The French Yellow Book

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No. 183 :
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 7, 1939.

I HAVE received from M. Beck the following particulars with regard to the note that has today been handed to the Polish Commissioner by the Danzig Senate.

The thesis already formulated verbally by Herr Greiser to M. Chodacki is repeated in this note: that the Polish Government, whose protest was based on mistaken information, had no cause to take umbrage. Moreover, the Senate declares that it is ready to discuss the various points at issue in the matter of the Danzig Customs with the Commissioner.

Although one may take it that the Senate's note is hardly diplomatic in expression, M. Beck is sufficiently pleased with it: he would seem to be right in interpreting this reply as a refusal on the part of the Nazi elements in Danzig.

The latter, either at Berlin's instigation or possibly on their own initiative, provoked this incident to see how the land lay.

The Polish Government considered that, after everything that has happened recently in Danzig from the military point of view, the time had come to call an immediate halt. "Although openly conducted," said M. Beck to me, "the smuggling of arms and men was not recognized by the Senate. This time, however, we had to make a stand, as here was an action being taken officially against our interests."

The Foreign Minister added that the Polish Customs officers in the Free City had been ordered from the beginning of this incident to carry out their duties in uniform and armed, in case there should be an attempt made to arrest them.

During the negotiations that are about to take place with the Senate, Poland will be very conciliatory as far as the details of the Customs control are concerned; with respect to the principle itself of that control it will, on the other hand, be very firm.

In M. Beck's view the general situation is still serious; he tells me, however, that he considers the attitude which the Danzig Senate has just adopted, after consulting with Berlin, as a favourable sign which should encourage us all to persevere in our joint policy of firmness.

Only by strict adherence to this policy could we overcome, without a war arising, a further crisis which Colonel Beck also expects at the end of August or early in September.


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