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Last-Modified: 1997/10/19
                              
[47]

                 PART THREE 

         The End of Czechoslovakia 

         (January 5-March 19, 1939) 

                   NO. 36 
     
M. DE MONTBAS, French Charg‚ d'Affairs in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                               Berlin,
January 5, 1939.

     AFTER  the  undeniable successes of the  Third  Reich's
foreign  policy  during the year 1938, it  might  have  been
imagined  that the Fhrer, gratified at having attained  his
chief  aims without striking a blow and shown the world  the
superiority  of  Hitlerian  methods,  would  have  addressed
himself  to  the  task of easing the internal  tension,  and
would himself have given an example of satisfied calm.
     But, according to information received from trustworthy
sources, this is not the case. Herr Hitler is again said  to
be  going  through  a period of crisis. He  is  said  to  be
nervous, agitated, a prey to sudden and violent outbursts of
rage.  It is said that he shuns his collaborators and  lives
in  sullen seclusion. In the presence of those happy few who
are  received by him, he gives vent to angry complaints;  he
declares that he receives nothing but disappointing reports;
that  the carrying out of the Four Year Plan encounters  new
difficulties every day; that in many regions of  the  Reich,
the  spirit of the public is not what it should be; that  in
Vienna,  Brckel  is  struggling in the  midst  of  scandals
caused  by  the  corruption and extortions of  the  Austrian
Nazis; that Sudetenland is costing great sums of money;  and
that  he is assailed with requests for credits and subsidies
from every side.
     From  abroad, the Greater German Reich has not received
the flattering consecration or reaped the tribute of respect
and consideration that its victories had led it to hope for.
In  spite  of  the Munich agreement, Anglo-German  relations
have  never  been so strained. With Washington  Berlin  sees
itself engaged, willy-nilly, in vain and fruitless
     
[48]
     
polemics,  at the very moment when, the bloc of a German  or
German-controlled Mitteleuropa being as yet unorganized, the
National-Socialist economic system finds  itself  sorely  in
need of safety-valves abroad. To the proposals for a German-
American   armistice  which  the  Propaganda   service   has
discreetly issued through certain press-agencies,  the  only
answer  so  far  has been President Roosevelt's  message  in
which  he raised the problem of a "reconsideration"  of  the
American policy of neutrality.
     In  the  East  and  South-East the situation  tends  to
become more complicated: the collapse of Czechoslovakia  has
suddenly revived national prejudices, hatreds and appetites;
German-Polish friendship, not so long ago a fine subject for
official  toasts  and the usual leitmotif  of  the  Fhrer's
pacific speeches, has cooled down considerably. Deceived  in
their  hopes,  the  Hungarians have become recalcitrant  and
restless.  Far  from  taking  refuge  under  the  triumphant
Swastika,  the  small  nations  are  sheltering   behind   a
neutrality which is not always a benevolent one.
     The  Franco-German declaration of December 6 is one  of
the  few  clear  patches in a cloudy sky.  But  the  tension
between  Rome and Paris is placing the Reich in  a  delicate
position  towards France. Confronted with the Franco-Italian
differences,  Nazi propaganda adopts for the  time  being  a
watchful   attitude,   notwithstanding   platonic   protests
regarding the solidarity of the Axis.
     It  would  be  an  obvious mistake to assume  that  the
Chancellor attaches much importance to these setbacks. Since
the events of last year, his faith in his own genius, in his
instinct,  or  as one might say, in his star, is  boundless.
Those  who surround him are the first to admit that  he  now
thinks himself infallible and invincible. That explains  why
he  can no longer bear either criticism or contradiction. To
contradict  him  is  in  his eyes a crime  of  lŠse-majest‚;
opposition to his plans, from whatever side it may come,  is
a  definite  sacrilege,  to  which  the  only  reply  is  an
immediate and striking display of his omnipotence.
     The Chancellor chafes against all these disappointments
with  indignant  impatience.  Far  from  conducing  him   to
moderation, these obstacles irritate him. He is aware of the
enormous blunder which the anti-Jewish persecutions of  last
November have proved to be; yet, by a contradiction which is
part of the dictator's psychological make-up, he is said  to
be  preparing to enter upon a merciless struggle against the
Church  and Catholicism. Perhaps he thus wishes to wipe  out
the  memory  of past violence by fresh violence.  It  is  in
Austria, henceforth
     
[49]
     
turned  into  an experimental station, that the  signal  for
anti-clerical  measures might perhaps  be  given,  doubtless
because  the  unity  and the spirit of sacrifice  among  the
clergy  is not so strong there as in the rest of the  Reich,
where  the memory of the Kulturkampf is still alive. Certain
articles  in  the  Schwarze  Korps  already  point  to   the
possibility  of  a  far-reaching  confiscation   of   Church
property in the so-called Ostmark.
     Outside  the Reich, German domination is weighing  down
Czechoslovakia  more and more heavily. The conclusion  of  a
customs and monetary union to the profit of the Reich  might
prove at the same time a most advantageous operation and the
first stage on the road to the Ukraine.
     Thus, at the beginning of the year 1939, the atmosphere
in  the  Third Reich can best be described as tense: tension
in   all  fields-  political,  economic,  confessional   and
psychological.  As  happens with an overheated  engine,  the
machinery of the Third Reich is strained to breaking  point,
but the driver of Berchtesgaden does not appear to intend to
moderate the pressure.


MONTBAS
     
                  No. 37 
     
M. LON NOEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                               Warsaw,
January 12, 1939.
     
     WHEN  he  received me today, after a  couple  of  days'
rest,  Colonel  Beck  began by telling  me  again  that  his
journey  to Bavaria had been made on the initiative  of  the
German Chancellor, who had sent someone to see him in  Monte
Carlo  for that purpose. He added that he had not considered
it  opportune, after recent events, to refuse the invitation
thus tendered to him.
     According   to   Colonel  Beck,  this   is   what   the
conversations  between  him and Herr  Hitler  and  Herr  von
Ribbentrop really amounted to.
     The  necessity  was again stressed of  maintaining  the
good  neighbourly  relations created  by  the  Polish-German
declaration of 1934, and it was stated that these  relations
remained satisfactory in spite of certain difficulties.
     The  Minister for Foreign Affairs told me that  he  had
found  the  Chancellor calm, talking a great deal as  usual,
but weighing his words,
     
[50]
     
and  not  at all in the feverish state in which he had  seen
him  sometimes. "It does not appear," he said, "that at  the
present time Herr Hitler is contemplating a vast project for
action  in  the  near future, nor that his intention  is  to
bring about great events at short notice; he did not give me
the impression of a man who was preparing to start a crusade
against anybody."
     Colonel Beck gave me the following information:
     (1) Herr Hitler expressed his satisfaction that war had
been avoided in September 1938 and that the young people who
had  already so many difficulties to contend with  had  been
spared this terrible ordeal.
     (2)  According  to Colonel Beck, Herr  Hitler  referred
twice to France; first he congratulated himself on Herr  von
Ribbentrop's journey to Paris, and gave an assurance of  his
"good intentions" towards us. Later, the conversation having
strayed  to  architecture, he acknowledged  the  great  debt
which civilization owes to our country.
     (3)  Against Moscow, against "Russia," and  not  merely
against Bolshevism, the Fhrer showed the same hostility  as
in days gone by.
     (4)  From  certain  remarks  made  by  the  Chancellor,
Colonel  Beck infers that the persecution of the Jews  "will
not  slow  down  in Germany." As to the fate of  the  Polish
Jews,  the  negotiations will be taken up again  very  soon,
after a temporary interruption.
     (5) Colonel Beck was able to ascertain, on the occasion
of  his  visit  to Berchtesgaden, that Herr  von  Ribbentrop
appeared  rather  ill-informed  of  the  intentions  of  the
Chancellor, whom he had not seen for several weeks. This, in
his  opinion, confirms what he had told me at  the  time  of
Herr  von  Neurath's  departure,  concerning  Herr  Hitler's
intention to direct himself the future foreign policy of the
Reich,  pondering  over his decisions  in  the  solitude  of
Berchtesgaden.
     (6)  The Foreign Minister of Poland hopes that Herr von
Ribbentrop will come to Warsaw toward the end of January.
     

LON NOEL.

                   No. 38 
     
M. LON NOEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                               Warsaw,
January 27, 1939.
     
     IN  accordance  with Your Excellency's instructions,  I
paid  a  short  visit  to the German  Minister  for  Foreign
Affairs just as he was leaving
     
[51]
     
for  Berlin  by  train.  Herr von Ribbentrop  expressed  his
deepest appreciation of this call.
     As  arranged, I informed the Minister that I  had  been
instructed  to show him this mark of courtesy  in  order  to
illustrate  the  spirit  in  which-a  few  weeks  after  his
official  visit to Paris and the signing of the  declaration
of  December 6 to which we attach the importance stressed in
Your  Excellency's  declarations yesterday-we  regarded  his
visit  to  our  Polish  friends, and  the  good  neighbourly
relations  which  the  German  Government  declares   itself
determined  to  maintain with them. Herr von Ribbentrop  had
just  been  shown  an  incomplete and  partially  inaccurate
report  of your speech, which made my d‚marche all the  more
opportune.  The passage relating to France's policy  towards
Germany,  and its reception by the Chamber had in fact  been
left  out.  The report stressed before everything  else  the
parts of the speech bearing on the maintenance of the Franco-
Soviet engagements.
     Thanks  to the telegram of the Agence Havas and to  the
conversation  which I had last week with Your Excellency,  I
was  able to put matters in their true light, and to  repeat
to  the  Minister  the  important portions  of  your  speech
concerning the declaration of December 6.
     

LON NOEL.

                  NO. 39 
     
M. LON NOEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                               Warsaw,
January 27, 1939.
     
     IN  the course of our conversation, Herr von Ribbentrop
felt  the need, in connection with Your Excellency's  speech
and  with  our pact with Soviet Russia to refer to  what  he
calls "the policy of genes," and the events of last summer.
     I  interrupted  these retrospective  considerations  by
observing  that,  at present, the best  course  was  not  to
discuss the past, but to look towards the future.
     On  the  question  of the Soviets, as  he  gave  me  to
understand  that  he always dreaded their influence  on  our
foreign policy, I replied that our Government's attitude  as
well  as  the  situation at home and  the  state  of  public
opinion  in  France, should be enough to  prevent  Germany's
interpreting our relations with Soviet Russia in a way  that
would misrepresent their nature.
     

LON NOEL.
     
[52]
     
                   No. 40
     
M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin.
                                                Paris,
January 27, 1939.
     
     THE debate which has just taken place in the Chamber of
Deputies  on  our  foreign policy gave  several  members  an
opportunity to emphasize the importance of the Franco-German
declaration  of  December  6  for  the  development  of  the
relations  between  both countries. During  the  sitting  of
January  26,  Messrs.  Oberkirch and  Scapini  laid  special
stress  on their wish to see the consultations provided  for
in the agreement become more frequent.
     You  will receive under separate cover the text of  the
passage  of  my speech dealing with Franco-German relations,
which the entire Chamber applauded.
     I  leave it to your discretion to make whatever use  of
this information you may consider desirable.
     

GEORGES BONNET.
     
                   NO. 41
     
M. LEON NOEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                               Warsaw,
January 30, 1939.
     
     THE  officially inspired Press publishes  the  text  of
telegrams exchanged between Herr von Ribbentrop and  Colonel
Beck, after the Foreign Minister of the Reich had left. Herr
von   Ribbentrop  thanks  his  Polish  colleague   for   the
"exceptionally cordial hospitality extended to his wife  and
to  himself"  and  expresses the belief that  the  "friendly
relations between the two States will have been in  a  large
measure strengthened by the conversations of Warsaw."
     "The  spirit which Marshal Pilsudski and the Fhrer  at
that time introduced into German-Polish relations, give  the
guarantee," so he adds, "that the future will bring about  a
constant development of our peaceful relations, and  at  the
same  time  draw  still closer the ties  of  friendship  now
existing  between our two countries and so many neighbouring
States."
     "I  am  convinced,"  Colonel Beck  replied,  "that  the
conversations  of  Warsaw, carried on in  an  atmosphere  of
sincerity and of mutual regard for the interests of the  two
nations, will contribute to strengthen the
     
[53]
     
good  neighbourly relations established by the agreement  of
1934.  These conversations will form a valuable addition  to
what  the  Chancellor  and Marshal  Pilsudski  had  achieved
before,  and  will  allow  the  relations  between  our  two
countries to develop in the most friendly spirit."
     

LON NOEL.
     
                   No. 42
     
M. LON NOEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
      to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                               Warsaw,
January 30, 1939.
     
     WHEN   he   spoke   to  me  this  morning   about   his
conversations with Herr von Ribbentrop, Colonel Beck assured
me  that they had been such as he had predicted to me before
the  arrival  of the Foreign Minister of the Reich.  Nothing
new  has  been  either signed or concluded between  the  two
Governments of Berlin and of Warsaw.
     The Polish Foreign Minister then referred to the speech
and   telegrams  which  he  had  exchanged  with  Herr   von
Ribbentrop as well as to the text of the communiqu‚, and  he
told me that he had found himself in complete agreement with
the German Minister on the necessity and the possibility  of
settling, in the "spirit of neighbourliness," which  is  the
basis  of  the pact of 1934, present and future difficulties
between both countries.
     When I asked him if there had been any new developments
on  the  subject  of Danzig, Colonel Beck  answered  in  the
negative  and renewed his promise to inform us,  eventually,
of what Poland and Germany, in the spirit of the pact, might
agree upon concerning the Free City of Danzig.
     The  Minister  for Foreign Affairs was good  enough  to
inform  me  that his recent conversations had confirmed  his
impressions that the Franco-Polish alliance was accepted  by
the  Reich as a fact, compatible both with the Polish-German
agreement of 1934 and with the Franco-German declaration  of
December 6,1938.
     

LON NOEL.
     
                   No. 43
     
M. LEON NOEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                               Warsaw,
February 4, 1939.

     WITH  reference to the question of transit through  the
Corridor,
     
[54]
     
which   has   been   examined   during   the   Polish-German
conversations, I have just received the following additional
information:
     Poland  absolutely refuses to accept the  establishment
of  "a corridor through the Corridor"; neither will she hear
of  the  construction of a railway line which would  be  the
property   of  Germany  or  of  a  motor-road  with   extra-
territorial rights.
     But  as  can  be inferred from the inspired  commentary
issued on the communiqu‚, measures are being planned, which,
according to the words of the Minister for Foreign  Affairs,
are  meant  to  ease and "simplify" German  transit  through
Pomerania.
     Negotiations  on this matter are to take place  between
the  two Governments. They might possibly be carried  on  in
connection with conversations on the Danzig question.
     

LON NOEL.
     
                   No. 44
     
M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin.
                                                Paris,
February 4, 1939.
     
     LORD HALIFAX informed me in Geneva of Mr. Chamberlain's
conversation with Signor Mussolini, and of the plan  of  the
British Cabinet to sound the Government of the Reich on  its
intentions.
     Please  make  a parallel d‚marche at the Wilhelmstrasse
to that of your British colleague respecting the prospective
guarantee of the new frontiers of the Czechoslovak State.
     You  might  indicate that the French Government,  which
desires  to give effect to the execution of all the  clauses
of  the  Munich Agreement, would be glad to be  informed  as
soon  as  possible of the German Government's views on  this
matter.
     

GEORGES BONNET.

                   No. 45
     
M. V. DE LACROIX, French Minister in Prague,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                               Prague,
February 7, 1939.
     
