IV
Herr Hitler Agrees to Hold Direct Conversations with Poland
(August 28-30)
272  M. LON NOL-Warsaw, August 28
        The attitude of the Reich obliges Poland to call up new 
        classes of reservists .....................................  326

273  M. LON NOL-Warsaw, August 28
        Marshal Rydz-Smigly gives orders to the Polish troops not to
        reply to any German provocation, but only to repel flagrant
        incursions into Poland ....................................  326

274  M. LON NOL-Warsaw, August 28
        German incursions into Polish territory are increasing in 
        number ....................................................  327
  
275  M. LON NOL-Warsaw, August 28
        In an interview with  M. Leon Noel on July 15, Herr von 
        Moltke, the German Ambassador in Warsaw, admitted that he 
        had not had to complain for some time past of administrative 
        measures directed against Germans nor had he had occasion to
        raise questions of any other nature .......................  327
  
276  M. LON NOL-Warsaw, August 28
        Accusations of ill-treatment of Germans by the Poles, 
        repeated by Herr Hitler, are pure calumny. The German Ambas-
        sador in Warsaw has, moreover, made no protest in this 
        respect ...................................................  328
  
277  M. CORBIN-London, August 28
        The British Government's reply to Herr Hitler .............  328
  
278  M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 28
        M. is authorised to make indirect overtures with a view to 
        a settlement of the minorities question by an exchange of 
        populations ...............................................  331

279  M. GEORGES BONNET-Paris, August 28
        The French Government inform the Grand Ducal Government of 
        their intention to respect the inviolability of Luxemburg 
        territory. Only in the event of that territory being vio-
        lated by another Power might they be led, in self-defence, 
        to modify their attitude ..................................  331

280  M. LON NOL-Warsaw, August 28
        M. Beck confirms to the British Ambassador in Warsaw that 
        Poland remains prepared to enter into direct conversations 
        with Germany ..............................................  332

281  M. LON NOL-Warsaw, August 28
        A Polish gang leader, whose activities are now being denoun-
        ced by the German Government, has been dead for two years .  332

282  M. LON NOL-Warsaw, August 28
        Herr Hitler assesses the German population of Poland at an 
        excessive figure. The German Ambassador in Warsaw himself 
        admitted that the numbers of the national minorities in Ger-
        many and in Poland are approximately equal ................  333

283 BELGIAN GOVERNMENT'S NOTE-Brussels, August 28
        The Brussels Government acknowledges receipt of the French 
        Government's communication concerning its undertaking to 
        respect Belgian neutrality. Should Belgium be the object of 
        unprovoked aggression she would appeal to France ..........  333
 
284  M. BARGETON-Brussels, August 28
        Offer of the good offices of Their Majesties the Queen of 
        the Netherlands and the King of the Belgians  .............  334

285  M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 29
        Herr Hitler, when he received the British Government's reply 
        took an uncompromising attitude. He demanded all the Cor-
        ridor, with territorial modifications in Upper Silesia ....  334
   
286  M. HENRI CAMBON-Luxemburg, August 29
        The Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg thanks the 
        French Government for its communication ...................  335
  
287  M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 29
        The French Ambassador in Berlin transmits further informa-
        tion on Herr Hitler's interview with Sir Nevile Henderson. 
        The Fhrer has expressed the wish to study the British Govern-
        ment's communication before giving his reply ..............  335

288  M. CORBIN-London, August 29
        The French Ambassador in London reports the feeling of pes-
        simism in London following Herr Hitler's interview with Sir 
        Nevile Henderson ..........................................  336

289  M. DE LA TOURNELLE-Danzig, August 29
        In Danzig the bullying of Poles continues .................  337

290  M. LON NOL-Warsaw, August 29
        The French Ambassador in Warsaw gives fresh details reveal-
        ing the unfounded character of the Reich's allegations con-
        cerning the treatment of German minorities in Poland ......  337
  
291  M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 29
        In handing Sir Nevile Henderson his reply to the British 
        Government Herr Hitler points out to the British Ambassador 
        that he will accept direct conversations with Poland on con-
        dition that a Polish plenipotentiary arrives in Berlin the 
        following day, August 30. At the same time he restates his 
        demands for Danzig and for the Corridor ...................  338

292  M. GEORGES BONNET-Paris, August 29
        The French Government welcomes the offer of their good of-
        fices made by Their Majesties the King of the Belgians and 
        the Queen of the Netherlands ..............................  339

293  M. CORBIN-London, August 29
        The French Ambassador in London gives some further informa-
        tion as to Sir Nevile Henderson's interview with Herr Hitler. 
        The latter in particular added Silesia to his claims, and 
        let it be understood that he would not negotiate with Poland 
        unless he were certain beforehand of the Polish Government's
        acceptance of all his demands .............................  339

294  M. GEORGES BONNET-Paris, August 30
        The Minister for Foreign Affairs communicates to the French 
        Ambassador in Warsaw an account of Sir Nevile Henderson's 
        interview with Herr Hitler. He remarks that for the first 
        time Herr Hitler has agreed to enter into direct conversa-
        tions with Poland .........................................  340

