President of the Danzig Senate to the Polish Commissioner-General, June 3, 1939

Polish Customs Inspectors



Sir H. Kennard (Warsaw) to Viscount Halifax (telegram), June 11, 1939

Summary of reply to No. 26



Sir H. Kennard (Warsaw) to Viscount Halifax (telegram), June 27, 1939

Freicorps at Danzig; Customs disputes;Polish views on German plans



Mr. G. Shepherd (Danzig) to Viscount Halifax (telegram), June 28, 1939

Details of German military preparations at Danzig



Viscount Halifax to Sir H. Kennard (Warsaw) (telegram), June 30, 1939

Instructions to sound the Polish Government regarding developments at Danzig



Mr. G. Shepherd (Danzig) to Viscount Halifax (telegram), June 30, 1939

Further German military preparations at Danzig



Mr. Norton (Warsaw) to Viscount Halifax (telegram), July 1, 1939

Polish views in reply to No. 30



Mr. G. Shepherd (Danzig) to Viscount Halifax (telegram), July 1, 1939

German military preparations at Danzig and Königsberg



Mr. Norton (Warsaw) to Viscount Halifax (telegram), July 3, 1939

Views on Polish attitude towards a German coup at Danzig



Prime Minister, July 10, 1939

Statement in the House of Commons



Sir N. Henderson (Berlin) to Viscount Halifax , July 15, 1939

Interview with German State Secretary



No. 26.

Note from the President of the Danzig Senate to the Polish Commissioner-General of June 3, 1939, about the question of Polish Customs Inspectors.


Mr. Minister,

SEVERAL months ago I had the honour to draw your attention to the fact that the ever-increasing number of Polish Customs Inspectors was not compatible with the execution of their prescribed duties. Since the latest additions there are now well over 100 Polish Customs Inspectors in Danzig territory. Their behaviour, both in their official and their private life, has given rise to increasing complaint. The Danzig population, like the German


population, in their local frontier intercourse feel themselves constantly offended by the way in which the Polish Customs officials perform their duty and by their behaviour in private life.

I have no fear that incidents on the part of the population might arise on that account. Still less is the safety of the Polish officials in any way endangered. I have therefore taken steps to ensure that they may, as hitherto, perform their duties absolutely safely and without hindrance. I believe, however, that ways and means must be found to eliminate the constant friction and tension.

For all these reasons I consider it necessary forthwith to restrict the activity of the Polish Customs Inspectors to a general supervision in conformity with the agreement. In particular, I must urge that their official activities be confined to the offices, and not performed outside of them. I can also no longer permit the Danzig Customs officials to take instructions, even in the form of suggestions, from the Polish Customs officials. I will, however, see that questions addressed to officials will be answered officially.

I have directed the President of the Customs Administration of the Free City to instruct his officials accordingly. I have the honour, Mr. Minister, to request you to inform your Government accordingly and to exert your influence towards meeting the wishes of the Danzig Government.

I avail myself of this opportunity to revert to our conversation of the 8th February last. At that time I explained to you, Mr. Minister, that I would give instructions to abstain for the present from swearing in the customs officials, and that, should the occasion arise, I would communicate with you before administering the oath.

I have the honour to inform you, with reference to the contents of my letter of the 3rd January last (pages 2 and 3), that I have now left it to the discretion of the Finance Department of the Senate to administer the oath to the customs officials if they regard it as desirable.

I have, &c.



No. 27.

Sir H. Kennard to Viscount Halifax.

(Telegraphic.) Warsaw, June 11, 1939.

FOLLOWING is full summary of note, as published here, addressed on 10th June by Polish Commissioner-General to President of Danzig Senate in reply to latter's note of 3rd June*:-

2. President of Senate's complaint of behaviour of Polish Customs Inspectors on and off duty is not supported by any proofs and must be regarded as unfounded. On the other hand, behaviour of certain Danzig elements, including Customs officials, has been highly provocative, as Commissioner-General has frequently pointed out orally and in writing. Polish Inspectors have reacted with dignity and moderation and refused to be provoked. The Polish Government still expect Senate to take measures to secure personal safety of Polish Customs Inspectors to allow free execution of their duty, with reference to Point 3 of Polish-Danzig Agreement of 1922, which lays down that Polish officials in Danzig should receive the same treatment as corresponding Danzig officials.

3. As regards alleged excessive number of Polish Customs officials, Polish Government, on the contrary, consider it at present rather insufficient. This can be shown by present state of affairs as regards handling of goods in Danzig harbour and passenger traffic between Danzig and Poland, and is partly due to obstruction encountered by officials in execution of their duty.

