M. Tardieu has published M. Clemenceau’s reply, drawn up by M. Tardieu himself and representing the French point of view:
The French Government is in complete agreement with the general purpose of Mr. Lloyd George’s Note: to make a lasting peace, and for that reason a just peace.
But, on the other hand, it does not think that this principle, which is its own, really leads to the conclusions arrived at in the Note in question.
The Note suggests that the territorial conditions laid down for Germany in Europe shall be moderate in order that she may not feel deeply embittered after peace.
The method would be sound if the recent War had been nothing but a European war for Germany; but that is not the case.
Previous to the War Germany was a great world Power whose future was on the sea. This was the power of which she was so inordinately proud. For the loss of this world power she will never be consoled.
The Allies have taken from her—or are going to take from her—without being deterred by fear of her resentment, all her colonies, all her ships of war, a great part of her commercial fleet (as reparations), the foreign markets which she controlled.
That is the worst blow that could be inflicted on her, and it is suggested that she can be pacified by some improvements in territorial conditions. That is a pure illusion. The remedy is not big enough for the thing it is to cure.
If there is any desire, for general reasons, to give Germany some satisfaction, it must not be sought in Europe. Such help will be vain as long as Germany has lost her world policy.
To pacify her (if there is any interest in so doing) she must have satisfaction given her in colonies, in ships, in commercial expansion. The Note of March 26 thinks of nothing but satisfaction in European territory.
Mr. Lloyd George fears that unduly severe territorial conditions imposed on Germany will play into the hands of Bolshevism. Is there not cause for fear, on the other hand, that the method he suggests will have that very result?
The Conference has decided to call into being a certain number of new States. Is it possible without being unjust to them to impose on them inacceptable frontiers towards Germany? If these people—Poland and Bohemia above all—have resisted Bolshevism up to now it is through national sentiment. If this sentiment is violated Bolshevism will find an easy prey in them, and the only existing barrier between Russian and German Bolshevism will be broken.
The result will be either a Confederation of Eastern and Central Europe under the direction of a Bolshevik Germany or the enslavery of those countries to a Germany become reactionary again, thanks to the general anarchy. In either case the Allies will have lost the War.