|Senator Charles J. Hokky : Ruthenia|
P E T I T I O N S
M. TARDIEU said: "Finally when ethnic minorities were placed under the sovereignty of another race their rights were surrounded by guaranties sofar reaching that the interested Governments denounced them as a violation of their rights. " 1
TARDIEU, who played a very important role at the Peace Conference, did not even know that the right to petition is a natural human right. It is codified in the line of the American and English human rights. This right of petition, described by TARDIEU, was not worth as much in the practice, as a French "sou" was at the peak of the inflation. This was the r e a s o n why the palace of the League of Nations at Geneva was yawning from emptiness.
We rather believe those who had a low opinion about the League of Nations, and who were more objective than TARDIEU. Among them, LANSING, the chief of the American Foreign Office: ". . . to check the disposition in certain quarters, to make the League of Nations essentially a military coalition under a general international staff o r g a n i z e d and controlled by the French. " 2
Several examples can prove that the petitions made in the name of the population were disregarded by the government of Prague, and also by the League of Nations.
The Hungarian Party of Ruthenia made a petition to the League of Nations in September I921. They complained that the Czechoslovak government did not fulfill its obligations accepted under the Peace Treaty.
The answer arrived in 1922, stating that the rights of the minorities have been fully protected. 3
"A more formidable indictment of the Czech misrule in Ruthenia was presented to the League in October 1922 on behalf of Ruthenian emigrants. 'We, the educated Ruthenians originating from the people and therefore one with them in feeling, raise our voice in protest requesting the high Aeropagus
of the League of Nations to whom in perfect respect and full confidence we address our complaints, and to restore their faith in the force of the 'Treaty concluded with the principal Powers, and in the special protection to afford them by the League of Nations. " 4
János KURTYAK, Rusin representative to the Parliament of Prague, had submitted several memoranda and petitions to the League of Nations. The answer of the League of Nations arrived on October 23, 1923. However, the conditions in Ruthenia did not improve but only grew worse.
"The first protest of the American Rusins, in the definite terms a g a i n s t the tyrannical policy of the Czechs toward the right to self-government of Carpatho-Russians was made by Gregory ZATKOVIC in his 'Expose' and when he resigned on or about March 16, 1921. " 5
"The next protest was made by the Carpatho-Russian People's Congress held in Pittsburgh on November 28, 1922, at which Congress not less than 1500 delegates represented the Carpatho-Russian people of the United States and Canada. At this Congress the 'Rusin Council of National Defense' was created, . . . according to these Statutes Mr. M. YUHAS is acting. (During the time between October 28 and December 31, 1928, local meetings held in 160 communities of Carpatho-Russian people in America, in the matter of the autonomy for Carpatho-Ruthenia. )" 6
"According to the decision of this Congress a detailed Memorandum was sent to the Czechoslovak Government in 1923 but this memorandum was ignored with the excuse that the autonomy for Carpatho-Ruthenia is an internal affair of Czechoslovakia and the C. Russians of America have no rights to meddle in this affair. In 1918, MASARYK and the Czech representatives were of the opposite opinion. " 7 - M. YUHAS commented correctly.
Anyhow, it is peculiar, that those who were in favor of supporting MASARYK, had no right to become involved in demanding compliance with the agreement. Nevertheless, the Treaty of St. Germain was an international agreement, therefore not an internal affair of the republic.
The more recent protests of the same corporation were ignored by the Czech government. Moreover, an active campaign was initiated by the Czech government, against the national demands of Carpatho-Ruthenia, both inside and abroad. The forceful denationalization in favor of the Czechs continued everywhere.
'On September 15, 1928, the President of the Rusin Council of Defense sent a memorandum directly to the League of Nations, which was forwarded at the same time to the French, English, Japanese, Italian, Belgian, and German governments, as well as to the Government of the United States. In October of the same year the Carpatho-Russians in America were invited by the Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Consulate of Pittsburgh to take part in the celebration of the ten year jubilee of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After what had happened during the past ten years this invitation was like an insult. Just as the American Slovaks, we had no reason to celebrate. " - said M. YUHAS. 8
The Slovaks also made several petitions. However, the results were the same. The Sudeten-Germans were the most persistent in their campaign of petitions to the League of Nations. They made 22 or 23 petitions - without any results.
Ivan KURTYAK, representative to the National Assembly of the Parliament at Prague, had stated in his petition submitted on August 28, 1928: "The Rusin people are not Communist. Our people are no friends of Bolshevism. This would mean for them an engagement with the Soviet monster. " He obviously referred to the fact, that during the Czech rule, Ruthenia became more and more a prey of Communism,
The Hungarians, realizing that the petitions to the League of Nations also had no effect, had given up after submitting a few petitions. But the peoples' humor remarked: "It is the same if we make our petitions to the League of N a t i o n s, or to the Salt Administration at Szlatina ''. 9
MACCARTNEY had stated correctly: "Several petitions were addressed during this period to the League of Nations. The regular reply was that all preparations were being made for introducing autonomy as soon as possible. . . . it was frankly pointed out that the mass of politically influential opinion in Ruthenia was still Magyar. ' 10
'The most characteristic description of the helplessness, and of the desperately tense situation can be found again in the book of M. YUHAS: "We can paint the best picture of the present hardships of the unfortunate 'liberated' Ruthenian (Carpatho-Russian) people by quoting verbatim the articles of Ruthenian and other newspapers published in Carpatho-Russia and elsewhere. . . by outlining the hardships suffered by the Ruthenian people during the last ten years - and reproducing the cry for deliverance expressed in the various memorandums, appeals, and protests against the tyranny of the Czech, which is dangerously near to the point of throwing the world into an other and unprecedently cruel war. " 11
Ch. ANDERSON stated the following, touching the essence of the question, in his speech at the Congress of Washington on February 25, 1922:. . . Practice had proven that the League of Nations is evading intervention in the affairs of the minorities. . . In judging the complaint, the state concerned is playing the major role, the situation is that the accused state is deciding in its own cause. 12
Gustave LEBON, French sociologist stated, speaking about the League of Nations: On the front of the palace in Geneva it should be written : 'Assembly of Dreamers. " 13
Foot Notes to Chapter VI
1 M. TARDIEU: The Truth about the Peace Treaty, pp. 426-427
2 R. LANSING: The Peace Negotiations, p. 185
3 Sir R. DONALD: The Tragedy of Trianon, pp. 140-142
4 Ibidem, p. 142
5 M. YUHAS: Wilson's Principles in Czechoslovak Practice, p. 8
8 Ibidem, p. 12
9 (Translator's Note:) The colloquial expression "Salt Administration", or verbatim "Salt Office" (Sóhivatal) in H u n g a r i a n means an office with a venerable title but without any authority or practical use. Such offices were established in the Middle Ages when the mining and distribution of salt were regal monopolies requiring proper administration. However, in modern economy, market, and tax system they became obsolete and useless, but were not abolished until recently.
10 Prof, C. A. MACCARTNEY: Hungary and Her Successors, pp. 223-224.
11 M. YUHAS, op. cit. p. 17
12 Dr. Ferenc OLAY: A magyar müvelödés kálváriája elszakított területen (1918-1928) - (The Calvary of Hungarian Culture in the Separated Area 1918-1928)
13 From a report of "Pragai Magyar Hirlap" (Hungarian Newspaper of Prague), issue of September 22, 1925.
|Senator Charles J. Hokky : Ruthenia|