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DOCUMENTS - Part Two: Frontiers of Hungary - Chapter III. Summaries and Recommendations

Document 1

Secret H Document 8

June 1, 1943



The problem is the determination of the boundary between Czecho- slovakia and Hungary in the region where the latter borders on Slovakia. The problem arises from the conflict of Czechoslovak and Hungarian claims.

The boundary established by the Treaty of Trianon in 1920 was a special target of Hungarian revisionist agitation. By the Vienna Award of November 1938 and by the Slovak-Hungarian Agreement of April 1939, Hungary annexed an area of about 4,000 square miles, with a population(1930)of 1,000,000,of whom 288,903 were Czechoslovaks and 587,692 Magyars. The area borders the Danube River and is devoted to agriculture, forestry, mining and light industry.

The Czechoslovak Government-in-exile desires the return of this territory and has received commitments from the Soviet Government and from the French National Committee (Fighting France) for integral restoration of the pre-Munich frontier. While the American and British Governments do not recognize the legal validity of Hungary's annex- ation of this territory, they have given no commitments as to specific postwar boundaries. II. ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS

(Indicated on Maps 1 and 2, Czechoslovak Series.)

A. Cession to Hungary of Six Slovak Districts along the Southwestern Frontler (Grosse Schuett and Little Hungarian Plain)

This solution was preferred by the Territorial Subcommittee. The solution would assign to Hungary six southwestern districts in the Grosse Schuett region and part of the Little Hungarian Plain (amorín, Dunajská Streda, Komárno, Stará ala, Parkan and Zeliezovce). These districts have an area of about 1,400 square miles and a population of 219,000 Magyars and 40,000 Slovaks. The territory is predominantly agricultural. Its loss would not injure Czechoslovakia's system of railway communications or materially affect its defenses, but it would deprive Czechoslovakia of the river port of Komárno, a center of trans- shipment of timber.

The American Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919-20 proposed that the Grosse Schuett region be assigned to Hungary.

1. Discussion of the Territorial Subcommittee

In view of the apparent willingness of unofficial Czechoslovak circles to discuss limited adjustment of the Slovak-Hungarian frontier, it was suggested that the United States encourage, as part of a general settlement of Czechoslovak-Hungarian difficulties, direct negotiations for a frontier adjustment. If appealed to by the parties directly con- cerned, the United States might express itself in favor of the transfer of the six districts to Hungary. In view of the uncertainty concerning the future status and tendencies of Hungary, the Territorial Subcommittee did not favor suggesting wider territorial concessions to Hungary.

B. Restoration of the 1937 Slovak-Hungarian Boundary

Restoration of the 1937 Slovak-Hungarian boundary would leave about 500,000 Magyars within the Czechoslovak Republic. Czechoslova- kia would recover a largely population, together with small mining, forest and industrial areas. Czechoslovakia would also retain a through east-west railway in southern Slovakia. Restoration of the 1937 boundary would give to Czechoslovakia a greater sense of security than would Alternative A or C. Restoration would satisfy the Czechoslovak demand for full legal recognition of Czechoslovakia's territorial integrity. Retention of the 1937 frontiers, however, would again make Czechoslovak-Hungarian reconciliation difficult, if not impossible.

1. Discussion of the Territorial Subcommittee

In the discussion of the Territorial Subcommittee one member felt that only the most urgent ethnic and political considerations would justify transfer of any territory to Hungary, since Czechoslovakia had been a victim of German and Hungarian aggression and had pursued more enlightened social and cultural policies than Hungary.

C. Transfer to Hungary of Ten Southern districts of Slovakia with Certain Adjoining Areas

This solution would eliminate from Czechoslovakia as large a Hungarian population as is possible without serious economic and strategic injury to Czechoslovakia, and would leave roughly equal minorities on each side of the frontier. To the 1400 square miles involved in Solution A, this proposal would add four additional districts (Feledince,Tornal'a, Moldava nad Bodvou, Král'ovsk Chlmec), together with parts of six adjoining districts (Galanta, Nové Zámky, Levice, Roava, al'á, Vráble). This additional strip of territory contains approximately 1340 square miles. The total area to be transferred to Hungary would amount to about 2740 square miles, with a population of about 310,000 Magyars and 59,000 Slovaks (1930). The remaining minorities, being about equal in number, might then be exchanged, thereby eliminating the ethnic basis for any further irredentism. Czechoslovakia would be fairly well equipped with railways on the southern frontier. The territories acquired by Hungary would have excellent communications with Budapest. Czechoslovakia would retain most of the lumber and minerals of the zone in dispute and part of the rich farm land, while Hungary would hold the richest grain and livestock area. Neither Czechoslovakia nor Hungary would have any substantial advantage of terrain for military operations.

1. Discussion of the Territorial Subcommittee

The Territorial Subcommittee, in suggesting direct negotiations between Czechoslovakia and Hungary, gave no detailed consideration to this solution. D. Retention of the 1930 Slovak-Hungarian Frontier

If the existing frontier, established in 1939, is retained, approximate- ly 288,000 Slovaks and a number of districts of Slovak majority would remain in Hungary. Hungary would keep a mining, forest, and agricultural region, whose products would add to its exportable surplus of cereals and animal products. The principal east-west railway of Czechoslovakia in southern Slovakia would be cut. Retention of the present frontier might increase the Hungarian influence in Slovakia to the detriment of Czech-Slovak cooperation.

1. Discussion of the Territorial Subcommittee

There was no disposition on the part of the Territorial Subcommittee to favor the retention of the 1939 boundary.

PS:HNHoward:MT Box 152


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