(Also known as The French Yellow Book)

Papers relative to the events and negotiations which preceded the opening of hostilities between Germany on the one hand, and Poland, Great Britain and France on the other hand.

Electronic version by permission of the French Government.

Organization of the electronic version of this book: Below is the abbreviated Contents page. The major division of the book are listed there. Click on the appropriate page number to go to a particular division. Once there you can scroll down to see descriptions of the individual files. Click on a selection to go directly to that file, or continue to scroll down to read them in order.

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Germany's Word of Honour

(July 11, 1936-September 26, 1938)

The Munich Agreement and its Application
(September 29-October 4, 1938)

The Franco-German Declaration of December 6th, 1938
(October 19-December 22, 1938)

The End of Czechoslovakia
(January 5-March 19, 1939)

Part Four
The German-Polish Crisis
(March 27-May 9, 1939)

Part Five
The Danzig Question
(May 15-August 19, 1939)

The Militarization of the Free City
(May 15-June 30)

German Agitation Continued
(July 1-July 30)

The Polish Resistance and the German Press Campaign
(August 1-19)

Part Six

The International Crisis

(August 20-September 3, 1939)


The German Will to Aggression

(August 20-22)


Mr. Chamberlain's Message and Herr Hitler's Reply

(August 23-26)


M. Daladier's Letter and Herr Hitler's Reply
(August 26-27)

Herr Hitler Agrees to Hold Direct Conversations with Poland

(August 28-30)


Italy's Suggestion for a Conference and German Maneuvering to Bring About the Rupture of Negotiations

(August 31)

The Outbreak of Hostilities

(September 1)

The Franco-British démarche in Berlin, and the Entry into War

(September 1-3)




Germany's Word of Honour

(July 11, 1936-September 26, 1938)


(July 11, 1936-March 12, 1938)

No. 1

Austro-German Agreement of July 11, 1936

BEING convinced that they are making a valuable contribution towards the whole European development in the direction of maintaining peace, and in the belief that they are thereby best serving the manifold mutual interests of both German States, the Governments of the Federal State of Austria and of Germany have resolved to return to relations of a normal and friendly character. In this connexion it is declared-

(1) The German Government recognizes the full sovereignty of the Federate State of Austria in the spirit of the pronouncements of the German Führer and Chancellor of May 21, 1935.

(2) Each of the two Governments regards the inner political order (including the question of Austrian National-Socialism) obtaining in the other country as an internal concern of that country, upon which it will exercise neither direct nor indirect influence.

(3) The Austrian Federal Government will constantly follow in its policy in general, and in particular towards Germany, a line in conformity with leading principles corresponding to the fact that Austria

By such a decision neither the Rome Protocols of 1934 and their additions of 1936, nor the relationship of Austria to Italy and Hungary as partners in these protocols, are affected. Considering that the détente desired by both sides cannot become a reality unless certain preliminary


conditions are fulfilled by the Governments of both countries, the Austrian Federal Government and the German Government will pass a number of special measures to bring about the requisite preliminary state of affairs.

No. 2

M. PUAUX, French Minister in Vienna, 
     to M. YVON DELBOS, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Vienna, March 12, 1938. 
THIS morning German troops crossed the frontier at Bregenz, Innsbruck, Kufstein, Braunau and Salzburg. In the latter town the German authorities have put under guard the Prince-Bishop, the Governor, and several prominent Catholic personalities.

Seventy aeroplanes have landed a battalion of the Wehrmacht at the Aspern aerodrome in Vienna.

Officers of the Wehrmacht, the S.A. and the S.S. arrived in Vienna during the night. German air squadrons are maneuvering above the city.



(March 12-15, 1938)
No. 3

M. FRANÇOIS-PONCET, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. YVON DELBOS, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin, March 12, 1938.
FIELD MARSHAL GOERING, during a reception he gave last night, had a conversation with the Czechoslovak Minister. He gave assurances that Germany had no evil intentions whatever towards Czechoslovakia and that the latter State had therefore nothing to fear from the Reich, and he gave his word of honour to that effect. He then gave expression to the hope that Czechoslovakia would not mobilize.

Returning to his legation, M. Mastny informed Prague by telephone of Field-Marshal Goering's communication. He then returned to the reception and informed the Minister-President that, after having established contact with his Government, he was in a position to assure him that Czechoslovakia would not mobilize. Field-Marshal Goering


then repeated what he had said before, adding that he was not only speaking for himself, but in the name of the Führer, who, having absented himself from Berlin for a time, had placed all powers in his hands.

