What Really Happened at Paris: The Story of the Peace Conference, 1918-1919

By Charles Seymour; Edward Mandell House | Go to book overview

I
PREPARATIONS FOR PEACE BY SIDNEY EDWARD MEZES

THE INQUIRY

In September, 1917, five months after the United States entered the war, Colonel House, at the request of President Wilson, began to gather a body of experts to collect and collate data that might be needed eventually at the Peace Conference. The President felt that the United States was especially in need of such specialists at the Conference because of its traditional policy of isolation and the consequent lack, in its governmental departments, of a personnel thoroughly conversant, through intimate contact, with the inter-relations and internal composition of the European and Asiatic powers and their various dependencies. It was the desire of the President that this work of preparation should be carried forward with as little publicity as possible (hence the uninforming name), in order that premature expectations of peace should not be excited and thus, to however slight a degree, slow down the war-making activities of the nation.

Mr. David Hunter Miller, of the New York bar, was made treasurer of The Inquiry, and early in 1918 Mr. Walter Lippmann, previously of the editorial staff of the New Republic, was named secretary. Headquarters were set up in the home of the American Geographical Society, in New York, by courtesy of its board of trustees.

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