VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > B. World War I, 1914–1918 > 14. Peace Negotiations, 1916–1917, and the Intervention of the United States, 1917 > 1917, Feb.–June
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
1917, Feb.–June
 
Secret negotiations between Emperor Charles of Austria and his foreign minister, Count Ottokar Czernin, and the French and British governments. The emperor seems to have been determined, from the time of his accession (Nov. 1916), to make peace, even without Germany. The negotiations were carried on through his brother-in-law, Prince Sixtus of Bourbon, who was serving in the Belgian army. After several secret meetings in Switzerland, Prince Sixtus went to Vienna, with the full knowledge and approval of the French foreign office, and had a conference with the emperor and Czernin. He returned to Paris with a letter from Charles (dated March 24) in which the writer promised to use his influence with his allies to support “the just French claims relative to Alsace-Lorraine.” Belgium was to be restored, with compensation for its losses; so also Serbia, which was to have access to the Adriatic. The emperor was also not opposed to Russia's acquisition of Constantinople.  1
This offer was well received by Poincaré and Briand and also by Lloyd George. The one flaw was the failure to offer adequate gains to Italy. In the ensuing negotiations, which continued until June (second visit of Prince Sixtus to Vienna, May 6–8), it became clear that the Austrians were willing to turn over the Trentino to Italy but not Trieste, and that the Italians (statement of Sonnino at the St. Jean de Maurienne conference, April 19–21) were unwilling to accept anything short of the full terms of the Treaty of London (See April 26). Efforts continued to be made by Poincaré and Lloyd George, but the French prime minister, Alexandre Ribot (succeeded Briand, March 20), took a hopeless attitude, and indeed the Italians made no move in the direction of concessions.  2
 
Aug. 1
 
Outline proposals for peace submitted to the warring parties by the pope. These included disarmament, arbitration, freedom of the seas, renunciation of indemnities, evacuation and restoration of occupied territories, and examination of conflicting territorial gains. Prolonged negotiations proved futile. (See Operations in the West, 1918) (See The Peace Settlements)  3
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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