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Politician of Great Britain from Munich to the pact Ribbentropa-Molotov: from a pacification to policy of guarantees?



n. KAPITONOVA.

POLICY of GREAT BRITAIN FROM MUNICH TO the PACT of RIBBENTROPA-MOLOTOVA: FROM the PACIFICATION TO POLICY of GUARANTEES?

Further and further World War II consigns to the past from us, and the interest of researchers in it does not die away. Whether it was possible to avoid war, having refused policy of appeasement of an aggressor which culmination point was shameful Munich conspiracy of September, 1938, having gone together with

France on military cooperation with the Soviet Union? Whether it was possible to stop an aggressor by means of granting firm guarantees by Great Britain to the small countries of Europe? It would seem, and it was made, but what was the price of these guarantees and whether there was Chamberlain's government sincere in the aspiration to protect the small countries? Whether it intended to use these guarantees as means of pressure upon Hitler with the purpose to force it to go to conspiracy with London? These, apparently, continue to ask the questions which already became banal to themselves historians of the different countries.

The Munich conspiracy which 70-year anniversary was held in 2008 by right is considered one of the most shameful episodes of the British history.

Not accidentally in the rating of the British prime ministers of the XX century made on the basis of polls of the leading historians and politicians of Great Britain in 1999-2000, the head of the country of that time conservative Nevil Chamberlain took the "honourable" penultimate place (-the 20th - steadily costs the last E. Eden with which name one more shameful episode is connected

>- Suez adventure of 1956). Sense of guilt in front of Czechoslovakia for Munich forced to issue his condemnation of many British leaders, however it was required to sign in 1992 the Anglo-Czechoslovak contract which announced the Munich agreement insignificant (nullifying) from the very beginning that Great Britain, at last, could turn this page of the history finally.

Recognizing perversity of the decision on the partition of Czechoslovakia, many British politicians and experts did not see in it malicious intent. Chamberlain, according to them, was forced to go for signing of this shameful agreement because so there were "objective circumstances". In other words, the British prime minister was kind of brought for deeds brackets in Munich. Future leader of the Labour Party M. Foote and other authors of the book "Guilty persons" in the 40th claimed that he led the country to a war as fondly believed that it is possible to pacify Hitler. One of the leading modern British historians M. Gilbert in the book "Pacification Roots" also speaks about "noble search" by Chamberlain of the world. Subsequently, in process of declassification of archival documents of that period some researchers began to claim that the British prime minister was not is coward, is naive and that policy of appeasement was realistic and nearly unique because gave to Great Britain time to carry out plans of rearmament and properly to be prepared for war. Besides, it allegedly relied on broad public support. Really, when Chamberlain reported that he goes to Munich to a meeting with Hitler, the House of Commons stood to clap it standing. Even Churchill who told about it in a narrow circle that the prime minister makes the most stupid act from all which he ever made, having given in to mood of chamber, congratulated him on good luck. Subsequently the chamber approved the Munich agreement (366 pro, 144 contra, at 35

refrained) though many deputies along with sense of relief from the fact that it was succeeded to avoid war had feeling of deep shame for the fact that Czechoslovakia was in essence given on worry to an aggressor.

The representatives of other direction condemning policy of appeasement (Chamberlain's biographers Colvin, Kokket, Parker, in particular, belong to them) insisted that it swept aside alternatives to a pacification and skillfully manipulated the press, creating visibility of public support of the conducted course.

Most likely, this debate will continue. In our opinion the attitude towards Chamberlain as to the head who the shameful policy of concessions led the country to a war characteristic of liberals, labourists and a part of conservatives in the spring of 1940 therefore it, in essence, was overthrown from the post, and Churchill became the prime minister, it is represented absolutely justified.

At the beginning of 1939 the government of conservatives continued to pursue policy of appeasement. Chamberlain who was even more believed after Munich in the abilities to solve any international problems by means of personal diplomacy accompanied by the head of the Foreign Office of Halifax went in January to Italy to a meeting with Mussolini. The purpose of visit was to strengthen the relations of cooperation between two countries and their heads, at the same time Chamberlain fondly believed that Mussolini from Hitler will be able "to tear off" thus. A production part of a visit - a magnificent meeting at the station with colors, guard of honor and other attributes of this sort (the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chiano called it "lemonade") which he took in all good faith made a great impression on the British prime minister. About it pay Chamberlain's compliments to the Italian dictator which sounded from his lips after a visit and also - a case unprecedented in diplomatic practice - a preview to it (for receiving approval) the text of the forthcoming speech of the prime minister in the House of Commons with the report about "extremely successful" a trip to Italy. Impressions of the Italian side were opposite - it was approved in opinion that the British will be ready to do anything to avoid war that, in turn, gave aggressors a free hand.

