Executive Secretariat Files

Memorandum by the Division of Central European Affairs2



The Czechoslovak Government’s relations with the British and Soviet Governments are excellent, and present no problems. Czechoslovak-American relations (reviewed in Annex I) remain excellent, as they have been in the past.

The United States, Great Britain and the U.S.S.R. all favor restoration of independent Czechoslovakia with substantially its 1937 frontiers. Although we favor restoring Ruthenia to Czechoslovakia we would not oppose its incorporation in the U.S.S.R. if the Soviet and Czechoslovak Governments should decide this in agreement.3 Czechoslovakia is not expected to present any problems for American post-war policies concerning it (detailed in Annex II).

We have no questions to raise about Czechoslovakia now; nor have Great Britain or the U.S.S.R., as far as we know.

The Czechoslovak Government itself however has raised one question which will require decision by the British, Soviet and American Governments: It has informed them of its desire to expel to Germany [Page 421] all undesirable Sudeten Germans (possibly two million) in the expectation that the three occupying powers will facilitate the resettlement of these persons within Germany, without any change in the Czech-German 1937 frontier. The State Department is preparing a note in reply expressing sympathy with the Czechoslovak concern about the Sudeten Germans, but opposing any unilateral action to move them until an orderly solution can be worked out in agreement between the Governments of Czechoslovakia and the occupying powers responsible for the maintenance of order for military security in Germany. The Big Three may wish to forestall precipitate action by reaching agreement along the lines of the separate memorandum on “Treatment of Germany”,4 the last section of which deals with the broader question of the transfer of Germans from Poland, East Prussia and other areas as well as Czechoslovakia, who might altogether number near ten million.5

[Annex 1—Extract]

Memorandum by the Division of Central European Affairs

Review of United States Policy Since 1933 Toward Czechoslovakia

. . . . . . .

Present Policies

The United States intends to continue to recognize, and to work in close cooperation with, the present Czechoslovak Government in the prosecution of the war and in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Czechoslovakia and the rest of Europe.

The United States views with approval the present plans of that Government to resume authority within Czechoslovakia as soon as military conditions permit under its Civil Affairs Agreement with the Soviet Government, and thereafter to arrange for elections to enable the people of Czechoslovakia to elect their own representatives as soon as possible.

The United States expects to continue to cooperate as at present with the Government of Czechoslovakia as a full member of UNRRA.6

Restoration of the 1937 frontier of Czechoslovakia is contemplated, [Page 422] with possibly the minor adjustments outlined in PWC 201a of July 18, 1944 (attached as Annex II).

The question of the Sudetenland minorities in Czechoslovakia is one on which this Government will be called to formulate policy in the near future. The Czechoslovak Government has formally notified us that it intends to eject from Czechoslovakia possibly two million more Germans whom it considers undesirable. The question of the attitude to be taken by the United States is now before the Post-War Policy Committee for consideration.

The Czechoslovak Government has requested that it be consulted about the armistice terms for Hungary.7 The British, Soviet and American representatives drafting the terms at Moscow have agreed to show the draft to the Czechoslovaks as soon as it is completed. The Department has approved this and expressed the hope that there will then be time for Czechoslovak comment to be considered before it becomes necessary to present the terms to the Hungarians.

[Annex 2]

Memorandum by the Committee on Post-War Programs8


Summary of Recommendations

policy toward liberated states: czechoslovakia

I. Long-Range Interests and Objectives of the United States

The United States favors the restoration of Czechoslovakia as an independent state.
The United States should favor the participation of Czechoslovakia in the general international organization.
The pre-Munich frontiers of Czechoslovakia and Germany should in principle be restored, subject to any minor rectifications which the Czechoslovak Government might wish to propose as part of a broader settlement of the issues in dispute between Czechoslovakia and Germany.
The United States should favor cession to Hungary of the region of the Grosse Schuett and the Little Hungarian Plain, either on the basis of direct negotiation between Czechoslovakia and Hungary, or on the basis of a determination by appropriate international procedures.
Ruthenia should be restored to Czechoslovakia with the frontiers established in 1920, subject to any minor, rectifications arrived at either through direct negotiations between the states concerned or through other peaceful procedures.
The United States favors the restoration of the 1937 Austro-Czechoslovak frontier, subject to any minor rectification arrived at either through direct negotiations between the states concerned or through other peaceful procedures.
The United States should favor the restoration of the pre-1938 frontier between Poland and Czechoslovakia in the regions of Teschen (Tĕšíin), Spĭs, and Orava. This should, if possible, be effected through direct negotiation between the two governments. If no agreement is arrived at between the two governments prior to the liberation of the disputed areas, this Government should favor the resumption of Czechoslovak administration.
The United States should favor the reestablishment of the system of Czechoslovak constitutional government, with recognition of the right of the Czechoslovak people to make such democratic changes therein as they may desire.
The United States should look with favor upon a program of greater political decentralization in Czechoslovakia based on a modification of the democratic constitution of 1920, in order to provide an adequate solution of the problems of Slovakia and Ruthenia, as well as a basis for the solution of the problem of minorities.
While the United States Government recognizes that the treatment of minorities in Czechoslovakia is primarily an internal problem, it follows with interest the plans of the Czechoslovak Government to create a more stable situation with respect to its minorities.
Czechoslovakia should be encouraged to expand its world trade on a non-discriminatory basis and within the framework of such international economic organizations as may be established.
The United States should be prepared to conclude a new trade agreement with Czechoslovakia, with a view to reducing trade barriers between the two countries and to expanding mutual trade relationships.9
In line with its general policy of promoting freer transit throughout Europe, the United States should favor the granting of facilities by Czechoslovakia on a non-discriminatory basis for the transit of goods across its territory.
In line with its general policy of promoting freer transit throughout Europe, the United States should favor arrangements designed to give Czechoslovakia special transit rights to the sea for its trade.
The United States should favor the participation of Czechoslovakia in such regional groupings as might seem to promote its economic welfare and political security, so long as these groupings are not in conflict with the purposes and practices of a general international organization, and are consistent with the policies of this Government and with the best interests of the United Nations.

