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

Cablegram unnumbered LONDON, 28 September 1938, 1.42 p.m.


Reference our telephonic conversation [1] this morning, following
personal messages have now been despatched by the Prime Minister
[2] to Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini.

To Herr Hitler-

(Begins) After reading your letter [3] I feel certain that you can
get all the essentials without war and without delay. I am ready
to come to Berlin myself at once to discuss arrangements for the
transfer with you and representative of Czech Government; together
with representatives of France and Italy if you desire. I feel
convinced that we could reach agreement in a week. However much
you distrust Prague Government's intentions you cannot doubt the
power of the British and French Governments to see that promises
are carried out fairly and fully and forthwith. As you know I have
stated to the public that we are prepared to undertake that they
shall be so carried out.

I cannot believe that you will take the responsibility of starting
a world war which may end civilisation for the sake of a few days'
delay in settling this long standing problem. (Ends.)

To Signor Mussolini-

(Begins) I have today addressed a last appeal to Herr Hitler to
abstain from force to settle the Sudeten problem which I feel sure
can be settled by a short discussion and will give him the
essential territory, population and protection for both the
Sudetens and Czechs during the transfer. I have offered myself to
go at once to Berlin to discuss arrangements with German and Czech
representatives and if the Chancellor desires representatives also
of Italy and France.

I trust that your Excellency will inform the German Chancellor
that you are willing to be represented and urge him to agree to my
proposal which will keep all our peoples out of war.

I have already guaranteed that the Czech promises shall be carried
out and feel confident that full agreement could be reached in a
week. (Ends).


1 No record of the substance of this conversation has been found.

Cabinet Minute 193 records that it took place in the Cabinet
Office and that it was audible to Cabinet members (see PM&C:

A2694, minute 193, 28 September 1938).

2 Neville Chamberlain.

3 Not printed. The letter was Hitler's reply of 27 September 1938
to Chamberlain's memorandum delivered by Sir Horace Wilson on 26

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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