No. 440
The Department of State to the British Embassy


The Department of State has considered the telegram of June 22, 1945 (512/15/45) from the Foreign Office to the Embassy1 and the draft instructions to Ambassador Nichols in Praha (6652, June 22, 1945).2

The views of the United States with regard to the transfer of minorities from Czechoslovakia were made known to the Czechoslovak [Page 648] Government on January 31, 1945,3 in answer to its note of November 23, 1944,4 in the following terms:

“The American Government fully appreciates the injuries suffered by Czechoslovakia at the hands of Germany and of the German minority during the past decade or so and is prepared to examine the problem in an effort to seek a satisfactory solution for the future. This solution, of course, will have to take into account the needs of Czechoslovakia referred to in your note, and also the broader aspects of the problem in its relation to general measures for the future peace and security of Europe as a whole, as well as the particular problem which will face the Governments accepting the unconditional surrender of Germany, which thereby become responsible, as occupying powers, for the control and administration of Germany.

“There will also undoubtedly arise related questions with regard to the transfer of Germans from other territories. Since this problem may therefore involve an aggregate of some millions of people, it would be a matter of major concern to the occupying powers in the maintenance of order in Germany during the absorption of such people from abroad simultaneously with the repatriation or resettlement of millions of displaced persons now within Germany.

“The American Government therefore feels that transfers of the kind contemplated in your Excellency’s note should only be carried out pursuant to appropriate international arrangement, as suggested in your Excellency’s address of October 8, 1944, and under international auspices. It also agrees with the Czechoslovak Government that any process of transfer should be a gradual one, in order to provide facilities for the orderly settlement of transferred persons. Pending such international arrangements, the American Government feels that no unilateral action should be taken to transfer large groups, and understands from the statements cited above that the Czechoslovak Government does not envisage any unilateral action to do so.”

Inasmuch as there has been no reason to alter these views since they were communicated to the Czechoslovak Government, the Department of State is in agreement with the draft instructions to Ambassador Nichols that the determination of the method and timing of the repatriation of the Reich Germans now in Czechoslovakia and the transfer of the German minority in Czechoslovakia must be left to the Allied Control Council in Germany.

Since the receipt of the Foreign Office telegram, a note, dated July 3, 1945,5 has been received from the Czechoslovak Government stating that, since the Allied States had made no objection in principle to the proposed transfer of the German and Hungarian minorities, the Czechoslovak Government was preparing a plan for an organized and orderly transfer.

The Department’s reply6 to the Czechoslovak note reiterates the [Page 649] views of the United States, as set forth above, and requests the Czechoslovak Government to bring its plan for the repatriation of Reich Germans and the transfer of the minorities immediately to the attention of the Allied States represented on the Control Council in Germany and the Control Commission in Hungary through the appropriate Czechoslovak Coordinating Missions attached to these bodies.

The Department of State believes that an exchange of views on the whole question of the transfers of ethnic minority groups in Europe is not required at this time in view of the clear statements of policy by the British and American Governments, and could be deferred pending a possible discussion of this question at the forthcoming tripartite conference.

  1. Document No. 437.
  2. See document No. 437, footnote 1.
  3. In note No. 155 from Rudolf E. Schoenfeld, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim near the Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile at London, to Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk (file No. 740.00119 E. A. C./1–3145).
  4. Not printed.
  5. Document No. 439.
  6. See document No. 441.