President Roosevelt to the Ambassador in Italy (Phillips), [Telegram], WASHINGTON, September 27, 1938-3 p.m.

Please convey the following personal and confidential message to Signor Mussolini:

"In view of the tense situation which has arisen in the relations between Germany and Czechoslovakia, I addressed an earnest plea yesterday to the Head of the Government of each of those countries, as well as to the Prime Ministers of Great Britain and France, to continue their efforts to settle their difficulties by negotiation or other peaceable means rather than by resort to force, with its attendant risk of plunging Europe into a general war. Such a conflict would mean the destruction of millions of men, women, and children in Europe, and would threaten the social structure as we know it today.

"While this country has followed a determined policy of refraining from political entanglements, we have always endeavored to further the settlement of international disputes by pacific methods, and we have maintained that war cannot bring about solutions for the future of mankind. I feel sure that you will agree with me as to the destructive and tragic effects of a war in Europe, and I therefore ask whether you would not extend your help in the continuation of the efforts to arrive at an agreement of the questions at issue by negotiation or by other pacific means rather than by resort to force.


Source: U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943, pp. 427

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