Paris Peace Conf. 184.01102/162

Professor R. J. Kerner to Professor A. C. Coolidge58

Subject: Slovakia, Report I.

The four reports59 which accompany this one were written as the result of a trip which the-writer took to Slovakia. It is proposed here merely to enumerate the results of the investigation leaving the reader the option of consulting each report where fuller details and proof may be found.

The Czecho-Slovak government has established itself thoroughly in the region north and east of the demarcation line. It enjoys the enthusiastic support of the vast mass of the Slovak people, both as individuals and as rapidly forming political parties. All separatist movements engineered by the Magyar government have collapsed, especially the Eastern Slovak movement of Dwortsak because the population refused to support them. There are left only the disgruntled individuals and they act only as individuals and as propaganda agents. The Slovaks are rapidly forming into three political groups, the Clericals whom both Hlinka and Juriga aspire to lead, the Social Democrats, and the Agrarians. There is no party which wishes Slovak independence. Only the Clericals desire a form of autonomy which will guarantee them against Czechicization and the separation of Church and State. In answer to this the Czechs have handed over the entire administration of Slovakia to the Slovaks and excluded Slovakia from the Church and State legislation. See Report II Political Conditions in Slovakia

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The Germans prefer the Czecho-Slovaks to the Magyars, but they themselves do not feel nationally. The Ruthenes likewise prefer the Czecho-Slovaks but with a certain degree of warmth and enthusiasm. The Magyars are resolutely opposed to the Czechs because if they are pure Magyars they will in all probability lose their political and official positions, of which they hold the bulk. Many of these officials and some of the lower-class Magyars are cooperating with the Government at Budapest to wreck the Czecho-Slovak Government by means of railroad strikes and the spread of Bolshevism.

To accept the Magyar official census as a correct and just basis on which to run the final boundary line would in the opinion of the writer be unscientific and unjust. According to the hand-book of “Official Instructions” to Census-takers the Statistics and mother-tongue can be stretched to include any Slovak who can speak Magyar or is learning it. Thus the Slovaks actually registered as Slovaks are for the most part those who never attended the schools which it is well known have all been Magyarized. Until and unless a new census is taken the official Magyar statistics should be taken with a good deal of reserve. See Report III Magyar Census Statistics and Census Talking With Especial Reference to Slovakia

Pressburg is a cosmopolitan city in which the non-national German element predominates but in which neither the Germans, nor the Magyars (who are largely the officials) nor the Slovaks predominate. To include it in the Czecho-Slovak state will not outrage any considerable permanent national population and will answer to the economic needs of the city. To exclude it from the Czecho-Slovak state as a free city (i. e. internationalized) will cause the Czechs to build up Diven at the junction of the Danube and Morava. In such a position Pressburg would be ruined. On the other hand, it would not be just to deprive a hinterland of over a million people (not including the population of Bohemia and Moravia), who are officially recorded as 70% Slovak, of its natural port so that 30,000 Magyars of whom 10,000 are political and railroad officials, and 31,000 Germans who do not feel nationally, might have a free city which could not exist economically. Report IV Pressburg

Kassa is a city whose population (44,000) is 75% Magyar but whose immediate environs and hinterland (420,000) is 75% Slovak. It should be included in the Czecho-Slovak state because it cannot exist without its hinterland. The whole region of Eastern Slovakia should be included in the new Czechoslovak state because the utter collapse of the Eastern Slovakia movement shows how little support it received from the population. To exclude Kassa from the Czecho-Slovak state without its hinterland would be to ruin the city. Report V Kassa

  1. Transmitted to the Commission by Professor Coolidge under covering letter No. 115, March 2.
  2. Report II, dated March 1, printed supra; reports III, IV, and V not printed.