The French Yellow Book
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No. 26
M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs, M. De Saint-Quentin. French Ambassador in Washington.

Paris, November 27, 1938.

IN my communication of October 3, I called your attention to the possibilities of an international détente contained in the Munich Agreement; it would have been inconsistent not to attempt to translate such possibilities into actual facts in so far as this action was compatible with the execution of the policy of national defence undertaken in France as well as in England. The communiqué which was published after an interview between Mr. Neville Chamberlain and Herr Hitler on October 1 on the day immediately following the signature of the Munich Agreement, showed that both parties were at one in their desire for appeasement. The Chancellor of the Reich, when he received M. Francois-Poncet for a farewell audience on October 19, declared himself ready to seek means to improve Franco-German relations and to further the elements tending to a rapprochement which are contained in the agreement of September 29. At the same time, he made various suggestions to this effect; the French Government, after examining them carefully, informed Berlin as early as October 21 that they were prepared to exchange views on this subject with the authorities of the Reich without delay.

The two Governments soon arrived at an agreement on the text of a declaration to be signed by the respective Ministers for Foreign Affairs, which would stress the following main points:

(1) That pacific relations and a neighbourly attitude between the two countries constitute an essential condition for the preservation of peace; that efforts should be made on both sides to develop their relations in this direction;

(2) That no problem of a territorial nature remains in suspense between France and Germany, the existing frontier being solemnly recognized as permanent;

(3) That the two Governments are determined, while reserving their special relations with third Powers, to remain in contact on all questions of importance to both countries and to enter into consultation in case developments arising out of these questions should threaten to lead to international difficulties.

This document is to be signed in Paris, at a date which is to be fixed shortly, and will then be published immediately.

I do not consider it necessary to emphasize the importance of this declaration: it will not escape your notice that not only does it demonstrate the desire for appeasement and reconciliation common to both Governments, but also recognizes by means of a diplomatic instrument the German intention, already expressed unilaterally by the Chancellor in some of his speeches, of regarding the mere possibility of territorial disputes between the two countries as excluded, and of recognizing the existing frontier between France and Germany as permanent.

The procedure of mutual consultation foreseen in case of international difficulties can, moreover, provide a valuable means of avoiding, in future, certain sudden initiatives likely to endanger the preservation of peace.

Finally, the text that has been adopted leaves us our entire freedom of action regarding third parties to whom we are bound. Mr. Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax, during the conversations which took place in Paris yesterday, have clearly expressed their satisfaction with a declaration, which, in their opinion, is, like the Anglo-German declaration, an immediate contribution to the task of international appeasement.

You should be guided by the above considerations during your conversations on the subject with the Secretary of State, asking him also to treat them as confidential until the document has been published.

Georges Bonnet.

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