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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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intention of withdrawing the International Brigade. [An
HON. MEMBER : * They have done it ! *] When I was at
Munich, Signor Mussolini volunteered me the information
that he intended to withdraw 10,000 men, or about half the
Italian infantry forces, from Spain, and since then those men
have in fact been withdrawn.
" I have no doubt that hon. Members will represent that
Italian men, pilots, aircraft and other material still remain in
Spain, and so also there remain men and material of other
than Italian nationality in Spain on one side or the other;
but we have received from Signor Mussolini definite assurances,
first of all that the remaining Italian forces of all categories
will be withdrawn when the non-intervention plan comes
into operation ; secondly, that no further Italian troops will
be sent to Spain; and thirdly—in case this idea had occurred
to anybody—that the Italian Government have never for a
moment entertained the idea of sending compensatory air
forces to Spain in lieu of the infantry forces which have now
been withdrawn. These three assurances, taken in conjunction
with the actual withdrawal of this large body of men, in my
judgment constitute a substantial earnest of the good intentions
of the Italian Government. They form a considerable
contribution to the elimination of the Spanish question as a
menace to peace.
" But these are not the only considerations which weigh
with His Majesty's Government. Some hon. Members, with
that eternal tendency to suspicion which, I am afeid, only
breeds corresponding suspicions on the other side, persist
in the view that Germany and Italy have a design of somehow
permanently establishing themselves in Spain, and that Spain
itself will presently be setting up a Fascist State. I believe
both those views to be entirely unfounded. When I was
at Munich, I spoke on the subject of the future of Spain with
Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini, and both of them assured
me most definitely that they had no territorial ambitions
whatever in Spain. I would remind hon. Members that when,
in September, Europe was apparently faced with the prospect
of a new major war, General Franco made a declaration of
his neutrality and stated that he would not violate the French
frontier unless he was attacked from that quarter, It seems