3QO POLITICAL MURDER DENOUNCED out at ten o'clock, were suddenly relit at eleven o'clock, and were still burning at midnight. From this he concluded that there was a conspiracy against his life. It's a fact that, until then, when an assassination was attempted in the Balkans, the assassins regularly arranged to find the politician who was to be struck at—in his nightshirt. Boris therefore at once put on his uniform again, and waited for the conspirators sword in hand. He greeted their ring-leader with the words: "You want to kill me! What have you against me? Do you think you can do any better than I can?" Thereupon the conspirators, who were completely put out of countenance, asked leave to retire to their barracks to deliberate. Boris kept their leader behind, then he told him that he was about to appoint him President of the Council of Ministers, to give him an opportunity of proving his abilities as a politician. It took less than a year, of course, for the experiment to end in the man's failure. As an end to this story, Boris made a very intelligent remark, to the effect that, in a case of this sort, the worst mistake was to warn the police. You prevent the conspirators, he said, from seeing reason and abandoning their plot. On the contrary, you encourage them to persevere with it out of mere feeling. Alas, we must be on our guard against political assassination as much now as then. That's shown by the attempt on our Ambassador in Turkey, von Papen. The attempt has a lesson for us in the fact that the conspirators realised that they'd been betrayed by the Russians who commissioned them. The principal author of the attempt had been provided—allegedly to facilitate his flight—with a machine which he was told would produce artificial fog. In fact, the machine contained a powerful explosive charge designed to liquidate the assassin himself. When this treachery on their leaders' part was revealed to them, the accomplices had no scruples in telling all they knew about the objects pursued by the Soviets. For my part, I've never allowed anyone to resort to assassination in our political struggles. The method is generally inopportune, and to be recommended only in exceptional cases. In fact, it cannot lead to any important success, unless it enables one to eliminate the man on whose shoulders rest the
ACTRESSES SHOULD ENTERTAIN FOREIGN STATESMEN 391 whole organisation and power of the enemy. But, even in such a case, I'd have refused to use this weapon. The reason why political assassination continues to be so formidable in the Balkans is that nowadays the population is still impressed by the idea that, by shedding blood, one is avenging oneself. That's why Kemal Pasha acted wisely, immediately after the seizure of power, by proclaiming a new capital. Thus control by the police could be exercised effectively. 179 2nd April 1942, at dinner Inelasticity of German protocol—Our eminent visitors get bored—Graceful customs of the French—Italian Statesmen visit Berlin. What I dislike most about the Wilhelmstrasse is the protocol organisation. When an official guest arrives in Berlin, protocol seizes hold of him from six o'clock in the morning until deep into night. They put on Faust or a showing of Tristan for Balkan types who would enjoy only a farce or an operetta. Old gentlemen who've come to Berlin to discuss important problems, and who'd be the better for half a day's rest, are dragged from receptions to banquets, where they see the same faces everywhere. For the majority of our guests, the constraint imposed by protocol is a genuine martyrdom. Wouldn't it be better to offer them the company of some pretty women who speak their language fluently? In Berlin, of all cities, we have the luck to number amongst our actresses women like Lili Dagover, Olga Tschechowa and Tiana Lemnitz. In this respect, Boris of Bulgaria showed himself to be more of a fox than we knew. When he received the offer of somebody to pilot him through Berlin, he expressed the wish that his stay should be deprived of official character. He didn't want to put anyone out, he said. The fact was, he wanted to escape the martyrdom of protocol. He wasn't present at the showing of Faust, or of another opera, but he went and saw The Poor Student and then The Count of Luxemburg, He had a royal time. When dealing with Balkan princes, one must bear in mind that they can scarcely leave their country for more than a week, for fear of losing their thrones during their absence.