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on of the peace conference. After the treaty with Germany it ime before the peace conference proper. Just recently they have iscussed the question, and the representatives of the Swedes and le Finlanders were heard; but my contention, and what I think is le main point in this controversy, is the demand or request of the eople of the island of Aland to determine their own fate. Permit me to say in conclusion that even in the interest of future eace in the Baltic it seems evident that the possession of the Aland slands by a more powerful, albeit peace-loving, country, such as weden, would be preferable to their possession by Finland, whose istory as an independent State is an unwritten page.
But the political side of the question is no concern of mine. As u American citizen, I am interested in seeing American principles f fairness prevail over the whole world. To me the desire of the iland people to join their own nationality by a reunion with Sweden eems so much more justified, as the geographical position of the ountry makes Aland a physical entity. Thus no objection could easonably be raised against the desire of the population to deterline their own fate.
Senator Knox. How long had Russia sovereignty over this group if islands?
Mr. Johnson. Russia had possessed Finland and the Aland Islands roni 1809, when they were ceded to Russia after the Russian-Swedish far by the treaty or Frederickshaven.
Senator Knox. And prior to 1809?
Mr. Johnson. Before that they belonged to Sweden. Aland and 'inland were settled from Sweden. The islands belonged to Sweden Tom prehistoric times, from time immemorial. The Finland Provnces belonged to Sweden for 700 years before they were ceded to ilussia.
Senator Knox. Did Sweden lose this group of islands at the same ime that she lost Finland?
Mr. Johnson. Yes. All that is extensively described in the pamthlet which I leave with you. Sweden tried very hard to keep the ^.land Islands, but Russia wanted them, and claimed them by right )f conquest, because they had overrun them. To show the territorial importance of the islands, it is a question of life and death to Swelen to possess them. They absolutely dominate Stockholm, far more <o now, with the powerful engines of war that have been discovered. But I am not talking for Sweden or any political party.
The Chairman. What is the total population of the islands?
Mr. Johnson. Twenty-two thousand and some hundreds.
The Chairman. They are all Swedes?
Mr. Johnson. Yes; there are not 2 per cent that do not talk the Swedish language.
Senator Moses. Does Sweden claim these islands are necessary for her self-defense?
Mr. Johnson. I do not know that they made that claim before the peace conference, but they have always done so, and that is an admitted fact. Under the treaty of Frederickshaven Sweden tried to fret an engagement or a promise from Russia not to fortify those islands, but Russia was so strong and Sweden so weak at that time that the request was paid no attention to.
Senator Knox. It seems to me that it is obvious on the face of it that they do dominate Stockholm, because they are only about 25 miles away from Stockholm, and with the modern engines of war like these long-range guns, those islands fortified would have Stockholm at their mercy.
Senator Moses. I can understand that perfectly from the map. but what I was trying to get at is why the claim of necessity of those islands for self-defense of Sweden, when the league of nations is going to abolish war.
Mr. Johnson. All those questions will be eliminated, I suppose, as soon as the league of nations is an actuality, but that claim wa~ raised by Sweden right after the islands were ceded by Sweden to Russia. They were fortified by Russia. In 1856 when the Crimean war took place, the English and French fleet combined to destroy the fortifications of Aland, and then in the treaty of Paris in the next year it was stipulated that those islands should not be fortified any more. During this war Russia permitted herself to start fortifications on the islands, and when Sweden made protest against it they claimed it was in fear of a German attack.
Senator Moses. What I was trying to get at was whether Sweden would rather have the Aland Islands or the league of nations as a means of defense.
Mr. Johnson. I can not talk for Sweden. I think if they got the Aland Islands to begin with, they would be satisfied, and then they would make a request to be admitted to the league of nations afterwards. It may be, I do not know.
Senator New. Mr. Johnson, I would like to have you clear up one point that is not clear in my mind. You spoke of Sweden losing Finland and the Aland Islands at the same time.
Mr. Johnson. Yes.
Senator New. That was in 1809?
Mr. Johnson. Yes.
Senator New. You said Finland was taken by Russia?
Mr. Johnson. Yes.
Senator New. And the Aland Islands were given to the Czar. Do you mean that there is a difference in the condition in which the two were lost?
