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try became clear. It was further provided that the conditions governing the representation of Russia should be settled by the Conference when Russian affairs come up for discussion.
A by no means smooth problem which the representatives of the five Great Powers were called upon to decide in advance of the Conference was the question of publicity of the proceedings. The opening clause in President Wilson's “Fourteen Points” provided for “Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at.” Press correspondents from all over the world flocked to Paris by the hundreds. The Government of the United States had provided a transport to accommodate the large delegation of American newspaper representatives. These men naturally took a keen interest in the provisions which would be made for enabling them to report to their respective publics the happenings at the Conference. When the rules of the Conference, announced a few days before its opening, provided merely that “Publicity shall be given to the proceedings by means of official communiqués prepared by the Secretariat and made public," the representatives of the press were greatly disappointed. They held a meeting and appointed a special committee which, on January 16th, unanimously adopted resolutions requesting that the official communiqués be as complete as possible, that, in addition, full summaries of each day's proceedings be issued, that responsible journalists have free intercourse with the delegates, and that the censorship be abolished in all Allied countries. A further resolution was adopted, from which the French press representatives dissented, that there should be direct representation of the press at the sittings of the Conference.
These resolutions were forwarded to the Conference, which, on the following day, replied that, while the representatives of the Allied and Associated Powers were anxious that the public, through the press, should have the fullest information compatible with safeguarding the supreme interest of all, which was that a just and honorable settlement should be arrived at with the minimum of delay so that the belligerents might demobilize their armies and return to the ways of peace, yet the conversations must be subject to the limitations necessarily imposed by the difficult and delicate nature of their object; that the proceedings of the Conference were not analogous to those of a legislature but to those of a Cabinet, which are held in private in order that differences may be reconciled and agreement reached before the stage of publicity has begun; that to start the discussions with a public declaration by each delegation of its own national point of view would lead to premature public controversy, not only within the interested states, but between the interested nations, render infinitely more difficult the process of give and take, so essential to the negotiations, and hinder that unanimity of agreement which is vital to success; that premature publicity would interminably protract the proceedings by distracting the delegates from the business before the Conference, and that the public announcement of the conclusions as they were arrived at on specific points would lead to undue misapprehension, because it would not be possible to judge of the wisdom and justice of the peace settlement until it could be viewed as a whole. The announcement ended by stating that the following rule had been adopted with regard to the full conferences:
Representatives of the press shall be admitted to the meetings of the full Conference, but upon necessary occasions the deliberations of the Conference may be held in camera.
Representatives of the press were accordingly admitted to the opening session on January 18th and to the plenary sessions on January 25th and February 14th, but not admitted to the meetings of the representatives of the Great Powers or of the Commissions and Committees, the only record of whose transactions the public receives being in the form of official communiqués issued after each meeting.
The Preliminary Peace Conference was opened at three o'clock P.M, on January 18, 1919, at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the Presidency of Mr. Raymond Poincaré, President of the French Republic, in the presence of the delegates of the following nations: United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy, Japan, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Greece, the Hedjaz, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Roumania, Serbia, Siam, the CzechoSlovak Republic, and Uruguay. Delegates of the following countries did not arrive in time to attend the opening session or the second plenary session on January 25th: Guatemala, Hayti, Honduras, Li
beria, New Zealand, Nicaragua and Panama. Of the nations in existence when the war started in 1914, Russia and Montenegro were not represented because of the political conditions in those countries ; but three new nations, erected as the result of the war, had delegates present, namely, the Hedjaz, Poland and the Czecho-Slovak Republic.
After the welcoming address of President Poincaré, he withdrew and the chair was taken temporarily by Mr. Clemenceau, President of the French Council of Ministers, in accordance with the rules of the Conference. The nomination of a permanent President was announced as the first order of business, and President Wilson proposed Mr. Clemenceau, whose nomination was seconded by Mr. Lloyd George of Great Britain and Baron Sonnino of Italy. There were no other nominations and Mr. Clemenceau was unanimously elected.
The Conference then authorized the designation of a Vice-President by each of the other Great Powers, and the following plenipotentiaries were named: Honorable Robert Lansing, United States of America; Rt. Hon. David Lloyd George, Great Britain; Mr. V. E. Orlando, Italy; Marquis Saioniji, Japan.
The President of the Conference then proposed Mr. Dutasta, of France, for the office of Secretary General of the Conference, and the proposal was unanimously adopted. Secretaries to be selected by each of the other Great Powers were then proposed and authorized. A Committee on Credentials, composed of one representative from the Great Powers, and a Drafting Committee, similarly formed, were then proposed and accepted, the respective representatives to be chosen by each Power. The following members were appointed on these two committees : Committee on Credentials:
Hon. Henry White (United States of America).
eign Office (British Empire). Mr. Fromageot, Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(France). Mr. Ricci-Busatti, Minister Plenipotentiary, Head of the Legal
Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Italy). Mr. H. Nagaoka, Counsellor of the Japanese Embassy at Paris
(Japan). These officers and committees constitute the Bureau of the Conference.
Mr. Clemenceau then made a brief speech in which he stated that the program of the conference had been laid down by President Wil. son, and invited the delegates of all the Powers to submit memoranda on the three questions which had been placed upon the order of the day, namely, the responsibility of the authors of the war, the penalty for the crimes committed during the war, and international legislation on labor. He further invited the Powers with special interests to submit memoranda on all questions, territorial, financial or economic, which particularly interested them. The session then adjourned at 4:35 P.M.
Although nothing is said in the rules of the Conference regarding its official language or languages, the proceedings were conducted in both French and English, an interpreter following each speaker with a translation of his remarks.
The second plenary session of the Conference was held on January 25, 1919. The first business on the order of the day was the following draft resolution submitted by the Bureau, to provide for the appointment of a Commission on the League of Nations :
Resolution Relative to the League of Nations The Conference, having considered the proposals for the creation of a League of Nations, resolves that
1. It is essential to the maintenance of the world settlement, which the Associated Nations are now met to establish, that a League of Nations be created to promote international coöperation, to insure the fulfilment of accepted international obligations, and to provide safeguards against war.
2. This League should be treated as an integral part of the general Treaty of Peace, and should be open to every civilized nation which can be relied on to promote its objects.
3. The members of the League should periodically meet in international conference, and should have a permanent organization and secretariat to carry on the business of the League in the intervals between the conferences.
The Conference therefore appoints a committee representative of the Associated Governments to work out the details of the constitution and functions of the League.
The discussion upon the resolution was opened by Presidènt Wilson, who stated that the Conference was solemnly obligated to make permanent arrangements to insure justice and maintain peace; that the United States had come into the war not to intervene in the politics of Europe or of Asia, but in the cause of justice and liberty for men of every kind and place, and that it could take no part in guaranteeing European settlements unless that guarantee involved the continuous superintendence of the peace of the world by the associated nations of the world; and that the representatives of the United States regarded the project for a League of Nations as the keystone of the whole peace program.
The resolution was seconded by Mr. Lloyd George of Great Britain, Mr. Orlando of Italy, Mr. Bourgeois of France, Mr. Lou of China, and Mr. Dmowski of Poland, after which it was unanimously adopted.
The Bureau also laid before the Conference, in accordance with the order of the day, the following draft resolutions providing for the appointment of commissions on reparation of damages, responsibility of the authors of the war and penalties, international labor legislation and international control of ports, waterways and railways:
Resolution Relative to the Responsibility of the Authors of the War
and the Enforcement of Penalties That a commission, composed of two representatives apiece from the five Great Powers and five representatives to be elected by the