471 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram 366 LONDON, 26 May 1941, 8 p.m.

FOR THE PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET

Czecho-Slovakian Provisional Government.

You will have seen from Dominions Office M.95 [1] that Benes [2] has continued to press the United Kingdom Government for fuller recognition. He is now asking for restoration of the original juridical situation of the Czecho-Slovak Republic before September 1938 and recognition of juridical continuity.

You will remember that in recognizing the Provisional Government the Commonwealth Government made an expressed reservation on this point and also on the point that they did not commit themselves to recognize or support the establishment in the future of any particular frontier in Central Europe.

In my view the latter point is most important, as it is vital that in peace settlement after this war mistakes made in constituting Czecho-Slovakia down the lines of the Versailles Treaty should not be repeated and the peace maker should not be tied down by commitment entered during the war.

Benes has stated that the recognition for which he now asks 'will not in his view settle the question of definitive frontiers of Czecho-Slovakia Republic', but it would almost certainly be so construed in other countries, [in] particular United States who you will remember played the major role in the original creation of Czecho-Slovakia.

I doubt if the United Kingdom Government are sufficiently alive to these dangers but for other reasons which are set out in M.95 and which appear to me sound, they are at the moment doubtful whether they will accede to Benes latest request. They have asked for your views and I suggest that anything you can say to strengthen their hand-and at the same time to point out the dangers of reconstituting a Czecho-Slovakia down previous lines which would only sow seeds of further trouble in Central Europe-would be most useful.

BRUCE

1 Dispatched 23 May. On file AA: A981, Czechoslovakia 6.

2 President of the Czechoslovak Provisional Govt (in London).

[AA: A981, CZECHOSLOVAKIA 6]