Mr. Johnson. I beg your pardon, but they were both ceded to the Czar of Russia. The wording of the treaty says that the King of Sweden cedes to the Czar of Russia, and my contention is that the Czar of Russia, if he was alive, could cede the Aland Islands to Sweden without the consent of Finland.
Senator New. That is all right, but from the way in which you first stated it I thought there might have been a difference in the condition under which the two were ceded.
Mr. Johnson. No.
The Case Foe Czechoslovakia.
STATEMENT OF MR. EDWAED VACZY.
Mr. Vaczy. Mr. Chairman, I am a resident of Brooklyn. Mr. Yan Svarc, of Cleveland, Ohio, an American by birth, of Czech descent. a lawyer by profession, Mr. O. D. Koreff. of Pittsburgh, an American citizen of Czecli birth, a newspaper editor, and myself, also an American citizen of Slovak birth, represent the Slovak people and the Bohemian National Alliance of America, and its branch organizations, which organizations exist in nearly one-half of the States of the Union. I want to state at this time that our committee has been somewhat handicapped. It was very late last evening when we received the stenographic reports of the meeting yesterday morning, and we have not been able to prepare our briefs in a manner that would do justice to this case.
The Chairman. The committee will give you time to prepare your brief, if you wish to file anything after the hearing.
Mr. Vaczy. I appreciate that very much. I trust you will, therefore, appreciate our position in this matter. At this time I wish to thank you most kindly in extending to us the opportunity to present the case of Czechoslovakia insofar as it relates to the Magyar people. Our purpose in view in appearing before you is to cooperate with vour committee and assist vou in reaching a fair settlement in the so-called matter entitled. "The Case of Hungary." and further to refute and correct the misleading statements propounded by the representatives of the Magyar people who appeared yesterday before your honorable body.
I shall be very brief with the Czecho-Slovaks and Magyar situation and discuss the matter as it exists in the United States to-day, and leave the economic, geographical and historical questions affecting the European situation to my colleagues. The Czecho-Slovaks began to emigrate to the United States before the Civil War. Many of them fought bravely and heroically in this war.. The Czechoslovaks began to come to our shores in large numbers, principally to escape the hardships and cruelties perpetrated upon them by the Magyar imperialistic Government, and further to escape the military service, realizing the humiliation and the insults and treatments that would be accorded to them by the Magyar militaristic lords. As the years rolled on their immigration began to increase to this land until to-day the Czecho-Slovak population in the United States is approximately 1,600,000, or five times that of the Magyar population in this country.
The Czecho-Slovaks have principally settled in the States of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, West Virginia. Texas, Massachusetts, Khode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Wisconsin. Indiana, and Minnesota. In many or the cities in these States they have built magnificent churches and schools, and in fact most of these people, I may say, own their homes. It is their absolute intention to remain in this country. They have became a part of our Government. These people have expended and invested millions of dollars in building operations and have materially assisted in developing our country in this one respect.
There has been an erroneous impression received by the average American that the Czecho-Slovaks are only capable of performing manual labor. This is incorrect. Thousands of these men are expert artisans, many of them are successful business and professional men. while other nave established reputations as artists and musician*. The Czecho-Slovaks have developed a deep interest in our political life and have made rapid strides in that direction. Two members of the present House of Congress are of Czecho-Slovak birth. Others occupy elective and appointive political positions, while others hold civil-service positions in nearly every arm of our service, Federal, State, and municipal.
I might state this, that the Czecho-Slovaks of this country have proven themselves to be an extraordinarily patriotic and independent, liberty-loving people. They have organized a Czecho-Slovak army in the United States. They were able to organize a force of upwards of 3,500 Czecho-Slovaks, men who were not citizens of the United States and who were under no obligations to serve our country, but who were exceedingly glad and desirous of going to the front and fighting for our country and fighting for the cause of the Allies.
