214 M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 23 Sir Nevile Henderson leaves by air for Berchtesgaden, bear- ing a message from Mr. Chamberlain for Herr Hitler ........ 288 215 M. DE LA TOURNELLE-Danzig, August 23 In Danzig a number of Polish railwaymen are arrested, and Polish schools requisitioned for military purposes ........ 288 216 M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 23 Herr Woermann acquaints the French Ambassador in Berlin with the message presented by Mr. Chamberlain to Herr Hitler, and with the latter's reply .................................. 288 217 M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 24 Sir Nevile Henderson is convinced he has left no possible doubt in Herr Hitler's mind of Great Britain's resolution. The Führer has, however, informed him that his patience is exhausted. Were a single new incident against a German to occur in Poland, he "would march." The British Ambassador in Berlin considers that the only hope of at least putting off the fatal day of reckoning would lie in an immediate contact between Warsaw and Berlin ......................... 289 218 M. GEORGES BONNET-Paris, August 24 The French Government will insist firmly that the Polish Government should not take military action in the event that the Senate of the Free City proclaims Danzig part of the Reich ..................................................... 290 219 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 24 In view of the vast scale of the German military prepara- tions the Polish Government brings a large part of its army to mobilisation strength .................................. 290 220 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 24 The Polish Ambassador in Berlin has been instructed to ask for an interview with Herr von Weizsäcker in order to remind him that the Government of Warsaw have always shown them- selves prepared to open discussions under normal conditions, and point out that in this respect their attitude is un- changed ................................................... 291 221 M. ROGER CAMBON-London, August 24 In his reply to Mr. Chamberlain, Herr Hitler attempts to make Great Britain responsible for the existing situation: without Britain's unconditional assurance to Poland, the latter would not have refused to negotiate on questions of vital interest to the Reich, such as the German city of Danzig and the assoc- iated problem of the Corridor. Success or failure to bring about a peaceful settlement does not depend on the Reich .. 291 222 M. GEORGES BONNET-Paris, August 24 The Minister for Foreign Affairs enjoins the French Ambassa- dor in War saw to recommend the Polish Government to refrain from replying by any military action should Danzig be pro- claimed part of the Reich, and to point out, at the same time, that this attitude is one of expediency, the adoption of which could in no way restrict Poland's liberty of judgment in the event of military action by the Reich ..................... 293 223 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 24 German-Polish incidents are becoming more frequent owing to German provocation ........................................ 294 224 M. DE LA TOURNELLE-Danzig, August 24 Because of the claims made by the Danzig Senate, Poland breaks off the Customs negotiations ....................... 294 225 M. DE LA TOURNELLE-Danzig, August 24 The Senate, by a decree of August 23, has conferred upon Herr Forster the title of Chief of State .................. 295 226 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 24 The French Ambassador in Warsaw recommends the Polish Govern- ment not to take, without previous consultation with the French Government any initiative which could bring about ir- reparable consequences .................................... 295 227 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 24 The French Ambassador in Warsaw reiterates his recommenda- tions of prudence to M. Beck, who expresses his complete agreement ................................................. 295 228 M. FRANÇOIS-PONCET-Rome, August 24 The American Ambassador in Rome has handed His Majesty the King of Italy a message from President Roosevelt requesting the Sovereign to do all in his power to bring about peaceful settlement ................................................ 296 229 M. DE SAINT-QUENTIN-Washington, August 24 President Roosevelt has addressed to Herr Hitler and M. Moscicki two messages entreating them to bring the dispute to a peaceful conclusion .................................. 296 230 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 24 M. Lipski has been received by Marshal Goering, who seems to have given him a cordial reception, but to have avoided giving political significance to the interview ............ 297 231 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 24 The Polish Government proposes to send a letter to the Danzig Senate, reserving its judgment on the appointment of Herr Forster as head of the Danzig State ....................... 297 232 M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 24 Berlin official circles consider that the German-Russian Pact will have for its first consequence the partition of Poland, whose capitulation, more over, is anticipated ............. 