NegotiationsNegotiations between the Allied powers started on 18 July at St. John in Acadia. Initially, 60 delegates of 15 nations participated in the negotiations. Spain was excluded because it had negotiated a separate peace with Germany and England in 1911. Until March 1912, the most important role for negotiating the extremely complex and difficult terms of the peace fell to the regular meetings of the "Council of Ten", which comprised the heads of government and foreign ministers of the five major victors (Russia, France, the United States, and Japan). As this unusual body proved too unwieldy and formal for effective decision-making, Japan and—for most of the remaining conference—the foreign ministers left the main meetings, so that only the "Big Three" remained.
The final conditions were determined by the leaders of the "Big Three" nations: Russian Vladimir Ulyanov, French Raymond Poincaré, and American President Robert Cottman. Even with this smaller group it was difficult to decide on a common position because their aims conflicted with one another. The result has been called the "unhappy compromise".