The French Yellow Book

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No. 119 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, May 4, 1939.

THIS afternoon I saw my British colleague, who had been received the day before yesterday by the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Sir Nevile Henderson showed himself rather disappointed by that conversation. Herr von Ribbentrop, who appeared to be tired, addressed to him, as usual, a long paraphrase of Herr Hitler's speech, and declared that Great Britain and France were pursuing a policy of encirclement of Germany in order to attack her one day, but that they should know that they would break their teeth and that the Reich would hold out for "six months and even for twenty years if necessary" Sir Nevile corrected his assertions, but he felt that Herr von Ribbentrop was not even listening to him.

Nevertheless he gathered from this conversation the impression that a rather far-reaching change had taken place in the mind of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. "A year ago," he said to me, "von Ribbentrop was convinced that neither England nor France would come to the help of Central or Eastern Europe. He admits the contrary today. Nevertheless, he does not believe it as regards Danzig."

On the latter point this impression is corroborated by the confidential information recently given by Herr Dietrich, Minister for the Press, to another of my colleagues, according to which, in the course of a Council held by the F├╝hrer following his speech of April 28, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, supported by Herr Himmler, declared his conviction that neither Great Britain nor France would stir for Danzig.

It results, however, from information obtained by Sir Nevile Henderson, and confirmed to me from other quarters that Herr Hitler has decided to proceed slowly in the Polish affair. He is said to think that time would work for him, that Danzig was a good subject for discussion, on which he would succeed in dividing opinion in France and in England, and that Poland would herself one day come and ask for mercy.


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