The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/french/foreign-office/yellow-book-documents.004


Archive/File: orgs/french/foreign-office/yellow-book-documents.004
Last-Modified: 1997/10/19
                              
[108]


                 PART FOUR
                              
          The German-Polish Crisis
                              
           (March 27-May 9, 1939)
                              
                   No. 83
     
     

M. DE LA TOURNELLE, French Consul in Danzig,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Danzig,
March 27, 1939.

     
     I HAVE learned from an authoritative German source that
the   retrocession  of  Danzig  to  the  Reich  by  friendly
arrangement  is  at  the  present  moment  the  subject   of
negotiations between Berlin and Warsaw, but the negotiations
do  not seem likely to come to a successful conclusion.  The
further  information was given that, although  Germany  does
not  at  present contemplate an attack, she could  not  wait
until  the  expiration  of  the  Treaty  of  1934  for   the
settlement of this question.
     


LA TOURNELLE.
     
                   No. 84
     

M. DE LA TOURNELLE, French Consul in Danzig,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Danzig,
March 27, 1939.

     
       I  HAVE  just received confirmation from  the  Polish
Commissioner's Office of the existence of proposals relating
to  Danzig's  return to the Reich, presented by  the  German
Government to the Polish Government.
     The  Polish Government has categorically rejected these
proposals and simultaneously taken strong measures  for  the
security of Pomerelia.
     


LA TOURNELLE.
     
                   No. 85
     

M. DE MONTBAS, French Charg d'Affaires in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 28, 1939.

     
     I  HAVE  received  from  various authoritative  sources
confirmation of
     
[109]
     
     the information conveyed yesterday, March 27, by M.  de
la  Tournelle  concerning the present state  of  the  Danzig
question.
     Conversations between Berlin and Warsaw have, in  fact,
been going on in the greatest secrecy for some days, with  a
view  to  the retrocession of the Free City to the Reich  in
return  for  an  undertaking by  the  latter  to  forego  an
immediate  military occupation, the problem of the  Corridor
being  for  the  moment  excluded from  the  discussions.  A
pessimistic  view as to the result of these negotiations  is
held  by  Polish circles in Berlin, which, after giving  the
impression  that a solution on these lines would  not  raise
any  difficulties, seem now to be taking  up  a  more  rigid
attitude,   to  anticipate  the  worst  and  to  be   making
preparations accordingly.
     On  the  German  side, where great  dissatisfaction  is
shown  with  regard to the alleged treatment of  the  German
minority  in Silesia, it is most emphatically declared  that
Danzig  is  not to be the object of an attack.  They  affirm
that  they  are well aware of what would be the consequences
of  this  in  the  present  excited state  of  international
opinion and that they intend to pursue the settlement of the
question  solely through peaceful channels in the spirit  of
the  1934  Agreement. One thing is clear: the  German  Press
preserves a complete silence with regard to this, and so far
there  has been no indication in any newspaper of  an  early
revival of "dynamism" in any particular direction.
     


MONTBAS.
     
                   No. 86
     

M. DE VAUX SAINT-CYR, French Charg d'Affaires in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
March 30, 1939.

     
     POLISH  circles in Berlin do not conceal the fact  that
they consider the situation arising from the Danzig question
as  very serious and that the tension between the Reich  and
Poland  may,  any day, become extremely grave. Most  of  the
Embassy  officials  and members of the  Polish  Colony  have
already  sent  their  wives and children  away.  The  Polish
students  in the German capital have returned to  their  own
country,  and, according to information given us by  certain
of  our agents, the Consuls are said to have received orders
to burn the secret papers in their archives.
     Possibly   these  precautionary  measures  are   partly
intended  to  impress the Nazi leaders. M.  Lipski  and  his
staff are indeed persuaded that up
     
[110]
     
to  the  present the Fhrer has attempted to use force  only
when  he was convinced that he would meet with no resistance
worthy  of  the name. Therefore they seize every opportunity
of declaring that Poland will strenuously oppose by force of
arms  any  violent  action taken by the  Reich  against  the
constitution of the Free City.
     With  regard  to  the German-Polish  contacts  on  this
matter, I have been able to obtain the following information
about the question as it stands at present.
     There  have been, apparently, no negotiations  properly
so  called  between  Berlin and Warsaw.  There  has  been  a
question  and a reply. Herr von Ribbentrop is said  to  have
asked the Polish Government if they were ready to enter into
negotiation on the following points:
     The  modification of the Danzig statute and the  return
of the City to the Reich;
     The  concession  to  Germany  of  an  extra-territorial
railway and a motor road across the Corridor;
     A rectification of the frontier in the Oderberg region,
this important railway centre to belong to the Reich;
     An elucidation of Poland's attitude towards the Axis.
     To  this question, Warsaw is said to have replied  with
an  emphatic "No." In taking note of this refusal, Herr  von
Ribbentrop  apparently  confined  himself  to  warning   the
responsible Polish leaders that they had better think things
over.  Polish Embassy circles in Berlin are of opinion  that
the  Reich  Foreign  Minister has  not  yet  acquainted  the
Chancellor  with  the  failure  of  his  dmarche,  probably
because he still hopes for a change of attitude in Warsaw.
     The  German Press as a whole has for some time observed
a  complete silence on the questions which divide the  Reich
and  Poland. This reserve is in itself disquieting. It will,
doubtless,   be   maintained   during   the   interval   for
reconsideration  which  Herr  von  Ribbentrop  has   tacitly
allowed his interlocutors. The National Zeitung, however, in
its edition of the day before yesterday (March 28), issued a
warning  the  implication  of  which  it  is  impossible  to
misunderstand. This warning was taken up the next day by the
Diplomatische Correspondenz.
     However  that may be, it seems clear that the National-
Socialist  leaders had not expected resistance of this  kind
from Poland. Certain well authenticated reports lead one  to
believe  that the occupation of Danzig by the German  forces
had  been  originally intended to take place next  Saturday,
April  1.  This was, in fact, the date fixed for the  actual
linking-up of the S A. in the Free City with the Wehrmacht.
     
[111]
     
Today, confronted with Warsaw's firm attitude, Berlin  seems
to  hesitate.  Perhaps  the  German  arrangements  are  only
postponed.
     A member of my staff has learnt from a usually reliable
source that, as a result of the unexpected difficulties that
have arisen, the Reich has had to face the possibility of  a
military  operation,  which would  necessitate  at  least  a
fortnight's  preparation. His informant is of opinion  that,
in  these circumstances, nothing will happen before the  day
of  the  monster parade in which four divisions are to  take
part  and which has been arranged in Berlin for April 20  to
celebrate the Fhrer's fiftieth birthday.
     Nevertheless,   one  cannot  altogether   exclude   the
possibility  of  a premature Putsch taking place  in  Danzig
even before Colonel Beck's departure for London.
     


VAUX SAINT-CYR.
     
                   No. 87
     

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

     
     I  HAVE been able to obtain fresh information as to the
way  in  which  the  Danzig  question  seems  to  have  been
introduced  last  week  by  Germany,  in  the  course  of  a
conversation  between  Herr von Ribbentrop  and  the  Polish
Ambassador.
     I  learn,  from  an absolutely reliable  source,  that,
during  this  conversation, the Reich Minister  for  Foreign
Affairs  also  spoke  to M. Lipski about Poland's  relations
with  the  U.S.R.R. He gave emphatic expression to the  wish
that "even if Poland thought she could not become a party to
the  Anti-Comintern Pact, she should at least  endeavour  to
bring  her general policy as close as possible to  the  line
followed by Germany."
     


LON NEL.
     
                   No. 88
     

M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
     to M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw.
                                                  Paris,
March 31, 1939.

     
     THE  British Ambassador informed me on March 30 that  a
question would be put to the British Government next day  in
the  House  of Commons, suggesting that a German  attack  on
Poland was imminent
     
[112]
     
and  asking what measures the Government would take in  such
an eventuality.
     With  the  intention of giving the German Government  a
necessary warning in the least provocative form, the British
Government  proposed,  with  the  approval  of  the   French
Government,  to answer that, although it considered  such  a
rumour  to  be without foundation, it has given  the  Polish
Government  an assurance that if, previous to the conclusion
of  consultations  going on with the other Governments,  any
action   were   undertaken  which  clearly  threatened   the
independence of the Polish Government, and which the  latter
should  find itself obliged to resist with armed force,  the
British and French Governments would immediately lend it all
the assistance in their power.
     I  replied  to the communication from Sir  Eric  Phipps
that  the  French  Government would give  its  whole-hearted
approval  to  the  declaration which the British  Government
proposed to make.
     


GEORGES BONNET.
     
                   No. 89
     
   Declaration of Mr. Chamberlain in the House of
                      Commons
     
               March 31, 1939
     
     As  I  said this morning, His Majesty's Government have
no  official  confirmation of the rumours of  any  projected
attack on Poland, and they must not, therefore, be taken  as
accepting them as true.
     I am glad to take this opportunity of stating again the
general  policy  of  His  Majesty's  Government.  They  have
constantly  advocated  the  adjustment,  by  way   of   free
negotiation   between   the  parties   concerned,   of   any
differences that may arise between them. They consider  that
this  is  the  natural and proper course  where  differences
exist.   In  their  opinion  there  should  be  no  question
incapable of solution by peaceful means, and they would  see
no justification for the substitution of force or threats of
force for the method of negotiation.
     As  the  House is aware, certain consultations are  now
proceeding  with  other  Governments.  In  order   to   make
perfectly clear the position of His Majesty's Government  in
the meantime before those consultations are concluded, I now
have  to  inform the House that during that period,  in  the
event   of  any  action  which  clearly  threatened   Polish
independence,  and  which the Polish Government  accordingly
considered  it  vital to resist with their national  forces,
His Majesty's Government would feel themselves bound at once
to lend the Polish Government
     
[113]
     
all  support  in  their power. They have  given  the  Polish
Government an assurance to this effect.
     I may add that the French Government have authorized me
to  make  it  plain that they stand in the same position  in
this matter as do His Majesty's Government.
     
                   No. 90
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw,
April 1, 1939.

     
     THE  behavior of the Polish Nation during the last  few
days  has  created a very deep impression on all  foreigners
resident here.
     The  patriotic feeling of the Poles in the face of  the
German  threat, which the country has suddenly realized,  is
intensified  in  all  parties and all classes;  workers  and
peasants  show that they are aware of the danger  and  ready
for  the greatest sacrifices. The women, as always in Poland
when  things are serious, play a vital part in this movement
of  public  opinion. An extraordinary enthusiasm, shared  by
Jews  and  Catholics  alike,  rich  as  well  as  poor,   is
manifested   for   the  air  defence  loan,   although   the
subscription has not yet been opened. Military measures  and
requisitions are accepted in the best spirit.
     The  executive  committees of all parties  (except  the
Communist  Party, which has no legal status)  have  accepted
the  invitation to be represented on the Loan  Committee,  a
thing  which would have seemed impossible a few  weeks  ago.
This gesture is enough to show how deeply a consciousness of
danger has rapidly reached every section of the nation.
     The  calmness  shown by the population also  creates  a
very  good  impression. However, in the Warsaw cinemas,  the
appearance of German uniforms in the news films is beginning
to call forth marked hostile reactions.
     


LON NEL.
     
