The French Yellow Book

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No. 354 :
M. Corbin, French Ambassador in London, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. London, September 2, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 2.30 p.m.)

THE attitude the German Government is going to take up as a result of the communication, made yesterday evening in Berlin by the French and British Ambassadors, is exercising the minds of the British Government. It is asking itself whether Chancellor Hitler, in order to increase his hold on Polish territory, is not deliberately putting off his answer. Once the positions which he may judge to be necessary have been occupied, the Chancellor will turn to the other Powers and declare that he has no wish to go on with the war with Poland, that, having taken back Danzig and the Corridor and brought help to the German minorities, he is prepared to make a magnanimous peace based on the conditions he stated on August 31.

Lord Halifax deems it impossible to allow the present situation to continue any longer.

That was why, as early as last night, he had suggested that our representatives in Berlin should, without further delay, inform the Government of the Reich of the obligation under which both our Governments would be to consider themselves in a state of war with Germany if satisfaction was not given, or if no answer had reached them within a few hours. Lord Halifax even contemplated a communication in which the Ambassadors would make a declaration that France and England consider themselves from now on as being in a state of war with the Reich.

We must, however, foresee a case in which Chancellor Hitler, in order to gain time, might make a declaration of the kind specified above. The British Government, should this happen, would be inclined to reply that it was not possible to open negotiations before Polish territory had been evacuated by the German troops.

Lord Halifax would highly appreciate an early intimation of your views on this subject.


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