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Pogledaj Full Version : President Wilson's Fourteen Points - January 8, 1918



Željko Zidarić
9th-June-2012, 09:35 PM
In this January 8, 1918, address to Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proposed a 14-point program for world peace. These points were later taken as the basis for peace negotiations at the end of the war.

In this January 8, 1918, speech on War Aims and Peace Terms, President Wilson set down 14 points as a blueprint for world peace that was to be used for peace negotiations after World War I. The details of the speech were based on reports generated by “The Inquiry,” a group of about 150 political and social scientists organized by Wilson’s adviser and long-time friend, Col. Edward M House. Their job was to study Allied and American policy in virtually every region of the globe and analyze economic, social, and political facts likely to come up in discussions during the peace conference. The team began its work in secret and in the end produced and collected nearly 2,000 separate reports and documents plus at least 1,200 maps.

In the speech, Wilson directly addressed what he perceived as the causes for the world war by calling for the abolition of secret treaties, a reduction in armaments, an adjustment in colonial claims in the interests of both native peoples and colonists, and freedom of the seas. Wilson also made proposals that would ensure world peace in the future. For example, he proposed the removal of economic barriers between nations, the promise of “self-determination” for those oppressed minorities, and a world organization that would provide a system of collective security for all nations. Wilson’s 14 Points were designed to undermine the Central Powers’ will to continue and to inspire the Allies to victory. The 14 Points were broadcast throughout the world and were showered from rockets and shells behind the enemy’s lines.

When the Allies met in Versailles to formulate the treaty to end World War I with Germany and Austria-Hungary, most of Wilson’s 14 Points were scuttled by the leaders of England and France. To his dismay, Wilson discovered that England, France, and Italy were mostly interested in regaining what they had lost and gaining more by punishing Germany. Germany quickly found out that Wilson’s blueprint for world peace would not apply to them. However, Wilson’s capstone point calling for a world organization that would provide some system of collective security was incorporated into the Treaty of Versailles. This organization would later be known as the League of Nations. Though Wilson launched a tireless missionary campaign to overcome opposition in the U.S. Senate to the adoption of the treaty and membership in the League, the treaty was never adopted by the Senate, and the United States never joined the League of Nations. Wilson would later suggest that without American participation in the League, there would be another world war within a generation.



Delivered in Joint Session, January 8, 1918

Gentlemen of the Congress:

Once more, as repeatedly before, the spokesmen of the Central Empires have indicated their desire to discuss the objects of the war and the possible basis of a general peace. Parleys have been in progress at Brest-Litovsk between Russsian representatives and representatives of the Central Powers to which the attention of all the belligerents have been invited for the purpose of ascertaining whether it may be possible to extend these parleys into a general conference with regard to terms of peace and settlement.

The Russian representatives presented not only a perfectly definite statement of the principles upon which they would be willing to conclude peace but also an equally definite program of the concrete application of those principles. The representatives of the Central Powers, on their part, presented an outline of settlement which, if much less definite, seemed susceptible of liberal interpretation until their specific program of practical terms was added. That program proposed no concessions at all either to the sovereignty of Russia or to the preferences of the populations with whose fortunes it dealt, but meant, in a word, that the Central Empires were to keep every foot of territory their armed forces had occupied -- every province, every city, every point of vantage -- as a permanent addition to their territories and their power.

It is a reasonable conjecture that the general principles of settlement which they at first suggested originated with the more liberal statesmen of Germany and Austria, the men who have begun to feel the force of their own people's thought and purpose, while the concrete terms of actual settlement came from the military leaders who have no thought but to keep what they have got. The negotiations have been broken off. The Russian representatives were sincere and in earnest. They cannot entertain such proposals of conquest and domination.

The whole incident is full of significances. It is also full of perplexity. With whom are the Russian representatives dealing? For whom are the representatives of the Central Empires speaking? Are they speaking for the majorities of their respective parliaments or for the minority parties, that military and imperialistic minority which has so far dominated their whole policy and controlled the affairs of Turkey and of the Balkan states which have felt obliged to become their associates in this war?

