860F.00/600: Telegram

The Minister in Czechoslovakia (Carr) to the Secretary of State

18. According to an official communiqué broadcast here this morning, President Hacha has dismissed the entire Slovak Cabinet with [Page 36] the exception of Teplansky, Minister of Finance, and Joseph Sivak, Minister of Education, both of whom are moderate members of the Slovak Party. Sidor remains Deputy Prime Minister in the Central Government. At the same time it is stated that the Central Government has assured Slovakia financial assistance for economic reconstruction.

This change follows closely upon the attempt within the past week (see my despatch 345 sent by air mail this morning66) to settle differences between the Slovak and the Central Government hinging chiefly upon the question of financial assistance to Slovakia and its constitutional status within the state. The action is claimed to have been taken in full agreement with all responsible Slovak authorities who are said to realize that the existence of Slovakia can be secured only within the outline of the present Czechoslovak Republic (as declared by the Slovak Government on Saturday) and the Pittsburgh Agreement67 and therefore answers the program of the Hlinka Party.68

At the request of the President of Czechoslovakia, Sokol, speaker Slovak Diet, has come to Praha and is discussing the formation of a new Slovak government. Sivak en route to Rome as delegate of the Slovak Government to the Papal coronation has been recalled to Praha. Meanwhile Teplansky is in charge of the Government in Bratislava.

The changes seem to eliminate most of those personages who were furthering a separatist movement and who were reputed to be carrying on direct negotiations with Berlin. Moreover, the changes would seem to represent the Central Government’s conditions for the financial aid essential to repair the large deficit in the Slovak budget and indicate a stronger attitude which it is presumed must have been taken with the actual or tacit approval of Berlin. The Foreign Minister told me yesterday that Germany is not supporting separatist activities in Slovakia, although I learn from other non-governmental sources which I consider reliable that the secessionist policy has been actively encouraged from Vienna if not from Berlin.

The dismissals seem to have been precipitated by propaganda in favor of Slovak independence carried on by Tuka and Slovak propaganda chief Mach, and the increasing disorder in Slovakia culminating in disturbances at various points in the province yesterday. In [Page 37] neither case was the Slovak Government strong enough to exercise the necessary control and it became imperative that drastic measures be taken. The dismissed Ministers and Mach and Tuka are reported to be under detention in Bratislava and public buildings there are occupied by the military. Order is said to prevail.

  1. Despatch No. 345, March 9, not printed.
  2. Protocol by representatives of the Slovak and Czech organizations in the United States, approving the political program aiming at the union of the Czechs and Slovaks in an independent state, adopted at Pittsburgh, Pa., May 30, 1918; for text, see Ivan Dérer, Czechoslovak Minister of Justice, The Unity of the Czechs and Slovaks (Czechoslovak Sources and Documents No. 23), (Prague, “Orbis” Publishing Co., 1938), p. 23.
  3. Slovak Peoples Party established by Andrej Hlinka, and headed by him until his death, August 16, 1938.