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POLISH circles in Berlin do not conceal the fact that they consider the situation arising from the Danzig question as very serious and that the tension between the Reich and Poland may, any day, become extremely grave. Most of the Embassy officials and members of the Polish Colony have already sent their wives and children away. The Polish students in the German capital have returned to their own country, and, according to information given us by certain of our agents, the Consuls are said to have received orders to burn the secret papers in their archives.
Possibly these precautionary measures are partly intended to impress the Nazi leaders. M. Lipski and his staff are indeed persuaded that up to the present the Führer has attempted to use force only when he was convinced that he would meet with no resistance worthy of the name. Therefore they seize every opportunity of declaring that Poland will strenuously oppose by force of arms any violent action taken by the Reich against the constitution of the Free City.
With regard to the German-Polish contacts on this matter, I have been able to obtain the following information about the question as it stands at present.
There have been, apparently, no negotiations properly so called between Berlin and Warsaw. There has been a question and a reply. Herr von Ribbentrop is said to have asked the Polish Government if they were ready to enter into negotiation on the following points:
The modification of the Danzig statute and the return of the City to the Reich;
The concession to Germany of an extra-territorial railway and a motor road across the Corridor;
A rectification of the frontier in the Oderberg region, this important railway centre to belong to the Reich;
An elucidation of Poland's attitude towards the Axis.
To this question, Warsaw is said to have replied with an emphatic "No." In taking note of this refusal, Herr von Ribbentrop apparently confined himself to warning the responsible Polish leaders that they had better think things over. Polish Embassy circles in Berlin are of opinion that the Reich Foreign Minister has not yet acquainted the Chancellor with the failure of his démarche, probably because he still hopes for a change of attitude in Warsaw.
The German Press as a whole has for some time observed a complete silence on the questions which divide the Reich and Poland. This reserve is in itself disquieting. It will, doubtless, be maintained during the interval for reconsideration which Herr von Ribbentrop has tacitly allowed his interlocutors. The National Zeitung, however, in its edition of the day before yesterday (March 28), issued a warning the implication of which it is impossible to misunderstand. This warning was taken up the next day by the Diplomatische Correspondenz.
However that may be, it seems clear that the National-Socialist leaders had not expected resistance of this kind from Poland. Certain well authenticated reports lead one to believe that the occupation of Danzig by the German forces had been originally intended to take place next Saturday, April 1. This was, in fact, the date fixed for the actual linking-up of the S A. in the Free City with the Wehrmacht.
Today, confronted with Warsaw's firm attitude, Berlin seems to hesitate. Perhaps the German arrangements are only postponed.
A member of my staff has learnt from a usually reliable source that, as a result of the unexpected difficulties that have arisen, the Reich has had to face the possibility of a military operation, which would necessitate at least a fortnight's preparation. His informant is of opinion that, in these circumstances, nothing will happen before the day of the monster parade in which four divisions are to take part and which has been arranged in Berlin for April 20 to celebrate the Führer's fiftieth birthday.
Nevertheless, one cannot altogether exclude the possibility of a premature Putsch taking place in Danzig even before Colonel Beck's departure for London.
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