If residents of the Saar could be led to believe there really will be a secret ballot in the forthcoming plebiscite, they would vote in favor of continued League of Nations jurisdiction there, declares William O. Thompson, American representative on the Saar investigation committee, headed by Lord Marley, who returned here yesterday aboard the S. S. Paris, following an intensive study of the Saar question.
Although he would not directly answer the question as to how the plebiscite will go, Mr. Thompson indicated, however, that he believes voters will, for numerous reasons, decide to rejoin Germany.
“The people there are definitely German,” he said at one point. “They have never been French.”
The principal barrier to a pro-German vote, he asserted, is religious.
“It is impossible at the present to express a prediction,” he said. “The general sentiment of the people, if they are strongly Catholic, is not to vote to join Germany. If they are not such devout Catholics, they are less firm and say they will probably vote to rejoin Germany.
“If the religious question were removed, there would be no doubt as to how they would vote.”
Questioned regarding the tactics used by the Nazis in their determination to take over the Saar, Mr. Thompson said:
“While we found many cases of violence by the Nazis in their campaign to get votes for Germany, the main pressure is a moral pressure calculated to incite fear in the voters.
“They are told to think of what will happen to them in 1935 if they don’t vote right.
“They are boycotted, insulted and subjected to various forms of economic discipline.”
While abroad Thompson, an attorney and former member of the NRA Review Board, traveled in Germany and the Saar.