The French Yellow Book

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No. 357 :
M. Corbin, French Ambassador in London, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. London, September 2, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 4.15 p.m.)

THE sittings of both Houses of Parliament yesterday afternoon were marked by the same feeling of dignity and quiet determination.

According to the information I have gathered from all sides, the Members, who on returning from the parliamentary recess had just renewed contact with their constituents, were struck by the firmness shown by all sections of the people regarding the foreign policy that should be followed. All Englishmen were absolutely resolved not to see a repetition of the events of last September and March. Convinced that sooner or later the British Empire would have to make a stand against German ambitions, the majority held that it was better to have done with it at once and not to continue the uncertainty about the morrow which was hindering any normal life.

The aggression by the Reich against Poland once known, everyone understood that in any case the hour for action had now struck. No one dreamed for a moment that it was even possible to hesitate as to his duty in face of the open attack on a country to which Great Britain had given a formal guarantee, thus pledging her honour.

The speech by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons was therefore in agreement with the unanimous feeling in Parliament and the country. He was listened to with the seriousness called for by the situation; but the Members none the less drowned in cheers the words with which Mr. Chamberlain, using a language new on his lips and obviously satisfied to be able to express at last what he thought of the leaders of the Reich, branded Herr Hitler's "senseless ambitions" and the "sickening technique" of the Nazi Government. Cheers also welcomed the Prime Minister's speech in which he declared that it was no longer a time for words but for deeds, that there was only one course left to Britain and that she was ready to face the situation, whatever it might be.

The leaders of the two sections of the Opposition gave their support to the Head of the Government, each in his own way, but both of them with the same determination; and the House unanimously voted a credit of £500,000,000 for war supplies and various extraordinary measures directed to the same purpose.

The Press this morning announces that all the Ministers have proffered their resignations to Mr. Chamberlain, so as to allow him to form a National Government without delay. It is, however, uncertain whether the Labour Party will agree to join in. The Left newspapers, in fact, say that this party would rather for the moment stand aside, while supporting with all its power the Government's policy, in the country. There cannot be the slightest doubt that the attitude in political circles completely corresponds with the prevailing opinion in the country. The British people is united as it has perhaps never been throughout its history, by its will to resist any German attempt at domination and to safeguard the essential principles of international morality. It knows that it is entering upon an ordeal which undoubtedly will be a lengthy one and will call for the heaviest sacrifices; but it is resolved to carry out to the end what it deems to be both a duty and a mission not only in respect of its own country but also in respect of the civilized world.


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