]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]    LE SOULAGEMENT     [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ 
                           (Relief)
[The dismemberment of Czechoslovakia by her "allies" France and Bri-
tain at Munich on 30 September 1938 was the most outrageous in a long 
series of retreats in hopes of appeasing Hitler. The agreement was 
signed by Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain, and Daladier. When it was 
all over, ...]
     
     ...the moment came for the two Czech representatives to be told 
officially what had been done. Edouard Daladier wanted to take the 
coward's way out; he told his delegation that he could not face the 
Czech emissaries, who were still waiting in the anteroom. Alexis Leger 
[Chief Secretary of the French Foreign Ministry] told him he must 
steel himself and gave him a large brandy.
     Neville Chamberlain felt no such qualms. Earlier he had already 
suggested that Daladier fly to Czechoslovakia and convey the news 
personally, and he could not understand why fires blazed in the tired 
eyes of the Frenchman as he curtly refused the task. While the French 
Premier fortified himself with still another drink, Chamberlain 
briskly led his delegation back into the conference hall, from which 
Hitler and Mussolini had departed a few moments before.
     The Czech emissaries were brought in. The atmosphere was 
oppressive; the sentence was about to be passed... Mr Chamberlain 
referred to the agreement and gave the text to Dr. Mastny [Czecho-
slovak ambassador to Germany].
     ... While the words were being spoken, Mastny Had begun to weep 
openly. "They don't know what they are doing," he whispered to his 
compatriot, "to us or to themselves."
     Sir Horace Wilson looked at his master [Chamberlain], who was 
beginning to yawn again. "Come gentlemen," he said, "It is very late. 
I am sure we must all be very tired."
     There was an awkward silence, and then Chamberlain started for 
the door, Daladier following.
                         *   *
     As they strolled down the street about three o'clock in the 
morning on their way back to the Vier Jahreszeiten Hotel, Alexis Leger 
discussed the events of the past day with another French delegate, 
Captain Paul Stehlin, the assistant air attache in Berlin.
     "... Mais enfin," he said to Leger, "l'agrement, c'est un 
soulagement." [Well, anyway, this agreement is a relief.]
     Leger was silent for a moment. Then he said. "Ah, oui, un 
soulagement! Comme quand on a merde dans sa culotte." 
     [Oh yes, a relief! Like when you have crapped in your pants.]
                         
                         *  *

           Leonard Mosley, "On Borrowed Time: How World War II Began"
                                          Random House, New York 1969

                         *  *  *


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