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147 Mr M. MacDonald, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Mr J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered LONDON, 20 March 1938


Following for Prime Minister [1]:-

Your secret and personal telegram March 17th about Austria. [2]

You will have seen from telegram Circular B.69 [3] of 19th March
that the statement quoted was not intended to constitute an
immediate 'de jute' recognition. We appreciate argument as to the
plebiscite not yet having taken place, but it is in our view
undesirable to wait for results in view of conditions in which
plebiscite is being held. To do so might give impression that we
necessarily accepted the plebiscite as free and unconstrained
expression of Austrian people's wish.

With regard to your reference to Abyssinia, we feel circumstances
are not all respects analogous and indeed our desire to avoid
further useless exacerbation of position which would be bound to
result from a protracted refusal to recognise what must be
recognised in the end is one of the main factors which have
influenced our attitude. We have as a matter of fact received no
information which suggests our attitude in this respect as regards
Austria has aroused any adverse feeling in the mind of the Italian

I most warmly appreciate in the circumstances of the present
moment your expression of Australia's determination to co-operate
with the United Kingdom and I am very grateful for your offer of
consultation through Mr Bruce [4] on urgent questions as they
develop. It is certainly our wish to consult with him to the
fullest extent practicable and he had an opportunity to discuss
the situation fully with the Foreign Secretary [5] and the
Dominions Secretary [6] last Wednesday evening. [7] We shall
continue to keep in close touch with him.

1 It is possible that the words 'from Prime Minister' have been
omitted at this point.

2 Document 139.

3 Document 146.

4 High Commissioner in London.

5 Viscount Halifax.

6 Malcolm MacDonald.

7 16 March 1938.

[AA : A981, GREAT BRITAIN 8B, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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