The Russian representatives have insisted, very justly, very wisely, and in the true spirit of modern democracy, that the conferences they have been holding with the Teutonic and Turkish statesmen should be held within open, not closed, doors, and all the world has been audience, as was desired. To whom have we been listening, then? To those who speak the spirit and intention of the resolutions of the German Reichstag of the 9th of July last, the spirit and intention of the Liberal leaders and parties of Germany, or to those who resist and defy that spirit and intention and insist upon conquest and subjugation? Or are we listening, in fact, to both, unreconciled and in open and hopeless contradiction? These are very serious and pregnant questions. Upon the answer to them depends the peace of the world.

But, whatever the results of the parleys at Brest-Litovsk, whatever the confusions of counsel and of purpose in the utterances of the spokesmen of the Central Empires, they have again attempted to acquaint the world with their objects in the war and have again challenged their adversaries to say what their objects are and what sort of settlement they would deem just and satisfactory. There is no good reason why that challenge should not be responded to, and responded to with the utmost candor. We did not wait for it. Not once, but again and again, we have laid our whole thought and purpose before the world, not in general terms only, but each time with sufficient definition to make it clear what sort of definite terms of settlement must necessarily spring out of them. Within the last week Mr. Lloyd George has spoken with admirable candor and in admirable spirit for the people and Government of Great Britain.

There is no confusion of counsel among the adversaries of the Central Powers, no uncertainty of principle, no vagueness of detail. The only secrecy of counsel, the only lack of fearless frankness, the only failure to make definite statement of the objects of the war, lies with Germany and her allies. The issues of life and death hang upon these definitions. No statesman who has the least conception of his responsibility ought for a moment to permit himself to continue this tragical and appalling outpouring of blood and treasure unless he is sure beyond a peradventure that the objects of the vital sacrifice are part and parcel of the very life of Society and that the people for whom he speaks think them right and imperative as he does.

There is, moreover, a voice calling for these definitions of principle and of purpose which is, it seems to me, more thrilling and more compelling than any of the many moving voices with which the troubled air of the world is filled. It is the voice of the Russian people. They are prostrate and all but hopeless, it would seem, before the grim power of Germany, which has hitherto known no relenting and no pity. Their power, apparently, is shattered. And yet their soul is not subservient. They will not yield either in principle or in action. Their conception of what is right, of what is humane and honorable for them to accept, has been stated with a frankness, a largeness of view, a generosity of spirit, and a universal human sympathy which must challenge the admiration of every friend of mankind; and they have refused to compound their ideals or desert others that they themselves may be safe.

They call to us to say what it is that we desire, in what, if in anything, our purpose and our spirit differ from theirs; and I believe that the people of the United States would wish me to respond, with utter simplicity and frankness. Whether their present leaders believe it or not, it is our heartfelt desire and hope that some way may be opened whereby we may be privileged to assist the people of Russia to attain their utmost hope of liberty and ordered peace.

It will be our wish and purpose that the processes of peace, when they are begun, shall be absolutely open and that they shall involve and permit henceforth no secret understandings of any kind. The day of conquest and aggrandizement is gone by; so is also the day of secret covenants entered into in the interest of particular governments and likely at some unlooked-for moment to upset the peace of the world. It is this happy fact, now clear to the view of every public man whose thoughts do not still linger in an age that is dead and gone, which makes it possible for every nation whose purposes are consistent with justice and the peace of the world to avow nor or at any other time the objects it has in view.

We entered this war because violations of right had occurred which touched us to the quick and made the life of our own people impossible unless they were corrected and the world secure once for all against their recurrence. What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression. All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us. The program of the world's peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program, as we see it, is this:

I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.

II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.

III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.

IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.

V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.

VI. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.

VII. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.

VIII. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.

IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.

X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development.

XI. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.

XII. The Turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.

XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.

XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.

