The Ambassador in France ( Bullitt ) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 13—4:58 p.m.]
470. We are told by the Czech Legation that the present situation in Slovakia has been created deliberately by the Germans because of the refusal of the Czech Government and people to hand over control of their country to Germany. The Czech Government has withstood demands by Germany for the dismissal of officials who had been associated with Beneš and Czech financial and business people have refused to sell the controlling interest in their concerns to Germans. The Nazis therefore determined to get at Bohemia and Moravia by first obtaining control of Slovakia. If the attempted coup had succeeded on the 10th it was intended to proclaim immediately not only a so-called independent Slovakia but also a customs and monetary union between Slovakia and Germany.
Our informant said that the Nazis had been greatly assisted by the political incapacity and venality of the Slovaks. The Germans have already acquired control of the principal Slovak industries and mining properties including all lands where oil is believed to exist: in fact, “the Germans have already bought Slovakia”.
In the opinion of our informant the Nazis will not rest until they have a government in Praha completely subservient to their wishes. Once this has been accomplished it will then be the turn of Hungary and after that of Rumania. The French listen sympathetically but are doing nothing. The British have appeared to be entirely without interest in the matter until this afternoon when the Czechoslovak Legation here heard from London that the British Government had made some statement, whether to the press or to the German Government was not clear, to the effect that they were in fact interested in this latest crisis affecting Czechoslovakia.
In reply to a question regarding the status of the guarantee of Czechoslovakia’s frontiers promised at Munich we were told that about a month ago the Czechoslovak Government raised this question with the French and British Governments. These Governments took the matter up with Berlin, but were informed that the guarantee [Page 38] could not be made effective until the problem of Polish and Hungarian minorities in Czechoslovakia had been adjusted—whatever that might mean. There the matter has been allowed to rest.