The British Ambassador (Geddes) to the Secretary of State34

No. 430

Sir: I have the honor, on instructions from my Government, to inform you that the attention of the Representatives of the British, French, Italian and Japanese Governments assembled at Spa has been called to the increasing gravity of the situation in the Duchy of Teschen. The refusal of the Czecho-Slovaks on the one hand to agree to arbitration and on the other hand the categorical objection of Poland in advance to accept the plebiscite add to the local ferment and tend to show that far from leading to the reestablishment of friendly relations between the two countries the plebiscite which is to take place shortly can only in the circumstances multiply the causes of disagreement and the necessity for an intervention on the part of the Powers. In these circumstances the Polish and Czecho-Slovakian Delegates at Spa have intimated to the Representatives of the Four Governments that the only means of ensuring the prompt reestablishment of good relations between their two Governments which they themselves earnestly desire, will be for the Allied Powers to take upon themselves the responsibility of determining the frontier line in the regions of Teschen Spitz and Orava and that they undertake in advance to accept whatever decision may be made.

At the same time the Inter-Allied Commission at Teschen have on their part recommended that the Ambassadors Conference should take the initiative in making a decision which the interested parties have been unable to arrive at between themselves, they having successively opposed both the plebiscite and arbitration. The interests of Europe and of peace do not allow of any further delay.

The Representatives of the Four Allied Powers have accordingly authorized their Representatives on the Conference of Ambassadors assembled in Paris to elaborate a decision on bases on which they have already come to a unanimous agreement, and which have been communicated to their Delegates on the Conference of Ambassadors. These bases are as follows:

The Duchy of Teschen shall be divided between Czecho-Slovakia and Poland by a line running from North West to South East starting East of the Village of Prstna and drawn so as to leave to Czecho-Slovakia the town of Frystat; then running South in the direction of Teschen along the river Olsa and thence South East in such a way as to leave Czecho-Slovakia 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 North Eastern part of Orava and North Western part of Spitz.
The Ambassadors shall take such measures in consultation with the Representatives of the Republic[s] of Czecho-Slovakia 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.

These particulars must necessarily remain absolutely confidential and must not be communicated either to the Poles or to the Czechoslovaks until the Conference of Ambassadors has made a definite pronouncement. The Allied Governments consider that they are entitled to expect that a decision based on these particulars will be loyally accepted by the two parties to each of whom will accrue certain important advantages: to Poland as regards the village of Teschen and the ceded territories in the Spitz and Orava districts and to Czecho-Slovakia in respect of Karvin.

The Allied Governments assembled at Spa are immediately communicating their resolutions to the United States Government. They are assured that it will agree thereto and as a consequence send urgent instructions in this sense to the United States Representative on the Conference of Ambassadors in Paris. It is indeed of the utmost importance that the question be settled without delay for events which are at the moment taking place in Eastern Europe may in the Teschen district have results the consequence[s] of which are incalculable. It is highly desirable in the first instance to confront the interested parties with a definite decision.

The Conference of Ambassadors will meet on July 15th and sit until July 25th, on which date it will adjourn until September 1st. The Teschen question must therefore be settled before July 25th. It is accordingly of the utmost importance that the necessary instructions reach the United States Ambassador without delay.

I have [etc.]

A. C. Geddes
  1. Similar notes, July 14, from the Italian and the Japanese Embassies, and, July 13, from the French Embassy.