[The end of the entry for the previous diary entry, at the top of this page, has not been transcribed. Please refer to the page image.]
Saturday. Dec 14
Naturally I was late in coming to the office,
and had the good luck to find Miss [Josephine] McClellan,
& her friends Mrs. Wadhams, & Miss StickintheMud
trying to get in to see the President drive by from
the windows of my room. I had asked them to
come, and piloted them in.
About ten the first gun sounded and ten
minutes later, the carriages appeared, coming
down the other side of the river, driving across
the bridge at the Place [de la Concorde], across the Place, and down
the Rue Royale. The soldiers lined up two and
three deep, in their poilu blue and behind
them the crowd collected. It was a warm
day, and though cloudy in general, let the
In the Place it is no exaggeration to say that the
crowd was twenty-five deep on the average. Just
in front of the [Hôtel de] Coislin a battery of 75's was drawn
up intact and parked.
The Presidents carriage was preceded by a
closed limousine, with two bicycle cops just behind it,
and a file of mounted gendarmes passing parallel
to it, just outside the guards, on either side.
Then came the President, smiling, his
hat in his hand,
bowing to the shouts and vociferations, the gesticulations
and handkerchiefs of the crowd. Behind followed six
or seven other carriages of dignitaries, and the
rear was brought up by two lines of motors ten abreast
in the center of which was an army truck with a
moving picture machine perched atop.
The news of the President's coming was comic in
its effect on those behind the lines in the open. They
came scuttling, at a quick run out of the Bois, like
frightened ants, streaming, across the pavement and
disappearing instantly in the crowd.
After he had passed we attempted to do a little work
but it was a failure. I went to the Crillon for lunch and
hooked up with Col. [Lt. Col. Charles H.] Mason, Col [Mervyn C.] Buckey, our Military
Attaché in Rome and Capt. Wallace. [Henry] Wickham
Steed, the Leader in England of the Jugo Slavic
added himself to our group, and seeing a chance to do
propaganda work on Buckey started a dissertation on Italian
Adriatic pretensions, [Giovanni] Giolotti, [Sydney] Sonnino, [Vittorio Emanuele] Orlando, [Francesco] Nitti and
the whole bunch. After he left, I began to question Buckey
myself, and passing from Trieste and Fiume to the
Croats, he soon laid what seems to me the nub of the
situation before me. Very simple and not hopeful. The
Jugo Slavic people are not capable of self-determination. They
are run by a few men — Buckey puts the number at 500
at the outside — who if they are allowed to, will fight
interminably among themselves for power. Divisions and
cliques will form instantly and the Jugo-Slavic union
will divide automatically into its constituent parts. The
other alternative is the hegemony of one nation. It will
come either as a result of the divisions fighting, or
by the Peace Conference placing the most advanced
nation with any real power in charge. It violates the
President's expressed desires but it seems the only way.
Steed is a constant and
persuasive talker. He
however assumes the rôle of a protagonist and so
loses weight if not force.
After lunch I went back and Bill [William C.] Bullitt
in, he and Lippmann and indulged in a little
talk. At the end of an hour I had the truth. Each
corroborates the other and the truth was not good to see.
All the time we have been here, I have been unable to get
any clear statement of our ends in this conference. There
has been total lack of definiteness, in what the fourteen
points actually mean when applied to a given situation.
I have felt that we have been drifting, waiting for the
President to come and put concreteness in his abstract
propositions. It is of course, a costly business, and we
have lost much that is priceless. Aside from the loss
of certain points, which we should have had, we have
lost a more substantial thing than any single concrete
point — we have lost the confidence of our allies in our
political wisdom. They have always thought we were
children at the game; now they know we come to
the Peace table with four hearts, and a diamond tucked
up our sleeve. As Benes [Edvard Beneš] said "You have a purpose;
have you a plan?" They know we have no plan, and
that if we are given the form of that for which we
have fought, we will go home like children, happy in
a toy, and let them have the substance. From now
on, therefore, it is the object of them all to take the
cake away, and leave us the candles.
This, of course, I had felt, all along, of us all
here, but was hoping for better things in the President's
party. Well, they are worse off than we are, — that is
all. Wilson comes to the Conference, unprepared,
and undismayed — a Sir Galahad from the West with
hardest-headed individuals in Europe today. And
the worst of it is as I have said before that we have
been worsted in preliminary skirmishes and our
mettle tried and found poor.
Well — now for a few priceless gems of fact.[The diary entry breaks off here and a typescript sheet has been inserted where remainder of the page was left blank]
May 27, 1972
The gems referred to at this point seemed to me so priceless
I hesitated in 1918 to commit them to paper. There were four.
Two I have forgotten. The other two were as follows:
Lippmann that the President didn't know
Bullitt told him on the voyage over that there were at least
two million Germans in Bohemia.
Lippmann told Bullitt that in late October the question of
armistice line in north Italy was brought up by the French
military and that a representative of the United States should
attend a conference to draw the line. Colonel [Edward M.] House appointed
[Gordon] Auchincloss, his son-in-law as the American representative. On
his return from the conference Lippmann asked Auchincloss for
the details about the line. Auchincloss replied somewhat as
follows: "It was very easy. We just took the positons of the
various units of the opposing forces as they now are, and drew
the line between them starting at the Adriatic." Being pressed
Auchincloss drew the line on the map. Lippmann looked it over
carefully and said "Did you ever see that line before?" "No"
replied Auchincloss, "we just drew it as we went along."
Lippmann told him it was the exact line of the Secret treaty
with Italy prior to her joining the Allies.
There is some quiet history there. It seems to me, that
the President, if he could but know it, was at the apex
of his fame as his carriage swung across the Place
de la Concorde, through the captured cannon, and
out of sight down the Rue Royale.
Bullitt departed on a Quixotic
errand — an
endeavor to spur the Colonel to action. It is too late, in
my opinion to do anything, but Bullitt believes he
can, and is anxious to go into Germany immediately
in order to reinforce his opinion by fresh-gleaned facts.
I sat round in a daze slowly drinking in the new
situation, then with Stuart Montgomery I started off
to a Harvard Club dinner. We prefaced it by drinking
in a good deal besides the situation — meeting at the
Maurice bar, Ap [Capt. Benjamin Apthorp Gould] Fuller, Devereux, John Munroe, Watson [Case]
Emmet, and Bill [William Preston] Wolcott. Devereux asked the latter how
Oliver [Wolcott] was, and my heart sank, to which Wolcott
replied "Oh he's all right, he's just gone to the South
of France" Extraordinary: but Wolcott is alive, after
all. Somebody must have mixed him up with
Nat [Nathaniel S.] Simpkins, [Jr.; who had died of illness on 22 October 1918].
At the dinner, which was well attended we
drank, to everything, and I saw people like [Lincoln] MacVeagh,
[Hugh Lawrence] Gaddis, and others I have not seen for years. George
Martin was a splendid toastmaster. General [Brig. Gen. Marlborough] Churchill
was there and I was suddenly presented to him. Seeing
I left about 10, and just as we were going to
the Crillon and to bed, we decided to go up the
Boulevard just to see what was happening. The
same old crowd was there up to its same old tricks.
I must say I love a crowd. Stuart lost his cap
a couple of times, and rescued it by osculation.
Later I took toll myself, although a civilian. At
the end of an hour, we were suddenly separated
by the crowd and never saw each other again. I
found Col. Buckey and came home with him.
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