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No. 466.—JANUARY, 1921.
57 QUARTERLY REVIEW
No. 466. JANUARY, 1921.
Art. 1.—THE REORGANISATION OF EUROPE.
1. Peace Treaties : With Germany, at Versailles, June 28, 1919; with Austria, at Saint Germain-en-Laye, Sept. 10, 1919; with Hungary, at Trianon, June 4, 1920; with Bulgaria, at Neuilly-sur-Seine, Nov. 27, 1919; with Turkey, at Sèvres, Aug. 10, 1920; and other treaties. H.M. Stationery Office. 2 A History of the Peace Conference of Paris. Edited by H. W. V. Temperley. Henry Frowde and Hodder & Stoughton, 1920. 3. Some Problems of the Peace Conference. By Charles
Homer Haskins and Robert Howard Lord. Harvard University Press, 1920. t. Peace Hand-books, Nos. 1-162. H.M. Stationery Office,
1920. 1. League of Nations Official Journal. No. 1. Harrison, February 1920. With Special Supplements : No. 1. The Aaland Islands Question (August). No. 2. Draft Sheme for ... the Permanent Court of International
Justice (September 1920). Diring the negotiations at Paris for peace with Germany the press and the public in England, and probably in other countries, constantly complained of the delays between the Armistice of Nov. 11 and the restoration of peace with the principal enemy belligerent. Although the treaty with Germany was signed on June 28, 1919, it did not come into effective operation until Jan. 10, 1920. This interval was Decessary in order to procure the ratification of the Vol. 235.–No. 466,
treaty by at least three of the principal Allied Associated Powers. Germany ratified it on July 1919, Italy on Oct. 7, Great Britain on Oct. 10, Fra on Oct. 12. There were, however, certain unexecu clauses of the Armistice agreement which Germany to fulfil before the Peace Treaty could take effect; until that result was obtained, by means of urg pressure on the German Government, the procès-ve of deposit, which custom requires, could not be sign Thus the total period consumed between the terminat of active hostilities and the resumption of peace relations with Germany was one year two months a nine days.
Although the Armistice was concluded so early Nov. 11, 1918, it was obvious that peace negotiatic could not be commenced until the arrival in Euro of President Wilson. He landed in France Dec. came to London a fortnight later, left for Paris a Rome on the last day of the month, and finally return to Paris on Jan. 7. The members of the Briti delegation began to arrive there on Jan. 4; but t Prime Minister was a week later. Mr Wilson had tak a leading part in the negotiation of the preliminari of the Armistice. It was to him that the Germa Government had addressed itself on Oct. 5, 191 Correspondence between him and the German Gover ment on the one hand and the Governments of tl Allies on the other followed; and it was agreed by th latter that the Armistice Convention and the Treaty a Peace should be based on his addresses and speeches an on the recent diplomatic correspondence. To understan what this basis was, Part Iv of Chapter ix of Volume of the History' must be carefully studied. It show clearly that with the exception of the reservation the European allies with respect to No. 2 of the famou Fourteen Points, namely, the so-called Freedom of th Seas,' the President had been allowed to formulate th principles on which peace should be concluded. Europ expected him to arrive with a thoroughly worked-ou scheme of negotiation. But it appears that he brough nothing of the sort with him. No doubt the separate Governments had each formed an idea of what they would demand, but nothing had been settled betweer
them, and it is pointed out in the History' (1. p. 237), that such preparations as had been made by them were
'necessarily of a very general character, made for the most part by subordinate departments, without the direction of the heads of States, without inter-allied consultation and Co-operation, and with only a vague idea of how the schemes would be applied in practice. Their influence on the Conference must not, however, be under-estimated. Their labours had produced an enormous amount of material for the use of the men of action; and, though much of this work was wasted,
1 much proved to be of the greatest value.'
No doubt the writer of these lines had in mind the series of Peace Hand-books produced by the Historical Section of the Foreign Office, established for the first time in 1917. Very valuable and interesting as these Hand-books are, it must have been quite impossible for the actual negotiators to become acquainted with even a small portion of their contents.
In any case, it must be evident that the plenipotentiaries of the Allied and Associated Powers had to begin their work by coming to an agreement as to the procedure to be adopted for negotiation among themselves of the provisions which would be embodied in the Peace Treaty, and that this was a difficult task, as the various countries concerned had suffered in quite
from the violence with which the war had been carried on by their adversaries, notably by Germany. Compare the devastation of North-Eastern France, the destruction of public buildings in Belgium, the carrying away of public and private property from these two countries, with the almost entire freedom of the British Islands from damage on land at the hands of the enemy; though, on the other hand, the destruction of a great portion of the British mercantile marine was a very serious blow to the prosperity of the country. To reconcile the French and Belgian demands for reparation with the much smaller requirements of Great Britain must have been no easy undertaking, requiring long discussion and much give and take between the representatives of the Allies.
It may seem a very small thing, but it is probable that the want of a common language between the
principal plenipotentiaries must have been an obst to a complete and speedy understanding. Only on them spoke both English and French. Two ot understood English only, the fourth was unacquair with anything but his own language and Frey Consequently their conversations had to be carried with the assistance of an interpreter; and any one has ever had experience of conversing through t medium, must be aware what a difficult process it frequently involving unavoidable misunderstandings.
Some doubt has been expressed with regard to proper designation to be applied to the negotiati between the representatives of the Allied and Associa Powers for the purpose of agreeing on the spec. demands to be presented to Germany and her ies forming the terms of peace. The Foreign Office List 1919 gives a List of the British Delegation and Sta under the heading of Peace Congress. It is conceival
· ' that a Congress of all the belligerent Powers might ha been summoned to meet at Paris; and by some perso this was no doubt expected. On a previous occasion, th of the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15, its formal assemb had been preceded by somewhat lengthy negotiations London, which failed to produce an agreement on all te points under discussion, which are well described by M Webster in a paper read before the Royal Historic Society in March 1913, and again in his admirab account of Congress of Vienna published as No. 153 of th Peace Hand-books. This problem, of which the resolu tion presented difficulties that spun out its duration b several months, reminds us of the similar trouble tha was caused by the Fiume question.
Peace Congresses, beginning with that known as o Westphalia, have usually consisted of all the belligeren Powers meeting on a footing of equality, and mostl ending in the signature of a single treaty signed by al of them. This procedure was not adopted on the recent occasion, and it is obvious that it may have to be modified in accordance with the relative position of the parties when hostilities are terminated by the conclusion of an Armistice Convention. The introduction to Voi. of the History' tells us that, according to the stricter interpretation, it was a Congress, and not a Conference,