CYIL vol. 12 (2021)

CYIL 12 (2021) THE MECHANISM OF THE PROTECTION OF RACIAL, NATIONAL, AND RELIGIOUS… of their own language. This provision shall not prevent the Polish Government from making the teaching of the Polish language obligatory in the said schools. Similar obligation was set for secondary education. Article 1 of Chapter 1 was of an extreme importance: “Poland undertakes that the stipulations contained in Articles 2 to 8 of this Chapter shall be recognised as fundamental laws, and that no law, regulation or official action shall conflict or interfere with these stipulations, nor shall any law, regulation or official action prevail over them.” Such a new approach to the understanding of the relations between international obligations and national legislation was meant to include this provision of the Treaty to the subsequent Polish constitutional regulation, i.e., fundamental laws. Minorities obligations for Czechoslovakia were based upon the treaty with Poland and related to the completion of a Peace Treaty with Austria. The Czechoslovak delegation opted for a negotiation strategy different from that applied by the Polish representatives. However, the Czechoslovak delegation was in rather a complicated situation in that it was also trying to show a more cooperative attitude than the Poles at the same time. The nationally oriented press, in particular, and politicians from the National Democratic Party tried to force the Czechoslovak Government and the delegation in Paris to concede only to a minimum extent. A good example of the approach of the Czechoslovak delegation were its proposals from 20 May 1919, which were open to the political and language rights of minorities and even referred to the Swiss model of the solution. 8 The representatives of smaller states claimed that minorities treaties were imposed upon them and that such treaties encroach upon their sovereignty; this issue became one of the stormiest topics of the Conference. 9 However, despite negotiations in the background and personal contacts, Edvard Beneš managed to influence the minorities treaty in favour of Czechoslovakia but only to very limited extent. The treaty was signed in St. Germain on 10 September 1919, i.e., on the same date as the Peace Treaty with Austria. Whereas the parts of the treaty concerning the definition of racial, language, and religious minorities and their rights were based on the Polish treaty and set up in similar terms, the Treaty of St. Germain with Czechoslovakia also included special provisions concerning Sub- Carpathian Ruthenia which largely corresponded with Beneš’s proposals. 10 In addition to Poland and Czechoslovakia, special obligations to protect racial, national, and religious minorities were adopted within special treaties concluded between the so-called Principal and Associated Powers (Britain, France, USA, Italy, and Japan) and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (established as Yugoslavia in 1929), Romania, and Greece. Similar obligations regarding minorities were contained in the peace treaties with Austria, 8 For Beneš’s Note from 20 May 1919, see Miller, D. H.: My Diary at the Conference of Peace , with documents, vol. XIII, c.d., pp. 68–70. 9 Hudson, M. O.: The Protection of Minorities and Natives in Transferred Territories, in: What Really Happened at Paris , New York 1921, pp. 204-230, particularly p. 210 and following.; Temperley, H. W. V.: A History of the Peace Conference of Paris V ., London 1921, pp. 128–132; Hajn, A. (ed.): Problém ochrany menšin [ The Problem of Minorities Protection ], Praha 1923, pp. 21–22; Peška, Z.: Otázka národnostních menšin na Pařížské mírové konferenci [ The Issue of National Minorities at Paris Peace Conference ], Zahraniční politika [ Foreign Policy ], 1930, pp. 212–227, particularly pp. 219–225. 10 Miller, D.H.: My Diary at the Conference of Peace XIII, 1925, pp. 74, 89, 90-95, 162-163. Osuský, Š.: Ochrana menšín, c.d., pp. 12–17. Rychlík, J., Marzik, T. D., Bielik, M. (ed.): R.W. Seton-Watson and His Relations with the Czechs and Slovaks / Documents 1906 – 1951 I ., Praha – Martin 1995, p. 299.


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