To the People of Finland.
The Senate of Finland has today, by its chairman, introduced to the Finnish Diet, along with other legislation, a bill for a new Form of Government for Finland. As this bill was submitted to the Diet, the chairman of the Senate on behalf of the Senate expressed the following:
The Parliament of Finland has, on the 15th of last November, on the basis of the 38th article of the Form of Government proclaimed itself to be the holder of the plenary power, and has then installed for the country a Cabinet that has assumed as its foremost duty to carry out the political independence and security of Finland. Thus, the people of Finland has taken its fate into its own hands, and the present state of things gives both justification and obligation to do this. The people of Finland is deeply aware that it cannot fulfill its national and human mission without being completely free. Our centuries old longing for freedom should now be made true; the people of Finland should take its place as an independent nation at the side of other peoples of the world.
To achieve this purpose, first of all, the Diet should take some legal actions. The current Form of Government, which is unsuitable for the present state of affairs, needs a full revising, and therefore, the Cabinet submits to the Diet a bill for a new Form of Government. This is built on the principle that Finland will be an independent republic. The Cabinet sees the need of urgent implementation of the principles of the new form of government and has therefore introduced a proposition for statutes to be contained in the Constitution, as well as, at the same time, for some other bills to satisfy the most urgent needs for reforms before the complete adoption of the new Constitution.
To reach the same goal gives obligations for the Cabinet, too. The Government will approach foreign powers for the purpose of the international recognition of our political independence. Especially now, this has become more urgent than ever because of the serious position, famine and unemployment caused by our full isolation, makes it necessary for the Cabinet to contact foreign powers without delay for importing food supplies and esssential industrial material, which are our only rescue against impending famine and industrial standstill.
The people of Russia, after defeating Tsarism, has many times declared that it will grant the people of Finland the right to decide on its own fate, exploiting its centuries long cultural development. And furthermore, over all horrors of the war a strong voice has risen telling that one of the main objectives of the ongoing great war should be that no nation should be remain unwillingly subordinated to another. And the Finnish people dares to believe that the free people of Russia and its Constituent Assembly will not place obstacles in Finland's aspirations to take her position among free and independent nations. And the people of Finland also dares to hope that other peoples in the world acknowledge that the people of Finland will be able, best as independent and free, to work towards such goals, which when accomplished, are expected to bring Finland a deserved place among the civilized nations of the world.
As the Government wanted to bring these words to the attention of all citizens of Finland, each and every citizen - private or in a position of authority - is earnestly appealed to uphold and maintain order and, to do everyone's patriotic duty in exerting one's all strength to promote the achievement of nation's common goal at this very moment, now more important and crucial to the people of Finland than in any time ever before experienced.
Helsinki, 4th of December 1917.
The Senate of Finland
|P. E. SVINHUFVUD.
|| E. N. SETÄLÄ.
| KYÖSTI KALLIO.
|| JALMAR CASTRÉN.
| HEIKKI RENVALL.
|| JUHANI ARAJÄRVI.
|| E. Y. PEHKONEN.
| O. W. LOUHIVUORI.
Approved in the Parliament on December 6, 1917. Translation: Pauli Kruhse
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