By J.P. Kellett & J. Davies

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The minutes then record that the Prime Minister suggested an alternative draft, which was discussed 'in considerable detail, and various alterations were from time to time suggested'. It is here that we come up against the intrinsic limitations of the Cabinet documents as source material, with their frequent use of the passive tense and their unpredictable lacunae. There is no hard evidence for the degree of influence exerted by the Cabinet as a whole during the discussion of the final form of the declaration.

54 Chamberlain was also concerned above all for the Poles. He said that if Poland's reply to the suggested four-power declaration was 'as was to be expected ... negative or evasive, the intention would not be to press them any further, but to try the new procedure now proposed'. 55 There was no examination, or even exposition, of why Roumania and Poland were of such overriding importance that the normal methods of diplomatic pressure could not be applied to 'press' them to adhere to the same declaration as the Soviet Union - even if, ultimately, the conclusion reached might have been the same.

Instead he replied that the declaration would be followed (in other words, not replaced) by a general exchange of views, and possibly by some specific arrangements 'with certain countries who appeared to be more directly in the road of German advance and who were already organised in some treaty arrangements'. This clearly pointed to Poland, but the impression given by Cadogan was that of the construction of special mottes following on from the completion of a general bailey, and not, as actually happened, the total exclusion of the Soviet Union from the important stages in anti-German diplomacy.

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A History of the RAF Servicing Commandos by J.P. Kellett & J. Davies


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