Verbatim Comparison of Mantoux notes and Hankey minutes: June 7, 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.)


Clémenceau: I am concerned about the situation between the Hungarians and the Czechoslovaks. When the Rumanians crossed the armistice line, we called upon them three times to stop; finally we succeeded. But as soon as they freed themselves of the Rumanians, the Hungarians fell upon the Czechoslovaks. They drove them back and now have arrived very near Pressburg. I propose to telegraph the Hungarians that, if they want us to give them peace, they must stop immediately, otherwise we will use force.

The problem is serious, for the report that we have requested of our military advisers assumes, in case of intervention, a considerable and difficult effort. General Bliss made remarks on this subject, which have much weight. We must take this question up without delay.

Mr. Lloyd George is introduced.

Lloyd George: On the question of reparations, I learn that there is a divergence of opinion between the American experts on the one hand and M. Loucheur on the other. The Americans insist on fixing a total figure now; M. Loucheur believes that that is impossible; I am rather of his opinion. 1. Mr. Lloyd George said he had just seen the United States Experts, who were anxious to fix on a figure for Germany to pay. M. Loucheur considered this difficult, and he was inclined to agree with him.
Wilson: It is difficult but desirable to fix a total figure. President Wilson said that it might be difficult, but it would undoubtedly be best if it could be done.
Lloyd George: Of course, but if we fixed it today, the figure would be too high, and the Germans would sign less than ever. It is even in their interest that this figure should not be fixed for several months. Mr. Lloyd George said the figure would be so high that Germany would not be able to accept it.
Wilson: Would it not be possible to take the figure advanced by the Germans themselves, but only accepting it as the amount of their debt in capital -- to which interest during the entire period of payment would have to be added? President Wilson said the object of the figure was to get the Germans to agree.
Lloyd George: According to M. Loucheur’s proposal, the Germans would have three or four months to examine with us the extent of the damages and to make their own estimate; as far as possible, they would furnish materials and manpower. It is probable that German workers could not be used to reconstruct Arras or Rheims; but there are today deserted regions where their presence would have no drawbacks. For myself, I am disposed towards M. Loucheur’s arrangement. Mr. Lloyd George said he preferred the plan to which he and M. Loucheur were nearly agreeing on, by which Germany would be given three or four months in which to name a figure, and by which she would be allowed to pay a part of her reparation in material and labor. He thought this would be better for the Germans also, and that they would prefer it.
Clémenceau: So am I. M. Clémenceau said he took the same view.

Clémenceau (speaking to Mr. Lloyd George): I have just explained to the President of the United States the present situation between the Hungarians and Czechoslovaks. As soon as they were rid of the Rumanians, the Hungarians attacked the Czechoslovaks; the latter, insufficiently armed, had to withdraw, and the situation is bad. I proposed to the President to warn the Hungarians that, if they do not stop hostilities immediately, we will use military means. I recommend that General Alby draft a plan and submit it to us. (Assent.)

Wilson: It was agreed that we would come back this morning to the Italian question. I have some scruples about the solution I myself suggested concerning the islands. It is contrary to the principles to which I am attached to hand over to Italy these islands whose population is Slavic.

Lloyd George: That population is quite small.

Wilson: Undoubtedly, but some of them have up to two thousand inhabitants. In any case, it is not an Italian population.

Clémenceau: These islands are very sparsely inhabited.

Lloyd George: Moreover, they are populations of fisherman; it is quite possible that their markets are on the Italian coast.

Wilson: Here is what we propose. The free state of Fiume would include all the territory located between the line of the Treaty of London and the line traced by the American experts; it would be governed during the scheduled period of transition provided for by a commission named by the League of Nations. Guarantees given to the states of the interior for the free use of the ports would be analogous to those we have provided for Danzig. Guarantees would also be given for the complete liberty of residence and commercial establishment in the territory of Fiume. The final fate of that region would be settled at the expiration of a period of fifteen [five] years by a plebiscite taken on the entire territory of the free state, three questions being asked: union to Italy -- union to the Yugoslav state -- maintenance of the free state.

The islands, which face northern Dalmatia, would become Italian, as well as Lissa and Lagosta, with the exception of those across from Sebenico. Italy would be able neither to fortify them nor to establish naval bases there, the same obligations being imposed upon the Yugoslavs for the islands, which would be assigned to them.

