48 ----------------__------------------------------------------------------- ". . . I wish it were possible for me to tell you that the general European situation presented no features of difficulty or anxiety. Few of us could have foreseen, when hostilities first broke out in Spain, that they would involve so many troublesome and complicated problems for others, and perhaps the only satisfactory aspect of the history of this affair from our point of view has been the close collaboration with the French Government which we have enjoyed throughout. In company with them we have continued our efforts to make the policy of non-intervention more effective. We have taken a prominent part in all endeavours to lessen the sufferings of the Spanish civilian population, and we have done, and will do, all in our power to prevent the conflict from spreading beyond the borders of Spain. " For France the year has not been an easy one, for her people have been faced with serious financial and economic difficulties, which, however, are being met with courage and determination. I would like to take this opportunity of paying my tribute to the remarkable success achieved by the Paris Exhibition, in spite of the difficulties which attended its early stages. "As regards our relations with the two great Powers which are now so closely associated in what is known as the Rome-Berlin axis, I will only say this. It is the sincere desire of His Majesty's Government to see those relations established upon a basis of mutual friendship and under- standing, but as we believe that that understanding, which might well have far-reaching effects in restoring confidence and security to Europe, will be more hopefully pursued by informal discussion than by public declamation, I pro- pose to abstain from further words upon the subject this evening. " Before I conclude my review of foreign affairs I would say a word or two about the League of Nations. There are apparently some people whose faith in the League is so shallow that unless they keep repeating its name aloud at frequent intervals they feel themselves liable to forget all about it. The faith of His Majesty's Government goes deeper than that. To us the League is not a fetish but an instrument, the value of which is in direct proportion to its"