740.00/1154: Telegram

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

818. I asked Léger today for information with regard to the present status of the negotiations between France and the Soviet Union and Great Britain and the Soviet Union.

Léger said that the British yesterday had sent urgent instructions to the British Ambassador to Moscow ordering him to ask the Soviet Government immediately to issue a guarantee of Rumania and Poland [Page 242] on all fours with the British guarantees to Rumania64 and Poland. After sending this instruction the British Government asked the French Government to send a similar instruction to the French Ambassador in Moscow.

The French Government replied to the British that it considered this new British démarche extremely stupid and refused to order the French Ambassador in Moscow to join his British colleague in the démarche.

Léger added that if the Soviet Government should issue the statement requested by the British, the only result would be to enrage the Poles and to make the Rumanians apprehensive of an immediate German attack.

The French Government proposed to the British Government, as an alternative, that the Soviet Union should be requested to guarantee to give support to France and England in case either one should become involved in war due to promises to protect states in Eastern Europe. Similarly, France and England should agree to give support to the Soviet Union in case the Soviet Union should become involved in war due to assistance to France and England. The British reply to this proposal had not yet been received; but the French Government on its own behalf had made this proposal to the Soviet Ambassador in Paris.

We discussed the relations of Poland and Rumania and Léger said that he was inclined to believe that Gafencu’s position was as stated to me last night by Raczynski, Polish Ambassador in London. (See my 816, April 25, 9 a.m.)65

  1. Given by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on behalf of both the United Kingdom and France in the House of Commons on April 13, 1939; United Kingdom, Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 1938–39, 5th series, vol. 346, p. 13. Also simultaneously in the House of Lords by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord Halifax; ibid., House of Lords, 1938–39, 5th series, vol. 112, p. 612.
  2. Ante, p. 174.