Zara would be a free city under the control of the League of Nations, Italy being entrusted to represent her in her external relations. Sebenico would remain with the Yugoslavs.

Lloyd George: It seems to me that it would be better not to mention that last stipulation. If Sebenico is not assigned to the Italians, it goes without saying that it will remain with the Yugoslavs and taking Italian sentiment into account, it is unnecessary to mention it. What has been provided for the railroads of Fiume?

Wilson: The question of the railroads is settled, as I just said, in the same way as for Danzig.

Lloyd George: I am not sure that we have yet resolved the problem.

Clémenceau: We have a chance of succeeding with it. I believe we are obliged to yield a bit more, if the Italians prove reasonable.

Lloyd George: I do not believe that you will induce the President to make other concessions. Moreover, the Italians are showing themselves hardly reasonable anywhere.

Wilson: Are we presenting this text to M. Orlando?

Lloyd George: Certainly; he is waiting for it.

Clémenceau: It is a good thing he is not going to Rome. He is only going to Turin, to speak with the Italian ministers about the domestic situation.

M. Orlando is introduced.

2. With reference to C.F.47, Minute 1, the Council had before them the Report of the Military Representatives at Versailles.

M. Clémenceau said that this report would require study by the respective Military Advisers of the members of the Council. He thought that some immediate action could be taken pending this study. He recalled that the Rumanians had three times crossed the Armistice line that had been drawn, but they had been stopped from advancing. The Magyars had got to know that the Rumanians were being held back, and had concentrated their forces and fallen on the Czech-Slovaks, with very serious results. Pending the study of the Versailles Report, he proposed that a dispatch should be sent to the effect that this attack on the Czechs had been made at the very moment when the Hungarians were asked to come to Paris to make peace. If they would stop, we would stop, we would make peace with them.

It was agreed that General Albi, who was in attendance in the next room, should prepare a draft. At a later stage of the meeting, General Albi’s draft was presented and approved, subject to one slight modification, namely, the substitution of some such words as “extreme measures” instead of “force”. (This was inserted at President Wilson’s suggestion, as he did not like to threaten force when no available force was on the spot.)

3. The Council approved the attached dispatch prepared by Sir Maurice Hankey under instructions given at the morning’s meeting, in regard to the fighting in Carinthia. (Appendix II).

M. Clémenceau signed the dispatch, and handed it to M. Mantoux, to give to the Secretary-General for immediate dispatch.


Lloyd George: I saw M. Veniselos and M. Paderewski on the subject of guarantees for the protection of the minorities. The intervention they prefer is that of the Council of the League of Nations. M. Venisselos spoke with much wisdom. There is one thing which M. Paderewski does not accept: it is to be obliged to subscribe officially to the maintenance of the language of the Polish Jews, which is only a corrupted German dialect. On the question of knowing who will have the right to call the attention of the League of Nations to such or such legal case, M. Paderewski promised me a written response. Both take a very different attitude from M. Bratianu and say: “It is painful for us to think that, if that stipulation is imposed upon us, it is on account of the conduct of Rumania in the past.”

President Wilson communicates the report of the Commission on Yugoslav Affairs on the organization of the plebiscite in the Klagenfurt Basin. The commission observes that the regime to be established provisionally in this territory, as well as the procedure of the plebiscite, must be envisaged differently, since the plebiscite will take place in six months or three years. In the first case, it is necessary to provide an arrangement of the same kind as in East Prussia and in Schleswig. In the second case, the arrangement should be analogous to that of the Saar Basin. If this second solution is adopted, the difficulty will be to find the elements of an administration in the local population, and it would not be without risk to appeal to the Austrians or the Yugoslavs. The commission proposes the appointment of a commission of five members designated by the principal Allied and Associated Powers, entrusted with preparing and assuring the plebiscite under the most favorable condition, in both zones A and B. The local administration of zone B would be left provisionally to the Austrian authorities, while the local administration of zone A would be entrusted to the authorities of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

The Italian delegation proposes that the boundary between the two zones be traced not from east to west but from north to south, Klagenfurt being left in the western part. It also asks that the triangle in which the northern exit of the Karawanken tunnel is located, which contains approximately ten kilometers of railroad serving the port of Trieste, should not be included in the same zone as the tunnel.

