The French Yellow Book

Previous Document Contents Next Document

No. 193 :
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 15, 1939.

I HAVE the honour to send herewith to your Department a translation of the notes exchanged between the Commissioner-General of the Polish Republic in Danzig and the President of the Senate of the Free City, on August 4 and 7.

Your department will also find enclosed the text of a communication addressed by the President of Customs Administration of the Free City to the Head Office of the Polish Customs on August 4.


The COMMISSIONER-GENERAL of the Polish Republic, to the PRESIDENT of the Senate of the Free City of Danzig.

I HAVE learned that the local authorities of the Danzig Customs on duty at the posts situated on the frontier which separates the Free City from East Prussia have addressed to the Polish Customs inspectors a communication which is without precedent in the history of Polish-Danzig relations. This document states that the Danzig authorities intend, from 7 a.m. on August 6 to prevent a certain number of Polish Customs inspectors from carrying out their duties of control which form part of the recognized rights of the Polish Government on the Customs frontier. I am convinced that this infringement of the existing agreements, which has been committed by the local authorities, is the result of a misunderstanding or of a false interpretation of instructions given by the Senate of the Free City.

You are, I am sure, aware that the Polish Government could not permit the fundamental rights of Poland to be violated in this way.

I expect to receive from you before 6 p.m. on August 5, 1939, a reply assuring me that you have countermanded the steps taken by your subordinates.

Since the aforesaid incidents have occurred at several frontier posts, I am obliged to inform you that all Polish Customs inspectors have been ordered to carry out their duties, as from August 6, in uniform and armed, and this in all the frontier posts where they may consider it helpful to their duties. Any attempt to interfere with the execution of their duty, any attack or intervention by the police, will be considered an act of violence directed against Polish State officials in the discharge of their official functions. Should such abuses occur, the Polish Government would immediately initiate reprisals (retaliatory measures) against the Free City and the responsibility for these would fall entirely on the Senate.

I hope to receive a satisfactory reply at the time stated.


His EXCELLENCY the Diplomatic Representative of the Polish Republic, M. M. CHODACKI, Minister Plenipotentiary in Danzig.


IN answer to your two notes of August 4, one of which was not delivered to me until the 5th, I must express my astonishment that you should take advantage of a completely baseless rumour to send to the Danzig Government on behalf of the Polish Government an ultimatum demanding a reply at short notice, and that acting in this way without reason you should court, at a time of great political unrest, dangers which might lead to incalculable disasters. The order which the Polish Government has abruptly given to all Polish Customs inspectors to carry out their duties in uniform and armed is contrary to all the stipulations of the Treaties in force and cannot be considered other than as a provocation likely to cause incidents and acts of violence of the most serious nature.

In accordance with what I have since stated-and as I informed you immediately by telephone on the afternoon of Saturday, August 5-no official body, and in particular no section of the Customs Administration of the Free City of Danzig has ordered its officials from August 6, at 7 a.m., to prevent a certain number of Polish Customs inspectors from carrying out their duties. I refer you, moreover, to my note of June 3, 1939, in which I dealt at sufficient length with the question of the relationship between the Polish and Danzig Customs officers on the frontier.

The Danzig Government protests with the utmost energy against the reprisals with which it is threatened by the Polish Government. It considers this procedure entirely inadmissible and holds the Polish Government as entirely responsible for any consequences which might occur.

I am, etc.,


The PRESIDENT of the Customs Administration of the Free City of Danzig, to the Head Office of the Polish Customs.

THE Senate of the Free City of Danzig has informed the Polish Diplomatic representative in Danzig, in its letter of July 29 of this year, that it has advised the Danzig Customs Administration that the "so-called" frontier guards shall no longer be treated as Polish Customs inspectors.

I beg to refer you to this communication from the Senate.

By Order,


Director of the Danzig Customs Administration,


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

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.