                   No. 91
     

M. DE LA TOURNELLE, French Consul in Danzig,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Danzig,
April 5, 1939.

     
     ON  two  occasions, during the second fortnight in  the
month  of  March, the constitution of the Free City appeared
to be in danger, in
     
[114]
     
the  first  instance owing to the action of the  Reich,  and
then to the activity of the Danzig National-Socialists,  and
it  seemed  that the carrying out of this threat might  have
the most serious reactions on German-Polish relations.
     The development of the crisis, as seen from Danzig, was
as follows:
     The  High Commissioner of the League of Nations, on his
way from Geneva, broke his journey in Berlin on the 12th and
13th  of  March. He was not received by Herr von Ribbentrop,
as  he  had  hoped  to  be,  but  personal  friends  in  the
Wilhelmstrasse  advised him  "to remain only  a  very  short
time  in  the  Free City to avoid exposing himself  to  most
serious inconvenience." So M. Burckhardt, returning on March
14,  left again on the 17th for Switzerland to give a verbal
report at once to the Committee of Three.
     I  myself learned that arms had been transported  daily
since the end of February from Elbing to the barracks of the
Schutzpolizei, that on the 13th and 14th of March about  500
officers and non-commissioned officers from East Prussia had
reconnoitered  first the road from Elbing  to  Danzig,  then
possible  battlefields,  and finally  that  in  the  schools
elocution lessons were given to the very young on the words,
"We  thank  our  Fhrer." The population was  instructed  on
March  16  not to discontinue the street decoration  ordered
for March 15 to celebrate the setting up the Protectorate in
Bohemia and Moravia.
     The  local  Polish  authorities  seemed  to  me  to  be
surprised and bewildered by the imminence and the gravity of
the  danger  threatening their interests.  I  also  had  the
impression that they had been waiting in vain for some  days
for instructions from their Government, although there could
no  longer  be any doubt as to the action that  Germany  was
preparing  here.  However, from March  17  onwards,  it  was
observed  that  Polish  troops  were  being  rushed  to  the
frontiers of the Territory; war material, coming from  Tczew
and  bound  for Gdynia, passed through Danzig station  every
night, and about March 25 batteries of field-artillery  took
up their position at Orlowo, between Zoppot and Gdynia.
     Whether  the  Reich  had delayed action  too  long,  or
whether  it  had  desired to act only  with  the  assent  of
Warsaw,  it  was henceforth impossible for the Wehrmacht  to
enter Danzig without fighting.
     It  was then that the local militiamen, exasperated  by
this futile waiting, decided to organize a Putsch. It was to
be  carried out on March 29 at midday. A rehearsal was  held
the  night before at the same hour, groups of S.A. and  S.S.
making a show of occupying the
     
[115]
     
public buildings. They hoped to present the Reich and Poland
with  a fait accompli and to proclaim, without any incident,
the  reunion  with Germany. But convinced,  with  reason  no
doubt,  that the Polish troops would immediately  enter  the
City,  the  President  of  the Senate,  accompanied  by  the
President  of  the  Bank  of Danzig  and  the  head  of  the
Department for Foreign Affairs, flew to Berlin on  March  28
and  persuaded  the  Party Headquarters that  strict  orders
should be issued at once to the Danzig units forbidding  any
kind   of   agitation.  Herr  Greiser's   intervention   was
facilitated  by  the absence of the Gauleiter,  who  was  in
hospital for an operation. If Herr Forster had been present,
events would doubtless have taken a different course.
     The  present  line of argument of the  local  National-
Socialist  authorities  is as follows:  Germany  and  Poland
maintain  their  friendly relations, which  the  former  has
never dreamed of disturbing. In the spirit of the Treaty  of
1934   and  in  order  to  strengthen  still  further  these
relations,  Germany  has merely formulated  several  demands
which  the Warsaw Government refused to consider, a  refusal
strictly within their rights. If some anxiety seems to  have
been  felt in Poland, who has, without any reason,  believed
her interests to be threatened, this is due to the action of
agitators  belonging to the military and  Francophile  party
and  not  to the responsible and serious-minded politicians,
who  remained  perfectly  calm. In Germany  the  Fhrer  was
obliged  to  take  steps which, at times, seemed  brutal  in
order to put the army in its proper place in the nation, and
to  prevent any usurpation of power; it is to be hoped  that
the  Warsaw  Government  will derive inspiration  from  this
method,  the  application of which in  Poland,  to  say  the
least, is equally necessary.
     It  seems  that, for political as well as for  economic
reasons,  it will be impossible to maintain the  status  quo
here.  It  is felt that most of the high officials  and  the
majority of the population do not desire the return  to  the
Reich,  the  former  because they wish to  remain  the  most
important persons in this State, Lilliputian though  it  be,
and  the  latter  because they have no illusions  about  the
hardships and restrictions that will be laid upon it as soon
as  the  frontiers, which still offer some  protection,  are
removed.  But it will be difficult in the future to  control
the  exasperation of the more ardent Nazis, who  are  hoping
for a new and speedy victory for Germanism, a victory which,
this  time, is to be their own direct achievement.  Many  of
them  have  recently stayed up night after night,  expecting
from hour to hour the arrival of the German troops.
     
[116]

     Then  again, the uncertainty of the situation is having
disastrous  effects on the traffic of the port.  The  Polish
authorities  had  ordered the removal of rolling  stock  and
small  craft, the merchants have sent their stocks of  goods
to Poland, the Polish credits have been withdrawn, grain and
flour  are no longer sent from Poland except on presentation
of a letter of credit in that country.
     At  the  same time, the population, fearing  that  they
would be compelled to accept marks at an arbitrary rate when
the  local coinage was withdrawn from circulation, exchanged
this  in  considerable quantities for zlotys  or  contraband
marks at 1 mark to 70 Danzig pfennigs, although the official
rate  stands at 1 mark to 2 gulden 20. In order  to  protect
its  currency  and to obtain exchange, the  Bank  of  Danzig
compelled  every person residing in the Free  City,  whether
nationals  or  not,  to declare the money  and  the  foreign
securities  in  their  possession and  to  deposit  them  in
approved establishments under the Bank's own account,  where
they  must  remain untouched. In this field  also  an  early
clearing up of the situation seems indispensable. The recent
crisis  in  German-Polish relations has only  increased  the
state  of confusion that has now prevailed in the Free  City
for several months.
     


LA TOURNELLE.
     
                   No. 92
     

M. DE VAUX SAINT-CYR, French Charg d'Affaires in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
April 5, 1939.

     
     I  HAVE  obtained  from  various reliable  sources  the
following particulars concerning the present attitude of the
leaders of the Reich concerning the Polish question:
     In  official  circles the prospect of  an  Anglo-French
intervention  in  favour of Poland gives rise  to  the  most
serious  fears. It exasperates the Fhrer who has  been,  of
late,  in a constant state of anger. The opinion is said  to
prevail  still in Government circles that Danzig is  outside
the  scope of the guarantee given by England to Poland,  and
also the view is obstinately held that Poland would not take
up arms to defend the constitution of the Free City.
     But  it  is  firmly  maintained  that  the  Fhrer   is
determined, whatever the circumstances, to secure the return
of  Danzig  to  the  Reich,  and  it  is  thought  possible,
considering  his state of irritation, that any  day  he  may
decide to settle the question without further delay.
     



VAUX SAINT-CYR. 
     
[117]
     
                   No. 93
     

M. DE VAUX SAINT-CYR, French Charg d'Affaires in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
April 6, 1939.

     
     IN  the  course  of the negotiations which  took  place
yesterday in Berlin between the Government of the Reich  and
the   Slovak  delegation  headed  by  Mgr.  Tiso,  Herr  von
Ribbentrop,  referring to the relations between  Poland  and
Germany, made the following declaration to the head  of  the
Bratislava  Government, reported almost  word  for  word  as
follows:
     "The  Fhrer  does not want war. He will resort  to  it
only  with reluctance. But the decision in favour of war  or
peace  does  not  rest with him. It rests  with  Poland.  On
certain  questions  of vital interest to the  Reich,  Poland
must  give  way  and  accede  to  demands  which  we  cannot
renounce.  If  Poland  refuses, it  is  upon  her  that  the
responsibility  for  a  conflict  will  fall  and  not  upon
Germany."
     These words, which I must insist were quoted to me in a
strictly  confidential manner, seem to me to sum  up  fairly
well the present state of the German-Polish tension.
     Although, bearing in mind the Chancellor's unfathomable
pride,  his state of irritation and his boundless  faith  in
his star, one cannot rule out a priori the possibility of an
angry  gesture and an imminent and brutal seizure of Danzig,
I consider that, in the present state of things, this is not
the  most likely contingency. I am more inclined to  believe
that before resorting to extreme measures, the Government of
the  Reich  will attempt once more the method of negotiating
with  Poland as understood by Hitlerian Germany, that is  to
say, by pressure and blackmail, accompanied by the threat of
force.
     As  I have already stated, Berlin has not yet lost  all
hope that Poland will give way on the question of the return
of  the City of Danzig to the Reich and the construction  of
an  extra-territorial motor road across the  Corridor.  This
hope  is all the stronger since, in spite of the very  clear
way  in  which  the  English guarantee was  drawn  up.  they
persist  in  thinking in Berlin that the British promise  of
assistance does not include the Danzig problem.
     On  the other hand, as far as I can see, it seems  that
on  the  Polish side it is thought that after the return  of
Colonel  Beck  there will be a resumption of the  diplomatic
conversations  begun last week with Germany, which  have  so
far failed. It goes without saying that Ger-
     
[118]
     
many will use the time during which these conversations  may
continue for military preparations directed against Poland.
     There  is  no  doubt in my mind about  one  thing:  the
Chancellor  is  resolutely determined to settle  the  Danzig
question  "one  way or another." On this  subject  Herr  von
Ribbentrop's  remarks reported above  are  typical  and  are
confirmed by other reliable sources.
     But, however exasperated the Fhrer may be by the Anglo-
Polish  negotiations and the threat of encirclement, however
great  his  haste to proclaim the return of  Danzig  to  the
Reich  and  to  restore direct communications  between  East
Prussia  and  Pomerania, he cannot but  know  that  if  this
result  is not obtained in an amicable way, it would not  be
merely  a  matter of a military parade for the  German  army
marching across Polish territory. This time he would have to
face a conflict necessitating very extensive preparations.
     According to convergent and reliable reports, it  would
seem  that in the Chancellor's opinion the amicable solution
suggested  last  week  to Poland was to  constitute  only  a
stage. If this is passed in consequence of a refusal on  the
part  of Poland, the Reich will try to obtain a solution  of
the  whole  problem  of German-Polish relations,  a  problem
which  has  been  artificially relegated to  the  background
since 1934. Poland will have to face the question: "To be or
not to be?"
     From  another  source it is pointed  out  that  in  the
meantime the leaders of the Reich have not lost all hope  of
weakening the resolution of England and France by trying  to
divide opinion in both countries on the question of eventual
military aid for Poland. We must expect the Reich to display
activity  in  this direction, and in particular  to  try  to
obtain  the  publication in certain newspapers  of  articles
intended to spread confusion. As far as France is concerned,
the  journey of Herr Abetz to Paris is doubtless not foreign
to  this  purpose. The fact that until now the German  Press
has  affected  to discriminate between England  and  France,
directing  all  its  fury  against  the  former  and  merely
attacking  the latter in a perfunctory manner, is in  itself
significant.  German  propaganda  will  doubtless   try   to
convince certain sections of French opinion that by fighting
England's battles on the Continent, their country is playing
a  dupe's  part. Nazi agents will not fail to maintain  that
the Third Reich has the best intentions towards us. Already,
when  Austria was invaded, Field-Marshal Goering  repeatedly
gave  his  word  of  honour to M. Mastny  that  Germany  was
animated by the very best intentions towards Czechoslovakia.
We know today what such assurances are worth.
     
[119]
     
     We  must  therefore, during the coming weeks, expect  a
violent offensive against the moral structure of France  and
of England.
     The  German-Polish  dispute has, in  fact,  degenerated
into   a   tension  between  the  Reich  and   the   Western
Democracies.
     



VAUX SAINT-CYR.

     
                   No. 94
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw,
April 7, 1939.

     
     I  POINT out as very typical the abrupt change  in  the
tone of the German agencies and Press with regard to Poland.
     After  Mr. Chamberlain's first declaration, and at  the
beginning  of  Colonel Beck's stay in London,  the  inspired
German newspapers displayed a cautious and moderate attitude
towards Poland, as if they feared to alarm her and drive her
over to the Western Powers.
     Since  yesterday  evening,  and  particularly  in   the
Deutscher  Dienst  and  the  Volkischer  Beobachter,   these
tactics have given place to intimidation and threats. Poland
finds  herself accused of becoming the satellite of  England
in  a  policy  of aggression against Germany; she  has  been
warned  that she runs the risk of becoming like other "small
nations," the first victim of British intrigues.
     It  may  be that Germany is trying by these methods  of
intimidation, to persuade Poland to consent without  further
delay  to substantial concessions with regard to Danzig  and
the "territorial link" between East Prussia and the rest  of
the  Reich,  but  it  may equally well be  wondered  whether
Chancellor Hitler, feeling that time is now working  against
him,  will  not  refrain  from  precipitating  events  by  a
decision to address an unacceptable final summons to Poland.
     



LON NEL.
     
                   No. 95
     

M. DE VAUX SAINT-CYR, French Charg d'Affaires in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
April 8, 1939.

     
     COLONEL BECK passed through Berlin today, on his return
journey from London to Warsaw. One of the secretaries in the
Protocol Service met him at the station but he did  not,  as
far  as we know, have any conversation with any Minister  of
the Reich.
     
[120]
     
     I  hear from a well-informed quarter that M. Lipski had
previously  paid  a  visit to Herr von  Weizscker.  In  the
course of this interview, the Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs  is  said  to have asked the Polish  Ambassador  for
further  information  as  to  the  attitude  of  the  Warsaw
Government, and particularly with regard to Polish  military
measures. M. Lipski, without any loss of composure, is  said
to have replied that the measures in question were justified
by  the recent troop movements and the annexations which the
Reich,  without  notifying the Polish Government,  had  just
carried out, and that the units mobilized in Poland did  not
in any case exceed two army corps.
     



VAUX SAINT-CYR.

