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Foreign Relations of the United States

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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1919

Yugoslavia,   pp. 892-900 PDF (3.1 MB)

Page 897

As King of a free and democratic people, I will hold without fail
to the principles of constitutional and parliamentary Government
which will be the corner-stone of our State created by the free wish
of the Nation.
In this spirit and in conformity with these principles my Govern-
ment will govern the country and decide all questions of foreign
and domestic policy. My Government will propose to the National
Representatives an electoral law which will insure, on a basis of uni-
versal suffrage, free elections for the Constitutional Skupschtina to
which the Government will submit a draft for a democratic Consti-
tution of the State, framed on a basis of the unity of the State, with
extensive administrative autonomy and with the widest guaranties
of political liberty and civic rights.
It will be the duty of My Government to extend immediately to
the whole territory of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and
Slovenes all the rights and liberties now enjoyed by the Serbs in
accordance with the Serbian Constitution. In this manner the com-
plete equality of all citizens before the law will be recognized and
confirmed, all class privileges will be abolished and the liberty and
equality of religious rights will also be guaranteed.
I desire that the solution of the agrarian question may immedi-
ately be proceeded with and that the fiefs and great estates may be
abolished. In both of these cases the lands will be divided among
the poor farmers with a, just indemnity to the present proprietors.
May every Serb, Croat and Slovene be the lord of his field. In our
free State only free proprietors will be able to exist and will exist.
It is for these reasons that I have requested my Government to form
at once a commission which will prepare a solution of the agrarian
question while I call upon the peasant-proprietors to wait quietly,
trusting in my Royal word that our State will give them the land
by legal process, the land which in the future will belong only to
God and to them as is the case since long ago in Serbia.
The four years' war has caused profound disorder in all matters.
In order to cure these matters rapidly and successfully and to bring
back the country into its normal condition, my Government will
devote its attention principally to revictualling the people, especially
the most indigent, to helping and supporting the victims of the
war, to reconstructing the pillaged and ravaged regions and to re-
establishing the lines of communication by land and sea which is the
primary condition of the regular development of national life.
The most urgent and most important duty of my Government to-
day is to determine, at the conclusion of the world peace, the frontiers
of our State so that [they] will coincide faithfully with the ethno-
graphic frontiers of our entire nation, so that no portion of Our

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