Logo
The French Yellow Book


Previous Document Contents Next Document

No. 135 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. GEORGES Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, June 13, 1939.

A PERSON in close touch with this Embassy has just gathered together the following observations from someone in Herr von Ribbentrop's immediate entourage.

Beneath the apparent calm which at the moment prevails in Berlin and astonishes some people and worries others, they are feverishly at work at the Wilhelmstrasse. Preparations are being made to face all manner of eventualities, but before directing his foreign policy into any one definite channel, Herr von Ribbentrop is awaiting the outcome of the talks between the Western Powers and Russia. The Danzig question is, in his eyes, only a detail which in itself does not interest him. For him it is the whole Polish question which is at stake.

This problem could be settled:

Either by an arrangement with England and France, as was the Czechoslovak problem,

Or by an arrangement with Poland itself,

Or by an arrangement with Russia.

The first solution is ruled out by the attitude adopted by France and England since March 15.

The second has met with the rigid resistance from Poland, backed by the British guarantee. There is now no longer much hope of its being realized, for the so-called negotiations in progress between Warsaw and Berlin only deal with technical details and do not touch on the conflict of principle.

There remains, therefore, the third solution, namely the destruction of the Polish State by partition between the Reich and Russia.

Herr von Ribbentrop has not given up this idea. He will not abandon it until the Anglo-Russian pact is signed. Until then he reserves all decisions, while continuing to show every consideration to the Soviets.

The return of the "Condor" Legion should normally have been an occasion for diatribes against Bolshevism. Herr von Ribbentrop saw to it that none of the speeches contained anything likely to offend Russia. The F├╝hrer himself, when addressing the "Condor" Legion never uttered the word "Bolshevism" or "Communism." It was against the "Democracies," the "warmongers and war profiteers," the promoters of "encirclement," that his thunderbolts were directed. The reserve that he observed with regard to Russia was evidently not due to chance. It was due to the influence of Herr von Ribbentrop who still has hopes of winning over the Russians, or at any rate of seeing them remain outside the bloc constituted under the aegis of France and England.

These considerations, which bear out information I have already communicated to Your Excellency, seem clearly to reflect certain designs of Herr von Ribbentrop and the National-Socialist Government with regard to Poland and Russia. One could imagine perhaps that the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Reich is himself the originator of these "confidences." Yet it is difficult to conceive how it would be to his interest to spread news which would incite the Western Powers to speed up the negotiations whose conclusion seems to be so much feared in Berlin. On the other hand, Your Excellency is aware that similar information reached me from Field Marshal Goering as well as from other sources.

The manoeuvre which the advocates of collaboration with Moscow hope to bring off, evidently consists of a repetition to the detriment of Poland and with the aid of Russia, of the device already employed so successfully against Czechoslovakia.

Coulondre.

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

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.