4. Polish Government, moreover, cannot agree to any restriction of activity of Polish Inspectors as forecast in note of Danzig Senate. Present treaty arrangements would not permit of Inspectors merely exercising general supervision within customs offices, a restriction which would be contrary to Sections 1 and 4 of Article 204 of the Warsaw Treaty of the 24th October, 1921. In this connexion Polish note also quotes Article 10 of Polish-Danzig Customs Agreement of the 6th August, 1934, which lays down that Danzig officials shall conform to instructions of Polish Customs Inspectors in connexion with manifest cases of smuggling.

* No. 26


5. Polish Government must regard Senate as fully responsible for any disputes which may arise in this last connexion, and must regard as illegal and contrary to treaty obligations any attempts by Danzig Customs authorities arbitrarily to restrict Polish rights of control. Instructions given to Danzig Customs officials as described in Senate's note must be regarded as a violation of the principle of collaboration between Danzig Customs Administration and Polish Inspectors. Latter have been instructed to continue exercising their functioning within the same limits-which are in conformity with treaty situation-as in the past twenty years, and hope is expressed that they will not meet with obstruction from Danzig authorities.

6. As regards question of swearing-in Customs officials, Polish note refers to written communications of Senate on this subject and to Commissioner-General's interviews with President. Should Senate not take account of fully justified demands of Polish Government, and should they proceed to swearing-in of officials in spite of assurance by President of Senate that this would not take place except after consultation with Commissioner-General, Polish Government will have to consider question of strengthening customs control, since Danzig Customs officials will in future be giving a less binding guarantee of their respect for, and proper execution of, Polish Customs regulations.

7. Essence of whole question is that territory of Free City is part of Polish Customs Territory, both legally and in virtue of treaty obligations. Authorities must therefore be assured of thorough-going execution of their Polish customs policy and regulations on external frontier of their Customs territory. Hence any measures by Danzig authorities which threaten to obstruct, if only in part, the functioning of the Polish Customs system can only provoke reaction by Polish Government in the form of measures designed fully to protect Poland's rightful interest.

8. Polish Government desire, as before, to regulate all vital questions concerning Free City of Danzig in agreement with Danzig Senate. In the situation recently created, however, they consider it their duty to warn the Senate that any shortcomings or obstructions in functioning of Polish Customs system and administration must react unfavourably on the economic inter-


ests of Danzig and its population, a consequence which Polish Government desire to avoid.

No. 28.

Sir H. Kennard to Viscount Halifax.

(Telegraphic.) Warsaw, June 27, 1939.

I ASKED the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs this morning what information he had regarding the constitution of the Freicorps at Danzig. He told me that according to Polish information a corps of 4,000 was being formed of whom 2,000 would be quartered at barracks in Danzig itself and 2,000 in new buildings which were being constructed at Praust.

2. As regards the general situation in Danzig it was perhaps a little better. There had been some fifty cases of Danzig officials refusing to carry out the instructions of the Polish Customs Inspectors during the past fortnight, but during the past few days there had been no cases of this kind. This may be due to the fact that the arms for the Freicorps were being surreptitiously introduced into the Free City from East Prussia during the past fortnight and that presumably now that the arms were in Danzig there is less occasion for contravention of the Polish Customs regulations.

3. M. Arciszewski did not think that Germany would go to the length of risking a general war in connexion with Danzig, but felt that she would gradually strengthen her position there, weaken any authority that Poland might still have there and hope that Poland would finally be reduced to such a state of economic exhaustion that she would have to accept some solution as regards Danzig which would be favourable to Germany. Further, Germany would in the meantime, no doubt, assiduously propagate the idea that Great Britain and France would not implement their guarantee as regards Danzig and thereby endeavour still further to undermine Polish morale.


No. 29.

Mr. G. Shepherd to Viscount Halifax.

(Telegraphic.) Danzig, June 28, 1939.

IN contrast to calm in Warsaw, the last week has been increasingly eventful here.

2. For the past fortnight the S.A. men have been nightly preparing defences around the Free City, and on the night of 26th-27th June were ordered to stand by for a possible emergency, perhaps in connexion with celebration in Gdynia of Polish Feast of the Seas or because Polish frontier on Danzig-Gdynia road was closed to traffic from midnight on 26th-27th June until 4 P.M. on 27th June, presumably in connexion with completion of anti-tank defences.

