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The Pact of Corfu & The Formation of Yugoslavia, 1917

At the conference of the members of the late Coalition Cabinet and those of the present Cabinet, and also the representatives of the Jugoslav Committee in London, all of whom have hitherto been working on parallel lines, views have been exchanged in collaboration with the President of Skupstina, on all questions concerning the life of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in their joint future State. We are happy in being able once more on this occasion to point to the complete unanimity of all parties concerned.In the first place the representatives of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes declare anew and most categorically that our people constitutes but one nation, and that it is one in blood, one by the spoken and written language, by the continuity and unity of the territory in which it lives, and finally in virtue of the common and vital interests of its national existence and the general development of its moral and material life. The idea of its national unity has never suffered extinction, although all the intellectual forces of its enemy were directed against its unification, its liberty, and its national existence. Divided between several States, our nation is in Austria-Hungary alone split up into eleven provincial administrations coming under thirteen legislative bodies. The feeling of national unity, together with the spirit of liberty and independence, have supported it in the never-ending struggles of centuries against the Turks in the East and against the Magyars in the West.Being numerically inferior to its enemies in the East and West, it was impossible for it to safeguard its unity as a nation and a State, its liberty and its independence against the brutal maxim of "might goes before right" militating against it both East and West. But the moment has come when our people is no longer isolated. The war imposed by German militarism upon Russia, upon France and upon England for the defence of their honor as well as for the liberty and independence of small nations, has developed into a struggle for the Liberty of the World and the Triumph of Right over Might. All nations which love liberty and independence have allied themselves together for their common defense, to save civilization and liberty at the cost of every sacrifice, to establish a new international order based upon justice and upon the right of every nation to dispose of itself and so organize its independent life; finally to establish a durable peace consecrated to the progress and development of humanity and to secure the world against a catastrophe similar to that which the conquering lust of the German Imperialism has provoked. To noble France, who has proclaimed the liberty of nations, and to England, the hearth of liberty, the Great American Republic and the new, free, and democratic Russia have joined themselves in proclaiming as their principal war aim the triumph of liberty and democracy and as basis of the new international order the right of free self-determination for every nation. Our nation of the three names, which has been the greatest sufferer under brute force and injustice, and which has made the greatest sacrifices to preserve its right of self-determination, has with enthusiasm accepted this sublime principle put forward as the chief aim of this atrocious war, provoked by the violation of this very principle. The authorized representatives of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, in declaring that it is the desire of our people to free itself from every foreign yoke and to constitute itself a free, national, and independent State, a desire based on the principle that every nation has the right to decide upon its own destiny, are agreed in judging that this State should be founded on the following modern and democratic principles: 1. The State of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, who are also known as the Southern Slavs or Jugoslavs, will be a free and independent kingdom, with indivisible territory and unity of allegiance. It will be a constitutional, democratic, and Parliamentary Monarchy under the Karageorgevitch Dynasty, which has always shared the ideas and the feelings of the nation, placing liberty and the national will above all else.2. This State will be named "The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes." And the style of the sovereign will be "King of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes."3. The State will have a single coat-of-arms, a single flag, and a single crown. These emblems will be composed of the present existing emblems. The unity of the State will be symbolized by the coat-of-arms and the flag of the Kingdom.4. The special Serb, Croat, and Slovene flags rank equally and may be freely hoisted on all occasions. The special coats-of-arms may be used with equal freedom. 5. The three national designations---Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes---are equal before the law throughout the territory of the Kingdom, and every one may use them freely upon all occasions of public life and in dealing with the authorities.6. The two alphabets, the Cyrillic and the Latin, also rank equally and every one may use them freely throughout the territory of the Kingdom. The Royal authorities and the local self-governing authorities have both the right and the duty to employ both alphabets in accordance with the wishes of the citizens.7. All recognized religions may be freely and publicly exercised. The Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Muslim faiths, which are those chiefly professed by our nation, shall rank equally and enjoy rights with regard to the State. In consideration of these principles the legislative will take special care to safeguard religious concord in conformity with the spirit and tradition of our whole nation.8. The calendar will be unified as soon as possible. 9. The territory of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes will include all the territory inhabited compactly and in territorial continuity by our nation of the three names. It cannot be mutilated without detriment to the vital interests of the community. Our nation demands nothing that belongs to others. It demands only what is its own. It desires to free itself and to achieve its unity. Therefore it consciously and firmly refuses every partial solution of the problem of its national liberation and unification. Its put forward the proposition of its deliverance from Austro-Hungarian domination and its union with Serbia and Montenegro in a single State forming an indivisible whole. In accordance with the right of self-determination of peoples, no part of this territorial totality may without infringement of justice be detached and incorporated with some other State without the consent of the nation itself. 10. In the interests of freedom and of the equal rights of all nations, the Adriatic shall be free and open to each and all. 11. All citizens throughout the territory of the Kingdom shall be equal and enjoy the same rights with regard to the State and before the Law. 12. The election of the Deputies to the National Representative body shall be by universal suffrage, with equal, direct, and secret ballot. The same shall apply to the elections in the Communes and other administrative units. Elections will take place in each commune. 13. The Constitution, to be established after the conclusuion of peace by a Constituent Assembly elected by universal suffrage, with direct and secret ballot, will be the basis of the entire life of the State; it will be the source and the consummation of all authority and of all rights by which the entire life of the nation will be regulated. The Constitution will provide the nation with the possibility of exercising its special energies in local autonomies delimited by natural, social, and economic conditions. The Constitution must be passed in its entirety by a numerically defined majority in the Constituent Assembly. The Constitution, like all other laws passed by the Constituent Assembly, will only come into force after having received the Royal sanction. The nation of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, thus unified, will form a State of about 12,000,000 inhabitants. This State will be the guarantee for their independence and national development and their national and intellectual progress in general a mighty bulwark against the German thrust, an inseparable ally of all the civilized nations and States which have proclaimed the principle of right and liberty and that of international justice. It will be a worthy member of the new Community of Nations. Drawn up in Corfu, July 7/20,1917. The President of the Jugoslav Committee, ( Sgd. ) DR. ANTE TRUMBIC. Advocate, Deputy and Leader of the Croatian National Party in the Dalmatian Diet, late Mayor of Split (Spalato), late Deputy for the district of Zadar (Zara) in the Austrian Parliament. The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Serbia and Minister for Foreign Affairs, ( Sgd.) NIKOLA P. PASIC.

Source:From: Printed in The Jugo-Slav Movement, Foreign Office, Historical Section, No. 14 (London: HMSO Office, 1920), pp. 35-38, reprinted in Alfred J. Bannan and Achilles Edelenyi, eds., Documentary History of Eastern Europe, (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1970), pp. 256-261Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.
Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook.
© Paul Halsall, August 1998

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