London (Apr. 8)
Liberal and Conservative circles buzzed with excited comment here today on the outspoken warning to the Nazis uttered at Birmingham last night by Sir Austen Chamberlain, former Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, on the occasion of his election as president of the Conservative Association.
Sir Austen said, in effect, that the internal war on a racial minority which is being carried out by Hitler justifies, in deed, the worst that the Allied nations could say against German barbarity and frightfulness. In informed circles it is felt that Sir Austen’s speech was not prepared without the knowledge, if not without the approval, of the present British Ministry. Sir Austen’s speech follows in part:
“I want the German Government to think of the impression which its attitude toward fellow-citizens within its power must give the world of what its attitude to other nations would be if it were in a position to force its will. Germany met her fate in 1918 because, in overweening pride and egocentric vanity, she was unwilling to allow other people to live as they wished, but was determined to dominate and impose her will on the remainder of the world, and we see again kindling in her internal affairs the same spirit at a moment when she is asking the Disarmament Conferenceâ€”and other States expressed willingness to grant it to herâ€”equality of status. This is not the moment to make concessions to Germany.
“Germany is asking reconsideration of any portion of the Versailles Treaty which is shown to be unduly harsh. Before you can revise those treaties, before you can reconsider them, you must be quite certain that that domineering spirit has departed from the Germans. Before we can return to their level, we must be sure they seek equality for their own security and to maintain peace and not to threaten the security of other nations, and I say, with the sense of responsibility which must attach to a person who has held the position I have, that it ill becomes Germany to be so narrow or overbearing or exclusive.
“That spirit is rampant. To come asking favors and concessions from other nations is useless unless a better spirit prevails, unless she gives the security to Europe regarding her intentions which European nations have a right to expect.”