     
                   No. 96
     

M. DE VAUX SAINT-CYR, French Charg d'Affaires in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
April 10, 1939.

     
     FROM  a  well-informed quarter it is pointed  out  that
German official circles continue to hope that Poland will be
persuaded  to  accept the German claims in  respect  of  the
passage  across the Corridor and Danzig. Herr von Ribbentrop
is  said  to have had a personal letter delivered to Colonel
Beck, when the latter passed through Berlin, requesting  the
Polish  Government to withdraw its troops  from  the  German
frontier.
     A  report from another quarter informs me that  leading
Nazi  circles  are  said  to  be speculating  still  on  the
wavering attitude attributed to France.
     My  personal  impression is that up to the present  the
Germans have made no final decision, and that they are still
counting  on  the  success  of an intimidating  maneuver.  I
persist  in  thinking  that the best chance  of  avoiding  a
conflict  depends  on  the spirit of  resolution  which  the
Western Powers will display.
     



VAUX SAINT-CYR.

     
                   No. 97
     

M. DE VAUX SAINT-CYR, French Charg d'Affaires in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
April 11, 1939.

     
     REGARDING  the  state of German-Polish relations  after
Colonel Beck's
     
[121]
     
journey  to  London and his return to Warsaw, certain  facts
seem worthy of attention.
     Up to the present, there has been no evidence of large-
scale  military measures which would justify the  conclusion
that   an   operation  against  Poland  is   imminent.   The
verifications  undertaken during the Easter  holiday  showed
that  up  to  yesterday,  April 10,  there  was  as  yet  no
concentration of troops in Silesia, nor opposite Posen,  nor
in Pomerania.
     No  newspaper  campaign has yet been  launched  against
Poland  by  the  Reich. Even at the time of  Colonel  Beck's
visit to London, the German Press maintained a certain sense
of  proportion in its language with regard to Poland.  After
trying, especially on the eve of Colonel Beck's journey,  to
intimidate  the  Warsaw Government, it resumed,  during  and
after the Anglo-Polish conversation, a moderate tone towards
Warsaw.  It was principally against England that  it  vented
its resentment and annoyance.
     In  so  far  as  the Danzig question in  particular  is
concerned,  the  German Press has till  now  refrained  from
directly  attacking it. The problem has not been put  before
the  public. The Fhrer's prestige, so far as his own people
are concerned, is therefore not yet involved. His liberty of
action remains complete.
     On  the  German  side, hope of coming  to  an  amicable
settlement  with  Poland  has  not  yet  been  given  up,  a
resumption of contacts and exchanges of views appears to  be
under  consideration. Likewise, on the Polish  side,  a  new
approach  by the Reich is expected, and there is no aversion
whatever  to  a  renewal  of  contacts.  Even  the  hope  of
effecting  an arrangement is still entertained.  Up  to  the
present,  it  is  true, it is hard to see  what  fundamental
conditions  would make this arrangement feasible.  Germany's
two   main  demands  are:  The  return  of  Danzig  and  the
establishment  of  an extra-territorial passage  across  the
Corridor.  Poland has categorically refused to  admit  these
demands.  She has made it clear that she would not hesitate,
if  the  occasion arose, to resort to force  to  oppose  the
German requirements on these points. She hopes to be able to
settle  the dispute by granting most generous privileges  to
the  Germans  in Danzig and considerable traffic  facilities
across  the  Corridor.  According to  certain  reports,  the
Warsaw  Government would even agree to the breaking  of  all
juridical  ties  between the Free State and  the  League  of
Nations, to Danzig's becoming in some sort independent,  and
to Germany's obtaining important economic privileges.
     Be  that  as  it  may, one thing appears incontestable.
Before having re-
     
[122]
     
course  to  measures which might provoke an  armed  conflict
with  Poland,  the  Third Reich will  neglect  no  means  of
settling  its disputes with Poland by the method  which  the
Chancellor has until now found so successful, that is to say
"without firing a shot."
     The  German  hesitations  must  without  any  doubt  be
attributed  in the first place to the firm attitude  adopted
by  Poland. For the first time the Third Reich has  come  up
against  a categorical No; for the first time a country  has
clearly  expressed  its determination  to  oppose  force  by
force,  and to reply to any unilateral movement with  rifles
and guns. This is the kind of language that is understood in
Germany. But they have not been used to hearing it there for
a  long  time. It has also been very difficult for  them  to
believe their ears, and they still do not despair of wearing
down  Polish  resistance  in the  long  run.  Meanwhile,  no
decision regarding Danzig seems to have been reached as yet,
although  its restoration to the Reich had been  anticipated
for April 1.
     The  vacillation of German policy in the Danzig  affair
brings  out  a point which seems to me of capital importance
for  the  appreciation  of the general political  situation,
viz.:  the German aversion to rush into a conflict in  which
the  Reich  would be engaged on two fronts and in  which  it
would  have  to  reckon, in the East as in  the  West,  with
powerful adversaries.
     



VAUX SAINT-CYR.

     
                   No. 98
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw,
April 12, 1939.


     
     I  QUESTIONED Colonel Beck about the widespread rumours
regarding a recent conversation between M. Lipski  and  Herr
von Ribbentrop.
     The  Minister  assured me that his Ambassador  had  not
seen  Herr von Ribbentrop for several days, that no approach
had  been  made  during  the last few  days  by  the  German
Government  to  the  Polish  Government,  and  that  a  high
official  of  the Wilhelmstrasse, in the course  of  a  non-
political  conversation, had confined himself to  asking  M.
Lipski the reason for the military measures taken by Poland.
The  Ambassador had replied that his Government, as a result
of recent initiatives on the part of Germany, had been moved
to  do, though to a lesser extent, what had been done  by  a
certain number of other countries. Colonel Beck told me also
that he had summoned M. Lipski to Warsaw, and
     
[123]
     
that he would let Herr von Moltke know the following morning
what  had been determined upon in London. He had, up to  the
present, confined himself to informing the German Government
that  the Anglo-Polish Agreement was a reassurance operation
necessitated by the existing circumstances, and that it  was
not in any way aimed at the encirclement of Germany.
     



LON NEL.
     
                   No. 99
     
Extract from a declaration communicated to the Press
     by M. Edouard Daladier, President of the Council of
 Ministers, Minister for War and National Defence, on April
                      13, 1939
     
     THE   French   Government,  moreover,   derives   great
satisfaction   from   the  conclusion  of   the   reciprocal
undertakings  between  Great Britain and  Poland,  who  have
decided  to  give each other mutual support  in  defence  of
their  independence in the event of either being  threatened
directly or indirectly.
     The  Franco-Polish alliance is, moreover, confirmed  in
the  same  spirit by the French Government  and  the  Polish
Government. France and Poland guarantee each other immediate
and  direct aid against any threat direct or indirect, which
might aim a blow at their vital interests.
     Today  this  declaration is being communicated  by  our
Ambassadors to all Governments interested, and in particular
to Turkey.
     
                  No. 100
     

M. DE VAUX SAINT-CYR, French Charg d'Affaires in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
April 13, 1939.


     IN  official  circles in Berlin today, there  were  two
points of view regarding German-Polish relations.
     At  the  Ministry of Propaganda, correspondents of  the
German   and   foreign  Press  were  still   informed   that
negotiations between Berlin and Warsaw were being  continued
and that an amicable settlement was not an impossibility.
     On   the   other   hand,  a  high   official   of   the
Wilhelmstrasse stated, in confidence, to one of  our  fellow
countrymen that there would be no further conversations with
the  Warsaw  Government  on the matter  of  Danzig  and  the
Corridor. The same person added that Herr von Rib-
     
[124]

     bentrop  was  extremely annoyed with Colonel  Beck;  he
considered  that  Poland had taken up a  definitely  hostile
attitude   and  that  he  was  contemplating  breaking   off
diplomatic negotiations with Warsaw and London in  the  near
future.
     



VAUX SAINT-CYR.

                  No. 101
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw,
April 15, 1939.


     ALTHOUGH Colonel Beck let Herr von Moltke know that  he
wished  to  see him as soon as he returned, the latter,  who
was  expected  back  in Warsaw two days  ago,  after  having
received  instructions  from his  Government,  has  not  yet
rejoined his post.
     The  Foreign  Minister concludes  from  this  that  the
German  Government is hesitating over the policy  it  should
pursue with regard to Poland, and that the conclusion of the
Anglo-Polish agreement has disconcerted it.



LON NEL.
     
                  No. 102
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw,
April 17, 1939.


     THE  German tactics with regard to the Poles seem quite
clear; the propaganda of the Reich is busy disquieting them,
fraying  their nerves and wearying them by the  multiplicity
and  persistence of false reports, criticisms  and  more  or
less  veiled threats, by which it either counts on  bringing
about  a change of opinion among the Polish people, or seeks
to weaken the moral resistance of an eventual adversary.
       The  newspaper correspondents of the Reich in  Poland
have  orders  to report anything which can be  presented  to
German  public opinion as an incident, as a maltreatment  of
the  minority, and also to be as unpleasant as  possible  to
Poland in their reports.
       Then  again,  German agents are spreading  among  the
minorities, especially at Katowice, the rumour that it  will
not  be  long before the German troops appear.  It  is  even
reported that April 24 is to be the date of "deliverance."
     Up   to   the  present,  the  Polish  authorities   and
population have reacted

[125]
     
with  restraint to these manoeuvres, and they  continue,  in
spite  of the increase of anti-German feeling, to show signs
of praiseworthy calm.




LON NEL.
     
                  No. 103
     

M. DE VAUX SAINT-CYR, French Charg d'Affaires in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin,
April 24, 1939.


     
     ALTHOUGH M. Lipski returned to Berlin more than a  week
ago,  Herr von Moltke is still awaiting orders to return  to
his post.
     This  delay  is probably due to the feeling of  intense
irritation  which   the Fhrer, so I am told,  continues  to
feel  towards Colonel Beck and Polish Government.  No  doubt
the  Nazi  leaders are also trying in this way to intimidate
Warsaw and weaken its resistance.
     



VAUX SAINT-CYR.

                  No. 104
     

M. DE LA TOURNELLE, French Consul in Danzig,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Danzig,
April 25, 1939.


     
     THE  failure of the attempt last month by the Reich  to
blackmail Poland has in the diplomatic and military  spheres
still further increased the confusion in the Free City;  one
might  almost speak of a crisis in the regime itself,  since
the   National-Socialist  Party,  with  its  Gauleiter,  the
Government  represented  by  the  Senate,  and  lastly   the
Gestapo, are severally at loggerheads with one another.
     Himmler  was  obliged to come here in  secret,  at  the
beginning  of  the  month;  he  endeavoured  to  settle  the
dispute, very bitter since Herr Greiser's journey to Berlin,
in  order to frustrate the Putsch prepared by Herr Forster's
associates.  He is said to have been very dissatisfied  with
the  lack  of  discipline prevailing in the Danzig  district
and, on his return to Berlin, to have advised the recall  of
the Gauleiter. It remains to be seen whether the Fhrer, who
is a personal friend of the latter, will consent to this.
     The  leaders  of the storm troops do not admit  defeat;
they  repeatedly  prophesy the return of the  Free  City  to
Germany   at  an  early  date,  which  they  are   compelled
continually  to postpone; and they condemn in the  strongest
terms the present state of deferred hopes.
     The  responsible officials maintain quite  a  different
attitude. The
     
[126]
     
Head  of  the Department for Foreign Affairs of  the  Senate
readily declares, in conversation with foreigners, that  the
Danzig   question  can  only  be  settled  by  German-Polish
negotiations;  that  such negotiations,  in  view  of  their
complexity, will necessarily be long and difficult; but that
time  does  not matter, since the Free City, having  already
waited  twenty  years for its future to be decided,  can  be
patient   a  little  longer.  Finally,  according  to   Herr
Bttcher, the Danzig people are said to be taking offense at
being  looked  upon almost as a box of chocolates  that  one
might give away as a birthday present.
     This attitude of caution may have been due to a warning
that  the High Commissioner of Poland is said to have  given
to  the  Senate  at  the  beginning of  the  month;  at  the
slightest  attempt to modify the constitution  by  violence,
whether coming from inside or outside the Territory,  Polish
troops  would  immediately enter  Danzig  and  endeavour  to
maintain  themselves there, whatever damage the  City  might
suffer.
     That is apparently the sort of language best understood
here.
     I have learned from an authoritative German source that
the  Reich  in order to disarm Polish prejudices, would,  in
the   negotiations  it  hopes  to  open  with   the   Warsaw
Government, drop its claim to the territorial annexation  of
Danzig;  it  would recognize and confirm the sovereignty  of
the  Free  City;  freed from the control of  the  League  of
Nations,  but  it  would  demand its  transfer  from  Polish
customs territory to that of Germany.
     This would mean that in return for a formal concession,
the   neighbouring  Republic  would  have  to  give  up  the
advantages it now holds. But, according to the local  Polish
authorities, it is not likely that Warsaw will allow  itself
to be thus duped, so that this maneuver has little chance of
success.
     



LA TOURNELLE.