3. The approaches for a pontoon bridge are in active construction on both sides of the Vistula.

4. On 23rd June Danzig members of German Automobile Club received an urgent request to complete and return a questionnaire regarding their cars.

5. All Danzig owners of motor lorries, trucks, &c., were recently ordered to leave them over-night at military police barracks for inspection after which each vehicle was numbered and returned to its owner.

6. To-day several hundred draught and saddle horses have been similarly ordered to barracks nominally for inspection, but as some of them have come from distant parts of the Free City, it seems possible that they may be retained, especially as carloads of saddles have also been delivered there.

7. Formation of Freicorps is proceeding rapidly.

8. In addition to unusually heavily advertised programme of week-end events, nearly 1,000 S.S. men from East Prussia and a number of high S.S. officers from Germany arrived here almost unannounced on 25th June ostensibly for sporting contests with local S.S.

9. Dr. Boettcher was absent from Danzig and presumably in Berlin on 26th June and 27th June.

10. In a speech on 25th June Herr Forster said: "Before us lies a new era and for Germany a great epoch. During recent weeks our Danzig has become the centre of political events. We


are all aware that we are in the final throes of our fight for freedom. The Free State of Danzig has taken the longest time. Today everyone knows that the Free State will soon come to an end and we also know how it will end."

11. A considerable number of visiting S.S. men remained here when others left last Sunday night. Those remaining are reputed to have performed their military service in Germany and to be members of Adolf Hitler's Verfügungstruppen. They are readily distinguishable by their deportment and slightly different uniforms from local S.S. men. About 300 of them are in military police barracks, which are now very full, and others are in other former local barracks which are capable of accommodating from 1,000 to 1,500 men, and have hitherto been occupied by Danzig social welfare organisation which is being transferred to an hotel that has been requisitioned for the purpose. According to sub-editor of Dantziger Vorposten, the largest youth hostel in the world, which is approaching completion here, is to be used as a barracks.

12. A number of workmen's dwellings at Praust are said to have been requisitioned for storage of ammunition, and my Argentine colleague informs me that he saw a number of military police equipped with gas masks.

13. All Danzig civil servants and students are required to remain within the Free City during their vacations, and the latter must devote their holidays to harvesting. All categories of military police have been kept in barracks yesterday and to-day, and to-night members of various National Socialist organisations are apparently again standing by, as remarkably few of them are visible about the City.

No. 30.

Viscount Halifax to Sir H. Kennard (Warsaw).

(Telegraphic.) Foreign Office, June 30, 1939.

You should at once seek interview with Minister for Foreign Affairs and ask him how the Polish Government propose to deal with the situation which appears to be impending. It would seem that Hitler is laying his plans very astutely so as to present the


Polish Government with a fait accompli in Danzig, to which it would be difficult for them to react without appearing in the role of aggressors. I feel that the moment has come where consultation between the Polish, British and French Governments is necessary in order that the plans of the three Governments may be co-ordinated in time. It is in the view of His Majesty's Government essential that these plans shall be so devised as to ensure that Hitler shall not be able so to manage matters as to manoeuvre the Polish Government into the position of aggressors.

No. 31.

Mr. G. Shepherd to Viscount Halifax.

(Telegraphic.) Danzig, June 30, 1939.

HORSES continued to arrive yesterday, and about 600 of them are being kept in barracks at which large quantities of hay have also been delivered.

2. For the last few nights the two great shipyards here which normally work all night were closed under strict guard and all workmen evacuated from them.

3. As from to-night Danzig and suburbs were to be blacked out until further notice and, in case of air raid alarm, all inhabitants were ordered to take refuge in their cellars or public shelters. This order was cancelled this afternoon.

4. Former local barracks are now occupied by large number of young men with obvious military training who wear uniforms similar to Danzig S.S. but with deaths-head emblem on the right collar and "Heimwehr Danzig" on sleeves. Courtyard is occupied by about fifteen military motor lorries (some with trailers) with East Prussia licences and covered with tarpaulins, also by about forty field kitchens.

5. Two thousand men are working twenty-four hours a day in three shifts on construction of barracks at Matzkshuter to accommodate 10,000 men. Work is stated to be well advanced.

6. All dressmakers here are said to be working on bedding, clothing, &c., for barracks and their occupants.

7. It has just been announced that Tiegenmorse-Einlage section of Danzig-Elbing road is closed for major repairs until 1st


August, and it seems unlikely that pontoon bridge will be ready before that date.

