The French Yellow Book

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No. 330 :
M. Corbin, French Ambassador in London, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. London, September 1, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 12.45 p.m.)

REUTER'S AGENCY has just published an authorized bulletin, the essential passage of which I reproduce below:

"It is pointed out in official circles in London that if Herr Hitler's proclamation to the German people, as it has been reported, is intended to signify, as it appears to do, that Germany has declared war on Poland, it can be stated on the highest authority that Great Britain and France are inflexibly resolved to fulfill to the end their obligations towards the Polish Government.

"The German version of the course of the negotiations is, of course, entirely mendacious. On August 29 the German Chancellor informed His Majesty's Ambassador that he would, on the following day, expect in Berlin a Polish plenipotentiary having full powers to negotiate a settlement.

"He added that he hoped to draw up his proposals in the meantime.

"In other words, he expected the Polish Government would submit to the same treatment as that which he had imposed on the President of the Czechoslovak Republic and would send to Berlin an emissary ready to accept terms the nature of which was completely unknown to the Polish Government.

"As can readily be understood, the Polish Government did not consent to putting itself in this humiliating position.

"Even when peace terms are imposed upon a conquered Power, it is not customary to forbid negotiators to refer to their Governments for instructions.

"It is impossible in such a short while to comment on the mendacious statements of the German Government, but the attitude of His Majesty's Government may be briefly defined as follows:

"If the German Government had been sincerely desirous of settling the dispute by negotiation, it would not have adopted a procedure which is in the nature of an ultimatum. It would, on the contrary, as is the normal practice of civilized Governments, have opened negotiations with the Polish Government with a view to fixing the place and time for the opening of the negotiations.

"In the opinion of His Majesty's Government, the Polish Government was fully justified in refusing to submit to the treatment which the German Government endeavoured to impose on it.

"As regards the terms which have now been published and have never, up to the moment, been communicated to the Polish Government, His Majesty's Government can only say that these terms should naturally have been submitted to the Polish Government, leaving the latter enough time to ascertain whether they interfered or not with the vital interests of Poland, which Germany, in her written communication to the British Government, had declared it was her intention to respect."


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