NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LABOUR - 24.1.39.
MR. ATTLEE reported on an intview [interview] he and Mr. Greenwood had had with the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary with regard to their visit to Rome.
Mr. Attlee said the Prime Minister gave a fairly long account of their visit, and one of the things which had impressed him most was the spontaneous enthusiasm of the Italian crowds in the streets. This not only applied to their formal entry into Rome, but also on the various occasions when he and the Foreign Secretary had appeared in public.
The Prime Minister them referred to the discussions which had taken place with Mussolini and Ciano. Attlee said his view was that nothing whatever seemed to have been effected. A long statement had been issued after the discussions which said that they stood by their declarations and did not intend any territorial changes in the Mediterranean. They concluded by saying they would evacuate Spain when that country had been conquered by Franco.
Attlee said he put to the Prime Minister that the underlying thing was that Mussolini intended to continue his intervention in Spain until such time as the Government was defeated. All the Prime Minister appeared to reply to that was that Italy was continuing the support which she had been giving for a long time - an inference that the support was not being increased.
The Prime Minister then said they had tried to find out from Mussolini what were Hitler's intentions In the future. All Mussolini was able to say was that Hitler's intentions were peaceful. The British Government were, however, very
gravely concerned as to what is likely to be Hitler's next move,