740.0011 European War, 1939/63: Telegram

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

1744. After the vote of the war credits by the Chamber of Deputies this afternoon the Polish Ambassador called on Bonnet and asked if now that constitutional requirements were satisfied the French Government intended to order the French Ambassador in Berlin to demand an immediate reply to his démarche of yesterday.

Bonnet replied that such a question would have to be taken up at a Cabinet meeting, that there might be a Cabinet meeting tonight or there might be one tomorrow; that after the Cabinet meeting an ultimatum of 48 hours probably would be sent to Germany.

The Polish Ambassador thereupon lost his temper and told Bonnet exactly what he thought of him and insisted on an immediate ultimatum to Germany pointing out that every hour that France delayed attacking Germany meant further unimpeded attacks of the German air force on Polish civilian populations and the deaths of thousands of Polish men, women and children.24

The Polish Ambassador in Paris has been unable to see Daladier again and the Polish Ambassador in London has been unable to see Chamberlain. It is the belief of both Ambassadors that Daladier and Chamberlain still hope that a new Italian proposal may halt the German attack against Poland and that Poland may in the end have to fight alone since Poland will not stop fighting so long as the foot of a German soldier is on Polish soil.

I consider this an exaggerated and rather hysterical view of the present situation. It seems to me that both Daladier and Chamberlain are anxious not to declare war until another Italian proposal shall have been made but I do not believe that public opinion in either country would permit them to agree to discuss it until German armies had left Polish soil and I think their own views are those of public opinion.

Daladier already has called a Cabinet meeting which is now in session. The French naturally are anxious to complete their general mobilization before attacking Germany and they are also anxious to evacuate all women and children from Paris and other cities since they have no confidence in Hitler’s promise not to bombard civilian populations.

  1. See pp. 541 ff.