Official Statements of War Aims and Peace Proposals, December 1916 to November 1918

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

OFFICIAL AUSTRIAN REPLY TO THE FRENCH DEFENSE AND TO M. PAINLEVÉ1
April 8, 1918

In contrast to the first brief declaration of Premier Clemenceau, in which he gave the lie to Foreign Minister Czernin, it is observed with satisfaction that M. Clemenceau's statement of April 6 admits that discussions in regard to the question of peace took place between two confidential agents of Austria-Hungary and France. The account given by M. Clemenceau of the initiation and course of these negotiations, and likewise the statement of M. Painlevé on the same subject, however, deviate in many important particulars and to such a degree from the facts that a detailed correction of the French communication appears to be necessary.

In July, 1917, Count Revertata was requested by an intermediary in the name of the French Government to state whether he was in a position to receive a communication from that Government to the Government of Austria-Hungary. When Count Revertata, after having obtained the sanction of the Austro-Hungarian Government, replied in the affirmative to this inquiry, in the same month--July, 1917-- MajorArmand was charged with such communication by the then French Premier, Ribot. He arrived on August 7, 1917, at Count Revertata's private residence in Freiburg, the Count being distantly related to him.

Major Armand then addressed to Count Revertata a question as to whether discussions between France and Austria-Hungary were possible. Thus the initiative for these discussions was taken from the French side.

Count Revertata reported to the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister that this question had been put on instructions of the French Government, and the Minister thereupon requested Count Revertata to enter into discussions with the French confidential agent, and in the course of these discussions to establish whether by this means a basis for bringing about a general peace could be secured.

On August 22 and 23 Count Revertata entered into discussions with Major Armand, which, however, as Premier Clemenceau quite correctly declares, yielded no result. The negotiations thereupon were broken off.

____________________
1
Text in The New York Times, April 9, 1918, p. 3.

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