CYIL vol. 12 (2021)
CYIL 12 (2021) THE MECHANISM OF THE PROTECTION OF RACIAL, NATIONAL, AND RELIGIOUS… The results of debates of the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace Conference from 1 May 1919 gave rise to the construction of a special body – the Committee for New States, unofficially called Minorities Committee. 3 The Committee was assigned to consider and decide the above issues and to propose relevant conventional documents. The Committee debated and prepared the treaties with “newly established states” containing international obligations proposed for Poland and other states including Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs. The first treaty to negotiate was that with Poland as it was intended to become a model treaty for other states. The protection of minorities in Poland was originally supposed to be included in the peace treaty with Germany. 4 The Polish delegation was intensively trying to minimize their obligations regarding the protection of minorities; however, the Powers had an important advantage by requiring the linking of the Jewish question with final recognition of the Polish State and its borders (with the exception of a rather uncertain situation in the Eastern part of the state). This was confirmed in the letter of French Prime Minister G. Clemenceau to the head of the Polish delegation Ignacy Jan Paderewski from 24 June1919. 5 The emphasis in the letter was laid upon the link between obligations regarding minorities under the auspices of the League of Nations and the search for a new form of international relations, and guarantees of the Victorious Powers therefor, including the borders of newly established states. 6 It was obvious at the same time, that the emerging system represented a new element of international law significantly interfering with the sovereignty of states with minorities obligations. The Polish Minority Treaty was signed in Versailles on 28 June 1919. 7 That was another aspect emphasizing its link to the Treaty of Versailles with Germany and attempts of the Powers to incorporate the basic principles of minorities regulation and minorities obligations in relation to the League of Nations into the treaty. Article 12 provided as follows: [Poland agrees:] a) that the stipulations in the foregoing Articles, so far as they affect persons belonging to racial, religious or linguistic minorities, constitute obligations of international concern and shall be placed under the guarantee of the League of Nations. They shall not be modified without the assent of a majority of the Council of the League of Nations. The United States, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan hereby agree not to withhold their assent from any modification in these Articles which is in due form assented to by a majority of the Council of the League of Nations. b) that any Member of the Council of the League of Nations shall have the right to bring to the attention of the Council any infraction, or any danger of infraction, of any of these obligations, and that the Council may thereupon 3 Miller, D.H.: My Diary at the Conference of Peace with documents , vol. XIII , 1925; Osuský, Š.: Ochrana menšín [ Protection of Minorities ], Prúdy VI. 1922, p. 10–22, particularly p. 12. 4 Miller, D.H.: My Diary at the Conference of Peace, with documents, vol. XIII , Minutes of 64 meeting of the Committee on New States, c.d., p. 15. 5 Temperley, H. W. V.: A History of the Peace Conference of Paris V ., London 1921, pp. 432–437. 6 See so-called Adachi Report for the Council of the League of Nations of June1929, ibid. Part II, pp. 158–159. 7 For the text see https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1919Parisv13/ch29.
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