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Chamberlain and Hitler announce Czech agreement

By
WEBB MILLER
German leader Adolf Hitler greets British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on the steps of The Berghof, near Berchtesgaden, on September 15, 1938. File Photo courtesy Das Bundesarchiv
German leader Adolf Hitler greets British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on the steps of "The Berghof," near Berchtesgaden, on September 15, 1938. File Photo courtesy Das Bundesarchiv

MUNICH, Germany, Sept. 30, 1938 (UP) - A historic, four-power agreement for the cession of Sudetenland to Germany was sealed today by Czechoslovakia's acceptance. The Prague government notified Great Britain that it had accepted the compromise agreement. Announcement of the fact was made today by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

At the same time Chamberlain announced that German troops will enter a specified zone of the Sudeten territory sometime tomorrow afternoon or evening.

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Chamberlain lingered here today after the last work of the four-power conference was completed. For an hour and a half he talked with Chancellor Adolf Hitler. This conversation brought a joint statement in which the two statesmen declared that the Munich agreement is symbolic of the decision of Germany and Britain never to go to war with each other again. They committed themselves to the processes of consultation should future questions arise.

Chamberlain's announcement that the occupation of the first 460 square miles of Sudetenland would start tomorrow was made at a reception to the British-American press. Sitting at a writing table in his hotel suite, he made this statement:

"I always had in mind that if we found a peaceful solution of the Czech question it might open the way to general appeasement in Europe."

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In reply to a question, he said he and Hitler had a genial and fullest discussion of the European situation in general. He added that if the occasion arises, "the fuehrer and I certainly will meet again, because we have decided that our relations shall continue by consultation."

The joint statement today by Chamberlain and Hitler follows in full:

"We, the German fuehrer and the British prime minister, have had a further meeting today and are agreed in recognizing that the question of Anglo-German relations is of the first importance for the future of our countries and Europe.

"We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German naval agreement as symbolic of a decision by our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.

"We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries, and we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of differences and thus contribute to a solemn peace of Europe."

Chamberlain left by air for London. The sky was heavily clouded and rainy, Chamberlain entered the plane to terrific applause. The band played "God Save the King."

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Before he left Munich Premier Edouard Daladier made a statement saying, "I believe the Munich meeting may mark a historical date for Europe."

"I am glad to see for myself that Germany entertains no feeling of hatred nor hostility. Be assured that France feels no hostility for Germany.

"The two nations must agree."

Hope surged in all Europe that the threat of a general-war, so terribly imminent yesterday, might be turned into a triumph for peace, for tranquility, for the right to live without fear that had been denied 550,000,000 people since the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in mid-summer, 1914.

Before the joint statement by Hitler and Chamberlain, they and Daladier, chatting amiably, were making a sightseeing tour of Munich, with Hitler pointing out places of interest.

It was understood that German troops would occupy a "token" area of about 460 square miles in southwestern Sudetenland, near the Austro-German frontier, tomorrow as "Area No.1" of their progressive occupation, to be completed by Oct. 10.

Hitler has won another triumph. He had said that he would enter Sudetenland tomorrow, even at risk of a world war, and he is going to do it. But European peace has been preserved, and now the hope was that it might be made secure for a long time.

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Daladier had made his friendship statement at his hotel after a throng of Germans, massed in the street, had clamored for him so enthusiastically that he was forced to appear at a window and wave and smile.

Back in Paris, Daladier called a cabinet meeting to study the question of demobilization. Before the meeting, Daladier discussed demobilizaiton with Gen. Marie Gustave Gamelin, head of the high command.

Belgium became the first nation to start demobilizing today. The requisitioning of vehicles was stopped and men important to public services and industries were sent home from army posts.

Chamberlain had been similarly cheered at his own hotel, and went to a balcony to respond, holding a bouquet of flowers which had been sent to him.

Inspired sources said that, to emphasize the peaceful nature of the overturn of Sudetenland, British and French World War veterans would be utilized as a "cushion" force to occupy under the four-power agreement a portion of Sudetenland between German and Czechoslovak troops, pending plebiscites in some areas.

Germany was all ready for its triumphal entry.

Hitler, Chamberlain and Daladier remained in Munich a few hours after signing the agreement so as to set the machinery of the Munich agreement in motion.

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They began by appointing an international commission which, under their agreement, will arrange details of the evacuation of the Sudenten area, determine the areas in which the plebiscites are to be held, fix conditions and date of the plebiscites and make any minor frontier arrangements.

Members of the commission left at once by airplane for Berlin, to hold their first meeting there at 5 p.m.

Members are Baron Ernst Von Weizaecker, secretary of state for the German Foreign Office; Sir Neville Henderson, British ambassador to Germany; Andre Francois-Poncet, French ambassador to Germany; and Dr. Bernardo Attolico, Italian ambassador to Germany.

Dr. Vojtech Mastny, Czechoslovak minister to Germany, was authorized to become a fifth member of the commission with a full vote, and he was expected to participate in the afternoon's meeting if he could reach Berlin from Prague. He had flown to Prague at 5:30 a.m., carrying to his government a formal copy of the Munich agreement.

The agreement signed this morning at the Fuehrer House provided briefly:

Czechoslovakia to evacuate the ceded Sudenten territory beginning tomorrow and to complete the evacuation by Oct. 10, without destroying "existing installations" such as the Sudenten Mountain fortifications. An international commission representing the four big powers and Czechoslovakia to lay down conditions for evacuation.

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The international commission will determine territories in which plebiscites are to be held. International "bodies," not necessarily troops, will occupy the plebiscite areas until plebiscites are held and will fix plebiscite conditions on the basis of the Saar plebiscite. Plebiscites to be held at a date not later than the end of November, to be fixed by the commission. Minor exchanges of territory to be arranged by the commission. Czechoslovaks in Sudetenland and Germans in Czechoslovakia areas to transfer, if they desire, within six months.

Czechoslovakia within four weeks to discharge all Sudeten Germans who wish release from their army and police forces, and to release any Sudetens who are in prison for political offenses.

In an annex, Britain and France undertake to stand by their agreement to guarantee the new Czechoslovak frontiers. Germany and Italy agree to join in this guarantee when the Polish and Hungarian minority problems have been settled.

It is agreed that if the Polish-Hungarian problems are not settled within three months there shall be another four-power conference to discuss them.

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