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The French Yellow Book


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No. 208 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 21, 1939. 9.07 p.m.

(Received on the 22nd at 12.10 a.m.)

I HAVE just heard, from a source which is usually reliable, that the immediate intentions of Germany are as follows:

(1) Orders have been given to all officer pilots of the Berlin region to join their posts at midnight to-morrow, with three days' provisions. Similar information reached me from another source this morning stating that the concentration of German forces was to be completed in two or three days' time.

(2) An important decision is to be taken by the Reich in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, in connection with the Danzig affair. This step on the precise nature of which no information has been given, would cause very serious international tension and would probably involve the closing of the German frontiers.

(3) At the same time, Bohemia and Moravia would be granted an independence similar to that of Slovakia, an action calculated to have the appearance of generosity and meant to confuse French and English public opinion, to separate the Allies and to isolate Poland.

(4) The F├╝hrer would merely have the Siegfried Line manned: he would not declare war on France or on Britain, and would remain on the defensive. Even should the Western Powers formally declare war on Germany, Herr Hitler would wait to be attacked and avoid taking any initiative. He is said to hope that the French and British Governments will come to see the futility of any intervention and will then accept the situation created de facto on the eastern frontiers.

I am not able to vouch for the accuracy of these indications; yet they come from a well-informed source and seem to me likely to be true, as a maneuver of this kind seems to correspond pretty well with Herr Hitler's mentality and methods.

There must be no illusions concerning the independence that the Czech provinces might obtain: by making such a gesture while at the same time acting against Poland, the Third Reich would endeavour to create the impression that the establishment of a just peace was its sole concern, while actually carrying on its policy of conquest.

Coulondre.

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