Lloyd George: I hope that we are not going to reopen this discussion, or we shall never arrive at a decision.

Lloyd George: I have this instant received news that the Germans are attacking the Estonians, who are moving on Petrograd.

Clémenceau: That is significant.

Lloyd George: Moreover, the Estonians have declared that, if they take Petrograd, it is not in order to turn it over to Russia, but to keep it, and that they are not marching in agreement with Admiral Kolchak. This telegram comes from the admiral who commands our fleet in the Baltic.

4. M. Lloyd George said that he had seen M. Venizelos and M. Paderewski. M Venizelos was quite definite that he would prefer references to the League of Nations to be permissible only to members of the Council of the League. Both M. Venizelos and M. Paderewski had made the point that the Treaty ought not to enable minorities to insist on the use of their own language. M. Paderewski had said that the Yiddish language used in Poland was not Hebrew, but only a corrupt form of German. To make it an official language would be almost to make German a second official language in Poland.

President Wilson pointed out that this was not the question on which their opinion had been asked.

Mr. Lloyd George said that, nevertheless, both of them had raised it.

M. Paderewski had promised a written answer, and, when he had received it, he would report again.

5. The Council had before them a report dated June 6th from the Commission on Romanian and Yugoslav Affairs, which had met to consider the Klagenfurt question (Appendix III).

President Wilson read the report.


Orlando: About the Klagenfurt region, I must say that I consider the plebiscite unnecessary, since the commission acknowledges that the majority in zone A is indisputably Yugoslav, while in B it is no less certainly Austrian. The commission’s plan would permit both sides to occupy the sector where their nationality dominates; since the outcome is certain in advance, it is better to take an immediate decision.

The economic unity of the basin was invoked first, in seeking a solution, which would place the entire entity under one government. If one divides the basin into two parts, the plebiscite would seem to me unnecessary and in conflict with the precedents that we have ourselves created. If, however, the solution proposed by the commission is insisted upon, it is not I who will oppose it.

As for the small piece of territory about which the Italian delegation makes a reservation, it is a very small piece of land, crossed by the railroad from Trieste to Assling. The fate of Assling has been reserved until now; if this territory returns to the Yugoslavs, that reservation becomes moot. It is for that reason that our delegation asked that this corner be excluded from the zone of the plebiscite.

M. Orlando said that, given the present situation, which was accepted, the plebiscite appeared to him useless. The Commission recognized that in Sector B the majority of the population was Austrian, - in Sector A the majority was Yugoslav. The result of the plebiscite in these areas was therefore a foregone conclusion, and it seemed useless to carry it out. The only basis for a plebiscite would be one for the whole area, with a view to obtaining unity for the whole district. He suggested, therefore, that it would be better to take a decision at once that area A, on President Wilson’s map, (i.e. the southern part of the area) should be Yugoslav; and area B (namely the northern part) should be Austrian. He pointed out that there was a small section of the area, which was traversed by the Assling-Willach railway. He must make reserves in regard to this. The reason for this was that he had already asked for the question of disposition of Assling to be reserved, and claimed it for Italy. If the railway north of it ran through the territory assigned to the Yugoslavs, there would be no object in his reserves in regard to Assling.

Wilson: I must say to M. Orlando frankly that I went beyond what I would have preferred in order to give Tarvis to Italy, thinking that Villach had to go to Austria and Assling to the Yugoslavs; it is the only equitable manner of resolving the problem. If both lines which serve Trieste and the two stations of Tarvis and Assling are in the hands of Italy, that is not equitable.

Lloyd George: I will reply to M. Orlando that it is not certain that zone A will vote for the Yugoslavs. From what we are told, the population is Wendish, and rather inclined towards Austria. Undoubtedly it will desire that the basin should not be divided. M. Vesnic is no more in favor of the plebiscite than M. Orlando; but that rather confirms the information received by President Wilson, according to which that population does not wish to become Yugoslav.

President Wilson said he must say frankly to M. Orlando that he had gone out of his way in order to assign the junction of Tarvis to Italy on the understanding that Villach should be Austrian and Assling should be assigned to the Yugoslavs. The object of this was to take the line Tarvis-Trieste right out of Yugoslav territory. He could not assent, however, that both the lines together with all three junctions should go to Italy.

