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DOCUMENTS - Part Two: Frontiers of Hungary - Chapter II. Proposals and Remarks to the Subcommittee on Territorial Problems

Document 9

Secret T Document 259

Preliminary March 2, 1943



Upon the collapse of Germany military power in the Danubian area, both Hungary and Rumania will presumably be occupied by forces of the United Nations. The close of formal hostilities is likely to be followed by rapidly changing and revolutionary events in this area. The forces of occupation will have the task of preserving order and of preventing groups representing either nation from jeopardizing the chances of reaching a solution that will minimize the dangers to the future peace of Europe.

To reinforce the principle of non-recognition of territorial changes brought about by force or threats of force, the United Nations occupying forces might set the 1939 boundary as an administrative line, making use of local Rumanian officials in territory which was then Rumanian, and Hungarian officials in the territory of Trianon Hungary. This line would be a starting-point for further deliberation and negotiation.

During the period of occupation, which might last over a consider- able period, the competent United Nations authorities would then explore all opportunities for a solution of the Transylvanian question which might be presented by 1) direct negotiations between Hungary and Rumania; 2) local conditions; 3) general developments affecting the whole Danubian or East European area which might fix a pattern into which Transylvania could be fitted. In the meantime, the alternative solutions of a more permanent character may be given preliminary consideration.


1. Return to the Hungarian-Rumanian Boundary of 1939

Rumania would regain the whole area of 102,787 square kilometers acquired from Hungary after the first World War. The area has a population of approximately five and one-half millions, of whom 3,208,000 are Rumanians 1,353,000 are Hungarians, and 544,000 are Germans (census of 1930). Many of the Hungarians live in the area adjacent to Hungary. The problem of Hungarian irredentism would remain acute.

2. Cession of all Transylvania to Hungary

This solution would leave over three million Rumanians in Hungary, a consideration which would probably outweigh any advantages gained by the partial reconstruction of the economic unity of the territory of pre-1918 Hungary.

3. Maintenance of the Present Boundary, Established in 1940

The northern part of Transylvania, ceded to Hungary in 1940, has an area of approximately 42,000 square kilometers (about two-fifths of Transylvania), and a total population of some two and one-half millions, of whom 1,200,000 are Rumanians and 900,000 Hungarians. The Hungarian population left in the southern part of Transylvania totals approximately 450,000.

The boundary of 1940 has grave disadvantages from the standpoint of regional economy and communications unless there is to be substan- tial freedom of trade and of transit between Hungary and Rumania.

In that it satisfies neither party, this boundary tends to heighten and to perpetuate unrest and insecurity.

4. Rectification of the 1939 Boundary in Hungary's Favor

The boundary of 1939, from the vicinity of Arad northwards to the border of Czechoslovakia, could be pushed flfteen or twenty miles to the east, adding to Hungary a strip of territory approximately 9,000 square kilometers in area, in which the Magyars outnumber the Rumanians by 300,000 to 200,000. This strip would contain the predominantly Hungarian cities of Szatmárnémeti (Satu Mare), Nagykároly (Carei Mare), Nagyvárad (Oradea Mare), and possibly Arad. At the Peace Conference in 1919, the railway connecting these cities was considered to be such great and strategic importance to Rumania that boundary was drawn to the west of it. The American territoria1 experts had recommended a line which cut across the railway in severa1 p1aces but was intended to secure a more just ethnic division.

5. More Drastic Rectification of the 1939 Boundary in Hungary's Favor

Hungary could be given a larger area at the northern end of the boundary, including the greater part of the counties of Szilágy (Slaj) and Szatmár (Satu Mare). The Hungarian Government proposed such a line in its negotiations with France in 1920.

The approximate area of this territory is 14,500 square kilometers. Its population is evenly divided between Hungarians and Rumanians, with about 400,000 of each.

This solution might be combined 1) an exchange of populations involving the Rumanians in this area and the 600,000 Hungarians remaining in Transylvania, exclusive of the Szeklers; and 2) a regime of territorial autonomy for the Szeklers. If there were no exchange of populations, cultural autonomy for national minorities on both sides of the boundary would have to be organized on an other than territorial basis.

6. Creation of an Autonomous or Independent Transylvania within a Federation or Union of East European or Danubian States

This solution would require effective guarantees or control on the federation and on the part of an outside international authority. If questions of security and of basic economic policy remained in the hands of federal or international bodies, there should be no objection to an autonomous Transylvania on the ground of its small area and popula- tion or its vague status in international law.

Autonomy might offer to the people of Transylvania opportunities to work out the problem of getting along together, without pressure from outside. Strong provincial feeling among all the nationalities and the traditions of self-government in historic Transylvania are factors which might increase those opportunities. Autonomous Transylvania would presumably include not only historic Transylvania but also the other territories ceded by Hungary to Rumania in 1920.

7. Creation of an Autonomous Transylvania Standing in a

Special Relationship to Hungary and Rumunia

If there were no Danubian federation, the terms of Transylvania's autonomy might be defined by agreement between Hungary and Rumania, each recognized the economic and cultural interests of the other in the autonomous area. All three states would probably have to have a common army and foreign policy.

The complicated system of checks and balances which would be needed to give this experiment some chance of success might not be strong or elastic enough to prevent Transylvania from becoming an open battleground between Hungarian and Rumanian nationalists.


Box 62


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