Verbatim Comparison of Mantoux notes and Hankey minutes: June 7, 1919, 11 a.m.

(For the Mantoux notes presented in the following “verbatim comparison”, the English translation given in the Papers of Woodrow Wilson was used.)

  1. M. Clémenceau reported that M Loucheur was not yet ready to report to the Council on the subject of Reparation in the German Treaty. He hoped, however, to be in a position to report by 4 o’clock that afternoon, if not by 12:30 that very morning. Later in the meeting, however, a message was received from M. Klotz at the Ministry of Finance stating that M. Loucheur would be unable to report to the Council that day.
Clémenceau: I asked for information about the telegram, which was addressed by the President of the Republic to the Crown Prince of Turkey; it is only a reply to a message of courtesy sent by the latter. 2. With reference to CF49A, Minute 2, M. Clémenceau said he had now seen M. Pichon in regard to the telegram received by Mr. Lloyd George from the British High Commissioner at Constantinople. It appeared that President Poincare’s telegram to the Crown Prince was an answer to a telegram sent from the Crown Prince some four days before the proposal was discussed that the Grand Vizier should come to Paris.
Lloyd George: We received this same message, and we made no reply. It would certainly have been better if the President of the Republic had abstained. It is the eternal game of the Turks to try to make advances to all of us, to see who will respond and in that way to try to divide us. Turkey is still an enemy power.

(To M. Orlando) Did the Italian government receive a communication of the same kind?

Mr. Lloyd George said that a somewhat similar telegram had been sent to him. He did not reply, but had mentioned the fact to the Council. He submitted that it was highly improper to send a telegram to a member of the royal family of a nation with which we were at war. What would the French Government say if King George were to send a telegram to a member of a German royal family? Moreover, this was encouraging the old Turkish game of playing one Power off against another. They would tell first one Power and then another that they felt warm friendship for them and would re-call old relations, but their object was simply to make dissension, and to reply without consulting an ally was merely to help their game.
Orlando: We did indeed receive it; but we limited ourselves to giving our representative in Constantinople instructions to act in concert with yours. M. Orlando said that a similar telegram had been sent to the King of Italy, and, in reply, the Italian High Commissioner had merely been told to associate himself with any action taken by his colleagues.
Clémenceau: I agree with you completely about the manner in which we should have proceeded. The reply of the President of the Republic was not at all contrary to the Constitution; but I regret it, because it goes against our common policy. Clémenceau admitted that the action taken was improper.
President Wilson reads aloud a proclamation of Admiral Kolchak: The struggle taking place in Russia is not against the Russian people but against the criminals who oppress them. Amnesty is promised to all those who were forced to follow to Bolsheviks against their will. The Constituent Assembly will have an absolute freedom to determine
the future regime of Russia. Possessions of agricultural produce will be guaranteed to the cultivators. Workers’ organizations will receive all the encouragement of the state. The day of victory is near.
3. President Wilson reported the receipt of a telegram from the American Representative at Omsk, dated 31st May, enclosing a copy of a very satisfactory proclamation, which Admiral Koltchak was about to issue. The telegram reported that the question of recognition kept the people in Siberia in a state of expectancy, and, he hoped that, if Koltchak was not recognized, the United States would not get the blame. The gist of the proclamation was somewhat as follows. The efforts of Kolchak’s army are steadily drawing to an end. He proclaimed ceaseless war not with the Russian people but with the Bolsheviks. Those people who had been forced to serve the Bolshevists had committed no crime and had nothing to fear, and a full pardon and amnesty would be granted them. Koltchak had only accepted office in order to restore order and liberty in Russia. As his army advanced, he would enforce law and restore local governments. His office was a heavy burden to him and he would not support it for a day longer than the interest of the country demanded. After crushing the Bolshevists, he would first carry out a general election for the Constituent Assembly and a Commission of this Government was now working out a law. This general election would be carried out on the basis of universal suffrage. After the establishment of a representative Government, he would hand over all his powers to it. For the moment, he had signed a law giving the produce of the fields to the peasants, leaving the large landowners only a just share. Russia could only be stronger when the peasants owned the land. Similarly, workmen must be secured the same safeguards as in the countries of Western Europe and a Commission of his Government was preparing data in regard to this. The day of victory was approaching.

Wilson: It is a fine proclamation.

Clémenceau: Excellent

Lloyd George: Would it not be advantageous to publish it here?