     THIS morning I had a conversation with the Minister for
Foreign  Affairs on his journey to Berlin. First of all,  M.
Chvalkovsky told me that, according to the desire  expressed
by the German authorities, it had been agreed not to publish
anything on the conversations which
     
[55]
     
had  taken place. Taking advantage of this official silence,
the  Press published countless pieces of information, either
inaccurate  or  entirely  invented.  M.  Chvalkovsky  denied
especially that he had been ill-received in Berlin  or  that
he  had been disappointed with the result of his journey. He
told  me his visit was not meant to include any negotiation,
that  he  went  to  discuss current affairs concerning  both
countries  and  in order to find out what  was  expected  of
Czechoslovakia.
     The  position  of  his  country in  regard  to  Germany
supplied  the  atmosphere in which the Minister  stated  the
facts and expressed his views. He stressed the fact that  he
was  received by the Fhrer as an acquaintance and that  the
interview  he  had with him took the form of a  conversation
and not of the receipt of instructions.
     The  Foreign Minister summarized the indications he had
given  me  and  linked  them up with  the  question  of  the
guarantee  of Czechoslovak frontiers. What appears  to  have
impressed him most was the importance which Herr Hitler  and
Herr von Ribbentrop attach to the Jewish question-absolutely
out  of  proportion  to the importance given  to  the  other
questions dealt with. The Foreign Minister of the Reich,  as
well as the Chancellor, are said to have stated emphatically
that  it was not possible to given a German guarantee  to  a
State which does not eliminate the Jews:
     "Do not imitate the sentimental and leisurely manner in
which  we ourselves treated this problem," the two statesmen
are  reported  to have said. "Our kindness was  nothing  but
weakness,  and we regret it. This vermin must be  destroyed.
The  Jews are our sworn enemies, and at the end of this year
there will not be a Jew left in Germany. Neither the French,
nor  the Americans, nor the English are responsible for  the
difficulties  in  our  relations  with  Paris,  London,   or
Washington.  Those responsible are the Jews.  We  will  give
similar  advice  to Rumania, Hungary, etc....  Germany  will
seek to form a bloc of anti-Semitic States, as she would not
be  able  to treat as friends the States in which the  Jews,
either through their economic activity or through their high
positions, could exercise any kind of influence."
     In  connection  with  this  part  of  M.  Chvalkovsky's
conversations, I learnt that the Director of the  Commercial
Department  in  the  Ministry  for  Foreign  Affairs,   Herr
Friedmann,  and  the former Consul-General  in  Paris,  Herr
Butter, at present attached to the Press Department  at  the
Czernin Palace, have been relieved of their posts.
     The second point which the Reich Chancellor is said  to
have  emphasized  during  his  talks  with  M.  Chvalkovsky,
inasmuch as it con-
     
[56]
     
cerns the guarantee as well as the general relations between
Germany and Czechoslovakia, is the question of the rights to
be  granted  to the German minority within the  Czechoslovak
State:  the  right  to  teach  according  to  the  National-
Socialist  ideology  in the German schools  from  which  the
Jewish  teachers  must be expelled; the  right  to  organize
themselves  according to National-Socialist principles;  the
right  for  the  German minority to wear  National-Socialist
badges.  Then,  M.  Chvalkovsky mentioned that  the  Social-
Democrats  of  the  German  minority  had  merged  into  the
National-Socialist party, as had been the case  in  Germany.
Only  a  few hundred people, who have compromised themselves
too  much  to  take the risk of returning  to  Germany,  are
remaining faithful to their original convictions.
     Finally,  the German statesmen are said to  have  asked
for  a  reduction  of  the  Czechoslovak  army,  in  greater
proportion  than the reduction in territory  and  population
already  suffered. According to M. Chvalkovsky, who did  not
express  himself quite definitely, no demand was  made.  The
Reich seems to have mentioned that they would be prepared to
give  their guarantee to a neutral State, taking for granted
that such a State would have no need for a strong army.
     As  the  Foreign Minister reminded me, the Czechoslovak
Government  was  waiting  for the  Munich  Powers  to  state
clearly  the conditions upon which they were ready  to  give
the  international guarantee mentioned as early as September
by  France  and Great Britain. According to M.  Chvalkovsky,
the  conditions stipulated in the Munich Agreement had  been
fulfilled long ago.
     In  concluding,  the  Foreign Minister  mentioned  that
Czechoslovakia remained faithful to the treaties signed, and
to the alliances entered into by her Government.
     


LACROIX.

                   No. 46
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                               Berlin,
February 7, 1939.
     
     YESTERDAY  afternoon I had an hour's conversation  with
Herr von Ribbentrop, by whom I had asked to be received.  In
its  essentials the conversation was a long account  by  the
Minister  of the Reich's foreign policy, a policy which,  as
he   stressed,   was  not  his,  but  the  Fhrer's,   whose
instructions he merely followed.
     
[57]
     
     As I reminded him of the general approval given, in the
Chamber  of  Deputies,  to  the declarations  made  by  Your
Excellency  on Franco-German relations, Herr von  Ribbentrop
made substantially the following statement: "I will speak to
you  with  complete frankness. It is outrageous to maintain,
as  is  often done abroad, that we are pursuing war aims.  I
myself  in  1933 and 1934, offered an agreement in  turn  to
France  and  Great  Britain. All my endeavours  were  of  no
avail. The Berlin-Rome Axis was forged. Today that Axis is a
fact,  and  the London-Paris Axis is another. Moreover,  the
Western  Powers have shown themselves unable  to  understand
that  our  vital interests must be satisfied; the  Press  of
those   countries  has  played  its  part,   together   with
irresponsible and mischievous elements, and the Czechoslovak
crisis  arose. Later, Germany did what was in her  power  to
bridge the differences between the two Axes; hence the Anglo-
German  declaration, and then the Franco-German  declaration
to which, I insist, we attach the utmost importance. Is this
a policy of war or a policy of peace? Nevertheless, in spite
of  the  moderation of the German Press, a great  number  of
British  and  American  newspapers, under  the  pressure  of
Jewish and Bolshevising elements, do not stop attacking  us;
on  account  of this, we have decided to give our newspapers
full  liberty to answer back and you will soon see how  they
do it.
     "In foreign policy, our aim is twofold:
     (1)  To fight Bolshevism by every means, and especially
through the operation of the anti-Comintern pact.
     (2) To regain our colonies.
     "On  the first point, believe me, the struggle we  have
started  is  merciless. Towards the Soviets, we will  remain
adamant.  We  never  will  come  to  an  understanding  with
Bolshevist Russia.  During the Spanish war some among us had
advocated  a policy of complete aloofness, hoping to  weaken
France through the creation of a revolutionary focus on  her
borders.  This was not and is not the Fhrer's policy.  This
is  the  reason  why our 'volunteers' went to  the  help  of
Franco.
     "As to the Colonies, we cannot admit that the riches of
the  world should be divided between Powers, great and  even
small  ones like Belgium or Holland, and that Germany should
be  completely  deprived of them. One day or  another,  this
colonial question will have to be settled. But, for the time
being,  the Governments of the countries concerned  are  too
much under the pressure of the opposition parties to allow a
free discussion.
     "It  is  just for this reason that we are not prepared,
generally speak-
     
[58]
     
ing, to start negotiations. And why should we, as long as in
the democracies the opposition parties are stirred up by the
mischievous  action  of Bolshevism and  Jewry?  But  we  are
confident that, in those countries, such influences will  be
gradually  reduced and finally suppressed; then it  will  be
possible  to  negotiate,  and  satisfactory  solutions  will
probably  be  found.  But,  for the  time  being,  should  a
conference be summoned, it would soon be seen that the  only
possible course would be to call it off."
     I  had  no  opportunity to take up each of  the  points
mentioned  by  Herr  von Ribbentrop during  this  monologue,
which  I  thought it advisable not to interrupt. I found  it
expedient to do nothing more than point out to him that  the
last  speech delivered by Your Excellency would provide  him
with  definite information on the general position taken  by
the French Government.
     Then  Herr von Ribbentrop took up the sentence in  your
last speech relating to our agreements with Eastern European
countries.  One  might gather the impression,  he  remarked,
that France has not renounced the policy which brought about
the  last  crisis,  and in any case such  an  interpretation
might  be  given  to  the declaration in certain  countries;
recently  we  had  to  make certain  representations  to  M.
Chvalkovsky. I answered him that France had no intention  of
giving  up  either her friendships or her interests  in  any
part  of the continent; as a great European Power she  would
make  her presence felt in Europe. Nothing, however, in  her
attitude  could give rise to suspicion on the  part  of  the
Reich;  but I had to repeat that if Berlin wished France  to
show  understanding  of  German  vital  interests,  it   was
necessary  to  admit and practice reciprocity;  this  mutual
understanding  would  be the best safeguarding  for  Franco-
German relations and for peace itself.
     

COULONDRE.

                   No. 47
     
   Note Verbale concerning the arrangement of the
international guarantee to Czechoslovakia, transmitted by M.
Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to the Reich Foreign
             Office on February 8, 1939
     
     ACCORDING  to  annex No. 1 to the agreement  signed  in
Munich  on  September  29,  1938,  the  German  and  Italian
Governments  declared  themselves prepared  to  join  in  an
international  guarantee  of  the  new  frontiers   of   the
Czechoslovak State against unprovoked aggression, as
     
[59]

soon  as the question of the Polish and Hungarian minorities
in Czechoslovakia had been settled.
     Referring  to  this  declaration, as  well  as  to  the
information  recently given in Rome by Signor  Mussolini  to
the British Prime Minister, as to the preliminary conditions
under  which  the  Italian  Government  as  far  as  it  was
concerned,  would consider the granting of  this  guarantee,
the French Government, anxious to see all the clauses of the
Munich  Agreement effectively carried out, would  appreciate
information on the views of the Government of the  Reich  on
the  question  of  the guarantee provided for  in  the  said
agreement.
     The  French  Embassy  would be grateful  to  the  Reich
Foreign  Office if it would kindly enable it with all  speed
to  comply  with  the desire thus expressed  by  the  French
Government.
     
                   No. 48
     
M. V. DE LACROIX, French Minister in Prague,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                              Prague,
February 18, 1939.
     
     THE  conditions  which  the  Reich  lays  down  to  the
Czechoslovak  Government for an effective guarantee  of  the
Czechoslovak frontiers by Germany may be summed  up  in  the
following ten points:
     (1) Complete neutrality of Czechoslovakia.
     (2)  The  foreign  policy  of  Czechoslovakia  must  be
brought  into line with that of the Reich; adhesion  to  the
Anti-Comintern Pact is deemed advisable.
     (3) Czechoslovakia must immediately leave the League of
Nations
     (4) Drastic reduction of military effectives.
     (5)  A part of the gold reserve of Czechoslovakia  must
be  ceded  to Germany. A part of the Czechoslovak industries
having   been   ceded  a  part  of  the  gold-reserve   must
accordingly pass into the hands of Germany.
     (6) The Czechoslovak currency from Sudetenland must  be
exchanged for Czechoslovak raw materials.
     (7) The Czechoslovak markets must be open to the German
industries of Sudetenland. No new industry may be created in
Czechoslovakia  if  it  competes with  an  industry  already
existing in Sudetenland.
     (8)  Promulgation  of anti-Semitic  laws  analogous  to
those of Nuremberg.
     
[60]
     
     (9)  Dismissal of all Czechoslovak Government employees
who may have given Germany any ground for complaint.
     (10)  The German population of Czechoslovakia must have
the  right  to  carry Nazi badges and to fly  the  National-
Socialist flag.
     

LACROIX.
     
                   No. 49
     
M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin.
                                               Paris,
February 22, 1939.
     
     I  SHOULD  be  glad  if you would  report  as  soon  as
possible  the result of the d‚marche which I have instructed
you  to make at the Wilhelmstrasse, parallel to that of your
British colleague.
     

GEORGES BONNET
     
                   No. 50
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                              Berlin,
February 24, 1939.

     I  HAVE  received no answer whatsoever to the  d‚marche
which  I  made  in  accordance  with  your  instructions  of
February 4.
     

COULONDRE.
     
                   No. 51
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                  Berlin,
March 2, 1939.
     
     THE  Minister for Foreign Affairs has just sent me  his
answer to my note of February 8, concerning the guarantee to
be  given  to Czechoslovakia. The Department will  find  the
translation  of  that document attached.  The  same  answer,
couched  in  identical  terms,  was  given  to  the  British
Embassy.
     As  I  am  unable,  owing to the  late  hour  when  the
document  reached  me, to proceed to an exhaustive  analysis
of  the document, I will confine myself to a rapid survey of
the points which appear essential to me.
     (1)  In  its comparatively veiled form, which does  not
however   exclude certain brutal or perfidious thrusts,  the
German note, in substance, suggests that, in the opinion  of
the  Government  of  the Reich, the conditions  foreseen  in
annex 1 to the Munich Agreement for Ger-
     
[61]
     
many  to  adhere to an international guarantee  of  the  new
frontiers  of  the Czechoslovak State have been  in  no  way
fulfilled up to the present time.
     The  annex to the Munich Agreement stipulates  in  fine
that,  after  the  question  of  the  Polish  and  Hungarian
minorities  in Czechoslovakia has been settled, Germany  and
Italy, on their side, will also guarantee Czechoslovakia.
     The  German  note endeavours to convey  the  impression
that the difficulties between Poland and Hungary on the  one
hand,  and  Czechoslovakia on the other, are far from  being
settled.  Without  hesitating  to  contradict  the  official
statements  hitherto issued, it admits the  failure  of  the
Vienna  Award. The position thus taken allows the Government
of  the  Reich  to  refuse its guarantee,  and  consequently
leaves  the  door open for it eventually to  reconsider  the
entire question.
     (2)  The  note  from  the German  Foreign  Office  goes
further   still.   It   unequivocally   declares   that   an
intervention of the Western Powers in Central Europe, in the
shape  of  a guarantee in favour of the Czechoslovak  State,
would  do  more  harm  than good.  It  would  contribute  to
aggravate  the  differences  of  Czechoslovakia   with   her
neighbours-other than the Reich-and perhaps even  lead  them
to  degenerate into a conflict. Doubtless the note seems  in
places to deal with a "premature" guarantee, but, for  those
who understand, it is the whole conception of a guarantee of
the  new  Czechoslovakia  by the  Western  Powers  which  it
rejects. "The German Government," it points out, "cannot  in
any way see in an extension of this guarantee obligation  to
the  Western  Powers  a  factor that  might  allay  internal
quarrels  in the said area, but rather an element liable  to
increase  unreasonable tendencies, as has already  been  the
case."
     All  that part of Europe henceforward is a preserve  of
the  Reich  "The  German Government,"  the  note  adds,  "is
perfectly  aware  that, all things considered,  the  general
evolution  of that part of Europe falls primarily  into  the
sphere  of  the Reich's most vital interests, and  that  not
only  from the historical point of view, but also  from  the
geographical and, above all, the economic angle."
     Translated into clear language, this phrase means  that
the  Western  Powers have no longer any  right  to  interest
themselves in Central European affairs.
     This  general  theme  is intermingled  with  perfidious
allusions  to  the  question of Palestine  (for  the  London
Government)  to  "more or less serious" military  guarantees
given by her Western friends to Czecho-
     
[62]
     
slovakia (for Paris), and chiefly with thinly veiled threats
against   the  elements  which,  in  Czechoslovakia,   might
continue even today to oppose German domination.
     At  first sight this document is therefore anything but
reassuring as to the immediate intentions of Hitler's policy
towards Czechoslovakia.
     

COULONDRE.

 Translation of a note from the Ministry of Foreign
      Affairs to the French Embassy in Berlin
     
                                              Berlin,
February 28, 1939.
     
