Little Entente - Consolidation

Consolidation

Although the thwarted restoration of Habsburgs posed an unambiguous success of the Little Entente, the events following this peak of the Entente's cooperation showed increasing tensions within the alliance. The Genoa Conference which was held from April 10 to May 19, 1922 highlighted the divergences of opinion among the member states of the Little Entente. The problem arose from the possible recognition of the Soviet Union by its European counterparts. As Czechoslovakia was mainly an industrial state, it was prone to normalize its relations with the Soviet Union and therefore to recognize the new formed state. On the other hand, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes together with Romania were agriculture-based countries not interested in economical cooperation with the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, all member states participating in the Little Entente congruously considered the Soviet Union as the threat.

In the 1920s, France as the decisive supporter of the Little Entente pursued its policy towards tightening the alliance. Hence this power launched a series of friendship treaties aimed at forging the relations between France, Czechoslovakia, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and Romania. The mentioned treaties were signed as follows:

  • The Treaty of Alliance and Friendship between France and Czechoslovakia, signed on January 25, 1924 in Paris. The treaty was concluded for an unlimited time.
  • The Treaty of Friendship between France and Romania, signed on June 10, 1926 in Paris. Originally, the treaty was concluded for 10 years, but it was extended for another 10 years on November 8, 1936.
  • The Treaty of Friendship between France and Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, signed on November 1, 1927 in Paris. Originally, the treaty was concluded for five years, but it was extended on November 10, 1932 and December 2, 1937.

These treaties obliged the parties to consult their foreign policies, foremost the security matters of the involved states.

The inevitable consequence of the successful performance of the Little Entente was its institutionalisation. Guided by this purpose, the Pact of Organisation, also called The Little Entente System or The Reorganisation Pact, was signed in Geneva on February 16, 1933, providing a legal framework for a permanent collaboration among the member states. According to that treaty, a Permanent Council together with a Permanent Secretary were to be established. The former body was designed for periodical meetings attended by the foreign ministers of the three countries, while the latter one was to provide a day-to-day routine operations of the Little Entente. The meetings of the proposed Council were to be held in the capitals of the member states at least three times per year, thus enhancing a regular harmonization of foreign policies pursued by the given countries. Moreover, by implementation of the Economic Council into the organisation structure of the Little Entente the member states declared their will to coordinate its economic interests too.

The successful performance of the Little Entente resulted in its institutionalisation. Guided by this purpose, the Pact of Organisation, also called The Little Entente System or The Reorganisation Pact, was signed in Geneva on February 16, 1933. Ratifications were exchanged in Prague on May 30, 1933, and the treaty became effective on the same day. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on July 4, 1933. The treaty was delivered by Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the member states - Bogoljub Jevtić for Yugoslavia, Nicolae Titulescu for Romania, and Edvard Beneš for Czechoslovakia. The aim of the Pact of Organisation was to provide a legal framework for a permanent collaboration among the member states. This objective was to be reached by an establishing of new institutions operating on behalf of the member states within the Little Entente. The main instruments of collaboration were:

  • The Permanent Council. This body was to consist of the ministers of foreign affairs of the three respective countries or of the special delegates appointed for that purpose. Decisions of the council were to be brought unanimously. The council was designed to meet at least three times per year. The mentioned meetings were to be held in each of the member states and in Geneva during the session of the League of Nations.
  • The Secretariat of the Permanent Council. This body were to perform day-to-day routine operations of the Little Entente. In addition, a certain section of the secretariat was aimed to function permanently in the seat of the League of Nations.
  • The Economic Council. By implementation of the council into the organisation structure of the Little Entente the member states declared their will to coordinate its economic interests too.

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