The British War Bluebook
Efforts by the Italian Government.
Previous Document Contents Next Document

No. 143
Efforts by the Italian Government.

Sir P. Loraine to Viscount Halifax (received 3 a. m., September 5).

(Telegraphic) Rome, September 4, 1939.

Following is translation of Stefani* communiqué issued to-night:-

"In view of aggravation of European situation on 31st August, Duce, while realising exceptional difficulties which then made pacific solution extremely problematic, wished to make final attempt to save European peace. With this object English and French Governments were informed that Duce, if he could have previous certainty of Franco-British adhesion and Polish participation assured by action in London and Paris, would have been able to summon an international conference for 5th September with object of reviewing clauses of Treaty of Versailles which are cause of present disturbance in life of Europe. Italian Government did not fail to emphasise necessity of extreme urgency of replying, but French and English Governments were not able to convey their answer until next day, 1st September. In the meantime, in night between 31st August and 1st September frontier incidents occurred which led Führer to initiate military operations against Poland. Replies reaching Italian Government being favourable in principle both on French and English side and great interest having been shown on French side despite military clash which had already taken place between Germany and Poland in a possible development of initiative of Duce, Italian Government on morning of 2nd September at 10 o'clock informed Chancellor Hitler à titre d'information that there was still possibility of summoning conference, preceded by armistice conference, which would have been designed to solve German-Polish conflict by peaceful means. Hitler replied to Duce, through our Ambassador to Berlin, that he did not reject à priori possibility of conference. He wished, however, to know by way of preliminary (a) if notes presented by French and British at Berlin had character of ultimatum, in which case negotiation would be useless; and (b) if he could count on a period of twenty-four hours to mature and take his decision on matter. Italian Government, getting again into contact with Governments of London and Paris at 2 p. m. on 2nd September, informed them of Führer's request. In late evening reply came from London and Paris affirmative [sic] * as regards two requests above, but adding that France and England, in view of new fact which had occurred between 31st August and 2nd September, viz., occupation of Polish territory by German forces, laid down as fundamental condition for participation in international conference evacuation of occupied territories. In these circumstances, Italian Government confined themselves again to informing Führer of this condition, adding that, unless German Government were of contrary opinion, they did not think they could take further action."

* The official Italian news agency. Back

* See Nos. 109, 110 and 116. The communication from His Majesty's Government was in the nature of a warning and was not to be considered as an ultimatum. The Italian Government were so informed. Back

Previous Document Contents Next Document
Nuremberg War Crimes Trial 20th Century Page World War II Page

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.