27 OCTOBER 1939, Page 1

Herr von Ribbentrop at Danzig

It is questionable whether Herr von Ribbentrop's Danzig speech deserved the compliment of a reply from the Prime Minister. It was obviously designed solely for consumption in Germany, for its incredible crudity could only produce adverse comment in all neutral countries, where views on responsibility for the war are clear-cut. In Russia alone—significantly enough—did the speech com- mand approval. The German Foreign Minister (who had always assured Herr Hitler that Great Britain would never fight) declared that Britain had been preparing to fight for years past. He struck dismay (according to Dutch reports) into the German people, who had still cherished a despair- ing faith that the Fiihrer would gain everything bloodlessly, by declaring that the war must be fought through. He lauded the Russo-German Pact which he engineered with consequences so disastrous to his country. At a moment when the United States was seething with anger over the seizure of an American ship by a German cruiser he declared that " only a pathological imagination " could conceive points of conflict between Germany and the United States. He repeated the old threadbare endeavours to separate Britain and France by representing the latter as the tool of the former—the best answer to which is to be found in M. Daladier's recent speeches and the response they evoked from his countrymen. Whether Herr von Ribbentrop was making his own speech or reciting one of another authorship, it was, judged by any criterion, a singularly pedestrian performance.