Mr. Lloyd George said he was by no means certain that M. Orlando has right in saying that area A would vote Yugoslav. He had gathered from M. Vesmitch’s insistence that the area should be allocated to the Yugoslav without a plebiscite confirmed this view. He thought M. Vesnitch’s evidence rather tended to support the views expressed by President Wilson’s experts.

Orlando: In that case, it is necessary that the plebiscite be organized with all possible guarantees. But the commission’s proposal gives immediate administration in zone A to the Yugoslav authorities; that gives no guarantee, very much the contrary, and that does not conform to your instruction.

M. Orlando said that in this case it would be necessary to organize the plebiscite with all guarantees, and he did not like the proposals of the Yugoslav-Rumanian Commission.

Count Aldrovandi pointed out that proposal 3 of the Commission was not in accordance with their instructions.

Lloyd George: I acknowledge that the argument is good. Mr. Lloyd George agreed. He asked why the administration could not be by five Commissioners using the local authorities.

Wilson: It is a matter of a proposal by the experts, not instructions given or the decision we shall take.

Lloyd George: The population of the Klagenfurt Basin is a very tranquil one. Do you not believe that the commission of the League of Nations and the communal authorities will suffice to maintain order?

Wilson: The commission says that the local authorities are Austrian. Our instructions give full power to the commission to settle the terms of the plebiscite; consequently, it can change the composition of local organizations, if it judges it necessary.

Orlando: Can we not maintain our previous resolutions, with this sole change that the plebiscite will take place in two separate zones?

Lloyd George: I accept that.

The proposal is adopted.

President Wilson said the assumption was that the local authorities were Austrian. However, any undesirable officials could be excluded during the plebiscite, and his suggestion would be that the Commission should be directed to conform with its previous instructions.

M. Orlando agreed.

(After a short discussion, Sir Maurice Hankey was directed to reply to the Commission in the following sense: 1. The reply to the question in the second paragraph of the Commission’s Report is that the regime of local Government should apply to zone B, as well as to zone A. 2. The Council agree that the actual procedure at the plebiscite will be very different, according as the date for it is fixed at six months after the signature of the Peace, or three years after, or more. The Council has received a communication from M. Vesnitch, but, instead of giving a reply on this point, it only contained a counter proposal. M. Vesnitch has been asked to give a definite reply to the question that was put to him.

The Council agrees with the Commission that, in the first case, it will be advisable to make arrangements like those proposed for Allenstein and Sleswig, and, in the second, like those adopted in the case of the Saar Basin. 3. As reads the remainder of the memorandum, the Council has ready and taken note of the observations of the Commission, but adheres to the original instructions to Mr. Leeper as the basis of the Commission’s work.)

Rear Admiral George P. Hope is introduced. (Admiral Hope was introduced).

Lloyd George: Admiral Hope is going to explain the situation in Estonia to you.

Hope: Admiral Gough, who commands our Division of the Baltic, had a conversation with the Estonian Prime Minister; the latter informed him that the Germans are advancing towards Riga, and that contact between the Germans and the Estonian is imminent. The Estonians do not want to submit to the Germans. They ask that we call upon the latter to evacuate Latvia without delay.

The Germans have already established air communications with the Russian forces in Narva. It is obvious that they intend, with aid of the Germans in the Baltic provinces, to advance towards the east and to crush the Estonians, then to march on Petrograd with Russian elements in order to establish there a government of their choice.

Lloyd George: I propose that the question be referred to the Naval Council in Versailles, which will compare the information received by each of our governments.

Clémenceau: We can do both: act at Spa, and alert the Naval Council at Versailles.

6. Admiral Hope read extracts from a memorandum prepared by Sir Esme Howard, General Thwaites and himself, and from a report by General Gough at Helsingfors with regard to the situation in the Baltic Provinces. These reports revealed a very complicated state of affairs. The Germans were advancing North and Northeast from Riga, thereby preventing the Esthonians from advancing on Petrograd. They appeared to be taking this action in collusion with a Russian Anti-Bolshevist force under Prince Lievin, with whom they had established liaison by aircraft. From the available information it was evident that the Germans intended: 1. In conjunction with the German Balts in Latvia to advance into Esthonia, and with the cooperation of the German Balt element in the latter country to crush the Esthonian national movement. 2. To make common cause with the North-Russian corps, (whose sympathies are entirely pro-German) in an advance on Petrograd, where they presumably proposed to install a Government of their own choosing.