                  No. 105
     

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


     
     THE speech just made by the Fhrer to the Reichstag, in
answer  to  President Roosevelt's message,  lasted  for  two
hours  and a half. There were two parts to it. In the first,
which  was  in  the nature of a speech for the defence,  the
Chancellor recalled the main principles of his
     
[127]
     
policy  and  endeavoured  to show  that  the  occupation  of
Bohemia   and  Moravia  was  not  incompatible  with   these
principles,  Germany  having merely acted  in  obedience  to
vital political and economic necessities.
     The  second  part  was the actual  reply  to  President
Roosevelt,  whose  message  the  Chancellor  dissected  into
twenty or so questions to which he replied in turn.
     Concerning relations with Poland, Herr Hitler  declared
that the Danzig problem remaining an open question that must
be  settled,  he  had made the following  proposals  to  the
Polish Government:
     "1. Danzig to return within the framework of the Reich,
Germany  to  obtain an extra-territorial  railway  and  road
across the Corridor.
     "2.  In  return,  all Polish rights  in  Danzig  to  be
recognized. Poland to retain for ever the right  to  a  free
port in Danzig.
     "3.  Poland  and Germany to guarantee the frontiers  of
Slovakia.
     "4. Germany to recognize the German-Polish frontier  as
final."
     "This  proposal," he added, "was rejected in  the  same
way  as  happened  in  the  case of  Czechoslovakia.  Poland
thought it to her interest to yield to the pressure  of  the
Democratic Powers, which promised her their support; and  to
decline this unparalleled proposal which will never be  made
again.
     "I   hope  to  be  able  to  settle  this  question  by
compromise,  as  no one can imagine that Danzig  could  ever
become a Polish city.
     "Since  the  international Press has imputed aggressive
intentions to the Reich, Poland has felt obliged to mobilize
and  to accept a pact of assistance. Now, the treaty between
Germany and Poland never envisaged the conclusion of such  a
pact.  It  applied solely to the alliance with  France.  The
German-Polish non-Aggression Pact has therefore  no  further
meaning. It has been violated, and it no longer exists.
     "However,  that  does  not involve  any  change  in  my
attitude   to  the  problems  themselves.  If   the   Polish
Government  should once more wish to enter into negotiations
on  this subject I am quite willing to do so, provided  that
this time the question is clearly settled."
     



COULONDRE.
     
                  No. 106
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw,
April 29, 1939.


     
     POLISH public opinion has received Herr Hitler's speech
with the
     
[128]
     
greatest calm. His decision to end the 1934 Agreement, which
the  German  Press  had, for that matter, foreshadowed,  has
occasioned no surprise here.
     Since  the events of last March and their repercussions
on  the relations between Poland and Germany, it was felt in
Warsaw that the policy inaugurated in 1934 had, for the time
being at least, and owing to Germany's action, ceased to  be
a reality.
     The  memorandum  to  which the Chancellor  alluded  was
handed  over this morning at the Bruhl Palace by the  German
Charg  d'Affaires.  The  Foreign Office  staff  immediately
began  to study the document, and it is said that the Polish
Government intends to reply to it in the same form.
     


LON NEL
     
                  No. 107
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw,
April 29, 1939.


     
     THE  Polish people, contrary to German allegations, has
so far given evidence of great calm, and the authorities use
their  influence to promote great moderation. This  fact  is
noted  by all foreign observers. Furthermore, the Government
and  the  Army  Chiefs  are too anxious  to  gain  time  for
strengthening  their preparations for defence,  to  tolerate
any acts of imprudence.
     The most serious of the incidents noted recently by the
Press of the Reich are due, moreover, to German provocation.
The only grave case to which attention has been drawn lately
concerns  a German who, after being turned out of  a  Polish
patriotic meeting, at which he had made a protest, fired  on
the crowd which demonstrated outside his house, wounding six
Poles, one of whom has since died.
     



LON NEL
     
                  No. 108
     

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


     
     AFTER  a  careful reading of Herr Hitler's speech,  the
following impressions can be clearly drawn: Delivered  in  a
tone relatively calm,
     
[129]
     
moderate  in substance and in form, it is a speech  for  the
defence  rather  than  an indictment. It  is  directed  more
towards  the past than to the future. It would, however,  be
dangerous to allow oneself to be impressed to any extent  by
this appearance.
     It is possible that, as he himself rises with the Reich
which he has built, Herr Hitler may view things with a  more
lofty serenity; there is no reason to hope that he will give
up  his  designs, his ambitions and his covetous  appetites;
indeed, it is quite the reverse.
     If  the Fhrer has decided to allow his troops a  pause
it  is  because he thinks it necessary to prepare  the  next
operation  by  means of negotiations; the fact  that  he  is
shifting  his  maneuver from the military to the  diplomatic
plane, permits the Western Powers to appreciate the efficacy
of their action. But Herr Hitler's activity will not be less
dangerous because he plays the hermit for a while,  and  the
Allies could not with safety relax either their vigilance or
their military and diplomatic efforts.
     Having noted that, in the face of the resolute attitude
of  the  three  allied Powers, the Reich has  drawn  in  its
claws,  we must see the Fhrer's speech in the light  of  so
many  others conceived in the same spirit, and  I  think  it
desirable that from today the French Press should put an end
to its comments.
     By  this time we know too well what the German Fhrer's
word is worth, to allow ourselves once again to be taken  in
by  it. Herr Hitler has, moreover, just broken it once  more
by denouncing, five years before its expiration, the German-
Polish  Agreement which was to last, without any possibility
of denunciation, until 1944.
     What  must be remembered in his speech is that he  sets
his  face  against any pacific organization of the  European
community, and that each new conquest, which will strengthen
the Reich's position as the heir to the Holy Roman Empire or
to the Hapsburgs, is regarded by him as legitimate.
     Armed force is the only thing that counts with him.  We
must   therefore  proceed  with  our  re-armament  and   the
strengthening of our alliances. I may be allowed  to  recall
the  words  that Herr Hitler addressed to me  at  our  first
meeting:
     "Do not think that Alsace-Lorraine means nothing to me;
it  is  because the retaking of Strasbourg would necessitate
the shedding of too much German blood that I have decided to
end the Franco-German quarrel."
     
[130]
     
     More  than ever I am convinced that the Fhrer's  whole
temperament is revealed in these words.
     



COULONDRE.
     
                  No. 109
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs
                                                 Warsaw,
April 29, 1939.


     
     THE  Warsaw  Press  publishes this morning  the  German
memorandum to Poland.
     This document merely amplifies in diplomatic style  the
declarations  made yesterday by the Fhrer on  German-Polish
relations.
     It  does  not  shut the door on negotiations,  it  even
formally "invites" the Polish Government to a discussion, so
that the inspired newspapers are able to announce today that
the  "Reich's  memorandum, with  its  proposals  for  a  new
agreement, will be examined by the Polish Government."
     Herr Hitler's tentative proposal contains, however,  an
implicit  but very distinct threat should Poland persist  in
associating herself with the defence front now in formation.
The  Polish Government is preparing to reply to this in  the
same  form.  The discussion, thus made public,  offers  only
slender  chances  of an agreement. Definite  positions  have
been  taken up by both sides and, between the plans of  Herr
Hitler  and the determination of a proud nation, the  margin
for possible concessions appears very narrow.
     



LON NEL.
     
                  No. 110
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw,
April 29, 1939.


     
     A  FUNDAMENTAL  ambiguity has always subsisted  in  the
German-Polish  Agreement  of  1934.  For  the  Poles,   this
Agreement  was  intended to assure the  stability  of  their
frontiers  for  ten  years and make  Danzig  secure  against
annexation by the Reich.
     For Herr Hitler, this Agreement was not intended in any
way  to  prevent the annexation of Danzig or a  revision  of
frontiers; his habitual methods of pressure and intimidation
allowing  him  to  realize both without  war  at  the  first
opportunity. On the other hand, the agreement
     
[131]
     
implied, in his eyes, an obligation on Poland's part not  to
strengthen  her ties with France and not to  make  new  ties
with the friends or allies of France.
     After the events of March, Poland notified Germany that
she would not agree either to the annexation of Danzig or to
the  construction of a motor road across the  Corridor;  and
Poland  accepted  the offer of alliance  from  England.  The
Chancellor  is disappointed and angry; he has the impression
that  he has been deceived, almost betrayed, and he must  be
strongly tempted to give free rein in future to the feelings
of  hatred that the German has never ceased to feel for  the
Pole.
     The  Poles, on the other hand, have lost any  illusions
they may have had about Herr Hitler, and know that sooner or
later  they  will have to defend their independence  against
the  great adversary, which Germany has once more become for
them.
     



LON NEL.
     
                  No. 111
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw,
April 29, 1939.


     
     IT  is stated at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs  that
the   German   Government,  contrary  to  the   Chancellor's
declarations,   did   not  propose  to   Poland   either   a
prolongation  of the Non-Aggression Pact or a  guarantee  by
Germany, Poland and Hungary of Slovak independence.
     Neither M. Beck nor his collaborators have ever made in
my   hearing,  or  in  conversations  reported  to  me,  the
slightest allusion to any proposals of this nature.
     The  German  Press alone had indicated that the  German
Government,  in  return  for concessions  it  expected  from
Poland, would be ready to prolong the Pact of 1934.
     There has never been any question, to my knowledge,  of
a proposal relating to Slovakia.
     



LON NEL.
     
                  No. 112
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw,
April 29, 1939.


     
     IN  putting the Danzig question in the forefront,  Herr
Hitler clearly
     
[132]

reveals  his tactics; he reckons that in France and  Britain
this  question  will  appear of  too  slight  importance  to
justify Polish resistance.
     One  could not help wondering why Polish public opinion
took  such an uncompromising attitude concerning the  Danzig
Statute  and refused to consider any substantial  concession
on this point.
     The  fact is that, since the events of last March,  the
Poles feel that the vital question is one between themselves
and the Reich.
     The  point  is  whether, by consenting to  concessions,
which, moreover, would lead to others, Poland is to agree to
stand aside in an eventual conflict between Germany and  the
Western  Powers  and  thus  resign  itself  to  becoming  an
auxiliary  and  vassal  of the Reich;  or  whether,  on  the
contrary,  it will use the political independence  which  it
will  have  striven to safeguard, in order to  join,  should
occasion  arise,  the  common defence front  against  German
imperialism.
     It may be deplored that the problem seems to centre, at
the  moment, round Danzig. It is important that  opinion  in
France  should realize that it goes far beyond  this  Danzig
question, and that it is neither the cause nor the essential
factor.
     The Polish leaders hope, like ourselves, that the issue
will  not be precipitated; but, in any case, if we  want  to
find Poland at our side when the hour of danger comes, it is
important that nothing should be done which might  make  her
doubtful of our support.




LON NEL.  
                  No. 113
     

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


     
     OFFICIAL  circles  in  the  Reich  have  clearly   been
disappointed  by the attitude of the French Press  following
the  Chancellor's speech; they had counted on its  making  a
profound  impression and creating controversies which  would
divide  French  public opinion. This hope has  been  clearly
disappointed. The propaganda of the Reich has not,  however,
on   that   account,  given  up  exploiting   the   Fhrer's
declarations on the hope of breaking up the defensive  front
that is forming round Paris and London.
     This morning the efforts of this propaganda seem to  be
directed    chiefly   against   Britain.   The    diplomatic
correspondent   of  the  Brsenzeitung,  the   semi-official
mouthpiece of the Wilhelmstrasse, today
     
[133]
     
outlines  in  a  significant article  a  maneuver  certainly
marked out for future development. He endeavours to persuade
the  British public that the German demands with  regard  to
Danzig  and  the  Corridor are trifling and that  the  stake
certainly  does  not  justify  Great  Britain  in  giving  a
guarantee  to Poland and imposing the burden of conscription
on her people.
     I  am  still  convinced that it is important  that  the
French Press should not carry on any long discussions on the
subject  of the Fhrer's speech. Should the German  maneuver
indicated above become clearly defined and developed, I feel
I   ought   to  draw  attention  to  the  following   points
concerning,  in particular, the question of Danzig  and  the
Corridor:
     1.  The  position adopted by the Fhrer with regard  to
Danzig is in direct opposition to that which he took  up  in
his speech on February 20, 1938.
     The  Fhrer then declared in so many words that  Danzig
had entirely lost its menacing significance; that the Polish
State  respected the national character of  the  Free  City,
just  as  Germany,  on  its side, respected  the  rights  of
Poland;  that  the relations between the two  countries  had
been  finally cleared up and transformed into  a  loyal  and
friendly collaboration.
     At  that  date, then, the Fhrer had declared that  the
Danzig  question had been settled in a final manner  to  the
satisfaction of both the Reich and Poland.
     2.  In order to denounce the German-Polish agreement of
1934,  the  Fhrer later on invoked the promises  of  mutual
assistance  recently agreed upon between London and  Warsaw.
He  appears  thus to imply that Germany, by  virtue  of  the
Agreement of 1934, held a mortgage on Polish foreign policy,
while  itself retaining complete liberty of action  allowing
the conclusion of political agreements with other countries.
In  these  circumstances,  the new  settlement  proposed  by
Germany, which would link the questions of Danzig and of the
passage  across the Corridor with counterbalancing questions
of  a  political nature, would only serve to aggravate  this
mortgage and practically subordinate Poland to the Axis  and
the  Anti-Comintern Bloc. Warsaw refused this  in  order  to
retain its independence.
     3.  If  Poland, after thus weakening its political  and
strategic  position by yielding to the German  demands,  had
subsequently tried to find in London a counterweight to Nazi
pressure,  can it be doubted that the Reich would then  have
declared not only that the Agreement
     
[134]
     
of 1934 was null and void, but also the new arrangement from
which  the  Reich  would, however,  have  received  all  the
benefit?
     4.  The same process, in two stages, which has ended in
the  disappearance of Czechoslovakia would  have  then  been
applied against Poland.
     5.  Polish  acceptance of Germany's demands would  have
rendered  the  application of any braking machinery  in  the
East impossible.
     The  Germans are not wrong then, when they  claim  that
Danzig  is  in itself only a secondary question. It  is  not
only  the  fate  of the Free City, it is the enslavement  or
liberty of Europe which is at stake in the issue now joined.
     