295  M. GEORGES BONNET-Paris, August 30
        The Minister for Foreign Affairs requests the French Ambas-
        sadors in Berlin and Warsaw to examine, with a view to aver-
        ting the incidents now becoming more frequent, whether a 
        suggestion could be made to the German and Polish Governments
        for the withdrawal of their troops a few kilometres on either 
        side of the frontier ......................................  341

296  M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 30
        The French Ambassador in Berlin is of the opinion that the 
        Polish Government, to show its good will, should appoint a 
        plenipotentiary; for his part, however, he considers that 
        this plenipotentiary might be, not  M. Beck, but  M. Lipski, 
        who is on the spot ........................................  341

297  M. LON NOL-Warsaw, August 30
        The French Ambassador in Warsaw draws attention both to the 
        scope of the demands put forward by the Reich, and to their 
        lack of precision .........................................  342

298  M. BARGETON-Brussels, August 30
        The French Ambassador in Brussels has delivered the French 
        reply to the offer of their good offices made by Their 
        Majesties the Queen of the Netherlands and the King of the 
        Belgians ..................................................  343

299  M. CORBIN-London, August 30
        The French Ambassador in London communicates to the French 
        Government the text of Herr Hitler's reply to the British 
        Government ................................................  343

300  M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 30
        M. Coulondre considers that the Chancellor of the Reich's 
        reply to the British Government is brutal, and more like a 
        Diktat than an expression of willingness to negotiate with a 
        sovereign State ...........................................  346

301  M. LON NOL-Warsaw, August 30
        Agitation develops according to German plans; terrorist acts 
        are committed by members of the German minority ...........  346  

302  M. COULONDRE-Berlin, August 30
        The German Press lets it be understood that the Governments 
        of Berlin and Moscow have reached an agreement concerning a 
        solution of the Polish problem ............................  347

303  M. DE LA TOURNELLE.-Danzig, August 30
        In Danzig incidents continue ..............................  348

304  M. GEORGES BONNET-Paris, August 30
        The French Ambassador in Warsaw is asked to support the 
        dmarche his British colleague is to make concerning direct 
        German-Polish conversations ...............................  348  

IV

Herr Hitler Agrees to Hold Direct Conversations with Poland

(August 28-30, 1939)

No. 272

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                     Warsaw, August 28, 1939. 1.50 p.m.

(Received at 430 a.m.)

ACCORDING to what Colonel Beck has told me, the Polish Government feel compelled, on account of the intentions towards Poland expressed in the communication made by the German Chancellor to the British Ambassador, to complete their military measures by calling up fresh classes of reservists.

This seems to mean putting on a war footing those of the first line divisions which have not yet been mobilized.

                                                            LON NEL.   

No. 273

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                      Warsaw, August 28, 1939. 12 a.m.

(Received at 1.35 p.m.)

THE Polish troops have received orders from Marshal Rydz-Smigly not to reply to any German provocation. Their task is to drive back

[326]

any incursions into Polish territory but to take strict care not to cross the frontier.

                                                           LON NEL.
 

No. 274

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                      Warsaw, August 28, 1939. 3.30 p.m.

(Received at 5.45 p.m.)

THE Polish Press reports ten fresh cases of German aggression in Polish territory at widely separated points of the frontier. Either patrols have penetrated into Polish territory, or rifles and machineguns have been fired from German territory on the frontier guards stationed in Polish territory.

Near Dzialdowo, (on the East Prussian frontier) a patrol of German cavalry was encountered 6 kilometres within the frontier line. A German cavalryman and his horse were killed. A skirmish took place near Nowy-Targ, on the Slovak frontier.

From the official Polish version it transpires that in each case the German patrols only encountered frontier guards on the Polish side.

                                                           LON NEL.  

No. 275

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                      Warsaw, August 28, 1939. 6 p.m. 

(Received at 8.40 p.m.)

IN an interview which I had with the German Ambassador on July 15, the latter admitted that, while he had cause to complain of some administrative measures taken by the Polish authorities against Germans, he had not had to complain of acts of any other kind for some time past.

I advised M. Arciszewski to take steps to cause an investigation to be made on the spot by some neutral in order to destroy the legend that the German Chancellor is trying to establish.

                                                           LON NEL.  

[327]

No. 276

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                      Warsaw, August 28, 1939. 6.5 p.m. 

(Received at 9.5 p.m.)

THE ill-treatment, murders, etc., of which the Poles are accused by Chancellor Hitler are sheer calumnies. The denials issued by the national authorities cannot be doubted. It is impossible for Germans to be killed on the outskirts of Danzig or at Bielsko without the knowledge of the French who live in these districts. Moreover, it should be pointed out that the Germans did not mention any definite facts, names or dates.

No protest has been lodged with the Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs by the German Ambassador.

                                                           LON NEL.  

No. 277

M. CORBIN, French Ambassador in London,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                                London, August 28, 1939.

(Received by telephone 6.15 p.m.)

THE Prime Minister has just communicated to me the final text of the British reply to the Chancellor's communication. A few verbal changes have been made by the inner Cabinet in the initial text, but the general tenor is not altered.