The main efforts of the British office were directed to a pacification of Germany. Despite obtaining at the end of 1938 information that Hitler begins to consider seriously plans of war in the West (it was regarded by Halifax as intrigues of Ribbentrop hating British), Chamberlain's government continued to form the policy in

questions of defense so that not to irritate an aggressor. So, in particular, it was supposed that in case of invasion of Germans into Holland, she should be helped (differently image of Great Britain in the opinion of its dominions and also the whole world it would be finally undermined), however London sought to avoid the official statement about it, being afraid that Hitler could regard it as threat to Germany that, in turn, could provoke war. For the same reason modernization of the British army was carried out extremely slowly, contrary to insistent requirements of the Minister of War Khor-Belish the creation of the ministry of supply unfairly dragged on.

Among members of the cabinet and in wider plan among members of the government there was no unity in a question of expediency of carrying out a former course concerning Germany. The British ambassador in Germany Genderson who under an impression of the "frank" and frequent conversations with the German leaders (especially with Goering to whom he even suggested to award the order in case of a visit to London British) constantly reported in the center on absence at Germany of aggressive intentions and "relative respectability" of Hitler's behavior had noticeable impact on a position of an office if not to provoke it. "In the best way of establishment of good relations with Germany, - he told the Minister of Foreign Affairs, - is... evasion from the constant and irritating intervention in affairs in which the interests of England directly or significantly are not mentioned and also. preservation of a neutrality. in case Germany is occupied in the east".1 Genderson urged the head of the Foreign Office to convince Poland of need "in its own interests to be reasonable" and to give to Germany Danzig. Conclusions of the ambassador caused at times irritation of his immediate superior who had to remind him that hopes for improvement of the Anglo-German relations from time to time

1 Year of crisis, 1938-1939. Volume I. (on September 29, 1938 - on May 31, 1939). Documents and materials. M, 1990., p. 256.

are illusive. 2 That to the prime minister, he found in dispatches of Sir Nevil confirmation to the thoughts. At the same time kind of by itself it was meant that the questions Memelya, Danzig,

as well as the fate of Czechoslovakia, eventually will be solved on the German conditions. Settlement of these problems was the main thing for "umirotvoritel" so that not to provoke war and at the same time to try to save face.

"Sluggish" reaction of the government of Chamberlain to capture by Hitler of all Czechoslovakia is explained on March 15, 1939 by it. Actions of Germany finally discredited the policy of appeasement pursued by an office, and a heavy blow was struck to prestige of the prime minister. The inability of Great Britain to fulfill the obligations given in Munich concerning guarantees of Czechoslovakia was criticized in parliament. In justification of full passivity of the British side Chamberlain specified that guarantees were given allegedly in case of "unprovoked aggression" which is absent. Besides, according to the Munich agreement it was necessary to hold consultations of four powers, however capture was carried out so quickly that no sense in it existed any more. The government was limited to the note of protest in which "deep concern" concerning actions of Germany was expressed. Having expressed a regret in connection with the events, the prime minister stated cancellation of guarantees because of the termination of existence of Czechoslovakia that resulted from "internal disintegration", but not as a result of the German aggression. It is necessary to tell that reaction to actions of the government from opposition and also many media was so condemning that Chamberlain and Halifax without discussion with members of the cabinet hurried to add the note of protest with a call to London "for the report" the British ambassador Genderson. The help to refugees was also rendered,

the payment on a 10-million loan of Czechoslovakia is suspended.

2 Parkinson R. Peace for our time. Munich to Dunkirk - the Inside Story. N.Y. 1971, p. 103.

The situation in the country changed, and before the management there was a need of change of the failed course. To continue and to watch further passively how Germany absorbs one behind another the European states, changing in own favor a ratio of forces on the continent, London could not afford. In the speech on March 17 in Birmingham the prime minister reported that Great Britain is ready to respond adequately to possible threat from Germany that had to make an impression of refusal of policy of appeasement of an aggressor.

