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To the people of Finland

The Finnish Senate has empowered its chairman to submit to the presently convening Finnish Diet a proposal for a new Constitution of Finland. When submitting this to the Diet he expressed the aspirations of the Senate as follows:

The Finnish Diet has on the 15th of last November, in accordance with the paragraph 38 of the Instrument of Government, declared to be the possessor of the supreme State power and has thereafter appointed a Government that has assumed as its principal duty the fulfilment and protection of the independence of Finland. By this step the people of Finland has taken her fate in her own hands, which is both justified and obligated by the present situation. The people of Finland feels deeply that it cannot fulfil her national and international duty without a complete sovereignty. The century-old desire for freedom waits for to come true now; the Finnish people is stepping foreward as a free nation among the others in the world.

To achieve this high goal certain measures wait to be effectuated by the Diet. The current Instrument of Government, now unsuitable for the present state of affairs, should undergo a complete reform. For this purpose the Government has now submitted a proposal for the Instrument of Government of Finland to the Diet. The guiding principle behind the proposal is that Finland will be a sovereign republic. The Government sees it to be vital that the main principles of the new Constitution should be made executable as soon as possible and, therefore, it has submitted a bill for certain amendments in it and, simultaneously, some other bills in order to facilitate the most urgent needs for reform before the new Constitution comes into effect.

The same ends oblige the Government to take measures on affairs within its authority. The Government will approach foreign powers to seek the recognition of our political independence. All the complications, famine and unemployment ensuing from the present external isolation make it urgent for the Government to tie direct contacts with foreign powers without delay. An urgent concrete assistance in form of necessities for living and industry is our only rescue from imminent famine and industrial standstill.

The people of Russia, after overthrowing Czarism, has several times made it known that it will grant the people of Finland, on the basis of her centuries-old cultural development, the right to decide over its own future. This is supported also by a strong voice carried over the horrors of war reminding, in addition to other objectives of the present Great War, of the principle than no nation should be dependent from another without her will. It is a firm belief of the Finnish people that the free people of Russia and her Constitutional Assembly will not impede Finland's desire to join the other free and sovereign nations. It is a strong desire of the people of Finland that when other nations in the world recognize her full independence and freedom, the people of Finland can do her best in fulfilment of the purposes that will win her a place amongst the civilized nations of the world.

It is the sincere desire of the Government when making these words known to all Citizens of Finland that every Citizen, both private and those in official positions, would make his best to maintain order and, by doing his patriotic duty, will unswervingly struggle for the common high goal of the whole nation now when the Finnish people stands in front of the most important and decisive moment of her whole life.

Helsinki, 4th of December, 1917

The Senate of Finland:
  • P.E.Svinhufvud
  • E.N.Setälä
  • Kyösti Kallio
  • Jalmar Castrén
  • Onni Talas
  • Arthur Castrén
  • Heikki Renvall
  • Juhani Arajärvi
  • Alexander Frey
  • E.Y.Pehkonen
  • O.W.Louhivuori
The Finnish Senate presented this Declaration to the Finnish Diet on 4th December, 1917.
The Finnish Diet adopted this Declaration on the 6th of December, 1917.

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