Robert Coulondre

French diplomat (1885–1959)

Robert Coulondre (11 September 1885 – 6 March 1959) was a French diplomat who served as the ambassador to the Soviet Union (1936-1938) and the ambassador to Germany (1938-1939) before World War II.


  • My colleague had two interviews with the Chancellor yesterday, one in the morning lasting about three-quarters of an hour, when he handed over the message from Mr. Chamberlain, the other in the afternoon lasting about half an hour.
    Sir Nevile made every effort to convince Herr Hitler that England would fight at Poland's side. He firmly believes, so he told me, that he had succeeded.
    For his part, the Chancellor spoke of almost nothing but the treatment of the German minorities in Poland. Should hostilities break out, the blame, he said, would be Britain's, and, recalling that he had made reasonable proposals last April, he alleged that the British guarantee had encouraged the Poles to ill-treat the German minorities and had stiffened the Warsaw Government in its uncompromising attitude; in his view, the limit had now been reached, and if, in Sir Nevile's own words, any fresh incidents were to take place against a German in Poland, "he would march."
    My colleague had asked Herr Hitler, should the latter have nothing further to say to him, to have his reply delivered to him at Salzburg. Herr Hitler had sent for him, and that was the only favourable sign that the British Ambassador had gathered from his visit.
    During the second interview, the Chancellor again emphasized strongly the necessity for putting an end to the ill-treatment which, according to him, was being meted out to the German minorities in Poland.
    Sir Nevile Henderson, while doubting whether there is still any hope of avoiding the worst, considers that the only chance of, at least, delaying matters lies in the immediate establishment of contact between Warsaw and Berlin.
    He has, therefore, suggested to his Government that it should advise M. Beck to seek contact with the Chancellor without delay.
    My colleague thinks that Herr Hitler is waiting for the return of Herr von Ribbentrop to take his final decision, and that therefore only a few hours remains for this final attempt.
    Herr Hitler is adopting precisely the same attitude toward Poland as he did towards Czechoslovakia in the last days of September.
  • In the course of an interview with Sir Nevile Henderson today, Herr Hitler made the following statement to my colleague, the substance of which I report herewith as I had it from the latter.
    "I am prepared," said the Chancellor, "to make one more attempt to re-establish good relations between our countries and to preserve peace. I am willing to consider, within certain limits, a disarmament programme. I still want colonies, but I can wait, three, four or even five years; in any case, this will not be grounds for a war. Moreover, it need not be a question of the former German colonies. The important thing for me is to find fats and timber."
    My British colleague replied that to pass on these proposals with any hope of their being useful, he would have to be convinced that Germany would not attack Poland.
    Herr Hitler replied: "It is impossible for me to give any such undertaking; I prefer that you should not pass on my proposals."
    The British Ambassador has the impression, nevertheless, that hostilities will not break out during the 48 hours that his mission will take, for he is secretly leaving for London to-morrow morning by air. I asked my colleague if Herr Hitler had not referred to Poland. He answered that the Chancellor had repeated his claims of last April, namely, the return of Danzig, and access to the Free City across the Corridor.
    • 25 August 1939 call to Bonnet
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