Sunday, August 28, 2016
ADSS 1.185 Valeri to Maglione: France has declared war on Germany
ADSS 1.185 Valerio Valeri, France, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State
Reference: Report 9021/39, (AES 6345/39)
Location and date: Paris, 04.09.1939
Summary statement: France has declared war on Germany.
I send herewith to Your Eminence two notes of this country’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In the first (1) as Your Eminence will see, the Government gives information about the state of war which now exists between France and Germany from 17.00hrs yesterday evening. In the second note French and British Governments affirm the principles to which they intend to conform in carrying on the war, especially by air. (2)
The speech which the Prime Minister, M. Daladier, made in Parliament Saturday evening at 15.00hrs had left some hopes, so much so that the Polish Ambassador who was present became very nervous and said to a colleague that he would go to M. Daladier to lodge a protest because: “I came to Parliament to listen to a declaration of war, not to hesitations” – a feeling which was understandable when one considers the present plight of Poland. (3)
It has therefore been the final refusal of the German Government to withdraw its soldiers from Polish territory that has pushed the two allied Governments to take the last step.
May the mercy of God shorten this trial for the good of the Church and all humanity!
(1) These notes were not found in the AES files. ADSS 1.184 is most likely very similar.
(2) Also missing in the AES files. On Allied commitment to the conduct of hostilities See DGFP, Series 3, Volume 7, n564.
(3) See DBFP, op. cit, n721. There was still some hope on the part of British and French diplomats that a political solution might still be possible. Some believed that once Hitler had taken the Corridor and Danzig he would halt the invasion and attempt to negotiate an armistice. “Was it possible to suppose that he was seeking to gain time while his troops advanced into Polish territory, with the intention that, when they have penetrated sufficiently far, he would confront us with a new offer? That might be on the lines that he had now achieved his object in Danzig and the Corridor and had come to the rescue of his oppressed minority, but that he had no desire to crush Poland and was even now quite prepared to negotiate a settlement on the basis of his 16 points”. (n713)