As in Europe, the Middle East was divided by a series of agreements reached at peace conferences. Unlike Europe, these divisions were largely the result of agreements already concluded during the war. This secret agreement, reached less than two years after the start of the war, was negotiated by British and French diplomats Sir Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot. The two countries decided to divide the Arab territories of the Ottoman Empire. France would take what Syria and Lebanon are now, and Britain would take what is now Iraq and Jordan with the Gulf countries it has already controlled. Palestine should be under international control. There was also a general consensus that Germany should be reduced geographically and several countries, not just France, wanted to support this programme, including Poland, Lithuania and Denmark. France claimed not only Alsace-Lorraine, but also the Rhineland, which wanted to either annex it, make it independent (a second Belgium), or at least occupy and demilitarize it – and even the coal-rich Saarland, which, by any reasonable definition, was quite German. No matter how it was sliced and diced, Germany would still overshadow France. Despite this, the French wanted to create as many obstacles as possible to ensure that Germany could never invade France again. On January 8, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson edited the post-war goals, the Fourteen Points. He outlined a policy of free trade, open agreements and democracy. While the term was not used, self-determination was adopted.
He called for an end to the negotiations of war, international disarmament, the withdrawal of the central powers from the occupied territories, the creation of a Polish state, the revival of European borders along ethnic lines and the establishment of a society of nations to guarantee the political independence and territorial integrity of all States.  [n. 3] He called for a just and democratic peace, uncompromisingd by territorial annexation. The fourteen points were based on the study of the survey, a team of about 150 advisers, led by foreign policy adviser Edward M. House, on the topics that will likely appear in the expected peace conference.  The ceasefire was in fact a German capitulation, as its conditions put an end to any possibility of Germany continuing the war. Similar agreements have already been signed by Bulgaria, Turkey and Austria. However, the peace treaties that officially ended the First World War were not signed until 1919. The Americans were creditors, and although they did not seek reparations for themselves, they wanted to repay the war loans. The British were also technical creditors, but their loans to Russia, Italy and other countries, including France, were unlikely to be repaid and, in return, the British owed the United States $4.7 billion.