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Section VII.—Czecho-Slovak State (Art. 81 to 86)

Article 81.

Germany, in conformity with the action already taken by the Allied and Associated Powers, recognizes the complete independence of the Czecho-Slovak State which will include the autonomous territory of the Ruthenians to the south of the Carpathians. Germany hereby recognizes the frontiers of this State as determined by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and the other interested States.

Note to III, 81

The frontiers of Czechoslovakia were described in article II of a treaty between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Poland, Rumania, and the Serb-Croat-Slovene State and the Czechoslovak State signed at Sevres August 10, 1920, which, however, did not enter into force (113 British and Foreign State Papers, p. 866). It was ratified by Czechoslovakia.

The Conference of Ambassadors declared the work of the Austro-Czechoslovak Delimitation Commission ended on May 31, 1923; that of the Czechoslovak-German Commission, on April 15, 1924; that of the Czechoslovak-Hungarian Commission, on August 5, 1925; that of the Czechoslovak-Rumanian Commission, on November 10, 1926; that of the Czechoslovak-Polish Commission, on October 16, 1927.

As to the Czechoslovak-Rumanian frontier a protocol was signed at Praha on May 4, 1921, and the delimitation was effected by a treaty [Page 203]signed on July 15, 1930 and in force December 20, 1935 (164 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 157).

Provisions relating to the Ruthene territory and inhabitants comprise chapter II of the treaty between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Czechoslovakia signed at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, September 10, 1919; see p. 808.

Article 82.

The old frontier as it existed on August 3, 1914, between Austria-Hungary and the German Empire will constitute the frontier between Germany and the Czecho-Slovak State.

Note to III, 82

This article bears directly upon the subsequent dispute with Czechoslovakia which was initiated by Germany in 1937 concerning the Sudeten Germans, who had never owed allegiance either to Prussia or Germany. German championship of this German-speaking element in Czechoslovakia was pushed to such an extent that it became an international question, culminating in the Munich agreement of September 29, 1938 between Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, by which the three last-named states consented to the cession to Germany of the Czechoslovak territory occupied by the Sudeten Germans. From that step Germany proceeded to establishing protectorates over Czechoslovakia, in Bohemia-Moravia and in Slovakia, on March 15, 1939. Czechoslovakia as a belligerent dated the state of war with Germany from September 15, 1938.

Article 83.

Germany renounces in favour of the Czecho-Slovak State all rights and title over the portion of Silesian territory defined as follows:

starting from a point about 2 kilometres south-east of Katscher, on the boundary between the Kreise of Leobschütz and Ratibor:

the boundary between the two Kreise;

then, the former boundary between Germany and Austria-Hungary up to a point on the Oder immediately to the south of the Ratibor-Oderberg railway;

thence, towards the north-west and up to a point about 2 kilometres to the south-east of Katscher:

a line to be fixed on the spot passing to the west of Kranowitz.

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A Commission composed of seven members, five nominated by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, one by Poland and one by the Czecho-Slovak State, will be appointed fifteen days after the coming into force of the present Treaty to trace on the spot the frontier line between Poland and the Czecho-Slovak State.

The decisions of this Commission will be taken by a majority and shall be binding on the parties concerned.

Germany hereby agrees to renounce in favour of the Czechoslovak State all rights and title over the part of the Kreis of Leobschütz comprised within the following boundaries in case after the determination of the frontier between Germany and Poland the said part of that Kreis should become isolated from Germany:

from the south-eastern extremity of the salient of the former Austrian frontier at about 5 kilometres to the west of Leobschütz southwards and up to the point of junction with the boundary between the Kreise of Leobschütz and Ratibor:

the former frontier between Germany and Austria-Hungary;

then, northwards, the administrative boundary between the Kreise of Leobschütz and Ratibor up to a point situated about 2 kilometres to the south-east of Katscher;

thence, north-westwards and up to the starting-point of this definition:

a line to be fixed on the spot passing to the east of Katscher.

Text of May 7:

Germany renounces in favour of the Czecho-Slovak State all rights and title over the portion of the territory of Silesia lying between the old Anstro-German frontier and a line to be fixed on the ground, starting from a point in the course of the Oder, immediately south of the Ratibor-Oderberg railway, and running in a north-westerly direction, passing west of Kranowitz and east of Katscher so as to rejoin the old Austrian frontier at the south-eastern point of its salient about 5 kilometres west of Leobschütz.

A Commission composed of seven members, five nominated by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, one by Poland and one by the Czecho-Slovak State, will be appointed fifteen days after the coming into force of the present Treaty to trace on the spot the frontier line between Poland and the Czecho-Slovak State.

The decisions of this Commission will be taken by a majority and shall be binding on the parties concerned.

