No. 2 NAI DFA 219/4

Letter from William Warnock to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Berlin, 2 September 1939

Today (Saturday) we are waiting in a feeling of rather anxious expectancy. It now seems inevitable that war will break out between Germany and the allies of Poland. I understand that the British Embassy has as yet received no reply to Mr. Chamberlain's message, but that it is expected that the British Ambassador1 will be 'asking for his passports' this evening, though on the German side there does not appear to be any desire to hasten matters in this respect. The Polish Ambassador2 is still here, and is in communication with the Foreign Office as usual.

As from last night anti-aircraft precautions have been taken. Street lighting has been suspended until further notice, and vehicles travelling at night are required to mask their headlights. Petrol as well as food is very strictly rationed.

The people generally seem to be in a state of doubt. There is no great enthusiasm for war, but at the moment the average citizen feels that if war comes he must do his part for his country no matter what sacrifice that may entail. If Germany is attacked, not only national socialists, but all Germans will be in equal danger.

You have probably seen in foreign newspapers that Germans are now forbidden by law to listen in to foreign wireless stations. The spreading of news received from foreign stations will be severely punished, possibly with death penalty.

It has been obvious to me during the last few days that it would be advisable if each of our Legations were furnished with a wireless set of high selectivity. In our case, for example, we have no other means of obtaining up-to-date news.

[signed] W. Warnock

1 Sir Nevile M. Henderson (1882-1942), British Ambassador to Germany (Apr. 1937-Sept. 1939).

2 Józef Lipski (1894-1958), Polish Ambassador to Germany (1934-9).

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