University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Foreign Relations of the United States

Page View

United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919

The Council of Four: minutes of meetings March 20 to May 24, 1919,   pp. [V]-917 ff. PDF (305.7 MB)

Page 9

to the controversy. He was not indifferent to the understanding
which had been reached between the British and French Governments,
and was interested to know about the undertakings to King Hussein
and the 1916 agreement, but it was not permissible for him to express
an opinion thereon. He would, however, like to point out that one
of the parties to the 1916 agreement had been Russia, and Russia had
now disappeared. Hence, the partnership of interest had been dis-
solved, since one of the parties had gone out. This seemed to him to
alter the basis of the agreement. The point of view of the United
States of America was, however, indifferent to the claims both of
Great Britain and France over peoples unless those peoples wanted
them. One of the fundamental principles to which the United States
of America adhered was the consent of the governed. This was in-
grained in the United States of America thought. Hence, the only
idea from the United States of America point of view was as to
whether France would be agreeable to the Syrians. The same ap-
plied as to whether Great Britain would be agreeable to the in-
habitants of Mesopotamia. It might not be his business, but if the
question was made his business, owing to the fact that it was brought
before the Conference, the only way to deal with it was to discover
the desires of the population of these regions. He recalled that, in
the Council of Ten, Resolutions had been adopted in regard to man-
datories, and they contained a very carefully thought out graduation
of different stages of mandate according to the civilisation of the
peoples concerned. One of the elements in those mandatw was the
desire of the people over whom the mandate was to be exercised.
The present controversy broadened out into very important questions.
Cilicia, for example, from its geographical position, cut Armenia off
from the Mediterranean. If there was one mandatory in the south,
and another in the north of Armenia, there would be a great danger
of friction, since the troublesome population lived in the south.
Hence, the controversy broadened into a case affecting the peace of
the whole world in this region. He hoped, therefore, that the ques-
tion would be discussed from this point of view. If this were agreed
to, he hoped that he might ask General Allenby certain questions.
If the participation of M. Orlando and himself were recognised as a
matter of right and not of courtesy, the question he wanted to know
was whether the undertaking to King Hussein, and the 1916 agree-
ment, provided an arrangement which would work. If not, and you
asked his opinion, he would reply that we ought to ask what is the
opinion of the people in the part of the world concerned. He was
told that, if France insisted on occupying Damascus and Aleppo,
there would be instant war. Feisal had said that he could not say
how many men he had had in the field at one time, as it had been a

Go up to Top of Page