ONE day in September, 1923, the Assembly of the League of Nations was thrown into a state of great excitement. An Italian officer had been murdered in Greece, and to avenge the crime the Italians had landed at Corfu. Hardly had the affair been brought to the attention of the League of Nations when Italy served notice that she denied the League's right to sit in judgment on it. This challenge increased the excitement. Greece, for her part, had appealed for protection to the institution located at Geneva, observing that justice must be the same for great and small alike, and that to hold a whole people responsible for the act of an individual criminal would be opening the door to all kinds of international aggression -- for such responsibility would fall always upon the weak and never upon the strong. At the same time Greece began to urge the smaller states to rise with her in protest against any return to the law of the mailed fist: Ego nominor Leo.

The complaint of Greece met with sympathetic reception from everyone at Geneva, the British delegates being quite as incensed as anyone else. Lord Cecil announced an intention to invoke Article XVI of the Pact which would have obligated the member nations to declare an economic and naval blockade of Italy. It was learned that the Marquis Curzon, at that time in charge of the British Foreign Office, was as much inclined as his representative at Geneva to see the matter through to the end. When questioned as to the possibility of naval intervention on the part of Great Britain, the English delegates showed that they were giving the matter the most serious consideration. The French delegation alone took the point of view that it mattered little whether the affair were settled by the League of Nations or by the Conference of Ambassadors, so long as a satisfactory settlement were found.

M. Poincaré's Cabinet felt, in fact, that Mussolini's government should be spared anything smacking of humiliation. Unquestionably the occupation of Corfu was a great mistake; but to compel Italy to recognize it as such would be an unfriendly procedure. "It is precisely when I have gone wrong that I need my friends!" a statesman once said. The well-mannered issue from the situation would be to allow the Italian Government to get out of its hole by obtaining satisfaction for the murder, and then, that all suspicions at Geneva might be allayed, by withdrawing from Corfu before the session of the Assembly had adjourned. As the French Government viewed it, the Conference of Ambassadors could render a service to all concerned by finding some such solution to the dilemma. M. Jules Cambon, the president of the Conference, could be relied on with his well-known skill and experience to manage everything. This French policy prevailed, but not without making France a sharer in Italy's unpopularity during the whole session at Geneva.

It was while we were being everywhere accused of supporting Mussolini that an Italian delegate came to call on a certain French delegate with whom I have excellent reasons for being perfectly acquainted.

"You are supposed to be a great lover of Italy," the visitor began, and he added a few compliments in that same connection. But he ended what he had to say by the following question:

"Is it your idea that the friendship between France and Italy should be a permanent, or merely a temporary, policy?"

"Monsieur," the French delegate replied, "you are asking me that at a time when our friendship for your country is occasioning us considerable embarrassment. Believe me, we are not anxious to know only the inconveniences of such an attachment. Permit me to hope that that attachment will not end with the annoyances it is causing us at present!"

"Italy, Monsieur, arrived too late in Europe!" the Italian interrupted.

"Ordinarily," the Frenchman rejoined, "people who arrive late offer their apologies. However, I will concede that in certain circumstances France, rather, might beg pardon for having realized her national unity before Italy did hers. But how does that help us? We cannot change the past! Europe is made, and to unmake Europe we should have to go back to an era of warfare to which we, as delegates to the League of Nations, have solemnly sworn to put an end."

"Oh!" the Italian rejoined, "I understand the French point of view. France has recovered Alsace-Lorraine. She has obtained everything she asked of our common victory. France is in favor of the status quo. But we Italians are not so happily situated. We are not satisfied. We have a growing population, with too few outlets and no colonies at all. The status quo is not to our liking."

"Are you looking forward to a new war?"

"No, we could get along without further acquisitions in Europe. Though that would depend on France!"

"How so?"

"Italy and France must form a colonial condominium."

The Frenchman suggested that such a question exceeded his competence, promised to think it over, and changed the subject. But when his visitor had gone, a thought came into his mind:

"In such a partnership, Italy would supply the partner and France would supply the colonies!"

