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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

----------------------------------------__-----------------------  77
HON. MEMBERS : " They were not there."
MR. ARTHUR HENDERSON : " Is it not a fact that at the
conference at Nyon the Italian Government were not
represented ? "
THE PRIME MINISTER : " That is only a minor correction.
The hon. Member knows perfectly well that the original
agreement which was made between ourselves and the French
was joined in by the Italians—with my right hon. Friend's
help—who agreed to take their share in the patrolling of the
Mediterranean by French, Italian, and British warships, and
once more I hoped that this agreement might be followed by
further discussions upon the Spanish situation, which in turn
would open up the way for those conversations which had
been the subject of the correspondence between Signor
Mussolini and myself. There once again I was disappointed,
and the situation became clouded by the difficulties experienced
in the Non-intervention Committee over the withdrawal of
volunteers, difficulties which did not arise in one quarter
only, and when later Italy gave notice of her intention to
leave the League it was difficult to see how the conversations
could proceed.
" I think it is well to consider how these successive obstacles
to conversations affected the situation as between Italy and
ourselves. It cannot be denied that during all those months
which had lapsed since the original interchange of letters
between Signor Mussolini and myself the state of Anglo-
Italian relations had seriously and steadily deteriorated. It
has always seemed to me that in dealing with foreign countries
we do not give ourselves a chance of success unless we try
to understand their mentality, which is not always the same
as our own, and it really is astonishing to contemplate how
the identically same facts are regarded from two different
angles. I am informed from many sources that all this time
when to us it appeared that the obstacles to conversations
had arisen entirely by Italian action, exactly the opposite
view was being held in Rome. (Laughter.) Hon. Members
may laugh at that, and it is very funny, but if we are to make
progress in the task of improving our relations with other
countries, we must at least understand what their point of
view is.