Could we not appoint two people to do it? For example,
M. Tardieu and another delegate of the same competence.
Clémenceau: There would be no end to it.
Orlando: The questions, which have just been mentioned, are technical questions; but they are also delicate questions, whose solution entails important consequences.
Lloyd George: The best thing is to refer the examination to a small commission.
It is decided that this commission will consist of Messrs. Tardieu, Miller, De Martino, and Sir Eyre Crowe.
9. The Council had before them letters from the Rumanian and Serbian Delegations, dated 2nd and 1st June respectively, maintaining the reserves they had made in their declarations made at the Plenary Session on the 31st May, to the Treaty with Austria. (Appendix III.)
(On the proposal of M. Clémenceau, it was agreed, that Sir Maurice Hankey should draft a letter for consideration, asking the Rumanian had Serbian Delegations what was the signification of these letters. Was the intention not to sign the Treaty, or was it proposed to sign and then not to carry it out?)
10. The Council had before them the following reports by the Drafting Committee:
Report on the proposition of M. Kramacz.
Opinion as to certain modifications demanded by the Polish Delegation (Polish Note of May 30th 1919)
Financial Clauses; opinion on certain modifications demanded by the Czecho-Slovak Delegation: Note of 30th May, 1919). (Appendix IV).
(After a short discussion, it was agreed that the above reports should be referred in the first instance to the Territorial Coordinating Committee of the Peace Conference, of which M. Tardieu was President, the said Committee to be empowered to invite the cooperation of such experts as it may from time to time require.)
(Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to communicate this decision to the Secretary-General for the necessary action.)
Lloyd George: A serious difficulty arises regarding the contribution to the costs of the war, which we are asking of the new states of central Europe. Italy refuses to pay her share for the liberated regions of the Trentino and Trieste.
Orlando: The difficulty stems from the fact that Italy has in fact already paid her part.
Lloyd George: The Czechoslovaks, the Rumanians, the Poles say that they will not pay if Italy does not pay.
Moreover, we have not been able to agree on the subject of the distribution of the tonnage. In my opinion, there are two ways to proceed. Either Italy must limit her claims to Austria and stop asking interest in Germany, or else we must combine all our losses and all our means of compensation. We cannot accept that Italy should have the right to reparations from Germany, if she demands a privileged position vis-à-vis Austria. It is a fundamental difficulty, which can only be settled by the heads of governments.
Wilson: When it was said that the liberated countries would be included in the calculation of what is due to each, did Italy not accept this proposal? She refuses today to admit that the territories, which she acquires, should bear their share of the costs of the war of liberation. I do not see the difference.
Lloyd George: If we accepted this arrangement, France and England would be excluded from any right to reparation from Austria, while Italy would be allowed this right vis-à-vis Germany.
Orlando: I ask to study these questions more closely; I am not acquainted with the details.
Lloyd George: Should we or should we not summon the experts for tomorrow?
Orlando: It is better to begin by a discussion with the experts.
Hankey: The Belgian delegation has heard about the commission, which you formed to draft the convention relating to the occupation; it asks to be represented in that commission.
After a brief exchange of views, it is decided that Belgium will be invited to make her desiderata known.
|11. (It was agreed that the draft Reparation Clauses prepared by the Commission should be considered on the following day.)|