July 2, 1945
United Nations Review
An official visit abroad by a Prime Minister and six members of his Cabinet is not a frequent event in international politics. It is, however, obvious that our relationship with our great Eastern neighbor-to whom we are primarily indebted for the restoration of our independence and to whom we are linked by close friendship and a treaty of alliance-is very special, and goes beyond the framework of customary international relations. Apart from this, the President and Premier of the Polish Republic and a number of members of the Polish Government happened to be in Moscow at the time, to complete their negotiations with the democratic wing of the London Government.
The Soviet Government, disquieted by incidents on the Czechoslovak-Polish frontier-incidents which certainly were not instigated by us-invited authoritative Czechoslovak representatives to Moscow to negotiate with the Polish Government on the matter. With the best intentions the Soviet Government invited us to find a solution to the Tesín problem acceptable both to us and Poland. Our Government gladly accepted the invitation and, to prove its eagerness for agreement with our Polish friends, sent a truly representative delegation to Moscow. At the same time we used the opportunity to settle with the Soviet Government the numerous other questions, of so much importance to us, which have arisen in this period of transition from the occupation regime and war-time condition to peace-time conditions and the difficult task of restoring our exhausted economy.
In the discussions with the Polish statesmen, we realized that the Poland of today has been painfully affected by the loss of considerable territories in the East and is fighting hard for every Polish ethnical group outside the Polish frontiers. Consequently, Warsaw is again concentrating its interest on the Polish nationals living in the Tesín district, whom Warsaw erroneously believes form the majority of the population of that district. We tried to explain to the Polish statesmen the real position of the whole complicated nationality problem in the Tesín district, historically a pure Czech district, where various national movements have been in collision since the end of the last century, when extensive industrial developments began, and where the Beck regime and later the German occupation created an atmosphere which makes it sometimes difficult to restore peace and order, especially as the German occupation left both economy and currency in chaos. We also drew the attention of the Polish statesmen to the disloyal propaganda carried on by the followers of the Beck regime, but assured them that our administration, which is in the hands of the local National Committee, would treat loyal Poles in as friendly a manner as possible and guarantee them all the rights of citizenship enjoyed by our citizens.
We reminded the Polish statesmen that we regard the Tesín district as an indispensable part of our economic State entity.
The coalfields of Karvinná represent the main source of energy for our industries. Trinec represents one of our main modern industrial combines, which have been built up with the help of considerable capital investments. Apart from this, our main railway route, linking us with Slovakia, runs along the eastern borders of the Tesín district. The delegate Ursiny explained both to the Poles and to the Soviet statesmen the view of the whole of Slovakia, which urgently needs not only coal from Karvinná and coke from Trinec, but also the Kosice-Bohumin railway line which runs through the Jablonka pass. The loss of the Tesín district would disrupt the organic coherence of Bohemia and Moravia on the one hand and Slovakia on the other. We told our Polish friends we were willing to accept any alternative solution, including an exchange of population, which would not affect the territorial coherence of our State, and assured them of our sincere friendship for the new democratic Poland.
We received from the most responsible Soviet source the assurance that, in the solution of the frontier problems after this war, Czechoslovakia had the right to insist on her pre-Munich frontiers and that, whatever solution might be reached with Poland, it could be effected only by mutual agreement. Consequently we must reject any solution by force or any agitation detrimental to the mutual relations of the two States. The two Slav States of Poland and Czechoslovakia, which are dependent on each other, must live in friendship and concord. This was the spirit of our Moscow discussions on the Tesín problem.
We used the opportunity of our Moscow visit to explain to the Soviet and Polish statesmen the just claims of our people; in the first place our claim to the Czech land of Kladsko [Glatz] as well as to Ratibor and Hlubcicko [Leobschütz], where there is still a high percentage of Czech-speaking citizens and where substantial adjustments of the former Czechoslovak-German frontiers appear only natural. If Poland receives the large territory of Upper Silesia, not to mention East Prussia and Pomerania, rich in industry and coal, it is only just that an important Czechoslovak industrial center such as Moravská Ostrava and Vitkovice should have a chance of breathing freely and be given the advantage of a connection with the Oder. The possibility of building a Morava-Oder canal must be taken into consideration in this connection. This would certainly benefit Polish economy. These territorial demands by Czechoslovakia will be dealt with at the Peace Conference and the Czechoslovak Government intends to insist on these comparatively modest claims, fully aware of its responsibilities and duties towards the State.
