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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

352------------------------------------------------------------------------
which I laid down as essential before the Agreement could
be put into force has now been fulfilled. The House will
remember very well what that condition was. It was that
we should be able to consider that the Spanish question was
settled, and I explained last July why we had thought it
necessary to make that condition. I said then that in our
view the justification for the formal recognition of Italian
sovereignty over Ethiopia was to be found if we could feel
that that recognition would constitute an important advance
towards the general appeasement of Europe, and it was because
we felt at that time that the conflict which was going on in
Spain under the then existing conditions did constitute a
perpetual menace to the peace of Europe that we felt that it
must be removed from that category before we could ask
Parliament to agree to the Agreement being put into force.
" Since that time a good many efforts have been made by
various Members of the Opposition to get me to say exactly
what I meant by a settlement in Spain. I have always refused
to give any such definition, not because I wanted to evade
any proper duty which fell upon me, but because I did not
feel that I could give such a definition in the absence of more
knowledge than I possessed of what might be the future
developments in the Spanish situation. But perhaps hon.
Members may recollect that on 26th July last, in answer to
an interruption by the Leader of the Opposition relating to
the withdrawal of volunteers from Spain, I used these words :
" ' I would like to see what happens when the volunteers
are withdrawn. If His Majesty's Government think that
Spain has ceased to be a menace to the peace of Europe, I
think we shall regard that as a settlement of the Spanish
question/[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th July, 1938; col. 2965,
VoL 338.]
Since then a great deal has happened. Already, even at that
date, all the Powers represented on the Non-intervention
Committee, including Italy, of course, had accepted the British
plan for the withdrawal of volunteers, and if that plan is
not in operation to-day, it cannot be said that that is the fault
of Italy. (Interruption.) It cannot properly be said. Again,
since then the Spanish Government have announced their