Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I
4 — The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Governor-General of New Zealand
The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Governor-General of New Zealand
The following is the text of a statement in the House of Commons at 7.45 p.m. this evening by the Prime Minister:1
|28 May 1937 – 11 May 1940||Rt. Hon. Arthur Neville Chamberlain, PC.|
|11 May 1940 – 26 Jul 1945||Rt. Hon. Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, PC, OM, CH.|
|26 Jul 1945 – to date||Rt. Hon. C. R. Attlee, PC, CH.|
3 Herr Joachim von Ribbentrop; German Ambassador to the Court of St. James, 1936–38; German Minister for Foreign Affairs, 1938–45; convicted of war crimes, and hanged, Nuremburg, Oct 1946.
There is one other matter to which allusion should be made in order that the present situation should be perfectly clear. Yesterday Herr Forster,1 who on 23 August had, in contravention of the Danzig constitution, become the Head of the State, decreed the incorporation of Danzig in the Reich and the dissolution of the constitution. Herr Hitler was asked to give effect to this decree by German law. At a meeting of the Reichstag yesterday morning a law was passed for the reunion of Danzig with the Reich. The international status of Danzig as a Free City is established by a Treaty2 of which His Majesty's Government are a signatory, and the Free City was placed under the protection of the League of Nations. The rights given to Poland in Danzig by Treaty are defined and confirmed by Agreement concluded between Danzig and Poland. The action taken by the Danzig authorities and the Reichstag yesterday is the final step in the unilateral repudiation of these international instruments, which could only be modified by negotiation. His Majesty's Government do not, therefore, recognise either the validity of the grounds on which the action of the Danzig authorities was based, the validity of this action itself, or of the effect given to it by the German Government.
2 The status of Free City was conferred upon Danzig by Articles 100–8 of the Treaty of Versailles. Its separation from the German Empire became effective on 10 Jan 1920, although the formal proclamation to that effect was not made until 15 Nov 1920, when the new status of the city was officially proclaimed by the representative of the League of Nations. A High Commissioner appointed by the League was resident in the Free City. The position of the city was strengthened by the Danzig-Polish Treaty, 9 Nov 1920, and by the Warsaw Convention, 24 Oct 1921. The Danzig Constituent Assembly handled the internal administration of the Free City, but the conduct of its foreign relations was in the hands of the Polish Government.