740.0011 European War, 1939/1: Telegram

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

1698. Bonnet8 has just stated to me that orders for French general mobilization will be given today. The Chamber of Deputies will meet tomorrow afternoon at 3 o’clock to declare war. Bonnet added that the British House of Commons will meet this afternoon at 6 o’clock for the same purpose.

Bonnet said, “It is war and all that we can do now is to be prudent and not bring in against us more enemies than necessary.” He said that for his part he considered it wildly insane for any Frenchman to talk about attacking Italy because of the fear that after German armies should have overwhelmed Poland and should have been returned [Page 404] to the French frontier to attack France, Italy would join with Germany in attacking France.

He said that he had stated flatly to Daladier that he would resign at once if he should not be permitted to do everything humanly possible to maintain the position of neutrality which Italy had assumed.

He stated that he had the unanimous approval of the Council of Ministers for this policy.

As to war with Germany, Bonnet said that France had no choice: a ruthless and unprovoked attack had been launched by Germany on France’s ally Poland; France must honor her obligations.

The Government has just announced the decision taken at this morning’s Council of Ministers ordering general mobilization of all of France’s land, sea and air forces and declaring a state of siege throughout France and Algeria.

  1. Georges Bonnet, French Minister for Foreign Affairs.