751.62/472: Telegram

The Ambassador in France ( Bullitt ) to the Secretary of State

1335. Guy La Chambre, Minister for Air, said to me today that he had had a full report yesterday from General Vuillemin, Chief of the French Air Force, on his trip to Germany. Hitler’s conversation with Vuillemin had been confined to the weather and a few pleasant remarks.

Hitler had said that he loved France and that never would Germany attack France. Hitler had also said that he would like very much to visit the areas in France in which he had fought as a soldier.

I asked La Chambre if Vuillemin had immediately issued an invitation for such a visit and he replied that Hitler’s remarks had been more an expression of courtesy than an expression of a real desire to make such a visit.

Vuillemin’s talk with Goering6 had been more to the point. Goering had said that there were no direct points of dispute between Germany and France but that the most serious consequences might follow their differences of opinion on Spain and Czechoslovakia. Vuillemin had replied that non-intervention offered a way out of the Spanish difficulty. With regard to Czechoslovakia he could inform Goering officially that if German troops should cross the Czech frontier France would declare war at once. Goering, according to Vuillemin, had stamped his foot in fury and had said that Germany would not permit the Czechs to murder Sudeten women and children.

Vuillemin had been much impressed by the German airplane production facilities. He had returned convinced that the Germans were producing at least 350 armed planes a month and that they had facilities for trebling this production immediately. Vuillemin had reported also that the Germans had abandoned the production of heavy bombing planes because they were convinced that heavy bombers with comparatively slow speeds could be shot down very easily by modern antiaircraft artillery Their own experiments had shown that this was possible even at night when the artillery was able to fire accurately at the sound of the airplane motors.

La Chambre said that the Germans were now concentrating on fast pursuit ships, bombers which released bombs during dives, and fast planes for offensives against infantry.

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La Chambre expressed confidence that Daladier’s proposals with regard to the 40-hour law would not produce a serious rising of labor and would not cause the downfall of the government.

I am not so sure.

Bullitt
  1. Hermann Goering, German Minister for Aviation.