The British War Bluebook
Mr. Norton to Viscount Halifax. July 25, 1939
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No. 39.

Mr. Norton to Viscount Halifax.

(Telegraphic.) Danzig, July 25, 1939.

YOUR telegram of 21st July.

I developed your Lordship's ideas to M. Beck this morning.

2. M. Beck asked me to assure you that Polish Government were always on the look-out for signs of a German wish for a détente. They are inspired by the same principles as your Lordship, since it was in everyone's interest that temperature should be allowed to fall. Polish Commissioner in Danzig had received formal instructions to deal with each question in a purely practical and objective manner. Even shooting of Polish Customs guard, which Polish Government now considered to have been deliberate, was being treated as a local incident.

3. The most important question was whether new German tendency reported by M. Burckhardt was a manoeuvre or not. M. Beck was naturally suspicious since Poland had much experience of German mentality and Germans real interest must be by any and every means to attempt to separate Poland from Great Britain. At one moment they tried to achieve this by threats, at another by talk of appeasement. In actual fact Polish Government had not received the slightest concrete sign of a desire for a relaxation of tension. For example, remilitarisation of Danzig was proceeding and identifications of fresh German troops on Polish frontier had been received. Marshal Smigly-Rydz had not decided to counter these for the moment since amongst other things Poland was not so rich as to be able to spend money for military purposes freely.

4. Words let fall by Herr Forster were not in themselves sufficient evidence of German intentions. Herr Forster had within the last few days complained to M. Burckhardt about Polish intention to put armed guards on their railways in Danzig.

M. Burkhardt had said that such complaint had better be made by Herr Greiser. Latter had at once said that he had no evidence of any such Polish intention. M. Beck feared that this allegation by Herr Forster was only a pretext for increasing militarisation of Danzig.

5. All in all M. Beck, while entirely understanding and sharing your Lordship's general desire, did not at present see any facts on which to base a forecast of German change of policy.

6. He said incidentally that he had not given up the idea that démarche in the form of warning to Danzig Senate, supported by French and British representations, might be advisable.

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