Skip to main content

Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

See other formats

----------------------------------------------------_--------------  283
obligations. It would be quite impossible to say where it
would end and what governments might become involved.
The inexorable pressure of facts might well prove more
powerful than formal pronouncements, and in that event it
would be well within the bounds of probability that other
countries, besides those which were parties to the original
dispute, would almost immediately become involved. This is
especially true in the case of two countries like Great Britain
and France, with long associations of friendship, with interests
closely interwoven, devoted to the same ideals of democratic
liberty, and determined to uphold them.5
Towards the end of August further events occurred which
marked the increasing seriousness of the situation. The
French Government, in consequence of information which
had reached them about the moving of several German
divisions towards their frontier, took certain precautionary
measures themselves, including the calling up of reserves to
man the Maginot Line. On 28th August Sir Nevile Henderson
had been recalled to London for consultation and a special
meeting of Ministers was held on 30th August to consider his
report and the general situation. On the 3ist he returned to
Berlin and he gave Baron von Weiszacker, the State Secretary
at the "Wilhelmstrasse, a strong personal warning regarding
the probable attitude of His Majesty's Government in the
event of German aggression against Czechoslovakia, par-
ticularly if France were compelled to intervene. On ist
September the Ambassador saw Herr von Ribbentrop and
repeated to him, as a personal and most urgent message, the
warning he had already given to the State Secretary on the
previous day.
" In addressing these personal warnings through Sir
Nevile Henderson and in making the reference to Czecho-
slovakia contained in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's
speech on 2yth August, His Majesty's Government desired
to impress the seriousness of the situation upon the German
Government without risking a further aggravation of the
situation by any formal representations, which might have
been interpreted by the German Government as a public
rebuff, as tod been the case in regard to our representations on
2ist May. His Majesty's Government also had to bear in