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“2. Restoration of commercial and financial relations subject to conditions.

“3. Renunciation by Germany of all territory and territorial rights outside of Europe.

“4. Minimum territory of Germany in Europe, the boundaries to be fixed in the Definitive Treaty.

“5. Maximum military and naval establishments and production of arms and munitions.

“6. Maximum amount of money and property to be surrendered by Germany with time limits for delivery.

“7. German property and territory to be held as security by the Allies until the Definitive Treaty is ratified.

“8. Declaration as to the organization of a League of Nations.

“The President's obsession as to a League of Nations blinds him to everything else. An immediate peace is nothing to him compared to the adoption of the Covenant. The whole world wants peace. The President wants his League. I think that the world will have to wait.”

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The eight subjects, above stated, were the ones which I called to the President's attention at the time he was leaving Paris for the United States and which he said he did not care to discuss.

The views that are expressed in the memorandum of March 30 are those that I have continued to hold. The President was anxious to have the Treaty, even though preliminary in character, contain detailed rather than general provisions, especially as to the League of Nations. With that view I entirely disagreed, as detailed terms of settlement and the articles of the Covenant as proposed would cause discussion and unquestionably delay the peace. To restore the peaceful intercourse between the belligerents, to open the long-closed channels of commerce, and to give to the war-stricken peoples of Europe opportunity to resume their normal industrial life seemed to me the first and greatest task to be accomplished. It was in my judgment superior to every other object of the Paris negotiations. Compared with it the creation of a League of Nations was insignificant and could well be postponed. President Wilson thought otherwise. We were very far apart in this matter as he well knew, and he rightly assumed that I followed his instructions with reluctance, and, he might have added, with grave concern.

As a matter of interest in this connection and as a possible source from which the President may have acquired knowledge of my views as to the conduct of the negotiations, I would call attention again to the conference which I had with Colonel House on December 17, 1918, and to which I have referred in connection with the subject of international arbitration. During that conference I said to the Colonel “that I thought that there ought to be a preliminary treaty of peace negotiated without delay, and that all the details as to a League of Nations, boundaries, and indemnities should wait for the time being. The Colonel replied that he was not so sure about delaying the creation of a League, as he was afraid that it never could be put through unless it was done at once. I told him that possibly he was right, but that I was opposed to anything which delayed the peace.” This quotation is from my memorandum made at the time of our conversation. I think that the same reason for insisting on negotiating the Covenant largely influenced the course of the President. My impression at the time was that the Colonel favored a preliminary treaty provided that there was included in it the full plan for a League of Nations, which to me seemed to be impracticable.

There can be little doubt that, if there had been a settled programme prepared or a tentative treaty drafted, there would have been a preliminary treaty which might and probably would have postponed the negotiations as to a League. Possibly the President realized that this danger of excluding the Covenant existed and for that reason was unwilling to make a definite programme or to let a drafttreaty be drawn. At least it may have added another reason for his proceeding without advising the Commissioners of his purposes.

As I review the entire negotiations and the incidents which took place at Paris, President Wilson's inherent dislike to depart in the least from an announced course, a characteristic already referred to, seems to me to have been the most potent influence in determining his method of work during the Peace Conference. He seemed to think that, having marked out a definite plan of action, any deviation from it would show intellectual weakness or vacillation of purpose. Even when there could be no doubt that in view of changed conditions it was wise to change a policy, which he had openly adopted or approved, he clung to it with peculiar tenacity refusing or merely failing to modify it. Mr. Wilson's mind once made up seemed to become inflexible. It appeared to grow impervious to arguments and even to facts. It lacked the elasticity and receptivity which have always been characteristic of sound judgment and right thinking. He might break, but he would not bend. This rigidity of mind accounts in large measure for the deplorable, and, as it seemed to me, needless, conflict between the President and the Senate over the Treaty of Versailles. It accounts for other incidents in his career which have materially weakened his influence and cast doubts on his wisdom. It also accounts, in my opinion, for the President's failure to prepare or to adopt a programme at Paris or to commit himself to a draft of a treaty as a basis for the negotiations, which failure, I am convinced, not only prevented the signature of a short preliminary treaty of peace, but lost Mr. Wilson the leadership in the proceedings, as the statesmen of the other Great Powers outlined the Treaty negotiated and suggested the majority of the articles which were written into it. It would have made a vast difference if the President had known definitely what he sought, but he apparently did not. He dealt in generalities leaving, but not committing, to others their definition and application. He was always in the position of being able to repudiate the interpretation which others might place upon his declarations of principle.



ANOTHER matter, concerning which the President and I disagreed, was the secrecy with which the negotiations were carried on between him and the principal European statesmen, incidental to which was the willingness, if not the desire, to prevent the proceedings and decisions from becoming known even to the delegates of the smaller nations which were represented at the Peace Conference.

Confidential personal interviews were to a certain extent unavoidable and necessary, but to conduct the entire negotiation through a small group sitting behind closed doors and to shroud their proceedings with mystery and uncertainty made a very unfortunate impression on those who were not members of the secret councils.

At the first there was no Council of the Heads of States (the so-called Council of Four); in fact it was not recognized as an organized body until the latter part of March, 1919. Prior to that time the directing body of the Conference was the self-constituted Council of Ten composed of the President and the British, French, and Italian Premiers with their Secretaries or Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and two Japanese delegates of ambassadorial rank. This Council had a membership identical with that of the Supreme War Council, which controlled the armistices,

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