THE TABLET A WEEKLY NEWSPAPER AND REVIEW

ESTABLISHED 1840 REG IS TERED AS A N EW S PA P E R

VOL. 172 No. 5136

LONDON OCTOBER 15th, 1938

SIXPENCE

IN THIS ISSUE

A CATHOLIC DOCTOR IN CATALONIA

Impressions of a Visit to Barcelona

By D. J. Collier

IN AUSTRIA TODAY The Contrast between Vienna and the Provinces

THE NEW CZECHO-SLOVAKIA

The Change-over Described

THE SHRINE OF THE CONFESSOR

By Michael Trappes-Lomax Full List o f Contents on page 484.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK A French Ambassador in Rome

The Spanish Division

The French Government has sent its Ambassador to Rome, M. François Poncet, from Berlin. He is accredited to the King of Italy as Emperor. The appointment is a proof of the new spirit in French policy which we hope will be met readily from the Italian side. If there is a disposition in Italy to consider the French gesture of little worth at this moment, over belated, and in the end more or less forced, it is a great achievement for good sense that even the France o f the Popular Front should refuse to treat the RomeBerlin Axis as keeping Italy exclusively in the German camp. The position is happily less crude. Ever since he lost contact with France and Britain, Sr. Mussolini has used his German connection as a lever. The Italian interest is not at all to have a war. It is to act as a broker keeping the peace. So far it is exceedingly obvious that the existence of the Axis has worked out much more to the advantage of Germany than of Italy, and Sr. Mussolini’s policy now is to endeavour to crown the Munich Agreement, in which he played so central a part, with a Mediterranean agreement which will both be, and appear to the world to be, a success for Italy.

The test is, accordingly, the Italian success in getting the ratification of the Anglo-Italian agreement on terms which make it immediately plain that the Italians have not had to leave off helping the Spanish Nationalists before the French have left off helping the other side. Already, from both sides, thousands of ■volunteers have left.

But the withdrawal of volunteers is but a part of the larger question of what assistance France and Italy are to continue to give to the respective sides in Spain. There is great danger here of a vicious circle, of French and Italian relations being bad because they want different sides to triumph in Spain, and of their wanting the different sides to triumph because their relations are bad. It is highly necessary, accordingly, to seek more precision about what each country can reasonably require of a Spanish settlement. What the French want is security. It is not merely that they do not want to have to watch with an uneasy eye the Pyrenean frontier. They do not want to have to watch the Atlantic and the western Mediterranean, their two routes to their great colonial empire. In short, the kind of security they require can only come to the French either by the triumph of the Negrin Government or by really making peace and friends with General Franco. So far they have pursued the policy of doing what they can to secure the Negrin victory. They are now very strongly tempted to try the other policy. What they cannot possibly do with any hope of good results is to pursue both policies simultaneously, and yet that, in terms of French domestic politics, is so much the easiest course. There is great danger that it will be followed. The Communists and the extreme Socialists will be kept quiet by discreet assurances that, both by sea and land, the essential supplies of war will still go into eastern Spain. The Right and Centre will see a French representative despatched to Burgos, and hear the fullest declarations by M. Bonnet that France has no desire to dictate the form of government in Spain, and only desires the relations of good neighbours.