File No. 763.72/10463
The Ambassador in France ( Sharp ) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 28, 9.45 a.m.]
4264. Department’s 4612, June 18. This afternoon I had a conversation at some length with Mr. Edward Beneš, Secretary General [Page 815] of the Czecho-Slovak National Council. Before his coming to Paris he was until two years ago a professor of sociology and philosophy in the University at Prague and he seems to possess a wonderful knowledge of the political and economic conditions of his people as well as of their relations to the Austro-Hungarian Government. He speaks very good English and impresses me as a man of the highest principles. The information which he gave me was of such importance that I believe it would be of great interest to the Department and I shall send a despatch in the next pouch giving an outline of its principal features.
Mr. Beneš informed me that he had visited London a short time ago and had given to Mr. Balfour a statement setting forth the purposes of this Council and also an account of its activities. He added that he had recently received a reply from Mr. Balfour promising its recognition on the part of the British Government. The President of this body having its headquarters in Paris is Mr. Masaryk formerly deputy of the Reichstag in Vienna and just now in New York. He tells me that they have a representative in Washington; also that Representative Sabath of Illinois, formerly my colleague in Congress and a Bohemian by nationality, was in hearty sympathy with the purposes of the Council. At the present time its chief object seems to formulate plans for the placing of Czecho[-Slovak] troops formerly prisoners of war in Russia at the disposition of the Allies, 80,000 of whom it was expected might be sent to France. Mr. Beneš described the internal conditions in Austria-Hungary concerning which he had constant communication with his friends in Prague as being very grave and threatening the unity of its war effort.