The French Yellow Book

Previous Document Contents Next Document

No. 217 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 24, 1939.

(Received a 1 p.m. by telephone.)

I SAW the British Ambassador at midday today. My colleague had two interviews with the Chancellor yesterday, one in the morning lasting about three-quarters of an hour, when he handed over the message from Mr. Chamberlain, the other in the afternoon lasting about half an hour. Sir Nevile made every effort to convince Herr Hitler that England would fight at Poland's side. He firmly believes, so he told me, that he had succeeded.

For his part, the Chancellor spoke of almost nothing but the treatment of the German minorities in Poland. Should hostilities break out, the blame, he said, would be Britain's, and, recalling that he had made reasonable proposals last April, he alleged that the British guarantee had encouraged the Poles to ill-treat the German minorities and had stiffened the Warsaw Government in its uncompromising attitude; in his view, the limit had now been reached, and if, in Sir Nevile's own words, any fresh incidents were to take place against a German in Poland, "he would march."

My colleague had asked Herr Hitler, should the latter have nothing further to say to him, to have his reply delivered to him at Salzburg. Herr Hitler had sent for him, and that was the only favourable sign that the British Ambassador had gathered from his visit.

During the second interview, the Chancellor again emphasized strongly the necessity for putting an end to the ill-treatment which, according to him, was being meted out to the German minorities in Poland.

Sir Nevile Henderson, while doubting whether there is still any hope of avoiding the worst, considers that the only chance of, at least, delaying matters lies in the immediate establishment of contact between Warsaw and Berlin.

He has, therefore, suggested to his Government that it should advise M. Beck to seek contact with the Chancellor without delay.

My colleague thinks that Herr Hitler is waiting for the return of Herr von Ribbentrop to take his final decision, and that therefore only a few hours remains for this final attempt.

Herr Hitler is adopting precisely the same attitude toward Poland as he did towards Czechoslovakia in the last days of September.


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

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.