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Historical documents

284 Note of Meeting of U.K. and Dominions Representatives

LONDON, 27 September 1938, 11.30 p.m.



Malcolm MacDonald, acting for Secretary of State for Dominion
S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner for Australia
C. T. te Water, High Commissioner for South Africa
Vincent Massey, High Commissioner for Canada
F. T. Sandford, Secretary, New Zealand High Commission
J. W. Dulanty, High Commissioner for Eire
Sir Edward Harding, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for
Dominion Affairs
Sir Harry Batterbee, Assistant Under-Secretary of State, Dominions
E. G. Machtig, Assistant Under-Secretary of State, Dominions
N. E. Archer, Dominions Office

MR MACDONALD explained the developments of the past ten hours. He
read to the High Commissioners extracts from Sir Nevile
Henderson's telegram of the 27th September reporting his interview
with Field Marshal Goering. [1] He also outlined the course of Sir
Horace Wilson's discussions with Herr Hitler on the 26th and 27th
September [2], and explained the circumstances in which Sir Horace
Wilson had delivered his oral message to Herr Hitler. Mr MacDonald
then referred to Herr Hitler's reply of the 27th September [3] to
Mr Chamberlain's letter of the 26th September [4] which had been
received at 8.40 p.m. that evening and had been seen by most of
the Dominion representatives before the meeting. He also read to
the meeting the telegrams which were being despatched to the
Dominion Governments containing the substance of the latest
proposals made to the German Government (F.O. telegram to Berlin
No. 428 of the 26th September) [5], and the complementary
instructions sent to His Majesty's Minister at Prague. He also
mentioned the message sent by the Prime Minister to Dr Benes [6]
earlier in the afternoon (Circular B. No. 302). [7]

MR BRUCE enquired what arrangements were contemplated when
Parliament met and what line the Prime Minister would take.

MR MACDONALD said that, whilst he understood the Prime Minister
had reached no final conclusion, he believed that Mr Chamberlain's
intention was, unless circumstances compelled otherwise, to
preserve his attitude as mediator until the last possible moment
and not to come out definitely against either the Germans or the
Czechs unless either side refused what he considered to be a
reasonable offer.

MR BRUCE said that he thought that the adoption of any other
course by the Prime Minister would be quite disastrous. He urged
that the Prime Minister should not sacrifice the great position
and prestige resulting from his recent efforts.

MR MASSEY and MR TE WATER strongly concurred with Mr Bruce's view.

1 Not printed. Sir Nevile Henderson was U.K. Ambassador in Berlin;

Hermann Goring was German Minister of Air.

2 See Document 283, note 5.

3 Not printed.

4 Not printed; Neville Chamberlain was U.K. Prime Minister.

5 Not printed.

6 Dr Eduard Benes, President of Czechoslovakia.

7 Not printed.

[PRO : DO 114/94]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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