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The French Yellow Book


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No. 37 :
M. Leon Noel, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, January 12, 1939.

WHEN he received me today, after a couple of days' rest, Colonel Beck began by telling me again that his journey to Bavaria had been made on the initiative of the German Chancellor, who had sent someone to see him in Monte Carlo for that purpose. He added that he had not considered it opportune, after recent events, to refuse the invitation thus tendered to him.

According to Colonel Beck, this is what the conversations between him and Herr Hitler and Herr von Ribbentrop really amounted to.

The necessity was again stressed of maintaining the good neighbourly relations created by the Polish-German declaration of 1934, and it was stated that these relations remained satisfactory in spite of certain difficulties.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs told me that he had found the Chancellor calm, talking a great deal as usual, but weighing his words, and not at all in the feverish state in which he had seen him sometimes. "It does not appear," he said, "that at the present time Herr Hitler is contemplating a vast project for action in the near future, nor that his intention is to bring about great events at short notice; he did not give me the impression of a man who was preparing to start a crusade against anybody."

Colonel Beck gave me the following information:

(1) Herr Hitler expressed his satisfaction that war had been avoided in September 1938 and that the young people who had already so many difficulties to contend with had been spared this terrible ordeal.

(2) According to Colonel Beck, Herr Hitler referred twice to France; first he congratulated himself on Herr von Ribbentrop's journey to Paris, and gave an assurance of his "good intentions" towards us. Later, the conversation having strayed to architecture, he acknowledged the great debt which civilization owes to our country.

(3) Against Moscow, against "Russia," and not merely against Bolshevism, the F├╝hrer showed the same hostility as in days gone by.

(4) From certain remarks made by the Chancellor, Colonel Beck infers that the persecution of the Jews "will not slow down in Germany." As to the fate of the Polish Jews, the negotiations will be taken up again very soon, after a temporary interruption.

(5) Colonel Beck was able to ascertain, on the occasion of his visit to Berchtesgaden, that Herr von Ribbentrop appeared rather ill-informed of the intentions of the Chancellor, whom he had not seen for several weeks. This, in his opinion, confirms what he had told me at the time of Herr von Neurath's departure, concerning Herr Hitler's intention to direct himself the future foreign policy of the Reich, pondering over his decisions in the solitude of Berchtesgaden.

(6) The Foreign Minister of Poland hopes that Herr von Ribbentrop will come to Warsaw toward the end of January.

Leon Noel.

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