8. My personal impression is that extensive military preparations which are being pressed forward so feverishly are part of large-scale operations but not intended for use before August, unless unexpected developments precipitate matters and that emergency defensive measures, referred to in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of this telegram, may be due to fear lest those preparations should cause the Poles to substitute a sudden offensive for defensive measures which they have hitherto adopted.

No. 32.

Mr. Norton to Viscount Halifax.

(Telegraphic.) Warsaw, July 1, 1939.

YOUR telegram of 30th June.*

I read M. Beck the gist of your telegram. M. Beck said that he would first give me a piece of information. German Government yesterday notified the Polish Government in proper legal manner that the Königsberg would visit Danzig for three days on 25th August. Polish Government were at once passing this on to the Danzig Senate with all courtesy adding that they had no objection.

2. Passing to the substance of your Lordship's message, M. Beck asked me to assure you that he entirely shared your view as to the necessity of foreseeing a situation in which Poland might be manoeuvred into a dilemma of either accepting a fait accompli or appearing to be aggressive.

3. He therefore was fully in favour of an exchange of views. He was, however, leaving Warsaw this evening for forty-eight hours and would prefer to go into the matter more thoroughly with me on Tuesday when he had thought things over especially as he had only returned yesterday from a week's leave.

4. He said that reading between the lines of your message he felt you might be thinking of a joint démarche in Berlin. He did not at first sight think the time had come for this. It might put

* No. 30.


us all into a position where we had to proceed more vigorously than seemed wise to either of our two countries.

5. I asked whether he thought Great Britain's action would be better taken with the Danzig Senate. He was inclined to think so but preferred not to commit himself at the moment.

6. He asked me assure you that despite some people's ideas of Polish rashness, the Polish Government were determined not to be scared by any psychological terrorism into imprudent action. Only last night there had been a rumour (the forty-ninth of its kind) that the Germans were going to march into Danzig at once. He had seen the Polish Chief of Staff and it had been decided that not one Polish soldier was to be moved. He had gone to bed and slept peacefully.

7. I asked if it was not the case that recent Nazi activities in Danzig were creating a worse military position for Poland. M. Beck replied that it was in a sense true, but a war was not won by a few thousand "tourists." The Germans knew that quite well and were mainly hoping to provoke and intimidate Poland. They would not succeed, and it must be clear to them now that any actual aggression would be met by the solid block of Great Britain, France and Poland.

8. He had not changed his attitude one jot since he spoke with you and the Prime Minister in London. He still desired peaceful and normal relations with Germany.

No. 33.

Mr. G. Shepherd to Viscount Halifax.

(Telegraphic.) Danzig, July 1, 1939.

YESTERDAY morning four German army officers in mufti arrived here by night express from Berlin to organise Danzig Heimwehr.

All approaches to hills and dismantled fort, which constitute a popular public promenade on western fringe of the city have been closed with barbed wire and "Verboten" notices.

3. The walls surrounding the shipyards bear placards "Comrades, keep your mouths shut lest you regret consequences."

4. Master of a British steamship whilst he was roving Königsberg from 28th June to 30th June observed considerable military


activity, including extensive shipment of camouflaged covered lorries and similar material by small coasting vessels. On 28th June four medium-sized steamers loaded with troops, lorries, field kitchens, &c., left Königsberg ostensibly returning to Hamburg after manoeuvres but actually proceeding to Stettin. Names of steamers were Hohenhorn, with heavy derricks each capable of lifting about 50 tons, Sharhorn, Tilsit and Utlandhorn, all modern well-equipped vessels, each about 5,000 tons gross.

No. 34.

Mr. Norton to Viscount Halifax.

(Telegraphic.) Warsaw, July 3, 1939.

FROM the austere calm which continues to prevail in Polish official circles and generally throughout Poland, it would appear that gradual remilitarisation of Free City of Danzig has not yet attained dimensions sufficiently serious to alarm Polish Government.

2. They are, of course, aware that the process is intended to facilitate a coup by Herr Hitler should he decide on one.

3. Their attitude to this latter possibility seems to be as follows :-

(a) They are strengthening their powers of defence ceaselessly and to the extent of their financial ability;

(b) They have no intention of provoking a quarrel or of showing weakness;

(c) If their rights in Danzig and the Corridor are seriously threatened they will reply by counter-measures proportionate to the circumstances;

(d) That Herr Hitler will think twice before challenging the anti-aggression front openly;

(e) If he does so, Poland will put up the best show she can.

4. This attitude may seem over-simplified, but at least it is comprehensible, restrained, and well-calculated to counteract German technique of "psychological terrorism."

