The British War Bluebook
Sir H. Kennard to Viscount Halifax. June 11, 1939
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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.

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

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