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Last-Modified: 1997/10/19
                              
                APPENDIX II 
     
   Extract from Speech Delivered to the Chamber of
Deputies by M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
                  January 26, 1939
     
     WE  have  also  sought to improve  our  relations  with
Germany. Each of you, I think, will approve of this.
     After  Munich, Mr. Neville Chamberlain signed with  the
Reich Government a "bon voisinage" agreement.

[409]
     
     Chancellor   Hitler   had  a  conversation   with   our
Ambassador,   M.   Franois-Poncet,  on  this   subject   at
Berchtesgaden on October 22.
     Negotiations   were  immediately   begun.   They   were
conducted with great rapidity, and some time later,  in  the
beginning  of  November, an agreement  was  reached  without
difficulty, after frank and full discussion.
     It  is  in these circumstances that Herr von Ribbentrop
came to Paris to sign a Franco-German declaration.
     What, gentlemen, does this declaration say?
     The  two  Governments  are agreed that  no  territorial
questions  are  outstanding between  their  countries.  They
solemnly  recognise  as permanent the  frontier  as  it  now
stands.  And further, gentlemen, without prejudice to  their
own relations with third Powers, the two Governments declare
their  determination to remain in contact on  all  questions
that  concern  them both, and to consult each other  in  the
event  of subsequent developments in these questions tending
to lead to international difficulties.
     There, gentlemen, is the Franco-German Declaration.  Is
there  any  responsible man who, in  my  place,  would  have
refused  to  sign it? (Loud applause in the centre,  on  the
right,  and  on numerous benches on the left.)  Have  we  in
doing so sacrificed a single one of the interests of France?
Have  not  all the men who have successfully been  in  power
declared  in their speeches that they would seize the  first
opportunity of bringing about a better understanding between
France  and  Germany?  And, in the  hour  when  it  appeared
possible, would anyone suggest we ought not to have accepted
it?
     No  one  would dare assert that. And, what is more,  we
consider  that  this joint declaration should  constitute  a
first  step, and that it should open for us both  vistas  of
confident  cooperation  in the future.  (Hear,  hear!  Hear,
hear! from the same benches.)
     Yes, gentlemen, our geographical position wills it that
we  have  Germany for a neighbour. Even if France  were  to-
morrow  again  at  war with Germany, she would  be  obliged,
after  the  peace, to have relations and conversations  with
that  nation. Can it be believed that these relations  would
be  any  freer, these conversations any easier after another
war,  which  would have resulted in millions of dead,  would
have   heaped  up  ruins,  and  revived  hatreds   for   new
generations? I doubt it.
     Herr   von  Ribbentrop,  German  Minister  for  Foreign
Affairs, declared in a broadcast to the German people:

[410]
     
     "France and Germany have reached an agreement to put an
end  to their age-old frontier disputes. The courage of  the
German  people,  and of the French people, have  earned  for
them,  during  the  World War, a mutual consideration  which
should,  in peace time, increase, thanks to the bravery  and
to the efforts shown by each people in its work."
     And M. Daladier, President of the Council of Ministers,
following  this, expressed from this rostrum, the  unanimous
opinion of France when he declared:
     "I  want  peace with Germany. All ex-Service  men  want
peace with Germany. (Applause on the left, in the centre and
on  the  right.) Among them, among you, there are  many  who
would  give  their lives, I can confidently state,  for  the
sure establishment of peace."
     I  need  not say, gentlemen, that we have kept informed
of  our  negotiations the principal countries  concerned  to
which  we  are  bound by friendship; Poland, Belgium,  Great
Britain, the U.S.S.R., the United States of America.
     And how have they received this agreement? In the House
of  Commons,  Mr.  Neville  Chamberlain  declared  that  the
British  Government  felt a very special  satisfaction  that
France had been able to reach an agreement with Germany.  In
America, editorials of the three leading newspapers  of  New
York  and  Washington have revealed a full understanding  of
French  policy.  Poland  has declared  that  her  Government
congratulates itself on the happy conclusions of the Franco-
German declaration.
     And  were this joint declaration to be submitted  to  a
referendum of the French people, I should have no  doubt  of
its unanimous approval. (Applause on the left, in the centre
and on the right.)
     France  has  also maintained her traditional friendship
with Poland. At the time of the Franco-German Declaration of
December  6,  I  had,  in accordance  with  our  agreements,
advised the Polish Ambassador of our intentions. The  Polish
Government,  thanking me for keeping it  informed,  told  me
that  it  congratulated itself on an agreement of  which  it
fully appreciated the aim, the significance, and the scope.
     In  the  same way, M. Beck, before leaving Monte Carlo,
informed  me  of  the invitation he had just  received  from
Chancellor Hitler. Moreover, I would ask the Chamber not  to
forget,  as certain speakers appear to have forgotten,  that
an  agreement between Germany and Poland exists dating  from
1934. M. Beck undertakes to keep our Ambassador informed  of
the coming conversations. We are remaining in