297 233 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 25 M. Beck informs the French Ambassador in Warsaw, who has ap- proached him as instructed by the Minister for Foreign Af- fairs that the Polish Government will continue to display completely unruffled composure ........................... 298 234 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 25 Incidents continue to occur in Danzig. Following the arrest of the Polish railwaymen, the Polish Government reserves the right to take reprisals, which would, however, be of an ad- ministrative and economic nature only ..................... 299 235 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 25 Numerous incidents on the Polish-German frontier .......... 299 236 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 25 General Faury also recommends Marshal Rydz-Smigly to give very strict instructions, so that Polish troops in the fron- tier zone should observe the utmost self-restraint ........ 300 237 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 25 German nationals commit several acts of aggression on Polish territory ................................................. 300 238 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 25 Marshal Rydz-Smigly points out to General Faury that he has seen through the German maneuver attempting to trick the Poles into committing some incautious act ................. 301 239 M. CHARLES-ROUX-Rome, August 25 His Holiness Pope Pius XII expresses to His Majesty the King of the Belgians his appreciation of the declaration made by Leopold III in the name of the Oslo group of States ....... 301 240 M. DE LA TOURNELLE-Danzig, August 25 At Danzig, new artillery batteries are brought to the sea- board, while young men brought in by lorry from East Prussia are sent at once to jumping-off positions ................. 301 241 M. DE LA TOURNELLE-Danzig, August 25 The Danzig Senate has received from the Polish Government a note protesting against the appointment of Herr Forster as Head of State ............................................. 302 242 M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 25 Herr Hitler sends for the French Ambassador in Berlin to ask him to transmit a statement to M. Daladier. He reiterates his desire to avoid a war with France, and complains vehemency of the Polish attitude. M. Coulondre, in his reply, reminds him of the French attitude .................................... 302 243 M. GEORGES BONNET-Paris, August 25 The French Government replies favourably to the appeal made by His Majesty the King of the Belgians in the name of the representatives of the Oslo group of States ............... 305 244 M. LÉON NOËL-Warsaw, August 25 President Moscicki, in a telegram addressed to His Majesty the King of the Belgians, states that, in the Polish view, the surest guarantee of peace lies in the settlement of inter- national differences by the method of direct negotiation based on mutual respect for each other's rights and interests ................................................. 305 245 M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 26 Herr Hitler informs Sir Nevile Henderson that he agrees to make a last attempt to save peace. The British Ambassador in Berlin leaves by air for London to transmit the Führer's pro- posals to the British Government .......................... 306
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 23, 1939.
(Received by telephone at 11.25 a.m.)
THE British Ambassador, who is to be received by the German Chancellor today, has flown to Berchtesgaden. He is taking a message from Mr. Chamberlain to Herr Hitler.
According to information sent to me by Sir Nevile Henderson, the purport of this document is known to Your Excellency. He emphasized that his mission is shrouded in absolute secrecy.
M. DE LA TOURNELLE, French Consul in Danzig, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Danzig, August 23, 1939. 8.35 p.m.
(Received at 11 p.m.)
ANOTHER six Polish railwaymen were arrested yesterday; they are charged with being in possession of arms supplied to them by the Customs officials. Two of these arrests have been maintained. The body of the Polish soldier killed in Danzig territory is said to have been sent to the Polish Commissioner-General's office, after being filled with viscera taken from other dead bodies.
Two Polish schools have just been requisitioned for military purposes, by order of the Senate of the Free City.
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. GEORGES BONNET. Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 23, 1939. 11.50 p.m.
(Received at 12 midnight.)
I HAD an interview this evening with the State Under-Secretary who
had summoned me to hear the message sent by Mr. Chamberlain to Herr Hitler and the Chancellor's reply. Herr Woermann made no comment whatever upon this communication.
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 24, 1939.
(Received a 1 p.m. by telephone.)
I SAW the British Ambassador at midday today. My colleague had two interviews with the Chancellor yesterday, one in the morning lasting about three-quarters of an hour, when he handed over the message from Mr. Chamberlain, the other in the afternoon lasting about half an hour. Sir Nevile made every effort to convince Herr Hitler that England would fight at Poland's side. He firmly believes, so he told me, that he had succeeded.