President Wilson considered this a very good proclamation.

Mr. Lloyd George said that it was very important, as soon as Koltchak’s reply was received, to publish the original telegram of the Allies and the reply.


Clémenceau: It is better to publish the reply to our telegram; we will have it in full this evening.

Lloyd George: This will be useful. That will have a happy effect on public opinion. I have just been attacked in the House of Commons for the role attributed to us in Russia.

M. Clémenceau said that the whole of the telegram from Kolchak would be available by the evening.



4. M. Clémenceau reported that he had seen M. Vesnitch. The Delegation of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes complained that the Committee on New States had never heard them. He would reserve further report until his colleagues had seen those whom they had undertaken to interview.

President Wilson expressed the view that the Committee on New States had not really had sufficient authority to interview the representatives of the small States.


Orlando: I saw M. Bratiano on the subject of minorities; he is like a madman and says that he will not reply to our last note.

Clémenceau: When is he leaving?

Orlando: He says that he is going to hand in his resignation, but he did not say when.

Clémenceau: The truth is that the Rumanians want to leave the Jews in the position they have kept them in until the present. We know how they escaped all their earlier engagements.

M. Orlando said that he had seen M. Bratiano, who was in a state of great exasperation. He would not discuss the question he put to him because he objected so much to the whole system. He said he was going to resign but did not intimate when his resignation would take place. He said that no Rumanian Government would accept these proposals.

Reading of the proposal of the Serbs for the provisional organization of the Klagenfurth basin.

First proposal: Zone A would be occupied by the Yugoslavs, zone B by the Austrians. Within six months registers would be opened in these two zones, in which the population would be able to express its wishes concerning the final settlement of its fate.

Second proposal: Zone A being occupied by the Yugoslavs and zone B by the Austrians, a plebiscite can be held in each of these zones at the request of the inhabitants.

5. M. Mantoux read a translation of M. Vasnitch’s reply (Appendix I) to the question put to him on June 4th on the subject of Klagenfurth.
Wilson: I do not like these proposals. The first seems to me completely unacceptable. The second places the entire zone in the hands of the interested powers, since they would occupy the contested territories from this time on. President Wilson pointed out that the difference between the second proposal of the Delegation of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and the proposal of the Council was that the former proposed that the plebiscite should be conducted under the auspices of the Yugoslav Government.

Lloyd George: The Yugoslavs have not answered the questions that we asked them.

Wilson: No, it is a counterproposal that we have before us.

Lloyd George: In every place where we have instituted a plebiscite we have sought to establish conditions, which assure local opinion complete liberty of expression. These proposals would not be of the kind to guarantee it.

Mr. Lloyd George read an extract from the conclusions of the previous meeting and pointed out that M. Vesnitch had not answered the questions put to him.

(Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to write a letter to M. Vesnitch, taking note of this proposal, but asking him if he would be so good as to answer the question which had been put to him)


M. Orlando transmits a report on the situation in Carinthia, where hostilities are continuing between the Yugoslavs and the Austrians.

Wilson: All that we can do for the moment is to call the Attention of the Yugoslavs to it and to ask for explanations.

Lloyd George: The same thing is happening there as occurred further south, after the Balkan War: the victorious Bulgarians wanted to take more than their allies wanted to allow them, the others fell upon them: all that is deplorable. Lloyd George: Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith asks about the international conference on lines of communication; if it is to take place soon, the neutrals must be summoned. It would seem desirable to take advantage of the facilities offered by the present meeting. In any case, we must settle now the clauses to be imposed upon the enemies.

Wilson: It seems preferable not to set down in an international agreement the terms, which we wish to impose upon the enemy.

6. M. Orlando communicated the information contained in Appendix II, indicating that so far from cease fighting, the Jugo-Slav officers had actually entered Klagenfurth.

(Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to draft a further telegram to the Government of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, asking for explanation and insisting on the carrying out of the previous demands.)


7. President Wilson informed M. Orlando that each of the three Governments had designated an Officer to proceed to the region of Klagenfurth, in order to watch the Armistice negotiations.

8. M. Orlando reported that he was leaving the same evening for Rome and would be absent for some days. It would be of the utmost assistance to him if the question of the Italian claims could be settled immediately.

