725.60F/10–3147: Telegram

The Ambassador in Czechoslovakia ( Steinhardt ) to the Secretary of State

top secret

1445. Impact on Czech Government of unexpected rupture of diplomatic relations by Chile cannot be overemphasized. It is no exaggeration to say that Gottwald and Clementis20 were stunned. They have made no effort to conceal their extreme anxiety lest Brazil and Argentina follow suit.

As a result of Chilean rupture and fear that Brazil and Argentina will pursue same course Communists in Cabinet are for first time in many months on defensive. At Cabinet meeting last night anti-Communist leaders made a severe attack on Communist leaders. They accused them of having sent only Communist diplomatic representatives [Page 515] to South America and insisted that rupture by Chile and what they described as “probable” rupture by Brazil and Argentina should be ascribed primarily to these appointments. I am told that defense made by Clementis was unusually weak and that he was frank in expressing grave concern at economic consequences of a rupture by Brazil and Argentina.

Should Brazil or Argentina break off diplomatic relations with Czechoslovakia such action at this time would probably do more to strengthen hands of anti-Communist leaders in Czechoslovakia and to cause Communist press to tone down its attacks on US than any other single measure.

  1. Klement Gottwald and Vlado Clementis, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, respectively, of Czechoslovakia.