misunderstandings. And the ease with which, once we had
broken the ice and begun conversations, we were able to reach
agreement on every aspect of the situation which we discussed
shows, I think, that I was right in that view and that there
was no real and solid foundation for supposing that our
interests were opposed to one another.
" You probably know that we cannot put the Agreement
into full operation until we can regard the Spanish situation
as settled, and consequently find ourselves in a position
formally to recognise the Italian situation in Abyssinia* But
already the mere fact that we have made this Agreement has
resulted in a perceptible easing of the tension.
" The approval with which the Agreement has been received
in France, in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, in
the Dominions, in America, and even in Russia, shows that
it is generally recognised as a long step forward in the direction
of general appeasement and peace.
" Now, is it not strange that, when the whole world seems
to be rejoicing at this Agreement, there should be one quarter
from which it is criticised and scoffed at ? And that quarter
is, as perhaps you would expect, in the two branches of the
Opposition in the House of Commons.
" The Opposition pay lip service to the cause of peace,
but with them party interests come before country, and they
don't scruple to misrepresent the motives and the actions of the
Government if by so doing they think they can discredit it
with the electors. Their latest device is to make personal
attacks upon the Prime Minister and to declare that he has
abandoned the League and become a Fascist.
" I do not think that personal attacks are very effective,
nowadays, unless they put the victim off his sleep, and I can
assure you that they have not done that, or unless the charges
which are brought can be shown to be true. In this case
they are the very reverse of the truth. I am, and always
have been, against any form of dictatorship in this country,
whether it be of the Right or of the Left. The introduction of
Fascism here would certainly breed Communism and vice
versa, and both Fascism and Communism alike are utterly
inconsistent with our democratic notions of equality and