The French Yellow Book

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No. 108 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, April 29, 1939.

AFTER a careful reading of Herr Hitler's speech, the following impressions can be clearly drawn: Delivered in a tone relatively calm, moderate in substance and in form, it is a speech for the defence rather than an indictment. It is directed more towards the past than to the future. It would, however, be dangerous to allow oneself to be impressed to any extent by this appearance.

It is possible that, as he himself rises with the Reich which he has built, Herr Hitler may view things with a more lofty serenity; there is no reason to hope that he will give up his designs, his ambitions and his covetous appetites; indeed, it is quite the reverse.

If the Führer has decided to allow his troops a pause it is because he thinks it necessary to prepare the next operation by means of negotiations; the fact that he is shifting his maneuver from the military to the diplomatic plane, permits the Western Powers to appreciate the efficacy of their action. But Herr Hitler's activity will not be less dangerous because he plays the hermit for a while, and the Allies could not with safety relax either their vigilance or their military and diplomatic efforts.

Having noted that, in the face of the resolute attitude of the three allied Powers, the Reich has drawn in its claws, we must see the Führer's speech in the light of so many others conceived in the same spirit, and I think it desirable that from today the French Press should put an end to its comments.

By this time we know too well what the German Führer's word is worth, to allow ourselves once again to be taken in by it. Herr Hitler has, moreover, just broken it once more by denouncing, five years before its expiration, the German-Polish Agreement which was to last, without any possibility of denunciation, until 1944.

What must be remembered in his speech is that he sets his face against any pacific organization of the European community, and that each new conquest, which will strengthen the Reich's position as the heir to the Holy Roman Empire or to the Hapsburgs, is regarded by him as legitimate.

Armed force is the only thing that counts with him. We must therefore proceed with our re-armament and the strengthening of our alliances. I may be allowed to recall the words that Herr Hitler addressed to me at our first meeting:

"Do not think that Alsace-Lorraine means nothing to me; it is because the retaking of Strasbourg would necessitate the shedding of too much German blood that I have decided to end the Franco-German quarrel."

More than ever I am convinced that the Führer's whole temperament is revealed in these words.


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