Courtesy Reuters

The Struggle for the Nile

IN THE course of the present African crisis Great Britain has consistently taken its stand with the angels. It has done more than any other major Power to make the League an effective instrument of action against an aggressor state, and through leading members of its government it has announced on more than one occasion its determination not to accept a settlement of the dispute repugnant to the League. To be sure, in the London press reference has been made here and there to the fact that the British, whatever their interest in peace and in the strengthening of the League, have other interests of a purely national character which are endangered by the Italian policy and which must therefore be defended. But this aspect of the problem has generally been glossed over. The English, as a people, have been well satisfied with themselves in an altruistic rôle. In the words of one of their leading political writers, they have long enjoyed freedom of speech because they can be trusted to leave unsaid the things that would be discreditable or embarrassing.

At the root of the present difficulties there lies, no doubt, the general apprehension, shared alike by Britain and France, of the new wave of nationalism and colonialism which has been sweeping Italy since the advent of the Fascist régime. Anyone who has followed at all closely the last decade's flood of expansionist propaganda and the story of Fascist organization and activity in the countries of the Mediterranean basin, will hardly have escaped the conclusion that the aspirations of the New Italy have created an entirely new situation -- a situation fraught with latent danger to the two Powers which, hitherto, have shared between them the control of northern Africa. It has been suggested on some sides that M. Laval's visit to Rome last January was actuated as much by fear of Italian designs on Tunis as by alarm at Hitler's plans for Austria, and that the French

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