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Conference of the Commander in Chief, Navy with the Führer on 7 September 1939.

On 7 September the Commander in Chief, Navy, had a conference with the Führer on the following problems:

1. In view of the political and military restraint shown by France and the still hesitant conduct of British warfare, the Panzerschiffe should for the time being withdraw from their operational areas. Furthermore, it seems that British trade is being stopped and British naval forces are being sent on planned attacks against German merchant raiders. The risk is thus out of proportion with the chances for success.

2. In view of the political situation, the waiting attitude of France, the generally impartial attitude of the neutral countries, and the fact that the United States, at least outwardly, claims strictest neutrality, the following restrictions should be observed in submarine warfare:

    a. No offensive action should be taken against the French.
    b. Passenger ships should be spared even in convoys.
    c. A part of the submarines should be withdrawn from operations at present to be available later as relief.
3. The views of the Commander in Chief, Navy, on the political situation:
    a. Great Britain is unable to draw France into the war unconditionally.
    b. France fails to see any war aim and is therefore trying to stay out of the war.
    c. After the collapse of Poland, which can be expected soon, it is possible that France and perhaps afterwards Great Britain might be ready to accept to a certain extent the situation which has been created in the East.
    d. Therefore an attack should not be forced and out strength should be saved for the time being.
The Führer agrees with the views and measures of the Commander in Chief, Navy, and makes the following decisions in addition:
    a. No attempt shall be made to solve the ATHENIA affair until the submarines return home.
    b. Submarines in the Atlantic are to spare passenger ships and French ships.
    c. The GRAF SPEE and the DEUTSCHLAND are to hold back and to withdraw for the present.
General policy: exercise restraint until the political situation in the West has become clearer, which will take about a week.


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