3 MAY 1940, Page 2

Herr von Ribbentrop Explains

Herr von Ribbentrop surpassed even his own record of auda- city in inviting the Diplomatic Corps and the neutral Press to hear his belated justification of the invasion of Norway. It did not seem to occur to him that if this latest account of the matter is true then the earlier account is false. At first it was the British mine-laying off the coast of Norway that caused German intervention. But the German plans of invasion were already complete before the mines were laid. When German ships entered Oslo harbour and all the western ports were treacher- ously seized the ostensible reason advanced was the friendly " protection " of Norway. But now it appears there was no friendliness to Norway at all—she was already plotting to enter the war on the side of the Allies, and as long ago as last February was ready to permit Allied landings under the of bringing help to Finland. Ribbentrop expected his au, xnce to believe that it was the Allies who intended to land in Nor, way, with the full connivance of the Norwegians, and tha they were only thwarted by the promptitude of Germany in fore- stalling them. Herr von Ribbentrop went out of his way to pay compliments to Sweden. He had nothing to say about Den- mark. Outside Italy, his speech has been received with v..rving degrees of sceptical derision.