     IN  its  note verbale No. 78 of February 8,  1939,  the
French  Embassy raised the question of a guarantee  for  the
Czechoslovak  State, a question dealt with in the  annex  to
the Munich Agreement of September 29, 1938. Referring to the
conversation which took place on this matter in Rome between
the  Head  of  the Italian Government and the British  Prime
Minister, the Embassy expressed the desire of its Government
to  know  the  attitude  of the German  Government  in  this
matter.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the  honour  to
reply to the Ambassador as follows:
     In  the  course of the conversations which  took  place
during  the  Munich  conference, the German  Government,  in
answer  to  the suggestions made to them, made it dear  that
they  could  not  consider  granting  a  guarantee  to   the
Czechoslovak  State,  unless the other  neighbours  of  that
State  showed  themselves equally disposed to enter  into  a
similar  engagement.  Even though  the  possibilities  of  a
conflict between Czechoslovakia enjoying a guarantee and the
German Reich are reduced to the minimum for the future,  the
same  cannot  be said of the differences which  might  arise
between   Czechoslovakia  and  her  other  neighbours.   The
participation  of  Great  Britain  and  France  in  such  an
engagement  to  guarantee  Czechoslovakia  appears,  in  the
opinion of the German Government, as an inadequate safeguard
against such differences arising and multiplying and leading
to conflicts. The Government of the Reich rather apprehends,
on  the basis of past experiences, that a declaration  of  a
guarantee in favour of Czechoslovakia by the Western  Powers
might   contribute   to   aggravate   the   differences   of
Czechoslovakia with the neighbouring States.  It  will  not,
for   instance,  have  escaped  the  notice  of  the  French
Government  that  a  divergence  of  view  persists  between
Hungary  and  Poland on the one hand, and Czechoslovakia  on
the other, as to the fairness of the delimitation of
     
[63]
     
their present frontiers. The Government of the Reich and the
Italian  Government undertook that delimitation in the  hope
of  attaining, by an effort which they then thought to  have
been  successful, such a compromise as would meet  with  the
approval  of  all parties concerned. Since then  events  had
shown  that,  in this region where national  groups  are  so
hopelessly intermingled, and where conditions of life cannot
be compared with those prevailing in the West, it was really
very  difficult  to arrive at a compromise  which  would  be
satisfactory  to  all. The French Government  perhaps  might
better  understand how uncertain the result of such attempts
remains,  even when prompted by the best intentions,  if  it
will   recall   the  alternative  schemes  of  the   British
Government for the solution of the question of Palestine. It
appears  to  be  beyond doubt that the chief cause  for  the
critical  development of the Czechoslovak problem is  to  be
found in the fact that, in the past, as a result of the more
or  less serious military guarantees which they had received
from  the  Western Powers, the successive Czech  governments
thought  that  they could simply ignore the  imprescriptible
claims  of  the  national minorities.  Hence  the  state  of
internal  tension which finally led to the solution  arrived
at in 1938.
     It  is  not  to be denied that even today the  elements
responsible  for  past  developments  are  continuing  their
intrigues within Czechoslovakia, even though contrary to the
wish  of the present Government. An undeniable danger exists
that prematurely given guarantees, far from bringing about a
reasonable  solution of the Czechoslovak internal  problems,
might  rather contribute to consolidate existing  opposition
and  thus provoke further conflicts. In the belief  that  it
might   pacify   this   region  in  which,   by   force   of
circumstances,  it happens to be the most interested  party,
the Government of the Reich, in cooperation with the Italian
Government, made the Vienna Award, which, as time has shown,
met  with  only  a  qualified welcome  from  the  interested
parties.  They  do not therefore consider  themselves  in  a
position  to  provoke  unnecessarily  by  another  premature
intervention  criticism  against measures  which  they  have
taken in countries with which they wish to live on terms  of
peace   and   friendship.  Consequently,  and   as   already
indicated, they cannot consider an extension of this promise
of  guarantee  to  the Western Powers  as  likely  to  allay
internal  unrest  in the area concerned, but  rather  as  an
element liable to encourage unreasonable tendencies, as  has
been  the  case before. The German Government are  perfectly
aware that, all things considered, the general evolution
     
[64]
     
in  that  part of Europe falls primarily into the sphere  of
the Reich's most vital interests, and that not only from the
historical  point  of view, but also from  the  geographical
and, above all, from the economic, angle.
     They are also of opinion that it is necessary first  of
all,  before  taking  up  a  new  position,  to  wait  until
developments  within Czechoslovakia have been clarified,  as
well  as  for the improvement which cannot fail  to  be  the
result  in  the  relations  between  that  country  and  the
neighbouring States.
     
                   No. 52
     
M. V. DE LACROIX, French Minister in Prague,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Prague,
March 10, 1939.
     
     THE negotiations that were taken up again yesterday  in
Prague   by  the  delegates  of  the  Slovak  Cabinet   have
culminated  tonight in a new crisis which led the Government
of  Prague  to  dismiss  President  Tiso,  as  well  as  the
Ministers Durcansky, Cabusinsky and Vanco. At the same time,
the  Czechoslovak Government entrusted the Government of the
province to M. Sivak, who until now was Minister for  Public
Instruction.
     According to the first information received,  it  seems
that  the  following interpretation can  be  placed  on  the
events  leading to this decision which does not  affect  the
autonomous arrangements stipulated in November last.
     It is said that the Czechs rejected the Slovak proposal
for  the  organization,  not  of  a  federal  State,  but  a
Confederation of States. In their opinion such a system  did
not  afford them sufficient guarantees and involved  serious
risks  for the future. In the Bratislava Cabinet, with which
the  Slovak  negotiators were in constant  communication  by
telephone,  the  uncompromising elements are  said  to  have
declared themselves for resistance.
     In these circumstances the Government of Prague decided
to  recall the Ministers who were under the influence of the
extremists,  as well as the Prime Minister of Slovakia,  who
had   proved  incapable  of  keeping  them  in  check.   The
Government also decided to take important police measures in
Slovakia, so as to be ready for any contingency.
     

LACROIX.
     
[65]
     
                   No. 53
     
M. V. DE LACROIX, French Minister in Prague,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Prague,
March 10, 1939.
     
     ACCORDING  to  information I have  just  received  from
Bratislava, the Central Government until now seems to remain
in  control  of the situation in spite of intense agitation.
The  military authorities, under the orders of  the  general
who  is  said to have been sent from Prague, have  unlimited
control. It is reported that some units of the Hlinka  guard
made  a show of resistance, but that they were held in check
It was all confined to a few shots and some scuffling.
     The  Cabinet  of Prague, according to M.  Chvalkovsky's
communication this morning to my British colleague, is  said
to be confident of complete success on the home front. As to
the  attitude  of Germany, the Minister for Foreign  Affairs
had not yet noticed the least reaction from that side.
     According to rumours which seem to be gaining strength,
concentrations  of German troops are taking place  near  the
southern  frontiers of Moravia and Slovakia.  It  should  be
observed   that  such  rumours,  for  the  time  being   are
interpreted as a probable indication of Germany's desire, by
intimidatory action, to exploit the situation created by her
agents  and  to  exercise  pressure  so  as  to  extend  her
domination over Czechoslovakia.
     

LACROIX.
     
                   No. 54
     
M. DE MONTBAS, French Charg‚ d'Affaires in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 11, 1939.
     
     THE  conflict which has arisen between the  Czechs  and
the  Slovaks has suddenly taken an alarming turn,  not  only
following the proclamation of martial law in Bratislava  and
the  disbanding of the Slovak formations for self-protection
(this measure, since yesterday, is being commented on in the
German  Press in a threatening tone), but also by  the  fact
that  Mgr.  Tiso is reported to have addressed (as confirmed
this  morning  by  the D.N.B.) an appeal  for  help  to  the
Government  of  the  Reich. In such  circumstances  we  must
expect  the  latter to intervene very soon by  ordering  the
Government of Prague to reconsider
     
[66]

the  measures  just  taken and to respect  Slovak  autonomy.
According  to  information received  at  the  Embassy,  this
intervention may, as soon as next week, take the form of  an
"armed mediation."
     Although up to the present moment the attitude  of  the
German  Press  is less aggressive than when the "liberation"
of  Sudetenland was to the fore, it foreshadows that Germany
will  not remain passive and that she is adopting the  cause
of  the  nationalists revolting against  the  Government  of
Prague.
     

MONTBAS.
     
                   No. 55
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 13, 1939. 
     
     WHILE  at the Wilhelmstrasse, as late as in the evening
of  March  12,  they  professed  to  be  confident  that  M.
Chvalkovsky  would  find  a satisfactory  solution  for  the
crisis  within Czechoslovakia, the Minister for  Propaganda,
according to information obtained this morning by my Belgian
colleague,  now  declares that from the moment  Germans  are
molested, the Reich will have to intervene in a more  direct
manner, but in what manner they decline to say.
     The  situation as I found it on my return to Berlin is,
therefore,  an  extremely  serious  one,  and  seems  to  be
developing rapidly.
     Analyzed  in  its  political and military  factors,  it
appears in the following light:
     On  March 11 and 12 military preparations were  noticed
in  certain German garrisons, and particularly in those near
Berlin. These preparations, which consisted for instance  in
camouflaging  the  numbers  on  the  cars  and   the   men's
regimental  badges,  are an indication  of  impending  troop
movements.
     In  the  course of the same days, troop movements  were
definitely  observed in the provinces, on one  side  through
Saxony  and  Silesia in the direction of  Gleiwitz,  on  the
other in Franconia in the direction of Austria.
     In  spite  of  camouflage it was possible  to  identify
light  armoured units coming from Northern Germany, as  well
as  certain anti-aircraft units. On the other hand, on March
12  no  preparations could be noticed in  Austria  north  of
Vienna, or in Vienna itself. That region, however,
     
[67]

is  well provided with mechanized units, the second Armoured
Division especially, which is now in line.
     Everything suggests that Germany will very soon  resort
to force against Czechoslovakia. Although no actual measures
of  mobilization,  even  partial,  have  yet  been  noticed,
movements of troop units belonging to the standing army  are
taking place with the object either of gripping the corridor
or  Moravia in a vice, or of surrounding the entire Bohemian
Quadrilateral.
     It  appears from more recent information that,  on  the
one  hand  Staff  officers  are to  leave  Berlin  to-morrow
morning,  March 14, in order to take part in the  operation,
and  also  that  the Black Militia would be  entrusted  with
vanguard duties.
     

COULONDRE.

                   No. 56
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 13, 1939.
     
     According  to the declarations obtained by one  of  our
correspondents  this evening from a German who  occupies  an
important post in one of the Ministries, the fate of Bohemia
and  Moravia  is  now  settled. What Germany  wants  is  the
annexation  of these provinces pure and simple. "It  is  not
for  the  sake  of Mgr. Tiso," said the person in  question,
"that  our divisions are marching and that we are mobilizing
several major aircraft units. You should understand that  we
intend  to  settle the question finally. Today an  ultimatum
will be sent to the Prague Government. The answer we receive
is immaterial. It will be overtaken by events by the time it
reaches us."
     This  latter  indication  should,  in  my  opinion,  be
transmitted to Prague as a matter of the utmost urgency.  It
would  be  desirable for the Czech Government  to  take  the
necessary  steps  so  as not to be overtaken  by  events  as
happened in September.
     

COULONDRE.
     
                   No. 57
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 13, 1939.
     
     ONE  may well wonder what political designs are  to  be
realized by
     
[68]
     
the  display  of  force  which I have reported.  Though  the
secret   appears   to  have  been  well  kept,   it   seems,
nevertheless,  that  the attitude of  the  German  Press  is
sufficient to enlighten us.
     As  early  as March 10 a D.N.B. dispatch made it  known
that  Mgr. Tiso had actually addressed a note to the  German
Government.  From that moment the newspapers  of  the  Reich
have   been   maintaining  that  the  only  regular   Slovak
Government  for Germany was that of Mgr. Tiso. Yesterday,  a
new  element appeared: the violent attitude adopted  by  the
Czechs  towards  the German minority who made  common  cause
with  the Slovak extremists. But today the quarrels  between
Czechs  and Slovaks are relegated to the background  in  the
Press,  which is clamorously denouncing the regime of terror
which  the Czechs are supposed to have unleashed, as  in  M.
Benes's time against the Slovak separatists as well as those
of Bohemia and Moravia. The evolution in the German attitude
towards   the   neighbouring  country,  which   had   become
noticeable  in  the last few months, is now taking  definite
shape.  It  certainly  looks as if the  policy  of  reducing
Czechoslovakia to a vassal state was giving way to  that  of
separating  of its component nationalities. It also  appears
that   the  Reich,  while  favouring  the  independence   of
Slovakia,  is supporting the Polish and Hungarian claims  on
Ruthenia,  which,  if  it secedes from Czechoslovakia,  must
inevitably fall into the hands of its neighbours. The future
will  show  what sort of bartering with Budapest and  Warsaw
such  a  policy will involve. For the time being,  in  order
that this policy should succeed, there must be a pretext for
intervention.  As  in  September  last,  the  German   Press
denounces the persecutions alleged to have been suffered  by
German  nationals, or by members of the German  minority  in
Czechoslovakia.  As  in September, the  newspapers  announce
that  concentrations of Czech troops are taking  place  near
the  German  frontiers. The German population, from  what  I
hear,  feels,  as  it did last autumn, a certain  uneasiness
caused by military preparations and by current rumours. They
fear some rash adventure. But this factor appears to be even
less  decisive than it was in September. The leaders of  the
Reich,  judging by news that reaches me from German sources,
are  not  reckoning with any resistance whatsoever from  the
Czechs.  The  intended action, in their  opinion,  will  not
overstep  the bounds of a police operation, and it  appears,
by  the manner in which this operation is being prepared  on
the  military  side,  that  such  are  actually  the  German
Government's anticipations.
     In  short,  the situation appears to be serious  enough
for us to have
     
[69]

to  reckon with the possibility of a resort to force in  one
form  or  another  against Czechoslovakia, Germany  alleging
that  she  is  obliged to come to the rescue of her  fellow-
countrymen. My British colleague has the same feeling.  This
morning  he asked for an interview with the State Secretary,
with  a  view  to  obtaining indications as  to  the  German
Government's intentions. Until now he has not been  able  to
see  him. In view of the contemplated d‚marche of Sir Nevile
Henderson,  who,  by  the  way,  has  been  acting   without
instructions  from his Government, I thought  it  preferable
not  to ask for an interview immediately so as not to create
the  impression  of  a  concerted intervention  which  might
recall those of last May.
     If  Your Excellency considers it suitable, I could,  in
view  of  the rapid development of events, try  to  see  the
State  Secretary as soon as possible. I could point  out  to
him  that  the French Government would very well  understand
that  the  Reich  should help in bringing  about  some  fair
settlement between Prague and Bratislava; but I would stress
that any violent solution, by destroying the foundations  of
the  agreement of September 29, would seriously endanger the
policy of mutual confidence and cooperation in the spirit of
Munich,  which  was  also manifested in the  declaration  of
December  6.  At  the same time, I would  remind  the  State
Secretary   that   a   mutual  consultation   in   case   of
international   difficulties  was  provided   for   by   the
stipulations in paragraph 3 of that declaration.
     Both  my British colleague and myself hold that  it  is
essential  that the necessary advice be given to Prague,  so
that  no pretext for intervention and no argument that might
be  used for purposes of internal propaganda be supplied  to
the Reich.
     

COULONDRE.
     
                   No. 58
     
M. V. DE LACROIX, French Minister in Prague,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Prague,
March 14, 1939.
     
     I  HAVE  just  learnt that the Reich has  presented  an
ultimatum or an imperative demand. My informant, who was not
able  to learn the object of this demand, was left with  the
impression  that  the answer need not be given  immediately.
According to certain rumours, the resignation of the Cabinet
is contemplated.
     

LACROIX.
     
[70]
     
                   No. 59
     
M. V. DE LACROIX, French Minister in Prague,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Prague,
March 14, 1939.
     
     THE  reception given to Mgr. Tiso and M.  Durcansky  by
the  German  Chancellor, and the open  intervention  of  the
Reich  in  the Czechoslovak conflict immediately  broke  the
energy  shown by the Government of Prague towards the Slovak
extremists.  The  sitting  of the  Bratislava  Diet  now  in
progress  is  probably taking place under the  influence  of
radical  elements. The principal organ of the Czech national
bloc, the Venkov, seems to be preparing its readers for  the
proclamation of Slovakia's complete independence.
     

LACROIX.
     
                   No. 60
     
M. V. DE LACROIX, French Minister in Prague,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Prague,
March 14, 1939.
     
     THE language used by the wireless station in Vienna  on
the   Czechoslovak   crisis,  being   more   forceful   than
yesterday's broadcast, is creating intense anxiety here. The
speaker,  making  capital  out of  various  incidents  which
occurred last Sunday in the towns of Moravia, declared  that
the  Germans  were  again being subjected to  ill-treatment,
that  the Czech Government seemed inclined to return to  the
methods  of  the Benes regime towards the German and  Slovak
population,  and  that this would not be  tolerated  by  the
Reich.  According to the same station, a "Marxist  plot  was
actually being hatched in Prague."
     The  official agency and the daily Narodni Prace, which
is  the  organ  of  the  national workers'  party,  gave  an
emphatic  denial  to this assertion yesterday  evening.  The
threats   and   accusations  of   Germany   are   strikingly
reminiscent of the tactics employed by her at the  beginning
of September, as well as on the eve of the Anschluss.
     

