Minutes of the Third Meeting of the International Commission

Minutes of the Third Meeting of the International Commission Held in Berlin on October 1,1938

The chairman opened the session at 5:20 p.m. At his request, the French Assistant Military Attaché read the arrangements worked out by the military subcommittee covering the following points:

(a) Military operations in zone II for October 3. Operations of Czechoslovak and German troops for October 3, 4, and 5. Operations of troops for October 6 and 7. Military operations in zones I, II, III, and IV.

(b) The removal of Czechoslovak war materiel in zone I. The military subcommittee proposed that the same regulations apply also to zones II, ITI, and A.

In reply to a question by the Italian Ambassador this plan was explained as meaning that, after the end of the operations, Czechoslovak units were at liberty to occupy localities situated on the frontiers of the neutral zone either within or without these frontiers. This arrangement had been made jointly by the representatives of the Czechoslovak and German Armies. The proposal of the military subcommittee contained the words "localites importances." The word "importances" was deleted in the text adopted by the plenary commission. The proposals put forward by the military subcommittee regarding operations in zones I to IV were adopted by the plenary commission. The question of the re oval of Czechoslovak war materiel in zones II, III, and IV led to a discussion..

General Husarek emphasized the importance of the problem for October 7.

The French Ambassador moved that the method applied to zone I should apply also to the others.

The representative of the Reich stated his agreement that this method should also be applied to zone II. With regard to zones III and IV he reserved his answer in order to confer with the German military experts.

The French Ambassador said that he could not see why the same principle should not apply also to zones III and IV, if the Reich recognized its validity for zones I and II.

The chairman objected that time factors were different for the two latter zones.

The French Ambassador insisted that it was not a question of time factors but of principle.

The chairman replied that the German experts considered the time limits set for the evacuation of zones III and IV sufficient to allow the removal of all the material He therefore repeated his understanding that the question was settled for zones I and II, but he asked the Commission to be patient until he had conferred with his military experts regarding zones III and IV. He hoped to be in a position to give an answer on these points at the next meeting of the plenary commission.

The Commission adopted the solution proposed by subcommittee A for the removal of material in zones I and II and resolved to await the chairman's answer for zones III and IV.

At the suggestion of the Italian Ambassador the members of subcommittee B (economics and finance) then left the plenary commission to begin their deliberations.

The chairman announced that subcommittee C (plebiscite and frontiers) would meet at 9 a.m. on Monday, October 3.

The Italian Ambassador broached the question, provided for in the Munich Agreement, of international formations to maintain peace and order in the plebiscite areas if the need arose. He asked what strength could be counted on for each country and if a minimum could be decided in advance now. He further asked about the nature of these formations, whether it would be a question of regular troops or of ax-servicemen.

The Czechoslovak Minister stated that, after consultation with his Government, he had no objection to the use of units of ex-servicemen.

The Italian Ambassador said that it would be difficult to organize units of ex-servicemen, especially if larger formations were involved. He had in fact heard that the British Government intended, it need be, to send a detachment up to the strength of two brigades.

The chairman was of the opinion that it was unnecessary to send such large formations before October 10. If need be, the local police was sufficient to maintain order. As far as the effective strength was concerned this was a question of assessment, and he did not yet have the evidence to allow him to express an opinion on this subject

The Czechoslovak Minister was also of the opinion that the Czechoslovak police would be sufficient until that date. The strength of the international formations would depend on the size of the plebiscite areas.

The Italian Ambassador repeated that in practice the establishment of units of ax-servicemen might prove impossible. He did not know if there were enough ex-servicemen in Italy who could leave their civilian occupations for an indefinite time.

The British Ambassador said that the result of the work of subcommittee a must be awaited. The latter would compare the ethnographic-maps of the Czechoslovak German delegations and decide on the extent of the plebiscite area. The plenary commission could then fix the strength of the international -corps. He asked whether, in the event of there being an insufficient number of ex-servicemen, the Reich Government and the Czechoslovak Government would agree to the sending of regular troops by Britain. On the other hand the atmosphere at present was considerably less tense and it seemed that incidents and disturbances were less to be feared.

The Czechoslovak Minister stated that for this matter the first 7 days were of decisive importance.

In the course of discussion the Commission decided that on the motion of the French Ambassador each of the three states, Britain, France, and Italy, should send 1,000 men-that is 3,000 men in all.

The chairman made it clear that this was an approximate estimate. The exact numbers would be decided according to the extent of the plebiscite zones. At the time of the Saar plebiscite the international corps had numbered 5,000 men..

The Czechoslovak Minister said that in the present circumstances there must be no talk of occupation of the country by the international formations. They represented, as it were, a "political expedient."

Turning to the financial aspect of the problem the Czechoslovak Minister said that in his opinion it was for the Great Powers and not for Czechoslovakia to bear the costs of the international formations.

In reply to a question by the Italian Ambassador the chairman said that in his opinion the international formations need not be on the spot before October 10 or 11.

The Czechoslovak Minister, however, thought that an earlier date who advisable.

The British Ambassador asked whether the men of the international body would be armed or not.

The Commission was of the opinion that they should be provided with arms corresponding to those of the auxiliary police.

The British Ambassador again asked whether his Government was at liberty to send a battalion of regular troops.

The chairman replied that in the future the principle of employing ex-servicemen should be adopted.

The British Ambassador pointed out that the British ax-servicemen neither carried arms nor wore uniforms.

The three Ambassadors of Britain, France, and Italy resolved to report to their Governments and to inform them of the wish of the Czechoslovak and German representatives to give preference to ax-servicemen rather than regular troops.

At the close of the meeting the Commission decided that the military experts of subcommittee A might enter into contact with the members of subcommittee a

The press communique was adopted and released for distribution to the press. The next meeting of the committee was fixed for 3 p.m. on Monday.

The Czechoslovak Minister stated that his Government had no objection to the sending of 27 British observers, discussed at the previous session.

Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918-1945
Series D Volume IV
United States Government Printing Office : Washington, 1955

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