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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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7<S _--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------_
we were presented with an opportunity for improving our
relations which ought not to be missed. I decided to take
what I considered then, and what I consider now, to be the
course which was best calculated to serve the purpose,
namely, to put aside ordinary diplomatic formalities and send
a personal reply in cordial terms by way of response. Perhaps
I may remind the House of the words which I used on this
subject in reply to the hon. Baronet the Member for South-
West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris), who asked whether I
could publish in a White Paper the correspondence between
Signor Mussolini and myself. My reply was as follows :
"  No, Sir. That correspondence was personal, but I have
no objection to telling the House the purport of it. At the
end of July last the Italian Ambassador brought me a message
from Signor Mussolini of a friendly character. I took
advantage of the opportunity to send Signor Mussolini a
personal letter expressing my regret that relations between
Great Britain and Italy were still far from that old feeling of
mutual confidence and affection which lasted for so many
years. I went on to state my belief that those old feelings
could be restored if we could clear away certain misunder-
standings and unfounded suspicions, and I declared the
readiness of His Majesty's Government at any time to enter
into conversations with that object. I was glad to receive
from Signor Mussolini, immediately, a reply in which he
expressed his own sincere wish to restore good relations
between our two countries and his agreement with the sugges-
tion that conversations should be entered upon in order to
ensure the desired understanding between the two countries/
** This letter was followed up by instructions to our
Ambassador in Rome to inform the Italian Government that
it was hoped that conversations might begin in September.
Unfortunately, certain incidents took place in the Mediter-
ranean which, in our opinion, rendered it impossible that
conversations at that time could have any chance of success.
Nevertheless, it is well to remember something which my
right hon. Friend omitted to mention in his account of past
history, namely, that he was successful at Nyon in arriving
at an agreement with the Italian Government about the
patrolling of the Mediterranean."