The French Yellow Book

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No. 253 :
M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin. Paris, August 26, 1939. 2.50 p.m.

IN reply to the message which, at the end of your interview of the 25th August, Herr Hitler asked you to convey to M. Daladier, please deliver urgently to the Chancellor on behalf of the President of the Council of Ministers the personal letter which follows:

Your Excellency,

The French Ambassador in Berlin has sent me your personal message.

Faced as we are, as you remind me, with the gravest responsibility that can ever be assumed by two heads of government, that of allowing the blood of two great peoples to be shed, when they desire nothing but peace and work, I owe it to you, I owe it to our two peoples to say that the fate of peace still rests solely in your hands.

You cannot doubt my sentiments towards Germany, nor France's pacific dispositions towards your nation. No Frenchman has ever done more than I have to strengthen between our two peoples not merely peace, but a sincere cooperation in their own interest as well as in that of Europe and the whole world.

Unless you attribute to the French people a conception of national honour less high than that which I myself recognize in the German people, you cannot doubt either that France will be true to her solemn promises to other nations, such as Poland, which, I am perfectly sure, wants also to live in peace with Germany.

These two facts are easily reconciled. There is nothing today which need prevent any longer the pacific solution of the international crisis with honour and dignity for all peoples, if the will for peace exists equally on all sides.

I can vouch not only for the good will of France, but also for that of all her allies. I can personally guarantee the readiness which Poland has always shown to have recourse to methods of free conciliation, such as may be envisaged between the Governments of two sovereign nations. In all sincerity I can assure you that there is not one of the grievances invoked by Germany against Poland in connection with the Danzig question which might not be submitted to decision by such methods with a view to a friendly and equitable settlement.

I can also pledge my honour that there is nothing in the clear and sincere solidarity of France with Poland and her allies which could modify in any manner whatsoever the peaceful inclinations of my country. This solidarity has never prevented us, and does not prevent us today, from helping to maintain Poland in her pacific inclinations.

In so serious an hour I sincerely believe that no man endowed with human feelings could understand that a war of destruction should be allowed to break out without a last attempt at a pacific adjustment between Germany and Poland. Your will for peace may be exercised in all confidence in this direction without the slightest derogation from your sense of German honour. As for myself, the head of the Government of France, a country which, like yours, only desires harmony between the French people and the German people, and which, on the other hand, is united to Poland by bonds of friendship and by the pledged word, I am ready to make all the efforts that an honest man can make in order to ensure the success of this attempt.

Like myself, you were a soldier in the last war. You realize, as I do, how a people's memory retains a horror for war and its disasters, whatever may be its result. My conception of your eminent rise as leader of the German people, to guide them along the paths of peace towards the full accomplishment of their mission in the common work of civilization, prompts me to ask you for a reply to this proposal. If the blood of France and that of Germany flow again, as they did twenty-five years ago, each of the two peoples will fight with confidence in its own victory, but the most certain victors will be the forces of destruction and barbarism.


Georges Bonnet.

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