Skip to main content

Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

See other formats

-----------------------------------------------------_---------    I23
to him a grave warning on the Austrian situation and upon
what appeared to be the policy of the German Government
in regard to it. In particular Lord Halifax told him that
His Majesty's Government attached the greatest importance
to all measures being taken to ensure that the plebiscite was
carried out without interference or intimidation. Late on
nth March our Ambassador in Berlin registered a protest
in strong terms with the German Government against such
use of coercion, backed by force, against an independent State
in order to create a situation incompatible with its national
independence. Such action, Sir Nevile Henderson pointed
out, was bound to produce the gravest reactions, of which it
would be impossible to foretell the issue. Earlier that day I
made earnest representations in the same sense to the German
Minister of Foreign Affairs, with whom my Noble Friend also
had two further conversations on that day.
" To these protests the German Government replied in a
letter addressed to His Majesty's Ambassador in Berlin by
Baron von Neurath. I think I should read the terms of that
communication in full. They are as follow:
" * In your letter of March nth your Excellency
stated that news had reached the British Government that a
German ultimatum had been delivered in Vienna demanding
the resignation of the Austrian Chancellor, his substitution
by the Minister of the Interior, the formation of a new Cabinet
with a two-third majority of National Socialist members and
the readmission of the Austrian Legion. Should this news be
correct the British Government protested against such coercion
by force against an independent State in order to create a
situation incompatible with its national independence.
" ' In the name of the German Government, I must state in
reply that the British Government is not within its right in
claiming the role of a protector of the independence of Austria.
I.n the course of the diplomatic conversations regarding the
Austrian question the German Government have never left
the British Government in doubt that the form of the relations
between the Reich and Austria can only be regarded as an
iriternal affair of the German people which'is no concern of