I have lingered upon this personal episode because of the light it throws upon the general problem of Franco-Italian relations when one considers it in connection with the circumstances in which it occurred.

France feels toward Italy something more than a diplomatic friendship. Her sentiment might better be described as one of instinctive fondness. France views the development of a great nation in Italy with all the more satisfaction since she was herself not wholly stranger to the conquest of Italian unity. France is disposed to support the just aspirations of the country she calls her "Latin sister" and to facilitate Italian success whenever it is possible for her to do so.

But Italy expects from us much more than we can give. She is jealous not so much of France as of French history -- a history which has brought us to the position we occupy in Europe. A sense of envious rivalry seems to embitter Italy against us, as though Fate had been unkind in assigning her a lot less enticing than ours. She points to her population, increasing by five hundred thousand souls a year, while ours remains stationary. And there is her young dictatorship, of which she is so proud, while we, as it seems to Italians, lie floundering about among out out-worn republican institutions. A month or more ago one might have read in a great Italian daily -- Il Secolo -- as follows: "It is time for the demographic problem that confronts Italy to be envisaged in its unavoidable consequences: the Italian race cannot rest content with being a modern Bethsheba appointed to refresh the flabby senility of an aged King David who has spent himself in the dives of Montmartre." Bethsheba, it would seem, is Italy, and the old King David would be France -- the country, that is, which is less largely represented at Montmartre than any in the world. One must read such courtesies if one would sense the tone adopted by the Italian press toward France and realize the full truth of Mussolini's recent confession: "We are living with a fever at 107!"


The story of the Corfu episode and its diplomatic consequences should help us to a clearer grasp of the recent Albanian crisis.

Italian ministries have at all times been justly concerned over the lack of harbors and of natural defenses on the east coast of Italy. It would seem as though, after placing the country at a disadvantage by denying her iron and coal, the raw materials basic to modern industry, Nature had likewise denied Italy on the Adriatic the outlooks she sorely needs if she is to play her rôle as a great power in that virtually land-locked sea. Hence Italy's historic claims upon Trieste and Fiume, her battle yesterday with Austria, her battle today with Jugoslavia. Hence her intervention in the World War on the side of the Allies, and Gabriele d'Annunzio's great adventure at Fiume. Hence also the importance which Italy keeps attaching to naval bases on the islands and on the Balkan shores of the Adriatic; and last but not least the constant eagerness she has manifested to obtain and hold a preponderant influence in Albania.

But naval bases may easily become political bases, and a will to dominate the Adriatic may beget a dream of hegemony over the Balkans. This is just what the peoples of the Balkan states are afraid of, and especially the Jugoslavs. That is why the crisis through which we are now passing is merely the fourth in a series of crises that have arisen in the course of the past decade.

The first presented itself during the war and was settled on April 19, 1918, by an Italo-Jugoslav agreement, reached after a congress of oppressed nationalities which had been held in Rome. The Pact of Rome covered four points:

1. That all questions arising between Italians and Jugoslavs in political and territorial spheres would be settled on the principle of nationality;

2. That nationality would be determined by free decisions of the populations actually affected;

3. That the vital needs of each nationality would be held in view;

4. That alien minorities included in the territories assigned to one state or the other would receive full guaranties for the preservation and defense of their nationality.

This Pact was signed by Dr. Trumbitch on behalf of the Jugoslavs and by Deputy Torre on behalf of the Italians. It left to agreement between France and Italy the organization of the territories to the east of the Adriatic, and superseded the system followed in the Pact of London (signed April 26, 1915) in which England, France and Russia pledged themselves to support Italian demands for possession of the west coast of the Adriatic down as far as Montenegro, but with the exception of Fiume. So true is this that in September, 1918, less than two months before the Armistice, the Italian Government informed the other Allied Governments that the independence of the Jugoslav peoples and the establishment by them of a free state was regarded by Italians as one of the objectives of the war; and the Allied Governments "took cognizance with satisfaction" of this declaration by the Italian Government.