In regard to these essential rectifications of wrong and assertions of right we feel ourselves to be intimate partners of all the governments and peoples associated together against the Imperialists. We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end. For such arrangements and covenants we are willing to fight and to continue to fight until they are achieved; but only because we wish the right to prevail and desire a just and stable peace such as can be secured only by removing the chief provocations to war, which this program does remove. We have no jealousy of German greatness, and there is nothing in this program that impairs it. We grudge her no achievement or distinction of learning or of pacific enterprise such as have made her record very bright and very enviable. We do not wish to injure her or to block in any way her legitimate influence or power. We do not wish to fight her either with arms or with hostile arrangements of trade if she is willing to associate herself with us and the other peace- loving nations of the world in covenants of justice and law and fair dealing. We wish her only to accept a place of equality among the peoples of the world, -- the new world in which we now live, -- instead of a place of mastery.

Neither do we presume to suggest to her any alteration or modification of her institutions. But it is necessary, we must frankly say, and necessary as a preliminary to any intelligent dealings with her on our part, that we should know whom her spokesmen speak for when they speak to us, whether for the Reichstag majority or for the military party and the men whose creed is imperial domination.

We have spoken now, surely, in terms too concrete to admit of any further doubt or question. An evident principle runs through the whole program I have outlined. It is the principle of justice to all peoples and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they be strong or weak.

Unless this principle be made its foundation no part of the structure of international justice can stand. The people of the United States could act upon no other principle; and to the vindication of this principle they are ready to devote their lives, their honor, and everything they possess. The moral climax of this the culminating and final war for human liberty has come, and they are ready to put their own strength, their own highest purpose, their own integrity and devotion to the test.

Željko Zidarić
9th-June-2012, 09:37 PM
Source: SCRIBD - The Intimate Papers of Colonel House-Vol4-1918to1919 (http://www.scribd.com/doc/82905592/The-Intimate-Papers-of-Colonel-House-Vol4-1918to1919-600pgs-POL)

At my request Cobb and Lippmann have compiled the following respecting your fourteen points. I shall be grateful to you if you will cable me whether it meets with your general approval. Here follows memorandum:

1. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.

The purpose is clearly to prohibit treaties, sections of treaties or understandings that are secret, such as the [Triple Alliance], etc.

The phrase "openly arrived at" need not cause difficulty. In fact, the President explained to the Senate last winter that the phrase was not meant to exclude confidential diplomatic negotiations involving delicate matters. The intention is that nothing which occurs in the course of such confidential negotiations shall be binding unless it appears in the final covenant made public to the world.

The matter may perhaps be put this way: It is proposed that in future every treaty be part of the public law of the world and that every nation assume a certain obligation in regard to its enforcement. Obviously, nations cannot assume obligations in matters of which they are ignorant; and therefore any secret treaty tends to undermine the solidity of the whole structure of international covenants which it is proposed to erect.

2. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.

This proposition must be read in connection with number 14 which proposes a league of nations. It refers to navigation under the three following conditions: (1) general peace; (2) a general war, entered into by the League of Nations for the purpose of enforcing international covenants; (3) limited war, involving no breach of international covenants.

Under "(1) general peace," no serious dispute exists. There is implied freedom to come and go [on the high seas].

No serious dispute exists as to the intention under "(2) a general war entered into by the League of Nations to enforce international covenants." Obviously such a war is conducted against an outlaw nation and complete nonintercourse with that nation is intended.

"(3) A limited war, involving no breach of international covenants" is the crux of the whole difficulty. The question is, what are to be the rights of neutral shipping and private property on the high seas during a war between a limited number of nations when that war involves no issue upon which the League of Nations cares to take sides; in other words, a war in which the League of Nations remains neutral. Clearly, it is the intention of the proposal that in such a war the rights of neutrals shall be maintained against the belligerents, the rights of both to be clearly and precisely defined in the law of nations.

3. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.

The proposal applies only to those nations which accept the responsibilities of membership in the League of Nations. It means the destruction of all special commercial agreements, each putting the trade of every other nation in the League on the same basis, the most-favored-nation clause applying automatically to all members of the League of Nations. Thus a nation could legally maintain a tariff or a special railroad rate or a port restriction against the whole world, or against all the signatory powers. It could maintain any kind of restriction which it chose against a nation not in the League. But it could not discriminate as between its partners in the League.

