The Charlotte News
Friday, March 13, 1936
The French Attitude.
One of the reasons--ostensibly the main reason--why Herr Hitler deliberately violated the terms of the Versailles Treaty and the Locarno Pact was the proposed Franco-Russian mutual assistance agreement. How in the world, Herr Hitler asked in effect, could France covenant to remain on friendly terms with Germany and at the same time to tie up with Germany's deadly enemy, Russia? It was a pointed question, and seemed to excuse the breach of the Locarno Pact. The British saw the reasonableness of Hitler's contention; but saw also that it would not stand up in view of the reoccupation of the demilitarized zone between Germany and Belgium. Belgium had entered into no sort of alliance with Russia.
At any rate, yesterday the French senate followed the example of the chamber of deputies and ratified the Franco-Russian mutual assistance agreement by a vote of 233 to 52. That is an official expression of the French attitude. If there is any backing down to be done, France will not do it.
The German Attitude.
Berlin issued a pronouncement yesterday defining its attitudes on treaties in general and the present ominous situation in particular. Having re-occupied the demilitarized zone, Germany firstly would make this concession while negotiations were carried on: she would leave it occupied. (That was nice of her!)
The pronouncement went on:
"What the German government is striving for is not the conclusion of treaties which, because they are bound up with moral burdens for an honor-loving and decent people, outwardly and inwardly would remain hard to believe, but the restitution of a real and factual pacification of Europe for the next quarter century.
"... And only what is signed under free decision of equal European peoples and states can truly be lived up to honorably, because of its agreement with the conceptions of the honor of nations, and it will just as honorably be lived up to also by Germany."
This is a plain statement of Germany's intention to consider no treaty binding in fact or in morality unless the terms of it suits her. Hence, it is plain that were France to seize the present moment to subdue Germany all over again and to extract a formal promise of good behavior, that promise would not, in the German view, be valid or count for more than any other scrap of paper. That is worth remembering.
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