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III. PROCEEDINGS OF INTERALLIED CONFERENCE
The date first set for the meeting of the Interallied Conference was November 16. But on November 14 the Painleve ministry in France was overthrown and the reconstitution of the government with Georges Clemenceau as premier and minister of war did not occur until the 19th. England produced a brake to smooth progress when, simultaneously with these events, a drive against Premier Lloyd George began in Parliament for his having supposedly curtailed the power of the general staff by assenting to the Rapallo agreement. His answer on November 19, quoted in part above, silenced his critics. Meantime the head of the American mission then in London gave out for publication the fact that the President had cabled that the United States Government considered unity of plan and control between the Allies and America essential. The effect of this can be appreciated by realizing that as respected supplies America was at the time the Providence of the Allies, as Lloyd George remarked later without any objection from the general staff. With Clemenceau at the head of things in France and the British general staff once more off its feet and down to business, the way was clear for the meeting of the conference.
The Interallied Conference convened on November 29, 1917, at the Quai d'Orsay. That it was an important gathering can readily be seen from the mere list of the principal delegates:
France.—Georges Clemenceau, premier and minister of war; Stephen Pichon, minister of foreign affairs; Louis L. Klotz, minister of finance; Georges Leygues, minister of marine; Etienne Clementel, minister of commerce; Louis Loucheur, minister of munitions; Victor Boret, minister of provisions; M. Lebrun, minister of blockade and invaded region; Andr6 Tardieu, high commissioner to the United States; Jean Jules Cambon, general secretary to the Foreign Office; P. de Margerie, director of the ministry of foreign affairs.
Great Britain.—David Lloyd George, premier; Lord Milner, member of the War Cabinet without portfolio; Arthur James Balfour, secretary of state for foreign affairs; Lord Bertie, ambassador to France; Sir Eric Campbell Geddes, first lord of the Admiralty; General Sir William Robertson, chief of the imperial staff at army headquarters; Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, chief of the naval staff; Col. Sir Maurice Hankey, secretary to the Committee on Imperial Defense; Lord Reading, special adviser on financial matters.
United States.—William Graves Sharp, ambassador to France; Edward Mandell House, chairman of special mission; Admiral William S. Benson, chief of naval operations; General Tasker H. Bliss, chief of staff; Oscar Terry Crosby, assistant secretary of the Treasury; Vance C. McCormick, chairman of the War Trade Board; Thomas Nelson Perkins of the Priority Board.
Italy.—Vittorio E. Orlando, premier and minister of the interior; Baron Sonnino, foreign minister; Francesco S. Nitti, minister of the Treasury; Count Bonin-Longare, ambassador to France; Signor Bianchi, minister of transports; General Alfredo dall' Olio, minister of munitions; General Cadorna.
Japan.—Viscount Chinda, ambassador to Great Britain; Mr. Matsui.
Belgium.—Baron Charles de Broqueville, foreign minister; Baron de Gaiffier d'Hestroy, minister to France; General Rucquoy, chief of the general staff.
Serbia.—Nikola P. Pachich, premier and minister of foreign affairs; Milenko R. Vesnich, minister to France.
Rumania.—V. Antonescu, minister to France; General Iliescu, chief of the general staff.
Greece.—Elephtherios Constantine Venizelos, premier and minister of war; Athos Romanos, minister to France; Alexander Diomedes, former minister of finance; M. Agyropoulos, governor of Macedonia; Colonel Frantzis; M. Rottassis, naval attache.
Portugal.—Affonso Costa, premier and minister of finance; Augusto Soares, minister of foreign affairs.
Montenegro.—Eugene Popovich, premier and minister of foreign affairs.
Brazil.—Antonio Olynthe de Magalhaes, minister at Paris.
Cuba.—General Carlos Garcia y Velez, minister at London.
Russia.—Mathieu Sevastopulo, counselor of the embassy at Paris; M. Maklakov, ambassador to France (by special invitation and unofficially, as he had not yet presented his letters).
Siam.—M. Charoon, minister at Paris.
China.—Hu Wei Teh, minister in France; General Tang Tsai Lieh, vice secretary of the general staff of China.
Liberia.—Baron de San Miguel.