This clause naturally contemplates fair and equitable understanding as to the distribution of raw materials.

4. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest points consistent with domestic safety.

"Domestic safety" clearly implies not only internal policing, but the protection of territory against invasion. The accumulation of armaments above this level would be a violation of the intention of the proposal.

What guarantees should be given and taken, or what are to be the standards of judgment have never been determined. It will be necessary to adopt the general principle and then institute some kind [of international commission of investigation] to prepare detailed projects for its execution.

5. A free, open-minded and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty, the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.

Some fear is expressed in France [and England] that this involves reopening of all colonial questions. Obviously it is not so intended. It applies clearly [to those] colonial claims which have been created by the war. That means the German colonies and any other colonies which may come under international consideration as a result of the war.

The stipulation is that in the case of the German colonies the title is to be determined after the conclusion of the war by "impartial adjustment" based on certain principles. These are of two kinds: (1) "equitable" claims; (2) the interests of the populations concerned.

What are the "equitable" claims put forth by Great Britain and Japan, the two chief heirs of the German colonial empire, that the colonies cannot be returned to Germany? Because she will use them as submarine bases, because she will arm the blacks, because she uses the colonies as bases of intrigue, because she oppresses the natives. What are the "equitable" claims put forth by Germany? That she needs access to tropical raw material, that she needs a field for the expansion of her population, that under the principles of the peace proposed, conquest gives her enemies no title to her colonies.

What are the "interests of the populations?" That they should not be militarized, that exploitation should be conducted on the principle of the "open door," and under the strictest regulation as to labor conditions, profits, and taxes, that a sanitary regime be maintained, that permanent improvements in the way of roads, etc., be made, that native organization and custom be respected, that the protecting authority be stable and experienced enough to thwart intrigue and corruption, that the [protecting] power have adequate resources in money and competent administrators to act successfully.

It would seem as if the principle involved in this proposition is that a colonial power acts not as owner of its colonies but as trustee for the natives and for the interests of the society of nations, that the terms on which the colonial administration is conducted are a matter of international concern and may legitimately be the subject of international inquiry, and that the peace conference may, therefore, write a code of colonial conduct binding upon [all] colonial powers.

6. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their goodwill, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.

The first question is whether Russian territory is synonymous with territory belonging to the former Russian Empire. This is clearly not so because proposition 13 stipulates an independent Poland, a proposal which excludes the territorial reestablishment of the Empire. What is recognized as valid for the Poles will certainly have to be recognized for the Finns, the Lithuanians, the Letts, and perhaps also for the Ukrainians. Since the formulating of this condition, these subject nationalities have emerged, and there can be no doubt that they will have to be granted an opportunity of free development.

The problem of these nationalities is complicated by two facts: (1) that they have conflicting claims; (2) that the evacuation called for in the proposal may be followed by Bolshevist revolutions in all of them.

The chief conflicts are: (a) between the Letts and Germans in Courland; (b) between the Poles and the Lithuanians on the northeast; (c) between the Poles and the White Ruthenians on the east; (d) between the Poles and the Ukrainians on the southeast (and in eastern Galicia).

In this whole borderland the relations of the German Poles [sic] to the other nationalities is roughly speaking that of landlord to peasant. Therefore the evacuating of the territory, if it resulted in class war, would very probably also take the form of a conflict of nationalities. It is clearly to the interests of a good settlement that the real nation in each territory should be consulted rather than the ruling and possessing class.

