760F.62/74: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bullitt) to the Secretary of State

575–576. Osusky, Minister of Czechoslovakia, who has just returned to Paris yesterday afternoon, confirmed the report which I had already had from Delbos to the fact that the German Government had rejected Czech overtures for reconciliation. He said that the Czechs had gone so far as to invite the German Military Attaché in Praha to make a full inspection of their aeroplane fields; and their military preparations of all sorts. He added that the Czechs had invited the German Government to send anyone that they might wish to investigate the situation of the Germans in Bohemia. The German Government had refused these proposals.

Osusky went on to say that the Government of Czechoslovakia during the past few months had made the most intense efforts possible to work out rapprochement with Austria; that Schuschnigg has become convinced that this was desirable and has gone to Venice in an enthusiastic mood to ask Mussolini’s blessing for the proposed rapprochement. He said that Mussolini had flatly vetoed any such rapprochement. [Page 89] His explanation was that Mussolini felt his situation in the Mediterranean was so insecure that he could not afford to displease Germany in any way. Osusky stated that Beneš and Schuschnigg were determined to work for closer relations between Czechoslovakia and Austria in spite of Mussolini’s objections.

Osusky went on to say that he was still confident that France would come to the assistance of Czechoslovakia at once if Germany should attack Czechoslovakia but he did not know if this would continue to be the case after the French public had realized fully the consequences of Belgium’s new status (see my telegram No. 556, April 30, 5 p.m.).

He concluded by saying that in his opinion the situation of all the states of Central and Eastern Europe vis-à-vis Germany would become desperate unless Great Britain should decide shortly to assist France in maintaining by force the status quo in Central and Eastern Europe. He believed that Austria was in far more danger than Czechoslovakia. He did not believe that the Germans would dare to attack Czechoslovakia until next spring but they might decide to take over Austria at any time.