760F.62/770: Telegram

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

186. The immediate reaction to Hitler’s speech was one of relief in that he did not make any specific declaration for a plebiscite for direct action nor did he refer to the Government proposals. On second reflection, however, his statement was credited with cleverness in putting Czechs in the difficult position of choosing consequences from taking strong measures against unquestionable outbreak of incidents with resulting accusations that Government is using “terroristic” and “brutal” methods or of facing condemnation for not keeping order if incidents are not firmly suppressed. People in the city last night assumed a resigned attitude and while a feeling of gloom was evident each individual seemed prepared to make any Sacrifice required for the defense of the country. Some satisfaction was gained from the fact that Hitler indicated that his fortifications were not yet complete and from his admission that Germany was confronted by the hostility of the democratic bloc of countries and therefore that war could not come at the moment from the outside in. Hope is expressed here that England may now step forward and as the leader of the European democracies show some form of indignation against the portentous sections of the speech. Indignation was naturally aroused here over abusive treatment of President Beneš but it was felt sure the accusations were so outrageous that the lie would be automatically sent back in the face of the maker. Anyone listening to Hitler’s speech in the light of the temper of the Sudeten people could not avoid the feeling that he was assuming the awful responsibility of inciting that people to violence with all its possible consequences. The outbreaks that occurred during the night and this morning are therefore not surprising. Serious incidents occurred at Eger and Aussig where several Sudetens and at least one Czech were killed, and serious injuries to Czechs are reported from other areas. Government has not definitely decided on measures to be taken other than those reported in my telegram 185, September 13, 1 p.m.,25 but [those feeling?] apprehension of war commencing from inside out are apparently planning maximum civil measures as a start hoping to avert as long as possible resort to military steps.

  1. Not printed