Note to III, 83

This article had the effect of creating an undefined frontier between Czechoslovakia and Poland, which under the terms of a convention signed at Spa on July 10, 1920 agreed that their respective frontiers [Page 205]should be determined by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers. This agreement continued the jurisdiction assigned by the treaty under which those states had been unsuccessful in obtaining satisfaction. The Principal Allied and Associated Powers had resolved in a decision of September 27, 1919 to fix the political status of the former Duchy of Teschen and the territories of Orava and Spisz through a popular expression of opinion. The plebiscite was, however, abandoned. Accordingly, in virtue of the convention of July 10, 1920, the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, acting as the Conference of Ambassadors, formulated a decision on July 28, issued as a decree on August 5, 1920, fixing the frontier lines in the districts of Teschen, Orava, and Spisz (2 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 49). The parties were dissatisfied with part of the line selected by the Delimitation Commission, and their agreement of November 16, 1921 to seek a solution between themselves failed. The Conference of Ambassadors on December 2, 1921 decided to proceed to mark out a line, which was contested by the parties. The Conference of Ambassadors referred to the Council of the League of Nations the question whether it was entitled to modify its line of July 28, 1920. The Council requested an advisory opinion on the point from the Permanent Court of International Justice, which on December 6, 1923 ruled as to the Jaworzina boundary that the decision of July 28, 1920 was to be treated as definitive (Permanent Court of International Justice, Series A/B, No. 8). The Delimitation Commission having submitted fresh proposals in accordance with the Court’s opinion at the request of the Conference of Ambassadors, the Council on March 12, 1924 recommended a definitive frontier. The consequent protocol, drawn at Cracow on May 6, 1924 and approved by the Conference of Ambassadors September 5, carried out the Council’s recommendation. The disputed territory was made into the international game reserve of Tatra by Czechoslovakia and Poland.

A convention regarding the transfer by Germany of jurisdiction in the territory of Hultschin, signed at Berlin February 3, 1921, entered into force May 31, 1921 (5 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 245).

An agreement relative to the transfer of obligations in respect of assistance to persons in the area, signed at Ratibor April 12, 1922, entered into force January 19, 1924 (22 ibid., p. 329).

An agreement with a view to establishing frontier traffic facilities between the territory of the German Reich and the territory transferred to the Czechoslovak Republic was signed at Troppau March 4, 1924 and entered into force July 11, 1925 (41 League of Nations [Page 206]Treaty Series, p. 243). A feature of the agreement was its listing of the roads with customs posts and other points at which the frontier might be crossed.

A treaty for the regulation of boundary relations at the frontiers fixed by article 83 between Czechoslovakia and Germany was signed on December 15, 1927 (Reichsgesetzblatt, 1927, ii, 1149) and entered into force on November 6, 1930.

The assignment of the communes of Pist, Haatsch, and Owschutz was delayed until after the Upper Silesian plebiscite by a decision of the Conference of Ambassadors on July 7, 1920. Delimitation of the Czechoslovak-German boundary was further delayed by the questions arising in connection with the Czechoslovak-Polish boundary. On January 13, 1923 the Conference of Ambassadors instructed the Czechoslovak-German Delimitation Commission to proceed with fixing the line represented by the administrative limit between the Kreise of Ratibor and Loebschütz and on January 24 confirmed to it a decision to assign the commune of Haatsch to Czechoslovakia.

Article 84.

German nationals habitually resident in any of the territories recognized as forming part of the Czecho-Slovak State will obtain Czecho-Slovak nationality ipso facto and lose their German nationality.

Article 85.

Within a period of two years from the coming into force of the present Treaty, German nationals over eighteen years of age habitually resident in any of the territories recognized as forming part of the Czecho-Slovak State will be entitled to opt for German nationality. Czecho-Slovaks who are German nationals and are habitually resident in Germany will have a similar right to opt for Czecho-Slovak nationality.

Option by a husband will cover his wife and option by parents will cover their children under eighteen years of age.

Persons who have exercised the above right to opt must within the succeeding twelve months transfer their place of residence to the State for which they have opted.

They will be entitled to retain their landed property in the territory of the other State where they had their place of residence before exercising the right to opt. They may carry with them their [Page 207]moveable property of every description. No export or import duties may be imposed upon them in connection with the removal of such property.

Within the same period Czecho-Slovaks who are German nationals and are in a foreign country will be entitled, in the absence of any provisions to the contrary in the foreign law, and if they have not acquired the foreign nationality, to obtain Czecho-Slovak nationality and lose their German nationality by complying with the requirements laid down by the Czecho-Slovak State.

Article 86.

The Czecho-Slovak State accepts and agrees to embody in a Treaty with the Principal Allied and Associated Powers such provisions as may be deemed necessary by the said Powers to protect the interests of inhabitants of that State who differ from the majority of the population in race, language or religion.

The Czecho-Slovak State further accepts and agrees to embody in a Treaty with the said Powers such provisions as they may deem necessary to protect freedom of transit and equitable treatment of the commerce of other nations.

The proportion and nature of the financial obligations of Germany and Prussia which the Czecho-Slovak State will have to assume on account of the Silesian territory placed under its sovereignty will be determined in accordance with Article 254 of Part IX (Financial Clauses) of the present Treaty.

Subsequent agreements will decide all questions not decided by the present Treaty which may arise in consequence of the cession of the said territory.

Note to III, 86

The treaty, here contemplated (see Appendix, p. 808), between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Czechoslovakia, was signed on the same day as the treaty of peace with Austria and by its preamble carried out a stipulation of article 57 of that treaty, which is identic with article 86 of this treaty.

The credit to Germany by the Reparation Commission under article 243 arising from transfer of state property and assumption by Czechoslovakia of German and Prussian public debt was 5,879,928 gold marks.