LACROIX.
     
                   No. 61
     
M. V. DE LACROIX, French Minister in Prague.
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Prague,
March 14, 1939.
     
     As  I  had  foretold,  it seems to  be  confirmed  that
Germany has de-
     
[71]
     
mended  a  reshuffle of the Prague Cabinet. She is  said  to
have made an imperative d‚marche yesterday evening to demand
the  dismissal of several Ministers' whom she considers  not
sufficiently  docile,  or  suspect  of  sympathy  with   the
tendencies of the former regime in their home policy.
     According to certain information it even appears that a
complete change in the ministry must be expected very  soon.
German  pressure has made the small fascist  groups  against
which measures were recently taken, increasingly bold.  They
maintain  that General Gajda will be the next  President  of
the Council.
     

LACROIX.

                   No. 62
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 14, 1939.
     
     WITH  regard  to the visit which Mgr. Tiso, accompanied
by  M.  Durcansky, made to Berlin yesterday, I have gathered
the following information.
     A  telegram from Berlin inviting Mgr. Tiso to go to the
Fhrer without delay was received at Bratislava at about ten
o'clock   yesterday  morning.  After  conferring  with   the
principal  leaders of the Slovak People's Party,  Mgr.  Tiso
decided to obey this summons. In the course of the interview
which  he  had  with  Herr Hitler towards  the  end  of  the
afternoon,  the  latter declared that he desired  to  see  a
completely  free  Slovakia, and that in  other  respects  it
rested  with the Slovak people to choose their own  destiny.
Mgr.  Tiso  and M. Durcansky conferred from nine p.m.  until
three  a.m. with Herr von Ribbentrop and various  Nazi  high
Officials and dignitaries, in particular with Herr  Keppler,
who  appears to have played an important part in  the  whole
affair.
     They  are  said  to have examined every aspect  of  the
situation  and any further developments which  might  result
from  it,  and  the  conclusion  arrived  at  through  these
discussions appears to be that the salvation for the Slovaks
can only lie in complete separation from Prague.
     It is announced that the Slovak Diet, whose sitting was
to  take place today but had been postponed until the  28th,
will  now sit this morning; it is anticipated that  it  will
vote in favour of complete independence for the country. The
Slovak Ministers are said to have
     
[72]
     
from the Nazi leaders an assurance that Germany's friendship
will be given to an independent Slovakia.
     

COULONDRE.

                   No. 63
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 14, 1939.
     
     THE  State  Secretary,  who this  morning  received  my
British  colleague,  gave  him in  substance  the  following
information:
     Germany holds the Tiso Government to be the only  legal
Government. She considers the action taken against it by the
Prague Government contrary to the constitution.
     The  Reich  desires the maintenance  of  order,  proper
treatment  for the German minority and the final elimination
of "the Benes spirit."
     It  has not yet been decided in Berlin what action will
be  taken,  and  up  to the present no  ultimatum  has  been
addressed  to  the Prague Government. It is considered  that
matters can be settled in a decent manner, especially if the
Czech  Government respects the decision of the Slovak  Diet.
Moreover,  the line of policy to be observed  in  regard  to
Czechoslovakia is a matter of divergent opinions and has not
yet been fixed.
     The   State  Secretary  has  indicated  to  Sir  Nevile
Henderson that the Reich Government had no contact with  the
Czech  Government, but that he personally did  not  consider
that  there was any objection to such contact, provided that
it took place between Governments.
     In  giving  his  account of that  conversation  to  the
Foreign Office my colleague said in conclusion that there is
still  hesitation in Berlin over the line of conduct  to  be
adopted.  This  is certainly the impression which  Herr  von
Weizs„cker gives; but I am not certain that the declarations
of  the  State  Secretary are still in accordance  with  the
actual facts.
     I  am  inclined  to believe that the National-Socialist
Government  has  from now on decided on a  break-up  of  the
nationalities constituting Czechoslovakia, a break-up  which
would be only the first step in a complete partition of  the
country.
     

COULONDRE.
     
[73]
     
                   No. 64
     
M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. CORBIN, French Ambassador in London,
     to M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin.
                                                  Paris,
March 14, 1939.
     
     For  London: I am sending the following telegram to our
ambassador in Berlin.
     For  both:  Until  now the Munich  Agreement  has  been
presented  even in Germany, as a vital element in the  peace
of  Central Europe and, in a more general way, as a decisive
step  in  the  promotion  of mutual confidence  between  the
principal  European Powers interested in the maintenance  of
that  peace, among whom it should create both a formal basis
for  understanding  and at the same time  an  atmosphere  of
cooperation which would prevent any future resort to force.
     More   particularly,  as  far  as   Czechoslovakia   is
concerned, Annex No. 1 to the Munich Agreement, referring to
an  international  guarantee of the  new  frontiers  of  the
Czechoslovak   State,   established   between    the    four
signatories,   by   means  of  definite   stipulations,   an
incontestable solidarity of purpose.
     It  was, moreover, the wider implication, attributed to
the  Munich  Agreement, which brought about  the  easing  of
Franco-German  relations,  marked  by  the  declaration   of
December  6,  with all that this implied in  the  political,
economic and cultural spheres.
     It  is  therefore with the most concern that the French
Government  is  following  the  development  of  events   in
Slovakia. The attitude to be adopted on this occasion by the
Reich  Government  cannot but provide a  lesson  which  will
throw  a light upon many essential questions for the  future
relations of Germany with the rest of Europe.
     Taking  into  account the foregoing considerations  you
should  inquire most urgently from Herr von Ribbentrop  what
interpretation,  in  the opinion of  the  Reich  authorities
themselves,  is to be put on their action in  Slovakia.  You
should   make   this  inquiry  purely  as  a   request   for
information,  the  importance of  which  would  justify,  if
necessary,  a  reference on your part to  the  procedure  of
mutual  consultation  provided for  by  the  declaration  of
December 6.
     Inasmuch as the French Government intends to respond in
all  sincerity  to  the new orientation resulting  from  the
Munich  Agreement and the Franco-German Declaration,  Berlin
cannot be surprised at
     
[74]
     
our  present anxiety to obtain a clear means of judging  the
degree  of confidence which the German Government  means  to
establish as a justification of that policy.
     

GEORGES BONNET.
                   No. 65
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 14, 1939. 
     
     IMMEDIATELY  after the Vienna Award, while  the  German
Press  was  celebrating the "final" nature  of  the  German-
Italian  solution,  a  farsighted  observer  of  affairs  in
Central Europe stated in Berlin: "The old Czechoslovakia has
lasted  twenty  years, the new Czechoslovak State  will  not
last  five."  Events which are now taking place have  proved
him  right  inasmuch as the Czechoslovakia  of  November  2,
1938, did not even last five months.
     This  evening,  leading  newspapers  of  the  National-
Socialists  are  announcing  as  an  accomplished  fact  the
disruption of the neighbouring State. The Diet of Bratislava
proclaimed  this  morning  the  independence  of   Slovakia,
Hungarian troops have crossed the frontier of Sub-Carpathian
Russia;  and,  in  reprisal  for  incidents  more  or   less
provoked,  at Iglau, Brunn and elsewhere, the  threat  of  a
"crushing"  intervention  of  the  Reichswehr  hovers   over
Bohemia   and   Moravia.  According  to   rumours   as   yet
unconfirmed,   German  detachments  have  penetrated   Czech
territory at several points.
     It  is  striking  to note once again the  rapidity  and
precision  with  which Hitler's political  plans  have  been
accomplished,  for it is beyond any question of  doubt  that
the  present  crisis  is  in  accordance  with  a  carefully
preconceived  plan  of  which  Berlin  holds  the  principal
strings.   This  Embassy  has  recently  collected   various
information  which leaves no uncertainty on this  point.  On
February  5  a National-Socialist of standing, whose  duties
call  for direct contact with the Fhrer's immediate circle,
told one of my collaborators to be prepared for developments
in which a "dislocation" (Aufl”sung) of Czechoslovakia would
be  unavoidable.  In  this case, he  added,  Slovakia  would
become   independent,  Hungary  would  annex  Sub-Carpathian
Russia, and the Reich would, in one form or another,  obtain
control  of  Bohemia and of Moravia. It is this  process  of
disruption,  this dissection of Czechoslovakia,  into  three
pieces, which is being brought about today.
     
[75]
     
     In  explanation of this astonishing gift  of  prophecy,
one  can  admit that the controlling circles  of  the  Third
Reich possessed at that time most precise information of the
attitude  of  the Slovak people. They could  form  a  better
judgment  of  the developments in the situation  since  they
exercised  a  strong control over it. But there  is  a  more
simple explanation: German policy had first decided upon its
aims  in  outline. After that all that remained was to  find
means of inventing pretexts.
     Now  the partition of Czechoslovakia into three  pieces
allowed Germany a revision, if not a complete change in  her
policy  towards  that country. After Munich,  the  National-
Socialist leaders officially took upon themselves  the  task
of maintaining, in its then reduced limits, the integrity of
the  new  Czechoslovak State. They considered at  that  time
that  a  vassal Czechoslovakia, obedient to the will of  the
Reich  would  afford  the  latter a starting-point  for  her
expansion  towards  the South-East, an expansion  which  had
only  to  follow  the corridor of Sub-Carpathian  Russia  to
reach  the oil-wells of Rumania and the wheat fields of  the
Ukraine.   Hence  Germany's  veto  to  the  Hungarian-Polish
project   of   a   common  frontier,  hence   her   stubborn
determination  in  Vienna on November  2  to  safeguard  the
existence  of an independent Carpathian Ukraine  within  the
frame of the Czechoslovak State.
     Today,  Berlin does not hesitate to retract.  The  Nazi
leaders  are  renouncing  the principle  of  Czechoslovakian
integrity. They are removing their opposition to the plan of
a  Polish-Hungarian  frontier  on  the  Carpathians.  It  is
interesting  to  speculate when, how, and for  what  reasons
this change of mind has occurred.
     During the whole of the month of November and a part of
the  month of December 1938 the inspired Press of the  Reich
never ceased to present the Belvedere arbitration as a  fair
compromise  bringing a definite solution to  the  Hungarian-
Czechoslovak  difficulties.  The  Poles,  having  themselves
obtained complete satisfaction over their national claims in
the region of Teschen, the new Czechoslovakia was, according
to  the German Press, a solid State which would prove to the
world  the superiority of the political conceptions  of  the
Axis to the superficial structure built up immediately after
the  Great  War  by the Peace Treaties. This  assertion  was
accompanied  at times by calls to order addressed  sometimes
to the Hungarians, sometimes to the Poles when they appeared
insufficiently   convinced  of  the  immutability   of   the
established state of things.
     Towards  the end of December, there was sudden  silence
over  the advantages of the Vienna Award. In January,  there
was no longer
     
[76]
     
any  mention  of  it,  and  in a  speech  delivered  to  the
Reichstag   the   Fhrer  only  touched   lightly   on   the
Czechoslovak  problem.  It  is,  therefore,  permissible  to
conclude that it was towards the end of the year 1938,  that
Chancellor Hitler decided for definite motives to fall  back
on  the  lines which Italian political circles had continued
to recommend in respect of Sub-Carpathian Russia.
     Indeed,  on  January  7,  the  Fhrer,  when  receiving
Colonel Beck at Berchtesgaden, declared to him that  in  his
opinion   the  Ukrainian  question  was  not  of  "immediate
interest."  It seems that with Count Czaky, at the  time  of
his  official visit to Berlin (January 16 to 18), the ruling
elements of the Reich were still more explicit, and that the
Hungarian  Minister was given to understand that  the  Reich
would not oppose, should occasion arise, the seizure of Sub-
Carpathian Russia by Budapest.
     What reasons can have induced the Fhrer to modify  his
attitude  in  this  respect? On this  point,  as  things  at
present  stand,  one  is  naturally reduced  to  conjecture.
Possibly,  as  the  correspondence  from  this  Embassy  has
already indicated, the Nazi leaders realized that they  were
mistaken  about the importance, for the purpose of a  future
German  advance towards the East, of a Sub-Carpathian Russia
that  had been dismantled and deprived of its urban centres,
its  main  roads and its railways by the Belvedere  arbitral
award.  Then  again,  in  order to  keep  in  hand  such  an
uncertain  trump  card,  could the  Third  Reich  allow  its
difficulties  in  Central  Europe  to  increase,  incur  the
rancour  of the Hungarians and the resentment of the  Poles?
It  was  rumoured  that the coming together  of  Warsaw  and
Moscow  and the vehement tone of a part of the Press and  of
the Hungarian Opposition had aroused Adolf Hitler's concern.
In  trying  to  avoid the material obstacle  of  the  common
frontier  was  he not going to rouse against him  the  joint
hostility of Hungary and of Poland, just at a time when  the
Western  Powers were striving to reinforce their  armaments?
By  yielding to the Hungarian-Polish plans, the Reich would,
on  the contrary, be assured of the gratitude of the Magyars
and  of  their eventual support against Rumania and, on  the
day when he decided to resume his drive towards the East  he
would  have  at  his  disposal  the  broad  fairway  of  the
Hungarian plains instead of the narrow and difficult path of
the  Carpathians. As far as Poland is concerned, Berlin  has
possibly flattered itself that Polish neutrality in case  of
a  European conflict could be bought by freeing Poland  from
the danger of having
     
[77]
     
at  her  Southern frontier an independent Ukrainian province
which  would  be  the centre of propaganda  and  irredentist
unrest.
     However,  the  decision once having been taken,  German
policy  definitely intended to press forward. The  reply  of
the  Wilhelmstrasse to the Franco-British inquiry concerning
the guaranteeing of the new Czechoslovak frontier leaves  no
doubt  on this score. This note, dated February 28,  is  the
first  official  German  document to  admit,  to  Paris  and
London,  the  failure  of the Vienna  Award.  This  position
permitted the Reich Government to refuse its guarantee  and,
in  consequence, left it the possibility to  reconsider  the
whole matter. In well-informed Berlin circles, no secret had
been made of the fact that in this respect the date of March
15 might be decisive.
     It  remained,  then, only to find means of  action  and
pretexts.  It  is an established dogma of National-Socialist
policy to undermine from inside the States which are  to  be
destroyed. The Slovaks appear to have played this  time  the
part   played  by  the  Sudetens  last  year.  By   secretly
encouraging the uncompromising Slovak elements, notably  the
partisans  of  the  Radical  movement  "Rodebrana,"  and  by
stirring up against Prague certain Slovak Ministers such  as
M.  Mach and M. Durcansky, Hitler's agents cunningly  caused
this  variance to degenerate into an acute crisis. If  there
were,  as  has  been  stated, any project  of  a  Putsch  at
Bratislava  there  are good reasons for believing  that  the
German authorities were in the secret. It was not simply  by
chance  that M. Durcansky, as soon as he was able to escape,
took  refuge  in  Vienna, where the radio  was  put  at  his
disposal to allow him to carry on his anti-Czech campaign.
     Prague appears to have tried to forestall this measure,
but  too  late  Perhaps,  also, the policy  of  the  Central
Government  was not always perfectly clear or wise.  If  the
Czech leaders have expressed ample signs of goodwill towards
Berlin,  it seems that they have believed that at  the  same
time they could continue inside their country a policy which
was  purely  Czech.  In doing this, they  have  revived  old
internal jealousies and needlessly aroused the suspicions of
the  Reich. This movement, once started, developed according
to  the prescription, tried out at the time of the Anschluss
and  improved  during  last year's  crisis.  The  Tiso  note
recalls the Seyss-Inquart telegram. The incidents which took
place at Iglau, Brunn and other German-speaking centres were
used  to  transform  at  a  given  moment  the  Czechoslovak
conflict  into a German-Czech conflict. One finds  again  in
the  Berlin papers the same headlines as in August 1938, and
almost the same statements:
     
[78]
     
the  pregnant  woman  struck down  and  trampled  upon,  the
"Deutschtum"  in  danger, because a student  of  the  German
minority  was  ill-treated and in the headings of  tonight's
papers  the  final  motive  of a  "Blutbad"  which  must  be
avenged.  In  the meantime Mgr. Tiso and M.  Durcansky  have
gone  in  a dramatic way to the Fhrer, as Herr Henlein  had
previously done.
     It is still too early to know to what extent the almost
desperate   effort now being made in Berlin by the President
of  the  Czechoslovak Republic and his Prime  Minister  will
modify  the German attitude and safeguard the federal  unity
of  the  country. It is to be feared that the two  statesmen
only came from Prague to ratify the Fhrer's decisions.
     

