No. 4 NAI DFA 219/7
Geneva, 2 September 1939
With reference to previous minutes regarding the general situation, and especially to my minute of the 31st August,1 I have to state that shortly after the despatch of my telegram yesterday morning rumours that the Germans had crossed the Polish frontiers at 5.45 a.m. began to circulate and some time later it was confirmed that the expected emergency had actually arisen. The 8.30 a.m. wireless news give no indication that hostilities had begun. General mobilisation in Switzerland was proclaimed to take effect from today.
Public opinion remains calm, but it is certainly shocked at the outcome of the negotiations, and at the manner of the aggression. To-day 'La Suisse' has a large heading
'Rome propose un règlement européen – la France accepte', with a despatch from Havas agency as follows: 'Paris 1er (Havas) – Le Gouvrnement français a été saisi, ainsi que plusieurs autres gouvernements d'une initiative italieene tendant à assurer le règlement des difficultés européennes. Après en avoir délibéré, le gouvernement français a donné une réponse positive'.
A news item in these terms was also given in the Radio-Paris wireless news at
8.30 a.m. There is much speculation as to what if anything this vague announcement means. The reference in the 'Temps' of Paris shows blanks indicating that it had been censored.
Most people now are satisfied that a European war has practically begun, but even now I hear many hopes that it may not even yet be too late for some settlement. Certainly, the continuance of efforts for a just settlement would be approved. Germany probably hopes to have achieved, militarily, something decisive before the States allied to Poland get going, and that those States may then be prepared to listen to German claims, rather than take part in a general war. Most people however seem to think in terms of a fight to a finish as being the only possible, and probable, solution, as in the war of 1914-18, in Spain, etc. Nevertheless, occasions may present themselves in the course of hostilities in which the Germans may be more disposed than they are at present to listen to reason. Any efforts by peacemakers to take advantage of such occasions would I imagine be generally approved here.
[signed] F.T. Cremins
The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.
The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
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