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Sir H. Kennard to Viscount Halifax.
(Telegraphic.) Warsaw, August 2, 1939.
I DISCUSSED the situation at Danzig at some length informally with the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs to-day and asked him more especially for information regarding the controversy respecting the reduction of the Polish customs personnel in the Free State. M. Arciszewski said that three years ago there had only been about thirty Polish customs inspectors, and that in view of the numerous cases of smuggling and so forth, some eighty frontier guards had been added for the purpose of surveillance. The frontier guards wore a different uniform from the customs inspectors, and he thought that provided the Danzig Senate were acting in good faith and any concession would not be interpreted as a sign of weakness, it might be possible to come to some arrangement by which the customs officials and frontier guards should wear the same uniform and the number of the latter might be somewhat reduced. He did not think that any threat of a customs union with Germany should be taken too seriously as hitherto the Senate had never risked coming too far into the open. He admitted that the general situation might become critical towards the end of this month He agreed that it was very difficult to fix a limit at which the Polish Government must react seriously to the accentuation of the surreptitious methods by which Germany was endeavouring to bring about a fait accompli at Danzig, but he still thought that she would hesitate before going to the length where a serious crisis must develop.
He admitted that the situation might develop within a few hours from the political to the military phase, but felt that the military preparations at Danzig were to some extent exaggerated. If the Reich really did not wish or intend to participate in a European war over the Danzig question, and there were real signs of a détente, it might be possible to resume conversations, but he thought that Herr Forster's assertions were in the present circumstances only a manoeuvre, and that until there were serious indications that the German Government's intentions were reasonable, it would not be possible to discuss any practical solution.