The French Yellow Book

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No. 287 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 29, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 1.20 p.m.)

MY British colleague has acquainted me with his interview with Herr Hitler, the substance of which is as follows:

"All through the interview the Führer returned again and again to his claims against Poland. In April he made a generous offer, which could not be repeated. What he wants today is Danzig, the Corridor, and territorial rectifications in Polish Silesia. Sir Nevile Henderson, who refused to be drawn into a discussion of this programme, said and repeated: England accepts the offer to conclude an agreement with Germany; but England stipulates as a preliminary condition that the Reich should reach an agreement with Poland, by free negotiations, conducted on a footing of complete equality, safeguarding essential Polish interests, under an international guarantee. The Ambassador added that Poland was willing to discuss on that basis.

"At the end of the interview my colleague put two questions to Herr Hitler:

"1. Are you willing to take part in direct conversations with Poland?

"'I cannot answer you now,' replied the Führer, 'as I must first of all study with the most careful attention the communication of the British Government.' He added, turning towards Herr von Ribbentrop: 'This must be seen to immediately. Ask Field-Marshal Goering to work with you.'

"2. Would you be disposed to consider an exchange of populations for the settlement of the question of minorities?

"'That is a formula which might be found favourable,' replied the Führer.

"Herr Hitler informed the British Ambassador that he thought he would give his reply this very day. Sir Nevile replied to him: 'It took us two days to draw up our note. I am in no hurry.'

"'But I am,' replied the Führer.

"Herr Hitler declared that, contrary to certain insinuations made abroad, he was not bluffing. The British Ambassador answered the Chancellor that any act of force against Poland could not fail to bring about a war between England and the Reich."


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