Hope: Admiral Gough recommends an immediate injunction to the Germans to stop their movement and to evacuate Lativa. He asks that the Allied high command keep ready to act in case the Germans resist and provide the Estonians with the means to hold their ground. The Estonians have already solicited a credit of ten million pounds.

Lloyd George: I propose to do nothing more than the step just indicated by the President of the United States until we have received a report on this question from our military experts.

Wilson: According to the terms of the Armistice, the Germans were to remain in the Baltic provinces as long as we did not ask them to evacuate that region.

Lloyd George: We never did it.

Hope: Admiral Gough thinks precisely that the time has come to do it.

Clémenceau: According to my latest news, the Germans of Estonia were marching against the Poles and the Poles were asking me to stop them.

Lloyd George: All that is very confused.

Wilson: In that case, I no longer understand. I believe that we must do nothing before our military advisers in Versailles have compared their respective information.

Clémenceau: They know the question, for I have already asked them to study it.

Wilson: Since it is through the English that this latest news reached us, should not Great Britain get in contact with our military advisers in Versailles?

Lloyd George: If you wish; but the best thing would be to base our request on a recommendation of the Four.

Admiral Hope urged that the Germans should at once be ordered: (a) To stop all further advance Northwards in the direction of Esthonia. (b) To make preparation for the evacuation of Letland under the orders of the Allied High Command as laid down in Article 12 of the Armistice Commission.

(After some discussion it was agreed that the question should be referred to for report to the Military representatives of the Supreme War Council at Versailles, with who should be associated for the purpose of this inquiry the United States of America, French and Italian navies).

Admiral Hope withdraws. (Admiral Hope withdrew).

Wilson: I have at last got the note, which I had drawn up on the question of Fiume. It is dated yesterday evening, and, to tell the truth, it is only an outline. The only part, which was studied in detail, is that relating to the frontier of the free state of Fiume.

I do not need to remind M. Orlando of the great doubts that I experienced about being a party to a compromise. I do not feel that I am authorized to accept a solution according to which, without their consent, populations, which are not subject to my government, would change sovereignty. At the same time, I took account of the very delicate situation in which my French and English colleagues find themselves, bound by a treaty concluded between their governments and that of Italy before the intervention of the United States. Rather than remain in the impasse we were in, we have formulated proposals which I am going to present to you. They have not yet been communicated to anyone. Before any discussion, I want to place them in the hands of M. Orlando, who will kindly regard them as our common suggestions.

It is quite probable that the people of the United States will think that my participation in this transaction was not justified, until I succeed -- which is not certain -- in explaining to them the difficulties in which we found ourselves. What I just said shows M. Orlando that it would be practically impossible for my government to go beyond what we propose today. I beg him to remember that and to make his colleagues understand it thoroughly.

In this statement, part of the frontier provided by the Treaty of London is mentioned: it is what our American experts call “the Italian line of the Treaty of London.” You recall that there was in fact a difference of interpretation on the subject of the watershed line, because many rivers of that region run underground.

I hand you this document in order that you may examine it at your leisure.

7. President Wilson on behalf of M. Clémenceau, Mr. Lloyd George and himself, handed M. Orlando the attached memorandum, containing proposals agreed to by himself and his colleagues in regard to the Italian claims in the Adriatic. (Appendix 4.) He explained that the memorandum was only a sketch containing principles, and the scheme had not yet been formulated in detail by experts. The only parts of the project worked out in detail were the boundaries of the proposed free state. It was hardly necessary for him to remind M. Orlando of the scruples he had in arriving at any half-way agreement. He had thought and still thought that it would be an assumption of unwarranted authority on his part to concur in any suggestion for the transfer of people against their will from one sovereignty to another. At every turn, however, he found himself faced with the difficulty in which his British and French colleagues were involved, but in which the United States of America was not involved in agreeing. Rather than reach an absolute impasse and after conferring repeatedly with his colleagues, he had in association with them formulated this suggestion. Without discussing or expounding it he would place it in M. Orlando’s hands as the joint suggestion of the three Governments. He could not help adding that reasonable people in the United States of America would probably think he was not justified in assenting to the scheme until he had had an opportunity to explain to them the whole circumstances. He made this explanation only to indicate to M. Orlando the impossibility for his Government to go further. He begged M. Orlando to put that aspect of the matter before his colleagues in considering this proposal. As a matter of detail he said he had changed one or two words as compared with a copy sent to his experts owing to the difference in the nomenclature on the map. He would also mention that there was a reference in the memorandum to the line of the Treaty of London. The line adopted was what experts called the Italian version of the line of the Treaty of London. He recalled that the streams in this part of the country ran underground for a certain distance, and the British had drawn the line at the point where the streams disappeared below ground, whereas the Italians had drawn it where they came out again.

