National Councils, would provide the basis for the new federal constitution. However, the agreement was immediately questioned by leading Slovak politicians, especially by Vladimir Mecier (see Meciar, Vladimir), the former prime minister. They all considered the treaty to be inadequate for Slovakia's needs. In response to the doubts raised in Slovakia, Havel called for a referendum in July to decide whether the country should be divided into two separate states. The Slovaks opposed an early referendum for the simple reason that opinion polls did not indicate overwhelming popular support for independence.
Early in September, the two National Councils met in order to start work on a new state treaty. It immediately became obvious that negotiations were going nowhere. After the meeting, Meciar called on the Slovak National Council to adopt a declaration of Slovak sovereignty, written by some Slovak intellectuals in March, and to write a new Slovak constitution independently of the Czechs. Although the council voted down this proposal on two separate occasions, the Czech reaction was swift. The Czech National Council declared that, if Meciar's proposal were acted upon, the Czech lands would immediately follow it up by declaring their independence from Slovakia. In two further meetings of the rival leaders one in October and the other the following month, no solution came to light. Further negotiations had shown that irreconcilable differences existed between the two sides. Finally, in 1992, it was agreed that the Slovak republic would become an independent state on January 1, 1993.
Peche Jiri, "Czech-Slovak Conflict Threatens State Unity," Radio Free Europe Research Report 1. 1 ( January 3, 1992), pp. 83-84; -----, "Czechoslovakia's Political Balance Sheet," Radio Free Europe Research Report 1. 25 ( June 19, 1992), pp. 24-25; -----, "Czechs and Slovaks Prepare to Part," Radio Free Europe Research Report 1. 37 ( September 18, 1992), pp. 12-15.
Czechoslovak-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Aid. In December 1943, president Eduard Benes of Czechoslovakia traveled to Moscow in order to discuss the role his country was to play after the end of World War II. In his talks with Joseph Stalin, president Benes raised the issue of the expulsion of German and Hungarian minorities from Czechoslovakia. Stalin agreed to Benes's proposal. On his part, Benes agreed with Stalin that the Communist party of Czechoslovakia, most of whose leaders had spent the war years in Moscow, would be included in the reconstituted state's government. Benes also agreed to Stalin's suggestion that all key industries in Czechoslovakia be nationalized, the property of German collaborators be confiscated, and extensive land reforms be introduced, using lands taken from the Germans and Hungarians after they were expelled from the country. They also agreed that the post-Munich political parties that had continued to function during the German domination would not be permitted to reemerge after the war. The two heads of state also signed a treaty of friendship and mutual cooperation valid for twenty years after the conclusion of the war (see Kosice Program).