D O C . 4 5 a N A T I O N A L S E L F - D E T E R M I N A T I O N 7
Vol. 6, Doc. 45a. “On the Questionnaire Concerning the
Right of National Self-Determination”
[July 1917–before 10 March
Regarding the questionnaire about the right of self-determination of a people, I be-
lieve it is necessary to distinguish
a. “Volk” {or “people”} = inhabitants of a region that is to be considered an inde-
pendent economic-geographic unit (indivisible).
b. “Nationality” = an aggregation of people who form a more or less tight-knit com-
munity of interests bound by language, and perhaps religion, race.
Addendum to (a).
The possibility need only briefly be mentioned that there may
be doubts as to which regions should be considered indivisible (with regard to
state affiliation). But I don’t think this point will create great difficulties—at least
not in central and western Europe.
Ad I and II
A “people” has the right to choose its affiliation to a given state by secret and
direct ballot of all adult inhabitants. All votes should have equal weight. Ceding
territory without putting the question to a vote is wrong, I think.
Democratically elected commissions of trustworthy men should determine
who is allowed to vote on the principle that bringing about a change in outcome
through emigration or immigration must be prevented. A neutral commission
must ensure that voting is not unduly influenced and that there is no fraud in
counting ballots.
The right of self-determination of “peoples” shall persist (referendum, appli-
cation to the League of Nations, supervision by the League of Nations).
1. Yes, insofar as a nationality actually claims its given rights (vote before every
appeal to the League of Nations).
2. All rights you have named, with the addendum that their acceptance does not cre-
ate avoidable hardships for members of national minorities.
[p. 1]
[p. 2]
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