COULONDRE.
     
                  No. 114
     

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


     
     ONE  of my colleagues has learned from one of the  most
intimate collaborators of M. Beck that in September, January
and  March  last, the German Government proposed  to  Warsaw
collaboration against the U.S.S.R.
     To  a question by my colleague, M. Beck's collaborator,
without wishing to define these proposals, replied that they
went  far beyond an adhesion of Poland to the Anti-Comintern
Pact.
     



LON NEL.
     
                  No. 115
     

M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin, May
2, 1939.


     
     MY  Polish  colleague, whom I saw before his  departure
for  Warsaw, told me that he had formed a similar impression
to  my  own  of  Herr Hitler's speech in the  Reichstag.  He
attributes  its moderate tone to the firmness of the  Anglo-
French  attitude, to the adoption of conscription  in  Great
Britain  and  to Poland's determination to meet  force  with
force.  He is convinced that by persevering on these  lines,
the Allied Powers will keep Germany in check.
     The  sting of the Fhrer's speech seemed to him  to  be
plainly  directed against Poland. The German-Polish  dispute
was presented
     
[135]
     
very  cleverly and with the manifest intention  of  exciting
German public opinion against Warsaw. Also, my colleague was
of  the opinion that in order to defeat the German maneuver,
his  Government's  answer should be carefully  prepared  and
very  cautious. He had indeed been summoned by  M.  Beck  in
order to discuss this matter with him.
     M.  Lipski also confirmed reports that during the  last
few  days  there  had  been movements of  German  troops  in
Slovakia, beyond the Vaag and all along the Polish frontier.
He  wonders  whether this is not a means of  pressure  being
used  by  Berlin to show Warsaw that the offer made  by  the
Reich  of a tripartite German-Polish-Hungarian guarantee  of
the integrity of Slovakia, might easily become null and void
in the near future.
     



COULONDRE.
     
                  No. 116
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw, May
2, 1939.


     
     BY  the  will  of Chancellor Hitler, the  German-Polish
pact, concluded for ten years in Berlin on January 26, 1934,
by M. Lipski and Herr von Neurath, has lapsed after being in
force only five years.
     The circumstances in which this pact was signed will be
remembered, and its premature denunciation will not  prevent
it from standing out in the diplomatic history of our time.
     The  Poland  of  Pilsudski refused to forget  that  the
Locarno  system  had  established a discrimination,  at  its
expense, between Germany's Western and Eastern frontiers; it
had  never  resigned itself to a discrimination so injurious
to  its security. To the ill-will towards France and England
which  this  created among the Poles, who  reproached  those
countries  with  having abandoned them  in  advance  to  the
covetousness of a Germany which neglected nothing  in  order
to  build up her strength again in secret, had been recently
added  the dissatisfaction and anxiety occasioned in  Warsaw
by  the  proposed Four Power Pact. This attempt to establish
in  Europe  a "Directorate of the Great Powers," intolerable
in  itself in the eyes of the Polish nation, which  was  now
becoming conscious of its new strength and drew the line  at
nothing   in  its  ambition,  had  appeared  all  the   more
threatening to Marshal Pilsudski since the first draft drawn
up  by Signor Mussolini clearly opened the way to a revision
of the Eastern frontiers of Ger-
     
[136]
     
many.  It  had  been interpreted in Warsaw as a  device  for
directing  German covetousness towards Poland  in  order  to
turn them away from the West, and still more, from the South
and  from  Austria. At the same time, incidents were  taking
place  on the Polish-German frontiers, and the Third  Reich,
born yesterday and uncertain of its future, suspected Poland
of planning a preventive war.
     Marshal  Pilsudski thought that he would do  wisely  by
utilizing  the fears of a regime not yet sure of itself;  he
instructed  M. Wysocki, then Ambassador in Berlin,  to  make
overtures to Herr Hitler with a view to the establishment of
relations  of  "good  neighbourliness"  between  Poland  and
Germany.  The  Fhrer  unhesitatingly  agreed.  An  official
communiqu, which followed this conversation, and was  dated
May  3,  1933, marked the first stage of the new policy.  In
the  course  of  the  following  months,  negotiations  were
continued  without  any  great haste  between  M.  Wysocki's
successor,  M.  Lipski, and the German Government.  Finally,
Marshal  Pilsudski  decided to hasten their  conclusion:  on
January  26, 1934, Poland and the Reich declared  themselves
agreed to open "a new era in Polish-German relations" and to
adjust  "by the method of direct agreement" the difficulties
which  might bring them into conflict, in order to establish
"good  neighbourly relations," and, in accordance  with  the
principles of the Pact of Paris of April 27, 1928, to  avoid
in all cases any "recourse to force."
     Thus  Poland had given satisfaction to her concern  for
prestige   by  showing  Europe  that  she  was  capable   of
conducting  an "independent" policy, and diplomatically  she
was  self-sufficient, while declaring her  determination  to
maintain the alliance with France, the preservation of which
had  been  permitted by the Berlin pact, owing to a  formula
drawn up in general terms.
     From  a more practical point of view Pilsudski had seen
in  this  agreement  a  method for "gaining  time."  He  was
convinced   that  sooner  or  later,  a  war  would   become
inevitable  between Poland and Germany, but he realized  the
considerable effort which had to be exacted from his country
and  the  time  which it would require in  order  really  to
become a great power; for the present he no doubt feared the
U.S.S.R.  more  than  Germany; in any  case  he  thought  it
advisable  to  safeguard himself for some time  against  any
surprise from the West.
     For  his  part  the new master of Germany  had  eagerly
responded  to  the advances which had been made  to  him  by
Marshal Pilsudski; for him, the hour had not yet struck  for
adventures or conquests; he was aware of his weakness and of
that of his country; judging his neigh-
     
[137]
     
bours by himself he already suspected them of encircling the
Third  Reich and of preparing a preventive war in  order  to
destroy his newborn work without giving him time to put into
operation the programme set out in Mein Kampf. Pilsudski, by
offering him an agreement, provided him so to speak with the
"credentials" which he needed in relation to Europe in order
to have time to make his position secure.
     Immediately  on publication of the Polish-German  pact,
it had for that matter been evident to thoughtful minds that
Germany both needed it more and derived more benefit from it
than Poland.
     The  system  was in any case based from the  outset  on
ambiguity on both sides. When signing it, the Reich had  not
for  a  moment  considered  that it  implied  the  slightest
renunciation  by the Reich of its hopes of laying  hands  on
Danzig, of wiping the Corridor off the map and of recovering
its  old frontiers. Herr Hitler had only considered it as  a
convenient method of appeasing the hostility of the Poles at
a  difficult time. Like all his compatriots he retained  all
his prejudices and his hostility towards them, together with
his secret hopes for a day of reckoning.
     Pilsudski  on  his part appears to have been  under  no
illusion  whatever  as to the nature or  the  value  of  the
engagement  which  Germany had agreed to conclude  with  his
country. This is clearly proved by observations made by  him
during  the last months of his life to some of his familiars
and  to  the  Chiefs of the Army. If he made any mistake  in
this  respect  it  was, it seems, only as regards  the  time
which the new Germany would require in order to rebuild  its
military forces and once more become a formidable danger  to
the whole of Europe.
     Events, however, took a much more speedy course. Though
the  Anschluss  entailed great difficulties  for  the  Reich
these  did not divert Herr Hitler for a single day from  his
extensive  plans.  The rate of progress of his  undertakings
and  his  successes became more and more rapid. The collapse
of  Czechoslovakia enabled the armies of the Reich to  place
themselves at the foot of the Carpathians, along the  Polish
frontier,  and  all  that Poland was able  to  record  as  a
compensation for this formidable increase of strength of the
Reich  was  the annexation of the territory of Teschen.  The
annexation of Memel accentuated the encirclement of  Poland.
It  was then that Herr Hitler thought that the time had come
to  turn  towards  the latter, and no doubt  he  thought  it
perfectly natural to instruct Herr von Ribbentrop to  notify
M.  Lipski  on  March 21 that the Reich  intended  to  annex
Danzig and to obtain the right to build an extra-territorial
motor-road across the Corridor.
     
[138]
     
     On  that  day  all eyes in Warsaw were opened  and  the
divergence of interpretation which underlay the pact of 1934
became  clear to all. So Germany had not changed! The  Third
Reich  was  as hostile to Poland as the Germany of  Bismarck
and the Hohenzollerns! The respite on which they had counted
in  order  to  complete the organization of the country  and
equip  it had come to an end. They had to be ready to  fight
perhaps  the  very next day, or to go under. For  the  Poles
would  not  allow themselves to be caught  in  the  mesh  of
conversations,  they  would not enter upon  the  path  which
leads  to  vassalage!  The Poles had very  quickly  regained
their  presence of mind on the sudden appearance of  danger.
If  they  had  to fight with those who after all  had  never
ceased to be their hereditary enemies, they would fight, and
would win, just as at Grunwald in the past.
     From  that  moment the pact of 1934 had  lost  all  its
value.  Though  it  remained intact legally,  it  no  longer
corresponded to political realities.
     Furthermore for Germany it was no longer justified  and
could  not  survive  some of the causes  which  had  induced
Germany to accept it. Since the Chancellor had achieved  his
first  objects, had annexed Austria, Bohemia,  Moravia,  and
Memel,  it  appeared  to  him quite natural  to  settle  the
question of Danzig. He is known to be indignant with  Poland
and  Colonel  Beck. He is no doubt sincere  in  his  strange
psychology,  and  no  doubt  he  fails  to  understand   the
resistance  and  the obstinacy of these Poles,  who  do  not
immediately recognize the goodwill which he has shown in not
claiming from them all the lands situated in the "Lebensraum
of  the  German people": the Corridor, Torun, Poznan,  Upper
Silesia,  Bohumin . . . and by contenting  himself  for  the
moment with an extra-territorial motor-road.
     



LON NEL.
     
                  No. 117
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw, May
3, 1939.


     
     AT  the moment when, in consequence of the denunciation
by  Germany  of  the pact of January 26,  1934,  the  Polish
Government  is preparing to send a notification that  it  no
longer   considers   itself  bound  by   the   Polish-German
declaration  on minorities of November 5, 1937,  it  is  not
inappropriate to recall the history of the sixteen months of
existence of this declaration.
     