But whether so was actually?

On March 22 Great Britain and France provided guarantees of military aid of Belgium, Holland and Switzerland, and on March 31 - London provided guarantees to Poland (this action the head of the Foreign Office characterized Halifax as "the real revolution" in the British foreign policy. 3 In April France similarly arrived. Then the Anglo-French guarantees of Greece and Romania were given. Having guaranteed independence of Poland, Great Britain, at the same time, did not guarantee it to territorial integrity. The management perfectly understood that similar guarantees to countries of Eastern Europe will not be able to prevent Hitler to capture them. "Our policy for Germany, - Chamberlain at a cabinet council specified on June 13, - does not mean protection against it of the certain states to which that can threaten, but aims not to allow domination of Germany on the continent that powerful Germany did not turn into threat of our safety. Capture of Poland or Romania will enhance its military power,

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therefore we give guarantees to these countries".

The British guarantees in essence were declarative and no more than that. The help to Great Britain to the countries of Southeast Europe, in particular, could be expressed at best in carrying out the operations which were holding down the German armies on the western border in raids and blockade sea

3 Year of crisis. T.1, p. 375.
4 English state archive. IDA, f.836, lake 3, 9, l.138.

coasts. But even it as showed an initial stage of war subsequently, was not made. Great Britain was not going to be at war in 1939 on the continent thoroughly: as it became clear during the English-French-Soviet military negotiations which followed in several months in Moscow, "to the first stage of war" she only "planned" to mobilize 16 divisions, having, according to the general Heywood, only 5 ready to immediate sending to the continent. 5 Government did not hurry with rearmament as hoped that it will be possible to avoid war. To help Poland which by calculations of the British leaders could in case of aggression from Germany hold on no more than several weeks 6, it seriously did not assume. As for the western countries, having learned the price to the British guarantees on the example of Czechoslovakia, Holland and Switzerland in general refused them, and Denmark which accepted guarantees hurried to sign for secure the nonaggression pact with Germany.

Having faced indignantly oppositions (including inner-party) concerning connivance to Hitler from the British government, on the substance of given it all Czechoslovakia, Chamberlain wanted to support the statement for guarantees to Poland with the authority of the USSR. For this purpose literally in 2 hours prior to the performance in the House of Commons he informed the Soviet ambassador in Great Britain I.M. Maysky of contents of the statement about Poland, having noticed that he would like to accompany it with the message that this guarantee finds approval from the Soviet Union. This inconsiderate offer revolted the ambassador as the prime minister perfectly understood that that had no physical capacity for such short term to learn the opinion on this subject of the Soviet government. Without having received consent and having expressed a regret about it, Chamberlain, nevertheless, said in chamber that

5 The archive of foreign policy of the Russian Federation, f.06, the lake 1a, item 25, 12, l.25 does not doubt understanding and sympathy concerning the actions (in
.

6 IDA, f.836, lake 3, 9, l.36

volume, as for Poland) from the USSR. This hint was necessary to it to muffle criticism of actions of an office, having made at the public an impression of close contact in a question of counteraction of the German aggression with Moscow.

It was impossible to stop Hitler's aggression in the east without the aid of the Soviet Union: it in London was well understood. Without attraction of the USSR of a guarantee to the small countries cost nothing. After capture of Czechoslovakia between London and Moscow the exchange of views on an occasion of the situation which developed in Europe begins. On March 17 the British government addressed to

To the Soviet Union and some other European countries concerning their reaction to possible invasion of Germany into Romania. In several days

>- On March 21 - the British ambassador U.Sids handed to the people's commissar M.M. Litvinov the draft declaration of four powers (Great Britain, the USSR, France and Poland) in which it was offered to hold immediate consultations about joint actions in case of threat of independence of "any European state". If Germany continues to move ahead towards establishment of world supremacy, it has to know that she should be at war on two fronts. 10 May Chamberlain informed the House of Commons on this

initiative of the government.

Did not keep itself to wait for the answer from Moscow: already on March 23 reported to the British side about readiness of the USSR to sign the declaration offered by Great Britain as soon as it is signed by France and Poland though Moscow finds this measure insufficiently effective and offers that also Balkan, Scandinavian and Baltic countries joined the declaration. At

it Litvinov informed May that "without Poland we not

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we will sign".

