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Our Daily News Letter

September 17, 1926
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(By Our Geneva Correspondent)

The refusal to recognize the legality of any renunciation of its minority rights by a minority and the insistence that appeals by minorities to the League should not be branded as disloyal actions–this, together with the proposals for a more effective procedure in the regulation of conflicts between minorities and their States, was the outstanding achievement of the Congress of National Minorities, which has just been concluded here, according to Mr. Leo Motzkin. In an interview today with the representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Mr. Motzkin, who was the head of the Jewish delegation to the Congress and a member of the Presidium of the Congress and who is also a member of the Executive Committee appointed by it to act until the next Congress is held in 1927, dwelt especially on the role of the Jews at the Congress.

“The Congress,” he declared, “has shown that the fate of the Jews as a minority is intimately bound up with the fate of the other minorities. That was already realized by the Jews at the time of the Peace Conference in 1919 when they submitted their now historic memorandum to the Peace Conference, the only memorandum which dealt with minority demands in general. We Jews submitted our demands not for the Jews alone, but for all the minorities, putting only a few special demands in respect of the specific Jewish questions.

“The Jews participated in the Congress this year to a larger extent than they did in the Conference last year, and we can say with an easy conscience that the Jewish representatives have taken their part in all the activities of the Congress. The resolutions adopted bear the impress of Jewish cooperation.

“The resolution on the regulation of conflicts between the minorities and their States is based obviously on the difficult experiences of the Jewish minorities. It contains three main points: 1. The demand that conflicts between the minorities and the government of the majority people should be settled within the country itself by mixed commissions on which both parties will be equally represented. 2. The right of a minority to be given a direct hearing in an appeal to the League of Nations. 3. The refusal to recognize the legality of any renunciation of its minority rights by a minority. We are especially interested that the appeals by minorities to the League of Nations should not be branded as disloyal actions, for that would turn the international protection of the minorities into a danger. If the existing procedure before the League of Nations is maintained so that the complaining party is not given a hearing, then the right of appeal of the minorities becomes an illusion. This state of affairs particularly affects the Jews, more so since the Jews are not represented at all in the League of Nations and their influence is therefore restricted to a minimum. For that reason there is so much importance attached to the declaration of the Congress that every renunciation by a minority of its minority rights is null and void. It is important at this very moment when the Jews after long resistance have been forced by the Turkish Government to renounce formally the minority rights guaranteed to them in the Treaties.”

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