[139]
     
     Directly  after its publication, the Polish  Government
Press  claimed to view it as the most important  fact  which
had  occurred  in  the relations of the two countries  since
1934.  Such comments were justified by the wish to show  the
German  Government the importance which Poland  attached  to
the declaration. The pact had indeed been intended to put an
end to an exchange of recriminations, sometimes very bitter,
which   had   been  dragging  on  for  nearly  six   months.
Furthermore, in the course of the negotiations, Germany  had
constantly  acted the part of the requesting party.  It  had
insistently  pressed  for  the  signature  of   a   definite
convention and the institution of a mixed commission, before
which  the  complaints  of the minorities  could  have  been
brought.  The Polish Government had only agreed to a  simple
declaration,  leaving each party alone responsible  for  the
fulfillment of its engagements "within the framework of  its
sovereignty."  Therefore it had no reason for  appearing  to
minimize the scope of the agreement towards the other party.
     In  spite of the Press comments, the political scope of
the  declaration  was  not exaggerated  in  Warsaw.  I  have
already  pointed this out, adding that neither the intricate
intermingling  of  the nationalities,  nor  the  differences
between  the political systems, could lead one to  expect  a
lasting   peace  in  the  frontier  relations  of  the   two
countries. I concluded, nevertheless, that no doubt  a  sort
of  armistice  would result, and that the local  authorities
would for some time avoid giving ground for complaint to the
minorities.
     This is how things actually happened. During the winter
of  1937-1938,  calm appeared to prevail; no incidents  were
reported.  From  the end of April the Embassy correspondence
has to recommence the record of reports of bad Polish-German
frontier  relations. The German minority Press complains  of
the  "Polish  chicanery."  It  deplores  the  discharge   of
numerous  German workmen in Upper Silesia (one thousand  one
hundred in a few months) and their replacement by Poles.  It
is  irritated  when  it observes, as it believes,  that  the
application of the agrarian reform in the Western  Provinces
is   being   systematically  directed  against  the   German
landowners.  It  is  indignant at  the  closure  of  several
schools.
     For  their part, the Poles complain no less of the  bad
treatment  undergone by their compatriots in the  Reich,  as
well  as  of the activity of the German minority in  Poland,
which,   at   the  instigation  of  Berlin,  endeavours   to
amalgamate its forces. The Government Press main
     
[140]
     
tains  a reserved attitude, but the independent Press, above
all  the  provincial newspapers, issues  lavishly  news  and
articles  concerning this subject. By the month of June,  it
was   realized  here  that  the  fiction  created   by   the
declaration of November 5 had been dissipated.
     At  the  moment  when things began to be embittered,  a
lull occurred, as had already happened several times in  the
history  of  Polish-German  relations.  Obviously  the   two
Governments, considering that matters were beginning  to  go
too  far,  intervened  to moderate the  zeal  of  the  local
authorities and that of the minorities themselves. All  that
there is to record from July onwards is a question raised by
the Abb Downar in the Diet on Nazi intrigues in Poland. The
German  minority Press calmed down. Other events were  going
to  absorb  public  attention. The Czechoslovak  crisis  was
about to open.
     During  the whole time of the preparation and then  the
carrying   out   of   the  dismembering  of  Czechoslovakia,
everything remained quiet. The German minority displayed the
most  exemplary  loyalty.  One  would  have  said  that  the
minority question no longer existed.
     As  soon  as the Czechoslovak affair had been  settled,
the    difficulties   reappeared.   The   Chief    of    the
"Jungdeutschepartei"  claimed for  the  German  minority  in
Poland the benefit of the "Volksgruppenrecht."
     On  January 26 last, Herr von Ribbentrop came to Warsaw
to  celebrate  the fifth anniversary of the  pact  of  1934.
During   his  brief  stay,  he  obtained  from  the   Polish
Government the appointment of a mixed commission responsible
for  ensuring  the  proper operation of the  declaration  of
November 5, 1937.
     Meanwhile, the minority agitation took its course.  The
Germans   continued  their  campaign  in   favour   of   the
"Volksgruppenrecht," while Polish opinion  became  more  and
more  impatient at the growing boldness of the Germans.  The
anti-German manifestations in Warsaw at the end of  February
brought these feelings to the full light of day. When in the
middle of March the international crisis occurred which  was
to  relegate  the minority question into the background,  it
found  in Poland an aggressive German minority and a  Polish
opinion  determined to defend the principle that  the  Poles
are masters in their own house.
     From   the  foregoing,  the  conclusion  emerges   that
difficulties  on  matters affecting them as neighbours  have
been  more or less the rule in German-Polish relations.  The
periods of calm form the exception. Furthermore it is to  be
observed that this calm only occurs after periods
     
[141]
     
of  tension, when the anxious Governments intervene in order
to restore peace.
     



LON NEL.
     
                  No. 118
     

M. CORBIN, French Ambassador in London,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 London, May
3, 1939.


     
     THE  conversation  of the British Ambassador  with  the
Reich  Minister  for Foreign Affairs has not,  according  to
what  Sir  Alexander Cadogan has told me, been  satisfactory
from  any  point  of view. Herr von Ribbentrop  spoke  in  a
peevish tone when referring to England and expressed himself
violently  in regard to Poland. In the view of  the  Foreign
Office  he is one of the principal instigators of the policy
followed towards this country by Herr Hitler.
     



CORBIN.
     
                  No. 119
     

M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin, May
4, 1939.

  
     
     THIS afternoon I saw my British colleague, who had been
received the day before yesterday by the Reich Minister  for
Foreign Affairs.
     Sir Nevile Henderson showed himself rather disappointed
by  that conversation. Herr von Ribbentrop, who appeared  to
be  tired, addressed to him, as usual, a long paraphrase  of
Herr  Hitler's speech, and declared that Great  Britain  and
France were pursuing a policy of encirclement of Germany  in
order to attack her one day, but that they should know  that
they  would break their teeth and that the Reich would  hold
out for "six months and even for twenty years if necessary "
Sir  Nevile corrected his assertions, but he felt that  Herr
von Ribbentrop was not even listening to him.
     Nevertheless  he  gathered from this  conversation  the
impression that a rather far-reaching change had taken place
in  the  mind of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.  "A  year
ago,"  he  said  to me, "von Ribbentrop was  convinced  that
neither England nor France would come to the help of Central
or   Eastern   Europe.   He  admits  the   contrary   today.
Nevertheless, he does not believe it as regards Danzig."
     On  the latter point this impression is corroborated by
the con-
     
[142]
     
fidential  information  recently  given  by  Herr  Dietrich,
Minister  for  the  Press,  to  another  of  my  colleagues,
according to which, in the course of a Council held  by  the
Fhrer  following his speech of April 28, the  Minister  for
Foreign  Affairs,  supported by Herr Himmler,  declared  his
conviction that neither Great Britain nor France would  stir
for Danzig.
     It  results, however, from information obtained by  Sir
Nevile  Henderson, and confirmed to me from  other  quarters
that Herr Hitler has decided to proceed slowly in the Polish
affair.  He is said to think that time would work  for  him,
that  Danzig was a good subject for discussion, on which  he
would  succeed in dividing opinion in France and in England,
and  that  Poland  would herself one day come  and  ask  for
mercy.
     



COULONDRE.
     
                  No. 120
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw, May
5, 1939.

 
     
     THE  declaration of M. Beck, which I have  just  heard,
was  made in a firm tone. The Minister recounted in moderate
terms  the manner in which Herr Hitler had made the  entente
between  Great  Britain and Poland a pretext for  denouncing
unilaterally  the  agreement which he had himself  concluded
with  Poland  in  1934. The Diet greeted the  Minister  very
warmly,  and the end of his statement he was cheered  for  a
long time by all the deputies, standing.
     The  passage concerning the Anglo-Polish agreement  and
also  that  dealing with the Franco-Polish  agreement,  were
warmly  applauded,  but the Diet above  all  emphasized,  by
acclamation,  the  more categorical and  the  more  ironical
passages  concerning  the attitude of Germany,  as  well  as
those which announced the firmness of Polish policy.
     The    Assembly    particularly    appreciated    those
declarations  which stressed the point that  Poland  had  no
reason to lament the disappearance of the pact of 1934; that
the  German  Government appeared to interpret this  fact  as
intended  to  hinder the collaboration of  Poland  with  the
Western  Powers  and so isolate it from  them,  that  Poland
would  not  allow itself to be thrust back from the  Baltic;
that it was not Poland's habit (apropos of Slovakia) to make
the  interests of others a subject of bargaining;  that  the
Reich represents the proposal
     
[143]
     
to recognise the Polish frontier as final as a concession on
its  part;  finally  that the Polish  Government  is  always
prepared  to discuss with Germany, provided that  the  Reich
gives evidence of peaceful intentions.
     The last words of the statement, dismissing the idea of
peace at any price, and exalting the idea of honour, brought
forth the utmost enthusiasm.
     



LON NEL.
     
                  No. 121
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw, May
6, 1939.


     
     THE  Polish memorandum, drawn up in firm, but courteous
and  conciliatory  terms, emphasizes the fact  that  Poland,
despite  the  denunciation by Germany of the pact  of  1934,
remains  ready to negotiate in order to arrive  at  a  fresh
settlement of Polish-German relations "on the basis of  good
neighbourliness";  and is thus at the  same  time  ready  to
settle the question of transit through the Corridor and  the
problem  of Danzig. The Polish Government recalls  the  fact
that   the   Reich   has   not   replied   to   the   Polish
counterproposals of March 26. It seems thus  to  let  it  be
understood  that it is waiting for the German Government  to
take the initiative in resuming the pourparlers.
     Herr  von Moltke has just returned to Warsaw, and  this
evening  there  was speculation at the Ministry  of  Foreign
Affairs whether he would endeavour to resume contact with M.
Beck or not.
     



LON NEL.
     
                  No. 122
     

M. LON NEL, French Ambassador in Warsaw,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Warsaw, May
6, 1939.

  
     
     THE  following  passages  from  the  Polish  memorandum
should be particularly noted.
     "The  Polish Government had foreseen for several years,
that  the difficulties encountered by the League of  Nations
in  carrying  out  its functions at Danzig  would  create  a
confused  situation which it was in Poland's  and  Germany's
interest   to  clear  up.  For  several  years  the   Polish
Government  had  given the German Government  to  understand
that frank conversations should be held on this subject. The
German
     
[144]
     
Government, however, avoided these, and confined  themselves
to sating that German-Polish relations should not be exposed
to  difficulties by questions relating to Danzig.  Moreover,
the  German Government more than once gave assurances to the
Polish Government regarding the Free City of Danzig.  It  is
sufficient  here  to  quote  the  declaration  made  by  the
Chancellor of the Reich on February 20, 1938:
     "'The Polish State respects the national conditions  in
this  State  of  the Free City, and Germany respects  Polish
rights.  It has thus been possible to clear the way  for  an
understanding which, while arising the efforts of out of the
question of Danzig, has today in spite of certain disturbers
of  the  peace succeeded in effectively purifying  relations
between  Germany  and Poland and has transformed  them  into
sincere and friendly collaboration.'"
     The  denunciation  of the agreement of  1934  was  made
after  Germany  had  refused to accept the  explanations  of
Poland  concerning the divergence between the Polish-British
guarantee and the agreement of 1934.
     



LON NEL.
     
                  No. 123
     

M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin, May
7, 1939.


     
     I TAKE the liberty of drawing the especial attention of
Your Excellency to the information contained in the enclosed
report,  our informant being in a particularly good position
to  know  the intentions of the Fhrer and of his  principal
lieutenants.
     His new declarations may be summed up as follows:
     (1)   M.  Beck's  speech  will  in  no  way  alter  the
situation. The Fhrer is determined to secure the return  of
Danzig to Germany, as well as the reunion of East Prussia to
the Reich.
     (2)  The  Fhrer is patient and cautious, and will  not
tackle  the question in a direct way, for he knows  that  in
future  France and Britain would not give way, and that  the
coalition  which  he  would have to confront  would  be  too
strong. He will go on manoeuvring until his time comes.
     (3)  The  Fhrer will come to an understanding to  this
effect  with  Russia. The day will come when he attains  his
aims  by these means, without the Allies "having any reason,
or even any intention, to
     
[145]
     
intervene."  It  may  be  that we  shall  witness  a  fourth
partition  of Poland. In any case, "we shall soon  see  that
something is brewing in the East."
     (4) The equivocal attitude of Japan has contributed  to
Herr Hitler's orientation towards the U.S.S.R.
     (5) When the Polish question has once been settled, and
Germany's  military  supremacy definitely  assured,  Germany
will be in a position to come to a conference.
     For the above reasons I believe that, taken as a whole,
and  under the reservations made at the conclusion  of  this
letter,  the  enclosed  indications  may  be  considered  to
reflect  fairly exactly Herr Hitler's designs and to  reveal
the  maneuvers which we must be prepared to counter.  As  is
his  habit, my informant became very animated in the  course
of  the  conversation, and it is very likely that he finally
said much more than he was authorized to tell us. Especially
as  regards  Russia,  one cannot help being  struck  by  the
coincidence between the intentions attributed to the  Fhrer
and the resignation of M. Litvinov.
     In  my opinion, two facts of primary importance can  be
inferred from this conversation.
     The  first is that Herr Hitler does not want to  go  to
war  with  Poland  under  the  prevailing  conditions:  this
confirms the information which I have already sent  to  Your
Excellency;  it  stresses  the  full  significance  of   the
recovery effected in Europe by France and Great Britain.
     The  second is an entirely new one: the new orientation
of Germany towards Russia.
     If  the intention of the Fhrer really is to attempt  a
rapprochement with the U.S.S.R., it remains to be  seen  how
he intends to exploit this new policy. In my opinion, he may
hope to draw advantage from it in three different ways:
     (1)  By arriving at a more or less tacit agreement with
the  U.S.S.R.  which  would assure  him  of  the  benevolent
neutrality  of  that  country in the event  of  a  conflict,
perhaps even of her complicity in a partition of Poland.
     (2)  By  bringing, through the mere threat of a  better
understanding with the U.S.S.R., pressure simultaneously  to
bear  on Japan and on Poland, in order to induce the  former
to  sign a military alliance, and the latter to agree to the
concessions he is asking for.
     (3) By bringing the Western Powers, under the threat of
collusion  between  Germany and Russia,  to  accept  certain
Soviet demands to
     
[1461

which  Poland and Rumania would be opposed, and thus to  sow
discord among the Allies.
     On  the  other  hand, it is not yet certain  that  Herr
Hitler  has  already decided upon his line of  conduct,  and
already  made  his choice between a real understanding  with
the  U.S.S.R., or a simple diplomatic maneuver  intended  to
reverse  the  situation in his favour. One would  be  rather
inclined  to  adopt the latter conjecture. For  Herr  Hitler
finds  it difficult to reconcile his own views and those  of
his  Party,  and actual collusion with the Soviets,  and  to
ignore  completely the fact that not only the home but  even
the foreign policy of National-Socialism has been founded on
an anti-Bolshevist ideology.
     I  need  not stress the fact that the person concerned,
who  is in no respect an informer, intends, in his relations
with  us,  to  serve the cause of Germany.  There  is  every
reason to believe that apart from genuine indications, given
deliberately  or  in  the  heat of the  discussion,  certain
developments were deliberately designed to exercise pressure
upon or to impress us. I should be inclined to place in this
category  the part of the conversation when he  insisted  on
the   state  of  exhaustion  to  which  a  prolonged   semi-
mobilization  would reduce both ourselves and  Poland.  This
may  be  the  expression of a desire  to  see  our  military
measures relaxed and to create a propitious moment for a new
coup. The opinion held by the person concerned on the forces
which from now onwards oppose the Reich and make the game  a
much  too dangerous one for it, cannot fail to stimulate  us
to  persevere in our military and diplomatic efforts and  to
remain permanently on the alert.