But within the month thereafter a second crisis began to mature, and it was to last two years, that is, from October 31, 1918, when the National Council of Zagreb announced to the Allies the formation of the Jugoslav State, down to November 12, 1920, when the Treaty of Rapallo was signed, making Fiume an independent State and assigning Zara and certain islands (among these Cherso and Lussin) to Italy.

The interval was enlivened by the protests of the Croats of Dalmatia, of Fiume, and of Istria, against Italian intrigues and against the Italian occupation; by various incidents at the Peace Conference in connection with Fiume; and by the poetic and very practical enterprise of D'Annunzio, who re-lived at Fiume the romanesque adventures of a hero of the Renaissance.

The Treaty of Rapallo had hardly been registered by the League of Nations when Italy began demanding its revision. There followed three more years of wrangling down to January 27, 1924, when two new treaties were signed at Rome by Messrs. Mussolini, Pashitch, and Nintchitch. In the first, Jugoslavia gave Italy full possession of Fiume in exchange for use of a part of the harbor, of the railroads between Fiume and Susak, of the railroad station at Fiume, of Porto Baros, of the Delta and the Branchino. The second provided for "friendly coöperation" in the maintenance of public order, of peace between the two nations, and "of the results obtained in the Great War and sanctioned by the treaties of peace."

One might well have supposed that the quarrels between Italy and Jugoslavia were at an end, and that Southern Europe was about to enter on an enduring epoch of good feeling; and this illusion lasted, indeed, for three years. But on November 27, 1926, came the sensational announcement of the Treaty of Tirana in which Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy, agreed with Ahmed Zogu, dictator of Albania, that "any disturbance aimed at the political, juridical and territorial status quo in Albania is hostile to the reciprocal interests of Italy and Albania."

Such the language of the opening article in the Treaty. In following articles Italy and Albania exchange promises of "mutual support and cordial coöperation . . . in safeguarding the above interests," pledge themselves not to conclude with other powers political or military understandings "prejudicial to the interests of the other party as defined above in the present compact," and "to submit to conciliation or arbitration any disputes arising between them which may prove to be incapable of settlement through ordinary diplomatic channels."

No special acumen is required to see that of the various paragraphs in this Treaty the first is the important one. "The above interests" of Article II are the "political, juridical and territorial status quo of Albania," mentioned in Article I. Never mind "the juridical and territorial" matter! But the "political status quo" can only mean the maintenance of Ahmed Zogu's dictatorship against eventual political adversaries, and consequently implies a right of intervention on the part of Italy in the internal affairs of Albania. And is not this in conflict with Article X of the Pact of the League of Nations, wherein Member Nations, and therefore Albania, are guaranteed full political independence, and the right, accordingly, to change governments at their own pleasure ?

Nevertheless the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, M. Briand, publicly and formally declared that he could see nothing reprehensible in the Treaty in question -- a demonstration of friendship for Italy indeed, not to say of love, since it is a peculiarity of love to wear a blindfold over the eyes. And the Italians must have regarded M. Briand's words as expressions of French sympathy all the more significant since France is an ally of Jugoslavia, and since the latter country, taken aback by the Treaty of Tirana, denounced that compact as a violation of the agreement of 1924 which had established "cordial coöperation" between Italy and Jugoslavia.

Should not this cordiality have appeared more than anywhere else in a matter touching Albania? In fact, Mr. Nintchitch, the Jugoslav Minister of Foreign Affairs who had signed the Treaty of Rome, presented his resignation on learning of the Treaty of Tirana, a step calculated to emphasize before Europe at large that his policy of an entente with Italy had become unworkable. Mussolini on his side was shortly calling the official attention of the Powers to Jugoslav activities which tended, as he said, to endanger peace.

Already placed in an embarrassing situation by the signing of the Treaty of Tirana, France now saw herself still further perplexed by this Italian move.

In a formal declaration issued on November 9, 1921, the Conference of Ambassadors, acting in the names of the British Empire, of France, of Italy, and of Japan, had laid down two principles as essential to a common policy toward Albania.

