The French Yellow Book

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No. 222 :
M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw. Paris, August 24, 1939. 6.40 p.m.

You should see M. Beck at the earliest possible moment and tell him that in the new conditions resulting from the Russo-German Pact, the French Government is more anxious than ever that Poland should at all cost avoid laying herself open to the charge of being the aggressor-this being the whole purpose of the German manoeuvre-and thus playing into Germany's hands. The disadvantages arising from such a position would be as grave for Poland as for her allies, on account of the repercussions it might have on the obligations, virtual or actual, which bind the latter to other Powers.

In the same way, the French Government urgently recommends that the Polish Government abstain from all military action in the event of the Danzig Senate proclaiming the City's return to the Reich. To any possible decision of this sort, it is important that Poland should reply only by an action of the same kind, that is to say, by making all reservations and stating her intention of having recourse to all legal remedies which may be afforded to her by diplomatic usage.

The Warsaw Government will understand this counsel all the better since it corresponds to the intentions expressed by Marshal Rydz-Smigly to General Ironside on July 19. As for us, we have all the more grounds for clearly putting forward this advice as it is in harmony with our General Staff's view of the problem: for the Staff considers that, from the strategical point of view, a Polish Army, after advancing into the Free City territory, would be in an extremely delicate position.

You should emphasize to M. Beck that, in our view, the question is one solely of expediency and that, by taking up such a position, the Polish Government would only be safeguarding the full effect of our assistance and would in no way be hampering its liberty of decision, in the event of a definite German military attack; nor would the validity of the French position with regard to Poland, as defined by agreements which it is necessary to recall, be thereby prejudiced.

Georges Bonnet.

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