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The French Yellow Book


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No. 293 :
M. Corbin, French Ambassador in London, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. London, August 29, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 11.55 p.m.)

I HAVE obtained the following supplementary details regarding the conversation which took place yesterday evening between Herr Hitler and Sir Nevile Henderson.

After adding Silesia to his former claims, the Chancellor gave clearly to understand that what remained of Poland could not count upon an independent future.

In resounding phrases, the German Chancellor emphasized the future vistas that would open out from an Anglo-German rapprochement. A golden age for humanity could not fail to result therefrom. Sir Nevile Henderson appears always to have led him back to the necessity of a previous settlement of the German-Polish difference.

Herr Hitler, replying to a question from Sir Nevile Henderson, insisted that he could never return to his proposal of March 23 to the Polish Government. He let it be understood that he would negotiate with Poland only if he were sure in advance that the Polish Government would accede to all his wishes.

Mr. Chamberlain said a few words to me about the diplomatic situation. It is significant, according to the Prime Minister, that Chancellor Hitler has so far abstained, despite his menacing preparations, from starting any decisive action. As you told Sir Eric Phipps, each day which passes is in the Prime Minister's opinion, a day gained for the safeguarding of peace. The F├╝hrer cannot fail to realize the "disgust" which has been provoked in the whole civilized world by the conclusion by Germany of an agreement with a Power, which, on the very day before this agreement, was regarded by Germany as her worst enemy. The resolute firmness shown by the Western Powers cannot have failed to impress him.

I said that Paris had welcomed the clear terms of the British reply brought by Sir Nevile Henderson to Herr Hitler, and notably the precision with which it was indicated that no enterprise of conciliation could be considered before the settlement of the German-Polish conflict. The Prime Minister replied that it was only Herr Hitler who could imagine that Great Britain, in order to be reconciled with Germany, would let herself be lured to a general conference, without regard for the country to which she had given her guarantee. Mr. Neville Chamberlain added that the facility with which the Moscow agreement had been concluded must have warped Herr Hitler's judgment.

Corbin.

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