This morning, towards midday, Field-Marshal Goering called M. Mastny on the telephone. He informed him that the German troops had received orders to remain at 15 kilometres from the Czechoslovak frontier. M. Mastny replied that he took note of this, but that his Government felt it indispensable to take certain police measures on the frontiers of his country. Field-Marshal Goering replied that he had no objection to this.

The Czechoslovak Minister was again summoned yesterday at 5.30 p.m., by Baron von Neurath.

No doubt the conversation between M. Mastny and Field-Marshal Goering, which betrays Germany's anxiety lest her action should bring about the danger of a European war, has not been considered sufficient.


No. 4

M. FRANÇOIS-PONCET, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. YVON DELBOS, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin, March 12, 1938.

BARON VON NEURATH merely repeated to the Czechoslovak Minister, on behalf of the Führer, the pacifying assurances already given by Field-Marshal Goering.

The Czechoslovak Minister took the opportunity to declare that his country would remain perfectly calm, assured as it was of the loyalty of its Allies and of their support, should occasion arise.


No. 5

M. V. DELACROIX, French Minister in Prague,
     to M. YVON DELBOS, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Prague, March 12, 1938.

GERMANY'S violent action against Austria is naturally considered by M. Krofta as an exceedingly serious menace to the future of Czechoslovakia. But he does not believe that the danger is immediate. He is of the opinion that the German Government is afraid that an action


against Czechoslovakia might lead to a general war, and the declarations made by Field-Marshal Goering to M. Mastny are a proof of this fear.

The Field-Marshal is said to have declared yesterday, at 11 p.m. to the Czechoslovak Minister, that the Berlin Government considered what was happening in Austria as a family affair, but that its relations with Czechoslovakia were of an entirely different nature. Field-Marshal Goering gave his word of honour that that country would not be attacked by Germany.

The Field-Marshal is said to have repeated this undertaking a little later during the night, adding that this time he was doing so Officially, as Herr Hitler, who was for the moment in retirement, had entrusted him with the direction of the State.

Finally, this morning, Field-Marshal Goering is said to have telephoned to M. Mastny that, in order to prevent any incidents, he had forbidden the German troops to approach within 15 kilometres of the Czechoslovak frontier, on the understanding that Czechoslovakia, on her side, should abstain from any interference in Austro-German affairs.

Yesterday, at 5 p.m., on an inquiry made by M. Eisenlohr, M. Krofta denied the rumour that the Prague Cabinet had ordered mobilization or was thinking of doing so. At the request of the German Minister, M. Krofta repeated this démenti during the night, and the newspapers have published it this morning. The Minister has also described as ridiculous the rumour that a great number of Austrian refugees have crossed the frontier into Czechoslovakia. It appears, in fact, that there are in the country only between 90 and 100 refugees from Austria.

M. Krofta does not know whether they have returned to Austria. The Press has been advised to exercise great caution and moderation in commenting on the events.


No. 6

M. CORBIN, French Ambassador in London,
     to M. YVON DELBOS, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 London, March 12, 1938.

THE Czechoslovak Minister has been received by Lord Halifax


and has pleaded the necessity of a positive demonstration in favour of his country. He made the following suggestion:

Our Minister in Berlin, he said, has received the express assurance from Field-Marshal Goering that the Reich has no intention of encroaching upon the independence of Czechoslovakia. The German Minister in Prague has made the same declaration to M. Krofta.

M. Masaryk asked whether his Government might not inform the Foreign Office officially of this double declaration. This step would allow you to take official notice of it and then to address a note to Berlin in which the British Government would place on record the assurance given to Czechoslovakia.

Lord Halifax noted this suggestion and promised to put it before the Prime Minister.


No. 7

M. CORBIN, French Ambassador in London,
     to M. PAUL-BONCOUR, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 London, March 13, 1938.
M. MASARYK, the Czechoslovak Minister, acting on instructions from his Government, handed to the Foreign Office this morning a note in the following terms:

"I have reported to my Government the interview which you were good enough to grant me to-day.

"I have in consequence been instructed by my Government to bring to the official knowledge of His Majesty's Government the following facts: Yesterday evening (the 11th March) Field-Marshal Goering made two separate statements to M. Mastny, the Czechoslovak Minister in Berlin, assuring him that the developments in Austria will in no way have any detrimental influence on the relations between the German Reich and Czechoslovakia, and emphasizing the continued earnest endeavour on the part of Germany to improve these mutual relations.

"In the first statement the Field-Marshal used the expression: 'Ich gebe Ihnen mein Ehrenwort.'

"In the second statement Field-Marshal Goering asserted that, having given his own word previously, he was now able to give the word of the head of the State, who had authorized him to take over temporarily his official duties. He then repeated the above assurances.