II. American Policy in the Transitional Period

The United States Government has indicated no objections to the Czechoslovak-Soviet agreement of May 8, 1944 for the administration of civil affairs in Czechoslovakia during the period of military operations.10
Although the United States sees no present necessity of concluding an agreement with Czechoslovakia concerning the administration of civil affairs, we may find it desirable to send representatives to Czechoslovakia or to re-establish diplomatic or consular representation within the country, prior to the complete liberation of the country, for the purpose of observation and for the protection of American interests.
In accordance with its general policy of not recognizing the acquisition of territory by force, the United States should favor the return to Czechoslovakia, immediately upon its liberation, of the territories taken by Germany and Hungary in 1938–1939 and those taken by Poland in 1938 and 1939. The return of these territories to Czechoslovakia during the transitional period should not prejudice subsequent adjustments, as indicated in paragraphs 4, 5, 6, and 8 above.
The United States should accord every facility for the return of the constitutional government to Czechoslovakia, without prejudice to the right of the Czechoslovak people to express as soon as practicable their desires as to the form and details of government.
If the transfer of certain minorities from Czechoslovakia is decided upon, the United States should use its influence to have such transfers carried out in an orderly manner, over a period of time, under international auspices.
The United States, in cooperation with other nations, should use all appropriate means consistent with United Nations plans and supply policies to assist the people of Czechoslovakia to fulfill as promptly as feasible their basic civilian and rehabilitation requirements. Supplies and transport facilities should be allocated, in so far as possible, on the basis of a system of priorities.
Arrangements should be sought whereby Czechoslovakia would agree to cooperate, not only with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, but with other United Nations relief agencies, and to coordinate its economic policies and practices with the overall program adopted for post-war rehabilitation and economic reconstruction.
The United States may participate in loans and in arrangements for supplying technical assistance to Czechoslovakia in order to speed the process of economic reconstruction in Europe as a whole.11 [Subject to approval of the general principle.]11a
Czechoslovakia should be accorded an equitable share of any payments in kind which the defeated Axis states may be required to make under a general agreement among the United Nations.

Originally prepared and reviewed by the Inter-Divisional Committee on the Balkan-Danubian Region.

Reviewed and revised by the Committee on Post-War Programs, June 8, 1944.

  1. This memorandum was included as document No. 23 in the so-called “Yalta Briefing Book”—the collection of memoranda on a wide range of subjects for the background information and policy guidance of President Roosevelt and the American delegation in their discussions at the Malta and Yalta Conferences (January 20–February 11, 1945). For documentation on these conferences, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945.
  2. For documentation regarding the interest of the United States in possible rectification of the frontiers of Czechoslovakia and in the cession by it of Transcarpathian Ukraine (Subcarpathian Ruthenia) to the Soviet Union, see pp. 509 ff.
  3. Conferences at Malta and Yalta, pp. 178190.
  4. For documentation regarding the interest of the United States in the transfer of Germans from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, and Austria, see vol. ii, pp. 1227 ff.
  5. United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. For documentation regarding the participation by the United States in the work of this organization for the year 1045, see vol. ii, pp. 958 ff.
  6. See bracketed note, p. 798.
  7. For a description of the establishment, organization, and work of the Committee on Post-War Programs, see Department of State, Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation, 1939–1945 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1950), pp. 208—213.
  8. For documentation regarding this subject, see pp. 537 ff.
  9. For text of the agreement between the Governments of the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia on the administration of liberated areas, signed in London, May 8, 1944, see Hubert Ripka, East and West (London, Lincolns-Prager Limited, 1944), p. 77, or Louise W. Holborn (ed.), War and Peace Aims of the United Nations From Casablanca to Tokio Bay: January 1, 1943–September 1, 1945 (Boston, World Peace Foundation, 1948), p. 767. For documentation regarding the desire of the Czechoslovak Government to enter into a civil affairs arrangement with the American, British, and Soviet Governments, and the decisions by the American and British Governments that such an arrangement on their part was not needed, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, pp. 515 ff.
  10. For documentation regarding the granting of cotton credit and consideration of other financial assistance, see pp. 549 ff.
  11. Brackets appear in the original.