The Swedish Legation to the Department of State


On the 12th inst., the Legation received a cablegram from the Royal Swedish Foreign Office requesting the Legation to transmit to President Wilson the following communication from the Austro-German Government:7

It appears from a communication from the Czecho-Slovak Government that the Allied Powers intend to incorporate with the Czechoslovak State those large, coherent territories of Bohemia and Moravia, which are populated by more than three million Germans. This measure, it is said, will be taken without awaiting the results of the peace conference. Notwithstanding that the Austro-German Government supposes that this is due to incorrect information from the Czecho-Slovak Government, it feels obliged to call this fact to everybody’s attention and to insist upon that tendencies of this kind are not practically carried out. There can be no doubt as to the German character of the territories in question. Their population has on several occasions manifested their ardent desire to maintain their liberty and their independence of the Czecho-Slovak state. This desire of the people has been expressed especially by the unanimous vote of its representatives, elected on basis of equal suffrage. If, however, the Allied Powers have any doubts in this regard, the Austro-German Government proposes to make clear without delay the situation by a plebiscite superintended and guided by neutral authorities and to give every guarantee besides, as to the liberty of vote. In such a case, the Austro-German Government asks the Allied Powers not to decide upon the fate of the people in question except upon basis of the results of this plebiscite. This way of procedure seems to be the only one in conformity with the principles recently proclaimed by the Entente itself and expressed in President Wilson’s message of the 8th of January, 1918, in articles 2 and 4 of his speech of the 12th [11th] of February, 1918, and in his speech of the 4th of July, 1918;8 that is to say, in conformity with the principles of justice, of the world’s peace and the nations’ rights of self-determination.

  1. Repeated to the Commission to Negotiate Peace in Department’s telegram No. 46, Dec. 18, 1918, 6 p.m.
  2. For texts, see Foreign Relations, 1918, supp. 1, vol. i, pp. 12, 112, and 368.