The French Yellow Book

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No. 328 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, September 1, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 12 noon.)

As the telegram which I dispatched yesterday by special courier may arrive too late, I think it desirable to summarize it.

On August 31, at 9.5 a.m., my British colleague telephoned me to say that he had learned from a trustworthy source that if at 12 noon Poland had not agreed to send a plenipotentiary, the German Government would order its troops to march.

I went to see him immediately. He confirmed his news, which had come from Herr von Ribbentrop's entourage. He added that, during the night, he had taken the British reply to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The latter read to him the text of the German plan for a German-Polish settlement, but he read it so quickly that the Ambassador was only able to gather fragments of it. Sir Nevile Henderson asked for the text, but Herr von Ribbentrop refused to give it to him, on the grounds that the time allotted to Poland for sending a plenipotentiary had expired.

I went immediately to M. Lipski and got him to urge Warsaw by telephone to let him have an immediate and affirmative reply from the Polish Government to the proposal for conversations.

I myself telephoned Your Excellency suggesting an approach to Warsaw on the same lines.

At 12.10 p.m. Your Excellency telephoned me that in a few minutes the Polish Government would give an affirmative reply in principle. I immediately informed my English and Polish colleagues. At 1 p.m. M. Lipski received the order to deliver the communication which I telegraphed to you. After Herr von Weizsäcker had asked him at 3 p.m. whether he came as a plenipotentiary or as an Ambassador, he was received at 7.45 p.m. by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The latter took note of his communication but did not inform him of the German plan for settlement. At 9.15 p.m. and 9.25 p.m. my English colleague and I were successively summoned by Herr von Weizsäcker, who handed us, for the information of our respective Governments, the text of the German plan and a communiqué to the Press. At 9 p.m. as it appears, these documents were published.


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