860F.00/614: Telegram

The Chargé in Germany ( Geist ) to the Secretary of State

166. Developments during the last 12 hours indicate that the Germans intend to take decisive action in connection with the Slovakian crisis.

It looks now as though this intervention may consist (1) of a military occupation not only of Slovakia and Ruthenia but possibly also Bohemia and Moravia or (2) the possibility of setting up an independent Slovakia and Ruthenia under German protectorate. While the development toward the crisis appears to be as grave as those preceding the occupation of Austria and the Sudeten area the reaction on the part of the Western powers appears not to be serious.

The British Counselor, who returned from London today, states that the British Foreign Office is inclined to regard any move by the Germans in Czechoslovakia with calmness and will advise the British Government against assuming a threatening attitude when in fact it contemplates doing nothing. He stated in short that “the British Government were reconciled to a possibly extreme German action in Czechoslovakia”. The British Embassy has no information as to what Hitler intends.

Troop movements identified indicate German military action in force in which possibly 40 divisions will participate. Military opinion in Berlin is divided as to whether the Poles will do nothing or attempt to occupy Ruthenia.

Geist