Page:The Bohemians (Czechs) In The Present Crisis.djvu/22

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It necessarily follows that when a government ceases to subserve such purposes, it has lost its right to exist, and indeed has become a menace to the rest of the world. This is true of the Austrian Government, which, for that matter, really never subserved these purposes.

The recent declaration of the rights of nations, adopted by the American Institute of International Law, holds that every nation has the right to the pursuit of happiness and is free to develop itself without interference or control from other states, provided that in so doing it does not interfere with, or violate the rights of other states.

Only last evening, May 27th, in an address before the League to Enforce Peace, the president in substance declared that what concerns any other nation concerns America also because all nations have become our neighbors. In the same address the president laid down certain general principles as those on which the ultimate settlement of the war must be made, unless civilization is to go back about one thousand years to the "might makes right" conception of international conduct. These principles are:—

1—The right of every people to choose the sovereignty under which they shall live.

2—That small states have the same right to respect for their sovereignty and territorial integrity as great nations.

3—That the world has a right to be free from disturbance of its peace originating in aggression on the rights of peoples and nations.

The application of these fundamental principles, as the president calls them, means not only the restoration of Belgium and Poland, but also means the end of the Austrian Empire and the erection of an independent Bohemian-Slovak State. No other logical conclusion can be drawn from Woodrow Wilson's speech. Certain it is that the Bohemians never again will voluntarily live under Austrian sovereignty.

We submit that in pleading for the liberation of Bohemia we are therefore adhering to what has long been