The French Yellow Book

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No. 291 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 29, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 10.15 p.m.)

HERR HITLER has personally handed to Sir Nevile Henderson the German reply to the British communication. The British Ambassador is transmitting it at this moment by telephone to London.

Here is what Sir Nevile Henderson told me of his conversation:

"The interview was stormy; the Chancellor told me: 'Here is my reply to the two questions put by the British Government:

"'A. Direct conversations. Although I am skeptical as to results, I accept. But on condition that a Polish plenipotentiary comes to Berlin to-morrow, August 30.

"'B. International guarantee. I could only give a territorial guarantee in full agreement with the Government of the U.S.S.R.'

"On Question A, I pointed out to the Chancellor that his proposal resembled an ultimatum. He replied this was not so because the present situation could not be prolonged. The mobilized Polish and German armies are facing each other; fresh incidents constantly occur; five more men were killed today, but England laughs at that.

"I protested against such an allegation, and insisted that the prescribed period should be prolonged. Herr Hitler maintained the date of the 30th, pointing out that an aeroplane only took 90 minutes to come from Warsaw to Berlin.

"I asked him whether the Polish plenipotentiary would be received with all the courtesy due to him, and if the negotiation would be conducted on a footing of equality. His reply was: 'Yes, of course.'

"The F├╝hrer reminded me afresh of his demands: he wants Danzig and the Corridor. He wants also the suppression of all possibility of incidents with Poland, and to that effect he will have an economic plan drafted by to-morrow.

"On Question B, I replied to the Chancellor that, in view of his agreement with the Soviets, his reservation did not seem to be likely to raise any difficulties.

"In taking leave, I told Herr Hitler that I would transmit his reply to my Government. I recalled that if the Reich, failing an understanding, attacked Poland, it meant war with England."


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