For his part, the Chancellor spoke of almost nothing but the treatment of the German minorities in Poland. Should hostilities break out, the blame, he said, would be Britain's, and, recalling that he had made reasonable proposals last April, he alleged that the British guarantee had encouraged the Poles to ill-treat the German minorities and had stiffened the Warsaw Government in its uncompromising attitude; in his view, the limit had now been reached, and if, in Sir Nevile's own words, any fresh incidents were to take place against a German in Poland, "he would march."
My colleague had asked Herr Hitler, should the latter have nothing further to say to him, to have his reply delivered to him at Salzburg. Herr Hitler had sent for him, and that was the only favourable sign that the British Ambassador had gathered from his visit.
During the second interview, the Chancellor again emphasized strongly the necessity for putting an end to the ill-treatment which, according to him, was being meted out to the German minorities in Poland.
Sir Nevile Henderson, while doubting whether there is still any hope of avoiding the worst, considers that the only chance of, at least, delaying matters lies in the immediate establishment of contact between Warsaw and Berlin.
He has, therefore, suggested to his Government that it should advise M. Beck to seek contact with the Chancellor without delay.
My colleague thinks that Herr Hitler is waiting for the return of Herr von Ribbentrop to take his final decision, and that therefore only a few hours remains for this final attempt.
Herr Hitler is adopting precisely the same attitude toward Poland as he did towards Czechoslovakia in the last days of September.
M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to M. ROGER CAMBON, French Chargé d'Affaires in London. Paris, August 24, 1939. 1.25 p.m.
THE French Government will make a most urgent démarche to the Polish Government to the effect that the latter should abstain from military action should the Senate of the Free City proclaim the return of Danzig to the Reich. It is indeed important that Poland should not take up the position of an aggressor, which might impede the entry into force of some of our pacts and would furthermore place the Polish Army in Danzig in a very dangerous position. The Warsaw Government would in such a case reserve its freedom to defend its rights by diplomatic action.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 24, 1939. 6 p.m.
(Received 10.30 p.m.)
REFERRING to the conversation held yesterday between the Polish Ambassador and M. Daladier, M. Beck informed me today that in view of the scope of the Reich's military measures directed against Poland, the Polish Government decided last night to take additional precautionary measures.
These measures are being carried out. They are on a much larger scale than those taken hitherto, and aim at bringing a great part of the Army up to war strength. The corresponding requisitions have been made at the same time.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 24, 1939. 6.30 p.m.
(Received 10.25 p.m.)
ON the instructions of M. Beck the Polish Ambassador in Berlin has asked for an interview with the Reich State Secretary. Provided that Herr von Weizsäcker does not at once assume a provocative attitude, he will remind him that the Warsaw Government has always shown itself ready for discussion under normal conditions, and has not changed its attitude in this respect.
M. ROGER CAMBON, French Chargé d'Affaires in London, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. London, August 24, 1939.
(Received by telephone at 6.40 p.m.)
THE British Embassy in Paris has been put in a position to report the essential points of the written communication handed by Herr Hitler to the British Ambassador in Berlin, in reply to Mr. Chamberlain's letter.
The British Government has taken special precautions to keep this document a strict secret. The attention of the British Embassy in Paris has been specially drawn to this point.
I, nevertheless, think I should communicate to the Department, for in case they may be useful, the following details of this reply:
(1) For years Germany has tried in vain to win Britain's friendship, by going to the very limit of the Reich's interests.
(2) Like other States, Germany has historical and economic interests which she cannot renounce. Among these interests are the German city of Danzig and the related problem of the Corridor.
(3) Germany is ready to settle these questions with Poland on the basis of generous proposals. The British action has dissuaded the Poles from negotiating on this basis.
(4) The unconditional guarantee given by Britain to Poland has encouraged the latter to terrorize the German minorities, which number a million and a half people. Such atrocities cannot be tolerated by a
great Power. Poland has likewise violated numerous legal obligations which she had assumed with regard to Danzig. She sent various ultimata and initiated the process of an economic strangulation of the Free City.
(5) Germany recently made it clear to Poland that she was not prepared to acquiesce in the development of such a state of affairs. She would not tolerate any further ultimata or the persecution of minorities. She would not consent to the economic ruin of Danzig, nor consent to receive fresh Notes amounting to downright provocations to the Reich. Furthermore, the questions of Danzig and the Corridor must be settled.