COULONDRE.

                   No. 66
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 14, 1939.
     
     IN  a  previous letter I have set forth the origin  and
growth  of  the crisis which must lead to the  division  and
perhaps to the partition of Czechoslovakia. I will therefore
confine myself now to summing up the political situation  as
it  appears  in  Berlin  at  the present  moment.  The  most
important  point  is  the proclamation  in  Bratislava  this
morning  of  the  independence of Slovakia,  which  has  now
severed  its  ties  with  Prague  and  thus  broken  up  the
framework of the Czechoslovak Federal State. One may  wonder
whether  the  internal Czechoslovak crisis has not,  by  the
rapidity  of its growth, surprised even the leaders  of  the
Reich, but one can hardly doubt that at the last moment  the
proclamation  of  Slovak independence  was  the  outcome  of
pressure, if not of a direct order, from Berlin. It was,  as
a  matter  of  fact,  during the course of  the  visit  paid
yesterday by Mgr. Tiso to the capital of the Reich that  the
decision  was taken to convoke this morning the Slovak  Diet
whose   meeting,  originally  fixed  for  today,  had   been
postponed till the 28th.
     From  indications  which I have  been  able  to  gather
concerning the interviews Mgr. Tiso had in Berlin, it  would
seem that the Reich leaders and the Fhrer himself had shown
clearly  their determination that a completely free Slovakia
should  be created. It is only upon this condition that  the
friendship and protection of the Nazi leaders, indis-
     
[79]
     
pensable  to  the  new  State, will  be  granted.  Slovakia,
therefore, must be regarded as a vassal of the Reich.
     Events  in  Slovakia have had an immediate repercussion
in  Sub-Carpathian Russia; Mgr. Volosin has also  proclaimed
the  independence of his country, whose position now appears
most  intricate.  Indeed, as the result of dashes  with  the
Czech   forces,   Hungarian  troops  have  already   entered
Ruthenian  territory, while the Government of  Budapest  has
addressed  an  ultimatum to Prague demanding  the  immediate
withdrawal of Czech troops from Sub-Carpathian Russia.  Mgr.
Volosin,  on  his part, has asked by telegram for  help  and
protection  from the Reich and from Italy.  It  is  unlikely
that these two countries will accede to this request.
     Now after the Slovak proclamation of independence which
has  cut  the  Federal  Republic into three  sections,  Sub-
Carpathian  Russia,  hitherto supported  by  subsidies  from
Prague,  can  no longer survive. Its existence appears  very
ephemeral.  In  all  probability  it  will  be  absorbed  by
Hungary.  This  at least is the point of view  expressed  in
those  German newspapers which are mouthpieces  of  official
circles.  Thus would be established the common frontier,  so
ardently  desired by Warsaw and Budapest,  which  since  the
verdict  of  Vienna  has  been the subject  of  such  bitter
controversy.  Finally  the future of  what  remains  of  the
Czechoslovak  Republic, that is of Bohemia and  Moravia,  is
itself under discussion.
     The Reich is again bringing great political pressure to
bear on the Prague Government accompanied by the threats  of
military action.
     Following upon the quarrels between Czechs and  Slovaks
one  can notice since last Sunday a sudden revival,  in  its
most  virulent form, of the campaign which the German  Press
launched  last September against Czechoslovakia. The  Czechs
are once more accused of using violence not only against the
Slovaks  but  also  against others, and  especially  against
members  of  the German minority and citizens of the  Reich.
The  newspapers  are  proclaiming that the  lives  of  these
Germans  are  in danger, that the situation is  intolerable,
and  that  it is necessary to smother as quickly as possible
the focus of trouble which Prague has become in the heart of
Europe. They have even gone to the length of asserting  that
the Czech Government is mobilizing.
     This  morning officials of the Reich press-service,  in
discussing  the subject with the representatives of  foreign
news agencies, declared that the situation was "unbearable,"
and  let  it be understood that grave developments  must  be
expected.
     
[80]
     
     In   the   meantime   the  German  High   Command   has
concentrated around Bohemia and Moravia (that is to say,  in
Silesia,  in Saxony, in Bavaria and in Austria) considerable
numbers   of  troops,  consisting  for  the  most  part   of
mechanized units, which are now awaiting the order to  cross
the frontier. The general impression is that this order will
be  given some time to-morrow. It is even stated that Pilsen
will be occupied by German troops. They are said already  to
have crossed the frontier in the region of Morawska-Ostrawa.
     It  seems  that after a moment of confusion Prague  has
pulled  itself together and a last effort is being  made  to
avoid  a  rupture  with  the Reich.  The  President  of  the
Republic  and the President of the Council of Ministers  are
now on their way to Berlin.
     Will  they succeed in averting the military menace once
more hanging over their country? It seems very doubtful. The
German-Czech  crisis has in a few days reached  a  stage  as
acute  as in the darkest days of September. The use of force
against  Prague  appears imminent.  It  would  doubtless  be
accompanied  by parallel measures in Slovakia,  whither  the
Czechs  have sent important reinforcements during  the  last
few days.
     What  are the designs of the Reich leaders with  regard
to  this State, which for some time they have been referring
to as "Czechia"?
     Before and during the September crisis the Nazi leaders
made   no  secret  of  their  clear  determination  to  wipe
Czechoslovakia off the map. During last January  the  Fhrer
himself told one of my colleagues that if Czechoslovakia did
not  "run  straight," he would release  a  lightning  attack
against it. Quite recently one of the Chancellor's intimates
spoke  of this very dissolution of Czechoslovakia which  the
Reich press is gloatingly proclaiming tonight.
     If  the fate of Slovakia and Sub-Carpathian Russia  now
appears  obvious  it  is  more  difficult  to  perceive  the
Fhrer's intentions towards "Czechia."
     According  to  my information, the Nazi extremists  are
calling for nothing less than the annexation of Bohemia  and
Moravia  by  the  Reich, which would in return  grant  these
provinces some form of administrative and cultural autonomy.
Others  advise  the setting up in Prague of an authoritarian
Government  whose head would be General Gajda,  Dr.  Benes's
relentless  enemy.  Such a Government  in  matters  of  both
internal and foreign policy would have to conform absolutely
to the views of Germany.
     It  is said that at present the Chancellor, having been
disappointed
     
[81]
     
over  the results of the Munich Agreement, inclines  towards
the  extremist  plan as he is seeking this  time  a  radical
solution.
     In  any  case  the  Reich Government would  demand  the
complete disarmament of "Czechia."
     Such  appears to be the situation at the present moment
when  M.  Hacha and M. Beran are about to arrive in  Berlin,
where  they will be received as representatives of the State
of Bohemia and Moravia.
     

COULONDRE.
     
                   No. 67
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 15, 1939. 
     
     THE  German  troops will occupy Prague at  ten  o'clock
this  morning. Battalions of parachutists will descend  near
the town.
     M.  Hacha,  in  the presence of M. Chvalkovsky,  signed
during the course of interviews which he had last night with
the Fhrer, Field-Marshal Goering and Herr von Ribbentrop  a
declaration placing the destinies of Bohemia and Moravia  in
the hands of the Reich.
     The  German  troops will occupy the whole  of  the  two
provinces.  Czech  troops are from now onwards  confined  to
their barracks. Field-Marshal Goering has announced that  if
there  is the slightest attempt at resistance the Reich  Air
Force,  which is massed around Czechoslovakia, will  give  a
demonstration  on Prague to show the Czechs what  resistance
to Germany would cost them.
     Bohemia and Moravia will be simply annexed, as was done
in  the  case of Austria. At the same time a certain measure
of  political  and cultural autonomy will  be  permitted  to
them.  The formula has not yet been drawn up. M. Hacha  will
remain President of Bohemia and Moravia. The Czechs will not
become citizens of the Reich but will have a status somewhat
similar to that of the Jews.
     Czechoslovakia   will  no  longer   be   diplomatically
represented  in foreign countries. The German Legation  will
be provisionally maintained in Prague, but it is not certain
that the Czech Legation will be maintained in Berlin.
     One  cannot say that any negotiations have taken  place
between  the Czech and German Ministers. The Fhrer made  it
known  from the beginning that his decision had been  taken,
and that anyone who opposed it would be crushed.
     
[82]
     
     The  Czech Ministers have been informed that  the  gold
reserves  of  the Czech Bank must be put at the disposal  of
the  Reich.  The same applies to the whole of the  gold  and
foreign currency owned by individual Czech citizens.
     

COULONDRE.
     
                   No. 68
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 15, 1939. 
     
     FOLLOWING  Your Excellency's instructions I  have  this
morning asked for an audience from Herr von Ribbentrop.
     As  the  latter is, according to the reply I  received,
away  from  Berhn, I will see Herr von Weizs„cker at  midday
(German time). I have progressively kept you informed of the
course  of events since yesterday, namely the entry  of  the
German  troops into Morawska-Ostrawa, the conference between
the  Chancellor and President Hacha, followed by the signing
of the agreement, the text of which has been communicated to
you,  the Fhrer's proclamation and finally the Reich Army's
rapid  occupation of Bohemian and Moravian territories.  All
this has taken place within a few hours and events have thus
outrun  the  limits which your instructions had set  to  the
conversation I am due presently to have.
     Owing  to  this speedy development of events I propose,
during my interview with Herr von Weizs„cker, to reserve  in
the most formal manner both full liberty of appreciation and
the  attitude  which the French Government may  adopt  at  a
later period in regard to the situation with which they  are
confronted.
     

COULONDRE.
     
                   No. 69
     
COUNT VON WELCZECK, German Ambassador in Paris,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                  Paris,
March 15, 1939. 
     
     YOUR Excellency,
     On  behalf of my Government I have the honour to inform
Your Excellency as follows:
     
[83]
     
     On  the evening of March 14 the President of the  Czech
State,  Dr. Hacha, was received, according to his  wish,  by
the Fhrer and Chancellor of the Reich. In the course of the
discussions  which followed an agreement  was  reached,  the
text  of  which  I  have the honour to  communicate  to  you
herewith.  May I ask Your Excellency to bring to the  notice
of  the French Government the above facts and also the  text
of  the agreement here enclosed. Acting on the order  of  my
Government  I  have the following further  communication  to
make to Your Excellency:
     In accordance with the enclosed agreement German troops
crossed  the Czech frontier at six o'clock this morning  and
will assume responsibility for the re-establishment of order
in Czech territory. Dr. Hacha, President of the Czech State,
and Dr. Chvalkovsky, the Czech Minister for Foreign Affairs,
have given their assent to any measures necessary to prevent
resistance  in  any  form,  and  to  avoid  bloodshed.   The
competent  Czech authorities, both military and civil,  have
received instructions to this effect. In consequence,  there
are  grounds for assuming that the process of occupying  and
pacifying  the  territories concerned will  be  carried  out
calmly and in perfect order.
     
                                                      I
am, etc.,

WELCZECK.
     
AGREEMENT
     The  Fhrer  and  Chancellor of  the  Reich  has  today
received,  at  their own desire and in the presence  of  the
Minister  for  Foreign  Affairs  of  the  Reich,  Herr   von
Ribbentrop,  the  President of the Czechoslovak  State,  Dr.
Hacha,  and  the Czechoslovak Minister for Foreign  Affairs,
Dr.  Chvalkovsky. In the course of the meeting  the  serious
situation created by events which have occurred during these
last  few weeks on what was until now Czechoslovak territory
was discussed with the utmost frankness. Both parties agreed
in  expressing  the conviction that the  aim  of  all  their
efforts ought to be to ensure tranquillity, order and  peace
in  this  part  of  Central Europe.  The  President  of  the
Czechoslovak State has declared that to serve this  purpose,
and  with  the  object of securing a final  appeasement,  he
entrusts  with entire confidence the destiny  of  the  Czech
people  and the Czech country to the hands of the Fhrer  of
the  German  Reich. The Fhrer has accepted this declaration
and expressed his resolve to take the Czech people under the
protection of the German Reich, assuring it of an autono-
     
[84]
     
mous  development suited to its own character. In  testimony
whereof this document has been signed in two copies.
     
          Berlin, March 15, 1939.    ADOLF HITLER,
                                     DR. HACHA,
                                     DR. VON RIBBENTROP,
                                     DR. CHVALKOVSKY.
     
                   No. 70
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 15, 1939. 
     
     IN accordance with your instructions I had an interview
with  the  State Secretary this morning. After  reading  the
text of your telephoned message I summed it up for Herr  von
Weizs„cker.  I  pointed out to the State Secretary  that  he
should  realize with what deep concern I had  heard  of  the
entry   of   German  troops  into  Moravia.  This   military
intervention was contrary to the Munich Agreement and to the
Declaration  of  December 6. Consequently I had  to  reserve
absolutely the judgment and attitude of my Government, and I
requested  Herr von Weizs„cker to enlighten  me  as  to  the
precise intentions of the German Government.
     The  State  Secretary replied as follows: "The  present
state  of  affairs was brought about by the  dissolution  of
Czechoslovakia.  Ruthenia,  in  which  separatism  has  been
active, is now partly occupied by Hungarian troops. Slovakia
has  proclaimed her independence; the action  taken  by  the
Government of Prague against the Government of Slovakia also
hastened the movement which led to this proclamation.
     "As   far   as   Bohemia  and  Moravia  are  concerned,
hostilities  have broken out there; German  blood  has  been
shed and the German Government felt compelled immediately to
come  to  the rescue of the threatened German minority.  The
agreement  reached this morning between the leaders  of  the
German  and Czech States in the presence of their  Ministers
for  Foreign  Affairs  definitely settles  the  question  of
Bohemia and Moravia."
     I did not fail to point out to Herr von Weizs„cker that
the  entry  of  German troops into Moravia and the  military
pressure  brought to bear on Czechoslovakia threw a peculiar
light  on  the nature and conditions of this agreement.  The
State  Secretary answered that after two hours  conversation
with the German Chancellor, the President of the
     
[85]
     
Republic  was  convinced  that  the  Czech  Government   was
incapable of preventing the return to active politics of  M.
Benes's  adherents, and had signed the agreement and  placed
the future of his country in the hands of the Fhrer.
     I  then told Herr von Weizs„cker that for the moment  I
must  urge him to enable me to furnish the French Government
with  full information regarding the intentions of the Reich
towards  Czechoslovakia, and especially with  regard  to  an
eventual  withdrawal of the German troops from  Bohemia  and
Moravia, and to the independence of the country.
     Herr  von  Weizs„cker replied that as  to  Bohemia  and
Moravia he could only ask me to refer again to the terms  of
the  agreement  between Berlin and Prague.  He  had  nothing
further  to  add.  The Reich recognized the independence  of
Slovakia.  As for Ruthenia, its fate must be discussed  with
Hungary.  The explanations of the State Secretary show  that
the   German  Government  intends,  under  cover   of   this
agreement,  to  impose  on the Czech  plenipotentiaries  the
annexation  of  Bohemia  and Moravia-which  can  already  be
considered as a fait accompli.
     

COULONDRE.
     
                   No. 71
     
M. V. DE LACROIX, French Minister in Prague,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Prague,
March 15, 1939. 
     
     MY  British  colleague has learnt that Herr Hitler  and
Herr  von  Ribbentrop declared to the Czechoslovak Ministers
last  night that if the German troops met with the slightest
resistance on their entry there would be terrible reprisals.
M.  Hacha  is said to have then put the Czechoslovak  nation
under  the  protection of the German Chancellor. The  Fhrer
appears  to have replied that he would ensure the  continued
development  of  a certain cultural autonomy.  According  to
what  I learn at this very moment, the D.N.B. mentions  this
last assurance.
     