I have the honour to transmit the following document to Your Excellency:

The Secretary of State again insists that no indiscretion should take place with regard to the contents of the document in question.

(1) His Majesty's Government have received the message conveyed to them from the German Chancellor by His Majesty's Ambassador in Berlin, and have considered it with the care which it demands.

They note the Chancellor's expression of his desire to make friendship the basis of the relations between Germany and the British Empire, and they fully share this desire. They believe with him that if a complete and lasting understanding between the two countries could be established it would bring untold blessings to both nations.

(2) The Chancellor's message deals with two groups of questions:

[328]

those which are the matters now in dispute between Germany and Poland and those affecting the ultimate relations of Germany and Great Britain. In connexion with these last, His Majesty's Government observe that the German Chancellor has indicated certain proposals which, subject to one condition, he would be prepared to make to the British Government for a general understanding. These proposals are, of course, stated in a very general form and would require closer definition, but His Majesty's Government are fully prepared to take them, with some additions, as subjects for discussion, and they would be ready, if the differences between Germany and Poland are peacefully composed, to proceed so soon as practicable to such discussion with a sincere desire to reach an agreement.

(3) The condition which the German Chancellor lays down is that there must first be a settlement of the differences between Germany and Poland. As to that, His Majesty's Government entirely agree. Everything, however, turns upon the nature of the settlement and the method by which it is to be reached. On these points, the importance of which cannot be absent from the Chancellor's mind, his message is silent, and His Majesty's Government feel compelled to point out that an understanding upon both of these is essential to achieving further progress. The German Government will be aware that His Majesty's Government have obligations to Poland by which they are bound and which they intend to honour. They could not, for any advantage offered to Great Britain, acquiesce in a settlement which would put in jeopardy the independence of a State to whom they have given their guarantee.

(4) In the opinion of His Majesty's Government a reasonable solution of the differences between Germany and Poland could and should be effected by agreement between the two countries on lines which would include the safeguarding of Poland's essential interests, and they recall that in his speech of April 28 last the German Chancellor recognized the importance of these interests to Poland.

But, as was stated by the Prime Minister in his letter to the German Chancellor of August 22, His Majesty's Government consider it essential for the success of the discussions which would precede the agreement that it should be understood beforehand that any settlement arrived at would be guaranteed by other Powers. His Majesty's Government would be ready if desired to make their contribution to the effective operation of such a guarantee.

In the view of His Majesty's Government, it follows that the next

[329]

step should be the initiation of direct discussions between the German and Polish Governments on a basis which would include the principles stated above, namely, the safeguarding of Poland's essential interests and the securing of the settlement by an international guarantee.

They have already received a definite assurance from the Polish Government that they are prepared to enter into discussions on this basis, and His Majesty's Government hope that the German Government would for their part also be willing to agree to this course.

If, as His Majesty's Government hope, such discussion led to an agreement the way would be open to the negotiation of that wider and more complete understanding between Great Britain and Germany which both countries desire.

(5) His Majesty's Government agree with the German Chancellor that one of the principal dangers in the German-Polish situation arises from the reports concerning the treatment of minorities. The present state of tension, with its concomitant frontier incidents, reports of maltreatment and inflammatory propaganda, is a constant danger to peace. It is manifestly a matter of the utmost urgency that all incidents of the kind should be promptly and rigidly suppressed and that unverified reports should not be allowed to circulate, in order that time may be afforded, without provocation on either side, for a full examination of the possibilities of a settlement. His Majesty's Government are confident that both the Governments concerned are fully alive to these considerations.

(6) His Majesty's Government have said enough to make their own attitude plain in the particular matters at issue between Germany and Poland. They trust that the German Chancellor will not think that, because His Majesty's Government are scrupulous concerning their obligations to Poland, they are not anxious to use all their influence to assist the achievement of a solution which may commend itself both to Germany and to Poland.

That such a settlement should be achieved seems to His Majesty's Government essential, not only for reasons directly arising in regard to the settlement itself, but also because of the wider considerations of which the German Chancellor has spoken with such conviction.

(7) It is unnecessary in the present reply to stress the advantage of a peaceful settlement over a decision to settle the questions at issue by force of arms. The results of a decision to use force have been clearly set out in the Prime Minister's letter to the Chancellor of

[330]

August 22, and His Majesty's Government do not doubt that they are as fully recognized by the Chancellor as by themselves.

On the other hand, His Majesty's Government, noting with interest the German Chancellor's reference in the message, now under consideration to a limitation of armaments, believe that, if a peaceful settlement can be obtained, the assistance of the world could confidently be anticipated for practical measures to enable the transition from preparation for war to the normal activities of peaceful trade to be safely and smoothly effected.

(8) A just settlement of these questions between Germany and Poland may open the way to world peace. Failure to reach it would ruin the hopes of better understanding between Germany and Great Britain, would bring the two countries into conflict, and might well plunge the whole world into war. Such an outcome would be a calamity without parallel in history.

                                                           CORBIN.  

No. 278

M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                                Berlin, August 28, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 6.15 p.m.)

M. LIPSKI has received the instructions announced (my telegram of August 26) which authorize him to make indirect overtures with a view to settling the question of minorities by exchanges of population.