The first was couched in the following language: "The independence of Albania, as well as the integrity and inalienability of her frontiers . . . is a question of international importance." This is hardly open to discussion. One may say as much (or as little) of the political independence and territorial integrity of any nation at all. The second consisted of a recognition "that the violation of the frontiers or of the independence of Albania constitutes a menace to the strategic security of Italy."

In line with these principles the four Powers set up the following procedure:

I. In case Albania finds herself unable to preserve her territorial integrity, she shall be free to apply to the Council of the League of Nations for help from abroad.

II. The governments of the British Empire, of France, of Italy and of Japan agree, in the case above, to instruct their representatives on the Council of the League of Nations to recommend that the restoration of the territorial frontiers of Albania be entrusted to Italy.

III. In case of threat against the territorial or economic independence of Albania, whether from aggression by a foreign power or from any other circumstance, and in case Albania, within a reasonable time, shall not have availed herself of the privilege accorded her under Article I, the above governments will bring the resulting situation to the attention of the Council of the League of Nations. In case the Council shall find intervention necessary, the above governments will issue to their representatives the instructions provided for in Article II.

IV. In case the Council of the League of Nations decides, by a majority vote, that intervention be not advisable, the above governments will reëxamine the question, according their action with the principle formulated in the preamble to this Declaration, to wit that any modification of the frontiers of Albania constitutes a danger to the strategic security of Italy.

"Done in Paris this ninth day of November, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-one. (Signed) Hardinge of Penshurst, Jules Cambon, Bonin, K. Ishii."

Within the terms of the first article of this document, the Jugoslav maneuvers to which the Italian Government directed the attention of the Powers represented in the Conference of Ambassadors and of Germany should have been reported by Albania herself. "In case Albania, within a reasonable time, should not have availed herself of the privilege accorded her under Article I," it was to the Council of the League of Nations that the governments should have made the situation known. Then one of two things only could have happened: either the Council would have found intervention necessary, and the four Powers would have entrusted to Italy " the restoration of the territorial frontiers of Albania;" or the Council might have decided that intervention was not necessary: then the governments would have been called upon to reëxamine the question, harmonizing their policies "with the principle that any modification of the frontiers of Albania constitutes a danger to the strategic security of Italy." In either case, the first step was to appeal to the Council of the League of Nations.

This was the very thing that Italy was trying to avoid, in this case as in the case of Corfu (as I have said, the one incident helps to explain the other). Hence Mussolini's protest to the Powers direct, while Albania, surely the party most immediately interested, kept silent, making no comment on anything said or done.

Strict impartiality on the part of France would have dictated the following observation: "The procedure prescribed in the declaration of the Conference of Ambassadors was formulated with the knowledge and consent of Italy. Italy also signed that declaration. We respect her signature and our own. The Council of the League of Nations has the floor!"

France would have been all the more within proprieties in sustaining such a point of view, since Jugoslavia, her ally, was appealing for intervention on the part of the League of Nations. But in order to humor Italian susceptibilities even at the risk of slighting her allies, France sought, in the Albanian affair as in the Corfu affair, to find some settlement without having recourse to the institution at Geneva. She set about quieting the nervousness in Jugoslavia, while England was enjoining caution upon Italy. The extent to which France and England were successful in their respective efforts is not the subject of my discussion here; nor shall I consider whether they were right or wrong in conceiving the situation as they conceived it. In describing the relations that exist between France and Italy it is sufficient for me to have shown, by facts and documents both, that in the two controversies which have arisen between Italy and her neighbors since the year 1923 France has followed policies of a most friendly nature toward her "Latin sister."

Unfortunately Italy has not appreciated such kindness. While she expressed no displeasure at the attitude of Great Britain toward the Corfu incident, she showed no gratitude whatever toward France in 1923; nor in 1927 is she disposed to recognize that France has been yielding to the requirements of Italian diplomacy a little further than her affiliations with Jugoslavia, or even strict impartiality itself, could counsel. Deputy Torre, who signed the first compact with Jugoslavia (that of 1918) on behalf of Italy, writes in the Stampa: "If Jugoslavia is nervous, the responsibility lies with France. For that matter if anything happens in the world today, the responsibility lies with France!"

