The announcement of the sinking of a Soviet steamer, the Metallist 968 tons, by an unknown submarine in Narva Bay, off the Estonian coast, about 6 o’clock this evening, came as the climax to a day of intense diplomatic activity here.
Article first published in the Daily Telegraph, Sept 28, 1939.
Nineteen of the 24 members of the crew of the Metallist were picked up by Soviet patrol boats. The remaining five men are missing.
The news was announced on the Soviet wireless shortly after the arrival of M.Selter, the Estonian Foreign Minister, and other members of the delegation from Tallinn.
Foreign circles here think the reported sinking of the Soviet steamer will probably be followed by firm Soviet action towards Estonia.
Only last night, it was officially announced that the Soviet Government considered unsatisfactory the Estonian explanation of the alleged activity of a Polish submarine in Estonian waters.
Official circles in Tallinn have categorically denied allegations that the submarine was repaired and provided with fuel.
In diplomatic circles here, it is unofficially reported that the Soviet Government insisted on the Estonians giving up the Dagoe and Osel Islands, opposites the strategic Aaland Islands, on the ground that such a step was necessary to Soviet security.
If this report is true, it probably explains the Foreign Minister’s hurried departure to Tallinn after only one day in Moscow and his return today.
Meanwhile the Estonian Government has protested to Moscow following the alleged violation of Estonian neutrality by Soviet aeroplanes on Monday and Tuesday.