[411]
     
constant contact with the Warsaw Government, and we have had
with   it,   whenever  it  has  been  useful,  conversations
justified by the particular relations of both countries  and
the course of events.
     On  all  occasions,  and  again  recently,  the  Polish
Government  has renewed to us the assurance that  friendship
with  France constitutes one of the fundamentals  of  Polish
policy.
     There, gentlemen, we must once and for all be done with
the  legend  that  our  policy has  rendered  worthless  our
undertakings in Eastern Europe with the U.S.S.R. and Poland.
     These undertakings remain still in force, and they must
be  fulfilled  in  the  exact  spirit  in  which  they  were
conceived.
     
                    III 

   Telephone Communications of M. Georges Bonnet,
 Minister for Foreign Affairs, August 31, September 1 and 2,
                        1939

         Thursday, August 31, 1939 

10.20 a.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Coulondre to M. Georges
Bonnet

     M.  COULONDRE telephones that the British Ambassador in
Berlin  has  told  him that, according to  a  very  reliable
source, there is considerable dissatisfaction in Berlin that
no  reply has yet been received from Poland, and it is to be
feared  that the Reich Government intends to give the troops
orders  to attack if no reply is received by the end of  the
morning.
     
10.45 a.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet to M. Corbin
     
     THE  Minister  requests  our Ambassador  in  London  to
inform  the  Foreign  Office of the  communication  from  M.
Coulondre and to add that the French Government considers it
desirable  to advise the Polish Government to  agree,  as  a
matter of extreme urgency, to open direct conversations with
the Reich Government.
     
11.45 a.m.
Communication  telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet  to  M.  LON
NEL
     
     THE  Minister  summarizes  the  communication  from  M.
Coulondre.

[412]
     
He  requests  M. NEL to make a fresh overture to  M.  Beck,
with a view to obtaining the Polish Government's consent  to
direct conversations. He stresses the extreme gravity of the
situation  and the necessity for the Poles to reply  without
delay.
     M.  LON NEL states that M. Beck will give his  answer
at   noon.  He  has  given  this  assurance  to  the  French
Ambassador, who will see that this promise is kept and  that
no delay takes place.
     
12.15 p.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Franois-Poncet to M. Georges
Bonnet

     M.  FRANOIS-PONCET was received by the Italian Foreign
Minister. The latter told him that, according to information
supplied  to him by his Ambassador in Berlin, the  situation
had  now reached its most critical stage. Count Ciano  fears
that   Poland's  failure  to  reply  will  lead  the  German
Government to begin military operations against Poland.
     The   Minister  replied  to  M.  Franois-Poncet  that,
according to his recent telephone conversation with M.  LON
NEL,  the  Polish  Government  had  agreed  to  accept  the
principle  of  direct  conversations  between  Germany   and
Poland.
     
12.30 p.m.
Communication  telephoned  by  M.  Georges  Bonnet   to   M.
Coulondre
     
     THE  Minister  informs M. Coulondre of M.  Lon  Nel's
reply.  This  reply is favourable and should be sent  either
directly  to  the Government of the Reich or to the  British
Government,  to be conveyed through the latter's  agency  to
the German Government.
     
12.45 p.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet to M. Corbin
     
     THE  Minister  informs M. Corbin of  his  conversations
with M. LON NEL and M. Coulondre. He requests him, in  the
event of the Polish Government sending its reply directly to
the  British Government, to ask the latter at once to inform
its  Berlin  Ambassador thereof by telephone, for  immediate
communication to the Government of the Reich.  The  Minister
insists  on  the  necessity  of losing  no  time  over  this
communication.
     
1 p.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Franois-Poncet to M. Georges
Bonnet
     "COUNT  CIANO has just summoned me and told me:  Signor
Mussolini  offers, if France and England  would  accept,  to
invite Germany

[413]
     
to  a  conference  to be held on September 5,  during  which
present  difficulties arising out of the  Versailles  Treaty
would be examined."
     