Deputy Torre is one of the most remarkable statesmen of the Italian peninsula. That such a sentence as this last should escape from him is an indication of the curious mysticism to which the Italian people is at present subject: the moment any difficulty is met along the road, the responsibility lies with France.


We may now attempt an analysis of the deeper reasons which underlie an ill-feeling that is growing from day to day. Among some of purely sentimental character, there is another of a more practical nature.

In the first place, Italy has been taught by her newspapers to regard the Little Entente as something devised by France to the undoing of Italy. And the Little Entente seems to be Italy's worst enemy because its announced policy is to bar the Balkans to any of the Great Powers, in line with the famous formula "The Balkans for the Balkan peoples."

Now one might remark that the Little Entente was its own invention, an invention aimed, furthermore, more particularly against Germany and Hungary than against Italy; and that if France chose to avail herself of the Little Entente and of Poland, it was for the very same reasons which impelled her toward Russia before the war. Italy does not appear in the picture at any point.

But in spite of this, we cannot view Italian efforts to disrupt the Little Entente with any inordinate pleasure. The Italian press accuses France of exercising what it calls "an artificial hegemony" over the Balkans. We aspire to no such predominance; Italy, in fact, fails perhaps to appraise at its true measure the extent to which our prestige in the Balkans rests on our unselfishness. Our sole interest in that section of Europe is to prevent the recurrence of disturbance and war. Italian agitation, bearing today upon Czechoslovakia, tomorrow upon Jugoslavia, now upon Rumania, now upon Albania, now upon Hungary, worries us in that connection alone. Italy has again lost the friendships she had once gained in Czechoslovakia and Jugoslavia. We should have been far happier had she retained them. Continual controversy seems to us to bode ill.

Herr von Rheinbaben, former Under-Secretary in the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote last April in the Täglische Rundschau: "Ruled as she is today by a nationalist government, Italy is more than usually inclined to expansion, and from an expansionist policy she is principally restrained by the attitude of France. This is the one real source of the uneasiness today prevailing about the Mediterranean and in the Balkans. I must repeat in this regard a view which I recently expounded in the Reichstag: two major tendencies may be discerned today no less in the policies of the League of Nations than in those of the Powers at large -- the one aiming at the maintenance of the status quo, the other favorable to a certain evolution. If we are to choose between the two tendencies, it is surely with the latter that Germany must throw in her lot."

Well, the maintenance of the status quo is the great concern of France. To provoke "a certain evolution," to use the apt expression of Herr von Rheinbaben, is the policy which Italy is following with encouragement from the Germans. I need not add that the status quo means peace, and that "a certain evolution" means war.


Unluckily, while Italy is receiving from Germany an encouragement rather moral than effective, she is receiving much more substantial incitement from England.

Early in 1926, when the League's decision on the Mosul question nearly precipitated an Anglo-Turkish war, England offered Cilicia as a bait to Italy. I was present in Angora at that time, attempting as High Commissioner in Syria to negotiate a treaty of neighborliness with the Turks. Personally I have not the slightest doubt that fear of an Italian landing in Cilicia hastened an arrangement between the British and Ottoman Governments whereby Italy was cheated of a military adventure.

Having missed this opportunity, Mussolini went looking for another, and he thought for a moment that he had found one in Abyssinia. But England, France and Italy had signed a tripartite compact, already of long standing; and this agreement did not permit the partition which the statesmen in Rome seemed to have in mind. Furthermore Abyssinia had become a member of the League of Nations and showed herself disposed to invoke Article X of the Pact, which guaranteed her territorial integrity. When the deal fell through, England cleared her skirts by throwing the responsibility for the failure upon France -- a thing which did not improve relations between France and Italy.

