Fundamental problems concerning the treaty of Mutual Relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Czechoslovak socialist Republic of December 11, 1973 with special reference to the Munich Agreement
The thesis deals with the Treaty of December 11; 1973 on Mutual Relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, its historical background, substance and importance.
The thesis begins with the historical background.
Part I shows that in the tenth Century· a Czech Kingdom developed in Bohemia and Moravia which formed part of the "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" and that Bohemian Kings were repeatedly elected emperors of this Reich. Germans lived in large numbers in this Kingdom. The Kingdom eventually passed to the Hause of Habsburg and remained part of the hereditary lands until the dissolution of Austria-Hungary at the end of World War I . Slovakia and Ruthenia were from the beginning part of the Kingdom of Hungary and remained so until the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy.
In 1918 Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia and Ruthenia were combined in the new State of Czechoslovakia, which included more than three million Germans. In 1938 Hitler demanded the union with Germany of the territories with predominantly German inhabitants and threatened to march into Czechoslovakia. For the s ake of peace France and t he United Kingdom urged the Czechoslovak Government to yield to Hitler's demand. The Prague Government consented to do so.
At the Conference of Munich on September 29, 1938 Pll'ance, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy arranged some of the terms and conditions governing the c•ssion ot the Sudeten German territory. The remaining questions were settled by the German-Czechoslovak Agreement ot Bovember 20, 1938 under the auspices of the International Commission composed of representatives of France, Germany, the United Iingdom, Italy and Ozeohoalovakia. In this manner, the surrender of the territory of Germany was realized.
On March 15, 1938 Hitler annexed the rest of Bohemia and Moravia to the German Reich as a Protectorate. !he non-Hungarian areas of Slovakia became a separate State. !he State of Czechoslovakia had ceased to exist, but it was subsequently restored. With the exoeption ot a small number who were allowed to remain, the German inhabitants were deported from the territory of Czechoslovakia and completely expropriated.
he Pederal Republic agreed as early as 1966·to normalize relations with Czechoslovakia, but difficulties developed which were ~ot resolved until December 11, 1973 when the Treaty on Mutual Relations was signed. Part II examines these difficulties.
The most important difficulty was caused by the adherence of the Czechoslovak Government to the view that the Munich Agreement was void from the very beginning, whereas the Pederal Government took the view that the
VIII Munich Agreement was legal, but that the subsequent annexation of the rest of Bohemia and Moravia by Hitler on March 15, 1938 violated the Agreement. France and Italy as signatories of the Agreement share Czecho-slovakia's view; the United Kingdom shares that of Germany
The Czechoslovak Government agreed to the cession to Germany of the territory with a predominantly German population, to the Munich Agreement of September 29, 1938, and to the German-Czechoslovak Agreement of November 20, 1938 and have executed and fulfilled these agreements. Thereby the argument that the Czech Parliament in accordance with the Czechoslovak Constitution did not give ite assent to the declarations of the Czechoslovak Government loses force. The fact that Hitler obtained the assent of Czechoslovakia by threatening to march in with his forces was according to existing international law not a ground for the invalidity of the treaty.
Moreover, the Munich Agreement wa s not part of the conspiracy against the peace planned by Hitler. In 1938 Hitler intended to crush Czechoslovakia. However, because of the intervention by the powers of the Conference, especially the United Kingdom, he was forced for the time being to renounce this plan and to content himself with the cession of the predominantly German territory. In an Annex to the Munich Agreement, Hitler as well as France and the United Kingdom promised to
IX guarantee the existence of the rest of Czechoslovakia. However no obligation to fulfillsuch a guarantee was accepted. The fact that this guarantee was not fulfilled is, therefore. not a violation of the Treaty.
The Munich Agreement became void when Hitler annexed the rest of Bohemia and Moravia in 1939 and as a consequence France and the United Kingdom withdrew from their treaty commitments.
The thesis then deals in Part III with the basic conception of the German-Czechoslovak Treaty of 1973 and the settlem~nt of prQblems resulting from it.
n a~eement on whether the Munich Agreement was void from the beginning or became void at a later date could not be reached. Therefore, it was merely stated that the Munich Agreement was !~valid• and it was determined that the legal effects arising from the application of Qerman Law in the period between September 30, 1938 and M47 9. 1945 would not be affected, and that the Treaty would not constitute any legal basis for material claims by the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and its natural and legal persons.
After the annexation of Bohemia and Moravia. German law conferred German nationality in any case on all ethnic Germans who possessed Czechoslovak nationality. After the restoration of Czechoslovakia the Czech leaders refused asa general principle to re-eonfer Czechoslovak nationality on ethnic Germans, and expelled them.
X They even refused to grant Czechoslovak citizenship to those ethnic Germans who had not accepted German citizenship, and these people were expelled as well. In 1953 Czechoslovak citizenship was forced on those ethnic Germans who had not been expelled and who were considered German nationals according to German law. The German-Czechoslovak Treaty contains the mutual settlement of questions concerning nationality.
In consequence of the Czechoslovak opinion that the Munich Agreement was void ab initio, the Government maintains that all acts of German administrative bodies in Bohemia and Moravia had been illicit and had resulted in claims tor damages. These claims do not find any legal basis in the treaty and its declarations. German claims tor damages are not affected by the freaty.
The Germans remaining in Czechoslovakia on whom Czechoslovak citizenship was eonterred tor the most part are willing to immigrate to Germany. The Exchange of Letters on Humanitarian Questions, annexed to the Treaty, obligates Czechoslovakia to consider benevolently the requests for emigration, but does not give the applicants the right to emigrate. The German side declared. reversely that, in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable in the Federal Republic, persons of Czech or Slovak nationality who so desire may emigrate to Czechoslovakia.
The Letters contain further the mutual promise to give attention to the humanitarian questions, to develop travel between the two countr-ies and to examine possibilities of technical improvements of travel. The contents ot this exchange of letters will in principal be applied analogously to Berlin (West )
A Unilateral Letter of the Czechoslovak Government annexed to the Treaty informs the German Government of the statute of limitation for all punishable acts with the exception of those considered war crimes or crimes against human! ty and w)l!ch carry the death penalty.
Finally~ another Exchange ot Letters determined that Article II of the Treaty is valid also in Berlin (West) and that consequently the consular representation of ~tural persons living in West Berlin is effected by the Federal Government and its diplomatic missions. The Parties further proposed to agree in each individual case on the extension to Berlin (West) of treaties arising out of the implementations of Article V of the Treaty.
The importance of the Treaty cannot be underestimated, tor it solves the age-old problem of the German-Czechoslovak mixed population in Bohemia and Moravia by the renunciation of territorial claims against the CSSR by the Federal Republic of Germany. However, this solution is detective since it does not adequately deal with the regulation of the emigration of the Germans remaining in
XII the OSSR. !he question as to when the Munieh Agreement became void is dealt with satisfactorily. The rest of the Treaty takes into account the policy of d6tente which has begun between East and West, the success of which will determine the significance of the Treaty.
The decision of the German Yederal Constitutional Court of January 25, 1977 concerning the law of July 12, 1974 securing assent to the Treaty of December 11, 1973 (decree and governing principle) is communicated in an addendum.