The First World War ended with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian, Russian, German and Ottoman Empires. In planning for the peace negotiations the allied governments considered not only the European boundaries but especially the national aspirations and future development of the peoples of the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Middle East, Africa and East Asia. American President Woodrow Wilson created a secret commission of academics and experts to prepare studies that would inform and support the American peace negotiators. Almost all of the studies on education, covering education in Austria, Prussia, Albania, the Ottoman Empire, Central Africa, Japan, and the education of minorities in Western Europe, were prepared by Paul Monroe, professor of history at Teachers College, Columbia University, with various assistants. There was a certain logic to Monroe's selection, since he had edited the five-volume Cyclopedia of Education, published 1911¿1913, and was connected to a worldwide network of educational experts who had contributed to that project. Monroe's reports, like most of the expert reports prepared for the American commission, are in part compilations of ¿objective' information, such as educational statistics, legislation and policies. But at crucial points they develop critical analyses of existing structures and define a proposed role for education¿a kind of educational self-determination¿in what we might call nation-building in parts of the collapsed empires and in the preliminary steps towards de-colonization in other parts. While Monroe's ideas about the role of education could play only a small part in contributing to the plans for the Treaty of Versailles, they had a continuing impact in shaping American efforts in international education in the 1920s. Monroe himself played a large part in bringing American educational ideas to bear on modernization efforts in China, the Middle East and other developing areas in the 1920s and 1930s. This paper is part of a larger biographical project on Paul Monroe and the spread of American influence in international education.