The Polish ambassador intends to act on these instructions when an opportunity arises.

                                                           COULONDRE.  

No. 279

M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. HENRY CAMBON, French Minister in Luxemburg.
                                     Paris, August 28, 1939. 6.45 p.m.

PLEASE transmit the following communication to M. Beck, on behalf of the French Government.

"The Government of the Republic believes that, in the present circumstances, it can contribute to allay the preoccupations of the Government of Luxemburg by declaring its firm intention, should the need arise, to respect the inviolability of the Grand Duchy's terri-

[33I]

tory. It is only in the event of an infringement of that inviolability by another Power that the Government of the Republic might be compelled to change this attitude, in order to secure its own defence."

                                                         GEORGES BONNET. 

No. 280

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                     Warsaw, August 28, 1939. 8.10 p.m.

(Received at 10.40 p.m.)

THE British Ambassador has just informed Colonel Beck of the substance of the reply which the British Government is giving to Herr Hitler. He requested him at the same time to confirm that Poland was still prepared to hold direct conversations with Germany under the conditions set out in the British document.

Colonel Beck, who expressed great satisfaction at the English answer, replied in the affirmative to the British Ambassador's question.

                                                           LON NEL

No. 281

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                     Warsaw, August 28, 1939. 8.15 p.m.

(Received at 11 p.m.)

AMONG other contradictions of false allegations, the Press publishes the following news, supplied by the Pat Agency:

1. The Vice-Vovode of Silesia, M. Malhomme, accused by the German wireless stations of having ordered the maltreatment of women and children, has been seriously ill for a month and is under treatment at Warsaw;

2. Plundering by bands of insurgents in Silesia is a complete invention. Captain Blacha, who is alleged to be leading them, has been dead two years.

                                                           LON NEL.

[332]

No. 282

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                     Warsaw, August 28, 1939. 8.20 p.m.  

(Received at 9.50 p.m.)

THE number of Germans residing in Poland is less than one million. It is therefore far from reaching the figure given by Herr Hitler.

I may add that in a conversation with me on that question, in 1937, the German Ambassador recognized that the number of Poles in Germany and Germans in Poland was almost the same.

                                                         LON NEL. 

No. 283

Note addressed to M. Bargeton, French Ambassador in Brussels, by the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, on August 28, 1939

                                             (Transmitted at 8.38 p.m.)

(Received at 10 p.m.)

BY his note of August 28, 1939, the Ambassador of the French Republic was good enough to define, on the occasion of the present international crisis, the attitude that the French Government would observe towards Belgium in the event of a conflict in Europe becoming unavoidable.

The King's Government has taken note of this communication, by which the Government of the Republic intimates that if Belgium in such a contingency maintains her neutrality, the French Government is firmly resolved, in conformity with its traditional policy, integrally to respect this neutrality.

On its side, the King's Government, faithful to the policy of which France took cognizance in the declaration of April 24, 1937, intends to remain outside any conflict; consequently it will not tolerate any violation of this neutrality and will resist with all the forces at its disposal such violation if it should occur.

If, contrary to its expectation, Belgium were the object of an aggression, she would not hesitate to appeal to France. She does not doubt that in this case she would receive the assistance requested, according to the assurances now renewed by the Government of the Republic.

[333]

The King's Government thanks the Government of the Republic for this fresh proof that it remains true to its traditional policy towards Belgium.

No. 284

M. BARGETON, French Ambassador in Brussels,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                     Brussels, August 28, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 11.30 p.m.)

THE Prime Minster has just summoned me and requests me to inform you that the Queen of the Netherlands and the King of the Belgians have agreed to offer their "good offices" in view of a settlement of the crisis. This offer is made to the Governments of France, of England, of Germany, of Italy, and of Poland. An identical communication is being made this evening by the Netherlands Government to the representatives of the said five Powers at the Hague.

                                                         BARGETON. 

No. 285

M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                     Berlin, August 29, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 1.45 a.m.)

THE British Ambassador, who is engaged in drafting his report to London, has this moment sent his first secretary in order to inform me of the substance of an interview lasting an hour and ten minutes which he had with Chancellor Hitler:

"While showing himself very calm, the Chancellor refused to abate any of his claims against Poland. He demanded all the Corridor, without even mentioning Danzig, and territorial changes in Upper Silesia with the possibility of an exchange of populations. He declared, however, that the English communication would retain his most serious attention and that he would give his reply in writing to-morrow."

                                                           COULONDRE.  

[334]

No. 286

M. HENRY CAMBON, French Minister in Luxemburg,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                   Luxemburg, August 29, 1939. 11.8 a.m.

(Received at 3.19 p.m.)

THE declaration contained in your telegram of yesterday has been handed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who has charged me to express the thanks of the Grand Ducal Government to the French Government.

                                                           CAMBON.

No. 287

M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                     Berlin, August 29, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 1.20 p.m.)

