Page images

that met at Paris. With this view we find it difficult to agree. Up to the time when the draft treaty was presented to Germany on May 7, the proceedings must be held to have consisted of a conference between the Allied and Associated Powers. Then it may perhaps be regarded as assuming to some extent the shape of a Congress, although it more closely resembles the negotiations for the second Treaty of Paris, when the Allied Powers presented their demands to the French Government and the latter was forced to accept them. The Conference continued its labours, and drafted treaties of peace, which were presented successively to the Austrian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Turkish Governments on June 2, 1919, Jan. 15, 1920, Sept. 19, 1919, and May 11, 1920, respectively. In each case discussion followed with the delegation of the Power on which the treaty was to be imposed, as the result of which modifications were introduced; and these discussions may be regarded as assimilated to the proceedings of & Congress, although the parties thereto were far from being on a footing of equality. On the whole, therefore, it seems more in accordance with facts if we continue to speak of the Peace Conference of Paris, especially as the public voice from before the meeting of the Assembly had used the term Conference.

Although the Congress of Berlin of 1878 furnishes the best model for the conduct of debate, that of Vienna in 1814 presents closer resemblance to the Conference of Paris. The parties to the Congress of Vienna were to be 'all the Powers which had been engaged on either side in the war terminated by the Treaty of Paris of May 30. This was interpreted in such a liberal fashion that two hundred and sixteen chefs de mission made their appearance. The difficulty of carrying on discussions between the members of such an unwieldy assembly was so great that the plenipotentiaries of the Eight Powers which were parties to the Treaty of Paris took on themselves to represent the whole of Europe. But the real Congress consisted of the Five Great Powers. The Committee of Eight, as Mr Webster tells us, met only eight times, while the Committee of Five held forty-one meetings. How business should be carried on at a Congress is well explained in Mr Woodward's

account of the Congress of Berlin (No. 154 of the 1 Hand-books). At Paris, in 1919, there were ple tentiaries of Five Great Powers, the United Stat America, the British Empire, France, Italy, and Ja described as the 'Principal Allied and Associated Pow and with them, constituting the full assembly or Ple of the Conference, were the plenipotentiaries of Belg Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Greece, Guatemala, E the Hedjaz, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Panama, I Poland, Portugal, Rumania, the Serbo-Croat-Slo State, Siam, Czecho-Slovakia, and Uruguay, being m Powers that had either declared war against, or bro off relations with, the Central Powers, or been recogn by the Entente Powers, as constituting with the Princ Powers already mentioned the Allied and Associ Powers.' Beside these, various other claimants laid t views before the Conference as opportunity offered, s as the Zionist Jews, the Armenians, the Esthoni Lithuanians and Letts, the Ruthenians and the Georgi and other subject nationalities of the former Russ Empire, with the Syrians and Lebanese, the Ukrainia the Aaland Islanders and the Schleswigers. Owing the difficulty of transacting business in such a la gathering and in public, the Conference was split up i a number of Commissions. The Conference as a wh met only seven times; at Vienna there was neve meeting of the whole Congress.

At Vienna there were present the Emperors Austria and Russia, and the King of Prussia, I they did not attend the meetings of plenipotentiaries, which they were represented respectively, Austria Metternich, Russia by Razoumoffski, Stackelberg, a Nesselrode, Prussia by Hardenberg. Alexander completely directed and controlled the action of I plenipotentiaries. Talleyrand was there for France, a Castlereagh, Secretary of State for Foreign Affai and a vigorous personality, for Great Britain. At t Conference of Paris the United States of America w represented by the President, perhaps a more powerf personage than even a Russian Emperor; the Briti Empire by the Prime Minister, Mr Lloyd George; Fran by M. Clemenceau, President of the Council and Minist of War; Italy by her Prime Minister, Signor Orland


and Japan by Marquis Saionji, a former President of the Council of Ministers.

It was on Jan. 12, 1919, that the Conference opened with a meeting of the Four Great Powers of America and Europe and their Foreign Ministers, and on the 13th Japanese Representatives were added. Thus was formed the Council of Ten, of which M. Clemenceau was formally elected President in conformity with precedent. This lasted until the middle of March, when it was found that it was too large a body to deal effectively with all the business, and it had also been found impossible to keep its decisions from publication in the press. So the Council of Four was substituted for it. This body consisted of the American President and the Prime Ministers of France, Great Britain, and Italy. During the absence of Signor Orlando between April 24 and June 20 it became a Council of Three. It had a secretariat, on which the Five Great Powers were represented and which recorded the conversations between the members of the Council of Ten, and of the Council of Four which replaced it; but these records have not been published, and possibly never will be. Only a few Committees were at first set up, firstly the League of Nations Commission, next others on the Responsibility for the War, on Reparation, on International Labour Legislation, and on the International Régime for Ports, Waterways, and Railways.