LACROIX.
     
                   No. 72
     
M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. CORBIN, French Ambassador in London.
                                                  Paris,
March 16, 1939. 
     
     THE  urgent  representations which  our  Ambassador  in
Berlin was
     
[86]
     
instructed  to  make were based upon the  same  anxiety  for
preliminary information which governed the attitude of  Lord
Halifax.
     This  d‚marche has proved belated since the  events  of
today have given an answer. The development of the situation
which was at first limited to the separation of Slovakia has
ended  this morning in the occupation of Prague and  the  de
facto  annexation by the Reich of Bohemia and  Moravia.  The
agreements   concluded  at  Munich  have   been   flagrantly
violated.
     As  it  is impossible for this violation to be accepted
without  reaction  from Governments  who  are  concerned  in
estimating  its full importance, it is imperative  to  point
out  without delay to the German authorities the  deductions
which  we  are obliged to draw from events which  jeopardize
the  confidence  that the agreements of  September  29  were
designed to restore.
     In calling the attention of the State Secretary to this
new situation you should emphasize that if we were to accept
without  protest  so  explicit a  violation  of  the  Munich
Agreement it might lead to a doubt as to the good faith with
which Britain and France had embarked on September 29  on  a
political  settlement  whose  whole  justification  was,  by
liberating the Sudeten, to safeguard at the very  least  the
independence   and   integrity   of   a   more   homogeneous
Czechoslovakia placed under an international guarantee.  The
Governments, who gave their assent to a compromise  intended
to assure the survival of Czechoslovakia, cannot today watch
in  silence  the dismemberment of the Czech people  and  the
annexation  of  their  territory without  being  accused  in
retrospect   of  complaisance  and  moral  complicity.   The
enforced  submission  of  the  Prague  Government,  brutally
imposed  by  German pressure, cannot be invoked  to  absolve
Great Britain and France from their moral obligation in  the
eyes  of  their own people and of those of other  States  as
well  as  of  the  Czechoslovak  nation.  They  owe  it   to
international opinion, as well as to themselves, to register
a formal protest against this act of force by which Germany,
in  contempt  of the rights of a nation, has  destroyed  the
contractual  basis of the first attempt at an  understanding
between the four great European Powers.
     You   should  represent  to  Lord  Halifax   the   full
importance of these considerations and satisfy yourself that
the  British  Government agree that the British  and  French
representatives should immediately take concerted action  in
Berlin.
     

GEORGES BONNET.
     
[87]
     
                   No. 73
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 16, 1939. 
     
     LESS than six months after the conclusion of the Munich
Agreement  and  hardly four months after the  Vienna  Award,
Germany,  treating her own and her partners'  signatures  as
negligible quantities has brought about the dismemberment of
Czechoslovakia, occupied with her army Bohemia  and  Moravia
and  annexed  both  these  provinces  to  the  Reich.  Since
yesterday, March 15, the swastika has been flying  over  the
Hradschin, while the Fhrer, protected by tanks and armoured
cars,  entered the city among a staggered and thunder-struck
population.   Slovakia   has  broken   away.   A   so-called
independent state, she has in fact placed herself under  the
protection of Germany. Sub-Carpathian Russia has  been  left
to  Hungary, whose troops have already crossed the frontier.
Czechoslovakia,  which  at  Munich  agreed  to  such   cruel
sacrifices  for  the  sake of peace, no longer  exists.  The
dream of those Nazis who were most eager for her destruction
has  been realized. Czechoslovakia has vanished from the map
of Europe.
     The  events,  which have led up to this result  with  a
lightning speed are typical of the mentality and the methods
of the Nazi rulers. They carry with them certain lessons and
practical  conclusions which all States  anxious  for  their
independence  and security should draw without delay,  faced
as they are with a Germany intoxicated by success and which,
abandoning  the  line of racial claims, is plunging  forward
into sheer imperialism.
     
     The operation to which Czechoslovakia has just fallen a
victim bears to an even greater degree than former coups the
characteristic marks of Nazi action: cynicism and  treachery
in  conception,  secrecy  in preparation  and  brutality  in
execution.
     At  Munich, the Nazi leaders and the Fhrer himself had
laid  great  stress  on the impossibility  for  Germans  and
Czechs  to  live together in the same State; they had  urged
the  implacable  and  age-long  hatred  of  the  Czechs  for
everything German; they had asserted that the maintenance of
peace  depended on a line being drawn strictly  between  the
two   nationalities;  they  had  managed  to  convince  Lord
Runciman  of this necessity whilst protesting on  the  other
hand that they had no wish to incorporate alien elements  in
the Reich. It was in virtue
     
[88]

of  these principles that the negotiators assembled  in  the
Bavarian capital had compelled the Prague Government to hand
over   territories  in  which  the  German  population   was
predominant. In exchange, Czechoslovakia was to  receive  an
international guarantee of her new frontiers, a guarantee in
which Germany herself would take part.
     Actually, it very soon appeared, during the work of the
International  Commission  at Berlin  at  the  beginning  of
October, that the German negotiators were guided far more by
strategical  than  by  ethnographical  considerations.   The
numerous   interventions  of  the  Wehrmacht's  Oberkommando
during  the  course of these negotiations  showed  that  the
German  leaders intended above all to draw a frontier  which
would deprive Czechoslovakia of all her natural defences and
fortifications,  and would reduce her to  complete  military
impotence.   Indeed,  the  boundaries   which   the   Prague
Government  had to accept in October meant the inclusion  of
850,000 Czechs within the Reich.
     Today there is no further question of the separation of
Czechs   from   Germans,  which  was  claimed   to   be   so
indispensable  to peace in the Danube basin and  in  Europe.
Completely reversing her tactics, Germany has again  brought
into  being that German-Czech amalgamation, the elements  of
which  she  had  declared last September to be incompatible.
Whereas  a  few  months ago, she was  saying  that  the  co-
existence  of  these two racial groups was an impossibility,
she  now claims to show that such a co-existence is entirely
natural, that it can be historically justified and  that  it
is   the   result  of  certain  economic  and   geographical
necessities. There is no further question of the  implacable
and  age-long  hatred between Germans  and  Czechs:  on  the
contrary, it is held that the two peoples can and must  live
in harmony together inside one political community.
     The  Munich  agreements, therefore, were for  the  Nazi
rulers  nothing  but  a  means of  disarming  Czechoslovakia
before  annexing it. It would, perhaps, be going rather  far
to assert that the Fhrer had conceived this project even at
Munich. What is beyond all doubt is that, by annexing  under
threat  of  arms the provinces of Bohemia and  Moravia,  the
Government  of  the  Reich,  a signatory  to  the  September
agreements, is guilty of a breach of trust, of a real act of
treachery to the co-signatory States, particularly the Czech
Government which, trusting in the word of the Great  Powers,
had resigned itself to handing over the Sudeten territories.
     It  was  in  the name of this ethnographical  principle
that  the Reich had obtained the return of three and a  half
million Germans in
     
[89]

September.  It  is  in contempt of this  principle  that  it
annexes eight million Czechs today, left defenseless by  the
handing over of the Sudeten territory.
     It  is  the principle of the right of peoples to  self-
determination  that Germany now invokes in  support  of  the
independence (in any case purely illusory) of Slovakia,  but
this  same  right  is  refused  to  the  Carpatho-Ukrainians
abandoned  to  Hungary,  and to the  Czechs  who  have  been
forcibly incorporated in the Reich.
     Germany  has  once again demonstrated her contempt  for
all  written pledges and her preference for methods of brute
force and the fait accompli. Without scruple she has torn up
the  Munich  Agreement as well as the Vienna Award,  proving
yet again that her policy has only one guiding principle: to
watch  for  a  suitable opportunity and to seize  any  booty
within  reach. It is, more or less, the morality  common  to
the gangster and to the denizens of the jungle.
     German  cynicism  has, moreover,  been  accompanied  by
consummate  skill.  With a remarkable  control  of  men  and
events,  the  Government of the Reich has been at  pains  to
give  an appearance of legality to the violence done to  the
Czechs.
     The  official German thesis is that Czechoslovakia fell
to  pieces of itself. Slovakia, it is declared, in  breaking
with Prague, split the Federal Republic into three pieces.
     As  for  Bohemia and Moravia, it was freely and of  its
own  volition that the Prague Government, unable to maintain
order  and  to  protect  the lives of the  German  minority,
placed  the care of these provinces-so runs the argument  in
the Fhrer's hands.
     Such arguments can deceive no one.
     There  can be no doubt that Slovak separatism  was  the
work of German agents or of Slovaks controlled directly from
Berlin.  M.  Mach head of the propaganda department  of  the
Bratislava Government and a most ardent extremist, was well-
known  for  his entire devotion to the Reich. M.  Durcansky,
Minister  of Transport, who made frequent visits to Germany,
was also a mere tool in Nazi hands, particularly in those of
M.   Karmasin,  the  "Fhrer"  of  the  120,000  Germans  in
Slovakia. As for Mgr. Tiso, a man of little energy, although
as a priest he was worried by the growth of Nazi ideology in
his  country  he  was incapable of opposing  the  separatist
tendencies encouraged by Germany. It was on account of  this
weakness  that the Prague Government dismissed him on  March
10. This rigorous measure against Mgr.
     
[90]
     
Tiso  and  the latter's appeal for assistance to  the  Reich
Government  supplied the German rulers with the  excuse  for
which  they  had  been waiting to interfere in  the  quarrel
between the Czechs and the Slovaks.
     On  receipt  of the note from the dismissed  President,
German  official circles let it be known that in their  view
Mgr.  Tiso's  Government alone had a  legal  character,  and
that,  by  appointing  a  new  Prime  Minister,  Prague  had
violated  the  Constitution. From  this  moment  the  Berlin
newspapers  began  to  denounce  the  terror  unleashed   in
Bratislava by the Czechs against the Slovak autonomists  and
their German comrades.
     From  the  12th  onwards the tone of the  Berlin  Press
became  more  violent. Now it was not  only  a  question  of
clashes in Slovakia, but also in Bohemia and Moravia. Within
twenty-four  hours the Berlin papers had  relegated  to  the
background the sufferings of the Slovaks and denounced  with
every  sign  of  the keenest resentment the  brutalities  to
which Germans in Czechoslovakia were subjected, whether they
were  members  of  the racial minority or  citizens  of  the
Reich. To judge from the German papers, which used not  only
the  same  language but exactly the same expressions  as  in
September  last,  the  lives  of  the  500,000  Germans   in
Czechoslovakia were in the most serious danger. The  Czechs,
in  whom  the old Hussite spirit and the hatred of Germanism
was  re-awakening,  had once more organized  man-hunts.  The
situation was becoming intolerable.
     Actually,  with  the  exception  of  Bratislava,  where
unrest  had  been  fomented  by the  German  Self-Protection
Service  and  by the Hlinka Guards, who had  been  armed  by
Germany, public order had been disturbed neither in Slovakia
nor  in  Bohemia and Moravia. At Brunn, for example,  where,
according  to the German Press, German blood had been  shed,
the  British  Consul  was able to  see  and  report  to  his
Minister in Prague that there was complete calm. The stories
published by the Berlin newspapers under inflammatory titles
were,  furthermore, very thin in content, much  like  a  few
grains of dust whirled along by some infernal bellows.
     On  the evening of the 13th the German leaders, who had
unremittingly  counteracted  the  efforts   of   Prague   to
establish a new Slovakian Government, summoned Mgr. Tiso  to
Berlin. During the night of the 13th-14th, together with  M.
Durcansky,  he  had a long interview with  the  Fhrer,  who
expressed  his  determination to see  the  creation  of  "an
entirely   free  Slovakia."  The  proclamation   of   Slovak
independence should follow without delay. That same evening,
the 60
     
[91]
     
members  of  the  Diet were summoned for  the  next  day  at
Bratislava, and Slovak independence, decided in Berlin,  was
unanimously voted by them. From the afternoon of  the  14th,
the   German  Press  was  in  a  position  to  declare  that
Czechoslovakia had fallen to pieces, that she was in a state
of  complete decay, that the Communists had reappeared  and,
together  with  Czech  chauvinists, were  hunting  and  ill-
treating  the  Germans, notably at Brunn and  Iglau.  German
blood-so it was reported-was flowing in torrents. Germany-it
was said-could no longer tolerate such a state of affairs.
     Meanwhile,  14 divisions, composed almost  entirely  of
mechanized units, had been concentrated on the frontiers  of
Bohemia  and  Moravia. On the afternoon of the 14th,  German
troops   entered  Czech  territory  and  occupied  Morawska-
Ostrawa.
     Before  giving  the troops the order to  march  to  the
invasion  of Czech territory, it was necessary to find  some
semblance  of  a justification. M. Hacha, President  of  the
Czechoslovak  Republic  and  M.  Chvalkovsky,  Minister  for
Foreign  Affairs, arrived at Berlin where they were received
by  the  Fhrer  in the presence of Herr von Ribbentrop  and
Field-Marshal  Goering.  Brutally, the  Fhrer  states  that
there is no question of negotiation. The Czech statesmen are
asked  to  acquaint themselves with the decisions of  Berlin
and  to bow to them. Any sign of resistance will be crushed.
Any  opposition  to the German troops will be  put  down  by
means  of aerial bombardment. The Reich has decided to annex
Bohemia  and  Moravia.  Prague  will  be  occupied  on   the
following day at 10 o'clock. President Hacha, a man of great
age  and  in  failing health, collapses and  faints.  Field-
Marshal Goering's own doctors intervene and bring him  round
with  injections.  Then  the  old  man  signs  the  document
presented  to him, by which the Czech Government places  the
destiny of Bohemia and Moravia "with full confidence" in the
hands of the Fhrer.
     The next day, the 15th, at nine o'clock in the morning,
the   first  mechanized  troops  reach  Prague.  During  the
afternoon,  the  Fhrer  enters  the  Imperial   Castle   of
Hradschin and immediately orders the swastika to be hoisted.
Czechoslovakia is no more.
     The  following  day, the 16th, the Fhrer  decrees  the
incorporation  of Bohemia and Moravia within the  Reich  and
constitutes  them  a Protectorate with some  sort  of  self-
administration,   under   the   control    of    "Protector"
representing Germany and residing at Prague.
     The  same  day,  Mgr. Tiso, head of the  new  so-called
independent  Slovak State, asks the Fhrer to take  Slovakia
under his protection.
     
[92]
     
The Chancellor accepts at once. In fact, Slovak independence
is  at an end. Mutilated by the Vienna Award, robbed of  its
most fertile lands and reduced to a mountainous region,  the
country   cannot  in  any  case  hope  for  an   independent
existence.
     On  March  12 Sub-Carpathian Russia too had  proclaimed
its  independence and solicited the protection  of  Germany.
But  the  Nazi leaders remained deaf to its appeal, although
that  country,  which for a while had  played  the  role  of
"Ukrainian Piedmont," had relied entirely upon them.
     Sub-Carpathian Ukraine was invaded by Hungarian troops.
In  despair,  the Chust Government offered  the  country  to
Rumania.  M.  Revay, Prime Minister, in a  telegram  to  the
French  Embassy  in  Berlin, sought to persuade  the  French
Government  to  approach the Government in Budapest  in  the
hope  that  the  fate  of the country might  be  decided  by
diplomatic means and not by force of arms.
     Everything  seems to point to the conclusion  that  the
Reich has no interest in this State and is abandoning it  to
Hungary.
     One  more feature deserves notice. It is the speed with
which   the   operation   ending   in   the   partition   of
Czechoslovakia was decided upon and prepared.
     Since  the  beginning  of February,  this  Embassy  had
certainly noted numerous indications of Germany's intentions
concerning Czechoslovakia. These convergent symptoms left no
doubt  that  the  Nazis  were  only  awaiting  a  favourable
opportunity to finish the work begun at Munich and  to  deal
the  final blow to a State which, already mortally  wounded,
was struggling with inextricable internal difficulties.
     But  it  seems  that the decision was not  taken  until
March  8 or 9, that is, after the departure of Field-Marshal
Goering for Italy, whence he was urgently recalled. Only  on
March  11  and 12 came the first reports of troop movements.
On  the 14th, about 200,000 men were massed on the frontiers
of  Bohemia  and  Moravia.  This  concentration  took  place
without  any disturbance of the normal life of the  country.
Once  more,  bombers played a decisive role. They  were  the
unanswerable  argument to which the Czech  Ministers  bowed,
anxious   to  spare  their  people  the  horrors   and   the
destruction of aerial bombardment.
     In  another letter I point out the repercussions likely
to  occur  in Europe as a result of the new changes  brought
about in the map of the Continent under the pressure of Nazi
Germany.
     
