File No. 763.72/9893½

The Ambassador in Italy ( Page ) to the Secretary of State


1589. Referring my telegram No. 1515, April 12, 7 p.m. Following résumé of memorandum of secret convention entered into between Italian Government and Czecho-Slovak National Council, Rome, April 21, 1918, signed by Orlando and Štefánik. Sonnino and all other Ministers present. Memorandum was obtained by military attaché from Štefánik. There were also verbal conventions strengthening written instrument.

Italian Government recognizes Czecho-Slovak Army as Allied army and with autonomy. Supreme authority judicial, political, and military vested in National Czecho-Slovak Council. Council consists of Masaryk, President, Štefánik, Vice President, Secretary-General Beneš. Headquarters 18 Rue Bonaparte, Paris. Other bureaus Rome, New York, Geneva, London, Moscow. Representatives in the United States, Pergler for political functions, Kopecký for commercial relations. Offices in Tribune Building, New York. Army will fight effectively with all characteristics autonomy against Central Powers under own flag and uniform. All functions under command Czecho-Slovak officers. If personnel insufficient Allies will be asked to complete ranks of officers which will necessarily be supplied by French Army. Approval of nomination of foreign officers subjected to Council. Financing of army done by Council. If funds lacking, French, Italian Governments obligated to supply necessary funds and material as convention made with French Government signed by Clemenceau February 6, 1918. Council [Page 803] demands all loans mentioned above be converted into national debt. Recognition of Council by Italian Government in consequence of political program and aspirations being identical with those of Entente and in accordance with their collective aspirations. This agreement cannot be changed or modified by Italian Government without consent of Council. Advances to be applied Czecho-Slovak nationals in Italy only when personally guaranteed or vouched for by Council. One copy of convention in possession of Italian Government, one copy Council. Italian Government has not nominated military attaché to Czecho-Slovak Army and general headquarters now in France.

Štefánik informed Colonel Buckey that high court organized in Italy now in session and functioning and has power of life and death over Czecho-Slovak National Council and entirely independent of Italian authority or approval. Within past two weeks 80 per cent of Czecho-Slovak prisoners of war voluntarily enlisted and now formed in Italy, strength about 12,000, commanded by General Graziani. This only part. Commander in chief, General Janin, a French general. Lieutenant Colonel Štefánik nominated second in command by order of Foch. Their equipment is French and Italian, flag and uniform their own. British Government considering similar and stronger convention. Probably second “oppressed races in Austria” congress will be held in next three weeks Paris. Probably a provisional Government with all functions will then be organized.

Nelson Page