It becomes immediately apparent from the comparison provided in the following section that the records taken by Mantoux and Hankey are not identical. As a matter of fact, it is surprising how different they are from each other. Mantoux writes his notes as if they were verbatim accounts of certain episodes, especially those relating to Clémenceau and Lloyd George, which Hankey sometimes does not provide. Where Hankey does provide verbatim accounts, they are not identical to Mantoux’s. This can be explained by the fact that neither one used shorthand and, consequently, neither one produced a comprehensive word-by-word record, possibly giving selective preference to what he considered of interest. Hankey is often more detailed in explaining thought processes. In sum, it is once Mantoux and another time Hankey who exceeds in total word count and in the reporting of episodes.

The minutes by Hankey, the secretary, served as the official “Minutes” (“Procès-Verbaux Anglais”) of the Peace Conference, Council of Four meetings. The notes by M. Mantoux, the interpreter, do not suffice as authoritative documentation of the meetings of the Council of Four. However, the Mantoux notes add important information, often in the form of verbatim quotes to the official Hankey minutes. The appendices provided with the Hankey minutes are additional, important material, often lacking in the Mantoux notes.

The Papers of Woodrow Wilson provide an additional, large amount of important diaries, letters, and documents regarding the Peace Conference, including the Council of Four. Therefore, the Papers of Woodrow Wilson present themselves as a primary source for the study of the Peace Conference, including the Council of Four. It is for this reason that the full enclosure of the Hankey minutes is strongly suggested for any future edition of The Papers of Woodrow Wilson. (At this point, the missing Hankey minutes are merely referenced in footnotes, s. PPC VI). Specifically, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson miss reporting on the meetings of the Council of Four on:

The Papers of Woodrow Wilson may be mistaken in giving Swem as the author of the minutes on June 5, 11:30 a.m. More likely, the author was the official stenographer, C. F. Swan (see Appendix).

It would be desirable to produce additional source comparisons between Mantoux and Hankey for all the meetings of the Council of Four (as was done for only some of the meetings in the following chapter).

There is still one task that has not been undertaken by historians: a detailed comparison of the deliberations of the Council of Four with the actual clauses of the Peace Treaty of Versailles. This area constitutes a zone grise, as Jacques Bariéty, Professeur à la Sorbonne et Conseiller Historique du Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, called it. The deliberations of the Council of Four did not follow strict parliamentary procedures, in which motions are presented, then discussed, and finally voted upon in order to arrive at specific resolutions. Votes were seldom taken and consensus not clearly arrived at either. The actual peace treaty was prepared by a Drafting Committee working in parallel and with the Council of Four. It would be desirable to produce a side-by-side presentation of the recorded Council deliberations with the resulting treaty clauses or vice versa, similar to the side-by-side presentation of the Mantoux notes and Hankey minutes as presented in the following section.