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安东尼·艾登 坚定的政策

2006-07-07 16:53

Anthony Eden


February 21,1938

  There are occasions when strong political convic-tions must override all other considerations.Ofsuch an occasion,only the individual himself canbe the judge.

  The objective of foreign policy in this countryis and must always be the maintenance of peace.If,however,peace is to be enduring,it must reston foundations of frank reciprocity and of mutualrespect.It follows that we must be ready to nego-tiate with all countries,whatever their forms ofgovernment,in order to promote international un-derstanding.But we must also be watchful that,inour conception of such negotiations and in themethod by which we seek to further them,we are,in fact,strengthening,not undermining,the foun-dations on which international confidence rests.

  The immediate issue is whether such officialconversations(between the British and Italian gov-ernments) should be opened in Rome now.In myconviction,the attitude of the Italian governmentto international problems in general,and thiscountry in particular,is not yet such as to justifythis course.The ground has been in no respectprepared.Propaganda against this country by theltalian government is rife throughout the world.Iam myself pledged to this House not to open con-versations with Italy until this hostile propagandaceases.Moreover,little progress in fact,thoughmuch in promise,has been made with the solutionof the Spanish problem.Let me make it plain thatI do not suggest and would not advocate that thegovernment should refuse conversations with the I-talian government,or indeed with any other gov-ernment which shows any disposition to conversa-tion with us for betterment of international under-standing.Yet we must see that the conditions inwhich these conversations take place are such as tomake for the likelihood,if not for the certainty,oftheir success.In my view,those conditions do notexist today.

  In January of last year,after difficult negotia-tions,we signed an Anglo-Italian agreement.Within a very few days-indeed,almost simultane-ously—a considerable consignment of Italians leftfor Spain.It may be said that this was not a breachof our understanding;but no one,I think,willcontend that it did not run counter to its spirit.The same agreement contained a specific clausedealing with the cessation of propaganda,yet pro-paganda was scarcely diminished for an instant.

  Then last summer the Prime Minister and Sig-nor Mussolini exchanged letters,and after that fora few days relations between our two countriestook a marked turn for the better.There ensuedthe incidents in the Mediterranean,with which theHouse is familiar.

  My submission is that we cannot run the riskof further repetition of these experiences.

  We must agree not only on the need for with-drawal(of the foreign fighters now in Spain),buton the conditions of withdrawal.We have had as-surances enough of that in the past.We must gofarther,and show the world not only promises butachievement.

  We cannot consider this problem except in re-lation to the international situation as a whole.Weare in the presence of progressive deterioration ofrespect for international obligations.It is quite im-possible to judge these things in a vacuum.This isthe moment for this country to stand firm,not toplunge into negotiations unprepared,with fore-knowledge that the obstacle to their success hasnot been resolved.

  Agreements that are worth while are nevermade on the basis of threats,nor,in the past,hasthis country been willing to negotiate in such con-ditions.

  It has never entered into my conception tosuggest that the Italian forces alone should bewithdrawn from Spain,but only that the Italiangovernment should agree to,and carry out withothers,a fair scheme for the proposed withdrawalof all forces from Spain.

  I am conscious why I stand here,and why mycolleagues take another view.If they are right,their chances for success will certainly be enhancedif their policy is pursued through another ForeignSecretary.

  I should not be frank with the House if I pre-tended it is an isolated issue between the PrimeMinister and myself.It is not.Within in the last fewweeks,upon one of the most important decisionsof foreign policy,which did not concern Italy atall,the difference was fundamental.Moreover,itrecently has become clear to me,and,I think tohim,that there is between us a real difference inthe outlook and method.

  Of late the conviction has steadily grown uponme that there has been too keen a desire on ourpart to make terms with others,rather than thatothers should make terms with us.This has neverbeen the attitude of this country in the past.Itshould not,in the interests of peace,be our atti-tude today.

  I do not believe we can make progress in Euro-pean appeasement—more particularly in the lightof the events of the last few days—if we allow theimpression to gain currency abroad that we yield toconstant pressure.

  I am certain in my own mind that progress de-ponds,above all,on the temper,of the nation,andthat temper must find expression in a firm spirit.That spirit,I am confident,is there.Not to givevoice to it is,I believe,fair neither to this countrynor to the world.

















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