760c.60f/35: Telegram

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

1434. Mission. At 65th meeting this morning I made statement to Conference of Ambassadors explaining fully arrangement for settlement of question of Teschen, Spisz and Orava in accordance with Department’s instructions. Bonin said that before discussing merits of solution proposed he wished immediately to take exception to suggestion that boundary commission be designated by England, France, and the United States. Italy he said is vitally interested in settlement of this question and such commission should be designated by five Principal Allied and Associated Powers. Matsui concurred. Bonin asked me please to seek an explanation for this exclusion of Italy and Japan. This has since been covered by Department’s 1284, July 22, 7 p.m. Derby then said that my Government must have been under some misapprehension. He reviewed the history of Teschen question showing that though Poles had been unwilling to accept plebiscite they had been ready to accept arbitration which is what present proposed decision is. At Spa there was no question of “imposing” frontier line upon Poles and Czechoslovaks. They came forward of their own accord and asked Conference to take their views and then signed an agreement that that decision would be respected and obeyed. Solution proposed by Washington, he continued, at first sight seemed only slight modification of decision arrived at by Conference (see [my] 1424 July 21, 7 p.m.) but in reality it might change whole idea underlying that decision. Poland, Czechoslovakia might well refuse to accept authority of commission proposed by Washington whether designated by League of Nations or otherwise saying that this is not the authority whose decision they agreed to accept. What they agreed to [Page 56] accept was the decision of Supreme Council or Conference of Ambassadors arrived at if necessary, Derby presumed, by majority vote. If my Government’s idea was that proposed commission should have such powers that it could attribute for instance Karwin or railroad running north and south along left bank of Olsa to Poland, he could not agree; but if proposed commission were to be a boundary commission charged only with delimiting frontier and with adjusting on principles [of] geographic and economic interests small local injustices, and he thought that my Government’s proposal could be so interpreted, he would agree.

… Derby then proposed that Conference adhere to its decision which should at once be communicated to interested parties and that a boundary commission should immediately be appointed which, while adhering in the main to line as decided upon, should serve for Conference as an act [sic] of readjustments which it thought should be made in view of economic and geographical communal interests bordering on said frontier line. He also proposed that Conference take a resolution stating that it was abundantly clear that initiative in the matter came from Polish and Czecho-Slovak representatives, that they desire that Conference decide upon a frontier line and that they have formally agreed to accept and abide by same. It is a fact though perhaps not clearly brought out in my 1410, July 20, 3 p.m. and my 1411, July 20, 4 p.m.,43 that both Benes and Paderewski when appearing before Conference formally and unhesitatingly agreed loyally to accept and abide by decision of Conference. Cambon pointed out that if United States proposals were accepted it would merely mean postponing a final decision until September 15th and he again laid [emphasis?] on urgency of question. Indeed if proposed commission composed of five representatives of Principal Allied and Associated Powers is to take line heretofore decided upon by Conference as basis and guide for its decisions I believe that with the exception of rectifying local injustices it would arrive at practically the same decision as the one Conference now desires to take.

During discussion it was several times stated, I think by Derby, Cambon, Bonin and La Roche, that they would greatly regret if [action?] were taken by majority vote and earnestly hoped that United States would concur in a unanimous decision.

Result of discussion which occupied whole session was that Cambon on behalf of Conference should write me a letter explaining fully what had taken place in connection with this question since it arose at Spa and making it irrefutably clear that Poland and Czechoslovakia of their own free will had taken the initiative in [Page 57] requesting that Conference of Ambassadors reach a final decision of this question. I expect to receive said letter late this evening and will immediately telegraph it in full.

  1. Neither printed.