740.0011 European War, 1939/51: Telegram

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

1726. Reference my rush 1720, September 2, 11 a.m. This morning at 10 o’clock the Polish Ambassador called on Bonnet and stated to him that Germany had attacked Poland yesterday, that the Polish Army was engaged in resisting the aggression and that the French alliance with Poland23 obliged France to give immediate and automatic military assistance to Poland. He then asked Bonnet when this assistance would be given and specifically when the French Ambassador in Berlin would be instructed to demand of the German Government in ultimatum form an answer to his démarche of yesterday.

Bonnet replied that there could be no question of putting the matter in ultimatum form until after the meeting of the Chamber of Deputies this afternoon and that he thought that then the German Government would be given 48 hours in which to reply.

The Polish Ambassador answered that the French engagement to support Poland with military force was automatic, that this should not be a question of a further delay of 48 hours with all its consequences but should be a matter of a half hour. Bonnet replied that he was in consultation with the British Government and that he could do nothing until after the meeting of the Chamber of Deputies this afternoon.

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The Polish Ambassador then immediately wrote a note to Daladier which he took personally to Daladier’s office at 12:15 and handed personally to Daladier.

I have read the note. It cites the conversation that the Polish Ambassador had with Bonnet this morning and then goes on to say that Polish troops are engaged in defending the soil of Poland, that France’s obligation to support Poland is unneutral [automatic?] and expresses the complete confidence of the Polish Government that the French Government will honor this obligation at once.

Daladier read the note and replied that he had no information whatsoever, that Bonnet was engaged in delaying the presentation of an ultimatum to Germany. He had merely been informed last night that the question was under discussion with the British and would be decided immediately.

The Polish Ambassador informed him that last night the British Government had informed the French Government that it believed the British and French Ambassadors in Berlin should demand an immediate reply to their démarches and that Bonnet had promised an answer to the British but had not yet given one. The Polish Ambassador stated further that from the Polish Ambassador in London he had received the information that the British Government was intensely disturbed by the delays of the French Government.

Daladier replied that “It is clear that in spite of all reverence for warnings that box (meaning the Quai d’Orsay) has not yet learned its duty”. He then said to the Polish Ambassador that he would send for Bonnet at once and would take the direction of foreign affairs into his own hands.

The Polish Ambassador then went on to say that he had already communicated to the Polish Government what Bonnet had said to him this morning. He trusted that Daladier would not leave the Polish Government any longer in doubt as to the real intentions of France. Daladier replied that he thought an end should be made of delays, and slippery conversations and that action should be taken immediately.

The Polish Ambassador was completely satisfied by these words but not altogether reassured by the manner in which they were pronounced. My own opinion is that Daladier will take action.

It has been impossible for either the Polish Embassy in Paris, the French Government or this Mission to establish contact with Warsaw today.

  1. Treaty of Locarno, signed October 16, 1925, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. liv, p. 353.