File No. 861.00/3071

The Ambassador in France ( Sharp) to the Secretary of State


5600. Department’s 6014, October 25, 12 noon. The following is the text of the decision of the Czecho-Slovak National Council whereby Professor Masaryk is made its president:

Composition of the Czecho-Slovak National Council: In pursuance of the decision of February 10, 1916, in regard to the internal organization of the Czecho-Slovak National Council, it was duly organized.

The decision on the subject is in the following terms: In virtue of the fundamental law of the National Council and the decision taken February 10, 1916, supplementing the fundamental law, the National Council is established as follows: Mr. Thomas G. Masaryk, President; Mr. Edward Beneš, Secretary General; Mr. Joseph Durich, member; Mr. Milan Štefánik, member. Sub-sections of the Council special bureau shall be established in Russia and the United States.

When the Council was changed to a provisional government, Masaryk was confirmed in his functions by the following decisions of the National Council under date September 26, 1918:

Decision of the National Council of September 26, 1918:

In view of the successive recognitions of the National Czechoslovak Council as a de facto Government by the Allied Governments [Page 860] and the United States, the declaration of the United States of September 3, agreement of the National Council with Great Britain of September 3, and with France of June [September] 28, the declaration of Mr. Orlando, President of the Italian Council of Ministers, in view of the situation of our national armies in Russia, France and Italy and their recognition as a belligerent army, in view of the general political situation in our countries and the attempts of the Central Empires to mislead Allied Governments and the United States by their pacifist maneuvers, the National Czecho-Slovak Council desires to establish itself as Provisional Government of the Czecho-Slovak countries. Mr. Masaryk is appointed President of the Government and of the Council of Ministers, Minister of Finance; M. M. Stefanik, Minister of [National Defense;] M. Edouard Beneš, Minister for Foreign Affairs and of the Interior. The attributions and jurisdiction of each are those which are generally inherent in the functions of such ministers in governments of other nations. But in view of the special situation of the Government of the Czechoslovak countries, the special functions which previously belonged to the President of the National Czecho-Slovak Council and to the General Secretary belong now also to the President of the Government and to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. This applies particularly to the functions concerning the handling of finances by the President of the Government, Minister of Finance, and to the functions of the interior organizations of the Government belonging to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.