[93]
     
     In  conclusion I will simply draw attention to what may
be learnt from this new coup committed by the Third Reich.
     Nazi  Germany has now thrown aside the mask. Until now,
she  has denied the charge of imperialism. She asserted that
her  only  wish was to re-unite as far as possible  all  the
Germans of Central Europe in one family, to the exclusion of
aliens.  Today,  it  is clear that the Fhrer's  thirst  for
domination knows no limit.
     It  is equally clear that all hopes of opposing to  the
Fhrer any arguments other than those of force are in  vain.
The  Third  Reich  has the same contempt as  the  Empire  of
Wilhelm  II  for treaties and pledges. Germany  remains  the
country of "scraps of paper."
     National  security as well as world peace  demand  from
the  French people an immense effort of discipline  and  the
organization of the country's whole energy, which alone will
enable  France,  with  the help of her  friends,  to  assert
herself  and  defend  her  interests  in  the  face  of   so
formidable  an  adversary as the Germany  of  Adolf  Hitler,
plunging forward to the conquest of Europe.
     

COULONDRE.
     
                   No. 74
     
M. ARDIET, French Consul in Nuremberg,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                              Nuremberg,
March 16, 1939. 
     
     GAULEITER STRETCHER, at a great demonstration organized
yesterday evening in Nuremberg on the occasion of the German
troops'  entry into Bohemia and Moravia, made the  following
statement:  "This  is only a beginning: far  greater  events
will follow; the democracies can rise up and protest as much
as they like, they will surrender in the end."
     Many squadrons flew over Nuremberg this morning on  the
way to Bohemia.
     

ARDIET.
     
                   No. 75
     
M. LEON NOEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw,
March 16, 1939.  
     
     Is  the action recently taken in Europe by Germany  the
prelude to further acts in the west or in the east?
     
[94]
     In Warsaw, the second hypothesis seems quite plausible.
     Germany's  dissatisfaction with Poland is  dear,  since
the anti-German demonstrations made by the students.
     Herr  von  Moltke does not conceal from his  colleagues
his  ill-humour,  which  does not  spare  M.  Beck,  and  he
complains  that the meeting of the German-Polish  commission
in Berlin has had no useful result.
     The  development of sentiments hostile to Germany among
all classes of Polish people cannot escape any observer.
     It  is  to  be  supposed  that the  reactions  and  the
calculations  of the Chancellor will be influenced  by  this
situation.
     I  learn,  too, that a Ukrainian deputy in  the  Polish
Diet,  returning from Berlin, has announced that he received
there  assurances of a new campaign by Germany in favour  of
the Ukraine.
     

LEON NOEL.
     
                   No. 76
     
M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin.
                                                  Paris,
March 17, 1939. 
     
     You  should  seek  an audience with  the  Minister  for
Foreign  Affairs in order to hand him the note, the text  of
which  you will find herewith. (A similar d‚marche is  being
made by your British colleague.)
     "By  a letter dated March 15, 1939, His Excellency  the
German   Ambassador,   acting  on  instructions   from   his
Government,  has handed to the Minister for Foreign  Affairs
of  the  French  Republic the text of an  agreement  reached
during   the  night  of  March  14-15  between  the  Fhrer-
Chancellor and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Reich
on  the  one  side  and the President and the  Minister  for
Foreign  Affairs of the Czechoslovak Republic on  the  other
side.  In  the  same  communication, it was  announced  that
German  troops had crossed the Czech frontiers at 6  o'clock
in the morning and that all measures had been taken to avoid
resistance  and  bloodshed and to allow the  occupation  and
pacification of the territory to take place in a  quiet  and
orderly way.
     "The French Ambassador has the honour to convey to  the
Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Reich the formal Protest
made  by  the Government of the Republic against the measure
referred to in Count von Welczeck's communication.
     "The  Government  of  the  Republic  considers  itself,
through the ac-
     
[95]
     
tion  taken against Czechoslovakia by the German Government,
confronted with a flagrant violation of both the letter  and
the  spirit  of the Agreement signed in Munich on  September
29, 1938.
     "The circumstances in which the treaty of March 15  was
imposed  on  the leaders of the Czechoslovak Republic  could
not,  in  the view of the Government of the French Republic,
legalize the position laid down in this treaty.
     "The  French  Ambassador has the honour to  inform  His
Excellency  the Minister for Foreign Affairs  of  the  Reich
that   the  Government  of  the  Republic  cannot   in   the
circumstances  recognize the legality of the  new  situation
brought about in Czechoslovakia by the action of the Reich."
     


GEORGES BONNET.  
     
                   No. 77
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 17, 1939. 
     
     ON  the subject of the circumstances in which M.  Hacha
and  M.  Chvalkovsky were constrained to sign the treaty  by
which  the  fate  of  Bohemia and Moravia  passed  into  the
Fhrer's  hands,  I  think  I should  report  the  following
account, which I heard from a reliable source.
     During  the afternoon of the 14th, the German  Legation
in  Prague made it known to the Czernin Palace that, in view
of the deterioration in the situation, it might be useful if
the President and the Minister for Foreign Affairs would  go
to Berlin.
     Immediately on arrival, M. Hacha and his Minister,  who
were  received  with military honours,  were  taken  to  the
Chancellery  where Herr Hitler, Field-Marshal Goering,  Herr
von Ribbentrop and Herr Keppler were waiting for them.
     The document to be signed lay waiting on the table,  in
its  final  form,  as well as a memorandum relating  to  the
future  Statute  for  the  administration  of  Bohemia   and
Moravia.
     The  Fhrer stated very briefly that the time  was  not
one  for  negotiation but that the Czech Ministers had  been
summoned  to be informed of Germany's decisions, that  these
decisions were irrevocable, that Prague would be occupied on
the   following  day  at  9  o'clock,  Bohemia  and  Moravia
incorporated   within   the   Reich   and   constituted    a
Protectorate, and whoever tried to resist would be  "trodden
underfoot"
     
[96]
     
(zertreten).  With that, the Fhrer wrote his signature  and
went out. It was about 12:30 a.m.
     A  tragic  scene  then  took place  between  the  Czech
Ministers and the three Germans.
     For hours on end Dr. Hacha and M. Chvalkovsky protested
against  the outrage done to them, declared that they  could
not  sign  the document presented to them, pointed out  that
were  they to do so they would be for ever cursed  by  their
people.  Dr.  Hacha,  with all the energy  at  his  command,
fought  against  the Statute of Protectorate  which  it  was
intended  to impose on the Czechs, observing that  no  white
people was reduced to such a condition.
     The  German  ministers  were pitiless.  They  literally
hunted Dr. Hacha and M. Chvalkovsky round the table on which
the  documents were lying, thrusting them continually before
them,  pushing pens into their hands, incessantly  repeating
that  if they continued in their refusal, half Prague  would
lie  in ruins from aerial bombardment within two hours,  and
that  this would be only the beginning. Hundreds of  bombers
were  awaiting  only the order to take off, and  they  would
receive  that order at six in the morning if the  signatures
were not forthcoming by them.
     President Hacha was in such a state of exhaustion  that
he more than once needed medical attention from the doctors,
who, by the way, had been there ready for service since  the
beginning  of  the  interview. The  Czech  Ministers  having
stated  they  could  not take such a  decision  without  the
consent of their Government, they received the answer that a
direct  telephonic line existed to the Cabinet of  Ministers
then  in session at Prague and that they could get in  touch
immediately.  It is a fact that such a line  had  been  laid
down  in  Czech territory by members of the German minority,
without the knowledge of the authorities.
     At  4:30 in the morning, Dr. Hacha, in a state of total
collapse,  and  kept  going only  by  means  of  injections,
resigned  himself  with  death  in  his  soul  to  give  his
signature.  As  he  left  the  Chancellery,  M.  Chvalkovsky
declared:  "Our people will curse us, and yet we have  saved
their  existence.  We have preserved them  from  a  horrible
massacre."
     

COULONDRE.
     
[97]
     
                   No. 78
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 18, 1939. 
     
     As the Minister for Foreign Affairs is not in Berlin, I
saw  the  State Secretary this morning and carried  out  the
instructions which had been given me.
     Before  acquainting himself with the  contents  of  the
French  Government's note, Herr von Weizs„cker asked  me  to
give him its tenor. When I had communicated the substance of
it  to him, the State Secretary declared that he refused  to
accept  a  protest  from  the French  Government  concerning
Czechoslovakia.  He requested me to ask Your  Excellency  to
reconsider   the  question.  I  replied  that   the   French
Government  had carefully weighed its decision and  that  it
was  utterly useless to ask them to change it. As  Herr  von
Weizs„cker  still  refused to accept the  Note,  I  recalled
diplomatic usage and the right of my country to express  its
opinion  of  recent  events. The State Secretary's  attitude
surprised  me all the more because the object of  discussion
was  a  solemn  act,  signed by  the  heads  of  the  French
Government and the Government of the Reich. What had Germany
made  of  the Munich Agreement? Herr von Weizs„cker, without
making  a  direct  answer,  referred  to  verbal  assurances
alleged  to have been given to Herr von Ribbentrop  by  Your
Excellency  in Paris after the signature of the  declaration
of  December  6,  according to which Czechoslovakia  was  in
future  not to be the subject of "an exchange of views."  He
added  that  if the German Government had supposed  that  it
might be otherwise, they would not have signed the pact.
     I replied to Herr von Weizs„cker that no trace could be
found  of  any such assurance, either in the declaration  of
December  6  nor  in  the  broadcast  statements  which  had
accompanied  it,  and  that  the  French  authors  of   this
agreement could never have meant it to constitute a possible
recognition  of  the  suppression of Czechoslovakia  however
liberally its spirit were to be interpreted:
     The declaration, on the contrary, provided that the two
Governments  would  consult  each  other  on  matters  which
concerned  them  both and which in their  development  might
threaten to cause international difficulties.
     Changing his ground, Herr von Weizs„cker then expressed
astonishment  that  the  French  Government  could   protest
against a state of
     
[98]

affairs  resulting from a treaty between the  heads  of  the
German and the Czech State.
     I  pointed out to him that he was now going to the root
of  the  matter  and that I could answer  that  we  had  the
strongest  reasons  for thinking that the Czech  negotiators
had not found themselves in a position to express their will
freely.  Herr von Weizs„cker finally said he would take  the
Note  as  if  it had been sent to him by post, but  that  he
feared the French Government might regret this step.
     I replied that one could never regret having done one's
duty,   and  with  these  words  took  leave  of  the  State
Secretary.
     The  frown on Herr von Weizs„cker's face and the  first
gesture  he  made on seeing the document which  I  gave  him
warned me at the outset that he knew the purpose of my visit
and had been instructed to persuade me to withdraw the Note.
It was obviously impossible for me to yield to that wish.
     

COULONDRE.
     
                   No. 79
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 18, 1939.  
     
     ACCORDING to information that I have gathered from  the
best  sources, the development the Czechoslovak drama  seems
to have been as follows:
     The  Nazi leaders, displeased at the resistance offered
by  Czechoslovakia  to  her new position  of  tutelage  last
December, worked out a scheme which, as the Germans put  it,
would   effectively  prevent  this  State  from  ever  again
becoming a menace to the Reich. But M. Chvalkovsky  did  not
succeed in persuading Prague to accept this plan, which must
already  have  almost  amounted to a  Protectorate.  It  was
decided in Berlin to break this too unmanageable tool.  From
the  month  of February onwards, this Embassy drew attention
to certain characteristic signs in this respect.
     It  was  in  these circumstances that  the  leaders  of
Austria, Seyss-Inquart and Brckel, were personally  ordered
about  three  weeks ago to fan the agitation in Slovakia  in
favour of its independence. The Vienna wireless station took
part  in this. The Czech Government, frightened by the speed
with  which  the movement was growing, dismissed Mgr.  Tiso,
who was considered to be too conciliatory. Herr
     
[99]
     
Hitler  was waiting for this mistake. It is only then,  that
is  to  say  about March 9, that he seems to have taken  the
decisions  which led to the disappearance of Czechoslovakia.
Mgr. Tiso was summoned to Berlin. The Fhrer informed him of
the  coming invasion of Bohemia and Moravia and charged him,
under  threat of seeing Slovakia suffer the same fate,  with
bringing about the immediate separation of that country from
Prague.
     In  order to prevent Germany's seizure of Slovakia  the
Hungarians  and Poles hastened to recognize the independence
of  that  country on the day of its proclamation, March  14;
Germany,  the instigator of the whole thing, abstained  from
so  doing  but  sent  troops  to  occupy  Bratislava.  Under
pressure,  Mgr.  Tiso telegraphed to the Fhrer  asking  for
protection, which was immediately granted. The German troops
continued their march into Slovakia, but, on representations
from Poland, Berlin decided to withdraw them to the line  of
the Vaag.
     

COULONDRE.
     
                   No. 80
     
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 19, 1939. 
     
     ON  the morrow of the annexation of Bohemia and Moravia
by  the  Reich,  and  the passing of  Slovakia  into  German
tutelage,  I should like, after the violent changes  wrought
in  the  map  of  Europe,  to  try  to  determine  in  which
directions German dynamism may turn, to see if we may  still
hold  that it is aimed only at the east, and to draw certain
practical conclusions for our guidance.
     A  direct  challenge to world opinion by the treachery,
the  cynicism,  and the brutality it shows,  the  "coup"  by
which  Germany  has just wiped Czechoslovakia  off  the  map
cannot  simply  be  dismissed as  a  break  in  the  general
political line taken by Germany since last autumn, nor  even
as  a  deviation from this line. On the very morrow  of  the
Munich  Agreement, it was clear that beyond the  Rhine  this
Agreement  was  taken to imply a free hand  for  Germany  in
Central  and  Eastern Europe, and, as a corollary,  relative
renunciation  of  their interests in these  regions  by  the
Western Powers. Germany had understood, or pretended to have
understood,  that  at Munich France and England  had  wished
above  all  to prevent recourse to force, but that  for  the
rest they were resigned to Germany's will prevailing in
     
[100]
     
countries   in   which  neither  Paris  nor   London   could
effectively  intervene. The Munich Agreement,  completed  by
the  Anglo-German and Franco-German declarations,  meant  in
Germany's  eyes the right for the Reich to organize  Central
and  South-Eastern  Europe as she  wished,  with  the  tacit
approval  or at least the complaisance of the great  Western
Powers.  For  months this version found daily expression  in
the  great  German newspapers, officially inspired,  as  the
reports  from  the Embassy have often shown. I  myself  have
more  than  once noted the same state of mind  in  Herr  von
Ribbentrop  and  Herr  von Weizs„cker,  both  of  whom  have
expressed a certain astonishment whenever I have drawn their
attention  to  the  fact that France, as  a  great  European
Power,  intends  to  be consulted in all  that  pertains  to
Europe,  and that on this point there must be no mistake  or
misunderstanding. And yet, this misunderstanding did in fact
exist.  The  Nazi  leaders did not fail to stress  on  every
occasion  that, as the Fhrer said in his speech of  January
30,  "Central  Europe was a region where the Western  Powers
had no concern."
     In  this  respect, the German seizure  of  Bohemia  and
Moravia,  with  the subsequent inclusion of Slovakia  within
the  German  orbit,  is in line with the policy  of  eastern
expansion of which Germany has not only made no secret since
last autumn but which she has openly proclaimed.
     During  the last six months, the tendencies  of  German
foreign  policy  may  be  summed up  as  follows:  a  purely
defensive  attitude in the West and the orientation  towards
the  East of Nazi aims and ambitions. The German attempt  to
occupy  the whole of Slovakia and even Sub-Carpathian Russia
shows  even more clearly than the annexation of Bohemia  and
Moravia  in  which  direction lie German  thoughts  and  the
German thrust.
     Though  we  have no reason whatever to be surprised  at
this  new  advance of German influence in the East,  on  the
other  hand  we have every right to condemn the  unspeakable
methods used by the Reich to achieve it. It is these methods
which, properly speaking, constitute the break in the policy
of  appeasement begun at Munich, and which found  expression
in  the  declarations of September 30 and December 6. France
and  Britain  were entitled to expect that in the  event  of
fresh  Central European difficulties they would be consulted
by  the Reich; the German Government, moreover, could not be
unaware that the French and British Cabinets were ready  for
such an exchange of views. France and Great Britain also had
the right to assume that Germany
     
