The French Yellow Book

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No. 72 :
M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to M. Corbin, French Ambassador in London. Paris, March 16, 1939.

THE urgent representations which our Ambassador in Berlin was instructed to make were based upon the same anxiety for preliminary information which governed the attitude of Lord Halifax.

This démarche has proved belated since the events of today have given an answer. The development of the situation which was at first limited to the separation of Slovakia has ended this morning in the occupation of Prague and the de facto annexation by the Reich of Bohemia and Moravia. The agreements concluded at Munich have been flagrantly violated.

As it is impossible for this violation to be accepted without reaction from Governments who are concerned in estimating its full importance, it is imperative to point out without delay to the German authorities the deductions which we are obliged to draw from events which jeopardize the confidence that the agreements of September 29 were designed to restore.

In calling the attention of the State Secretary to this new situation you should emphasize that if we were to accept without protest so explicit a violation of the Munich Agreement it might lead to a doubt as to the good faith with which Britain and France had embarked on September 29 on a political settlement whose whole justification was, by liberating the Sudeten, to safeguard at the very least the independence and integrity of a more homogeneous Czechoslovakia placed under an international guarantee. The Governments, who gave their assent to a compromise intended to assure the survival of Czechoslovakia, cannot today watch in silence the dismemberment of the Czech people and the annexation of their territory without being accused in retrospect of complaisance and moral complicity. The enforced submission of the Prague Government, brutally imposed by German pressure, cannot be invoked to absolve Great Britain and France from their moral obligation in the eyes of their own people and of those of other States as well as of the Czechoslovak nation. They owe it to international opinion, as well as to themselves, to register a formal protest against this act of force by which Germany, in contempt of the rights of a nation, has destroyed the contractual basis of the first attempt at an understanding between the four great European Powers.

You should represent to Lord Halifax the full importance of these considerations and satisfy yourself that the British Government agree that the British and French representatives should immediately take concerted action in Berlin.

Georges Bonnet.

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