860F.01/367

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

The Czechoslovak Minister called at his request and handed me the attached memoranda urging recognition of the Czechoslovak Government. One memorandum is by the Minister himself and the other by a Czech organization and Czech officials.7 I replied that I and my associates would be glad to give the fullest consideration to these documents.

I inquired if the Czechoslovak people were divided, and he said they were not except in the case of a German-controlled individual here and there. I assured him that this Government and this country are just as friendly and cherish the same deep friendly interest toward the people of his country that they do toward the people of every other country in similar distress.

C[ordell] H[ull]
[Page 23]
[Annex]

Memorandum by the Czechoslovak Minister (Hurban)

The United States Government has recognized neither the so-called Munich Agreement nor the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Germany. From the point of view of the United States Government, the Czechoslovak Republic exists de jure. The uninterrupted recognition of Colonel Vladimír S. Hurban as Czechoslovak Minister to the United States is considered a practical interpretation of this attitude.

Before the organization of the Provisional Government of Czechoslovakia in London and its subsequent recognition by the Allies, the attitude of the United States Government was perfectly understood and fully appreciated by the broad Czechoslovak masses and their leaders. However, since the establishment of the Provisional Government under the presidency of Dr. Eduard Beneš whose resignation, tendered under extreme duress, must not be considered valid, the negative attitude of the United States Government toward the Czechoslovak Government has had most unfavorable repercussions in the struggle against German domination. This is true from the international as well as the national point of view.

The fact that Mr. Anthony Drexel Biddle was appointed as United States envoy to all the refugee Governments in England with the exception of the Czechoslovak, carries not only negative implications for the Czechoslovak Government but has the positive effect of weakening the international prestige of the Czechoslovak Provisional Government. The de jure recognition of the Czechoslovak Republic, significant as it is, is not sufficient in view of the fact that a Czechoslovak Government, recognized by the Allies, exists. The Germans immediately seized upon and stressed this point, and reports from Czechoslovakia indicate that the German authorities are making political capital of the fact that the United States Government has not recognized the Czechoslovak Provisional Government. Reports from London, on the other hand, indicate that the relations of the Czechoslovak Government with other States and their representatives, are being impaired because of the weight attached to the question of recognition by the United States.

The discriminatory attitude of the United States Government which singles out the Czechoslovak refugee Government from all other refugee Governments, has a still more unfavorable effect upon the Czechoslovak people, upon those who suffer heroically under Nazi domination as well as upon those who fight heroically with the Allies. The broad masses, especially in Czechoslovakia where all means of public enlightenment are in the hands of the Nazis, interpret the policy of the United States as a retraction from the very definite position [Page 24]taken after the Hitler coup in March 1939. To a lesser degree but still very important, is the influence upon our fighting forces. Although recognized as one of the best from the military point of view, they cannot feel they enjoy equal prestige with their comrades, Polish, Dutch, Norwegian, etc., in the eyes of the United States.

Since the policy of the United States toward the Allies who are fighting the totalitarian States is definitely fixed, the recognition of the Provisional Government would lend tremendous moral support to the Czechoslovaks and would be a strong factor in encouraging all other nations who are or are likely to become the victims of German world domination. It would be of most disturbing significance to Hitler in his drive to dominate the Balkans and the near East.

  1. The memorandum of the Czech organization is not printed.