Formal Addresses At The Meet1ngs
In opening the conference Georges Clemenceau, the French premier, said:
Gentlemen, I have the honor of bidding you welcome on behalf of the French Republic. In this the greatest war it is the feeling of the supreme solidarity of the peoples which finds us united in the desire to win upon the field of battle the right to a peace which will really be a peace of humanity. In this way we all here are a magnificent center of hopes, duties and wills, all united for all the sacrifices demanded by the alliance, which no intrigue and no defection can in any way shake. The high passions which animate us we must translate into acts. Our order of the day is to work. Let us work.
The session adjourned immediately after organization was completed and continued the working out of the program in committees composed of the appropriate delegates and the technical experts accompanying them. The final meetings of the Interallied Conference were held on December 3, the committees continuing their activities according to the character and advancement of their labors. At the final session only two speeches were made, MUTUAL FRANCO-AMERICAN TRIBUTES
both indicative of the extremely businesslike manner of the whole conference. They were as follows:
Edward Mandell House, chairman of the American mission: M. Clemenceau, in welcoming the delegates to this conference, declared that we had met to work. His words were prophetic. There have been co-ordination and unity of purpose which promise great results for the future. It is my deep conviction that by this unity and concentrated effort we shall be able to arrive at the goal which we have set out to reach.
In behalf of my colleagues I want to avail myself of this occasion to thank the officials of the French Government, and through them the French people, for the warm welcome and great consideration they have shown us. In coming to France we felt that we were coming to the house of our friends. Ever since our Government was founded there has been a bond of interest and sympathy between us—a sympathy which this war had fanned into passionate admiration. The history of France is the history of courage and sacrifice. Therefore the great deeds which have illuminated the last three years have come as no surprise to us of America. We knew that when called upon France would rise to splendid achievement and would add luster to her name. America salutes France and her heroic sons, and feels honored to fight by the side of so gallant a comrade.
Georges Clemenceau, premier of France, president of the Interallied Conference: As it is my duty to declare this conference closed, allow me to add a few words to those you have just heard. I came here fully intending to remain silent, so as to leave you under the spell of the impressive words which have just been uttered by my eminent friend, Mr. House, who so worthily represents American eloquence. As I listened to him I could not help thinking that, if there be a lesson to be learned from that historical friendship which to-day again unites in the memory of a glorious past the French and American nations, there is no less instruction in the total abolition of ancient feuds.
In the past we were the friends of America and the enemies of Great Britain. French and British fought bravely and loyally against each other, both on land and sea. The two peoples are to-day united in community of action and friendship. It is no longer a question of great and little nations. All peoples fighting for the same ideal of justice and liberty are great, and they will succeed in attaining that ideal by dint of sacrifices soon to be magnificently recompensed.
If I am to believe the newspapers, a guttural voice has made itself heard from the other side of the trenches mocking at this conference. This is no jesting matter. Our enemies, who recognize nothing but brute force, cannot understand us. We are all fighting at the dictates of the conscience of humanity, and wish simply the realization of right, justice and liberty. And we are met together to see that the right we have always sought shall become a reality.
Even if on the other side of the Rhine there is no desire to understand, the world expects our victory and will get it. All the peoples here represented are assisting each other for the success of the greatest of causes. Let us labor to win by our strength the right to peace.
Summary Of Results
The Department of State published a review of the report filed with it by Mr. House as head of the special American war mission on January 2, 1918. The report, said the Department of State, showed that the mission "succeeded in its purpose of reaching a definite working plan for the prosecution of the war through co-operation of the Governments represented at the conferences held in Paris in the various fields of activity and through marshaling the resources of the nations at war with the Central Powers and co-ordinating their uses under a common authority, thus avoiding the waste and uncertainties that arise from independent action."
The summary of the report is here quoted as the authentic statement of the work done by the Interallied Conference and the second session of the Supreme War Council, November 29-December 3, 1917:
The results of the conferences, as shown in the report, are most gratifying to this Government, first because they indicate that the conferees were inspired by the desire to be mutually helpful, and second because the agreements which were reached, when in full operation, will greatly increase the effectiveness of the efforts now being put forth by the United States and the Allies in the conflict against Germany and Austria-Hungary.
A summary of the results accomplished at their conferences and the recommendations made by the American mission will indicate the value