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Sir H. Kennard to Viscount Halifax.
(Telegraphic.) Warsaw, August 9, 1939.
POLISH attitude towards the dispute over recent Danzig attempt to eliminate Polish customs inspection has been firm but studiously moderate. There was at first no attempt to represent the Danzig Senate as having climbed down, but, as was inevitable, the papers have since reproduced comment to this effect from the French and British press. The Polish Government said little to the press about what really passed, and even now nothing has been said of any time limit. Polish attitude to diplomatic conversations is also moderate.
2. It is true that on 7th August the independent Conservative Czas, in a commentary on Marshal Smigly-Rydz's speech, said that Poland was ready to fight for Danzig, and that if a fait accompli were attempted, then guns would fire. It also emphasized at length the Marshal's insistence that Poland had no aggressive intentions (the German press does not seem to be interested in that point).
3. The Polish Telegraph Agency to-day-in a message from its German correspondent-replies to attacks of Deutches Nachrichten-Büro and German press, pointing out that one sentence in the article in Czas had been singled out to give a distorted picture of Polish opinion in order to represent Poland as a potential aggressor. "Polish provocations" was the term used in Germany to describe Poland's attempts to defend her just interests. "A volley fired by German guns will be the closing point of the history of modern Poland," that was the pious desire of "peaceful and persecuted Germany." The message concluded by emphasising again that everyone knew that Poland had no aggressive intentions.
4. I fear that at times of strong national feeling it is almost inevitable that occasional remarks like that of Czas should occur in the press. Experience shows that the Germans can wax indignant with anyone and on any subject if Goebbels so desires. And the "provocation" of one article in a small and independent Warsaw newspaper compares strangely with the official utterances of Dr. Goebbels and Herr Forster in Danzig and the daily military and civil violation of all the treaties on which Poland's rights are based.
5. Possibly the German campaign is intended to cover up the Senate's withdrawal in Danzig, where the situation is regarded as somewhat easier.
6. I shall, of course, continue to urge moderation here, both in official and press declarations.