MY British colleague has acquainted me with his interview with Herr Hitler, the substance of which is as follows:

"All through the interview the Fhrer returned again and again to his claims against Poland. In April he made a generous offer, which could not be repeated. What he wants today is Danzig, the Corridor, and territorial rectifications in Polish Silesia. Sir Nevile Henderson, who refused to be drawn into a discussion of this programme, said and repeated: England accepts the offer to conclude an agreement with Germany; but England stipulates as a preliminary condition that the Reich should reach an agreement with Poland, by free negotiations, conducted on a footing of complete equality, safeguarding essential Polish interests, under an international guarantee. The Ambassador added that Poland was willing to discuss on that basis.

"At the end of the interview my colleague put two questions to Herr Hitler:

"1. Are you willing to take part in direct conversations with Poland?

"'I cannot answer you now,' replied the Fhrer, 'as I must first of all study with the most careful attention the communication of the British Government.' He added, turning towards Herr von Ribbentrop: 'This must be seen to immediately. Ask Field-Marshal Goering to work with you.'

[335]

"2. Would you be disposed to consider an exchange of populations for the settlement of the question of minorities?

"'That is a formula which might be found favourable,' replied the Fhrer.

"Herr Hitler informed the British Ambassador that he thought he would give his reply this very day. Sir Nevile replied to him: 'It took us two days to draw up our note. I am in no hurry.'

"'But I am,' replied the Fhrer.

"Herr Hitler declared that, contrary to certain insinuations made abroad, he was not bluffing. The British Ambassador answered the Chancellor that any act of force against Poland could not fail to bring about a war between England and the Reich."

                                                         COULONDRE. 

No. 288

M. CORBIN, French Ambassador in London,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                     London, August 29, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 3 p.m.)

THE written reply of Chancellor Hitler was dispatched by an aeroplane which left Tempelhof towards noon. It is believed at the Foreign Office that it should therefore be received towards 4.30 p.m.

The conversation which the British Ambassador had yesterday with Herr Hitler gave no indication of the latter's intentions.

Sir Nevile Henderson definitely told Herr Hitler that it was for the Reich now to make its choice between British friendship and war, by the attitude which it would adopt towards Poland. Field-Marshal Goering was summoned in the morning by Herr Hitler, probably in order to discuss the situation.

The German reply to M. Daladier has created a pessimistic impression at the Foreign Office. Sir Alexander Cadogan told me this morning that he did not see how the Chancellor, after having announced his aims in categorical terms, could beat a retreat without discrediting himself.

                                                           CORBIN.  

[336]

No. 289

M. DE LA TOURNELLE, French Consul in Danzig,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                     Danzig, August 29, 1939. 8.10 p.m.

(Received at 9.55 p.m.)

I AM told that the Senate has forbidden the Polish company Paged to dispose of its stocks of wood which are valued at 5 million zlotys. It is also reported to me that 200 Polish workers of the international shipyards have been dismissed, after their identity papers had been confiscated and without having their wages paid. An orderly of the military section of the General Commissioner's office is said also to have been arrested.

                                                         LA TOURNELLE. 

No. 290

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                     Warsaw, August 29, 1939. 10.3 p.m.

(Received August 30, 1939, at 12.15 a.m.)

HERE are some data concerning the German minorities in Poland:

1. At the Census of 1931 they numbered 741,000 persons, i.e. 2.13 per cent of the total population. Since then the coefficient of births being greater with the Poles than with the Germans, this percentage can only have diminished.

2. The German minority forms nowhere a compact group. It is spread all over the territory. One finds small German islands as far as the Russian frontier.

3. There is only a very feeble proportion of Germans in the Corridor.

4. There is no doubt that a great part of the German minority wishes to live on peaceful terms with the Poles.

                                                           LON NEL. 

[337]

No. 291

M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                                Berlin, August 29, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 10.15 p.m.)

HERR HITLER has personally handed to Sir Nevile Henderson the German reply to the British communication. The British Ambassador is transmitting it at this moment by telephone to London.

Here is what Sir Nevile Henderson told me of his conversation:

"The interview was stormy; the Chancellor told me: 'Here is my reply to the two questions put by the British Government:

"'A. Direct conversations. Although I am skeptical as to results, I accept. But on condition that a Polish plenipotentiary comes to Berlin to-morrow, August 30.

"'B. International guarantee. I could only give a territorial guarantee in full agreement with the Government of the U.S.S.R.'

"On Question A, I pointed out to the Chancellor that his proposal resembled an ultimatum. He replied this was not so because the present situation could not be prolonged. The mobilized Polish and German armies are facing each other; fresh incidents constantly occur; five more men were killed today, but England laughs at that.

"I protested against such an allegation, and insisted that the prescribed period should be prolonged. Herr Hitler maintained the date of the 30th, pointing out that an aeroplane only took 90 minutes to come from Warsaw to Berlin.

"I asked him whether the Polish plenipotentiary would be received with all the courtesy due to him, and if the negotiation would be conducted on a footing of equality. His reply was: 'Yes, of course.'

"The Fhrer reminded me afresh of his demands: he wants Danzig and the Corridor. He wants also the suppression of all possibility of incidents with Poland, and to that effect he will have an economic plan drafted by to-morrow.

"On Question B, I replied to the Chancellor that, in view of his agreement with the Soviets, his reservation did not seem to be likely to raise any difficulties.