[101]
     
would  not  reject the racial principle which at Munich  had
guided the settlement of the German-Czech crisis, nor  that,
having  invoked the rights of nationalities,  Germany  would
violate  them so wantonly. Paris and London could hope  that
having  renounced the use of force at Munich, Germany  would
not again have recourse to threats of the wholesale massacre
of civil populations by her air force in particularly odious
circumstances.  France  and Britain were  also  entitled  to
expect  that  the  rulers of the Reich would  not  treat  as
purely  negligible the agreements reached at Munich and  the
declarations  which followed them, and that they  would  not
simply throw into the waste-paper basket documents on  which
the  signature  of the head of the German State  was  hardly
dry.
     But  this  is  in  fact what has happened.  The  Munich
agreements  no  longer exist. The psychological  grounds  on
which the potentialities of the declarations of September 30
and  December 6 might have borne fruit have been  destroyed.
Various  German  papers  are  already  interpreting   as   a
denunciation   of   the   Anglo-German   and   Franco-German
declarations the d‚marche by which Britain and  France  made
it  known on March 18 that they could not recognize as legal
the  position in Central Europe which had been brought about
by the Reich.
     We  find  ourselves faced, therefore, with an  entirely
new  situation. Germany has not been content to  consolidate
and  extend her political influence over the nations  living
in  the Reich's orbit. She has revealed her desire to absorb
them,  if not to annihilate them. From a policy of expansion
she  has  gone  on to a policy of conquest,  the  claims  of
common race giving way henceforth to military imperialism.
     This brutal confession of a lust of conquest, which the
Third Reich had hitherto been at pains to conceal, could not
fail to arouse deep feeling throughout the world. Faced with
the  wave  of  hostile criticism which it has provoked,  and
after  having absorbed in one year 18 million new  subjects,
of  whom  eight  millions are aliens, will Germany  find  it
necessary to mark time for a while? Or, taking advantage  of
its  acquired  momentum  and of the stupor  of  the  Central
European  States,  will it continue its  drive  towards  the
East? Or, again, will it be tempted to face about and put an
end  to  the  opposition  of the  Western  Powers  which  is
interfering with the Reich's liberty of action in the  East?
In  other words, will the Fhrer be tempted to return to the
idea  expressed by the author of Mein Kampf,  which,  be  it
said,  is  identical with the classic doctrine held  by  the
German General Staff, according
     
[102]
     
to  which Germany cannot accomplish her high destiny in  the
East  until  France has been crushed and, as a  consequence,
Britain reduced to impotence on the Continent?
     We must likewise examine whether there is still time to
erect  in  the East a wall capable of stemming to a  certain
extent  the  German drive, and if to this end we should  not
take advantage of the favourable circumstances offered to us
by  the  tension  and anxiety which prevail in  the  Central
European capitals, especially in Warsaw.
     The   renewed  changes  which  the  European  map   has
undergone  to Germany's advantage will mean from  now  on  a
great  increase  in her potential, if not  her  actual,  war
strength.
     Germany,   whose  currency  resources  were  completely
exhausted, has just seized the greater part of the gold  and
currency  reserves in the Czech National Bank.  The  sum  so
taken,  about  50,000,000  dollars,  will  be  of  no  small
advantage to a nation almost completely without the means to
make international payments.
     Still  more important is the passing into German  hands
of  a  large quantity of first-class war material,  together
with the Skoda works. These world-famous works supplied  not
only   Czechoslovakia  but  Rumania  and  Jugoslavia,  whose
military  positions  are  thus seriously  impaired.  I  will
mention only by way of reminder that the Skoda works are  at
present  manufacturing aeroplane engines for us.  Possessing
both  the Krupp and the Skoda works, the Reich is henceforth
beyond all doubt the most advantageously placed supplier  of
war  material for Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.  Germany
has,  therefore,  a means of bringing pressure  to  bear  on
policy  and  of  controlling armaments, which  must  not  be
underestimated,  as  well  as  a  possibility  of  obtaining
substantial amounts of foreign currency by sales abroad.
     Further,  the  seizure of Bohemia and  Moravia  is  the
first  territorial operation, which, from the point of  view
of food supplies, has not caused a loss to the Reich. On the
contrary it greatly improves the German food situation,  not
only  on  account of the relative fertility of  Bohemia  and
Moravia but also and still more because the Reich now  finds
itself  at  the  very  door of the  Hungarian  and  Rumanian
granaries.
     Again,  the  economic leaders of the Reich now  have  a
considerable reserve of labour at their disposal.  Autarchy,
excessive re-armament, great public works require  a  labour
strength  above  that which the Reich itself could  provide.
There was a shortage of a million and a
     
[103]
     
half   labourers  in  industry  and  agriculture.  In  these
circumstances, it was hard to see how Germany could, in  the
event  of  general  mobilization, meet the increased  labour
demands  and  fill the gaps left by the men  called  to  the
colours. The Czechs, considered unworthy to bear arms,  will
provide the 5,000,000 workers which Germany needed for  such
an emergency.
     Finally  and  above  all, the strategical  position  of
Germany  has  vastly  improved.  In  place  of  the  winding
frontier,   several  hundred  miles  long,  which  separated
Germany from Czechoslovakia, is substituted the much shorter
and  more  easily defended line joining Austria to  Silesia.
Germany  thus saves the several divisions which  would  have
had  to  watch  the  Czech frontier in  the  event  of  war.
Further,  the  Bohemian and Moravian tableland  provides  an
excellent  base  of operations, particularly  for  aircraft,
whose effective range will henceforth cover the greater part
of the Balkans, to say nothing of Hungary and Poland.
     The  first act of the German military authorities after
the occupation of the Czech provinces was to make Vienna the
centre of a new air fleet, the Fourth [1] (South-East), made
up  of units stationed in Austria, Sudetenland, Bohemia  and
Moravia.  "The  creation of this fourth fleet,"  the  German
papers  have pointed out, "increases the power  of  our  air
force beyond all our expectations."
     Besides  the increase of material forces, we must  also
take  into  account the immense pride which, as a result  of
the  prodigious successes secured in one year, [2] could not
fail  to  swell  the Nazi leaders' bosoms and inflame  their
minds. Without striking a blow, without any annoyance beyond
a  few  gestures  of  protest, the Reich  had  swallowed  20
million  men,  turned the whole structure of  Europe  upside
down and forged a military machine of such power that Europe
was  forced  on more than one decisive occasion  to  bow  to
German  demands; there indeed is an achievement to turn  the
most well-balanced head. But no operation had ever moved  so
smoothly  as that which culminated in the Fhrer's  entering
the  Castle  of Hradschin. How can Herr Hitler do  otherwise
than  believe that nothing can stand against his  will?  How
could   he  fail  to  make  capital  out  of  the  undoubted
superiority that Germany has won for itself in the  air?  It
is  quite possible that tomorrow he will apply to Rumania or
Poland the same means that had
     

[1] The German Air Force had hitherto been divided into
three air
fleets.
[2] The conquest of Austria occurred on March 12, 1938, that
of Bohemia
and Moravia on March 15, 1939.
     
[104]
     
been  so  successful against Austria and Czechoslovakia  and
place  before them the alternatives of the massacre of civil
populations  and  the  destruction of  open  towns,  or  the
acceptance   of  the  German  terms  however   onerous   and
humiliating they may be. One must not, however, exclude  the
possibility  that the Reich, before carrying  out  its  vast
programme  to the East, will first turn against the  Western
Powers.
     There are three reasons for not ruling out at once such
possibility. From the reactions of London and Paris  to  the
annihilation of Czechoslovakia and the incorporation of  the
Czechs  in the Reich, Nazi Germany must see-as she pretended
not  to  see since Munich-that the Western Powers  have  not
completely given up the whole of Europe beyond the Rhine.
     Then,  confronted by the re-armament of France, England
and   America,  which  is  being  watched  here  with   more
irritation  and anxiety than is admitted, the  Nazi  leaders
may  be  asking  themselves how long  they  will  enjoy  the
mastery  of the air, which they have exploited so  cynically
for  the  past year, and if they too will not soon  have  to
reckon with enemy air forces capable of shattering reprisals
which  would neutralize the threat of German air action,  at
present hanging over Europe.
     It  is  true  that  up  to the  present,  there  is  no
indication that Germany has modified her line of policy  and
that  she intends at least temporarily to turn her eyes  and
her  ambitions away from the East with a view to  a  Western
war.
     On  the contrary, one fact seems to indicate that  when
the  Nazi  leaders were planning the scheme against  Bohemia
and Moravia, they were already intending to go still farther
eastward  at  a  more or less early date.  From  information
hitherto  received, it certainly seems that the German  Army
tried  to  occupy  the  whole  of  Slovakia  and  even  Sub-
Carpathian  Russia. It was on account of Poland's  attitude,
and  the  Hungarian  decision to take no  notice  of  German
representations,  that the German troops were  withdrawn  to
the  line  of  the Vaag. Now, an occupation of Slovakia  and
Carpathian Ukraine, which would have brought the German Army
right  up  to the Russian frontier, could have had political
or  military  significance only if further  operations  were
contemplated  against either Rumania  or  Poland.  In  well-
informed circles in Berlin it is regarded that these regions
are the more immediately threatened.
     Yet  it  does not seem that the direction of  the  next
Nazi thrust
     
[105]
     
has  been decided upon or that plans for further action have
been formulated.
     An  official of the Propaganda Ministry seems  to  have
summed  up accurately the state of mind of the Nazi  leaders
in  a  remark made to one of my compatriots: "We have before
us  so  many open doors, so many possibilities, that  we  no
longer know which way to turn or what direction to take."
     We shall not go far wrong if we assume that the line of
conduct to be adopted by the Reich, which now forms a  block
of  90  million inhabitants in the heart of Europe, will  be
influenced by the balance of forces in Europe.
     As  things are, the Nazi leaders consider that the lead
they  have  established  in armaments  and  the  strategical
position they have won protect them from attack. Their  weak
point  is  a shortage of stocks and a lack of raw  materials
and  foodstuffs which would make it impossible for  them  to
stand  a  long  war.  Given  the material  impossibility  of
challenging  Britain's mastery of the sea, the Nazi  leaders
see two ways open to them.
     Either   to   proceed  without  intermission   to   the
subjugation  of  east and south-east Europe and  perhaps  to
that of Scandinavia, thus securing for Germany in one way or
another the resources of these countries, and enabling it to
a certain extent to face a blockade.
     Or  to  attack  France and Britain,  before  these  two
Powers  have,  with  American help, caught  up  with  German
armaments,  and  in particular, snatched  from  Germany  the
mastery of the air.
     This  second  possibility is not at  present  the  more
probable. But we must reckon with the risk of seeing Germany
engaged  in  such  an undertaking. This  risk  may  even  be
increased by the intensification and the speeding up of  our
rearmament.
     However,  as we have no choice save either to  bow  one
day to Hitler's will or, by uniting our forces with those of
Britain, to build a military machine, and especially an  air
force, strong enough to impress Germany, it is vital that we
should without delay:
     (a) Rearm to the maximum of our capacity.
     (b)  As far as possible, avoid all publicity about this
intensive rearmament.
     In any case, whatever new form German dynamism may take
after  the  conquest of Bohemia and Moravia, we  are  always
driven  to the same conclusion: to the unavoidable necessity
for  concentrating the nation's energies towards as vast and
as swift a development of
     
[106]
     
its military strength as possible, especially with regard to
its  Air  Force. In view of the impulsive character  of  the
Nazi leaders, the state of mental intoxication in which  the
Fhrer  must  be  at  present and the irritation  and  alarm
caused  in Germany by the rearmament of the democracies  and
by  the attitude of America, I consider that we must proceed
without delay to the industrial mobilization of the country,
as secretly and as intensively as possible.
     

COULONDRE.
     
                   No. 81
     
M. GE0RGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin.
                                                  Paris,
March 19, 1939. 
     
     I  Approve  your action in replying as you did  to  the
extravagant  statement of Herr von Weizs„cker  according  to
which, in my Paris conversation with Herr von Ribbentrop,  I
am alleged to have said that "Czechoslovakia would no longer
be  the  subject of an exchange of views." This conversation
took  place without Herr von Weizs„cker, and in the presence
of M. Leger and Count von Welczeck only.
     I   emphasized  during  this  interview-and  Herr   von
Ribbentrop took note of it-that our declaration  in  no  way
affected  the Franco-Polish and the Franco-Soviet  pacts.  I
then  insisted  at  length that the  guarantee  promised  to
Czechoslovakia by the Munich Agreement should also be  given
by  Germany. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of  the  Reich
replied   that  he  was  afraid  Czechoslovakia  was   still
impregnated with the Benes spirit, and that the question was
not  yet ripe. In spite of my insistence I failed to  obtain
from  him  any assurance as to when this guarantee would  be
given.
     In  the  circumstances I asked  you  to  see  Herr  von
Ribbentrop again during the months of January and  February,
in  order to get the German guarantee for Czechoslovakia. In
accordance with my instructions, you saw Herr von Weizs„cker
on  December  21 and Herr von Ribbentrop on  February  6.  A
written Note was handed in by you on February 8. In reply to
this  Note, the German Government handed you on  March  2  a
written  memorandum, designed to justify the  delay  of  the
required  guarantee. In that document it puts forward  as  a
reason  the  fact  that  the  question  of  the  Polish  and
Hungarian minorities has not yet been settled and adds that,
in its opinion, any intervention in Cen-
     
[107]
     
tral Europe by the Western Powers in the form of a guarantee
would do more harm than good.
     If,  in  the course of the Paris conversations,  I  had
declared that "Czechoslovakia would no longer be the subject
of  an  exchange of views," obviously the German  Government
would  not  have  accepted  your d‚marches  and  would  have
refused  to be a party to the exchange of notes between  the
two  Governments. You should lose no opportunity to  protest
against  a  statement which is one more proof of the  German
Government's bad faith.
     

GEORGES BONNET.
     
                   No. 82
     
M. PAYART, French Charg‚ d'Affaires in Moscow,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Moscow,
March 19, 1939. 
     
     THE  Soviet Government made a written protest yesterday
to  the German Government, in reply to the notification made
by  the  German Ambassador, against the German  Government's
decision  to incorporate Czechia in the Reich and to  modify
the Statute of Slovakia.
     I am sending by post to your Department the translation
of  the  Commissar for Foreign Affairs' Note, which has  not
yet been published in the Russian Press.
     The  People's  Commissar  for  Foreign  Affairs,  after
taking  exception to the German arguments, after  contesting
the  legality  of  President Hacha's assent  to  the  Berlin
instrument,  and  after  invoking the  right  of  the  self-
determination  of  peoples, ends his note in  the  following
manner:
     "The  Government of the U.S.S.R. cannot  recognise  the
incorporation of Czechia in the Reich nor that  of  Slovakia
in  one  form or another, as legal or as in conformity  with
the  generally accepted rules of international law, or  with
justice,  or  with the principle of self-determination.  Not
only  does the German Government's action not avert  any  of
the dangers threatening world peace but it actually tends to
multiply them, to disturb the political stability of Central
Europe,  to increase the causes of anxiety already  existing
in  Europe, and, finally, to deal a new blow to the  feeling
of security of nations."
     


PAYART.
     

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