This can mean nothing less than the [recognition] by the peace conference of a series of [de facto] governments representing Finns, Esths, Lithuanians, Ukrainians. This primary [act] of recognition should be conditional upon the calling of national assemblies for the creation of de facto governments as soon as the peace conference has drawn frontiers for these new states. The frontiers should be drawn so far as possible on ethnic lines, but in [every] case the right of unhampered economic [transit] should be reserved. No dynastic ties with German [or] Austrian or Romanov princes should be permitted, and every inducement should be [given] to encourage federal [relations] between these new states. Under proposition 3 the economic sections of the treaty of Brest-Litovsk are obliterated, but this proposition should not be construed as forbidding a customs union, a monetary union, a railroad union, etc., of these states. Provision should also be made by which Great Russia can federate with these states on the same terms.

As for Great Russia and Siberia, the peace conference might well send a message asking for the creation of a government sufficiently [representative] to speak for these territories. It should be understood that economic rehabilitation is offered provided a government carrying sufficient credentials can appear at the peace conference.

The Allies should offer this provisional government any form of assistance it may need. The possibility of extending this will exist when the Dardanelles are opened.

The essence of the Russian problem then in the immediate future would seem to be: (1) the recognition of provisional governments; (2) assistance extended to and through these governments.

The Caucasus should probably be treated as part of the problem of the Turkish Empire. No information exists justifying an opinion on the proper policy in regard to Mohammedan Russia--that is, briefly, Central Asia. It may well be that some power will have to be given a limited mandate to act as protector.

In any case the treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Bucharest must be canceled as palpably fraudulent. Provision must be made for the withdrawal of all German troops in Russia and the peace conference [will] have a clean slate on which to write a policy for all the Russian peoples.

7. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.

The only problem raised here is in the word "restored." Whether restoration is to be in kind or how the amount of the indemnity is to be determined is a matter of detail, not of principle. The principle that should be established is that in the case of Belgium there exists no distinction between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" destruction. The initial act of invasion was illegitimate and therefore all the consequences of that act are of the same character. Among the consequences may be put the war debt of Belgium. The recognition of this principle would constitute "the healing act" of which the President speaks.

8. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.

In regard to the restoration of French territory it might well be argued that the invasion of northern France, being the result of the illegal act as regards Belgium, was in itself illegal. But the case is not perfect. As the world stood in 1914, war between France and Germany was not in itself a violation of international law, and great insistence should be put upon keeping the Belgian case distinct and symbolic. Thus Belgium might well, as indicated above, claim reimbursement, not only for destruction but for the cost of carrying on the war. France could not claim payment, it would seem, for more than the damage done to her northeastern departments.

The status of Alsace-Lorraine was settled by the official statement issued a few days ago. It is to be restored completely to French sovereignty.

Attention is called to the strong current of French opinion which claims "the boundaries of 1914 [1814]" rather than of 1871. The territory claimed is the valley of the Saar with its coalfields. No claim on grounds of nationality can be established, but the argument leans on the possibility of taking this territory in lieu of indemnity; it would seem to be a clear violation of the President's proposal.

Attention is called also to the fact that no reference is made to status of Luxembourg. The best solution would seem to be a free choice by the [people of] Luxembourg themselves.

9. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.

This proposal is less than the Italian claim; less, of course, than the territory allotted by the treaty of London; less than the arrangement made between the Italian government and the Yugoslav state.

In the region of Trent the Italians claim a strategic rather than ethnic frontier. It should be noted in this connection that [Italy] and Germany will become neighbors if German Austria joins the German Empire. And if Italy obtains the best geographical frontier she will assume sovereignty over a large number of Germans. This is a violation of principle. But it may be argued that by drawing a sharp line along the crest of the Alps, Italy's security will be enormously enhanced and the necessity of heavy armaments reduced. It might, therefore, be provided that Italy should have her claim in the Trentino, but that the northern part, inhabited by Germans, should be completely autonomous and that the population should not be liable to military service in the Italian Army. Italy could thus occupy the uninhabited Alpine peaks for military purposes, but would not govern the cultural life of the alien population to the south of her frontier.

The other problems of the frontier are questions between Italy and Yugoslavia, Italy and the Balkans, Italy and Greece.

The agreement reached with Yugoslavs may well be allowed to stand, although it should be insisted for [the protection of] the hinterland that both Trieste and Fiume be free ports. This is [essential] to Bohemia, German Austria, Hungary, as well as to prosperity of the cities themselves.