5. It is unfortunately inevitable that the initiative should rest with the would-be aggressor.



No. 35.

Statement by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on July 10, 1939.

Mr. Harold Macmillan asked the Prime Minister whether His Majesty's Government will issue a declaration to the effect that any change in the present status of Danzig, other than by an agreement to which the Polish Government is a party, whether brought about externally by military action on the part of Germany or internally by a movement initiated or supported by the German Government, will be regarded as an act of aggression on the part of Germany and, therefore, covered by the terms of our pledge to Poland?

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher asked the Prime Minister whether any attempt to alter the existing regime at Danzig by aggression from outside or penetration from within will be regarded as within the terms of our pledge to maintain the independence of Poland; and has a communication been made to the Polish Government in these terms?

Mr. A. Henderson asked the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make on the present situation in Danzig?

Mr. V. Adams asked the Prime Minister whether he has any further statement to make on the attitude of His Majesty's Government towards the position of Danzig?

Mr. Thurtle asked the Prime Minister whether he is now satisfied that the head of the German Government no longer has any doubt of the intention of this country to discharge to the full the undertaking it has given to Poland; or has he under consideration any further action with a view to removing any possible doubt or misunderstanding which may still exist?

The Prime Minister: I would ask hon. Members to be good enough to await the statement which I propose to make at the end of questions.


The Prime Minister: I have previously stated that His Majesty's Government are maintaining close contact with the Polish and French Governments on the question of Danzig. I have


nothing at present to add to the information which has already been given to the House about the local situation. But I may, perhaps, usefully review the elements of this question as they appear to His Majesty's Government.

Racially Danzig is, almost wholly, a German city; but the prosperity of its inhabitants depends to a very large extent upon Polish trade. The Vistula is Poland's only waterway to the Baltic, and the port at its mouth is therefore of vital strategic and economic importance to her. Another Power established in Danzig could, if it so desired, block Poland's access to the sea and so exert an economic and military stranglehold upon her. Those who were responsible for framing the present statute of the Free City were fully conscious of these facts, and did their best to make provision accordingly. Moreover, there is no question of any oppression of the German population in Danzig. On the contrary, the administration of the Free City is in German hands, and the only restrictions imposed upon it are not of a kind to curtail the liberties of its citizens. The present settlement, though it may be capable of improvement, cannot in itself be regarded as basically unjust or illogical. The maintenance of the status quo had in fact been guaranteed by the German Chancellor himself up to 1944 by the ten-year Treaty which he had concluded with Marshal Pilsudski.

Up till last March Germany seems to have felt that, while the position of Danzig might ultimately require revision, the question was neither urgent nor likely to lead to a serious dispute. But in March, when the German Government put forward an offer in the form of certain desiderata accompanied by a press campaign, the Polish Government realised that they might presently be faced with a unilateral solution, which they would have to resist with all their forces. They had before them the events which had taken place in Austria, Czecho-Slovakia and the Memelland. Accordingly, they refused to accept the German point of view, and themselves made suggestions for a possible solution of the problems in which Germany was interested. Certain defensive measures were taken by Poland on the 23rd March and the reply was sent to Berlin on the 26th March. I ask the House to note carefully these dates. It has been freely stated in Germany that it was His Majesty's Government's guarantee


which encouraged the Polish Government to take the action which I have described. But it will be observed that our guarantee was not given until the 31st March. By the 26th March no mention of it, even, had been made to the Polish Government.

Recent occurrences in Danzig have inevitably given rise to fears that it is intended to settle her future status by unilateral action, organized by surreptitious methods, thus presenting Poland and other Powers with a fait accompli. In such circumstances any action taken by Poland to restore the situation would, it is suggested, be represented as an act of aggression on her part, and if her action were supported by other Powers they would be accused of aiding and abetting her in the use of force.

If the sequence of events should, in fact, be such as is contemplated on this hypothesis, hon. Members will realise, from what I have said earlier, that the issue could not be considered as a purely local matter involving the rights and liberties of the Danzigers, which incidentally are in no way threatened, but would at once raise graver issues affecting Polish national existence and independence. We have guaranteed to give our assistance to Poland in the case of a clear threat to her independence, which she considers it vital to resist with her national forces, and we are firmly resolved to carry out this undertaking.