COULONDRE.
     
  Resume of a conversation that took place on May 6
 between a member of the Embassy (C) and one of the Fhrer's
                  associates (X) 
     
THE POLISH QUESTION: THE RUSSIAN FACTOR

     "M.  Beck's  speech,"  X  declared,  "may  appear  very
ingenious and well-founded, from the legal point of view.
     "As  to  ourselves, we cannot, nevertheless, admit  his
contentions.  In  1934,  Poland  signed  a  treaty  of  non-
aggression with us. Now the reciprocal guarantee that Poland
has  just  concluded with Great Britain  places  the  former
under  the  obligation of attacking us in the event  of  the
latter  being  in  conflict with us. Does that  not  already
contain a flagrant contradiction?
     
[147]
     
     "Moreover,  M.  Beck in his speech has  shown  his  bad
faith.  He was perfectly aware of Germany's attitude,  which
was  dearly set forth to him by the Fhrer himself. What  is
more,  M. Beck had declared that the requests of the  German
Government  did  not  appear to  him  likely  to  raise  any
difficulties,  and that he had undertaken  to  secure  their
acceptance by the Polish Government.
     "Furthermore," continued X, "the Fhrer, as  a  man  of
action, scorns legal discussions; he remains on the plane of
realities  and  necessities. He is firmly resolved,  at  all
events,  to settle the question of Danzig and of the reunion
of  East Prussia to the Reich, the solutions foreshadowed in
the  suggestions  made by us at the beginning  of  the  year
representing a minimum."
     "But  then," C objected, "judging by the tone  of  your
Press, this means war within a short time?"
     "Not  at all," replied X. "In this contest, as arranged
by  Great  Britain,  we  are not the strongest.  We  realise
perfectly  that  at  present Great Britain  and  France  are
determined  not to give way, especially France, for  we  are
aware of M. Daladier's energy.
     "Do  you  think that Hitler would be prepared to  fight
without  holding all the trump cards? That would be contrary
to his habit, which has brought him all his former successes
without striking a single blow.
     "Were  you not struck, in his last speech, by the  fact
that  he made no reference whatever to Russia? Have you  not
noticed  the  understanding manner in which  this  morning's
newspapers-which,   incidentally,   had   received   precise
instructions  on  the subject-speak of  M.  Molotov  and  of
Russia?   You   must   certainly  have  heard   of   certain
negotiations  that are going on, and of the journey  of  the
Ambassador  and  the  Military Attach of  the  U.S.S.R.  to
Moscow;  they  had  been  received  on  the  eve  of   their
departure, the former by Herr von Ribbentrop, the latter  by
the  Oberkommando  of  the Wehrmacht,  and  had  been  fully
informed  of  the  point of view of the  Government  of  the
Reich.  I  can really tell you no more, but you  will  learn
some day that something is being prepared in the East. (Dass
etwas im Osten im Gange ist.)"
     "How  can  you  reconcile  this  new  policy  with  the
declaration  made by the Fhrer in one of his speeches  that
there is only one country with which he could never reach an
agreement-Soviet Russia?"
     X,  stressing  his  answer  with  an  evasive  gesture,
replied that it was not a question of haggling over words.
     
[148]

     "When it is a case of carrying out a plan, there are no
legal or ideological considerations that hold good. You  are
in a good position to know that a most Catholic King did not
hesitate,  in times gone by, to enter into an alliance  with
the  Turks. Besides, are the two regimes actually different?
Are  they  not  very  nearly  identical  in  the  realm   of
economics,  although  we, on our side,  have  in  a  certain
measure  maintained private enterprise? Briefly,"  concluded
X,  "the  situation may be summed up as follows:  the  Poles
fancy  that they can be insolent to us, as they feel  strong
in  the support of France and Britain, and believe that they
can  count upon the material assistance of Russia. They  are
mistaken  in  their  calculations: just as  Hitler  did  not
consider  himself in a position to settle  the  question  of
Austria  and  of Czechoslovakia without Italy's consent,  he
now would not dream of settling the German-Polish difference
without Russia."
     Then   X,  who  was  getting  more  and  more  excited,
declared:  "There  have  already been  three  partitions  of
Poland; well, believe me, you will witness a fourth!
     "In any case, we will arrange this matter in such a way
that  you will have neither reason nor even intention (weder
Grund noch sogar Absicht) to intervene. It will not be in  a
month,  nor  even in two months' time. Time  is  needed  for
adequate  preparation.  Hitler  is  not,  as  some  of  your
journalists maintain, the man to take a sudden decision when
he has a fit of temper.
     "In  home  affairs, he knew how to wait until 1933  for
the  favourable  opportunity  to  seize  power.  In  foreign
policy,   all  his  successes  are  the  result  of  careful
reflection,  of combinations studied down to their  smallest
details,  and  of the exploitation of all the  mistakes  and
weaknesses  of  his opponents. In the matter of  Poland,  he
will know how to bide his time.
     "I  may  add finally that, however unpopular a  war  on
account  of  the  question might have been,  a  war  against
Poland  would find favour with the masses, by reason of  the
inherent  hatred  of  the German, and  of  the  Prussian  in
particular, for the Pole."
     According  to X, Hitler is very dissatisfied  with  the
attitude  recently adopted by Japan, whose  aims  he  cannot
clearly   discern.  The  uncertainty  of  her   policy   has
indisposed  Hitler towards her and has partly accounted  for
his resolutions concerning the U.S.S.R.
     
[149]
     
FRANCE

     X  insisted  on  the  definite  and  final  (endgltig)
renunciation of the Fhrer's claims on Alsace-Lorraine,  and
on  the  fact  that no difference of opinion  separates  the
Reich  from  France.  He is surprised at  all  the  military
preparations  that have recently been made  in  France,  and
especially  at the reinforcement of the Maginot Line,  about
which, said he, the German Secret Service is fully informed.
"If  this  were  not  the case, I beg you  to  believe  that
Admiral Canaris and his staff might as well pack their  bags
(sonst  knnte der Admiral Canaris mit seinem  ganzen  Laden
aufpacken). All these measures are the result of  an  active
war-psychosis  which  is fraying the people's  nerves:  they
cannot  fail in the long run to exhaust France, without  any
benefit to her. The semi-mobilization of France, as well  as
that of Poland, have not been, on our side, countered by any
similar measure."
     
POTENTIAL MILITARY STRENGTH OF GERMANY
     
     "All  Germany's  military efforts,"  continued  X  "are
exclusively directed towards an industrial mobilization  and
an   intensification  of  armaments.  The  Fhrer  has  even
declared  that he would not hesitate to order the  cessation
of  the  great public works in course of completion (Berlin,
Nuremberg  ...)  in  order to devote  the  country's  entire
manpower and all its materials to national defence.
     "Nevertheless, in the Fhrer's intentions," said  X  in
conclusion,  "once the Polish matter has been  settled,  the
calling  of  a general conference will be a possibility.  To
that conference Germany would come backed by the full weight
of all her military strength."
     
                  No. 124
     

M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin, May
7, 1939.

  
     
     THE  German-Polish conflict appears to have come  to  a
standstill for the moment.
     On  May  5,  Colonel Beck replied in the  Diet  to  the
speech  that  Herr Hitler had made before the  Reichstag  on
April  28. On the same day, the Polish Charg d'Affaires  in
Berlin  handed  to  the  Ministry  of  Foreign  Affairs  his
Government's  memorandum in reply to the German  memorandum.
Each of the conflicting parties maintains its attitude.  The
National-Socialist leaders announce through their Press that
     
[150]
     
they  expect a gesture from Warsaw. [1] On their  side,  the
Poles   put   forward  the  history  of  the   German-Polish
negotiations and the unilateral repudiation by the Reich  of
the  treaty  of 1934 in order to maintain, and  rightly  so,
that  it is not for them to take the first step, or to  take
the  initiative in proposing that conversations should  take
place. In placing the text of the Polish memorandum in Baron
von Weizscker's hands, Prince Lubomirski did not attempt to
bring  about a renewed exchange of views. The interview,  so
he  told  me, lasted only as long as was necessary  for  the
actual handing over of the document.
     It  should  be  noted, on the other  hand,  that  since
Saturday afternoon, that is to say, since May 6, the  German
Press has restrained its tone towards Poland. The newspapers
are  noticeably  more moderate in their attacks  against  M.
Beck  and  his  Government. This  lull  coincides  with  the
Italian-German conversations in Milan. Is this mere  chance?
Or  might it be, as it is rumored in Berlin, that Italy only
signed  the  military alliance with the Reich  on  condition
that  the  latter  would,  for the  present,  not  undertake
anything against Poland?
     Anyhow, the articles about Poland, which in the  German
newspapers  tend  to take the same place as  articles  about
Czechoslovakia last summer, have not been multiplied by  new
incidents. Obviously, formal instructions towards moderation
have  been  given  on  both  sides.  As  to  Poland,  Prince
Lubomirski has assured me that nothing has been neglected in
order  to  allay the excitement of the people  there.  As  a
proof  of  this, he instanced the fact that his  Government,
while  it was lodging a protest in Berlin through diplomatic
channels,  had  not  wished to give  any  publicity  to  the
numerous  violations  of the frontier  committed  by  German
planes:  according to what he told me, in the last fortnight
64  German machines were reported to have flown over  Polish
territory  in an illegal manner. The Germans, on  the  other
hand,  during  the last three months had only been  able  to
make nine similar charges against Polish aviation.
     I  did  not fail to remind the Polish Charg d'Affaires
of  the importance attached in Paris and London to the  fact
that Warsaw should maintain this attitude of wise moderation
and  should  avoid furnishing the slightest excuse  for  the
anti-Polish campaign to Dr. Goebbels.
     On military questions, as I have mentioned elsewhere, I
have
     

[1] See Brsenzeitang, May 6: "M. Beck mentioned, at the end
of his
speech, the possibility of fresh negotiations. He cannot
expect us,
after all that has happened, to go to him. If fresh
negotiations should
really take place, Germany expects Poland to make a gesture
which is in
conformity with the Fhrer's straightforward
attitude."
     
[151]

received no information of special interest. True, movements
of  troops  are being observed in different parts of  German
territory,  but  nowhere  have there  been  any  disquieting
concentrations in the vicinity of the Polish frontier.
     It  appears, then, that this must be taken as  a  short
lull,  the duration of which, admittedly, remains uncertain.
Convinced as it is today of the determination of Poland  and
of  her Western allies to offer armed resistance to any  new
attack  on the part of Germany, the Reich appears to abandon
for a time purely strategical considerations and to take  up
anew  the  diplomatic game. One may assume  that  the  exact
study  of  the  moral  and material forces  confronting  one
another counted for something in this prudent decision.
     As  to  the  diplomatic  contest  which  is  now  being
initiated,  the  conditions  are  comparatively   easy   for
Germany. Her purpose is to subdue Polish resistance,  either
by  direct or indirect pressure, and thus to destroy  beyond
repair the bulwark which the Western Powers are endeavouring
to  erect  in the East against National-Socialist expansion.
The  first  stage,  that  of direct  pressure,  ended  in  a
reverse. Shall we now witness the development of the  second
stage,  that of intimidation by indirect means? In order  to
reply  to that question, it is not unprofitable to  call  to
mind briefly the history of the German proposals to Poland.
     In  his  speech of April 28, Herr Hitler summed  up  as
follows the essential points of those proposals:
     (1)  Danzig returns as a Free State into the  framework
of the German Reich.
     (2) Germany receives a road through the Corridor and  a
railway  line  at  her disposal possessing the  same  extra-
territorial status as the Corridor itself has for Poland.
     In return, Germany is prepared:
     (1) To recognize all Polish economic rights in Danzig.
     (2)  To  ensure for Poland a free harbour in Danzig  of
any size desired with completely free access to the sea.
     (3)  To  accept at the same time the present boundaries
between Germany and Poland and to regard them as final.
     (4)   To  conclude  a  twenty-five-year  non-aggression
treaty with Poland.
     (5)  To guarantee the independence of the Slovak  State
by  Germany,  Poland  and  Hungary  jointly-which  means  in
practice  the renunciation of any unilateral German hegemony
in this territory.

