The narration of my relations to the peace negotiations as one of the American Commissioners to the Paris Conference, which has been confined within the limits laid down in the opening chapter of this volume, concludes with the recital of the views which I held concerning the terms of the Treaty of Peace with Germany and which were brought to the attention of Mr. Wilson through the press reports of William C. Bullitt’s statement to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on September 12, 1919.
The endeavor has been to present, as fully as possible in the circumstances, a review of my association with President Wilson in connection with the negotiations at Paris setting forth our differences of opinion and divergence of judgment upon the subjects coming before the Peace Conference, the conduct of the proceedings, and the terms of peace imposed upon Germany by the Treaty of Versailles.
It is evident from this review that, from a time prior to Mr. Wilson’s departure from the United States on December 4, 1918, to attend the Peace Conference up to the delivery of the text of the Treaty to the German plenipotentiaries on May 7, 1919, there were many subjects of disagreement between the President and myself; that he was disposed to reject or ignore the advice and suggestions which I volunteered; and that in consequence of my convictions I followed his guidance and obeyed his instructions unwillingly.
While there were other matters of friction between us they were of a personal nature and of minor importance. Though they may have contributed to the formality of our relations they played no real part in the increasing difficulty of the situation. The matters narrated were, in my opinion, the principal causes for the letters written by President Wilson in February, 1920; at least they seem sufficient to explain the origin of the correspondence, while the causes specifically stated by him—my calling together of the heads of the executive departments for consultation during his illness and my attempts to anticipate his judgment—are insufficient.