(6) Herr Hitler has taken note of the fact that the British Government will come to Poland's assistance in the case of intervention by the Reich. This is no way modifies the determination of Germany to protect the interests mentioned above. Herr Hitler shares the Prime Minister's view as to the probability of a long war, but he is ready to undergo any ordeal rather than sacrifice Germany's national interests or honour.
(7) The German Government has received intelligence of the British and French Governments' alleged intention to take certain mobilization measures. Germany, on the other hand, has no wish to take other than purely defensive measures against France and Britain. A passage in Mr. Chamberlain's letter seems to confirm the foregoing intelligence and can be construed only as a threat to Germany. If the measures in question are taken, they will force Germany to order a general mobilization immediately.
(8) A pacific solution of present difficulties does not depend upon Germany, but upon those Powers which, ever since the Treaty of Versailles, have opposed any peaceful revision.
(9) No improvement in Anglo-German relations is possible until there is a change of mind among the Powers responsible. Herr Hitler has struggled throughout his life for the betterment of relations between his country and Britain. Up to the present, his efforts have been in vain. None more than he would welcome any change that might come about in this respect in the future.
M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw. Paris, August 24, 1939. 6.40 p.m.
You should see M. Beck at the earliest possible moment and tell him that in the new conditions resulting from the Russo-German Pact, the French Government is more anxious than ever that Poland should at all cost avoid laying herself open to the charge of being the aggressor-this being the whole purpose of the German manoeuvre-and thus playing into Germany's hands. The disadvantages arising from such a position would be as grave for Poland as for her allies, on account of the repercussions it might have on the obligations, virtual or actual, which bind the latter to other Powers.
In the same way, the French Government urgently recommends that the Polish Government abstain from all military action in the event of the Danzig Senate proclaiming the City's return to the Reich. To any possible decision of this sort, it is important that Poland should reply only by an action of the same kind, that is to say, by making all reservations and stating her intention of having recourse to all legal remedies which may be afforded to her by diplomatic usage.
The Warsaw Government will understand this counsel all the better since it corresponds to the intentions expressed by Marshal Rydz-Smigly to General Ironside on July 19. As for us, we have all the more grounds for clearly putting forward this advice as it is in harmony with our General Staff's view of the problem: for the Staff considers that, from the strategical point of view, a Polish Army, after advancing into the Free City territory, would be in an extremely delicate position.
You should emphasize to M. Beck that, in our view, the question is one solely of expediency and that, by taking up such a position, the Polish Government would only be safeguarding the full effect of our assistance and would in no way be hampering its liberty of decision, in the event of a definite German military attack; nor would the validity of the French position with regard to Poland, as defined by agreements which it is necessary to recall, be thereby prejudiced.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 24, 1939. 7 p.m.
(Received 1155 p.m.)
THE Polish Press today announces the following incidents:
(1) Arrest at the Silesian frontier of a Polish diplomatic courier. He is said to have been imprisoned at Breslau and is being detained, in spite of intervention by the Consulate and by the Embassy.
(2) Last night a three-engined German bomber flew over Bohumin. A Polish fighter went up after it and the bomber returned to German territory.
(3) The body of the Polish soldier killed on Danzig territory some days ago has been returned in a mutilated condition to the Polish authorities. This has aroused great indignation.
(4) The Polish Press publishes the following statements about the two German commercial aircraft which, according to the D.N.B., were shot at in the vicinity of Danzig: at eight o'clock in the morning, a German plane was seen flying over Polish territory, but no shot was fired. At four o'clock another plane flew over the forbidden zone of the Hel peninsula. After the Polish anti-aircraft batteries had fired three warning salvos the German plane turned back.
M. DE LA TOURNELLE, French Consul in Danzig, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Danzig, August 24, 1939. 750 p.m.
(Received 11.30 p.m.)
DEEMING the claims of the Senate to be unacceptable, the Polish Government has today broken off the Customs negotiations.
The Danzig authorities, according to the local Press, deplore this breakdown.
M. DE LA TOURNELLE, French Consul in Danzig, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Danzig, August 24, 1939. 7.51 p.m.
(Received 10.15 p.m.)
