Press Release Issued by the Department of State On September 27, 1938

At 3 p. m. on the afternoon of September 27, 1938, the Secretary of State sent the following instruction to all American diplomatic missions accredited to governments from which this Government had not already received messages or which had not already taken action:

"Please call without delay on the Minister of Foreign Affairs or in his absence on the appropriate official, and express the opinion of this Government that the situation in Europe is today so critical, and the consequences of war would be so disastrous, that no step should be overlooked or omitted that might possibly contribute to the maintenance of peace. The President of the United States has already sent an urgent appeal to the Chancellor of the German Reich, the President of Czechoslovakia, and the Prime Ministers of Great Britain and France urging the importance of keeping negotiations alive and seeking a just settlement of the dispute through peaceful means. If the Chief of State or the Government to which you are accredited were at once to send a comparable message to Germany and Czechoslovakia, emphasizing in his own words the supreme importance of foregoing the use of force in settling the dispute now at issue, we feel that the cumulative effect of such an expression of opinion might possibly even at this late date influence the course of events and contribute to the preservation of peace in Europe. Please make it clear that this suggestion on our part does not in any way imply any opinion as to the points of the dispute at issue.

"If the Government to which you are accredited should already have taken such action please express appropriately and with real appreciation of the step taken, the belief of this Government in the cumulative value of this type of international appeal.

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. 425-26

Return to Vinnie's Home Page

Return to Interwar Period Page