760F.62/688: Telegram

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

178. My 173 and 174 of September 1. Since night before last when the inner Cabinet under the guidance of President Beneš arrived at an outline of new concessions it has not been possible to ascertain either the exact nature or limit of them.

It is once more emphasized by responsible officials here and by leading editors of the local press that these new concessions, the exact nature of which they do not know, will be the absolutely last and final limit and it seems to be the general feeling that the Government would not have gone to the extent it has had it not been for the extraordinary pressure brought to bear by Great Britain which is resented in some quarters on the ground that all concessions have so far been made by the Government and none by the Sudeten Germans. There is a difference of opinion as to the likelihood of the acceptance of these new concessions by the Sudeten Germans. There is a conflict within the party between the conservative and radical elements and the latter group seems disposed to make the Carlsbad demands the minimum which it is prepared to accept. While it is not expected that the “Carlsbad demands” however will be granted by the Government it is understood that despite the apparent recognition by Runciman of the limitations which this country feels it must place upon its concessions strong British Government pressure is being exerted upon Beneš to grant those demands. But the significance of granting them if done would depend entirely upon the interpretation they had placed upon each of those demands which as has been reported are ambiguous or vague. In fact I am reliably informed that the Sudetens themselves are by no means clear about the practical application of some of the expressions they have employed. A non-Czech friend who has been working with the Sudeten representatives says that it is possible to grant the Carlsbad demands and apply them in a manner that would not be dangerous to the state provided always that such application would be consistent with Hitler’s intentions which are not known. My friend has been informed by conservative members of the Sudeten delegation that Henlein informed them on his return from Berchtesgaden that Hitler approved their tactics, wished them to work out with the Czechs a peaceful solution satisfactory to themselves but if they failed he would support them in their efforts. My informant was also told that Hitler expressed a willingness to receive a representative of the British Government and discuss the Sudeten question with him. In the event the present proposals of the Government [Page 580] should not be accepted by the Sudetens, another plan yet unknown by the Government is in readiness to be proposed either by Runciman or by the Government or even by the Sudetens as may be later determined which if accepted it is said would achieve the form and most of the substance of the Carlsbad proposals but which would leave in the competence of the central Government the questions of territorial integrity of the state, national defense, foreign relations, finance and coinage with general legislation vested in a national parliament as at present.

Considerable apprehension is felt by officials and the press that the Czech people who have not been prepared even for the concessions now proposed may strongly resent their extent particularly if not convinced that they constitute a basis for permanent peace.

Henlein has announced a Sudeten party rally at Aussig for October 15 and 16 and has departed for Nuremberg.