164 Lt Col W. R. Hodgson, Secretary of Department of External Affairs, to Mr F. Strahan, Secretary of Prime Minister's Department

Memorandum 25 March 1938,

I would invite the attention of the Prime Minister [1] and yourself to Circular Telegram B.73, Part 2 [2], in which it says the existing obligations of the British Government in connection with a possible attack on Czechoslovakia are comprised in (1) and (2). The latter (2) reads 'Their obligations as a signatory of the Treaty of Locarno as re-affirmed by the arrangement drawn up in London on 19th March, 1936.'

This categorical statement in regard to (2) disturbed me considerably, for I had recently informed the Prime Minister that Great Britain had no definite commitment in regard to Czechoslovakia except under the vague obligation under the Covenant of the League, to which all States Members were a party.

I accordingly sent a telegram (copy attached) to the External Affairs Officer, London. [3] I am also attaching a copy of the reply received. [4] It will be seen that the opinion which we gave was correct, and that the telegram in question was badly drafted.

As this is a most important point, I feel that this note should go on your file as a permanent record.


1 J. A. Lyons.

2 Document 150, paragraphs 4-7.

3 Document 152.

4 Document 155.

[AA : A981, GREAT BRITAIN 8B, ii]