740.00/307: Telegram

The Minister in Czechoslovakia ( Carr ) to the Secretary of State

19. Night before last I was received by President Benes who confirmed the view expressed in my telegram 18, February 26,50 that he has no expectation at present of military attack from Germany or of European war. He believes neither Germany nor Italy will start a war at present because they cannot be certain of its length and while both could increase their man power neither has money, raw materials, or equipment for a long conflict. He believes Germany will want to negotiate and he is ready to negotiate within the framework of complete loyalty to England and France who would be informed of every step and the reservation that the negotiations shall not involve intervention in Czechoslovak internal affairs. The latter would be resisted to the point of war if necessary. The Schuschnigg speech51 and the declarations of Chautemps and Delbos and vote of the French Chamber on Saturday have given great satisfaction and encouragement. The President regrets loss of Eden but believes Chamberlain [Page 31] may succeed with the Anglo-Italian negotiation which would strengthen the Central European countries. If those negotiations should fail, however, he expects a new government which would assume a firmer attitude toward the totalitarian powers. He regards the maintenance of Franco-Czech relations with Russia a necessity to block Germany’s efforts to isolate Russia and afterwards endeavor to effect a Russo-German agreement which if made would [threaten?] the independence of the Central European States and be highly injurious to the democratic powers. He regards Czechoslovakia as the keystone of this policy. He believes there is slightly more cohesion among the Little Entente since Hitler’s speech.

The decrease in anxiety and tension continues. Despatch follows.52

The President and Madame Benes are attending the dinner I am giving at the Legation for Hoover53 Saturday evening.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Delivered by Kurt von Schuschnigg, Austrian Chancellor, on February 24, at an extraordinary session of the Bundestag.
  3. Despatch No. 93, March 2, p. 410.
  4. Herbert Clark Hoover, former President of the United States, visited Prague, March 4–6, 1938.