6 Dec. 45

stressed that the difference ought to be settled by agreement. The British Government put forward the view that Danzig should be guaranteed and, indeed, any agreement come to should be guaranteed by other powers, which, of course, in any event would have been quite unacceptable to the German Reich.

As I say, one really need not consider what would have been acceptable and not acceptable because once it had been made clear — as indeed it was in that British Government's reply of the 28th of August — that England would not be put off assisting Poland in the event of German aggression, the German Government really had no concern with further negotiation but were concerned only to afford themselves some kind of justification and to prevent themselves appearing too blatantly to turn down all the appeals to reason that were being put forward.

On the 29th of August, in the evening at 7:15, Hitler handed to Sir Nevile Henderson the German Government's answer to the British Government's reply of the 28th. And here again in this document it is quite clear that the whole object of it was to put forward something which was quite unacceptable. He agrees to enter into direct conversations as suggested by the British Government, but he demands that those conversations must be based upon the return of Danzig to the Reich and also of the whole of the Corridor.

It will be remembered that hitherto, even when he alleged that Poland had renounced the 1934 agreement, even then he had put forward as his demands the return of Danzig alone and the arrangement for an extra-territorial Autobahn and railroad running through the Corridor to East Prussia. That was unacceptable then. To make quite certain, he now demands the whole of the Corridor; no question of an Autobahn or railway. The whole thing must become German.

Even so, even to make doubly certain that the offer would not be accepted, he says:

". . . on those terms I am prepared to enter into discussion; but to do so, as the matter is urgent, I expect a plenipotentiary with full powers from the Polish Government to be here in Berlin by Wednesday, the 30th of August 1939."
This offer was made at 7:15 p.m. on the evening of the 29th. That offer had to be transmitted first to London, and from London to Warsaw; and from Warsaw the Polish Government had to give authority to their Ambassador in Berlin. So that the timing made it quite impossible to get authority to their Ambassador in Berlin by midnight the following night. It allowed them no kind of opportunity for discussing the matters at all. As Sir Nevile Henderson described it, the offer amounted to an ultimatum.