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The French, I think, never quite accepted this point of view; but it was certainly the British attitude; and in this atmosphere the pre-Armistice conditions were framed. A month later the atmosphere had changed completely. We had discovered how hopeless the German position really was, a discovery which some, though not all, had anticipated, but which no one had dared reckon on as a certainty.

But I feel some confidence that the general magnitude, as distinct from the precise figures, is not hopelessly erroneous; and this may be expressed by the statement that a claim against Germany, based on the interpretation of the pre-Armistice engagements of the Allied Powers which is adopted above, would assuredly be found to exceed $8,000,000,000 and to fall short of $15,000,000,000.

But the main consideration is that it was too late to consider whether the pre-Armistice conditions were perfectly judicious and logical or to amend them; the only question at issue was whether these conditions were not in fact limited to such classes of direct damage to civilians and their property as are set forth in Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10 of Annex I. If words have any meaning, or engagements any force, we had no more right to claim for those war expenses of the State, which arose out of Pensions and Separation Allowances, than for any other of the general costs of the war.

In fact the case for including Pensions and Separation Allowances largely depends on exploiting the rather arbitrary character of the criterion laid down in the pre-Armistice conditions.

When the text was made public in Berlin there was an indignant outcry against the alleged injustice of certain provisions which were held to be inconsistent with the pledges given by President Wilson in the pre-Armistice negotiations, and the Germans made repeated efforts to draw the Allies into a general discussion of principles.

In view of the promises of Clemenceau and Lloyd George that Germany should pay the cost of the war, the question of reparations was an exceedingly difficult one to adjust. President Wilson stoutly opposed the inclusion of war costs as contrary to the pre-Armistice agreement, and Lloyd George and Clemenceau finally had to give in.

Hughes' honor that he apprehended from the first the bearing of the pre-Armistice negotiations on our right to demand an indemnity covering the full costs of the war, protested against our ever having entered into such engagements, and maintained loudly that he had been no party to them and could not consider himself bound by them.

A great part of Annex I. is in strict conformity with the pre-Armistice conditions, or, at any rate, does not strain them beyond what is fairly arguable.

The most difficult problem that the Conference had to solve was the establishment of a new Franco-German frontier. There was no question about Alsace-Lorraine. That had been disposed of by the Fourteen Points, and Germany had acquiesced in its return to France in the pre-Armistice agreement.

The words italicized being practically a quotation from the pre-Armistice conditions, satisfied the scruples of the President, while the addition of the words "and in general all damage as defined in Annex I. hereto" gave the Prime Minister a chance in Annex I.