244 Cabinet Minute

Minute unnumbered CANBERRA, 1 September 1938

INTERNATIONAL SITUATION (MR HUGHES [1])

Cables from Secretary of State for Dominions, circular B206 and also cablegram of 30 August circular B205 were both read to Cabinet. [2] Further 7 points that Dr Benes should announce also read to Cabinet. Decided that a reply as presented and approved be forwarded to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs and that a statement be made to the press by the Prime Minister, Mr Lyons.

1 Minister for External Affairs.

2 Circular cablegram B202 from the U.K. Dominions Secretary, dated 27 August 1938, received 28-29 August, not printed, stated that Lord Runciman, the British mediator in the dispute between the Czechoslovakian Government and the Sudeten Germans, had learnt that the Czechoslovakian President, Dr Benes, had prepared a new basis for negotiations. The seven points of this proposal (also known as the 'Third Plan') included the division of Czechoslovakia into a number of autonomous districts of which three would be German; a loan for the three districts; constitutional reform and a propaganda and press armistice. Talks between Czechoslovakia and Sudeten Party leaders on 24 and 25 August on this basis had proceeded favourably. Circular cablegrams B205, dated 30 August, received 31 August, and B206, dated and received 1 September, not printed, said that a meeting of U.K. Ministers on 30 August had considered it to be of the utmost importance that Dr Benes's proposals be made public as soon as possible. It had been suggested to Lord Runciman that, if Dr Benes did not publish the seven points, Lord Runciman should himself do so.

[PM&C : A2694, 1 SEPTEMBER 1938, UNNUMBERED MINUTE]