248 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister

Cablegram 137 LONDON, 4 September 1938

Czechoslovakia. Your telegram of 1st September [1] most useful and helpful as it strengthens appreciably necessity of strongest pressure on Dr Benes [2] and Czech Government for maximum concessions to bring about settlement.

As position now is that by implication in messages to Hitler (see Dominions Office telegram No. 207 [3]) Runciman [4] has indicated that he does not consider Czech proposals go far enough and that if in the course of negotiations Czechs do not go further to meet Sudeten Germans' point of view, he, Runciman, would be prepared to put forward proposals for a settlement. It is difficult to see how Herr Hitler without putting Germany hopelessly in the wrong can have advised Henlein [5] other than to continue negotiations. This is interpretation generally being put on communique issued after Berchtesgaden meeting although no official confirmation is yet available. In these circumstances it is reasonable to hope Hitler's speech at Nuremberg will not precipitate the crisis. If it does not and negotiations continue, prospects of peaceful settlement are greatly strengthened as every day gained owing to approach of winter lessens danger of outbreak of hostilities.

BRUCE

1 Document 245. Because of the time difference Lyons's cable of 2 September was received in London on 1 September 1938.

2 President of Czechoslovakia.

3 See Document 247, note 3.

4 U.K. mediator in dispute between Czechoslovakian Government and Sudeten German Party.

5 Konrad Henlein, leader of Sudeten German Party.

[AA : A981, CZECHOSLOVAKIA 18, i]