The French Yellow Book

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No. 221 :
M. ROGER CAMBON, French Chargé d'Affaires in London, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. London, August 24, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 6.40 p.m.)

THE British Embassy in Paris has been put in a position to report the essential points of the written communication handed by Herr Hitler to the British Ambassador in Berlin, in reply to Mr. Chamberlain's letter.

The British Government has taken special precautions to keep this document a strict secret. The attention of the British Embassy in Paris has been specially drawn to this point.

I, nevertheless, think I should communicate to the Department, for in case they may be useful, the following details of this reply:

(1) For years Germany has tried in vain to win Britain's friendship, by going to the very limit of the Reich's interests.

(2) Like other States, Germany has historical and economic interests which she cannot renounce. Among these interests are the German city of Danzig and the related problem of the Corridor.

(3) Germany is ready to settle these questions with Poland on the basis of generous proposals. The British action has dissuaded the Poles from negotiating on this basis.

(4) The unconditional guarantee given by Britain to Poland has encouraged the latter to terrorize the German minorities, which number a million and a half people. Such atrocities cannot be tolerated by a great Power. Poland has likewise violated numerous legal obligations which she had assumed with regard to Danzig. She sent various ultimata and initiated the process of an economic strangulation of the Free City.

(5) Germany recently made it clear to Poland that she was not prepared to acquiesce in the development of such a state of affairs. She would not tolerate any further ultimata or the persecution of minorities. She would not consent to the economic ruin of Danzig, nor consent to receive fresh Notes amounting to downright provocations to the Reich. Furthermore, the questions of Danzig and the Corridor must be settled.

(6) Herr Hitler has taken note of the fact that the British Government will come to Poland's assistance in the case of intervention by the Reich. This is no way modifies the determination of Germany to protect the interests mentioned above. Herr Hitler shares the Prime Minister's view as to the probability of a long war, but he is ready to undergo any ordeal rather than sacrifice Germany's national interests or honour.

(7) The German Government has received intelligence of the British and French Governments' alleged intention to take certain mobilization measures. Germany, on the other hand, has no wish to take other than purely defensive measures against France and Britain. A passage in Mr. Chamberlain's letter seems to confirm the foregoing intelligence and can be construed only as a threat to Germany. If the measures in question are taken, they will force Germany to order a general mobilization immediately.

(8) A pacific solution of present difficulties does not depend upon Germany, but upon those Powers which, ever since the Treaty of Versailles, have opposed any peaceful revision.

(9) No improvement in Anglo-German relations is possible until there is a change of mind among the Powers responsible. Herr Hitler has struggled throughout his life for the betterment of relations between his country and Britain. Up to the present, his efforts have been in vain. None more than he would welcome any change that might come about in this respect in the future.


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