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Charles Seymour, Memorandum on “Method of dealing with territorial problems,” January 31, 1919.
Charles Seymour Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Thomas Ginakakis ’09, Charles Seymour on Experts and Education

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In 1918, Seymour was selected by President Wilson to take part in a secret delegation known as "The Inquiry". This delegation, formed in 1917 and directed by presidential adviser Edward House, was established to collect and analyze information that would be needed for the peace conference that would follow the end of the First World War. Although initially optimistic about this commission, Seymour would leave the Paris Peace Conference disillusioned due to a lack of organization and direction by the State Department, an unassertive director of the Inquiry (the philosopher Sidney Mezes), and the generally adversarial relationship between the members of the Inquiry and military intelligence and Department of State officials.

In this letter of Jan 31, 1919 from Charles Seymour to William Bullitt, another member of the Inquiry, Seymour discusses a better way to approach the settlement of territorial questions regarding smaller nations of central and southeastern Europe. This letter was just one of many proposed changes to the method of deliberation and presentation within the peace negotiations, and highlights the disorganization of the Inquiry. Because of this, later in life Seymour would remain skeptical of the ability of experts to make logical and realistic decisions.