Orlando: I thank the President of the United States for the care, which he has always taken to study in depth and conscientiously this difficult question. As for myself, I will study this plan in the best frame of mind. But in all loyalty, I must say to you that it was already an extraordinary sacrifice for us to accept the proposals formulated by M. Tardieu: they were below our minimum program, and we accepted them only with resignation. They obligated us to very painful renunciations. I am, as you know, a conciliatory spirit, but it is hard to have made a war such as the one we have made without having the door of our house closed today. For me personally, that is very bitter. It was necessary to give the greatest proof of our good will, and we accepted the Tardieu proposal.

On Fiume, we do not obtain satisfaction; that city will be subject to the same control that you are imposing on semi barbarians or on enemies. A highly civilized people who were victorious with you in such a terrible war, subjected to an arrangement, which you judged appropriate for the Pacific islands and the Saar Basin! To accept that was a very great sacrifice for us. That made us go below our minimum, I assure my colleagues. If the new text -- which we will study with all the respect which we owe your suggestions -- should lead us still further below the level already attained, I fear that it will be impossible for us to accept.

M. Orlando said it was impossible to study the scheme here and now. He thanked President Wilson for all the trouble he had taken in the matter. In loyalty he felt bound to declare that the Tardieu scheme had been studied with an open mind, and when accepting it the Italian Delegation had felt they were making an extraordinary sacrifice. In doing so they went beyond what was their minimum. They only accepted it in a spirit of resignation. He himself was not an extremist and always sought compromise. After waging this war, however, he felt very distressed that the doors of Italy were not closed. He had something in him of the Franciscan spirit, but it was extremely bitter for him to have accepted the Tardieu scheme. On Fiume Italy had received no satisfaction. This was an Italian town that was treated in the same way as some barbarous half civilized people, or as an enemy town. Here was a people of the highest and most ancient civilization, who had emerged from a victorious war, and yet they were subjected to the same system as some Pacific Island or the Saar Valley. This was a terrible sacrifice, but nevertheless he had accepted it. It was the extremity of the effort which he could make in sacrifice, and he must assure the President and his colleagues that if, as he feared, the new proposal was less favorable than the Tardieu proposal, it would be impossible for him to accept it.

President Wilson said he hoped M. Orlando would not say this, because there were impossibilities on his side also.


Lloyd George: What do you mean by “close the door of our house?” Do you mean to speak of the islands of the Adriatic?
Orlando: I mean to speak of the Alps.

Lloyd George: I did not believe we had done anything to deprive you of the frontier of the Alps.

Orlando: I am speaking of the eastern Alps.

Clémenceau: Your frontier will go up to the Brenner.

Lloyd George: On the side of Istria, the crest of the mountains will belong to Italy.

Orlando: No, it will be the frontier of the new state of Fiume, not of the Italian state.

Lloyd George: I believe the contrary.

Orlando: It is a matter of knowing what is the line of the Alps. For us, that line will be east of the free state of Fiume. Trieste will be left twenty kilometers from the frontier. As it has been drawn, that line is like a scar, which cuts the face.

Wilson: But it is already in the Tardieu document.

Orlando: Yes; that shows you what sacrifice we are making in accepting it.

Mr. Lloyd George asked what M. Orlando meant by not closing the gate.

President Wilson pointed out that the crest of the ridge was given to Italy.

M. Orlando pointed out that the proper crest of the Alps was to the eastwards of this ridge.

Lloyd George: You said that the mandate system was created for barbaric peoples; the inhabitants of Danzig are not barbarians. Mr. Lloyd George objected to the suggestion that the people of Dantzig were semi-barbarous. They were one of the most civilized and cultured people in the world.
Orlando: No, but they are enemies. I am going to study your new text.

M. Orlando said he only referred to them as an enemy people.

He undertook to consider the proposal.


