741.61/734: Telegram

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



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Bonnet said that he felt certain that Germany would provoke a crisis of the most dangerous sort in the near future on the issue of Danzig. He believed that the critical moment would come just as soon as the Germans should have completed the mobilization which would take place under the guise of summer army manoeuvres. His information was that this moment would arrive about the first of August.

He added that the Germans were pouring soldiers into Danzig disguised as civilians and he thought the Germans might make a surprise assault on the city in the belief that once it had been seized Poland would not dare to declare war on Germany. He said that he dare not think the Germans could be so stupid as to believe that if Poland should declare war on Germany under such circumstances France or England could or would stand aside. Both France and England certainly would march.

[Page 195]

His feeling was that the chance of war about the first of August was fifty-fifty; but when he tried to justify even this degree of optimism he could not justify it reasonably. He could see no way out for Hitler but war.

Bonnet added that if Germany should go to war with Poland on the issue of Danzig his personal belief was that Italy would not go to war on the side of Germany. After the signature of the Italian alliance with Germany Ciano had approached François-Poncet, French Ambassador in Rome, and had asserted that all differences between France and Italy could be settled peacefully if France would give Italy the railroad from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, a free port in Djibouti, a seat on the Suez Canal Board and a promise that the statute of equity in Tunis would be maintained indefinitely. The French Government had made no reply because it was felt that concessions of this nature to Italy at the present time would be interpreted merely as a sign of weakness and that no promise of the Italian[s?] could be taken seriously. Nevertheless his information indicated that hostility to war with France was so widespread in all classes of the population of Italy that he believed Mussolini at the last moment would not go to war on the side of Germany.