Minutes of the Second Meeting of the International Commission

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

The meeting was opened at 11: 30 with the State Secretary in the chair.

The chairman called upon the military subcommittee to read its proposals on the ending of military operations in zone I and on the military operations to be

carried out in zone II on October 2. He remarked that the committee must : meet again in the afternoon to prepare and agree to the military operations for October 3.

On behalf of the French Military Attache, the French Air Attache read the arrangements made by the military subcommittee for military operations in zone I on October 2.1

These arrangement" were agreed to by the committee.

The French Air Attache thereupon read a reservation formulated by General Husarek ( Czechoslovakia ) .

The French Ambassador stated that this involved a problem which would crop up every time that it was a question of the Czechoslovak Army's evacuating fortifications. There was material in these fortifications which could be removed only in a certain time.

The Italian Ambassador also emphasized that a general ruling based on the Munich Agreement must be made for this important question. By this agreement the Czechoslovak Army could remove all material as far as this was possible at all. The Ambassador opposed a solution which provided for destruction of remaining stocks of munitions. He that a procedure should be found for acquainting the German unit headquarters in each individual case with details of the material which the Czechoslovak Army had to leave behind.

The British Ambassador expressed agreement with this.

The French Ambassador pointed to the fact that the word "installations"[Einrichtungen] in the German text of the Munich Agreement had a very general meaning. The Fuhrer had had in mind the destruction of electricity plants and other vital installations; the fortifications represented a special case of a military nature.

The Italian Ambassador was of the opinion that it might lead to difficulties and unpleasantness if Czechoslovak military units remained behind to guard and remove this material. He therefore moved that the military attaches of the signatory powers should investigate whether in the present case it would not be possible to draw up lists of stocks to be handed to the appropriate authorities, i.e. to the International Commission.

The French Ambassador again referred to the importance of the problem. In view of the very short time for evacuation allowed to the Czechoslovak Army, it would undoubtedly leave behind heavy artillery or other materiel in certain places which, apart from its military value, also represented a considerable financial value; in some cases it might be a matter of milliards of crowns, which the Czechoslovak State should not injustice lose.

The Czechoslovak Minister remarked that the Commission should also give sympathetic consideration to the psychological side of this problem and should consider the actual position in which the Czechoslovak Army found itself as a result of the evacuation of its [fortified] positions.

The chairman stated emphatically that it was in no way the intention either of the International Commission or of the German delegation to make any decision which might be interpreted as an insult to an army which was doing its duty. Nevertheless,the Commission must confine itself to carrying out the arrangements laid down in the Munich Agreement within the time limits set by the Heads of Governments. The State Secretary proposed that this question should be left for the military subcommittee to study. As far as he knew there had been no question at Munich of taking away the items on the inventory left behind by the Czechoslovak Army. He emphasized,however, that he had no wish to complicate matters, and he hoped that the military subcommittee would find a general settlement for this problem.

The French Ambassador reverted again to the definition of the word "installations." At Munich the Fuehrer had thought that the areas to be evacuated should not be left as "scorched earth"; he had, for example, above all had the unspoiled condition of the harvest in mind. Movable war materiel did not come within the conception"installations."

The Commission then agreed to leave the examination of this question to the military subcommittee.

At the request of the chairman the French Air Attache then read the details of the proposals formulated by the military subcommittee for military opera tions on October 2.

These proposals were accepted by the full committee.

The military subcommittee then met in special session to study the particular problem arising out of the evacuation of the fortifications.'

On a motion by the French Ambassador Commission then passed to the examination of the problems which will arise for the everyday life of the population in the former Czechoslovak areas as a result of the entry of German troops.Problems of finance and currency would also have to be dealt with here, and it was advisable to form a subcommittee at once for this purpose. For his part he was prepared to send his finance attache to this subcommittee.

The Italian Ambassador observed that, regarded in their entirety, these problems had two sides--a particular and a general. From the point of view of the general problem it was desirable to draw up as quickly as possible a kind of program to define the real nature of these problems.

The French Ambassador referred to the precedent of the Saar plebiscite. Like the Italian Ambassador, he would have as his representatives on the subcommittee on this question those officials who had already dealt with such questions during the Saar plebiscite.

It was agreed that a preparatory finance subcommittee is to meet this Afternoon. In the absence of the Czechoslovak finance expert the Counselor of the Czechoslovak Legation will be a member of this subcommittee for the time being.

In these circumstances it was decided that the International Commission should he supported by three subcommittees:

1. Military subcommittee A.

2. Subcommittee for financial and economic questions B.

3. Subcommittee for plebiscite and frontiers C.

With regard to the measures to be taken for the carrying out of the plebiscite the French and Italian delegates moved that subcommittee C should meet as soon as possible. This was in fact a very urgent matter. The experts whose duty it was to decide on the frontier demarcation must reach agreement on October 7.

The British Ambassador added that the question of international troops provided for in the Munich Agreement was linked up with the regulations for the plebiscite and that the various governments must be given the necessary time to prepare and put into effect the dispatch of these troops.

The British Ambassador wished to hear something about the composition of the international formations. The British Government had taken the necessary steps for the dispatch of two brigades of the regular army.

The chairman pointed out that during the Munich discussions the French Premier had stated that French ax-servicemen and not regular troops would be sent. Count Ciano had also announced that Italy would not send regular formations. With regard to Britain it had been suggested to use the British Legion in accordance with the proposal made to the Reich Government by the resident of the Legion.

he French Ambassador remarked that what might be called "civilian soldiers"Militaire civil would Insure control over the carrying out of the plebiscite.

The British Ambassador stated that as far as he knew no decision had been reached on this point at Munich

The Commission agreed that the international formations shall provided by the three states not directly interested, I.e. not by Germany and not by Czechoslovakia.

In reply to a question by the British Ambassador the chairman stated that he had instructions to insist on the dispatch of ax-servicemen instead of units of the regular army. Psychologically, ax-servicemen appeared more suitable to supervise the plebiscite.

It was decided that the Czechoslovak delegate should obtain his Government's view on this question.

The Czechoslovak Minister said that his military expert proposed that, in certain areas of the zone to be evacuated, today's entry of German troops should be postponed a few hours in order to avoid incidents.

The British Ambassador read a telegram from his Government stating that as of tomorrow seven British observers would be in Czechoslovakia at the disposal of the Commission. A further 20 British observers could leave for Prague tomorrow.

The Italian Ambassador stated his agreement with this, with the reservation that France and Italy might also send observers to the spot.

The Commission decided that 27 British observers should be at the disposal of the British Ambassador in his capacity as representative of Great Britain on the International Commission.

The chairman adjourned the meeting until 6 p.m. on the afternoon of the same day.It was decided that subcommittee B should also meet that afternoon and that the members of subcommittee C were to be notified that that body could hold its first meeting on the morning of Monday, October 3.

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

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