International morality is entitled to demand, M. Zaleski, the Polish Foreign Minister, said in speaking at the meeting of the Sixth Commission of the League of Nations Assembly, which deals with minorities and Mandates questions, that in those States which have not signed minority treaties and whose representatives come to Geneva and want to appear here in the role of defenders of the rights of the minorities in those countries which are bound by the treaties, the treatment of the minorities should be above criticism.
M. Zaleski formally proposed that the Sixth Commission should consider not only the treatment of those minorities who are protected by minorities who are protected by minorities treaties, but also of those minorities who live in countries which are not subject to the minority treaties. M. Zaleski did not mention any country by name, but it is generally agreed that his remarks refer to Germany.
A few days ago, the “Revue des Nationalites et des Minorities Nationales,” published in Geneva, devoted the whole of its current issue “to the position of the Jewish minority in Germany, which,” it wrote, “a civilized nation, a member of the League of Nations, is contemplating placing outside the law.”
This is happening, it said, in a State from which it was not considered necessary to obtain its signature to the treaties for the protection of racial, lingual and religious minorities, and which has always held itself entitled to champion the rights of all minorities throughout the world at the meetings of the League of Nations.
The countries bound by minorities treaties have constantly complained of the treaties being imposed only on them, and not on all States, and the representatives of Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, and other countries have several times raised this matter at meetings of the League of Nations.
The “system in force at the moment for the protection of minorities, while of great service to humanity,” runs a typical argument of this kind, “suffers from a defect which it would be very dangerous to refuse any longer to recognize. The system limits the sovereignity of a certain number of States only, while in justice the protection of minorities implies the same rights and duties for all members of the League. We fully agree that the part of public internal law connected with minorities necessitates the control and guarantee of the League, but we are equally convinced that such control and guarantee are only admissible provided that they are applied to all members of the League. If that is not so, unfortunate consequences from a political point of view result, and there can be no moral unity between members of the League while the sovereignty of some is limited while that of others remains untouched. We therefore propose that a general declaration in regard to the protection of minorities, affirming the same rights and duties for all members of the League, should be drawn up. Such a declaration would be in accordance with the resolution adopted by the Assembly on September 21st, 1922, to the effect that States under no legal obligations in regard to minorities should, nevertheless, observe at least the same degree of justice and tolerance towards their own minorities as is required by the Minorities Treaties.”
The late Lucien Wolf had occasion several times to refer to this campaign on the part of States bound by the Mnorities Treaties. Hitherto, he wrote in one of his reports, there have been two lines of attack. One has been directed against the procedure on the ground that it is not justified by the Treaties ; the other has taken the insidious form of a demand that the Treaties should be transformed into a general Convention to which all the
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.