BY a decree of August 23, the Senate has approved the Gauleiter's appointment as Head of the State. I am informing our Ambassadors in Warsaw and Berlin.
According to the Danziger Vorposten, this is the consecration of a state of things which has, in fact, existed ever since the Nazi Party seized power.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 24, 1939. 8.25 p.m.
(Received August 25, 12.25 a.m.)
IN view of the threatening situation in Danzig, I thought it my duty to approach M. Arciszewski again. I said that, things being as they are in the Free City, we relied upon the Polish Government not to take any initiative likely to bring about irreparable results without first consulting us. I requested him to inform M. Beck of my conversation without delay.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 24, 1939. 9 p.m.
(Received 1030 p.m.)
I HAVE once again drawn M. Beck's attention, in the course of an interview, to the urgent need of avoiding incidents and rash acts, and of doing all that is possible in this direction.
M. Beck expressed his entire agreement.
M. FRANÇOIS-PONCET, French Ambassador in Rome, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Rome, August 24, 1939. 9.50 p.m.
(Received 11.20 p.m.)
RECEIVED today at 3 o'clock by the King of Italy, the United States Ambassador delivered to him a message from President Roosevelt, calling attention to the dangers of the present situation and urging the King to do all he could to promote a peaceful solution.
M. DE SAINT-QUENTIN, French Ambassador in Washington, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Washington, August 24, 1939. 10.11 p.m.
(Received August 25 at 6.50 a.m.)
THE Under-Secretary of State has just informed me that President Roosevelt had today, 24th, sent a message to Herr Hitler and to the President of the Polish Republic adjuring them to settle their differences by means of direct negotiation, by arbitration or by conciliation with the help of a citizen of a neutral country.
The message emphasizes that such solutions would presuppose an undertaking by the parties concerned not to commit any act of aggression against each other during an agreed period, and to respect each other's independence and territorial integrity.
Yet the substance of the two communications would seem not to be identical. Recalling the President's message of April 14 last, the appeal to Herr Hitler would appear to lay stress on the willingness of the American Government, in the event of a peaceful solution of the German-Polish dispute to contribute to the reconstruction of world economy.
The text of these documents will be communicated to Your Excellency by Mr. Bullitt and published to-morrow in the Press.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 24, 1939. 10.12 p.m.
(Received August 25 at 2.50 a.m.)
THE Polish Ambassador has not been able to see Herr von Weizsäcker, who is said to have left for Berchtesgaden. He was received at 5 p.m. on August 24 by Field-Marshal Goering. According to information which has been given me, the Field-Marshal was cordial, deplored the aggravation in German-Polish relations, but made no suggestion of any kind and in general avoided giving political significance to the interview.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 24, 1939. 10.15 p.m.
(Received August 25 at 2.50 a.m.)
ACCORDING to information just given me by M. Beck, M. Chodacki has been instructed to deliver to the Senate of the Free City, either tonight or to-morrow, a letter, on the subject of the appointment of Herr Forster as Head of the Danzig State.
The Government of Poland intends by this document to challenge the legality of the appointment and to declare that the responsibility for all possible results will fall upon the Senate, should this initiative result in Poland being faced with accomplished facts contrary to law.
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 24, 1939.
(Received August 25 at 12.30 p.m.)
NEWS has reached me that official circles in Berlin consider that, by the pact of August 23, Germany and Russia have agreed to settle between themselves, not only the matter of Poland, but all questions
concerning Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, and this to the exclusion of all other Powers.
From rumours circulating, it would seem that it is expected here that the first consequence of the German-Russian Pact will be the partition of Poland.
According to a statement attributed to State Secretary Lammers, Berlin and Moscow have decided to establish a common frontier on the Vistula. Russia would receive free port facilities at Danzig.
According to other rumours, Poland is to be reduced to the role of a buffer State; Lithuania would play the same part and would recover Wilna.
The provinces of Bohemia and Moravia would receive a limited independence and would act, so to speak, as a bridge between the Slav and Germanic worlds.
The Reich and Soviet Russia would also revise by mutual agreement the frontiers of the Baltic States and of Rumania.
I pass on this information with reserve, while pointing out that it probably corresponds with certain cherished hopes on the German side. In this respect, the greatest importance is attributed by political circles in Berlin to Article 3, which provides for a permanent consultation between the two Governments.
