740.00/372: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

658. Since March 1936 it has been said frequently that events in Europe were at a crucial turning point. It seems to me that this has never been so true as it is today. Great Britain and Italy have come to an agreement facilitated by the German assault on Austria.77 A settlement between France and Italy is now in sight. The Spanish conflict has ceased to be a danger to European peace. It may be assumed that anyone possessing the courage and determination which Chamberlain showed in tackling the Italian question will now turn to the problem of a settlement with Germany. In this effort Daladier and Bonnet may be counted upon to make a positive contribution so long as there is any hope of reaching a reasonable understanding with Germany. The question of whether Hitler’s aims in Czechoslovakia can be reconciled with the views of other major powers regarding central Europe will be an important factor. Ways and means of approaching the problem of collaboration with Germany are apt to prove in the long run the most important subject at the London meeting this week.

It seems, therefore, that before much longer the essential question which has confronted Europe during the past 5 years may receive an answer: namely is it possible for a regime such as Hitler’s to accept [Page 47] in good faith the principle that Europe should be organized on a basis of peaceful collaboration.

Failure this summer to reach an understanding with Germany will give a strong indication it seems to me of a negative answer to this question. Furthermore, an inconclusive result of efforts made to reach an understanding with Germany will be about as bad as flat failure. Anything short of a settlement of such nature as will make it possible to write finis to this insane struggle for armaments may prove as disastrous in the long run as no settlement at all.

  1. See pp. 384 ff.