The French Yellow Book

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No. 137 :
M. DE LA TOURNELLE, French Consul in Danzig, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Danzig, June 16, 1939.

IN the Danzig-Polish dispute, the National-Socialist party is stressing the question of the Polish Customs inspectors, that is to say, they are giving indications as to just where the shoe pinches them. As I pointed out in a previous dispatch it is reported that a considerable number of firearms were being smuggled into the territory of the Free City in February and March. It appears that, since that time, this contraband has ceased and that the inspectors, doubtless backed up by their Government, have been showing more zeal in the performance of their duties. Although articles 200 and 201 of the Danzig-Polish treaty of October 24, 1921, which prescribe for their conditions of service, does not fix a limit to their number, the Senate, with a dogged perseverance, sends note after note protesting against their increase and denying them the right to exercise any authority outside the Customs offices, that is to say, for instance, to control the vehicles passing in front of the said offices.

The local Press accuses them of being agents of the Frontier Guards service, carrying on espionage work, and not officials of the Ministry of Finance. At the same time it attempts to back up its attacks by transforming the slightest incidents into fantastic tales. For instance, two inspectors, who on May 25 took a look at the building of a landing-stage for the ferry boat over the Vistula, were abused most violently by the two dailies on June 7.

On June 12, after a night spent in drinking together, an inspector and two S.A. came to blows; immediately the inspector was accused of having tried to get the S.A. men drunk in order to kidnap them and get them into Poland. He was arrested, and brutally knocked about, and, up to date, permission has not been given for him to be visited in prison by subordinates of the Polish Commissioner-General.

However, attacks and accusations have not weakened the Warsaw Government; on the contrary they have just increased the number of the inspectors, whose task is becoming more and more difficult, from 90 to 120. On the 10th the Polish Representative in the Free City handed a note to the Senate denying it the right to meddle with the questions of Customs and threatening a further increase in the numbers of the inspectors if their activity was further interfered with, or if the Danzig Customs officials were forced into taking the oath of allegiance to the National-Socialist party. The text of the note also hinted that, if need be, economic reprisals would be taken against the Free City.


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