27 OCTOBER 1939, Page 2

South Africa in the War

If there is a section of Afrikaan opinion in South Africa which is anti-British, there is none which is pro-German, said Colonel Denys Reitz on his arrival in England for the conference of Dominion Ministers with the War Cabinet. He attributed the considerable minority vote for neutrality in the Union Parliament to the suddenness with which Genera Hertzog sprang the issue upon Members before the re issues had been appreciated. South Africa, standing hali- way between two hemispheres, and on the open rou:, between Europe and India and Australia, offered more to German covetousness than any other Dominion. Therefcre no one in South Africa wants a German victory. But Colonel Reitz says confidently that not only a majority of South Africans but at least half of the Afrikaan community, as well as the English-speaking citizens, want something more than a policy of neutrality, and desire active participation in the war. We are assured of the support of the Union in any part of Africa where Imperial interests may be threatened. Though there is no immediate threat except through enemy propaganda, we cannot be confident that no danger will arise from those who might become allies of Germany. In any case, there are no harbours of refuge in the Dominion for fugi- tive German vessels. There are aircraft assistance for us against submarines, places of call for our warships, and the many advantages which accrue from an allied country situated on a great trade route. If there were no more than active economic co-operation that alone would mean much in modern war.