In March the parliamentary secretary for overseas trade R. Hudson was sent to Moscow. Its meetings with soviet leadership have to

7 Mayskiy.M. Memoirs of the Soviet diplomat, 1925-1945., M., 1987, p. 384.
8 Year of crisis. T.1, p. 314.

were to make an impression of readiness of London not only to revival of trade relations with the USSR, but also to their general activization. It even

probed reaction of Moscow to creation of the military alliance, having raised such question - why not to send to the Soviet government to London military delegation for exchange of views with representatives of the British General Staff? Speaking about a visit, Litvinov emphasized in the letter May that "in political, economically it did not give any effect, "and at such visits the lack of positive results has to be considered

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result negative".

New acts of aggression in Europe - capture by Germany on March 22 of Memel and also the occupation by Italy of Albania which took place on April 7 - seemed, it is clear said about what carrying out policy of appeasement of aggressors not to stop. Poland to which the plan of "general settlement" including among other things claims for Danzig was offered had to fall the following victim of Hitler. The plan of invasion into Poland ("the plan Weis") approved by Hitler on April 11 provided to begin operation at any time, since September 1. In this disturbing time Chamberlain supported by an office by tradition continued to address Mussolini with expression of "deep concern" in the events including Hitler's behavior, hoping for his restraining influence on Berlin. Having told members of the cabinet that concerning actions of Italy there are 4 possible answers from Great Britain, namely - inquiry, a protest, threat and action, - the prime minister gave preference to the first option. 10 Therefore it is not surprising that its message was regarded by Rome as confirmation of readiness of the British office to continue the Munich policy.

At the beginning of April in London the Anglo-Polish negotiations took place. The Minister of Foreign Affairs colonel Beck representing the Polish side welcomed the idea with the Declaration, having spoken at the same time against

9 In the same place, p. 340
10 Parkinson R. Op. cit., p.133.

negotiations with the Soviet Union and having firmly let know that Poland in that case will not join the agreement. Thus, the initiative of the British government in essence failed. The parties decided to begin negotiations on the conclusion of the Anglo-Polish contract on mutual aid. (This contract in a consequence was signed all some days before the beginning of war).

As Poland and Romania refused the international guarantees with participation of the USSR, London suggested Moscow to provide to these countries unilateral guarantees of military aid by an example of Great Britain. It laid the foundation "long, vain and fateful" on a failure for the English-Soviet negotiations. 11 British offer were rejected by Moscow,

regarded it as the aspiration to involve the Soviet Union in war with Germany in private, without allies. The requirement of London that Romania transferred to Bulgaria Dobrudja (as some kind of bribe capable to allegedly tear off the last from powers of "axis") was interpreted by the Soviet part as "under a specious excuse to make obvious aspiration impossible or, at least, longer to delay provision of guarantees for Romania and, thus, to leave for Hitler free "corridor" through Hungary and Romania to borders of the USSR". 12

The events in Europe could not but cause concerns of the Soviet government therefore on April 17 it proposed to conclude to Great Britain and France the full-fledged tripartite military-political alliance for a period of 5-10 years about the mutual obligation to render the friend to the friend immediate mutual the help,

including military. The draft of the pact provided also "assistance to the states located on border of the USSR from Baltic to Black the seas". Forms, the sizes and methods of the help had to be provided in the military convention signed along with the agreement. 13 At discussion of it "extremely inconvenient" the Soviet offer members

11 Ibid., p.136.
12 Year of crisis. T.1, p. 365.
13 Year of crisis. T.1, p. 386.
to

of an office (when it was necessary to make the choice between the obligation of Russia recorded on paper in case of war to come to the rescue of Great Britain and "damage" from the fact that the last "will openly connect herself with Russia") expressed opinion that the allied relations with Warsaw are for Great Britain of great value, than the relations with Moscow. The following decision was as a result made: the Soviet offer is unacceptable, but it is necessary to consult to Paris. 14 On thoughts and coordination left more than a month.

The gap Hitler - in response to introduction of a general compulsory military service by Great Britain - the Anglo-German sea agreement and also the Polish-German non-aggression pact forced London to introduce amendments in the course and to be to negotiations with Russia more kindly favorable disposed. At the same time it was decided to insist on the initial idea - Declarations.

