740.0011 European War, 1939/23: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Kennedy) to the Secretary of State

1368. My 1358, September 1, 5 p.m. Henderson delivered the note to Ribbentrop at 9:40. Ribbentrop said that he would transmit it to the head of the state and Henderson answered that he knew this must be so, but that he would gladly hold himself continually in readiness to see Herr Hitler or the Minister for Foreign Affairs at any hour. Ribbentrop remarked it was not Germany but Poland who had made aggression and that if Great Britain had been equally as assiduous with Poland as she had been with Germany, the difficulties would have been settled long ago. Henderson reports that an identic oral reply was given to the French Ambassador on delivery of the French note.18

Foreign Office reports from official sources bear out the view expressed by the War Office (my number 1366, September 1, 11 p.m.19) that reports of bombing of Polish towns have been exaggerated.

Lord Halifax was in consultation with the Prime Minister at 11:30 o’clock and decision as to despatch of the second note referred to in my telegram 1365, September 1, 8 p.m. is still suspended. There is no indication whether Hitler will reply to the note delivered this evening to Ribbentrop and if so when.

  1. See the French Yellow Book, Diplomatic Documents (1938–1939), Papers relative to the events and negotiations which preceded the opening of hostilities between Germany on the one hand, and Poland, Great Britain and France on the other (New York, Reynal & Hitchcock), doc. No. 344, p. 376
  2. Not printed; it reported German mobilization, bombings and troop movements, and Polish and British mobilization (740.0011 European War, 1939/22).