The French Yellow Book

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No. 296 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 30, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 2 a.m.)

ACCORDING to what I have been told by my British colleague, his interview of yesterday has left him with a rather bad impression. He is less optimistic than he was yesterday.

Nevertheless, he thinks that M. Beck should accept the invitation of the German Chancellor, for it would be to Poland's interest to show her good will before the eyes of the world. Sir Nevile Henderson is telegraphing to his Government in that sense.

For my part I consider that the Polish Government should agree to appoint a plenipotentiary, since, after all, the German Chancellor accedes to the suggestion made to him by Britain and France for direct contact between Berlin and Warsaw.

Nevertheless, there would be serious objections to M. Beck's coming to Berlin in the present circumstances. The journey would inevitably recall the unhappy precedents of Dr. Schuschnigg and Dr. Hacha. It would be exploited by the Reich, with all the dramatic effects of which German propaganda is capable, as a moral victory and a sign of weakening. German demands would thereby be increased. If, therefore, the Ministers of the two countries were to meet, it seems to me that it should be in some town close to the frontier. If, on the other hand, the negotiations had to take place in Berlin, they should, in my opinion, be entrusted to M. Lipski. This solution would, moreover, have the advantage that the Polish Government would not appear to be yielding to a time limit which has every appearance of an ultimatum.

Should the negotiations take a favourable turn, the subsequent visit of M. Beck would no longer present the same disadvantages.


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