President Wilson reads aloud the reply prepared by the League of Nations Commission to the request of the Germans to be admitted to the League at the time of the signing of the treaty of peace.
The intention of the Allied and Associated Powers is in no way to exclude Germany from the League of Nations; from the time they are convinced that a democratic government is firmly established in Germany and that the German people are animated by a peaceful spirit, they will admit Germany into the League; they hope that that can take place a few months from now.
Clémenceau: Ah! That is saying a lot.

Wilson: In place of these last words, we could put: “in a short time.”

Clémenceau: We will see about that.

Wilson (reading): From the time of the admission of Germany to the League of Nations, the Allied and Associated Powers commit themselves to submit to the Council of the League, with a view to revision, Chapters IX, X, and XII of the peace treaty -- financial clauses, economic clauses, clauses relating to means of communication -- and a regime of reciprocity will be envisaged.

Lloyd George: This raises serious questions. It is better to take time to study this document.

Wilson (reading): In reply to the German observations on general disarmament, it is stated that the Covenant of the League of Nations provides for the general reduction of armaments and also provides for the mutual guarantee of obligations taken in that regard by the members of the League. That question includes that of obligatory military service, which will be on of the subjects of early discussions.

Lloyd George: I do not know if this dish is to M. Clemenceau’s taste.

Clémenceau: I will not find it difficult to digest, because I will not swallow it; Lord Robert Cecil will make the peace alone if he wishes.

Lloyd George: This comes from the Commission of the League of Nations, that is to say, from M. Leon Bourgeois.

Wilson (reading): The Allies are prepared to grant the guarantees given to national minorities in other countries to the German minorities which will be located outside German territory.

Clémenceau: I will read this text attentively, and I will make some annotations.

Lloyd George: I believe it is quite necessary that the reply to the Germans on this point be framed in conciliatory terms.

Orlando: It is going a bit far to promise our disarmament before that of the Germans is carried out.

Wilson: Let us take the matter seriously; we must choose between hurling an ultimatum and making concessions.

8. President Wilson read a proposed reply to Germany’s demand for admission to the League of Nations which he had received from Colonel House, Lord Robert Cecil, M. Leon Bourgeois and their Associates (Appendix V.)
Clémenceau: I believe that we can take a position between ultimatum and capitulation; but this text does not represent my position between the two.

M. Clémenceau expressed the gravest doubt as to the wisdom of some of the proposals.

After a short discussion it was agreed that the document required very careful study, and Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to get it copied and circulated to the Council the same evening.

Lloyd George: Certainly the words “in a few months,” when it comes to Germany’s admission to the League of Nations, go a bit too far. Mr. Lloyd George said he could not agree to the admission of the Germans to the League of Nations within a few months.

Wilson: My opinion has always been that we will restrain the Germans better when they are in the League of Nations than if they remain outside.

Clémenceau: Lord Robert Cecil is ready to open his arms to the Germans.

Wilson: I believe that I must defend him; he does not deserve this reproach.

Clémenceau: I have the greatest respect for him, but I am not obliged to feel the same way.

Lloyd George: I attach a great importance to this reply. The other principal points about which we must answer the Germans are reparations and the occupation. Nor must we forget what they call the “pin pricks,” the detailed clauses that can perhaps be pruned. I propose to take our decision on Monday on the four or five points upon which our reply depends.

Clémenceau: I ask that the question, which was just brought up, be treated in the last place; I will tell you my opinion when I have seen what we’re doing about the rest.

Lloyd George: League of Nations, eastern frontier of Germany, occupation, reparations -- we will take up all these subjects from Monday onwards, and we shall decide.

Clémenceau: Agreed. On the League of Nations, I insist on making myself well understood. I desire in no way that Germany be excluded from it; I have always been of the opinion that she must be admitted to it one day, and I base great hopes on the League of Nations; but I believe that the formula to be used in our reply is yet to be found.

President Wilson agreed and suggested to substitute within “a short time.”

9. The Council had before them a report from the Financial Commission on various points raised by the Polish, Rumanian, Serbian and Czechoslovakian Commissions. (Appendix VI).

These reports had been remitted to the Financial Commission by the coordinating Commission whose report had been approved on the same morning.

The report of the Financial Commission was approved and initialed by the four Heads of the State.

Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to forward it to the Secretary-General for the information of the Drafting Committee.