Some months later, in September, 1926, to be exact, Messrs. Chamberlain and Mussolini met in conference at Leghorn. At this interview it was no longer a question of Cilicia or Abyssinia, but of Albania. This made the third time within a period of twelve months that England had exposed Italy to a temptation to which the latter had long been only too eager to succumb. To give the devil his due, the initiative probably came from Mussolini; but the meeting at Leghorn unquestionably led up to the Treaty of Tirana. However, the Treaty of Tirana seems likely, in the end, to amount to nothing more than a tempest in the diplomatic teapot. Mr. Chamberlain has been dragged apparently a little farther than he wished to go; and he is now trying to induce Mussolini to interpret the Treaty as indicating a desire on Italy's part to uphold Albania against foreign aggression but not to uphold Ahmed Zogu against revolution in Albania. Mussolini, in a word, must declare that Article I of the Italo-Albanian compact does not say what it says. One may well imagine the irritation which the Italian Premier must be feeling at this situation; and we may soon expect another burst of rage against France!

Events in China might have emphasized to Great Britain the need at last of "making Europe." But British statesmen have not yet lost faith in the traditional strategy of a balance of powers, a balance of power on the Continent between France and Germany, a balance of power in the Mediterranean between France and Italy.

The United States unfortunately helped this maneuver along by declaring, at the Washington Conference, for equality of naval power between Italy and France. The Americans did not observe that France, together with her colonies, has a coast-line of 14,000 miles. This is far smaller than the 36,000 miles of the British Empire, a little smaller than the 20,000 miles of the United States; but much greater than the 8,000 miles of Japan, and especially than the 6,000 miles of Italy. As regards lines of communication, Senator de Kerguezec, Chairman of the Naval Committee of the French Senate, recently estimated in the Revue des Vivants that France, with 51,000 miles, must be ranked second to England with 98,000 miles, but far in advance of the United States with 24,000 miles, of Japan with 7,200 miles and of Italy with 6,000 miles. It is too often overlooked that the geographical configuration of France exposes her to simultaneous attack from the North Sea, from the Channel, from the Atlantic and from the Mediterranean; and that in addition to the 2,000 miles of home seacoast she must defend the 12,000 miles of seacoast of her colonial possessions, which today embrace eight million square miles of territory inhabited by fifty million souls.

The moment Italy was allowed a proportion of capital ships equal to ours, she was assured naval superiority in the Mediterranean over a France compelled to scatter her naval efforts about the world. The first conference on naval disarmament thus proved to be an encouragement to naval armament in Italy. That is why M. de Kerguezec declared the other day that "no official denial can refute the assertion we made in 1926, that Italy's naval forces in the Mediterranean were superior to the naval strength of France in the same waters."


So it comes about that Italy's ambitions, the state of exhilaration in which Fascism is keeping the Italian people, Italian dreams of domination over the Balkans and over the Mediterranean which Italians call "mare nostrum," are setting Italy more and more against France. And now we find her clothing the keenness of her appetites with the noble raiments of right and justice. Italy is firmly convinced that she is young while France is in her dotage. We could see no harm in a young lady's nursing such a pride, if only she were willing to practise that courtesy which the young should observe toward the aged and decrepit, one canon of which is patience !

But Italy is impatient -- Italy has a horror for the thought of waiting! Mussolini declared one day in a white-hot speech that if Italy were long constrained to stand idly by twirling her fingers -- she would explode! The explosion would indeed be painful to everybody, and first of all to Italy herself!

Why so impatient? What the cause of so much excitement? Over-population! In an annual excess of five hundred thousand births over deaths Italy finds the fountain head of this new Right, which is the Right of Inundation !

Italy needs to overflow! She must overflow! It is elementary justice that Italy should overflow! On this basis what chance is there for Finland, which supports three million people on a territory as big as Poland's, while Poland has to provide for thirty million souls? And why, on the same grounds, does the United States not pass one or two of her Western States over to Japan? Why are the yellow peoples not invited to take possession of Australia, which the British are wasting on a paltry seven million whites? And if not the yellow races, why not the Italians? Meanwhile much nearer home in Italy there is a region called Calabria which is still waiting for population and for agricultural development. In Calabria Italy could find accommodations for part at least of her over-exuberance of life.

