Minutes of the Fourth Meeting of the International Commission

Minutes of the Fourth Meeting of the International Commission Held in Berlin on October 8,1938

The meeting was opened by the chairman at 6:15 p.m.

At his request the French Assistant Military Attaché read the minutes of the meeting of subcommittee A on October 2. They contained subcommittee A's proposals for the maintenance of order in the neutral zone between the German and Czechoslovak Armies. (See appendix I)

The French Military Attaché stated that subcommittee A met on October 2 at the request of the British Embassy in order to receive information from the British Military Attaché and from the military representatives of Czechoslovakia on certain incidents that had taken place on October 1 "outside the zones" which, according to special agreements for the movements of October 1, were to be occupied by the German Army.

The State Secretary did not think that the text of the minutes was quite clear on this point. Subcommittee A undoubtedly meant the security zone.

The French Ambassador inquired about the nature of the incidents.

The British Ambassador submitted that, according to reports from his military attaches, fighting had taken place in Krumau and Reichenberg.

The Italian Ambassador said that, in spite of the precautionary measures taken by the Commission, they must be prepared for incidents. They were inevitable. He agreed that, in accordance with paragraph 1 of the minutes of subcommittee A, Czechoslovak police and gendarmery should remain in this neutral zone to maintain order.

The Czechoslovak delegate informed those present at the meeting that the incidents In Krumau had been caused by a fight between Germans belonging to various political trends after the evacuation of the place by Czechoslovak troops. If such a thing occurred again, the observers provided for in paragraph 2 of the minutes of subcommittee A could ascertain the causes.

The Italian Ambassador asked whether the Commission agreed with paragraph 1 (maintenance of order by the Czech gendarmery).

The State Secretary replied that this was not such a reliable measure as it seemed. According to his information the Czech police and gendarmery detachments were withdrawing before the Czech troops. It seemed that in the neutral zone the population itself, and indeed officials of the Sudeten-Germam Party, were maintaining order. .

The Czechoslovak delegate said that he would inform his Government. He remarked that in principle the neutral zone was still under the rule of the Czechoslovak State. It was therefore the duty of the Czechoslovak gendarmery to remain at their posts to maintain order until the arrival of German troops

The State Secretary said that in most cases the task of the Czechoslovak gendarmery would be neither easy nor pleasant.

The Italian Ambassador agreed with the view of the Czechoslovak delegate; from the legal angle too, the neutral zone was Czechoslovak.

The Czechoslovak delegate said he would point this out to his Government, which would take the necessary measures.

The principle of the solution proposed in paragraph 1 of the minutes of subcommittee A were adopted by the Commission.

The Secretary confirmed that for his part there were no objections to paragraph 2 (observers).

The French Ambassador remarked that In almost all cases the observers would probably arrive too late.

The Commission agreed that the duties of these observers should be facilitated by the German and Czechoslovak authorities.

The principle of paragraph 2 of the minutes of subcommittee A was also adopted by the Commission.

The French Assistant Military Attaché then read the minutes of the meeting of subcommittee A of October 3 on the evacuation of Czechoslovak military materiel from zones III and IV. (See appendix II.)

The minutes were adopted by the Commission.

At the request of the Czechoslovak delegate the alteration shown as appendix I was made on page 5 of the minutes of the third meeting of the international Commission.

As Baron von Weizsacker was called away, the French Ambassador temporarily took over the duties of chairman.

The French Ambassador reverted to the question of the "international formations" which were to occupy the areas where plebiscites were to be held. He could give the view of the French Government. It was of the opinion that troops were better than civilians for maintaining order. The French Government proposed that military units accompanied by ex-servicemen should be sent.

The British Ambassador thought he was right in assuming that, in referring the British legion, the Reich Chancellor believed that this was an organized body. This was not so. The members of the Legion had no training which enabled them to carry out duties like the police. He wondered if the Reich Chancellor would have any objection if the British Government sent regular troops. Members of the Legion would accompany the troops as a psychological symbol

The Italian Ambassador shared the views of his French and British colleagues | but said that so far he had no precise instructions from his Government. At the Saar plebiscite Italy had sent a contingent of grenadiers accompanied as it revere "symbolically" by ex-servicemen. He added that according to his information on the activity of subcommittee a it was possible that the number and size of the plebiscite zones might be considerably reduced.

The Commission decided to await the return of the State Secretary.

When the chairman returned, the French Ambassador reported briefly on the discussion which had taken place in the meantime.

The Czechoslovak delegate said that his Government had no objection either to the first solution (ex-servicemen ) or to the second ( regular troops accompanied by ex-servicemen).

The State Secretary regretted that he could not give a very favorable answer. The British Ambassador asked if the German Government had any objection to the use of regular troops.

The State Secretary answered in the affirmative..

The British Ambassador emphasized that during the Munich discussions it had been decided to adopt for the plebiscite zones the principles which had applied at the time of the Saar plebiscite. There had been no British Legion there.

The State Secretary emphasized that in the Munich Agreement "international formations," not troops, had been mentioned.

The French Ambassador described "formations" as a general term.

The State Secretary said that, as long as the deliberations in subcommittee a had not progressed further, there was no definite basis for discussion.

The Commission decided to postpone the debate on the international forma. lions.

The Italian Ambassador asked about the stage reached in the work of subcommittee C (plebiscite and frontiers). He said that It was not their duty to I make hard and fast decisions. They should confine themselves to submitting proposals which would be discussed in the plenary session.

The Commission allowed the principle to stand, however, that the subcommittee must be unanimous before submitting its proposals.

The German secretary of subcommittee a read the various points worked out by subcommittee a regarding the line defining the predominantly German area remaining outside zone I. With the exception of one point the subcommittee had agreed on the line.

The French Ambassador insisted that, in its work, subcommittee a should be guided exclusively by the ethnographic frontiers. This was stipulated in the Munich Agreement. The exception of article 5, according to which the International Commission is empowered to propose "in certain exceptional cases, minor modifications in the strictly ethnographical determination," proved the rule.

The Commission agreed on this principle.

The Italian Ambassador asked about the work of subcommittee B (economics and finance). This subcommittee had not yet been able to meet because Or the absence of its chairman. The Italian Ambassador wanted to know whether this subcommittee knew what the political commission expected of it, namely, a resume of the various problems to be solved in the economic and financial sphere. It should submit as soon as possible some kind of general program showing the main questions to be examined.

The chairman closed the meeting at 8:15 p.m.

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

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