After receiving on May 28 affirmative answer to the Soviet offer of the party passed to negotiations which progressed extremely slowly, despite statements of the British officials for absence at the government of basic objections against such union and a promise to use the best efforts in order that it "became a reality fact perhaps rather". 15

Sluggishness of London does not surprise if to mean that it went for negotiations only under pressure of public opinion which subjected Chamberlain's course to sharp criticism. In a conversation with May on May 15 M. Biverbruk emphasized that "the British government will be forced to meet requirements of him because the widest circles of public opinion in England stand up for the block with the USSR now". 16 this criticism including from some ministers of the government, the criticism which joined also a number of mass media forced Chamberlain to show hyperactivity in establishment of contacts with Moscow. So, the prime minister -

14 Parkinson R Op. cit., p.1
15 AVP Russian Federation, f.06, lake 1a, item 25, 7, l.74.
16 Year. crisis. T.1, p. 463.

the minister unexpectedly accepted the invitation and appeared on March 1 on reception in the Soviet embassy that, according to May, "had effect

the exploded bomb also caused noise not only in the press, but also in diplomatic and political circles" as up to this point any British prime minister - neither the conservative, nor the labourist, - never crossed a threshold of embassy. Intention "was 17 One more purpose of this ostentatious action to scare Germans", especially on the eve of the Anglo-German industrial negotiations, to force them to reckon with the interests of Great Britain. At the same time contacts of the Soviet ambassador with the head of the Foreign Office during the period from November, 1938 to March, 1939 almost completely were absent. Therefore it is no wonder that Moscow treated similar acts of London, as well as its initiatives, with a sufficient share of scepticism and mistrust. In the letter May of March 19 Litvinov emphasized: "We five years on

foreign policy field of activity were engaged in the fact that did instructions and offers on the organization of the world and collective security, but powers ignored them and arrived counter to them. If England and France really change the line, then let them or pass an opinion on the offers which were earlier becoming us, or do the offers. It is necessary an initiative to provide to them". Moscow recognized that "so far Chamberlain remains a head of the government, it is impossible to trust in shift depth in policy of England and in gravity of its intentions to combat aggressors". 18 Big irritant for the prime minister was Churchill who it is sharp strengthened the activity,

speaking at different meetings and subjecting the government to constant pressure. His appeals to acceleration of military preparation met broad support of the public, but considerably dispersed from moods of the management: Churchill constantly spoke about threat to national security while the Minister of Internal Affairs and one of "umirotvoritel" S. Hor, in

17 In the same place, p. 246.
18 Year of crisis. T.1, p. 30.

particulars, noted a possibility of creation of the "Golden Age" based on friendly cooperation with the countries aggressors. 19 V to the correspondence with the prime minister and other members of the government Churchill persistently suggested to enter a condition of "full readiness" for anti-aircraft weapons, to create the national government (in it he was supported by Eden and more than 30 members of conservative fraction of parliament), to establish control of the British Naval Forces in the Mediterranean and on Baltic, to enter a general compulsory military service (it, according to him, should be made right after Munich). In response to Mussolini's invasion into Albania he demanded to occupy immediately the Greek island of Corfu, however it did not meet support of an office. Moreover, in the message made for Mussolini Chamberlain assured it that Great Britain has no plans of occupation of the island. After assurances of the Italian ambassador in absence at Italy of aggressive intentions concerning Greece from the direction of the message Mussolini in general refused.

In mass media offers to include Churchill in the government more often expressed. For it, it agrees to poll held in May by the News Kronikl newspaper, 56% of respondents acted. In advantage

it even the member of the German government of the columns Schwerin von Krosig who specified on July 6 in a conversation with the British military that the fact of its inclusion in the government in any quality would work on spoke

Hitler Otreswljaueschtsche, because that really was afraid of Churchill while

20

it did not put in anything the prime minister and the head of the Foreign Office. The campaign for Churchill's support accrued as war came nearer. On August 18 the Times newspaper published an appeal to the prime minister of 375 employees of the British universities (including 70 professors and 6 heads of colleges) to include it in the government. However it did not answer Chamberlain's desire: he knew about Hitler's attitude towards Churchill (to it "to scarecrow No. 1 in

19 Gilbert M. Winston S.Churchill. v. V, 1922-1939, p.1045.
20 GilbertM. Op. cit., pp. 1068.1085.

some parts of Europe" 21) was also afraid of its reaction. Besides, some influential members of the cabinet dividing with the prime minister of hope for further success of policy of appeasement were incited against Churchill. Tortured by constant criticism Churchill of the government, his numerous letters with offers and calls on Downing Street-10, the management of conservative party even made an attempt to withdraw at it the mandate absolutely to remove from parliament, however she was not supported by voters of the district.