There was only one way in which those men could engage in battle, and that was by enlisting in the Czecho-Slovak Army. I might say that while yesterday the Magyar representatives appeared here and asked you for justice for Hungary, or for the Magyars, a> I maintain, there is no such place as Hungary. Hungary to-day has been equitably divided. There is only a place there, Magyarland, and not a united Hungary. Twenty-five hundred Czechoslovak soldiers were marching up Fifth Avenue while the Magyar representatives here were asking for sympathy and justice to their country—these 2,500 Czecho-Slovak soldiers live in the United States; they are not citizens—after coming from Siberia. Many of them have been wounded and crippled. They left their wives, their parents, their dependents, while they were in the Czecho-Slovak Army. I am sure that you must admire their heroic position in this matter. But .while the Czecho-Slovaks in this country have been doing everything in their power to assist the United States to win this war—and I say they materially assisted the United States in winning this war—what were the Hungarians doing—or the Magyar people, to be correct? What were they doing? You realize and you know the extensive propaganda that the Magyar agents in this country were carrying on prior to our declaration of war against the Central Powers. These Magyar agents were scheming and plotting to blow up munitions factories, sink ships, if you please, do anything in order to destroy our property, in other words to cause disorder, to cause strikes, to interrupt our business pursuits in this country until the matter became so serious, if yon recall, that an investigation was had, and a convincing report wa* drawn up of the operation of the Magyar agents in this country, and of the harm that they were doing, so that Dr. Dumba as a result of that investigation was asked to be recalled, which he was. We bid that gentleman a final farewell, a representative of a so-called highly cultured, humane people.
At this very time, Mr. Chairman and Senators, on August 10 a whole page advertisement appeared in four New York newspapers entitled "To the American Nation. Real facts about Hungary." It is signed "American committee for the relief of Hungary, Arnold Somlyo, corresponding secretary; Bertalan Barna, chairman.'* Thev conclude by stating "We respectfully appeal, therefore, to the President of the United States, to the United States Senate, to Congress^. and to the American Nation for justice to Hungary."
I have read this article, and I am sorry to state that then seems to be no conscience as to the extent to which these Magyar propagandists will go to mislead the American public. There are three or four prominent facts to which I could draw your attention from this advertisement, which solely affect the Slovak people, while it deals also with Serbia and Roumania.
The Chairman. Let me ask one question in order to make it clear. When you speak of Czecho-Slovak, you mean Bohemian, Moravian, and Slovak.
Mr. Vaczt. Yes I do. We are only interested as far as this advertisement affects the Slovaks. The other nationalities quoted here can very well take care of themselves. •
At a meeting in New York I was elected by a branch of the Slovak League
Senator Pomerene (interposing). Before you come to that, you said that there were three or four facts or statements that were gross misrepresentations. That is the substance of what you said.
Mr. Vaczy. Yes.
Senator Pomerene. What are they?
Mr. Vaczy. Well, I can answer that argument, but I will leave that to my colleague, Mr. Svarc, who will explain that matter much better than I can. He has been in Czechoslovakia and has recently returned, and understands conditions there and understands conditions here.
I was asked to answer this advertisement. I then proceeded to the New York Sunday World office and inquired as to what it would cost to publish a similar full-page advertisement. I was surprised when I was told that it would cost $1,344 for one insertion. It seems that it cost as much money for the page advertisement in the New York Herald, the New York American, and the New York Times. So in round figures it cost about $6,500 for those four advertisements in the New York newspapers.
Now the question is, gentlemen, I am wondering where this large sum of money is coming from. If these people can afford to spend $6,500 for advertising purposes, it is a very serious problem in my estimation as to where the money is coming from. Is it possible, gentlemen, that perhaps the purse strings of Bela Kuhn have been loosened and some of that money imported into this country? Or is it possible that the Magyar aristocrats have opened their pocketbooks and are expending some money for these expensive advertisements?
This advertisement, to my mind, has been solely published for the purpose of misleading and poisoning the minds of the American public; and, gentlemen, further for the reason that they are endeavoring to mold public opinion, and I think that they want to use that public opinion as a sort of a hammer upon the Senate of the United States.
There are a great many points which I could touch upon, so far as the Slovak situation is concerned. I know that your time is somewhat limited. You can put it to great advantage in other important matters that are before you, and I will conclude by saying that the Magyars have been before the bar of justice. There is no reason why sentence should not be passed, and they are awaiting sentence, and I will say that may the Lord have mercy on their sonls.