760c.60f/57: Telegram

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


1653. The only new development in the Teschen question since my last cables and the Embassy’s mail despatches numbered 1503 and 1511 of August 12 and 13, respectively,50 has been the selection, August 5, of the British, French, Italian, and Japanese members of the Polish-Czechoslovak Delimitation Commission to serve as the representatives of their respective Governments on the Teschen Commission to be established under the provisions of article 2 of the agreement of July 28. I have been informed that the work of the Delimitation Commission will be completed on or about September 15, and that the said Allied representatives will then be available to begin work on Teschen.

[Page 68]

There has been no action taken as yet to execute the other provisions of the agreement. The withdrawal of the troops of occupation has been effected and the administrative powers have been turned over.

I am strongly of the opinion that the Allied Governments still expect the Government of the United States to sign the agreement. I base my assumption that signature is expected on the facts that the United States was a party to the plebiscite agreement of last September which the present agreement supersedes, that this latter agreement names the Principal Allied and Associated Powers throughout as parties to it, and because it was only upon the desire expressed by the Government of the United States that the agreement be amended that it was finally accepted in its present form. I did not commit myself during the final discussions in the Council but it was very evident that the Allied representatives expected that upon the adoption of the agreement of July 28 I would sign then.

I was very careful to reserve your final approval but I feel strongly that we should sign, especially as my colleagues gave me satisfaction in regard to the economic provisions of the agreement and in view of the fact that we agreed to take part in the decision; also we have a moral obligation to sign as a result of the attitude we have taken and because our participation would contribute, as always in such cases, the element of impartiality and justice. A final reason is that the Government of Poland apparently does not desire to reopen the Teschen decision, and they would therefore undoubtedly desire the adhesion of the Government of the United States as a guarantee to Poland in the matter.

For the reasons stated I respectfully recommend that instructions be sent me to sign the Teschen agreement without waiting for the next meeting of the Conference of Ambassadors at which meeting I feel certain that I shall be asked whether I have received authorization to sign.

It would seem advisable to appoint an Army officer to the Delimitation Commission, thus following the usual practice of the Allies, in view of the fact that the principal work of the Commission will be of a technical character. I respectfully make the suggestion that, as this Commission has a special mandate, an Army officer of high rank, experienced in dealing with foreigners, be appointed. As the representative of the United States on the Commission, I highly recommend either Lieutenant Colonel Cheney, who was formerly the American representative on the Niessel Mission,51 or Col. Charles H. McKinstry, retired, who was formerly attached to the American Peace Mission.

  1. Despatches not printed.
  2. Inter-Allied Military Commission for the Evacuation of Courland (Oct. 10, 1919–Jan. 20, 1920), of which General Niessel was president.