The Ambassador in Poland Reports on Reaction
of Government and Press to Events in Danzig
(July 6, 1939)
P. 24 WARSAW, July 6, 1939
Pol. V 6351 Received July 7.
Subject: The Polish attitude to events in Danzig.
The events in Danzig have been interpreted here as
a sign that Germany is determined to solve the Danzig question by force
if need be. The requested meetings between the President and the advisers
on matters of foreign and military policy, the presence in Warsaw of
the London Ambassador, Raczynski, and the visits of the British Charge
d'Affaires to the Foreign Minister show that a lively exchange of views
is going on between the allies. I learn that Government quarters here
are inclined to the views that what is taking place in Danzig is predominantly
in the nature of a demonstration. But there are also agitators who take
the view that Poland's rights have already now been clearly violated
and that a counter action is necessary. It is, of course, fully realized
here that any counter action would mean war. Up to the present, however,
there is no reason to suppose that the more moderate elements will not
keep the upper hand. From every aspect it would, in fact, be to the
disadvantage of the Polish Government to adopt aggressive tactics in
the face of a situation which is not yet fully clear. Whether in such
a case French and British aid would be available, and whether public
opinion in the democratic countries could then be roused to the desired
degree may be doubtful.
How great is the nervousness of the public here, is
shown by the paradoxical effect produced by the publication of our Note
on the forthcoming visit of the cruiser Koenigsberg. It might have been
expected that the announcement of the visit of a German warship - and
that in August, the month clouded with prophecies of war - would arouse
fresh unrest. Instead, this announcement made through the regular channels,
quite obviously resulted in a relaxation of tension, because it was
regarded as proof of Germany's still abiding by the Danzig Statute.
It would be wrong, however, to regard this nervousness as tantamount
to fear. There is hardly any doubt that in the present excited state
of the whole country a clear violation of Poland's rights in Danzig
would not be tolerated. The determination to fight is general. In this
connection reliance on the Allies and their repeated assurances probably
plays a large part. Though the Poles fear that they cannot hold out
more than a few months with their own army, there is complete confidence
in the final victory of the encirclement Powers. There are even large
groups who would welcome war now since, in their opinion, the favourable
circumstance that Britain is prepared to take up arms in defence of
the status quo in Danzig, may perhaps not recur so soon. As things are
today, any Government will be compelled to take this warlike mood into
However, the impression gained, particularly from
the events of the last few days, is that the carte blanche given to
the Polish Government is not, after all, as unlimited as at first appeared
from the Anglo-Polish Agreement. It would seem from various indications
that Britain has obviously safeguarded herself against being involved
in a war against her will by obtaining from Poland an undertaking to
consult her. This, on the other hand, also means a safeguard for Poland
against being left without help at the crucial moment as well as a kind
of brake on rash actions which, in view of the Polish character, can
certainly not be ruled out altogether.
Source: "Documents on German Foreign Policy,"
Series D, Vol.VI, p. 864.
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