The French Yellow Book

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No. 184 :
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 7, 1939.

WHEN stressing the vital importance that Danzig has for Poland, the Polish Press does not fail to emphasize the fact that for Germany the fate of the Free City is not of any great significance but really only a part of a very much wider problem which the Reich avoids mentioning at present for obvious tactical reasons.

M. Smogorzewski, writing in the Gazeta Polska, observes with relation to this that many Germans, even in front of foreign journalists, have not troubled of late to conceal that a settlement of the Danzig question cannot be considered without a settlement of the problem of the Corridor, and that the access of eighty million Germans to East Prussia was more important than the access of twenty million Poles to the sea.

The officials of the Wilhelmstrasse and of the German Propaganda Ministry are said to have received orders a few days ago not to make such remarks; but M. Smogorzewski quotes several examples to show that this is actually the theory held by the German leaders: Dr. Goebbels' speech at Cologne on May 19 last, in which the Corridor question was plainly stated; a special number published by the review Der Deutsche im Osten on the occasion of Dr. Goebbels' visit to Danzig, which stated that a final adjustment of German-Polish relations would involve the return to the Reich of Danzig, the Corridor and "other territories"; and an article appearing in the Schwarze Korps for July 20 which spoke of Poland's access to the sea as an absurd anomaly, etc.

The Polish Press has hitherto done no more than briefly report Herr Forster's statements to the representatives of Paris Soir and the Daily Express. There is reason to believe, however, that it has taken careful note of them; Danzig's Bavarian Gauleiter incautiously provided it with a number of arguments when he declared that what the Germans want is "the restoration of Germany's pre-War frontiers and the certainty of not having hostile neighbours on her eastern border," adding: "Our claims seek only to redress the wrongs perpetrated by the Treaty of Versailles."

In this connection I would point out to your Department that the pamphlet Danzig-de quoi s'agit-il? which is being circulated in France by the German Propaganda department, is in fact the translation of a booklet in German, copies of which were distributed some time ago by the Press service of the Danzig Senate.

It too contains passages (pp. 16-17 of the French text) declaring in so many words that Germany demands the return not only of Danzig (her "last claim," according to Count Welczeck) but also "the Corridor and other territories arbitrarily torn from the Reich."

In my opinion such an avowal deserves to be noted and commented upon by our Press.


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