9. With reference to C.F.44, Minute 10, the Council had before them a letter from M. Tardieu, the President of the Coordinating Committee addressed to the Secretary-General of the Peace Conference and dated 5th June, 1919, covering a report by the Drafting Committee on proposals by M. Kramacz. (Appendix III.)

(The report of the Coordinating Committee was approved, and Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to notify the Secretary-General, in order that action may be taken to give effect to it.)

Mr. Lloyd George read the following minute that he had received from Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith: - “We have now reached a stage when it is desirable if possible to have clear directions from the Council of Four, whether it is or is not desired that the Commission on International Transit, Waterways, Railways & Ports should after completing the Articles for the various Peace Treaties endeavour to settle General Conventions with regard to the various matters within the scope of the Commission applicable to the Allied and Associated States generally. It will be remembered that such Conventions are foreshadowed in the Treaties, which bind the Enemy States in advance to adhere to them. They are also foreshadowed in the Articles proposed to be inserted in the Convention for the New States.

The alternative courses are to endeavour to settle these Conventions now, or to postpone such an attempt to a future Conference under the League of Nations.
The British Empire Delegation took the view that it would be well to make the attempt now, when everybody is here, the work three parts done and the whole matter fresh in our minds. We may never get so good an opportunity again and if we separate without coming to an agreement we may never come to one at all.

This is still our view, but on the other hand it may be argued that neutrals are not here, that everyone is anxious to get away, and (above all) that America is not at present willing to commit herself to general agreements binding on her. President Wilson holds the key of the situation, and it seems very desirable that it should be raised and settled. Could this be arranged for?

10. President Wilson asked whether the Treaty of Peace with Germany provided for the acceptance by Germany of a general Convention.
Sir Maurice Hankey pointed out that this was provided for in Article 379 of the draft Treaty of Peace with Germany, which is as follows: - “Without prejudice to the general obligations and imposed on her by the present Treaty for the benefit of the Allied and Associated Powers, Germany undertakes to adhere to any General Conventions regarding an international regime of transit, waterways, ports and railways which may be concluded by the Allied and Associated Powers with the approval of the League of Nations within five years of the coming into force of the present Treaty.”

President Wilson undertook to consult Mr. Henry White on the subject.

Lloyd George: Should not someone - who should not be one of us - have a conversation with the Germans about reparations, the delivery of raw materials, etc.? The Germans are exaggerating the draconian powers attributed to the Reparation Commission; it would be to our advantage to explain them to them.  
Wilson: I am happy that you have asked the question. At this time we are trying, without yielding anything on essential points, to create a situation, which makes the signing of the treaty easier. The Germans are reading the treaty in a sense that we have not wished to give it; that impression can be dispelled by conversations. It would be a great advantage to let one or the other of our experts go to Versailles to talk with Herr Warburg or Herr Melchior and to make excessive apprehensions disappear. I do not see another way of mitigating the impression which prevails among the Germans and which makes it almost impossible for them to sign the treaty. 11. President Wilson said that he was in favor of conversations between the economic group of experts of the Allied and Associated Powers and German experts, in order that the meaning of the more technical parts of the treaty might be explained to them.
Clémenceau: For myself, I am convinced that they understand very well, but that they are pretending not to understand. They desire some conversations; it is in order to try to divide us. If we have good reasons and good explanations to give them, we can do it in writing. After a discussion, they will announce that M. Loucheur said this, while Mr. Davis said that -- and even if it is not true, how will we prove it? M. Clémenceau said the object of the Germans in asking for conversations was to divide the Allies. They would say that M. Loucheur said one thing, Lord Cunliffe another, and Mr. Keynes a third.
Lloyd George: Could you not send M. Loucheur there alone? Mr. Lloyd George said that he would rather that a single representative saw them alone.
Clémenceau: Nothing would be more dangerous for him and for us.
If, contrary to my opinion, this discussion was admitted, no single person should be sent there alone.

M. Clémenceau said he would not like any Frenchman to undertake this duty.

President Wilson suggested that the group should have definite instructions as to the interpretation they were to give to the clauses and should not be allowed to give different explanations.

M. Clémenceau urged that the matter should be postponed until it was known what points required further elucidation.

Mr. Lloyd George mentioned a request that the Swedish Financier, M. Wallenburg, had made to Lord Robert Cecil that he should be allowed to see the German without any authority from anyone, merely to try and ascertain what was the minimum they would accept.

(The subject was adjourned).