"In taking leave, I told Herr Hitler that I would transmit his reply to my Government. I recalled that if the Reich, failing an understanding, attacked Poland, it meant war with England."

                                                           COULONDRE.  

[338]

No. 292

M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. BARGETON, French Ambassador in Brussels,
     and to M. DE VITROLLES, French Minister in The Hague.  
                                         Paris, August 29, 1939. 11 p.m.

PLEASE inform immediately, in reply to the communication which you have received tonight:

For Brussels: the Belgian Prime Minister.

For the Hague: the Netherlands Minister for Foreign Affairs.

That the Government of the Republic welcomes with the greatest interest the offer which the King of the Belgians and the Queen of the Netherlands have made of their good offices with a view to a settlement of the European crisis.

The French Government, which earnestly desires that the noble initiative of the two Sovereigns should attain its realization, is ready, for its part, to further this endeavour with all its power.

                                                    GEORGES BONNET. 

No. 293

M. CORBIN, French Ambassador in London,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                     London, August 29, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 11.55 p.m.)

I HAVE obtained the following supplementary details regarding the conversation which took place yesterday evening between Herr Hitler and Sir Nevile Henderson.

After adding Silesia to his former claims, the Chancellor gave clearly to understand that what remained of Poland could not count upon an independent future.

In resounding phrases, the German Chancellor emphasized the future vistas that would open out from an Anglo-German rapprochement. A golden age for humanity could not fail to result therefrom. Sir Nevile Henderson appears always to have led him back to the necessity of a previous settlement of the German-Polish difference.

Herr Hitler, replying to a question from Sir Nevile Henderson, insisted that he could never return to his proposal of March 23 to the Polish Government. He let it be understood that he would negotiate

[339]

with Poland only if he were sure in advance that the Polish Government would accede to all his wishes.

Mr. Chamberlain said a few words to me about the diplomatic situation. It is significant, according to the Prime Minister, that Chancellor Hitler has so far abstained, despite his menacing preparations, from starting any decisive action. As you told Sir Eric Phipps, each day which passes is in the Prime Minister's opinion, a day gained for the safeguarding of peace. The Fhrer cannot fail to realize the "disgust" which has been provoked in the whole civilized world by the conclusion by Germany of an agreement with a Power, which, on the very day before this agreement, was regarded by Germany as her worst enemy. The resolute firmness shown by the Western Powers cannot have failed to impress him.

I said that Paris had welcomed the clear terms of the British reply brought by Sir Nevile Henderson to Herr Hitler, and notably the precision with which it was indicated that no enterprise of conciliation could be considered before the settlement of the German-Polish conflict. The Prime Minister replied that it was only Herr Hitler who could imagine that Great Britain, in order to be reconciled with Germany, would let herself be lured to a general conference, without regard for the country to which she had given her guarantee. Mr. Neville Chamberlain added that the facility with which the Moscow agreement had been concluded must have warped Herr Hitler's judgment.

                                                         CORBIN. 

No. 294

M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw.  
                                     Paris, August 30, 1939. 1 a.m.
M. COULONDRE has given me a provisional account of the interview which Sir Nevile Henderson had this afternoon with Herr Hitler, in the course of which the German reply was delivered. I am communicating this document to you. However disagreeable may be the form in which the Chancellor expresses his thoughts, nevertheless, I notice that, for the first time, he accepts the principle of a direct conversation, to which he has hitherto been opposed. At first sight it is a point which seems worthy of attention. It appears to me that it would be difficult to meet it with a flat refusal. [340] As soon as the British Government is in possession of the text of the German reply as well as of the comments which accompany it, I propose to consult with the British Government with a view to defining our common attitude.
                                                        GEORGES BONNET.  

No. 295

M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. CORBIN, French Ambassador in London,
     to M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw.  
                                           Paris, August 30, 1939.1 a.m.

For London. I am sending the following telegram to Berlin and Warsaw:

THERE is an increasing number of incidents between the German troops and the Polish troops, who are now in contact at many points.

Should it be possible to open negotiations, I wonder whether it would not be feasible to envisage the withdrawal of these troops a few miles on either side of the Frontier.

You should examine the possibility of making suggestions of this nature in Warsaw and in Berlin.

                                                         GEORGES BONNET.  

No. 296

M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                               Berlin, August 30, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 2 a.m.)

ACCORDING to what I have been told by my British colleague, his interview of yesterday has left him with a rather bad impression. He is less optimistic than he was yesterday.

Nevertheless, he thinks that M. Beck should accept the invitation of the German Chancellor, for it would be to Poland's interest to show her good will before the eyes of the world. Sir Nevile Henderson is telegraphing to his Government in that sense.

For my part I consider that the Polish Government should agree to appoint a plenipotentiary, since, after all, the German Chancellor

[341]

accedes to the suggestion made to him by Britain and France for direct contact between Berlin and Warsaw.

