Source 3

The Foreign Secretary describes a meeting he has had with the French, Belgian and Italian governments (FO 371/19892)


In this connection it was suggested that a stage would very soon be reached in the forthcoming conversations when it might be necessary to tell the French our position as to the possibility of fulfilling our obligations under the Locarno Treaty. That subject, it was admitted, might be fraught.

From information given by the Service Ministers it transpired that our position at home and in home waters was a disadvantageous one, whether from the point of view of the Navy, Army or Air Force, or anti-aircraft defence. In addition, public opinion was strongly opposed to any military action against the Germans in the demilitarised zone. In particular, the ex-Service men were very anti-French. Moreover, many people, perhaps most people were saying openly that they did not see why the Germans should not re-occupy the Rhineland. In these circumstances, it was generally accepted that it was worth taking almost any risk in order to escape from that situation.

« Return to German occupation of the Rhineland

3. According to this document, why was Britain unready to go to war with Germany over the Rhineland?

  • How would this affect our readiness to go along with what France wanted?