No. 104: Explanatory Note Upon the Actual Course of Events

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1 Sep 1939

ww2dbaseTHE reply to the German Government of 28th August was, before its delivery, communicated to the French and Polish Governments. The Polish Government authorised His Majesty's Government to inform the German Government that Poland was ready at once to enter into direct discussions with Germany.

It will be seen that paragraph 4 of the British reply of 28th August made plain the attitude of the Polish Government on this point.

The British reply was handed to Herr Hitler at 10:30 p. m. on 28th August, and he promised to give a written reply the following day.

The German reply in writing was handed to His Majesty's Ambassador at 7:15 p. m. on 28th August. Apart from the complete distortion of events leading up to the crisis, the German Government's reply demanded the arrival in Berlin of a Polish emissary with full powers during the course of the following day.

The reply of the British Government is self-explanatory. It was communicated by His Majesty's Ambassador to the German Minister for Foreign Affairs at midnight on 30th August. Herr von Ribbentrop's reply was to produce a long document which he read out rapidly in German. It was apparently the sixteen-point plan which the German Government have since published. When Sir N. Henderson asked for the text of these proposals in accordance with the undertaking in the German reply of 28th August Herr von Ribbentrop asserted that it was now too late as the Polish plenipotentiary had not arrived in Berlin by midnight, as had been demanded by the German Government in their communication of the previous evening.

The Polish Government on learning of these developments informed His Majesty's Government during the afternoon of 31st August that they would authorise their Ambassador to inform the German Government that Poland had accepted the British proposals for negotiations.

The Polish Ambassador in Berlin (M. Lipski) was not received by Herr von Ribbentrop until the evening of 31st August. After this interview the German Government broadcast their proposals forthwith. M. Lipski at once tried to establish contact with Warsaw but was unable to do so because all means of communication between Poland and Germany had been closed by the German Government. ww2dbase

The British War Bluebook; courtesy of Yale Law School Avalon Project

Added By:
C. Peter Chen

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