Paris Peace Conference

The Paris Peace Conference, called to establish the terms of peace after World War I, convened on 18 Jan 1919.  The proceedings, dominated by the leaders of the United States (Woodrow Wilson), Britain (David George Lloyd), France (Georges Clemenceau), and Italy (Vittorio Emanuele Orlando), involved diplomats from 32 countries.  Wilson arrived at the conference intent on giving priority to the making of a league of nations as part of the peace settlements.  Lloyd George prepared a resolution on the matter and submitted it to the Supreme Council, which consisted of representatives from the United States, France, Britain, Italy, and Japan.  The Resolution, which directed the appointment of a committee (later termed a “Commission”) to work out the details for the constitution and functioning of the league, was adopted on 25 Jan 1919, at a plenary session of all of the parties gathered at the Conference.1 

Major actions taken by the Conference were: (1) the establishment of the League of Nations; (2) the transfer of German and Ottoman overseas possessions into the mandate system of the League of Nations; (3) five peace treaties; (4) reparations; and (5) the drawing of new national boundaries. The five peace treaties were:

    1. Treaty of Versailles, signed 28 Jun 1919, concerning Germany  [Eng/Fr ver. with maps]
    2. Treaty of Saint-Germain, signed 10 Sep 1919, concerning Austria
    3. Treaty of Neuilly, signed 27 Nov 1919, concerning Bulgaria
    4. Treaty of Trianon, signed 4 Jun 1920, concerning Hungary
    5. Treaty of Sèvres, signed 10 Aug 1920, concerning Turkey 

The first 26 articles of the Treaty of Versailles – and others of the treaties – consist of the Covenant of the League of Nations.  The Treaty of Sevres was signed but not ratified, and subsequently superseded by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

The committee (Commission) charged with drafting a covenant for a league of nations completed its work on 11 Apr 1919.  The final text of the Covenant was approved by the Peace Conference on 28 Apr 1919, and incorporated into the Treaty of Versailles.

The League’s mandate system, of which one mandate was the Palestine Mandate, was set up pursuant to Article 22 of the Covenant.

Upon the entry into force of the Treaty of Versailles on 10 Jan 2020, the League of Nations was formally established.  This brought the Paris conference to an end before the signing of the treaties with Turkey or Hungary.

Records of the Peace Conference

Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, The Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Vol III, 201, 319 (1943).