[152]

     According   to  Herr  Hitler,  the  Polish   Government
declined this offer and declared itself merely disposed:
     (1)   To  negotiate  concerning  the  question   of   a
substitute  for  the  High Commissioner  of  the  League  of
Nations.
     (2)  To  consider  facilities for the  transit  traffic
through the Corridor.
     Now  M. Beck, before the Polish Diet on May 5, gave the
correct version:
     (1)  On the first and second points, i.e., the question
of  the  future  of Danzig and communications across  Polish
Pomerania,  he  said  it was still a  matter  of  unilateral
concessions which the Government of the Reich appear  to  be
demanding from Poland.
     The  proof  of  this, according to him,  was  that  the
Polish  counterproposals of March 26,  aiming  at  a  "joint
guarantee of the existence and the rights of the Free City,"
remained  unanswered, and that the Government of Warsaw  had
learnt  only  through  the speech of  April  28  that  these
counter-proposals had been taken as a refusal in Berlin.
     (2)  As regards the triple condominium in Slovakia, the
Minister  stated  that he had heard this  proposal  for  the
first  time  in  the Chancellor's speech  of  April  28.  In
certain previous conversations allusions were merely made to
the  effect  that  in the event of a general  agreement  the
question of Slovakia could be discussed.
     According  to  M. Beck, the Polish Government  did  not
attempt to pursue such conversations any further.
     (3)  Similarly, the proposal for a prolongation of  the
pact  of  non-aggression for twenty-five years was also  not
advanced  in  any  concrete  form  in  any  of  the   recent
conversations.  Here  also  unofficial  hints   were   made,
emanating, it is true, from prominent representatives of the
Reich Government.
     Through  the pen of an officially inspired editor,  Dr.
Kriegk,  in  the Nachtausgabe (May 6), political circles  in
Berlin have in their turn refuted M. Beck's assertions.  The
German version gives the following account:
     (1) M. Beck had an opportunity in October 1938, and  in
January  and  March 1939, to learn all the  details  of  the
German  proposals,  either through his  personal  interviews
with  Chancellor  Hitler and with Herr  von  Ribbentrop,  or
through  the conversations of his Ambassador in Berlin  with
leading members of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
     (2)  Concerning especially the conclusion of a pact  of
non-aggression  for  twenty-five  years,  the   Fhrer   had
expressly spoken of it to M. Beck
     
[153]

in  the  course  of their interview at the  Obersalzberg  on
January 5, 1939
     (3) As to the Polish counter-proposals of March 26,  it
had been definitely indicated to the Polish Ambassador, when
he  presented them in Berlin, that the German Government saw
them  in  the  light  of a refusal of the German  proposals.
Either M. Lipski did not inform his chief, or the latter  is
not speaking the truth.
     Yet  in  this controversy, keenly contested as  it  is,
there  is  one  point which on the German side was  modestly
left  in the dark. It is the one to which the Polish Foreign
Minister  referred when he specified that,  in  the  German-
Polish  conversations,  the  representatives  of  the  Reich
Government  had  also  given  "other  hints  extending  much
further  than the subject under discussion," and that  their
Government  reserved the right to return to this  matter  if
necessary.
     Germany's silence is understandable, if it is  realized
that  this  is actually where the crux of the whole  problem
lies.
     I   have   gathered,  from  a  very  reliable   source,
information  which  allows me to  assert  that,  by  way  of
compensation  and in order to draw Poland into  their  game,
the   National-Socialist  leaders  have  hinted   in   their
conversations with the Poles at the possibility  of  sharing
in a partition of the Russian Ukraine.
     In  the  same  connection the Polish Military  Attach,
when  he  received one of my collaborators  yesterday,  gave
some  significant indications on the great plans which  even
recently  the leaders of the Third Reich had been  hammering
out,  and in the realization of which they had hoped,  until
March 26, to enlist Polish complicity.
     It is said that when Chancellor Hitler received M. Beck
in  Berchtesgaden, he had spread out before  him  a  map  of
Europe corrected in his own hand. On this map Danzig and the
Corridor were again attached to the Reich; as to Poland, she
was  to annex Lithuania and receive the port of Memel.  (The
interview of Berchtesgaden took place on January 5.) M. Beck
is reported to have been astounded at this sight.
     When  restored  to its proper place in  Adolf  Hitler's
general plans, the problem of Danzig thus represents  merely
a detail, but a detail which today assumes the importance of
a  strategical  point. It is actually  on  this  point  that
German  policy has been testing, and will continue to  test,
the  resistance  of its adversaries. With good  reason,  the
question of Danzig has been compared to the question of  the
Sudetenland.  Doubtless, a certain degree of  compromise  is
possible  between Germany and Poland on the subject  of  the
Free  City,  but the fact remains that if Danzig should  one
day become a German base, Poland will as

[154]

surely be under the sway of the Reich as Czechoslovakia  has
been since the occupation of the Sudetenland.
     One must never lose sight of the fact that the true aim
of German ambitions is, and remains, the colonization of the
centre  and of the East of Europe; in a word, the domination
of  the Continent. If Poland had accepted Hitler's proposals
she  would have really placed herself in the position  of  a
vassal of the Reich, she would have given her allegiance  to
the  policy of the Axis, whose vanguard she would have  been
in aggression against Russia.
     I  believe that I can say, without fear of error,  that
what  interested Herr Hitler above all in the offers he made
to Poland was less the return of Danzig than the point which
he  never  mentioned, viz., the alliance against Moscow  and
the  bonds  of complicity and absolute dependence  which  it
entailed for Warsaw in respect of Berlin. The great merit of
the Polish Government is to have realized that, through this
insidious  policy, the very independence of its country  has
been at stake from the very beginning.
     Now that the method of direct pressure has failed, will
the  National-Socialist leaders have  recourse  to  indirect
pressure?  After  attempting to play Poland against  Russia,
will they reverse their method in order to try to intimidate
the   Poles   and   play  Moscow  against  Warsaw?   Certain
declarations,  and  the interpretation  given  by  political
circles  in  Berlin to the fact that M. Litvinov has  fallen
into  disfavor  might  lead to this conclusion.  But  it  is
possible  that they may be taking their wishes for facts  in
the matter.
     We  must not fail to "see the wood for the trees."  The
question  is  not whether we should fight, or not,  for  the
sake of Danzig. It is up to Poland, when the time comes,  to
decide  this question. The only concern of France and  Great
Britain  is  to  be determined to prevent  another  coup  by
Hitler,  and  to check Nazi expansion while there  is  still
time.
     



COULONDRE.
     
                  No. 125
     

M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
     to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
                                                 Berlin, May
9, 1939.


     
     A  FEW  days  after  M. Beck's speech,  the  atmosphere
prevailing  in  the capital of the Reich  is  on  the  whole
calmer.  The  general impression is that a comparative  lull
will continue in Europe, during which the
     
[155]
     
struggle  of the Axis Powers against the policy of restraint
adopted  by London and Paris will continue in the  realm  of
propaganda and diplomacy.
     In   this  struggle,  the  events  of  the  last   days
constitute some new episodes.
     1.  The  speech delivered at the Sejm on May  5  by  M.
Beck, and the Polish memorandum presented on the 6th to  the
Government  in  Berlin,  have  not  noticeably  altered  the
tension  of German-Polish relations, such as it has  existed
since  March 26, the day on which Warsaw rejected the German
demands  and  presented counter-proposals. Replying  to  the
speech of the Fhrer, April 28, the declarations of M.  Beck
have however made public the disagreement between Berlin and
Warsaw  and have transferred the German-Polish dispute  from
the  decent obscurity of the chancelleries to the  forum  of
international politics.
     M.   Beck's  expose  has  been  interpreted   here   as
representing a further rejection of the Fhrer's offers.  It
is  very  firm  in  substance, but moderate  in  manner;  it
offered  no real opening for violent controversy.  Actually,
the  German  comments  betrayed  some  embarrassment.  After
absorbing  7  million  Czechs, the  Reich  is  in  a  rather
difficult   position   to  appeal  to   the   principle   of
nationalities.  As  to the doctrine of Lebensraum,  in  this
particular  case  this could obviously only  be  applied  in
favour of Poland.
     Consequently, the German reaction has been expressed in
the  shape  of  personal grievances against M. Beck,  whilst
certain  of  the  arguments invoked have very  significantly
revealed the real objects pursued by the policy of the Reich
in   presenting   at  Warsaw  proposals  of  a   "generosity
unparalleled in history."
     Fundamentally, what Poland is being reproached with  is
for preferring the guarantee and friendship of Great Britain
to  the  place  she was being offered in the  German-Italian
camp.
     If  she  had  accepted  the German  proposals,  Poland,
weakened  politically and in the military  sphere,  moreover
reduced  to  a  tributary State of the  Reich  economically,
would  have  been  definitely  riveted  to  the  Axis.   The
establishment  in the East of a rampart against  the  German
drive would have become impossible.
     As  far  as  the  actual substance of  the  dispute  is
concerned,  the  two  parties  remain  in  their  respective
positions. Each maintains that it is up to the other to make
a  gesture.  Actually, on the German side,  they  anticipate
that  Poland will soon grow tired of her "heroic"  attitude,
will  exhaust herself financially and morally, and that  she
will be given
     
[156]
     
to  understand from London and Paris that nobody is  anxious
to  fight  for the sake of Danzig. "Danzig is  not  worth  a
European  war"-this seems to be the catch phrase  of  German
propaganda. Here great hopes are based on this phrase and on
the  echo  which it might awaken abroad. That is the  reason
why it is maintained that there will be no war on account of
Danzig,  though  it  is at the same time  claimed  that  the
question  will  have to be settled sooner  or  later,  in  a
manner in conformity with the wishes of the Reich.
     In   the  meantime,  the  German  Press  continues  its
campaign  against  Poland,  without,  however,  forsaking  a
certain  restraint, as though its leaders  were  anxious  to
prevent  the atmosphere from getting overheated too quickly.
Clearly,  in Berlin, they are anxious not to be  obliged  to
act before the propitious moment has arrived.
     2.  The  slow  and  uneven course of the  Anglo-Russian
negotiations continues to maintain, in official  circles  in
Berlin, certain hopes that had been encouraged by the sudden
resignation of M. Litvinov (May 4)
     It appears that, for some time past, Berlin believed in
a  possible change in Soviet policy. Very rapidly,  however,
the Press at least has returned to a more cautious attitude.
     Nevertheless,  the  fact  remains  that,  amongst   the
National-Socialist leaders, "determined to break through the
encirclement  at  any price," M. Litvinov's  retirement  has
awakened  in certain minds the idea of an intrigue  designed
to  upset  the negotiations which are already most difficult
between  Moscow and the Western Powers and to wreck them  in
one  way  or  another. Did this idea grow and take  definite
shape before M. Litvinov's retirement, or was it inspired by
this event? This is difficult to ascertain.
     In any case, for the last twenty-four hours, the rumour
has spread through the whole of Berlin that Germany has made
or  is  going  to make proposals concerning a  partition  of
Poland.
     This  rumour  is so persistent that the  Soviet  Charg
d'Affaires himself was much struck by it, and when I met him
this  evening,  asked  me in an excited  manner:  "Have  you
learnt that the Soviet Government has decided to change  its
policy?" As I remarked that it was rather for me to put  the
question  to  him,  he  stated  that  he  had  received   no
indication whatever from Moscow which would justify  him  in
thinking  that  the rumours circulated were founded  on  any
facts.  He  added  that in the last conversation  which  his
Ambassador had had with
     
[157]
     
Herr  von  Weizscker on April 17, they had  dealt  with  no
political questions.
     This  evening, moreover, the German Press is showing  a
certain  agitation because of the resumption of  the  Anglo-
Russian negotiations. It appears to be somewhat perturbed by
the  news according to which M. Potemkin, on his return from
Bucharest, was to stop in Warsaw in order to pay a visit  to
M.  Beck. As though to reassure itself, it declares that the
Soviets  are not inclined to serve as England's henchmen  in
Eastern Europe.
     This attitude stresses the primary importance which  is
attached  in the leading circles of the Reich to  the  final
attitude  which will be adopted by the Soviets  towards  the
British  proposals,  and on which will depend,  to  a  great
extent,  according  to  their views, the  strength  and  the
efficiency of the anti-aggression front set up in the East.
     


COULONDRE.
     
     
[158]


Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.