Skip to main content
Read page text



VOL. 171 No. 5111

LONDON APRIL 23rd, 1938




By Christopher Dawson


II.—By the Rev. J. Phillips, S.J. REVIVAL IN FRANCE

By Lucien Corpechot DISTRACTIONS A New Series of Light Essays by Hilaire Belloc

Full List o f Contents on page 528.


The Rome Agreement is good not only in itself, but for the movement it has started towards individual agreements and conciliatory moves. Everybody knows that during the past year and a half the politicians of the French Popular Front have played a double game, just as M. Laval played a double game in the preceding months over sanctions. In the name of Non-Intervention, M. Blum was continually endeavouriig to stiffen the attitude of Britain, the only genuine non-intervener, against Italy. At the same time, for reasons of political sympathy, quite unconnected with the national interests of France, the Popular Front fed with men and materials the groups with whom they sympathized in Spain. Through 1937 they were on one side, the Italians on the other, and whereas M. Laval tried to keep both Italian and British friendship, the French Popular Front Ministers acted with duplicity from no such patriotic motive. They hoped to frighten the Italians out of Spain through the machinery of Non-Intervention, and then to exploit their advantage as the immediate neighbours, to see that the scales were steadily tilted all the time in favour of their Spanish friends.

But it has remained the cardinal principle of French policy not to lose touch with Britain, and once it was plain that Mr. Chamberlain’s policy had come to replace the policy of Mr. Eden, the French adapted themselves to realities. If Britain and Italy are drawing closer together, France must not be left out. And the first consequence of the Anglo-Italian Agreement has been French-Italian conversations in Rome. It is a return, in April, 1938, to some part of the position reached in April, 1935. At Stresa the three Powers made a firm agreement which was a considerable achievement on the part of M. Laval, because for many years relations between France and Italy had not been easy. What drew the Powers together three years ago is what has drawn them together today, the obvious folly of estrangement in the face of the new Germany. The Rome Agreement has come too late in the day for there to be any talk now of reviving the Stresa Front. The political independence of Austria, which that Front was created to protect, is a lost cause, and with its disappearance Germany becomes so much more formidable in middle Europe that the Italians, like the Poles, will for the future have continually to reinsure themselves, maintaining the special friendship with Germany, but balancing it by the best relations they can maintain with France and Britain. France and Nationalist Spain

A French Senator, M. Millies Lacroix, had an important interview at the beginning of the week with Count Jordana, the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Nationalist Government of Spain. The Senator has now returned to France, to bring home to his countrymen two facts of the highest importance : one, that General Franco desires good relations with France, and two, that the French have large material interests in Spain, valued at one and a half milliard francs, which it would be the height of needless folly to jeopardize. The Spaniards know how to distinguish between France and the politicians of the Front Populaire. So the indignation which has for so long been felt in Spain at the surreptitious official assistance which the Spanish revolutionaries have received from France, while it has quite naturally made the French extremely unpopular, is not influencing the policy of General Franco’s Government. That Government desires to remove the unwarranted apprehensions in France and Britain that Nationalist Spain will not really be independent, and even that it will reserve its plums for those countries which helped it in its hour of necessity.

My Bookmarks

Skip to main content