The Prime Minister on British relations with Italy (leaflet)
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The PRIME MINISTER on BRITISH RELATIONS with ITALY THE ANGLO-ITALIAN AGREEMENT. "I was convinced that once conversations had started, we should find good effects of the new atmosphere in many places, and notably in Spain, where the chief difficulties between us had lain for so long..... Assuming that he (Brigadier-General Spears) is correct, that the assurances given to us by the Italian Government are not to be depended upon, and will not be fulfilled, then there will be no Agreement." — House of Commons, Debate on Mr. Eden's resignation, 21st February, 1938. "They (the Opposition) have talked . . . about surrenders to Dictators, about the gullibility of the Prime Minister, in believing a single word that was said to him ... I only ask you to have a little patience, to wait a little longer . . . before our Agreement with Italy is concluded and published, and then if you are not of my opinion, if you do not believe that it is not the Prime Minister who has been fooled, but the Socialists and Liberals who have been fooled themselves, I will be prepared to eat my hat." — Speech to the Conservative Association in Birmingham, 8th April, 1938. The signing of this Agreement has already affected a radical change in the relations between our two countries. The clouds of mistrust and suspicion have been cleared away. . . . "I believe that for Italy and ourselves this Agreement marks the beginning of a new era. In former days we had a close friendship with the old Italy, the Italy which with our warm approval and sympathy won her independence under Cavour Mazzini and Garibaldi. To-day there is a new Italy, an Italy which, under the stimulus of the personality of Signor Mussolini is showing new vigour, in which there is apparent new vision and new efficiency in administration and in the measures which they are taking to improve the conditions of their people. ... I believe we may look forward to the friendship of the new Italy as firmly based as that by which we were bound to the old." — House of Commons, 2nd May, 1938. (Official Report, vol. 335, cols. 541, 545/6.) FULFILMENT OF THE AGREEMENT. "... On April 16th, Lord Perth addressed a Note to the Italian Foreign Minister in which he reminded him that His Majesty's Government regarded the settlement of the Spanish Question as a prerequisite of the entry into force of the Agreement made between the two Governments. ... It is not our fault, it is not the fault of the Italian Government, that that condition has not been brought about. They have kept faith with us - they kept full faith with us in the reduction of their troops in Libya, in the cessation of anti-British propaganda, and in collaboration on the Non-Intervention Committee." — House of Commons, 26th July, 1938. (Official Report, vol. 338, cols. 2,963/4.) THE ROME VISIT. "We believe that that Agreement has opened a new chapter of friendship and confidence between us which should prove fruitful for the future stability of Europe. . With the hope that our two nations may together co-operate in the task of securing lasting peace in Europe, I raise my glass to his Majesty the King of Italy, Emperor of Ethiopia, and to the continued welfare and prosperity of the people over whom he rules." — Speech at Rome banquet, 11th January, 1939. "We leave more than ever convinced of the good faith and good will of the Italian Government. We are sure that a more intimate understanding has been reached and that the conversations will bear fruit in the future, not only in the relations between our two countries, but also in European co-operation.'' — Statement to Italian Press, on conclusion of visit to Rome, 14th January, 1939. TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY OF SPAIN. "The Italian Government have now again [24th March, 1938] asserted their willingness loyally to assist in the execution of the British Plan [for the evacuation of foreign volunteers] and, what is perhaps most important, they have repeated a declaration which they made some time ago [so-called Gentlemen's Agreement, January, 1937] ... to the effect that Italy has no territorial, political or economic aims in Spain or in the Balearic Islands. His Majesty's Government place full reliance upon the intention of the Italian Government to make good their assurances." — House of Commons, 21th March, 1938. (Official Report, vol. 333, col. 1,411.) "With regard to Spain, there have been suspicions . . . that Italy not only when the time came would refuse to withdraw volunteers in accordance with the Non-Intervention Committee's Agreement, but that she also was aiming at acquiring for herself some permanent position, either in Spain itself or in some of Spain's overseas possessions. Therefore I desire to call particular attention to Count Ciano's letter ... He reaffirms that 'if this evacuation has not been completed at the moment of the termination of the Spanish Civil War, all remaining Italian volunteers will forthwith leave Spanish territory and all Italian war material will simultaneously be withdrawn.' He 'repeats his previous assurance that the Italian Government have no territorial or political aims, and seek no privileged economic position in or with regard to Metropolitan Spain, the Balearic Islands ...'
|Archive collection||Archives of the Trades Union Congress|
|Archive folder||Spanish Rebellion - Documents 1938-1939|
|Document title||The Prime Minister on British relations with Italy (leaflet)|
|Issuing organisation||Parliamentary Committee for Spain|
|Publisher||London : Parliamentary Committee for Spain|
|Contributors||Chamberlain, Neville, 1869-1940|