Nevertheless, there would be serious objections to M. Beck's coming to Berlin in the present circumstances. The journey would inevitably recall the unhappy precedents of Dr. Schuschnigg and Dr. Hacha. It would be exploited by the Reich, with all the dramatic effects of which German propaganda is capable, as a moral victory and a sign of weakening. German demands would thereby be increased. If, therefore, the Ministers of the two countries were to meet, it seems to me that it should be in some town close to the frontier. If, on the other hand, the negotiations had to take place in Berlin, they should, in my opinion, be entrusted to M. Lipski. This solution would, moreover, have the advantage that the Polish Government would not appear to be yielding to a time limit which has every appearance of an ultimatum.

Should the negotiations take a favourable turn, the subsequent visit of M. Beck would no longer present the same disadvantages.

                                                         COULONDRE. 

No. 297

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                                Warsaw, August 30, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 11.20 a.m.)

GOING far beyond his demands of March 21, the German Chancellor today claims, besides Danzig, the Corridor, which is territory racially Polish, and also Gdynia, which is a Polish creation. Furthermore, by claiming an economic agreement and "the elimination of any possibility of incidents with Poland," he is opening the door to unspecified demands.

The reservation which he makes with regard to the establishment of an international guarantee recalls the one to which last autumn he subordinated the guarantee to be given to the Czechoslovak State for its new frontier. According to all appearances, he expects a refusal from the Soviet. It is, moreover, impossible to imagine that such terms, which would mark the beginning of Poland's enslavement, would be accepted by that country.

                                                           LON NEL.  

[342]

No. 298

M. BARGETON, French Ambassador in Brussels,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                    Brussels, August 30, 1939. 12.5 p.m.

(Received at 1.55 p.m.)

THE Prime Minister of Belgium, whom I approached early this morning according to your instructions, expressed his most cordial thanks.

Our reply is the first he has received, but he has also received intimation of a favourable reply from Britain. He has up to the moment heard nothing from Rome or Berlin; Press reports lead him to suppose that one will be received from Poland.

                                                           BARGETON.  

No. 299

M. CORBIN, French Ambassador in London,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                              London, August 30, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 1.10 p.m.)

I GIVE below the text of the reply sent by Herr Hitler to the British Government; the Foreign Office has on this occasion repeated its request for absolute secrecy already made in connection with the previous communication.

"The British Ambassador in Berlin has submitted to the British Government suggestions which I felt bound to make in order:

"1. To give expression once more to the will of the Reich Government for sincere Anglo-German understanding, cooperation and friendship;

"2. To leave no room for doubt as to the fact that such an under standing could not be bought at the price of a renunciation of vital German interests, let alone the abandonment of demands which are based as much upon common human justice as upon the national dignity and honour of our people.

"The German Government have noted with satisfaction from the reply of the British Government and from the oral explanations given by the British Ambassador that the British Government for their part are also prepared to improve the relationship between Germany and

[343]

England and to develop and extend it in the sense of the German suggestion.

"In this connexion, the British Government are similarly convinced that the removal of the German-Polish tension, which has become unbearable, is the pre-requisite for the realization of this hope.

"Since the autumn of the past year, and on the last occasion in March 1939, there were submitted to the Polish Government proposals, both oral and written, which, having regard to the friendship then existing between Germany and Poland, offered the possibility of a solution of the questions in dispute acceptable to both parties. The British Government are aware that the Polish Government saw fit, in March last, definitely to reject these proposals. At the same time, they used this rejection as a pretext or an occasion for taking military measures which have since been continuously intensified. Already in the middle of last month Poland was in effect in a state of mobilization. This was accompanied by numerous encroachments in the Free City of Danzig due to the instigation of the Polish authorities; threatening demands in the nature of ultimata, varying only in degree, were addressed to that City. A closing of the frontiers, at first in the form of a measure of Customs policy but extended later in a military sense affecting also traffic and communications, was imposed with the object of bringing about the political exhaustion and economic destruction of this German community.

"To this were added barbaric acts of ill-treatment which cry to Heaven, and other forms of persecution of the large German national group in Poland, which extended even to the killing of many resident Germans or to their forcible removal under the most cruel conditions. This state of affairs is unbearable for a Great Power. It has now forced Germany, after remaining a passive onlooker for many months, in her turn to take the necessary steps for the safeguarding of legitimate German interests. And indeed the German Government can but assure the British Government in the most solemn manner that a condition of affairs has now been reached which can no longer be accepted or observed with indifference.

"The demands of the German Government are in conformity with the revision of the Versailles Treaty in regard to this territory, which has always been recognized as being necessary, viz., return of Danzig and the Corridor to Germany, the safeguarding of the existence of the German national group in the territories remaining to Poland. The German Government note with satisfaction that the British Govern-

[344]

ment also are in principle convinced that some solution must be found for the new situation which has arisen.

"They further feel justified in assuming that the British Government too can have no doubt that it is a question now of conditions, for the elimination of which there no longer remain days, still less weeks, but perhaps only hours. For in the disorganized state of affairs obtaining in Poland, the possibility of incidents intervening, which it might be impossible for Germany to tolerate, must at any moment be reckoned with.

"While the British Government may still believe that these grave differences can be resolved by way of direct negotiations, the German Government unfortunately can no longer share this view as a matter of course. For they have made the attempt to embark on such peaceful negotiations, but, instead of receiving any support from the Polish Government, they were rebuffed by the sudden introduction of measures of a military character which have led to the developments alluded to above.