I have said that while the present settlement is neither basically unjust nor illogical, it may be capable of improvement. It may be that in a clearer atmosphere possible improvements could be discussed. Indeed, Colonel Beck has himself said in his speech on the 5th May that if the Government of the Reich is guided by two conditions, namely, peaceful intentions and peaceful methods of procedure, all conversations are possible. In his speech before the Reichstag on the 28th April the German Chancellor said that if the Polish Government wished to come to fresh contractual arrangements governing its relations with Germany he could but welcome such an idea. He added that any such future arrangements would have to be based on an absolutely clear obligation equally binding on both parties.

His Majesty's Government realise that recent developments in the Free City have disturbed confidence and rendered it difficult at present to find an atmosphere in which reasonable counsels can prevail. In face of this situation, the Polish Government have


remained calm, and His Majesty's Government hope that the Free City, with her ancient traditions, may again prove, as she has done before in her history, that different nationalities can work together when their real interests coincide. Meanwhile, I trust that all concerned will declare and show their determination not to allow any incidents in connection with Danzig to assume such a character as might constitute a menace to the peace of Europe.

No. 36.

Sir N. Henderson to Viscount Halifax.

My Lord, Berlin, July 15, 1939.

I TOOK the opportunity of a visit to the State Secretary yesterday to mention to him that I had been informed that one of the Under-Secretaries at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Keppler, had said that Herr Hitler was convinced that England would never fight over Danzig.

2. I said to Baron von Weizsäcker that when I was in London I had assured your Lordship and the Prime Minister that Herr Hitler could not possibly be in any doubt as to the facts of the case, namely, that, if Germany by unilateral action at Danzig in any form compelled the Poles to resist, Britain would at once come to their assistance. He (Baron von Weizsäcker) could not himself be under any misapprehension on the subject, and it seemed to me highly undesirable that a member of his Department should talk in this misleading fashion. That sort of remark would be repeated in London, and would once more make His Majesty's Government wonder what further steps they could take to convince Herr Hitler that they were in earnest. It was solely because they doubted whether Herr Hitler was correctly informed on this point that they continued to reiterate their determination to resist force by force in future. If Herr Hitler wanted war, it was quite simple. He had only to tell the Danzigers to proclaim the re-attachment of the Free City to Germany. Obviously that would put the onus of action on the Poles, but not even that would cause us to hesitate to support them, if Germany


attacked them, since we would realise quite well that the Senate at Danzig would only adopt such a resolution on the direct order of the Chancellor.

3. Baron von Weizsäcker observed that he was not so certain that the Senate would not act one day of its own accord. I told him that I could not possibly believe that, especially as I clearly realized that the Senate would have already so acted if it had not been for Herr Hitler's orders to the contrary. That he had given those orders was one of the chief grounds for my belief that Herr Hitler still sought a peaceable solution of this question. Nor did the State Secretary demur to this.

4. As regards my general observations, Baron von Weizsäcker said that Dr. Keppler, who had been in the early days a kind of economic adviser of Herr Hitler's and still saw him occasionally at long intervals, was an honest man, who was also in fairly close relations with Herr von Ribbentrop. There were Baron von Weizsäcker said, so many distinctions about a statement to the effect that England would not go to war over Danzig. Anybody, including Herr Hitler himself, might well say that England did not wish to fight about Danzig, and it would be true. Nor did Germany. Anybody, including Herr Hitler, might say that one day Danzig would revert without war to Germany, and that might equally be true as the result of a pacific settlement with the Poles in their own true interests.

5. I admitted that there were possibilities of twisting the facts. Yet these were, I said, plain enough, and His Majesty's Government could never be reproached this time, as they had been in 1914, of not having made their position clear beyond all doubt. If Herr Hitler wanted war, he knew exactly how he could bring it about. Baron von Weizsäcker replied to this that he would also draw a distinction about the position in 1914. He had never reproached Sir Edward Grey for not having publicly announced British intentions at that time. The fault, in his opinion, had been that His Majesty's Government had not made them known privately to the German Government before it was too late. Why did His Majesty's Government to-day insist all the time upon these public utterances? If something had to be said to Herr Hitler, why could it not be said privately without all the world being kept informed? That had been the mistake last year during


the Czech crisis. Public warnings only made it more difficult for Herr Hitler to heed them.

6. Though I appreciate personally the force of this hint of the State Secretary's in favour of the private communication rather than the public warning, I confined myself to replying that one of our main causes for anxiety in England was our belief that disagreeable facts were withheld from Herr Hitler by those who were responsible for making them known to him. To this Baron von Weizsäcker replied that, while he could not tell me what reports the Chancellor read or did not read, Herr Hitler was influenced by nobody, but regarded situations as a whole and was guided solely by his own appreciations of them.

I have, &c.