Italy appears in Balkan politics through her claim to a protectorate over Albania and the possession of Valona. There is no serious objection raised to this [although the] terms of the protectorate need to be vigorously controlled. If Italy is protector of Albania [the local] life of Albania should be guaranteed by the League of Nations.

A conflict with Greece appears through the Greek claim to northern Epirus, or what is now southern Albania. This would bring Greece closer to Valona than Italy desires. A second conflict with Greece occurs over the Aegean Islands of the Dodecanese, but it is understood that a solution favorable to Greece is being worked out.

Italy's claims in Turkey belong to the problem of the Turkish Empire.

10. The people of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.

This proposition no longer holds. Instead we have [today] the following elements:

(1) Czechoslovakia. Its territories include at least a million Germans for whom some provision must be made.

The independence of Slovakia means the dismemberment of the northwestern countries of Hungary.

(2) Galicia. Western Galicia is clearly Polish. Eastern Galicia is in large measure Ukrainian (or Ruthenian) and does not of right belong to Poland.

There also are several hundred thousand Ukrainians along the north and northeastern borders of Hungary and in parts of Bukovina (which belonged to Austria).

(3) German Austria. This territory should of right be permitted to join Germany, but there is strong objection in [France] because of the increase of [population] involved.


(4) Yugoslavia. It faces the following problems:

frontier questions with Italy in Istria and the Dalmatian coast; with Rumania in the Banat;
an international problem arises out of the refusal of the Croats to accept the domination of the Serbs of the Serbian Kingdom;

a problem of the Mohammedan Serbs of Bosnia who are said to be loyal to the Hapsburgs. They constitute a little less than one-third of the population.

(5) Transylvania. Will undoubtedly join Rumania, but provision must be made for the protection of the Magyars, Szeklers, and Germans who constitute a large minority.

(6) Hungary. Now independent and very democratic in form, but governed by Magyars whose aim is to prevent the detachment of territory of nationalities on the fringe.

The United States is clearly committed to the program of national unity and independence. It must stipulate, however, for the protection of national minorities, for freedom of access to the Adriatic and the Black Sea, and it supports a program aiming at a confederation of southeastern Europe.

11. Rumania, [Serbia], and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.

This proposal is also altered by events. Serbia will appear as Yugoslavia with access to the Adriatic. Rumania will have acquired the Dobrudja, Bessarabia, and probably Transylvania. These two states will have 11 or 12 million inhabitants and will be far greater and stronger than Bulgaria.

Bulgaria should clearly have her frontier in the southern Dobrudja as it stood before the second Balkan War. She should also have Thrace up to the Enos-Midia line and perhaps even to the Midia-Rodosto line.

Macedonia should be allotted after an impartial investigation. The line which might be taken as a basis of investigation is the southern line of the "contested zone" agreed upon by Serbia and Bulgaria before the first Balkan War.

Albania could be under a protectorate, no doubt of Italy, and its frontiers in the north might be essentially those of the London conference.

12. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development; and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.

The same difficulty arises here as in the case of Austria-Hungary concerning the word "autonomous."

It is clear that the Straits and Constantinople, while they may remain nominally Turkish, should be under international control. This control may be collective or be in the hands of one power as mandatory of the League.

Anatolia should be reserved for the Turks. The coastlands, where Greeks predominate, should be under special international control, perhaps with Greece as mandatory.

Armenia must be [given] a port on the Mediterranean, and a protecting power established. France may claim it, but the Armenians would prefer Great Britain.

Syria has already been allotted to France by agreement with Great Britain.

Great Britain is clearly the best mandatory for Palestine, Mesopotamia, and Arabia.

A general code of guarantees binding upon all mandataries in Asia Minor should be written into the Treaty of Peace.

This should contain provisions for minorities and the "open door." The trunk railroad lines should be internationalized.

13. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenants.

