The Ambassador in France ( Bullitt ) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 29—2:13 p.m.]
850. Daladier dined with me alone tonight and talked at length about the present situation. He said he believed that Hitler’s speech had been designed to create in Poland the same sort of fear of German attack that it had been possible to create in Czechoslovakia in the hope that the Polish spirit of resistance might disintegrate. Daladier said that so far as he and France were concerned Poland would receive full support in resisting any and all German demands presented at the point of a gun.
He felt that Hitler had also hoped to obtain a withdrawal of British support for Poland in the matter of the Corridor and Danzig. He was not sure that Chamberlain would not again pursue the same course that he had pursued with regard to Czechoslovakia. He would not feel absolutely sure of the British will to resist Germany until Chamberlain should have close to him someone like Winston Churchill.
Yesterday the British Ambassador had come to see him and had said that in his opinion Hitler’s speech left the way open for fruitful negotiations for a peaceful settlement between Poland and Germany.
In his, Daladier’s opinion this was dangerous nonsense. If the British should be so foolish as to tell the Poles now that in spite of the promise they had made to Beck to go to war in case Germany should attempt to annex Danzig they were of the opinion that Poland should [Page 178] give up Danzig, the result would be a disintegration of the spirit of resistance in Poland. Danzig would merely be the first step for a German domination of Poland just as the Runciman negotiations80 had been the first step for the disintegration of Czechoslovakia.
I need scarcely add that I entirely agree with this point of view. Poland will remain a great asset in resistance to Germany just so long as the Poles feel certain that they will have full British and French support.
As you know the French Government has been taking the most active steps recently in many quarters of the world and has been attempting to persuade the British Government to become as active.
Daladier alluded to his decision to send 40 French Army officers to Chiang Kai-shek’s81 headquarters and to his decision to give a loan to China.
He also said that he had been attempting to get the British to station the major portion of their home fleet at Lisbon since it was obviously unnecessary in view of the absence of the major portion of the German fleet to keep the entire British home fleet in the North Sea. The British however were reluctant to withdraw a single ship from the North Sea and were urging him again to send the Dunkerque and Strasbourg to the North Sea to reenforce the British fleet. He had decided to send both these ships to Lisbon.
Daladier’s general policy will be the following: to continue the development of resistance to Germany by increasing to the greatest possible extent French military preparations; by pushing actively the negotiations to establish a bloc to the eastward consisting of Poland, Rumania, Turkey, and the Soviet Union; by showing readiness to support with military force any state guaranteed which dares to resist Germany.