760F.62/815: Telegram

The Ambassador in Poland ( Biddle ) to the Secretary of State

183. For the President and Secretary.

Supplementing my No. 182, September 14, noon,26 my noon conversation with Beck brought to light that his recent confidential reports indicated there was a growing inclination in Paris and London official circles to give serious consideration to what might conceivably amount to a partitioning of Czechoslovakia as a potential means of avoiding war. According to his reports the idea of partition envisaged a Czechoslovakia composed of a maximum of Slav races probably either ceding the Sudeten to Germany or setting it up as a unit invested with full autonomy. This to his mind would practically mean giving Germany everything she wanted.
Beck’s further reports indicated that aforementioned Paris and London circles felt that between the two evils a plebiscite or secession of the Sudeten, Praha might conceivably come to consider secession the lesser of the two.
While Beck thought that the gap between the Czech Government’s proposal and the Sudeten demands was sufficiently narrow to warrant the belief that the way was open for an amicable settlement provided Hitler wanted a settlement of this character, he was aware that Berlin was now assuming the position that a “confidence crisis” had been reached, in other words Berlin was assuming the attitude that it would be difficult under the circumstances and in view of Beneš’ past record for Berlin to have any confidence in the good faith and durability of Beneš’ word.
Of pertinent interest an experienced observer, just returned here from Berlin, imparted to me his opinion that on the heels of an “incidents racket” Hitler might be expected to appear before the world as the [defender of the?] “imperiled” position of his blood brothers in the Sudeten emphasizing that he must do something about it. At the same time he would probably endeavor to urge Britain to disinterest herself in the problem.
Though political circles here are aware that the situation has reached an acute stage and that a continuance of incidents might conceivably [Page 598] give rise to situations assuming a grim aspect, their attitude is vigilant but calm.
  1. Not printed.