On the other hand, they seem to expect Poland to capitulate, and to attach great importance to Germany's not appearing to be the aggressor.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 25, 1939. 3.15 a.m.
(Received at 6 a.m.)
I CALLED on M. Beck yesterday evening, as instructed by your telegram of August 24.
According to what he told me:
(1) The remark attributed by General Sir Edmund Ironside to Marshal Rydz-Smigly was actually made by M. Beck himself; the latter fully confirmed its substance.
(2) Should the Anschluss be proclaimed by the "municipal authorities" of the Free City, the Warsaw Government would immediately
get in touch with their allies and would refrain from any military action until actually confronted by direct or indirect aggression on the part of the Reich.
(3) Aware of the necessity of not allowing themselves to be maneuvered by Germany into a false position, the Polish Government, inspired by the same spirit as ourselves, will continue to maintain the greatest composure.
Should Herr Forster proclaim the Anschluss, added M. Beck, this could only be at the instigation of the Chancellor, and action by Germany would probably follow with very little delay.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 25, 1939. 3.15 a.m.
(Received at 5.10 a.m.)
FROM the information given me yesterday by M. Beck, it appears that Herr Forster on the night of the 24th ordered the arrest of the chief officials of the Polish railways in Danzig. M. Beck instructed M. Chodacki to make immediate representations to the Senate, and to point out the gravity of this measure which, if upheld, would be liable seriously to impair one of the essential rights still remaining to Poland in Danzig territory.
If these representations should have no result, the Polish Government reserved the right to consider the adoption of measures of retaliation. M. Beck stated definitely in reply to a question I put to him on this matter, that such methods could be only of an economic or administrative nature.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 25, 1939. 1 p.m.
(Received August 26, at 4 a.m.)
HAVAS dispatches transmitted to Paris announce a series of incidents provoked by Germans which occurred last night on the Polish frontier.
A refutation of certain groundless German allegations has likewise been published by the same Agency. A communiqué from the D.N.B. Agency, which appeared in the Press this morning under the title "Blood Bath at Bielsko," claims that Germans in this town have been subjected to threats. This is formally denied by the Polish authorities. The latter further announce that National-Socialist badges bearing the inscription "Frei Korps," as well as a large quantity of war material, have been seized by the Polish police in a search made in the house of a German named Maskoh, in Upper Silesia.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 25, 1939. 3.48 p.m.
(Received at 6.10 p.m.)
GENERAL FAURY, in full agreement with me, called on the Marshal this morning, to draw his attention to the incidents which, according to the Germans, were occurring on the Polish frontiers, and to urge him once again to give the strictest instructions to the Polish troops to observe the utmost self-restraint.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 25, 1939. 3.48 p.m.
(Received at 6.47 p.m.)
ACCORDING to the Polish Press, several acts of aggression were committed by Germans on Polish territory during the night of the 23rd-24th at midnight. About twenty Germans entered the station and Customs House of Makoszow, near Katowice, and fired several hundred shots. From 12.30 a.m. to 1.45 a.m. and from 2.30 a.m. to 2.50 a.m. fresh acts of aggression took place. A machine-gun attack was made on the Customs House near Rybnik. A protest has been handed to the German Government by the Polish Embassy.
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 25, 1939. 6.5 p.m.
(Received at 630 p.m.)
FROM remarks made to General Faury by Marshal Rydz-Smigly it appears that the latter is fully aware that German maneuvers are aimed at inciting Poland to imprudent action; he declares that he clearly perceives the trap and will not fall into it.
M. CHARLEs-Roux, French Ambassador to the Holy See, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Rome, August 25, 1939.
(Received by telephone at 6.10 p.m.)
ToNiGHT's Osservatore Romano announces that letters have just been exchanged between the King of the Belgians and the Pope.
The King of the Belgians has personally informed Pope Pius XII of the declaration made by him on behalf of the Heads of States represented at the Brussels Conference.
His Holiness has replied by thanking him for his communication and expressing his high appreciation of the initiative taken by the conference. He draws attention to the similarity of their declaration to his own message of yesterday, repeats the statement of principle set out in that message, recognizes the identity of purpose in favour of peace and the welfare of the nations, and finally expresses the hope that this common effort for peace may still attain its goal.