"The British Government attach importance to two considerations: (1) that the existing danger of an imminent explosion should be eliminated as quickly as possible by direct negotiation, and (2) that the existence of the Polish State, in the form in which it would then continue to exist, should be adequately safeguarded in the economic and political sphere by means of international guarantees.

"On this subject the German Government make the following declaration:

"Though skeptical as to the prospectus of a successful outcome, they are nevertheless prepared to accept the English proposal and to enter into direct discussions. They do so, as has already been emphasized, solely as the result of the impression made upon them by the written statement received from the British Government that they too desire a pact of friendship in accordance with the general lines indicated to the British Ambassador.

"The German Government desire in this way to give the British Government and the British nation proof of the sincerity of Germany's intentions to enter on a lasting friendship with Great Britain.

"The Government of the Reich feel, however, bound to point out to the British Government that in the event of a territorial rearrangement in Poland they would no longer be able to bind themselves to give guarantees or to participate in guarantees without the U.S.S.R. being associated therewith.

[345]

"For the rest, in making these proposals, the German Government have never had any intention of touching Poland's vital interests or questioning the existence of an independent Polish State. The German Government, accordingly, in these circumstances agree to accept the British Government's offer of their good offices in securing the dispatch to Berlin of a Polish Emissary with full powers. They count on the arrival of this Emissary on Wednesday, August 30, 1939.

"The German Government will immediately draw up proposals for a solution acceptable to themselves and will, if possible, place these at the disposal of the British Government before the arrival of the Polish negotiator."

                                                         CORBIN. 

No. 300

M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                               Berlin, August 30, 1939.

(Received by telephone at 130 p.m.)

THE text of the German reply which was delivered yesterday to Sir Nevile Henderson has just been communicated to me by the British Embassy.

It is brutal and reads more like a Diktat imposed upon a conquered country than an agreement to negotiate with a sovereign State.

Even if the conversations should be broken off almost as soon as begun, I nevertheless consider that Poland should, at least, to start with, agree to open them through the intermediary of her Ambassador in Berlin.

                                                           COULONDRE.  

No. 301

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                     Warsaw, August 30, 1939. 3.20 p.m.

(Received at 5.40 p.m.)

THE Press announces the arrest of several members of the German minority, affiliated to terrorist organizations, who have been instructed to engage in conjunction with the military authorities of the Reich in "acts of diversion" and to impede the transport of troops. At Lodz 17 kilograms of dynamite and 4 kilograms of nitro-glycerine have been

[346]

found at the houses of two employees of a German bank. A similar organization has been discovered at Poznan. A member of the German minority belonging to a similar organization has been arrested at the frontier in a car belonging to the German Consulate at Katowice.

The victims of the terrorist outrage at Tarnow number 18.

                                                           LON NEL.  

No. 302

M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                      Berlin, August 30, 1939. 5.40 p.m.

(Received at 7.45 p.m.)

THREE principal facts emerge from the German Press today:

1. The newspapers continue to reflect the irritation, noticed for the last two or three days. The campaign against Poland continues in the same strain.

2. The whole problem of the Polish-German frontier is kept well in the foreground. The racial principle is again invoked, as if the Reich, since March 15, still had the right to invoke it.

3. With the greatest insistence the newspapers underline the final character of the Berlin-Moscow Pact and its wide implications. One is given to understand that Russia and Germany are in perfect agreement, not only on the solution of the Polish problem, but also on the solution of other Eastern European problems.

Similar insinuations, which are worthy of attention, should be compared with the declaration which the Chancellor made yesterday to Sir Nevile Henderson, according to which the Reich could not give Poland a territorial guarantee without the assent of Russia. However much intimidation and tactical maneuver may be behind this attitude, we cannot in my opinion watch too closely the development of Russo-German relations. Germany's object is to bring about between the two countries complete political and military cooperation in which the leadership will obviously be assumed by the Reich.

In this connection there has even been talk in certain well-informed quarters in Berlin of a new surprise which might be in store for us very shortly. One of the reasons why the Reich has up till now deferred its action against Poland would appear to be the mysterious negotiations which are being conducted by Berlin and Moscow.

                                                           COULONDRE.  

[347]

No. 303

M. DE LA TOURNELLE, French Consul in Danzig,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  
                                     Danzig, August 30, 1939. 10.15 p.m.

(Received at 1130 p.m.)

As a reply to the seizure of trucks of goods carried out by the Danzig Customs Control, the Polish Government has reduced from yesterday the number of passenger trains.

Tonight, the Senate protested on the subject to the Polish Commissioner-General. An agreement was reached this afternoon after a meeting of officials; the two Polish negotiators, who are railway officials, were however arrested by the Gestapo when leaving the meeting.

                                                           LA TOURNELLE.

No. 304

M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. LON NEL French Ambassador in Warsaw.  
                                     Paris, August 30, 1939. 11.20 p.m.

THE British Government have submitted to the French Government the instructions sent to your British colleague by the Foreign Office. You should, in accordance with these instructions, support the steps taken by the British Ambassador.

                                                        GEORGES BONNET.  


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