860F.00/626: Telegram

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

480. I called on Bonnet69 this evening to ask for information with regard to the situation in Slovakia. He read to me a telegram which [Page 39] he had just received from Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin. Coulondre said that he had called on Weiszäcker70 today. Weiszäcker had said that there were 12 to 14 German divisions on the Czech frontier. The German Government considered the Government of M. Tiso the only legal government of Slovakia and had warned the Czechoslovak Government not to interfere with its operations. No ultimatum had yet been sent to the Czechoslovak Government.

The British Chargé d’Affaires in Berlin also saw Weiszäcker today and his impression was that the Germans did not intend to march into the territories controlled by the Czechoslovak Government.

On the other hand, the French Minister in Praha had telegraphed that both he and the Government in Praha believed that a German attack on the Czechoslovak Army was imminent. The Germans desired to destroy all power of resistance of the Czechoslovaks and for this purpose desired to destroy completely the Czechoslovak Army.

Bonnet said that he personally did not believe that Germany would go this far at once.

While I was with Bonnet he telephoned to Daladier71 and consulted him with regard to the course that France should pursue, giving him the information recorded above.

Daladier and Bonnet decided that Bonnet should send immediately an instruction to Coulondre in Berlin ordering him to go at once to the German Foreign Office and to state that present German actions were in entire disaccord with the Munich agreements and that the French Government would regard most seriously any entry of German troops into the territories now controlled by the Czechoslovak Government. Coulondre was given discretion as to the wording of his remarks even to the point of being authorized to make them in the form of asking for information.

Bonnet said that the British Government had been in contact with him this afternoon and that the British simply did not know what to do.

I asked Bonnet what action would be taken by the French Government if in spite of Coulondre’s démarche German troops should enter Czech territories. He said he had no idea, which is quite true.

  1. Georges Bonnet, French Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Baron Ernst von Weiszäcker, State Secretary in the German Foreign Office.
  3. Édouard Daladier, President of the French Council of Ministers.