Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Document No. 1822-PS

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[Item 1]

1. Letter of the Fuehrer with wording of 25 August 1939 transmitted to me by telephone from the Reich Labor Ministry.

2. Telegram No. 370 of 25 August 1939 concerning transmittal of Fuehrer's letter to Duce.

3. Second letter of Fuehrer to Duce, dated 25 August 1939 transmitted by telephone by the Reich Labor Ministry to the Ambassador.

4. Tel. No. 371 of 25 August 1939 concerning transmission of second letter of Fuehrer.

5. Note of Envoy von Plessen concerning telephone call from Berlin, dealing with alleged contradiction between telegram 370 and a letter transmitted by Ambassador Attolico in Berlin.

6. Note of 26 August 1939 on same subject.

7. Letter of Duce to Fuehrer of 26 August, transmitted at 1210 hours by telephone in Berlin by Count Ciano to Attolico.

[Item 2]

Rome, August 25, 1939.

Embassy Courier (Btsch./Kr.)
Telegram in code (Secret Ch. V.)
Foreign Affairs
No. 370 of 25 August
Top Secret

To: The Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Subject: Today's Telephonic Instructions.

V. 1. Encoding: Fink/Grade/Haupmann.
2. Dispatched: Krueger/Limberg/Zimmerm.
3. To me dispatched in sections (last one at 11 p. m.)
[Illegible notations]

I have personally handed on to the Duce in the Palazzo Venezia at 1520 o'clock in the presence of Ciano the contents of today's letter of the Fuehrer conveyed here by telephone. The Duce, who was possessed of great calmness, at first, read the letter through entirely, and then went over it, with me sentence for sentence, at which time, he translated the sentences into Italian for Ciano, who is not conversant with German, and, in fact, as I was able to convince myself, completely, correctly, and true to the meanings.

Among this comments upon the individual themes, I shall single out the following:

He was entirely satisfied with the non-aggression pact with Moscow. He, himself, already in the Spring had offered such a suggestion to Field Marshal Goering, pointing out, indeed, at this juncture, the need of adopting a moderate attitude, since our two nations, who for ten years on account of ideological reasons have been oriented for a fight against Moscow, must have the time needed for a readjustment. In spite of the suggestion made at that time, he, himself, is and remains an implacable anticommunist.

(Here I interrupted with the view that the German position against communism self-evidently remains entirely unchanged and that in regard to this fact Moscow has never been left in doubt.)

The comment in the letter concerning the attitude of the Japanese Cabinet he regarded as being correct. The fault lies with the Japanese Ministry of the Navy, which is opposed to adopting an unambiguous position against England.

The reaction he also expects the pact with Moscow to have upon Rumania appeared to be of most lively interest to him. Consideration for Bessarabia would paralyze Rumania's freedom of movement in favor of Poland in the case of conflict. Thus Rumania would be left to the Hungarians.

With an approving nod of the head he agreed that Turkey would now have to revise its attitude.

He described the worsening of German-Polish relations as so acute that an armed conflict can no longer be avoided. The moment to consider possibilities of preventing the conflict has now passed, because the Polish mentality-supported by England's attitude-is no longer responsive to reasonable suggestions, no matter from which side they might come. Otherwise he might have imagined that the Poles would have sought, for example, immediate reapproachment with Germany, if they correctly appreciated the danger threatening their existence; and, to prove clearly their willingness to negotiate, they would first of all have given Danzig to Hitler, without reservations and without any talks on negotiations. Then one might have considered the removal of further reasons for discord-he cited the Polish Corridor and Silesia-by means of direct German-Polish talks; in his opinion that would have been possible. Finally, a general conference might have followed in order to solve the other big controversial questions-points of differences between Italy and France, German colonies, distribution of raw materials, armament questions. This would have assured European peace for 15-20 years, as is desired by all. Such considerations, however, are outdated by the precipitous course of events. He had now adjusted himself to the fact that the outbreak of a general conflagration is not only unavoidable but immediately imminent. The question of the exact date interested him most, and he wanted to know whether I could tell him more about that. I answered the question by pointing out the corresponding places in the letter. He seemed to realize that nothing more could be said at the moment by anybody. But he emphasized that he attached much value, for obvious reasons, to the fact that he should be informed as fast as possible. But in view of the speed of the developments he understood the difficulties of such notification. Finally, he stated again that he would have preferred open conflict 2 to 3 years hence and gave his reasons. And he believed the reasons also applied to us, especially in view of the condition of our fleet. However, developments are now forcing us in another direction. In any case, he expressly emphasized, he is with us, unconditionally and with everything.

At the end of the talk he made comments about the prospects of an armed German-Polish conflict which should be decided in our favor by our army in a very short time.

Ciano, who led me out after I took leave of the Duce, summarized his impressions of the situation by saying that any discussion over possibilities to keep the peace was outdistanced by the course of events. No longer the word "peace," but "victory" would govern his action.

Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality
Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office, 1946

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