Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Moffat)

The Counselor of the British Embassy (Mr. Mallet) called this noon to deliver to me for transmission to the Secretary of State a further Aide-Mémoire12 from the British Government bringing the information regarding the Runciman mission up to date. A cursory reading showed that the British Government were conveying to the Czechoslovaks their belief that the Czechs should make concessions at least as far as the Carlsbad points demanded by the Sudetens.

While I was reading the Aide-Mémoire I let Mr. Mallet read the U. P. press flash quoting an editorial in the London Times making the suggestion that, if all other solutions failed, Czechoslovakia should permit its Sudeten area to secede and join the German Reich. I ventured the opinion that such an editorial might complicate the situation and Mr. Mallet expressed some surprise that it should be published at this juncture. However, he made it clear that if England should have to fight it would be not out of friendship for the Czechs but out of hatred for the Germans. He said that the British were on the horns of a cruel dilemma in as much as if they stayed out of war Germany would have an immense accretion of strength, while if they entered a war, brought about by Czechoslovakia’s resistance to Germany, they [Page 581] would in any peace settlement have to avoid the original mistake of putting the Sudetens under the Czechs. Furthermore, it was becoming clearer that the Dominions were isolationist, and there would be no sense in fighting a war which would break the British Empire while trying to assure the safety of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Mallet concluded by saying that the memorandum which reached the Embassy yesterday evening obviously was already somewhat out of date as events were moving quickly but it was the latest news they possessed.

Pierrepont Moffat
  1. Not printed; it was based upon instruction No. 608, September 6, 1938, 5:15 p.m., to the British Ambassador in the United States; for text of instruction, see Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919–1939, 3d ser., vol. ii, p. 252.