The question of the official language caused some difficulty. At previous Congresses and Conferences French had as a matter of course been recognised as the sole language. This time the Anglo-Saxon Powers maintained the necessity of giving an equal position to the English text of documents, an essential consideration in a treaty which had to be submitted to the United States Senate for its advice and consent before it could be ratified by the President. The Italian delegation asserted the right of Italian to rank as official if to English was accorded equality with French. In the end both the French and English texts of the treaty with Germany were declared to be authentic, and so also in the case of the Treaty of Peace with Poland. remaining peace treaties were drawn up in the three languages, the French text to prevail in case of divergence,


except in the Covenant of the League of Nations and Part entitled Labour, where the English and Fre texts were declared to be of equal force. A sim provision is contained in the Treaties of Sept. 10, 1 with Czecho-Slovakia and the Serb-Croat-Slovene St and the treaty of Dec. 9, 1919, with Rumania. Of these treaties only a single copy was signed, to rem deposited in the archives of the French Governme authenticated copies being furnished to each of Signatory Powers.

In addition to the Committees already mentioned Supreme Economic Council was formed, Territo Commissions were set up for Czecho-Slovakia, Pola for Rumania and Yugo-Slavia, for Greece and Albar for Belgium and Denmark, besides Military, Naval, a Air Commissions. Perhaps the most important of was the Drafting Commission, on which the five princi Powers were represented. Subordinate to this were t Economic and Financial Drafting Commissions. Besid all this machinery, a Council of Five was formed out the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, which followed t procedure of the original Council of Ten. This was t organ for the insertion in the Treaty of clauses omitt by an oversight, and while the Four were employed the negotiation with Germany was able to proceed wi the discussion of the Austrian Treaty.

[ocr errors]

Mention must also be made of the rules which we drawn up by representatives of the Foreign Offices f conducting the work of the Conference, including t number of plenipotentiary Delegates to be allowed each Power. It seems that these regulations, publish in The Times' of Jan. 20, 1919, governed the pr ceedings at plenary meetings of the Conference, and th the Councils of Four and of Three discussed the questio that came before them independently of any form rules. A very useful account of these matters is to l found in No. 139 of the documents published by th American Association for International Conciliation.

With the completion of the draft Treaty with German it may be held that the Conference had come to a clos so far as that Power was concerned, and that with th delivery of the text to the German Delegation on May it had developed into a Congress. Three weeks wer

allowed to the Germans for the presentation of their comments, which were to be made in writing, no oral discussion being allowed. Their final counter-proposals, a very bulky document, were delivered on May 30. They maintained that the draft treaty was in contradiction with President Wilson's Fourteen Points and his subsequent declarations, which they regarded as the legal basis, with previous assurances of the Entente statesmen and the general ideas of International Law. Careful consideration was given to the German arguments and the reply of the Allies and Associated Powers was handed over on June 16. It left the draft treaty practically intact, though important concessions had been made. The 'History' (1, cap. 9) gives a detailed discussion of the German assertions; and Part IV of that chapter, which contains a complete analysis of the addresses and speeches of President Wilson in 1918, and of Notes exchanged between him and the German Government in October and November 1918, should be carefully studied. The conclusion that the Armistice Agreement and the Peace Treaty are in complete conformity with the basis accepted by the Entente Powers will be seen to be irrefutable. The Treaty as it was signed on June 28 has been examined, in all its more important parts and especially in the territorial clauses, in this 'Review' for July 1919. The Treaty of Vienna (1815) was signed by the principal belligerents, and to it were annexed all the ancillary treaties and particular agreements entered into during the Congress, which together with the main treaty formed a whole binding on all the parties to it. To have attempted to frame on the present occasion a single instrument comprising the terms to be imposed not only on Germany but on each of her allies, and the subsidiary treaties with the new states formed from the territories of the former Austro-Hungarian and Turkish Empires and a resuscitated Poland, would have proved a hopeless task. To ensure the effect produced by the signature of a single treaty on the Vienna model, the following article was inserted in Part XV, Miscellaneous Provisions, of the German Treaty :

'Germany undertakes to recognise the full force of the Treaties of Peace and Additional Conventions which may be

« PreviousContinue »