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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence, diary of the Peace Conference

(fragment - not continued)

Jan. 1919

The fun began when [name omitted] went off to Paris with seventy lady typists, and a doctor who was a Harley street obstetric specialist, as M.O. to the Villa Majestic. Everybody was wondering how he knew that the Conference would last nine months. It says much for [name omitted] that the jests have been everywhere jests.

The allotment of delegates was a delicate business. Brazil got three, since there are many German interests there and they hope, by implicating her fully in the Conference, to cajole her into repressive measures there. It sounds almost unworthy of American principles.

The Portuguese were greatly sorrowful. The French went to their minister, and said how they regretted the inadequate representation, but that the English were quite firm. The Portuguese came to us more in anger than in sorrow, and protested. Sir Eyre Crowe had to cut out an extract from the official proceedings and send it them secretly, that they might see the protest against the extra delegate came from the French.

Mr. Balfour completely forgot the Hejaz representatives at the first sitting. I got Mallet, Tyrrell, and Cecil to go and protest. Then I went to see Eric Drummond, and explained myself vigorously. He tried first to persuade me that we had no standing, but later came round and promised to do his best. I dined with Mr. Balfour, and got his promise to the same effect, and loaded him full of ammunition. Philip Kerr did the same for Lloyd George on Lionel Curtis' advice. Meanwhile I told Feisal that his question was not prejudiced, only postponed a day for production of necessary papers. Next day Balfour proposed the Hejaz. Pichon protested. Clemenceau accepted one delegate, and Pichon said they could have no more since they were an embryo nationality, not an independent state. Balfour and Lloyd George countered sharply with the statement that they and France had recognised its independence, and the point - two delegates - was carried.

Feisal had meanwhile been visited by Gout, who told him his omission was intentional, and the English were only playing with him. He said France was strong, and the sooner Feisal ceased to listen to the mischief-makers in Mesopotamia and Syria who were working against France, the better it would be for him. They recognised no Arab army in Syria, and Allenby lied if he said they did. So Feisal saw that his representation was contested, and spent a very miserable night in consequence. I found him wandering about the hotel at 2 a.m. When we won he took it as a good augury of all the future battles and was very joyful.

At the first sitting he was amused when Clemenceau, as temporary president, put the question of his own confirmation in the office to the delegates. He voted with the rest for him. Lloyd George in seconding the proposal said that while he was a boy at school Clemenceau was holding office.

The campaign in favour of America co-operating in the East, to secure the practice of her ideals, goes well. Kipling's enthusiasm had turned over Doubleday that night in England. Ellis is now in his sixth article, all tending that way, in the Herald. Mrs. Egan has adhered, and of course old McClure. I want to frighten America with the size of the responsibility, and then that she should run us for it instead. The Americans are rather fed up with France. 'Reminiscences of the second Empire' are too common for their taste. Weizmann was asked by Wilson how he got on with the British - he said so well that he wanted them as his trustee. Then how he got on with the French. He said he knew French perfectly, but he could not understand, or make himself understood by, the French politicians. 'Exactly what I find,' said Wilson.

Source: DG 273-4
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 24 January 2006


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