PRAHA (Mar. 9)
The Czecho-Slovakian Government declared today that it did not intend “at present” to adopt any anti-Jewish law, but added that “whether this can also hold good for the future depends on international conditions in Europe.” The first official statement of the Praha Government on its attitude regarding the Jewish question was made to the J.T.A. by Dr. Jiri Havelka, Chief of the Cabinet Chancellery.
The laws so far issued regarding the Jews are considered by the Government to be quite sufficient, Dr. Havelka said. The Government has no particular interest in raising the Jewish question since the Jews in Czech territory, Bohemia and Moravia, constitute only one-half per cent of the total population, as compared with four per cent in Slovakia and twelve per cent in Carpatho-Ukraine, he declared.
The Chancellery Chief stated that better treatment would be accorded to the 40,000 Jews who declared themselves to be of Czech nationality. The Czecho-Slovak Government, he said, regrets that Jews who are Czecho-Slovak citizens are leaving the country and liquidating their businesses, thereby doing harm to the State.
He declared that the German Government, on the one hand, and the autonomous Slovak Government, on the other hand, were urging Praha to issue anti-Jewish laws on the model of the Nazi Nuremberg Laws, but said that even if the Slovak Government drafted such a law, the Praha Government, for the present, was not going to adopt it.
“Any such law basically affecting the status of the Jews of the country will have to be a Federal law, not just a local law passed by a local government,” Dr. Havelka said. “The Praha Government does not know of such a projected law and is not considering in any way the passage of such a law for the present. What the future will bring will depend upon the development of the international situation in Europe.
“For the present, however, the Praha Government considers the Jewish question practically solved by four laws recently issued by it. These are: (1) the law pensioning off all Jewish employees of the State, (2) the law giving immigrants and “stateless” six months to leave the country, (3) the law for revision of citizenships granted since 1918, (4) the law giving chambers of physicians and lawyers the right not to admit to membership new candidates whenever they see fit.”
Dr. Havelka declared that the first measure was necessary “in order that Jewish civil servants should not come into contact with officials of Germany whenever negotiations between Germany and Czecho-Slovakia are conducted, thus preventing a situation which would injuriously affect the interests of the Czecho-Slovakian State.” The second and third measures, he said, are directed especially against Jews, but also against Social Democrats and other non-Jewish elements of the country. He admitted, however, that the fourth measure “will affect chiefly Jewish lawyers and doctors,” adding that the law related only to new candidates while present members of chambers would be permitted to practice unmolested.
(Note: The above dispatch was received eight hours after the one which follows.)