760c.60f/18: Telegram

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

1387. Mission. I have just heard from my British colleague of the decision taken at Spa with regard to the settlement of the Teschen question and I have received from him a copy of the telegram sent to you by the Supreme Council through the Allied representatives in Washington;33 this telegram was based on the following resolution taken by the Supreme Council on the 11th instant:

“The question of Teschen, Spitz and Orava has reached a stage at which any immediate solution is surrounded with the greatest difficulty. In view of the objection raised first by one and then by the other of the parties it appears impracticable to proceed either to a plebiscite in accordance with the decision of the Supreme Council of September 27, 1919, or to arbitration as had been recently proposed. The issue is, however, too grave to permit of any further prolongation of a dispute which reacts upon the general situation, affects injuriously the interests of Europe and endangers the peace of the world. It is essential that normal amicable relations be promptly restored between the Republic[s] of Czechoslovakia and Poland.

It is on the strength of these considerations that the Inter-Allied Commission at Teschen has strongly recommended that the Ambassadors’ Conference should take the initiative in making a decision which the interested parties objecting to either plebiscite or arbitration have been unable to arrive at by agreement between themselves.

In these circumstances the representatives of the British, French, Italian and Japanese Governments at Spa assembled consider that it is now for the Supreme Council to take upon itself the responsibility of making definite settlement as regards the disposal of the territories in dispute between the two Republics both in the Duchy of Teschen and in the districts of Spitz and Orava. Such a decision appears all the more opportune as the Polish and Czecho-Slovak Ministers for Foreign Affairs actually present at Spa on hearing of the intentions of the Allied Governments have, by a declaration dated July 10th, 1920, notified that they are ready to accept any definite settlement of the dispute which the Allied Powers might decide upon.

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It is accordingly resolved by the representatives of the four powers that their decision of such settlement made by the Supreme Council shall be immediately communicated to the Polish and Czecho-Slovak Ministers for Foreign Affairs with an intimation that the delegates of the Allied Powers in the Ambassadors’ Conference at Paris will forthwith be authorized after hearing the two parties interested to elaborate with the least possible delay in a decision in curia of the Supreme Council.

It is understood that the decision accordingly to be made shall be based upon the following indications which shall be communicated confidentially by each of the four Allied Powers to their respective delegates in the Ambassadors’ Conference.

The Duchy of Teschen shall be divided between Czechoslovakia and Poland by a line running from the northwest to the southeast starting east of the village of Prstna and drawn so as to leave to Czechoslovakia the town of Frystat then running south in the direction of Teschen along the river Olsa and then southeast in such a way as to leave to Czechoslovakia the whole of the railway running north and south but including in Poland the town of Teschen.
To divide the regions of Spitz and Orava so as to leave to Poland the northeastern part of Orava and the northwestern part of Spitz according to lines approximately shown on the map hereto annexed.
The Conference of Ambassadors shall take such measures in consultation with the representatives of the Republics of Czechoslovakia and Poland as will ensure the satisfactory settlement of all economic questions including that of the distribution of coal and of transport between the two countries.”

The Department will note that the following appears in the Supreme Council’s telegram: “The Allied Governments at Spa assembled are immediately communicating foregoing resolution to the United States. They are assured that it will agree thereto et cetera.” I was struck by this statement and asked my British colleague whether he knew what was the authority therefor. He explained that the phraseology was perhaps misleading and added that during the discussion in the Supreme Council he had himself expressed the belief that the decision of the Supreme Council would meet [with] your approval. I might add that I have been careful to give him no grounds for any such expectation. In addition to the foregoing Lord Derby gave me the following as a statement of the present status of the question.

“Representatives of Poland and Czechoslovakia have agreed with regard to the Teschen question to accept any line which may be delimitated, they have signed document to this effect and have so informed Supreme Council asking Council to decide frontier. The Supreme Council have however referred the matter to Ambassadors’ Conference where America is represented. Though general frontier is laid down actual line not yet delimitated but will be decided by Ambassadors’ Conference after hearing Polish and Czecho-Slovakian representative[s] on the 19th instant.[”]

  1. See note no. 430, July 14, from the British Ambassador, infra.