760c.60f/26: Telegram

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


1278. Your 1387, 1394, 1404, and 1407.38 This Government has received identic notes from the British, French, Italian and Japanese [Page 51] Embassies in the United States communicating the resolutions taken at Spa by the Supreme Council upon the question of the division of Orava, Spis, and Teschen, and expressing at the same time the assurance that the Government of the United States will acquiesce in its decision and will instruct you to act accordingly.

This Government has consistently held the attitude that questions in regard to disputed territory should be settled either by arbitration, by impartial judges, or by plebiscites fairly conducted, and not by imposing boundaries upon weaker powers by the principal powers. From the declaration of the Czechoslovak and Polish delegates to the conference at Spa, it would appear that they agreed only with reluctance to accept the decision reached or imposed by the Supreme Council in determining the line of the frontier in the disputed regions. Apart from the fact that the Government of the United States could not, without facts to justify its action, depart from the policy stated above, it could not determine without more detailed examination whether or not the specified arbitrary boundaries proposed to the Council of Ambassadors by the Supreme Council are just and expedient. Realizing, however, that the situation in the Duchy of Teschen is grave, and that it is desirable from every point of view to settle speedily this perplexing problem, this Government is disposed temporarily to accept as a basis for examination and rectification in the future the lines of demarcation indicated in your telegram 1407, July 19, 11 p.m.

Acting under the authority of the declaration of Poland and Czechoslovakia as contained in your telegram 1404, July 19, 8 p.m., you may consent to the Conference of Ambassadors’ fixing temporarily the proposed boundaries on the condition that the question be then submitted to an impartial Commission for such rectifications as may be deemed fair and expedient by it, the ultimate decision of which Commission it is hoped that the Governments of Czechoslovakia and Poland will now agree to accept freely and without reservations. The Department feels that such an arrangement as that stated above should accomplish the object that the Supreme Council seemingly had in view, and should provide for the rectifications which may be necessary without causing any undue delay. Therefore, you may express the desire of this Government for such an arrangement to the Conference, and you may propose that a Commission be designated by England, France and the United States with the consent of Czechoslovakia and Poland, or as an alternative, that the Commission be designated by the League of Nations at the request of the Governments of Czechoslovakia and Poland. No Pole or Czechoslovak shall be a member of the Commission. The decision of the Conference of Ambassadors shall be referred to the Commission whatever the manner of its appointment [Page 52] as a basis of study for the final and definite determination of the boundary line of Orava, Spis, and Teschen, and the decision of the Commission shall be reached not later than September 15, 1920.

  1. Nos. 1394 and 1407 not printed.