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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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main sequence of events of the last few days
will be familiar to hon. Members, but no doubt
the House will desire that I should make a statement on
the subject. The result of the meeting at Berchtesgaden
on I2th February between the German and Austrian Chancel-
lors was stated by the former to be an extension of the frame-
work of the July, 1936, Agreement. Hon. and right hon.
Gentlemen will recollect that that Agreement provided,
among other things, for the recognition of the independence
of Austria by Germany and the recognition by Austria of
the fact that she was a German State. Therefore, whatever
the results of the Berchtesgaden meeting were, it is clear
that the agreement reached was on the basis of the indepen-
dence of Austria.
" On Wednesday of last week Herr von Schuschnigg
decided that the best way to put an end to the uncertainties of
the internal situation in his country was to hold a plebiscite
under which the people could decide the future of their
country. Provision for that plebiscite is made in the Austrian
Constitution of 1934. This decision on the part of the Austrian
Chancellor was unwelcome to the German Government,
as it was also unwelcome to the Austrian National Socialists
themselves. Matters appear to have come to a head on the
morning of nth March when Herr von Seyss-Inquart,
who had been appointed Minister of the Interior as a result
of the Berchtesgaden meeting, together with his colleague,
Dr. Glaise-Horstenau, presented an ultimatum to the Chancel-
lor. They demanded the abandonment of the plebiscite and
threatened that if this was refused, the Nazis would abstain
from voting and could not be restrained from causing serious
disturbances during the poll. The two Ministers also demanded
changes in the provincial Governments and other bodies.
They required, so I am informed, an answer from the Chancel-
lor, before one o'clock in the afternoon. The Chancellor
declined to accept this ultimatum, but offered a compromise