1.15 p.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Corbin to M. Georges Bonnet
     
     THE  Prime Minister has just told M. Corbin that he has
received  from  Count Ciano the same message as  the  French
Government. M. Corbin requests the Minister to let him  know
as quickly as possible the French reply to enable the French
Government  and  the  British Government  to  compare  their
points of view.
     The  Minister  replies  that he will  let  the  British
Government  know the French answer as soon as possible,  but
that  the latter cannot, of course, be drawn up until  after
the meeting of the Council of Ministers.
     
9 p.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet to M. Corbin
     
     THE  Minister informs M. Corbin of the essential points
of the French reply which come under two heads:
     1.   The   desire   that   the   direct   German-Polish
conversations should have a successful issue.
     2.  In the event of their not succeeding, acceptance of
the  conference, provided Poland were invited to  take  part
and  that  the conference should cover all points at  issue,
the  settlement of which would be calculated to establish  a
lasting peace.
     
11 p.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Corbin to M. Georges Bonnet
     
     THE  Ambassador  confirms that the  British  Government
will  send  its  reply to-morrow morning and  that  it  will
acquaint the Ministry with the terms thereof.
     
         Friday, September 1, 1939
     
     (THE  Minister learnt at 8 o'clock in the morning  that
German  troops  had  crossed the  Polish  frontier  at  many
points; he immediately informed the President of the Council
of  Ministers.  The  Council of Ministers  is  summoned  for
1030.)

[414]
     
10.20 a.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet to M. Franois-
Poncet

     THE  Minister  informs  the  Ambassador  that,  as  the
Council  of  Ministers is about to meet, he  will  send  him
before   noon  the  French  Government's  reply  to   Signor
Mussolini's proposal for a conference.
     
10.30 a.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet to M. Corbin
     
     THE  Minister makes certain that M. Corbin has  in  his
possession the text of the draft French reply to Italy which
has just been telephoned to the Embassy.
     M.  Corbin  is to communicate this text to the  British
Government. The Minister informs him that, failing  contrary
advice  from  London, the reply will be telephoned  to  Rome
before noon.
     
11 a.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Corbin to the Ministry of
Foreign  Affairs
     
     M.   CORBIN  gives  a  broad  outline  of  the  British
Government's  reply  to  Italy. He  adds  that  the  British
Government  leaves it to the French Government to  reply  to
the Italian Government as it sees fit.
     
11.50 a.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet to M. Franois-
Poncet
     
     THE  Minister, who left the Council of Ministers before
the  meeting  ended,  dictates  over  the  telephone  to  M.
Franois-Poncet  the reply of the French Government  to  the
Italian proposal.
     
1 p.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Thierry to M. Georges Bonnet
     
     THE  French Ambassador at Bucharest has telephoned,  at
the  request of the Minister, to M. Lon Nel. He passes  on
the  information which the French Ambassador at  Warsaw  had
just  given  him  about  German  military  action  and   the
bombardment to which Warsaw and Cracow has been subjected.

[415]
     
3 p.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Franois-Poncet to M. Georges
Bonnet

     THE  Italian  Government considers that if  the  French
Government  could sound the Polish Government and  discovers
its  attitude  to the conference offer, if  the  latter  did
intend  to  accept the Italian proposal, the  Government  of
Rome would be able to make a final appeal to Herr Hitler.
     
3.40 p m.
Communication telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet to M. Corbin
     
     THE  Minister acquaints M. Corbin with the  information
communicated  to  him  by  M. Franois-Poncet.  The  Italian
Government believes it possible, if it obtains the assent of
France  and  of  England, to take up again its  proposal  of
yesterday;  it considers that Poland ought to be present  at
the  conference, and it has asked whether we have the assent
of  the  Polish  Government. The Minister  has  informed  M.
Franois-Poncet  that we are trying to get into  touch  with
the Polish authorities.
     
4 p.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet to M. Lon
Nel
     
     THE  Minister  informs  M. Lon  Nel  of  the  Italian
Government's proposals and requests him to communicate  them
to  M. Beck. Would the Polish Government accept the proposal
for  a  conference? It is understood, of course,  that  this
conference  would not be held if the Polish  Government  did
not agree to take part in it.
     
4.5 p.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet to M. Thierry
     
     THE  preceding  communication not having  come  through
clearly  over the telephone, the Minister repeats it through
the agency of the French Embassy at Bucharest.
     He requests the latter to telephone to M. Lon Nel for
the  latter to ascertain whether Poland would agree to  take
part in a conference convened by the Italian Government.  He
begs the Embassy to tell M. Lon Nel that he considers  the
Italian proposal as important.
     At  the  present juncture no effort should be neglected
to try, if it is still possible, to save the peace.

