Menu JTA Search

League Postpones Change in Minorities Petitions Procedure to June

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

The question of changing the procedure in the submission to the League of Nations of petitions by national minorities against the governments in the countries where they reside, will be taken up at the June session of the Council of the League session, it was decided in the Council today following three days discussion on minority problems.

The Council adopted the viewpoint of Sir Austen Chamberlain, British Foreign Secretary, who expressed the opinion that the present procedure is in general satisfactory, but some modifica- (Continued on Page 4)

A report based on this opinion will be worked out by a special committee and submitted to the June session of the League’s Council for a first reading.

The “New York Times” in an editorial on the minorities problems sets forth the difficulties confronting the members of the League’s Council.

Naturally, the League of Nations Council is interested in the proposal by Dr. Stresemann that the committee on racial minorities be enlarged to include representatives of the various nations concerned, writes the “Times.” Few problems before the League are more complicated and confusing. One of the chief services of the League is to permit a full airing of grievances by the minorities. This may not hasten a settlement, but it is likely to relieve tension.

The existence of minorities has long been a stumbling block of European politics. In ordinary political parlance, a minority is a group within the political boundaries of a given State which is racially and linguistically akin to a foreign and often neighbor State. In Poland and Roumania the term is also applied on occasions to the large Jewish populations in certain centres. The outstanding characteristics of the minorities are that they are smaller in numbers than the governing race; that they speak different languages; that they have inherited separate customs, and that their closests ties are with their fellows elsewhere.

Before the war the minorities problems existed in Austria-Hungary. Russia and throughout the Balkans. The Poles were divided between Germany, Russia and Austria. The Lithuanians, Latvians and Finns formed minorities in Russia. In the Balkans foreign groups were incorporated in territory under the control of a racial majority. Today the position in a number of cases is reversed. Where before the war Roumanians in Transylvania protested against Hungarian rule and demanded association with the Roumanian State, Hungarians in Transylvania are today under Roumanian rule and demand greater freedom to associate with the Hungarian State. There are German enclaves in Czechosloviakia and in Poland. In behalf of these Dr. Stresemann made his fervent appeal. Macedonia is still a racial crazy quitlt. where minorities clamor against the overlords and against each other.

The difficulty in reaching a solution is that it is practically impossible to draw boundaries that will mark off the race and language groups. Where this is possible, economic interests strongly oppose such a delimitation. The linguistic or ethnic map of Central and Eastern Europe shows groups dotted all over it. Most of them have occupied their territory for generations. They cannot be transplanted, the “Times” States.

NEXT STORY