Time for a Central European Plebiscite?

The article ``Europe's Smoking Fuse: the Rights of Minorities'' June 29, clearly summarized the roots of the disagreements in Central Europe and correctly pointed out that all the potentials exist there for another eruption, more dangerous even than the present war in Bosnia.

Unless a settlement is reached concerning the rights and obligations of minorities - such as freedom of language, religion, and schooling - there will be no peace among Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Serbia.

The people of the Carpathian Basin and surrounding areas have lived together since the 10th century, and minorities have been demanding political rights since the 19th.

After World War I, President Wilson saw that, without just settlement, there would be no peace in Europe. The most important of his 14 points for Central Europeans was the recommendation for a general plebiscite to solve the minorities' problems and then redraw borders for a peaceful Europe. Unfortunately, his points were ignored, and, instead of negotiations, the Allies and the Little Entente dictated the terms of peace. This resulted in World War II. The successor states created at the conclusion of that war have fallen apart, and the Balkans are already on fire.

The only two possibilities for cooling the hotheads of Europe lie in either a frontierless continent or the plebiscite that has been ignored since World War I. The Helsinki agreement, which has been signed by almost every country, if enforced, could diminish the anxiety of politicians. Stephen Torok, Oswego, N.Y.

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