167 Sir Thomas Inskip, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Circular Cablegram B298 LONDON, 30 August 1939, 2.25 a.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

My telegram Circular B.295 of August 29th. [1]

Following for Prime Minister.

1. Summary of Hitler's written reply is as follows [2]:-

2. In reply to the two British proposals, namely initiation of German Polish direct discussions and international guarantee of any settlement the German Government declares:

(a) that in spite of its scepticism as to the prospect of their success it accepts direct negotiation solely out of desire to ensure lasting friendship with the British.

(b) that in case of modification of territory the German Government cannot undertake to participate in any guarantee without consulting the U.S.S.R.

3. Note observes that German proposals have never had for their object the diminution of Polish vital interests and declares that the German Government accepts the mediation of Great Britain with a view to visit to Berlin of some Polish plenipotentiary. The German Government, note adds, counts on the arrival of such plenipotentiary on Wednesday 30th August.

4. His Majesty's Ambassador [3] remarked that this phrase sounded like an ultimatum but after some heated remarks both Hitler and Ribbentrop [4] assured him that it was only intended to stress the urgency of the moment when the two fully mobilized armies were standing face to face.

5. The Ambassador said that he would transmit his suggestion immediately to His Majesty's Government and asked whether; if such Polish plenipotentiary did come, it could be assumed that he would be well received and that the German discussions would be conducted on a footing of complete equality. Herr Hitler's reply was 'of course':

6. German demands are declared to be revision of Versailles Treaty; namely, return of Danzig and the Corridor to Germany, and the security for the lives of German National minorities in the rest of Poland.

7. Note concludes with statement that the German Government will immediately elaborate the proposals for an acceptable solution and inform the British Government if possible before the arrival of the Polish plenipotentiary.

1 Document 163.

2 For the full text see Document 169.

3 Sir Nevile Henderson.

4 Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister.

[AA: A981, GERMANY 83B, iii]