The French Yellow Book

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No. 199 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 18, 1939.

DESPITE some indications of a local relaxation at Danzig, the situation becomes increasingly tense. It is difficult to say for the moment whether it will reach a climax before or after the Nuremberg Congress. There are indications favouring either view. Consequently, I shall venture to recall the chief suggestions made in my last telegrams:

(1) It is of the utmost importance to keep abreast of Germany in all military matters. Germany is at the present time calling up large numbers of reserves and is forming them into divisions, and also carrying out considerable movements of troops and war material.

(2) It is imperative to bring the Russian negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion as soon as possible. I learn from various sources that it is now the military authorities who are most active in pressing the Chancellor to go to war with Poland. The most powerful deterrent would be a pact with the Russians.

(3) The most burning question today is perhaps less that of Danzig than that of the German minorities in Poland, and I wonder if Germany is not behaving thus in order to find points of attack less explicitly covered than Danzig by the Franco-British guarantees. It seems dear that the Reich is now trying to confuse the issue and to collect a dossier of such Polish acts of provocation as would permit her to intervene against Poland in a military sense on other grounds than Danzig, in the hope that these alleged acts of Polish provocation would place the conflict outside the framework of the pact existing between Poland and the Western Powers. It would be useful to remember this when drawing up the agreements which are at present being prepared.

(4) On the other hand, the treatment dealt out to the German minorities is one of the things to which Herr Hitler is most sensitive. Besides, this tendency has been reflected in the German Press for some days.

(5) It is of course important to bring no pressure to bear on Poland which might injure her moral strength or vital interests, and to leave her free to decide the limit of the concessions she can make regarding Danzig, but at the same time it seems to me that we should let her know the value we attach to the safeguarding of peace, so that she should give no grounds for complaint nor justification for the German maneuver concerning the treatment of minorities, and should do all she can to avoid incidents with Germany, especially in the German-inhabited districts.

(6) Given the extremely precise indications, which have reached me from a safe source, on the Chancellor's state of mind, I consider that the Government should make use of its powers and forbid the Press to make any attack which might be taken as a personal insult against the Head of the German State.


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