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

Extracts LONDON, 1 October 1938, 11.30 a.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
W. J. Jordan, High Commissioner for New Zealand
J. W. Dulanty, High Commissioner for Eire
The Duke of Devonshire, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for
Dominion Affairs
Sir Edward Harding, Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Dominions
Sir Harry Batterbee, Assistant Under-Secretary of State, Dominions
E. G. Machtig, Assistant Under-Secretary of State, Dominions
N. E. Archer, Dominions Office

A map indicating roughly the positions of Areas I, II, III and IV,
as provided in the Munich agreement, was shown to the High
Commissioners, who noted with interest that these areas were very
much smaller than the red areas of the German memorandum.

MR MACDONALD drew attention to the fact that the total area to be
occupied by German troops would be settled by an International
Commission, and that it might be that that Commission would
allocate for occupation by German troops areas substantially
approximating to those contemplated in the Anglo-French proposals.

He mentioned that the great bulk of the Czechoslovak
fortifications were outside Areas I to IV.

In reply to a question by Mr Bruce, MR MACDONALD said that the
Prime Minister [1] had not given the Cabinet detailed information
concerning his conversation with Herr Hitler on the 30th September
but would do so after he had had an opportunity to consider his
notes. Mr Chamberlain had, however, indicated that this
conversation had covered a wide field, including the questions of
Spain and Disarmament, but that no reference had been made to the
ex-German Colonies. Mr MacDonald said that the important point was
that Mr Chamberlain had reached the conclusion that Herr Hitler
was a man with whom it would be possible to negotiate a general

[matter omitted]

MR BRUCE enquired what was now the position with regard to the
Polish ultimatum? [2] Mr Machtig gave the meeting the latest
information available, as set out in telegram Circular B. No. 354.

MR BRUCE expressed the view that the Four Great Powers should not
allow Poland to proceed by way of ultimatum, and that they should
get together to stop it. MR MASSEY and MR BRUCE felt it important
that the United Kingdom should not act alone in restraining the
Poles, but should seek the opinion and co-operation of the other
three Powers.

SIR HARRY BATTERBEE, who had left the meeting to consult the
Foreign Office, returned to say that the most recent information
obtainable was to the effect that the Prime Minister would address
a personal appeal to M. Beck [4], that the French Government had
already taken action and believed that they had persuaded the
Polish Government to defer action for 24 hours, and that His
Majesty's Ambassador at Berlin [5] was being instructed to
approach the German Government (not Herr Hitler personally)
informing them of the Prime Minister's communication to M. Beck,
and inviting them to support it. (It was subsequently confirmed
that this action had been taken.)
THE DOMINION REPRESENTATIVES assumed that the United Kingdom
Government would also seek Signor Mussolini's co-operation in the

1 Neville Chamberlain.

2 On 27 September 1938 the Polish Government demanded of
Czechoslovakia the immediate cession of part of the districts of
Teschen and Freistack, their occupation by Polish troops and
arrangements for a plebiscite in other districts where Poles were
not so clearly in the majority. When the Czechoslovakian
Government did not accede unconditionally, the Polish Government
responded with an ultimatum just before midnight on 30 September,
requiring that the Czechoslovakian Government agree to thew and
additional demands before 1 October 1938. 3 Not printed.

4 Colonel Josef Beck, Polish Foreign Minister.

5 Sir Nevile Henderson.

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