760F.62/641: Telegram

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

[Extract]

173.…

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The Runciman mission has shown much activity in the past 24 hours. Yesterday Runciman saw Kundt8 and Gwatkin went to Marienbad to see Henlein. The aim obviously is to reach an agreement before the Nuremberg meeting takes place. There is much apprehension here about what may occur at that peace gathering.

The Government is also active. The inner cabinet council had a 2-hour session yesterday. It is reported the Government’s new plan will be published on Friday. An outline of it has been given to the [Page 568] Sudeten Germans and is reported to embrace a system of local or county administration more liberal than that of the Departments of France and less than the counties in Ireland under which the provinces would be divided into gaue or cantons, each to be invested with comprehensive autonomous powers. It is said that the majority of officials in the German cantons would be of German nationality and that the Germans would have greater opportunity than at present to introduce their own ideas in regard to public works, health, budget and have generally unrestricted freedom in the organization of their cantonal affairs. It is emphasized however that this would not be the Swiss cantonal system. A central government with control of police, gendarmerie and army would continue to exist. President Beneš is said to be in full charge of the negotiations with the Sudeten Germans and to be pressing for a solution. Henlein has not indicated his attitude in respect to the new plan and my informant is of the opinion that he will reject it and if so that the Government will produce another. Every one believes that the decision in any event will be made by Hitler.

The official expressed concern lest certain important personages in England should influence Hitler in Nuremberg to demand a plebiscite which the Government would have to refuse and which if held would not produce a result truly representing the views of the population.

So far the Runciman mission has unquestionably served a most useful purpose especially in bringing about the surveyed change in the attitude of the British Government and press.

Carr
  1. Ernst Kundt, deputy in Parliament of the Sudeten German Party.