Memorandum by the Ambassador in Germany (Wilson)29


Dr. Mastný30 called on me on the morning of October 31 and stated that he had received an instruction from his Government to do a thing which he was most happy personally to do, namely, to assure me of the deep gratitude with which his country regarded the United States both for its willingness to accept the protection of Czechoslovak interests in the event of hostilities and for its sympathy with Czechoslovakia during its struggle.

Dr. Mastný said that he was now engaged in negotiating with the Germans regarding rectifications of the line; for instance, there were points at which the present line crossed the main road of supply for Pilsen and points at which the German frontier crossed into indispensable railroad lines connecting important points. He hoped they would be able to wash these things out. In the event that they were unable to do so the Czechs might have to apply to the Committee of the Four Powers. They were in hopes, however, that they could do [Page 730] the thing in a friendly way with Germany alone as they realized that they were completely at Germany’s mercy.

He felt that Czechoslovakia would become a three-state entity,—Bohemia, Slovakia and Ruthenia. There was little sympathy here for the Polish claims to a common frontier with Hungary, and he thought that in the near future these matters would be finally liquidated in the sense he had described.

He then continued, in the most confidential way, to tell me of his own experience during the past few months. He said that he had repeatedly urged upon his Government the necessity for autonomy for the Sudetenland. He had warned again and again that half measures would not satisfy this country and that only the most far-reaching autonomy would save the state intact. He had even had a serious quarrel with Beneš, his old-time friend, over this matter. Beneš had felt convinced that from a democratic standpoint he could not allow any section of the country to become Nazi. He was bound both by the Left elements, anti-Nazi in principle, and the Extreme Right, deeply nationalistic, and was unable, he thought, to make the necessary concessions.

Beneš had called him early on the morning of the 29th of September and had told him to fly immediately to Munich. Mastný refused, on the grounds that he could not represent Beneš as his views differed from the President’s. Beneš had replied that he wanted him to go “only as an observer”, and on this basis Mastný took the plane for Munich. He found all the principals in conference and was able to talk only with Ashton-Gwatkin. At 1:15 a.m. he was finally summoned to Chamberlain’s room, where the latter handed him his memorandum of the decisions reached. Mastný stated that he would return at once to Prague and the President would answer. Chamberlain replied that no reply was expected. They simply wanted Mastný to sit on the Committee to meet in Berlin. Mastný said that, nevertheless, he must go to Prague, which he did. Beneš thereupon instructed him to return to Berlin and sit on the Committee.

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H[ugh] R. W[ilson]
  1. Transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in his despatch No. 402, November 4; received November 21.
  2. Vojtech Mastný, Czechoslovak Minister in Germany.