Minutes of the First Meeting of the International Commission

No. 2

Minutes of the First Meeting of the International Commission Held, Berlin on September 30, 1938

The State Secretary opened the meeting at 6: 20 p.m.

The French Ambassador proposed the State Secretary as interim chairman pending the arrival of the Czechoslovak delegation.

The State Secretary accepted the chairmanship and expressed the hope that the negotiations would take place in a friendly spirit.

In reply to a question from the Italian Ambassador the State Secretary proposed that French should be the language used in the negotiations. The Italian Ambassador asked the Commission at the beginning of its work to remember those who the previous day had preserved the peace of Europe by their cooperation.

The State Secretary said that the most urgent task was to organize the evacuation of the first zone.' He proposed the immediate formation of a military subcommittee.

The representatives of the other states agreed that the military subcommittee should begin its work, at least in broad outline, even before the arrival of the Czechoslovak delegation.

On the proposal of the French Ambassador the military attaches of Great Britain, France, and Italy are to represent these states on the military subcommittee. They may have the help of their assistants and of the air attaches.

The French Ambassador proposed that the subcommittee should deal with the main questions immediately, i.e. the evacuation and the beginning of the occupation; the intervening area between the German and Czechoslovak troops, the question of movable and immovable property, and the road blocks and mine fields. He asked whether it was necessary for military representatives of the signatory states to supervise the progress of the operations.

General von Stulpnagel replied that an exchange of Czechoslovak and German liaison officers between the staffs concerned would suffice..

The British Ambassador asked at what time of day the German troops would cross the frontier. In conversation at Munich the Fuehrer had mentioned 2 p.m.

General von Stulpnagel stated that, according to his information, the frontier would be crossed at 12 noon.

The State Secretary moved that this question should be left to the military subcommittee. This was agreed to.

The State Secretary outlined the tasks of the military subcommittee as follows:

It shall, as soon as possible, submit to the plenary commission proposals for the tactical-execution of the evacuation of zone I and start preliminary discussions on the evacuation of zone II. The procedure decided upon for these zones shall then be applied in general to the other zones.

The French Ambassador asked whether it would not be advisable for the Commission to express the wish that in the signatory states all steps should be taken to insure that press and radio maintain an atmosphere favorable for the negotiations.

The State Secretary proposed that the subcommittee should start its work at once and that the political should in the meantime discuss the motion of the French Ambassador.

The meeting was adjourned pending the arrival of the Czechoslovak delegation.

After the arrival of the Czechoslovak delegation the meeting was resumed

The State Secretary welcomed the Czechoslovak delegates.

The Italian Ambassador repeated his proposal that the State Secretary should continue to act as chairman.

The State Secretary expressed his thanks for the confidence placed in him and took the chair.

The Commission agreed on the following procedure: should the need arise in the course of its work to transfer its place of meeting to another country (Prague) then the representative of the host country should take the chair.

On the proposal of the State Secretary, the Commission agreed that identical minutes, one in German, the other in French, should be drawn up. These minutes should not contain a verbatim account but merely a resume of the proceedings.

The Commission discussed and drew up the press communiques attached as an enclosure for transmission to the press.

The Italian Ambassador emphasized that in the communique and in the appeal to the press they had in mind the end rather than the means. Each delegate should select the means which seemed to him most suitable for convey ing to his Government the intention of the Commission.

It was decided that the meetings should be private and confidential.

After the return of the military subcommittee the French Military Attache, at the request of the State Secretary, read the proposals drawn up by the subcommittee. Reservations were made with regard to the supplementary paragraphs.

The Italian Ambassador moved that in the supplementary paragraphs the first three lines should be in a separate paragraph from the last four lines and that the word "incident" should be replaced by the word "difficultes."

The Commission resolved to fix the time for the entry of German troops in the proposals of the military subcommittee at 2 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. On the other hand the neutral zone between the two armies should be "au moins" three kilometers.

The French Ambassador remarked that, according to certain unconfirmed reports, members of the Freikorps had caused incidents on the German-Czechoslovak frontier.

The State Secretary gave an assurance that all necessary steps would be taken to prevent such incidents, provided that the reports were confirmed.

The French Ambassador asked whether, in the opinion of the subcommittee, It was necessary to send representatives of the International Commission to the Scene of the entry (sur les lieux memos). The Italian Ambassador proposed that, in view of the importance of the first two days, his assistant military attache should supervise the normal course of evacuation from October 1. He asked that the German authorities should support the activities of this delegate.

The State Secretary promised to do this but emphasized that the observer's task would be chiefly on the Czech side.

The Italian Ambassador said that that had been his meaning. The meeting was adjourned until 11 a.m. on October 1.

As they broke up, the Commission decided to appoint as soon as possible a second subcommittee to define the areas in which a plebiscite was to be held.

Before leaving the committee room, the State Secretary read a telegram which stated that it was reported from a reliable source that the town of Hohenfurt, south of Budweis, had been fired on by Czechoslovak artillery. It was, however, not yet known whether actual shooting had taken place or previously prepared mines exploded.

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


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