30 SEPTEMBER 1938, Page 18


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR] SIR,—I have just returned from Switzerland, where one was acutely conscious of the fact noted by you, that the Swiss were watching present events as having a close relevance to themselves. A charming, cultured and very well-balanred Swiss lady told me the following story. She was in Vienna last June and had occasion to ask a policeman in the street some question. When he had answered it he said " Why don't you say, ' Heil Hitler ' " She replied " I could say it just as loudly as you, but I need not ; I have a fatherland of my own," pointing to the badge which she, like all foreigners in Vienna, was wearing. To which he answered, " You mean, you don't need to yet " (" sie brauchen es noch nicht "). On her return journey, owing, she thought, to the fact that a relative of hers had had to give up her post and leave Austria as a result of the Anschluss, she was cross-examined by two officials in her railway carriage for three hours ; for three- quarters of an hour about her relatives' movements, and for the rest of the time about Switzerland. At the end of the time, presumably annoyed at getting so little out of her, one of the officials remarked, " All very well—but we shall be over in your country in spring, 1939."

She said to me, " Tell your friends in England." I am doing my best to do so by writing to you.—I am, Sir, yours faithfully,