The Charlotte News

Sunday, September 26, 1937



The Eternal Optimists

It is not exactly news that Signor Mussolini has indicated to Great Britain and France his readiness to ban further "volunteer" enlistments for service in Spain--for a price which is said to be the recognition of the Ethiopian conquest. The Signor flatly promised as much a year ago when the now junked non-intervention agreement was entered into. And he has continually promised as much at regular intervals since. Yet the evidence seems overwhelming that, even as he promised, he continued to pour into Spain--not intrepid volunteers, indeed, but solid battalions and whole brigades of Italian soldiery who had no choice but to go or be shot for rebellion. Franco's army, according to current estimates, includes at least 60,000 Italians, many of whom have crossed over since it was agreed to isolate the war in Spain.

Well, and has the leopard at length changed his spots? Is the Signor now suddenly become worthy of trusting? No one really thinks it. In the scale of the realities, the Signor's honor, like that of his companions in arms, Hitler and the Japanese, is worth exactly less than nothing. The world is convinced that it is going to witness the same old runaround--that at the very moment in which he signs the new agreement the news agencies will report that he is again landing his "volunteers."

Yet England and France go once again on the familiar way of making agreements only to have them broken boldaceously and without apology. If war were the only alternative, it would be understandable; but does a nation have to enter into covenants with another nation which it knows full well will not keep them unless it choose to? Is there no such thing as the cold shoulder in the relations of states?

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