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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

--------------------------------------__________________  267
troops. I recognise the difficulty of conducting a lengthy
investigation under existing conditions and doubtless the plan
you propose would, if it were acceptable, provide an immediate
easing of the tension. But I do not think you have realised
the impossibility of my agreeing to put forward any plan
unless I have reason to suppose that it will be considered by
public opinion in my country, in France and, indeed, in the
world generally, as carrying out the principles already agreed
upon in an orderly fashion and free from the threat of force*
I am sure that an attempt to occupy forthwith by German
troops areas which will become part of the Reich at once
in principle, and very shortly afterwards by formal delimitation,
would be condemned as an unnecessary display of force.
" Even if I felt it right to put this proposal to the Czech
Government, I am convinced that they would not regard it
as being in the spirit of the arrangement which we and the
French Government urged them to accept and which they
have accepted. In the event of German troops moving into
the areas as you propose, there is no doubt that the Czech
Government would have no option but to order their forces
to resist, and this would mean the destruction of the basis
upon which you and I a week ago agreed to work together,
namely, an orderly settlement of this question rather than a
settlement by the use of force.
" It being agreed in principle that the Sudeten German
areas are to join the Reich, the immediate question before
us is how to maintain law and order pending the final settle-
ment of the arrangements for the transfer. There must
surely be alternatives to your proposal which would not be
open to the objections I have pointed out. For instance,
I could ask the Czech Government whether they think there
could be an arrangement under which the maintenance of
law and order in certain agreed Sudeten German areas would
be entrusted to the Sudeten Germans themselves—by the
creation of a suitable force, or by the use of forces already
in existence, possibly acting under the supervision of neutral
observers.
" As you know, I did last night, in accordance with my
understanding with you, urge the Czech Government to do
all in their power to maintain order in the meantime*