Moreover, we have explained to the Soviet statesmen that one of our most burning problems is to rid ourselves of our disloyal Hungarian and German minorities and we have therefore asked, putting the same request to our other Allies, to be allowed to carry out an organized transfer of a considerable part of these minorities as soon as possible. The transfer to Germany concerns our Germans, and above all, those guilty of disloyalty to our State, and the transfer to Hungary concerns our disloyal Hungarian minority. The Germans living in the southern part of Bohemia and Moravia, who are of Austrian origin and still have close family and economic ties with Austria, may be transferred to Austria. In return, we desire that our important Czech minority in Vienna should be enabled to move as soon as possible to our country. To transfer our disloyal minorities to Germany and Hungary or Austria is a very difficult task. Nevertheless, its realization is of vital importance to our State, for we wish to end finally and definitely all disputes of nationalities in our territory. We do not want the seed of conflict among nationalities, sown by hostile propaganda from abroad, ever again to germinate among our German and Hungarian minorities. We learnt in Moscow that in the problem of transfer Czechoslovakia can count on the full support of the Soviet Union. We hope for the same support from our other Allies, as already promised.
Another important point in our negotiations was the problem of the war booty which the Red Army justifiably claims. In the spirit of our original negotiations with the Soviet Government, we have asked that the competence of the Soviet military organizations in our territory should be precisely defined in this respect, so that no misunderstanding can arise. Stalin assured us that the export of all kinds of material from Czechoslovakia shall be immediately stopped, except when such material belongs to the Red Army or when an agreement has been reached with the Czechoslovak authorities in individual cases.
For this reason all stores and works hitherto in the custody of the Red Army will be immediately released, except in cases where the property concerned can definitely be described as war booty. This will considerably ease our economic and supply situation. Marshal Stalin showed great interest in our supply situation. He also informed us that during the next few days he intended to concentrate all Soviet units in the frontier regions adjoining the German borders and the U. S. demarcation line. Thus, there will, in due course, be no more Soviet garrison commands in the interior of our country. Only at some of the railway junctions will Soviet control organizations remain to safeguard the transport necessary for the Soviet Army. From this it logically follows that the U. S. Army, too, is to withdraw to the demarcation line originally laid down-behind our western frontiers-and that Pilsen, Budejovice and Krumlov will again be completely controlled by us as behoves an independent Allied State.
Our Minister for Foreign Trade, Dr. Hubert Ripka, had an opportunity to discuss with the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Trade, Mikoyan, the supply of raw material necessary for our industry. This mainly concerns ore, crude oil and cotton. Full support was promised by the Soviets.
Our public has already been informed of the important decision of our Government which, rightly understanding the wishes of our people, signed in Moscow an agreement concerning the cession of the Carpathian Ukraine as our Sub-Carpathian Russia is called at present-to the Soviet Ukraine. We have successfully discussed all financial and economic questions and the right of option was guaranteed to the Czech and Slovak people living in the Carpathian Ukraine and also to all persons from the Carpathian Ukraine who have fought in our Army. This agreement has caused great enthusiasm in the Soviet Union, particularly in the Ukraine, and we can say that it has further strengthened the brotherly alliance which links us with our Eastern Ally.
Our negotiations in Moscow were characterized by deep and sincere mutual friendship, so that the prospects of the future development of our mutual relations are most promising. From Soviet statesmen we have heard how greatly Soviet policy is interested in the harmonious development of both Soviet and Czechoslovak relations with the other Western Allies and the creation through common effort after this war of a safe basis for the World Security Organization in which all freedom-loving nations can take part. We have all brought home from Moscow the deep impression that we can rely on the safeguarding of peace and the close collaboration of all democratic States.