The chief problem is whether Poland is to obtain territory west of the Vistula, which would cut off the Germans of East Prussia from the empire, or whether Danzig can be made a free port and the Vistula internationalized.

On the east, Poland should receive no territory in which Lithuanians or Ukrainians predominate.

If Posen and Silesia go to Poland, rigid protection must be afforded the minorities of Germans and Jews living there, as well as in other parts of the Polish state.

The principle on which frontiers will be [delimited] is contained in the President's word "indisputably." This may imply the taking of an impartial census before frontiers are marked.

14. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small [states] alike.

The principle of a league of nations as the primary essential of a permanent peace has been so clearly presented by President Wilson in his speech of Sept. 27, 1918, that no further elucidation is required. It is the foundation of the whole diplomatic structure of a permanent peace.

Source: PRFA, 1918. Supplement 1: The World War, Vol. 1, pp. 405-413.

Željko Zidarić
9th-June-2012, 10:05 PM
Source: Archive.org (http://archive.org/stream/intimatepapersof007804mbp/intimatepapersof007804mbp_djvu.txt)

WILSON'S DRAFF OF POINT XI OF THE FOURTEEN POINTS, WITH VESNITCH'S NOTATION


OVERRIDES VESNITCH'S PROTEST 335

'"There will and there cannot be in Europe any lasting
peace with the conservation of actual Austria-Hungary. The
nations kept in it, as well Serbians, Croats and Slovenes, as
Tehees and Slovaks, as Rumanians and Italians, will con-
tinue to combat the German-Magyar dominations. As to
Bulgaria, Serbia stands firm on the Treaty of Bucharest. The
Allied Powers have guaranteed to her these frontiers. It will
be morally and materially impossible to get so rapidly an
understanding of Balkan nations, which is of course desirable,
and which may come. Bulgarian treachery can and shall not
be rewarded. I sincerely believe that serious negotiations for
the peace at this moment of the war would mean the com-
plete failure of the policy of allies and a grave collapse of
the civilization of mankind."

'Vesnitch gave me a history of the Balkans, particularly
that of Serbia, and I had to check him, saying I had an en-
gagement with the President.

'The President was rather depressed at this first and only
attempt to obtain outside opinion regarding the message. . . .
I advised him not to change the paragraph in the slightest,
and to go ahead as if no objection had been made, and this
he did.'

It is rather surprising that the insistence of M. Vesnitch
that a permanent settlement could not be secured so long as
Austria-Hungary continued to exist did not lead to longer
discussion between the President and Colonel House. The
Serbian envoy was by no means alone in his opinion. Many
authorities in France and Great Britain regarded the problem
of the Austrian nationalities as the/ons et origo mail. These
authorities believed that it was necessary to face it squarely,
just as they emphasized the moral and material aid which the
subject nationalities, if properly encouraged, might bring to
the Entente through revolution.

President Wilson had two alternative policies before him.


He might proclaim war to the death upon the Hapsburg
Monarchy and promise complete liberation to the Czecho-
slovaks, Poles, South Slavs, and Rumanians. He would thus
bear assistance to a revolution that might end in the Balkani-
zation of the Danube regions, but which would in the mean
time go far to undermine the strength of the Central Powers.
Or he might proclaim the right to 'autonomy* of the subject
nationalities, which, however, should remain in some sort of
federal union under the Hapsburg Crown. The peril of split-
ting up territories economically interdependent would thus
be avoided at the same time that the self-government of the
nationalities was assured.

The second alternative was chosen by the President. In
common with the leading statesmen of western Europe, he
believed that the political union of Austro-Hungarian peo-^
pies was a necessity, and he seems to have felt that once* ,
freed from German domination, the Hapsburg Monarchy I j
would prove a beneficial force. Colonel House was of this
opinion. 1 The Inquiry Report advised Wilson to pursue
the rather tortuous course of threatening the existing Haps-
burg Government with nationalist uprisings and at the
same time showing it a means of safety through a refusal
to accept German control in foreign policy. 2 'Austria-
Hungary is in the position where she must be good in order
to survive/

President Wilson in his speech of the Fourteen Points did
not threaten the integrity of the Hapsburg Empire. Point X
simply stated : 'The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place
among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured,
should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous

1 See above, Chapter VI, House to Wilson, August 15, 1917: 'On a
basis of the status quo ante, the Entente could aid Austria in emancipating
herself from Prussia.'

