740.0011 Mutual Guarantee (Locarno)/400: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Atherton) to the Secretary of State

100. The draft statement which Eden prepared on Sunday to make in the House of Commons yesterday73 was based on the fact that England would not be prepared to negotiate on Hitler’s terms unless these terms should have previously been accepted by France. The Cabinet meeting on Monday morning would not accept this premise and instead put in the clause about standing by France in case of attack and the fact that Hitler’s proposal should be seriously and objectively considered, and further agreed that Lord Halifax should proceed to Paris and Geneva with Eden. The pro-French element in official quarters, however, are seriously disturbed. They claim that Eden’s statement as made not only acquiesces in the repudiation of Locarno but furthermore is a repudiation of England’s recent policy in the Italian-Abyssinian crisis for collective security, and in fact of the very principles of the present League itself.

Paris opinion quoted here alleges that the French Ambassador was very much misled by Eden’s conversations over the week end and that France must now put forward the most formidable demands in the hope of extracting something substantial out of the final compromise with England.

  1. United Kingdom, Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 5th series, vol. 309 (1935–36), pp. 1808–1813.