16 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 2

Germany's Sea - War on Neutrals At the outbreak of war official

German assurances were given to the Scandinavian Governments of Germany's deter- mination to recognise the rights of neutrals to maintain normal trade relations with belligerents. Now that under- taking, already violated again and again, is frankly thrown over. The Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung asserts that neutrals who trade with a belligerent are virtually supporting that country, and declares that from now on neutral ships in the coastal waters of an enemy country are to be treated as enemies and are liable to be sunk by mines of torpedoed and bombed without warning. It makes the fantastic sug- gestion that shipping in these waters may be com-ared with a private carriage driven in front of the Maginot Line. It does not show by what geographical possibility vessels leaving Belgian, Dutch or Danish ports for the west can avoid approaching British waters ; its threat is equivalent to an attempt to deprive North Sea neutrals of all foreign trade whatsoever. In effect no discrimination is made between neutrals trading with Britain and neutrals trading with other neutrals, as was shown once again last Saturday when the Holland Amerika-Line steamer Burgerdijk,' bound from America for Rotterdam with a cargo of grain, was stopped and instantly torpedoed by a German U-boat. The indig- nation of the neutrals is growing, and they are not entirely impotent, for Germany wants- their goods.