"To-day (the 12th March) Field-Marshal Goering asked M. Mastny to call on him, repeated yesterday's assurances and added that the German troops, marching into Austria, have strictest orders to keep at least 15 kilometres from the Czechoslovak frontier; at the same time he expressed the hope that no mobilization of the Czechoslovak army would take place.

"M. Mastny was in a position to give him definite and binding assurances on this subject, and to-day spoke with Baron von Neurath, who, among other things, assured him on behalf of Herr Hitler that Germany still considers herself bound by the German-Czechoslovak Arbitration Convention concluded at Locarno in October 1925.

"M. Mastny also saw to-day Herr von Mackensen, who assured him that the clarification of the Austrian situation will tend to improve German-Czechoslovak relations.

"The Government of the Czechoslovak Republic wish to assure His Majesty's Government that they are animated by the earnest and ardent desire to live in the best possible neighbourly relations with the German Reich. They cannot, however, fail to view with great apprehension the sequel of events in Austria between the date of the bilateral agreement between Germany and Austria (July 11, 1936) and yesterday (March 11, 1938)."

At the same time, M. Masaryk, speaking personally, expressed to Lord Halifax the hope that the British Government would inform Berlin, in any manner they might consider appropriate, but in an emphatic way, that they are aware of the assurances given by the Government of the Reich to Czechoslovakia.

The document translated above should, until further notice, be regarded as confidential.


No. 8

M. CORBIN, French Ambassador in London, 
     to M. PAUL-BONCOUR, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 London, March 14, 1938.
FOLLOWING on the letter addressed yesterday by the Czechoslovak Minister to Lord Halifax, the British Ambassador in Berlin received instructions to call on Field-Marshal Goering without delay, and to inform him of the communication of the Czechoslovak Government, drawing his attention particularly to the importance attached in


London to the assurances mentioned therein, and to their full expectation that they would be respected. Sir Nevile Henderson was at the same time instructed to ask whether the British Government might publish the document, so as to mitigate to some extent the emotion caused among the public by the events in Austria.

The Czechoslovak Minister has just heard that the declarations made to M. Mastny have been confirmed to the British Ambassador by Field-Marshal Goering, and that Field-Marshal Goering had raised no objection whatever to their publication. His only reservations were in connection with the arbitration treaties, which, he said, "concerned the Chancellor and Baron von Neurath," and the implications of which he professed not to be fully aware.


No. 9

Extract from Mr. Neville Chamberlain's speech in the House of Commons on March 14,1938

"I am informed that Field-Marshal Goering on March 11 gave a general assurance to the Czech Minister in Berlin-an assurance which he expressly renewed later on behalf of Herr Hitler-that it would be the earnest endeavour of the German Government to improve German-Czech relations. In particular, on March 12, Field-Marshal Goering informed the Czech Minister that German troops marching into Austria had received the strictest orders to keep at least 15 kilometres from the Czech frontier. On the same day the Czechoslovak Minister in Berlin was assured by Baron von Neurath that Germany considered herself bound by the German-Czechoslovak Arbitration Convention of October 1925."

No. 10

M. FRANÇOIS-PONCET, French Ambassador in Berlin, 
     to M. PAUL-BONCOUR, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin, March 15, 1938.

MR. NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN, before referring publicly in his speech of yesterday to the assurances given by Field-Marshal Goering concerning Czechoslovakia, had instructed the British Ambassador in Berlin to ask the Field-Marshal whether he would authorize this Statement. The answer was in the affirmative.


Sir Nevile Henderson also received confirmation from Field-Marshal Goering and Baron von Neurath that Germany would, before the plebiscite of April 10, withdraw from Austria the troops which had been sent there.



(September 26, 1938)
No. 11

Extract from Herr Hitler's speech at the Sports Palace in Berlin, September 26, 1938

"And now we are confronted with the last problem which must be solved and which shall be solved. It is the last territorial claim which I have to make in Europe, but it is a claim from which I will not swerve, and which I will satisfy, God willing....

"I have but few things to say. I am grateful to Mr. Chamberlain for all his efforts, and I assured him that the German people want nothing but peace; but I also told him that I cannot extend any further the limits of our patience. I assured him, moreover, and I repeat it here, that when this problem is solved, there will be no more territorial problems for Germany in Europe; and I further assured him that from the moment when Czechoslovakia solves its problems, that is to say, when the Czechs have come to an arrangement with their other minorities, peacefully, without oppression, I shall no longer be interested in the Czech State. And this I guarantee. We don't want any Czechs at all."


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