However, as regards France, can France be reproached for ever having closed her doors to Italian immigration? Not only has France given more generous welcome to Italian immigrants than any European country, but she has even allowed veritable Italian colonies to organize on her soil, colonies which have their own bureaucracies and their own priests and preserve the language, the manners and the customs of their land of origin.

In spite of this tolerance, and in spite of these precautions, these expatriates seem to be requesting naturalization in France in too great numbers to suit the Fascists. Signor Dino Grandi, Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a speech delivered last month in the Italian Chamber:

"Fascism must have the courage to declare that emigration, when directed toward lands not under Italian suzerainty, is a positive evil. . . ."

Mussolini: "We have lost a million Italians in that manner in five years."

Grandi: "In some countries, anti-Fascism is deliberately fostered in order to create in the Italian masses an atmosphere favorable to the continuous process of denationalization." (Loud applause.)

The phrase "in certain countries" is significant. In particular, of course, it means "France." But let the French Government endeavor, as it did early this year, to put some slight limits on immigration from Italy by requiring that passports be viséed at French consulates, and the Resto del Carlino at once raises a shout: "This gesture is by all odds the most unfriendly of all the moves that France has made against Italy during these recent years;" and the Italian Ambassador hastens to the Quai d'Orsay to request a postponement in the enforcement of the regulation. (The request was granted, naturally!)

These few details will doubtless suggest that Italy is not so easy to please, and that, on the other hand, she is very quick in judging others unfavorably. Mussolini gave us an amusing opportunity to observe such traits when, recently, on being made the object of a personal attack (fortunately unsuccessful) on the part of an Italian, he at once discovered the hand of France in it. We actually began to have a guilty feeling; for the French Minister of the Interior addressed a circular letter to his subordinates ordering closer supervision of foreigners. Our greater strictness thereafter enabled us to unearth the Ricciotti Garibaldi affair, of which the Italian public has heard very little; for even the Italian public would hardly have been pleased to learn that the Italian police was organizing on French territory conspiracies against Il Duce which would enable the latter at his convenience to denounce France!


These facts, in their mass, enable us to form some conception of the present relations between France and Italy, and of the assiduous care that is being taken beyond the Alps to make them as bad as possible. Said the Fascist newspaper, L'Impero, in its issue of February 5: "We wish the last few friends that France has in Italy would forget their stinking 'Latin brotherhood' once and for all."

"For whom Nice the Beautiful?" "Per noi!"

"For whom the shrapnel?" "For the French!"

Such were the slogans of the Fascist militiamen who crowded into Vintimiglia last winter to line the Franco-Italian frontier.

Yet mere shouting is not enough to move us from our wonted composure. We shall continue to long for an understanding between Italy and France which we believe essential to the peace of Europe. But we cannot close our eyes to the fact that such patriotic hysteria as prevails in Italy is not without its dangers. Scarcely a day goes by that the Italian press, which takes all its cues from Palazzo Chigi and which now that it has lost its freedom tends to compromise the government in all its articles, does not raise its voice against the Treaties of Locarno. Now Italy was one of the signers and is still one of the guarantors of those treaties, which constitute the sole foundation of security on the Continent of Europe. With Italy withdrawing, the whole structure would become less solid, if indeed it were able to stand at all.

Mussolini doubtless does not share all the caprices of his disciples, but they may some day sweep him off his feet. The failure of his attempts to find an outlet for Italian emotions in Cilicia, in Abyssinia, in Albania, along with pressure on Italian finance which is increasing despite the magnificent efforts of his government to reduce the strain, may some day force the Dictator to desperate measures. It is a perilous atmosphere which gathers around a policy of rejecting the status quo in favor of something that promises more grand adventure. We have learned what such things cost. One of our informants was Napoleon the Third. Another was the Kaiser.

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