Churchill begins to act in favor of rapprochement with Russia even before capture by Hitler of all Czechoslovakia. In May, 1939 it published article in the Daley Telegraf newspaper in which, having specified that Poland will be the following object of the German aggression with a high share of probability, called

Poles to agree with attraction to the European affairs of Russia which is

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according to him, a decisive factor in prevention of war. (By the way

speaking, this article was forbidden in Poland). Being afraid that the government will arrive with Poland the same as with Czechoslovakia, at the beginning of May it fell upon the government with criticism for an unjustified delay in the beginning of negotiations with the USSR. "It is impossible to waste time, - Churchill said. - Already there passed 10 or 12 days from the moment of the proposal made by Russia (about the conclusion of the union - N.K.)... It is necessary not only go for full cooperation with Russia, but also to involve in it three Baltic states - Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia". On May 19, having emphasized that the Soviet offers "are simpler" and "are more effective", than offers of an office of Chamberlain, he warned that "Russia will not go for conclusion of agreement if to it are not

23

to treat as equal". In July Churchill criticized an office for "an inexplicable delay" in the conclusion of the English-French-Soviet pact again.

These views divided Eden which even offered the head of the Foreign Office the services in negotiating in Moscow on behalf of the government, and members

21 Ibid., p.1041.
22 Ibid., p.1068.
23 U. Churchill. World War II. T.1. The approaching storm. M, 1958, p. 333, 342.

its groups. At negotiations in London in April, 1956 during the visit to Great Britain of the Soviet delegation led by N.S. Khrushchev Eden emphasized that "at that time he was a resolute supporter of serious negotiations with the Soviet government on need of coordinated actions against Hitler", having confidentially reported at the same time that the head of the Foreign Office agreed with its offer to head the English delegation which should have been sent to Moscow however to it resolutely Chamberlain opposed. Churchill, according to Iden, also was against this idea, but for other reason: he considered that that could not achieve success on

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negotiations as was at that time in opposition to the government. 24

As noted May "process of sobering up of conservative circles" was in the spring of 1939 in full operation. In party and the government there was "a continuous budding of oppositional groups and gruppochek, gradually

25

corroding the government majority". The prominent British politician Lloyd George in conversations with the Soviet ambassador also pointed to growth of understanding by conservative party of need of close cooperation with the Soviet Union, noting at the same time that "the office lags behind party weight". It asked about signing of the contract with Moscow in a conversation with the prime minister on March 31, proving to it that no "east front" without active participation of the USSR in it can be and that the statement for guarantees to Poland which is not supported with such agreement is "irresponsible gambling which can be come very to a bad end". 26 According to Lloyd to George maneuvers of an office during the English-Soviet negotiations looked as follows: without wishing the pact with the USSR against Germany

"umirotvoritel", on the one hand, via political, military and financial channels pressed to Poland in a question of Danzig, with another - through demonstration of military preparations, the union with France, strong statements sought to intimidate Germany, to force it not to bring the matter to war from -

24 Archive of the Russian President, f.3, op.69, 390, l.99.
25 Year of crisis. T.1, p. 179
26 In the same place, p. 338, 354

for Danzig. "If this maneuver works well, - the former leader of liberals May said on June 14, - and the German aggression or for a while in general will stop, or will turn the edge in any other direction which is not causing the necessity to fulfill the obligations given by it to the European states for England, then the need for the urgent conclusion of the pact with the USSR will weaken and Chamberlain will have an opportunity to try to agree once again with aggressors or, as a last resort, for a long time to tighten

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signing of the contract with the Soviet government".

