28th President. Two-page typed letter signed (TLS) “Woodrow Wilson” AS PRESIDENT, February 7, 1919, sent from Paris, France [“28 rue de Monceau”], to Brand Whitlock as Minister of the United States to Belgium. On first and last page of four-page leaf with embossed “The President Of The United States of America” at top right and Presidential Seal at top left, in full:
I am genuinely distressed to find that I cannot, before going back home, leave Paris long enough to make a visit to Brussels such as I would like to make; indeed, not long enough to make any sort of visit. My duties here exact every hour of me and, I hope, will be very much more helpful to Belgium than any visit I could make would be. But, as I said to Mr. Hymans the other night, I have really set my heart on coming to Brussels, and I would be obliged if you would be kind enough to see the King and tell him of my genuine distress that I cannot come now and of my hope that upon my return I shall be able to do so.
For it does now seem as if it would be necessary for me to come back after the adjournment of Congress, and I cannot believe that some interval will not occur when I do return that I can get away from Paris.
Please present my warm regards to the King, with an expression of my highest esteem and my genuine interest in all that affects Belgium.
You have been very kind to my little girl, and you may be sure that we will appreciate it very deeply. She was extremely fortunate to be in such hands when her cold came upon her. We are all very grateful to you.
In very good condition, dark signature with horizontal fold intersection signature.
The Paris Peace Conference, also known as Versailles Peace Conference, was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. This was the first great world war, one that had stretched across continents and left over 38 million casualties, with some 18 million killed. It took place in Paris during 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities. The Conference convened in January and Wilson was present from the start. After a brief return to the U.S. in February, he came back to France in March and stayed for over three more months.
This Conference was one of the most consequential events of the 20th century. Its major decisions were the creation of the League of Nations; the five peace treaties with defeated enemies, including the Treaty of Versailles with Germany; the awarding of German and Ottoman overseas possessions as “mandates“, chiefly to Britain and France; reparations imposed on Germany, and the drawing of new national boundaries to better reflect forces of nationalism. The treaty with Germany provided in section 231 that the guilt for the war be laid on “the aggression of Germany and her allies”. As to whether the terms were too harsh, history has judged that to be the case, and the treaty was one of the leading factors leading to World War II.