2 'Our policy must therefore consist first in a stirring up of nationalist
discontent and then in refusing to accept the extreme logic of this dis-
content which would be the dismemberment of Austria-Hungary/

development.' This was, indeed, as far as the leaders of the
Entente wished to go. Mr. Lloyd George, at the same time,
renounced any threats against the existence of the Hapsburg
Empire. 'Though ... the break-up of Austria-Hungary/ he
said, 'is no part of our war aims, we feel that, unless genuine
self-government on true democratic principles is granted to
those Austro-Hungarian nationalities who have long desired
it, it is impossible to hope for the removal of those causes of
unrest in that part of Europe which have so long threatened
its general peace.

It is important to remember that the statesmen of the time
were compelled to base their policy upon inadequate and
frequently contradictory sources of information. They still
believed in the possibility of preserving the union of Austro-
Hungarian peoples and liberating the Hapsburg Empire from
German control. But as it turned out the speeches of Wilson
and Lloyd George were quite without avail. Whether the
Dual Monarchy stood by Germany in her defeat or deserted
her, it was doomed. As Czernin himself confessed, 'Austria-
Hungary's watch had run down/ l

'We could have gone over to the enemy,' wrote Czernin.
'We could have fought against Germany with the Entente on
Austro-Hungarian soil, and would doubtless have hastened
Germany's collapse; but the wounds which Austria-Hungary
would have received in the fray would not have been less
serious than those from which she is now suffering; she would
have perished in the fight against Germany, as she has as
good as perished in her fight allied with Germany.'

The Entente was determined upon the defeat of Germany,
and once this was accomplished the break-up of Austria-
Hungary became inevitable. The solution of federal auto-
nomy some years before might have settled the Hapsburg

problem, but it was now too late. The disintegration of the
Dual Monarchy had already gone so far that Austria-Hun-
gary could no longer be held together except by a girdle of
German bayonets. A realization of this fact would conceiva-
bly have hastened the end of the war, for instead of dis-
cussing such projects as * autonomy* and 'self-government,'
which irritated and discouraged the rebellious Slavs, Ameri-
can and Allied leaders might have launched the revolution
which they could not prevent, and profited by it. As it was,
the work of propaganda conducted by Northcliffe and Steed,
with the cooperation of Masaryk and the South Slav leaders,
which ultimately ate into the morale of the Hapsburg armies,
was delayed, and assistance which might have proved in-
valuable to the Entente in the moment of supreme danger in
the spring of 1918, was left on one side.

IV

On the very day that President Wilson was drafting his
speech of the Fourteen Points, Mr. Lloyd George delivered
an equally comprehensive but quite independent statement
of war aims to the Trades Union Congress. 1 The Prime
Minister, soon after his return from the Interallied Confer-
ence of Paris, appreciated the compelling necessity of a pro-
nouncement by the British Government, in view of the Rus-
sian situation and especially in view of the memorandum
upon war aims issued by the British Labour Conference.
Colonel House had been given some intimation that Mr.
Lloyd George might find it advisable to meet the increasing
demand for an official statement, but he did not realize that

1 The independence of the speeches of Lloyd George and Wilson is
proved by the following documents. The reader should remember, how-
ever, that Lloyd George was as anxious to avoid conflicting statements
as Wilson. Wiseman wrote: 'House had told Lloyd George in London
what Wilson was likely to say. 9 Thus there was established a basis for
a joint declaration of war aims by the Allies, if only the French and
Italians had expressed their acquiescence.


he planned to speak so soon. President Wilson agreed that
the British Government should be warned of his own address,
and on Saturday morning Colonel House sent to Mr. Balfour
the following telegram which the President himself drafted.

42d3e78f26a4b20d412==