760C.62/949: Telegram

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

1560. The British Chargé d’Affaires in Paris has just called on me and informed me in the utmost confidence that the message from Chamberlain34 which Henderson, British Ambassador in Berlin, delivered to Hitler today was in the following sense:35

Chamberlain expresses the hope that Hitler was under no illusions as to the attitude the British Government would take in case Germany should attack Poland. Great Britain would make war at once in support of Poland. He continued to hope, however, that such a catastrophe as general European war could be averted and if the German Government and the Polish Government should desire to have a direct discussion of the subjects in dispute between them the British Government would be glad to attempt to create the atmosphere necessary to make such discussions possible.

The British Chargé d’Affaires added that he had delivered a copy of this message to Daladier and a copy to Bonnet36 and that both had said that they considered it a good move.

He asked me what I thought of it and I replied that it sounded to me like the preparation for a new Munich but that it was extremely difficult for me to express any opinions since I had not seen the text of the message and that everything depended on the exact words used and the spirit behind them.

The British Minister said that he was certain that the statement with regard to Great Britain’s intentions to support Poland was so strong that the message could not be considered as a preparation for a new “appeasement” in the Munich manner. He added that he had not yet received any information from Henderson as to the reception he had received from Hitler.

He asked me what steps if any the President of the United States might be about to take to prevent the outbreak of war and I replied that I had no information on this subject.

On the subject of the German-Russian agreement the British Minister said that Molotov37 had received the British Ambassador in Moscow yesterday and had talked to him in the most insulting manner. Molotov had said that it has been obvious to the Soviet Government that Great Britain had been completely insincere throughout its negotiations with the Soviet Government and had not desired [Page 355] to reach an agreement. Since this was clear the British Government should have no objection to the Soviet Government concluding a nonaggression pact with Germany.

Molotov had, however, indicated that he hoped the military missions would remain in Moscow and that pressure would be brought to bear on Poland to permit the passage of Soviet troops.

The British Minister said that the British Government agreed with the French Government that it was desirable to leave the military missions in Moscow for the present.

Bullitt
  1. Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister.
  2. Letter of August 22, 1939, British Cmd. 6106, Misc. No. 9 (1939), doc. No. 56, p. 96.
  3. Georges Bonnet, French Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  4. V. M. Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.