Cabinet decisions on foreign policy
The British Experience, October 1938–June 1941
By Christopher Hill
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 1991
Online Publication Date:February 2010
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511628658.012
Last week, in speaking of the announcement about the Russo-German pact, I observed that it contained a suggestion that some peace proposals were likely to be put forward, and I said that, if such proved to be the case, we should examine them in consultation with the Governments of the Dominions and of the French Republic in the light of certain relevant considerations. Since then, the German Chancellor has made his speech, and the consultations I referred to have taken place. I must now state the position of His Majesty's Government. Before, however, I inform the House of the results of our examination of the speech, I must ask hon. Members to recall for a few moments the background against which his proposals appear.
At the end of August His Majesty's Government were actively engaged in correspondence with the German Government on the subject of Poland. It was evident that the situation was dangerous, but we believed that it should be possible to arrive at a peaceful solution if passions were not deliberately stimulated and we felt quite certain that the German Government could, if they desired, influence their friends in Danzig in such away as to bring about a relaxation of tension and so create conditions favourable to calm and sober negotiation. It will be remembered that in the course of this correspondence the German Chancellor expressed his wish for improved relations between our two countries as soon as the Polish question was settled, to which His Majesty's Government replied that they fully shared the wish, but that everything turned on the nature and method of settlement with Poland.
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