M. DE LA TOURNELLE, French Consul in Danzig, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Danzig, August 25, 1939. 6.40 p.m.
(Received August 26, at 9.30 am.)
THE rate at which military preparations are being carried out here grows faster and faster. Young men are being brought in lorries from
East Prussia and at once equipped and sent to their battle positions, while more heavy anti-aircraft batteries are being placed along the shore.
M. DE LA TOURNELLE, French Consul in Danzig, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Danzig, August 25, 1939. 8.18 p.m.
(Received August 26, at 3.10 a.m.)
THE Danzig Senate has received a very serious note from the Polish Government, protesting against the appointment of the Gauleiter as Head of the State.
This morning the Free City authorities decided upon the dismissal of fifteen Polish officials who were members of the Port Council and appointed Germans in their places. Three hours later the persons concerned were informed that there had been a misunderstanding and were able to resume their functions.
In the course of a frontier incident, two Polish soldiers are said to have been killed 400 metres inside Polish territory.
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 25, 1939.
(Received by telephone at 11 p.m.)
THIS afternoon I had an interview with Herr Hitler, who had asked to see me at 5.30.
This is the substance of what he told me: "In view of the gravity of the situation," he said, "I wish to make a statement which I would like you to forward to M. Daladier. As I have already told him, I bear no enmity whatever towards France. I have personally renounced all claims to Alsace-Lorraine and recognized the Franco-German frontier. I do not want war with your country; my one desire is to maintain good relations with it. I find indeed the idea that I might have to fight France on account of Poland a very painful one. The Polish provoca-
tion, however, has placed the Reich in a position which cannot be allowed to continue.
"Several months ago I made extremely fair proposals to Poland, demanding the return of Danzig to the Reich and of a narrow strip of territory leading from this German city to East Prussia. But the guarantee given by the British Government has encouraged the Poles to be obstinate. Not only has the Warsaw Government rejected my proposals, but it has subjected the German minority, our blood-brothers, to the worst possible treatment, and has begun mobilization.
"At first," pursued Herr Hitler, "I forbade the Press of the Reich to publish accounts of the cruelties suffered by the Germans in Poland. But the situation has now become intolerable. Are you aware," he asked me emphatically, "that there have been cases of castration? That already there are more than 70,000 refugees in our camps? Yesterday seven Germans were killed by the police in Bielitz, and thirty German reservists were machine-gunned at Lodz. Our aeroplanes can no longer fly between Germany and East Prussia without being shot at; their route had been changed, but they are now even attacked over the sea. Thus, the plane which was carrying State Secretary Stuckart was fired at by Polish warships, a fresh incident which I was not yet in a position to bring to the notice of Sir Nevile Henderson this morning."
Raising his voice, Herr Hitler went on: "No nation worthy of the name can put up with such unbearable insults. France would not tolerate it any more than Germany. These things have gone on long enough, and I will reply by force to any further provocations. I want to state once again: I wish to avoid war with your country. I will not attack France, but if she joins in the conflict, I will see it through to the bitter end. As you are aware, I have just concluded a pact with Moscow that is not only theoretical, but, I may say, practical. I believe I shall win, and you believe you will win: what is certain is that above all French and German blood will flow, the blood of two equally courageous peoples. I say again, it is painful to me to think we might come to that. Please tell this to President Daladier on my behalf."
With these words, Herr Hitler rose to show that the interview was over. Under the circumstances I could make only a brief reply. I told him, first of all, that I knew that all misunderstanding had now been removed; yet that, in a moment as grave as this, I emphatically gave him my word of honour as a soldier that I had no doubt whatever that in the event of Poland's being attacked, France would assist her with all the forces at her command. I was able however to give him
my word also that the Government of the Republic would still do all it could to preserve peace and would not spare its counsels of moderation to the Polish Government.
The Chancellor replied: "I believe you; I even believe that men like M. Beck are moderate, but they are no longer in control of the situation."
