Sunday, August 28, 2016

ADSS 1.184 Charles-Roux to Secretariat of State: France has declared war on Germany

ADSS 1.184 French Ambassador to the Secretariat of State

Reference: AES 6060/39

Location and date: 03.09.1939

Summary statement: Formalities of the French declaration of war against Germany.

Language: French


On 1 September at 10.00hrs, the French Ambassador in Berlin (1), in conjunction with his British colleague, made a formal approach to the Reich Foreign Minister with a declaration in the name of the French Government that, unless the German Government was prepared to give the French Government an assurance of the suspension of all aggressive action against Poland and prompt withdrawal of its forces from Polish territory the Government of the Republic of France would without any hesitation implement its engagements on behalf of Poland.

At midday today, 3 September, M. Coulondre called on M. von Ribbentrop to find out response of the Reich Government to the ultimatum.

M. von Ribbentrop replied that it was being refused.

M. Coulondre, having once more made clear to the other, the extent of German responsibility in making war with no declaration thereof against Poland and by its negative response to the French and British demands for suspension of all aggression and withdrawal of troops concluded by saying that as of 17.00hrs on 3 September, France had no option but to fulfil her obligations toward Poland which were well known to the German Government.  A state of war thus exists between France and Germany as from 17.00hrs on 3 September.

(1) Fran├žois Charles-Roux (1879-1961), French Ambassador to the Holy See 1932-40.

(2) Robert Coulondre (1885-1959), French Ambassador to Germany 1936-39.

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