145 Mr M. MacDonald, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Commonwealth Government

Circular Cablegram B65 LONDON, 18 March 1938, 4.12 p.m.

Following is text of reference to Austria in speech by Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs [1] in House of Lords on 16th March:-

'I confess that I can see no good to be gained at this juncture for the League or for any of the great purposes the League represents by bringing this matter before the League Tribunal.

Nothing short of war can put back the clock and States Members of the League are not prepared to go to war on this issue.

Those facts I suggest must be perfectly squarely faced and the conclusion that I reach is that the League though it has a perfect legal right to interest itself in the question cannot conceivably do anything at this moment which would compel Nazi Germany to turn back from the course on which she has now embarked. His Majesty's Government are therefore bound to recognise that the Austrian State has now been abolished as an international entity and is in process of being entirely absorbed into the German Reich and that is happening indeed without waiting for the plebiscite the result of which, in view of the circumstances in which it is going to be held, is a foregone conclusion.'

1 Viscount Halifax.

[AA : A981, AUSTRIA 17, ii]