760F.62/763: Telegram

The Ambassador in France ( Bullitt ) to the Secretary of State

1432. As I tried to convey to you discreetly over the telephone last evening I had a conversation with Bonnet about an hour after Hitler had finished speaking.

Bonnet had already talked with Daladier and assured me that Daladier as well as himself considered that the speech was not so dangerous as they had expected. Bonnet added that he felt that Hitler had left open the door to further negotiations.

Bonnet said that he expected to receive a call from the British Ambassador this morning in the course of which the British Ambassador would probably say to him that the British Government felt that it would be impossible for Great Britain to support Czechoslovakia in a refusal to accord a plebiscite. He intimated that the French Government would follow the line of the British Government in this regard.

The center of interest has now become Praha. It seems certain that the British and French Governments will urge Beneš to make further concessions so that the autonomy accorded to the Sudeten [Page 592] will be absolute. If Beneš should refuse it is not impossible that Runciman might issue the sort of statement referred to in my 1401, September 6, 6 p.m.,22 recommending either the fullest possible autonomy for the Sudeten and other nationalities of Czechoslovakia or even a plebiscite.

The fact which emerges from all discussions of this question at the moment is that neither the British or French Governments believe that in the long run it will be possible to keep the Sudeten under Czech sovereignty. In consequence every effort will be made to persuade the Czechs to permit the Sudeten to go their own way preferably via the preliminary stage of complete autonomy.

  1. Not printed.