[416]
     
4.35 p.m.
Communication  telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet  to  M.  Lon
Nel
     
     (The  connection  is  extremely  bad;  conversation  is
impossible.)
     
4.50 p.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet to M. Franois-
Poncet
     
     THE  Minister states that he has handed on the  Italian
communication to the Polish Government and that he  has  not
yet  been  able  to  get a reply, owing to  difficulties  of
transmission. He will inform him of this reply as soon as he
has  received it. Meanwhile, he leaves the initiative to the
Rome Government.
     
4.55 p.m.
Communication  telephoned  by  M.  Georges  Bonnet   to   M.
Coulondre
     
     THE Minister informs the Ambassador that the French and
English  Governments have agreed upon the text of a note  to
be handed to the Government of the Reich, protesting against
the  invasion  of Poland by the German armies. He  instructs
him to make a joint approach with his British colleague.
     
        Saturday, September 2, 1939 
     
2.15 p.m.
Communication telephoned by Count Ciano to M. Georges Bonnet
     
     COUNT CIANO telephones to the Minister as follows:
     "I  have  had transmitted to Berlin, simply by  way  of
information  and  without  any attempt  at  persuasion,  our
project  for a conference. M. Attolico has just informed  me
of Herr von Ribbentrop's reply.
     "Herr Hitler has taken note of the message; he does not
refuse  to consider the project, but he has before  him  two
notes,  one French, the other English, which were handed  to
him  yesterday evening. If these notes are in the nature  of
an  ultimatum,  he  will reply by a categorical  NO  to  the
Governments of London and of Paris, and will consequently be
unable  to  take  into  consideration  the  project   of   a
conference.
     "Herr  von  Ribbentrop  wants  to  know,  moreover,  if
Germany  can assume that it has until noon to-morrow morning
to reply to these two notes.
     "Count  Ciano would therefore be obliged if the  French
and English

[417]
     
Governments  would put him in a position to reply  to  these
two  questions raised by Herr von Ribbentrop.  M.  Franois-
Poncet  and Sir Percy Loraine are in his room at the present
moment. The latter has given him the assurance that, in  the
British  Government's  mind, the  note  delivered  yesterday
evening in Berlin has not the character of an ultimatum."
     Count Ciano asks for the reply of the French Government
and adds that Poland will be invited to the conference.
     The  Minister  thanks  Count Ciano  cordially  for  his
communication and replies to the two questions raised:
     As  regards  the  nature  of  the  note  delivered  the
previous  evening to the Government of the Reich, this  note
has in no way the character of an ultimatum.
     As  regards the second point, he states that he  thinks
that  Germany's reply could be awaited until noon on Sunday,
but  this  is  a  question which he  must  discuss  with  M.
Daladier and with the British Government.
     
3 p.m.
Communication  telephoned  by  M.  Georges  Bonnet  to  Lord
Halifax
     
     THE  Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs states that
he  has received from Count Ciano the same communication  as
the  Minister. He adds that the English Cabinet is about  to
discuss  the matter and that he will give his reply  in  the
course of the afternoon.
     
5.20 p.m.
Communication telephoned by Lord Halifax to M. Georges
Bonnet
     
     LORD  HALIFAX communicates the decision of the  British
Cabinet,  which  considers that a favourable  reply  to  the
proposed  conference can only be given upon one  preliminary
condition: that is that the German troops are withdrawn from
the territory which they occupy.
     
9 p.m.
Communication telephoned by M. Georges Bonnet to Count Ciano
     
     THE  Minister confirms to Count Ciano that the note  of
September 1 did not bear the character of an ultimatum,  and
that the French Government is prepared to wait until Sunday,
September  3,  at noon, for the German reply.  However,  the
French  Government deems, like the British Government,  that
the  conference cannot open under the auspices of force  and
that, in order that the plan might be successfully

[418]
     
realized,  it  is  advisable that the German  armies  should
evacuate the territory occupied in Poland.
     Count Ciano informs the Minister that Lord Halifax  had
already told him that the British Government stipulated as a
preliminary   condition  the  evacuation  of  the   occupied
territories. Count Ciano thinks that this condition will not
be  accepted by the Reich Government. The Minister  ends  by
thanking Count Ciano for the efforts he has made with a view
to maintaining peace.

[419]
     


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