253 Mr P. Liesching, U.K. Acting High Commissioner to Australia, to Lord Stanley, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 17614 September 1938,


From long private conversation with Menzies [1] following Cabinet Meeting last Monday [2] and from short interview with the Prime Minister [3] this morning I am satisfied that the Commonwealth Government remain strongly of the opinion that almost any alternative is preferable to involvement in war with Germany in the event of the latter forcibly intervening in Czechoslovakia.

Menzies is giving powerful support to the views of the Prime Minister as outlined in my telegram No. 165. [4] Government have received through Stirling [5] summary of information obtained recently in Paris as to the improbability of any action by Russia and also this morning a telegram recording appreciation of the Nuremberg speech by His Majesty's Ambassador in Berlin [6] and the latter's recommendations that extreme final pressure should be put upon Benes. [7] With those recommendations the Prime Minister told me he agreed entirely but the Commonwealth Government are unable to telegraph pending the receipt of message referred to in the Dominions Office telegram No. 195. [8] Lyons when I saw him had already arranged to speak by telephone to Bruce at four (Australian time) today. [9]

1 R. G. Menzies, Attorney-General.

2 12 September 1938.

3 J. A. Lyons.

4 Document 242.

5 A. T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London; see Document 250.

6 Sir Nevile Henderson: the telegram is not printed. In his speech at Nuremberg on 12 September 1938 Hitler said that he desired to be at peace with his neighbours, but would not stand idly by while fellow Germans were ill-treated.

7 Eduard Benes, President of Czechoslovakia.

8 Not found.

9 No record of this conversation has been found.

[PRO : DO 35/554]