271 Note of Meeting of U.K. and Dominions Representatives

Extract LONDON, 21 September 1938, 5.30 p.m.

MOST SECRET

PRESENT

Malcolm MacDonald, acting for Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner for Australia C. T. te Water, High Commissioner for South Africa Vincent Massey, High Commissioner for Canada F. T. Sandford, Secretary, New Zealand High Commission J. W. Dulanty, High Commissioner for Eire

MR MACDONALD explained the developments during the day in regard to the Czechoslovak Government's reply to the joint communication from the United Kingdom and French Governments on the 19th September. [1] He pointed out that even now the situation could not be regarded as by any means stable. It was, for instance, likely that Poland and Hungary would now put forward claims on behalf of their minorities in Czechoslovakia; it was unlikely that, if left to themselves, they would make any attack on Czechoslovakia, but it was always possible that they might be incited to do so by Germany or that Germany herself might intervene on their behalf. There was also Signor Mussolini's recent speech which would hardly have been made without some prior consultation with Germany. It was, moreover, possible that, when the Prime Minister [2] came to discuss with Herr Hitler the detailed conditions for giving effect to the transfer of the Sudeten Deutsch areas, Herr Hitler might insist that German troops should be sent into those areas in order to keep order, and this would afford possibilities of a dangerous situation.

MR BRUCE pointed out the great importance of securing that the action taken on the present occasion should, if possible, be a prelude to a wider settlement and that some definite safeguards should be secured against further aggression by Germany in Europe, if possible through some formal declaration or action on the part of Germany herself.

M. M[ACDONALD]

1 See Document 265, note 2.

2 Neville Chamberlain.

[PRO : DO 114/94]