I added that if French and German blood were to flow, this blood-money, however costly, would not be the only payment to be made. The ravages of a war that would certainly be a long one would bring a succession of ghastly miseries in their train. Though I was, as he said, definitely certain of our victory, I feared, at the same time, that at the end of a war, the sole real victor would be M. Trotsky. The Chancellor, interrupting me, exclaimed: "Why, then, did you give Poland a blank cheque?"
I replied by recalling the events of last March and the deep impression they had made on French minds, the feeling of insecurity to which they had given rise and which had led us to strengthen our alliances. I repeated that our most ardent desire was to maintain peace; that we continued to exert a moderating influence in Warsaw; and that I could not believe that it was impossible to bring the incidents complained of to an end.
I had hinted earlier that the German Press seemed to me to have considerably exaggerated the number and importance of these incidents, and I had mentioned in particular the case reported by the Angriff on August 15 of the German engineer who was said to have been brutally murdered for political reasons, whereas, in actual fact, he had been on June 15 the victim of an ordinary quarrel whose motives were exclusively passionate. Herr Hitler replied that he had indeed been informed of our moderating influence in Warsaw; yet the incidents were increasing. As for the events of last March, he added, it was true that he had taken the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia under his protection, but he had preserved the liberties of the inhabitants, and anyone who touched a hair of their heads would pay dearly for it; this was a point of honour for the Reich. The Polish minority in these regions were not subjected to any kind of brutalities; in the Saar, too, not a single Frenchman had had any reason for complaint. "It is very painful for me," repeated the Chancellor once again, "to think I might have to fight your country; but the decision does not rest with me. Please tell this to M. Daladier."
I was unable to prolong the interview any further, and after these remarks I took my leave.
M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to M. BARGETON, French Ambassador in Brussels. Paris, August 25, 1939, 11 p.m.
I SEND you herewith the French Government's reply to the broadcast appeal by His Majesty the King of the Belgians, which you should communicate without delay to the Prime Minister.
"The noble and magnanimous appeal made by His Majesty the King of the Belgians in the name of the representatives of the Oslo group of States meeting at Brussels has been welcomed by the French Government with keen and profound sympathy.
"The contributions which France has made on every possible occasion to the service of peace, her constant anxiety that all differences between peoples should be settled by peaceful means, can leave no doubt as to the general attitude of the French Government; it remains always ready to cooperate in any initiative aimed at creating an atmosphere favourable to the easing of the international situation.
"On the other hand, it is resolved not to accept any settlement imposed by violence, or under threat, and believes that this attitude contributes to the cause of peace, and, at the same time, to the creation in Europe and throughout the world, of conditions in which the independence of every state would be guaranteed and the respect of their most sacred rights assured."
M. LÉON NÖEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Warsaw, August 25, 1939. 11.5 p.m.
(Received August 26 at 136 a.m.)
PRESIDENT MOSCICKI has just sent the King of the Belgians a telegram thanking him for his "noble" speech. "Poland," he adds, "is also convinced that a lasting peace cannot be founded on the crushing of the weak, and equally that the surest guarantee of peace lies in the
peaceful settlement of international affairs by means of direct negotiations conducted on the basis of mutual respect for each other's rights and interests."
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 26, 1939.
(Received by telephone at 12.5 a.m.)
IN the course of an interview with Sir Nevile Henderson today, Herr Hitler made the following statement to my colleague, the substance of which I report herewith as I had it from the latter. "I am prepared," said the Chancellor, "to make one more attempt to re-establish good relations between our countries and to preserve peace. I am willing to consider, within certain limits, a disarmament programme. I still want colonies, but I can wait, three, four or even five years; in any case, this will not be grounds for a war. Moreover, it need not be a question of the former German colonies. The important thing for me is to find fats and timber." My British colleague replied that to pass on these proposals with any hope of their being useful, he would have to be convinced that Germany would not attack Poland.
Herr Hitler replied: "It is impossible for me to give any such undertaking; I prefer that you should not pass on my proposals."
The British Ambassador has the impression, nevertheless, that hostilities will not break out during the 48 hours that his mission will take, for he is secretly leaving for London to-morrow morning by air. I asked my colleague if Herr Hitler had not referred to Poland. He answered that the Chancellor had repeated his claims of last April, namely, the return of Danzig, and access to the Free City across the Corridor.