126____________________________________________ opinion of the German Government relations between Austria and Germany are a purely internal affair. His Majesty's Government, as a third party, have no concern in them. The interests of His Majesty's Government in this question cannot, however, on any tenable ground be denied. In the first place, Great Britain and Austria are both members of the League, and both were signatories, as was also the German Government, of treaties which provided that the independence of Austria was inalienable except with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations. " Quite apart from this, His Majesty's Government are, and always must be, interested in developments in Central Europe, particularly events such as those which have just taken place, if only for the reason, as I stated in the House only a fortnight ago, that the object of all their policy has been to assist in the establishment of a sense of greater security and confidence in Europe, and that that object, as I said then, must inevitably be helped or hindered by events in Central Europe. Throughout these events His Majesty's Government have remained in the closest touch with the French Government, and the French Government have, I understand, also entered a strong protest in Berlin on similar lines to that lodged by His Majesty's Government. It seems to us that the methods adopted throughout these events call for the severest con- demnation, and have administered a profound shock to all who are interested in the preservation of European peace. It follows that what has passed cannot fail to have prejudiced the hope of His Majesty's Government of removing mis- understandings between nations and promoting international co-operation. " It might seem unnecessary to refute rumours that His Majesty's Government had given consent if not encouragement to the idea of the absorption of Austria by Germany, were there not evidence that these are being sedulously being put about in many quarters. There is, of course, no foundation whatever for any of these rumours. The statement which I have already made shows clearly that His Majesty's Government emphatically disapprove, as they have always disapproved, actions such as those of which Austria has been made the scene.