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Two young Foreign Ministers of about the Anthony Eden vintage met in Vienna last week at the summits of their spectacular careers. German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop was born in 1893, Mr. Eden in 1897, Italian Foreign Minister Count Galeazzo Ciano in 1903. Each of these three conservative young statesmen is the personal protege of his political backer—respectively Adolf Hitler, the Earl Baldwin and Benito Mussolini—each has at least a 50-50 chance to become Chief of State one day.

Last week Tory Eden was in eclipse (see p. 24), but he may have to deal or fight for Britain later with his two Fascist contemporaries who in Vienna took the centre of the European spotlight. They had come, entrusted with full powers by Chancellor Hitler and Premier Mussolini, to decide how much of the territory taken from Hungary and given to Czechoslovakia by the Treaties of 1918-19 is now to be restored. Both Hungary and Czechoslovakia had bound themselves in advance last week “to accept without question and carry out immediately” the decision of Ribbentrop and Ciano.

Vienna Awards. Only this year Adolf Hitler finally made Joachim von Ribbentrop the German Foreign Minister and opposite number of Count Ciano. To this Fascist pair was turned over in Vienna last week the stately Belvedere Palace.

A “preparatory conference” was held in the Belvedere from 12:15 to 2 p. m. by the young arbiters with Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Dr. Frantisek Chvalkovsky and his Hungarian opposite number, Kálmán Kánya. Foreign Minister Kánya reaffirmed the original Hungarian demand for some 8,000 square miles. Dr. Chvalkovsky resubmitted the last of several increasing Czechoslovak offers (TIME, Oct. 31), to give Hungary 3,800 square miles. Lunch was then served to 93 in the frescoed great hall of the Belvedere. At 4 p. m. Ciano and Ribbentrop retired with their experts to draft their award; they did not take their job too hard; it was completed at 6:30. Cartographers then started tracing the geographical aspect of the award in green ink on an official map, while busy valets pinned the peacocky young arbiters with all their medals for the finale.

Herr von Ribbentrop emerged in Germany’s new “diplomatic uniform,” while Count Ciano appeared as a general of the Fascist Militia. The famed picture gallery of the Belvedere Palace was lit by candlelight, flattering to elaborately gowned ladies in the throng of 300 diplomats and notables who gathered to hear Ribbentrop and Ciano read their award.

It transferred to Hungary 4,875 square miles with a population of 860,000 (see map, p. 23). This meant that the Czechoslovak Republic has now been deprived of a total of 15,175 square miles and 3,960,000 inhabitants since Munich. It is left with an area of 39,000 square miles (about that of Florida) and a population of 10,770,000.

The Vienna award was chiefly notable because: 1) It rejected Polish and Hungarian joint demands to have Carpathian Ruthenia split three ways among Poland, Rumania and Hungary (Poland and Hungary would have got a common frontier). 2) Hungary was given Ungvar, which has been the capital of Ruthenia, despite frantic Ruthenian protests; but Slovakia was permitted to keep Bratislava as its capital, despite frantic Hungarian demands. 3) Hungary gets the fertile lowlands through which runs the only existing railway linking Ruthenia with Slovakia, and the highlands left to Ruthenia and Slovakia are definitely poor country. 4) Of the 860,000 persons in the territory awarded by Ribbentrop and Ciano to Hungary, about 140,000 are not racially Hungarian but are Slovaks, Ruthenians and Jews. 5) The award sets up a joint Czechoslovak-Hungarian commission to smooth difficulties, arrange transfers of people who elect to go from one area to another as a result of the settlements; in case the commission cannot agree disputes will be referred back to Italy and Germany.

Reactions, Significance. Poland grumbled against the Vienna award last week and so did some Hungarians, but Budapest throngs thought it favorable enough to go wild with joy. Only organized Hungarian students, Nazis and War veterans openly blamed Premier Béla Imrédy for not getting enough. When the news came through from Vienna about 9 p. m. the Premier told a cheering crowd which had waited hours outside his palace for Ribbentrop and Ciano to decide: “This is the first real day of happiness Hungary has had for twenty years.”

Emotional Béla Imrédy wept great tears, as did many another Hungarian. As everyone knows who has been in Hungary since the War, the whole people have had what amounts to a psychological neurosis about their “lost lands.” The release was terrific in millions of individual cases. Several days later 70-year-old Regent Nicholas Horthy, dressed in his familiar admiral’s uniform, leading Hungarian troops on a fiery white horse, rode into Komarom, formerly a Czechoslovakian frontier town, now datelined Hungary. The band played the national anthem, the welcoming Hungarians shouted themselves hoarse with “Long Live Nicholas Horthy!” and His Serene Highness, for years the leader of Hungary’s agitation to regain her lost territory, was seen to brush tears from his eyes.

In Prague the official Czechoslovak radio broadcast after Vienna: “The decision … is extremely painful, cruel and unjustified. . . . Nevertheless the Czech, Slovak and Carpatho-Russian* peoples will not be overwhelmed by the blow of fate. … In work we will forget the crime of injustice which the great nations have committed against us. No crying will be heard from this unhappy people.”

Guarantee Evaporating? Nothing would be more popular in Britain and France than developments in East Europe that would relieve those democracies of having to keep their Munich promise ultimately to join in guaranteeing the new frontiers of Czechoslovakia. Mr. Eden, Mr. Churchill, Mr. Duff-Cooper and British Laborites have all warned of the “terrible risks” to Britain of assuming such obligations in East Europe, and in France critics of Premier Daladier have raised the same alarm.

Last week in Vienna the Belvedere Palace buzzed with rumors that presently the Czechoslovak Government, trying to curry favor with Germany and Italy, may ask that these two powers alone guarantee the new Czechoslovak frontiers, whereupon in London and Paris the notion of British and French guarantees may evaporate amid sighs of relief.

*As reconstructed after Munich, Czechoslovakia today is a Federal Republic of Bohemia, Slovakia and Ruthenia. The Carpathian Mountains are the distinguishing feature of Ruthenia and ethnologically its people are mainly identical with the Ukrainians of Russia and Poland. Ruthenia used to be called “Little Russia” or “Carpathian Russia” and last week the Czechoslovak radio announcer appeared to forget it is now supposed to be Ruthenia.

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