According to the largest Russian the English Veda by V.G. Trukhanovsky London considered the possibility of the union with Moscow as a telling argument which "will force Hitler to be more compliant and by that will promote further carrying out the Munich policy".28 For rendering pressure upon Germany Hitler believed in gravity of intention of Great Britain to be at war because of Poland, London undertook such maneuver: according to the indication of Halifax the reporting about it telegram was specially sent in May to Berlin to Genderson by such code which Germans read. However it did not matter any more: by then Hitler resolved to be at war with Great Britain and France.

Fear that otherwise the USSR will not remain neutral and will go for rapprochement with Germany was one more incentive motive in favor of negotiations with Russia on creation of the tripartite alliance divided by members of the cabinet. These reasons sounded rather often at discussion of the questions connected with the conclusion of the pact. So, in particular, the minister of defense coordination lord Chetfield, expressing opinion of many colleagues, declared on May 16 at a meeting of committee on foreign policy at an office: "If for fear of the conclusion of the union with Russia we push this country to the German camp, we will make a mistake with fatal and

27 In the same place, p. 98.
28 V.G. Trukhanovsky. Foreign policy of England. M, 1962, p. 345-346

far-reaching consequences". 29 Replacement at the beginning of May of the people's commissar

foreign affairs of Litvinov on Molotov caused the real panic in the British Foreign Ministry - whether the refusal of the USSR of cooperation with Great Britain and France and - as result - rapprochement with Germany what London in panic was afraid of means it. At a meeting of foreign policy committee on July 4 Chamberlain highlighted that a main goal of the negotiations which are conducted with the Soviet government is "prevention of obligations of Russia with Germany". The "neutral" status of Russia in the conflict of Great Britain and Germany also, according to committee of chiefs of headquarters, was extremely undesirable because it "would allow it to dominate after the termination of the similar conflict". 30

The prime minister did not hide from colleagues of negative attitude to the pact with Russia of which he was suspicious "", motivating the position both with possible objections from some dominions, and unwillingness of Poland and Romania to accept such guarantees. So, at a meeting on May 19 he referred to opinion of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the mentioned countries which in private conversations indicated that "close connection of Great Britain with Russia will mean also communication of Poland and Romania with Russia" that, according to them, would only bring closer war. Both Chamberlain and Halifax made public statements about impossibility of imposing of any guarantees to someone. Also fears expressed that the similar pact will undermine positions of moderate elements in the leadership of Germany and will unite

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it "as anything else". 31

At the second stage of tripartite negotiations on May 26 the Anglo-French proposal to guarantee Poland, Romania, Belgium, Greece and Turkey was made the USSR. A counterproposal of Moscow to give guarantees to the Baltic countries it was rejected. Moreover, London supported by Paris became

29 IDA, f.836, op.3, 9, l.40.
30 In the same place, ll.237, 53.
31 In the same place, 10, nn. 64.66

"it is deliberate to confuse" this question: while Estonia and Latvia reported that they are ready to accept the help of the USSR, Halifax stated May about

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their categorical disagreement. At meetings of committee on foreign policy Chamberlain convinced colleagues of need of refusal of Great Britain of guarantees to the countries of the Baltics. 33 Such position were regarded by the Soviet part as the direct indication of Germany in what direction it should move, without risking to encounter resistance of the western powers.

British (and French) the offer on the pact, according to the message the Deputy Foreign Commissar S.A. Lozovsky Molotova of May 27, was made "in due form legal pettifogging. Except points in which the caution obviously filters, mistrust and desire to use the USSR, without giving anything to it, there are points in which the same intentions are deeply covered nothing with the meaning and ambiguous phrases". (So, for example, instead of the immediate help in a case of aggression of the USSR were offered - with references to Article 16 of the pact of the League of Nations with all complexity of the procedure - consultations with the subsequent discussion. Thus, as the Soviet part specified, the situation when Moscow is exposed to bombings while, say, Bolivia is able to block acceptance of effective measures on the aggression termination was created. - N.K.). "Besides, - Lozovsky emphasized, - the draft declaration holds back some very important things. All this combined makes impossible adoption of this project". The deputy people's commissar suggested to change considerably the text, "having withdrawn from it all ambiguities and traps,

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reticences and defaults".

Documents show that during discussions by the British leaders of a question of the conclusion of the tripartite pact the thought stands out - it not to be involved in war. Sogla

Evelyn Chapman
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