many of whom merit our fullest sympathy, to point out that every group of political refugees inevitably harbors among its saner elements shady adventurers, anarchists, Bolshevist propagandists, and other fishers in troubled waters.

Until recently, then, we have had no occasion to complain of the Fascisti in the Alpes Maritimes. Most of them are serious, settled people who have lived in France for many years and have often given proof of their attachment to our country. They formed themselves into fascios because they appreciated what Mussolini had done to save their country from Communism; but nothing was further from their minds than to start hostile agitation in our country, or to organize reprisals against the Italians of different opinion who have taken refuge under our flag. Among other evidences of this accommodating spirit was the readiness with which they gave up the celebration of their national holiday at the request of the prefect, lest it might invite unfortunate conflicts with their antiFascist neighbors.

After Lucetti's attempt to assassinate Mussolini last September, the latter in a moment of irritation made a public allusion to the 'culpable tolerance' with which the enemies of Fascism were treated across the border. His followers promptly took up the cry. From that moment the attitude of the fascios in the Alpes Maritimes, which were worked upon by special commissioners sent from Rome, completely changed. The sane and sensible members were swept off their feet by a more turbulent element. Italians residing abroad, and above all in regions close to the frontier, were enjoined to combat vigorously the anti-Fascist émigrés.

This was the situation when, on October 31, Mussolini escaped a second

and our


attempt at assassination French railway employees were saulted at the international frontier station Ventimiglia. Armed Fascist bands concentrated in that region, and excitement ran so high that anything might happen. A few days later open preparations were made to massacre all the French in Ventimiglia. A punitive expedition into France itself was announced, and open threats of war were in the air.

So critical was the situation that the authorities were in a quandary. The Italian constabulary officer responsible for order on his side of the frontier felt compelled to notify his French colleagues at Nice that he had received reënforcements of one hundred and fifty carabinieri, and that he had ordered them to fire on any raiders discovered crossing the line into France, but that his forces were too weak to prevent such an undertaking. Only a miracle, in his opinion, could prevent a massacre of the French at Ventimiglia. That was at 4 P.M. Fascist bands had already gathered for their bloody work. The Government at Rome was notified. Everyone waited for word from there. Finally, at nine o'clock that night, a special emissary arrived. Orders were issued. Respected leaders laid down the law. Little by little excitement subsided and the Fascist Legionaries dispersed.

Not until then did France appreciate the danger. Our authorities at Nice took every precaution in their power. A detachment of customs guards, six gendarmes at Mentone, and two skeleton battalions of infantry were posted as well as possible to resist a Fascist foray. If the Legionaries, filled with the mystical enthusiasm that sometimes seizes them, had crossed the border, they would have attacked first Mentone and Beaulieu, and might possibly have reached Nice. What would have

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been the result? We should have learned too late what we had refused to see that the regular troops of Italy had resumed the positions on our frontier which they occupied in the days of the Triple Alliance, that they had built strategic highways and armored entrenchments there, and that we had only two divisions to oppose to their two army corps.

We have taken precautions since, and the atmosphere has cleared. But the narrow margin by which we escaped a disaster bids us ponder. Every intelligent man in Nice and its neighborhood knows that so critical a situation could not have arisen if someone had not deliberately poisoned the sentiment of each country toward the other.

As a matter of fact, a group of papers in these partly Italianized departments have made it their business to abuse the Fascist Government. La France de Nice et du Sud-Est, established a few weeks after the famous Radical-Socialist Congress of 1925, while intended primarily to serve the political interests of the Cartel des gauches, has constantly criticized and maligned the present régime at Rome. Another paper of the same color is La Petit Nicois. To these the Fascisti naturally replied by setting up at Nice Pensiero Latino, an equally violent Party organ of their own.

This created an embarrassing situation. The police have authority to suppress a foreign journal published in France; but under the law of 1881 they cannot suppress a French journal. So the Radical French papers in that region, relying on their immunity under the law, began printing a page in Italian, devoted largely to attacks upon the Fascist Government.

Now we know what happened at Ventimiglia last November. French railway employees who refused to un

cover when the Fascist standards marched past and during the singing of the Fascist national hymn, and who, according to certain witnesses, even went out of their way to insult the Fascist demonstrators, were attacked on the platform of the international railway station. Bands of angry Fascisti hooted the French consulate. An Italian pushed his way into the Consul's office during that gentleman's absence and made a violent speech against France from the balcony, whence the carabinieri had great difficulty in dislodging him.

That was an exceedingly serious incident. France was right in demanding apologies. But, to be perfectly fair, we should bear in mind that for some weeks past certain of our railway employees had amused themselves by parading the red flag in front of the Fascisti of Ventimiglia, and by showing about the Italian page of France de Nice. Nor should we forget that during the big demonstrations at Nice last November, when the entire strength of the gendarmes and the police was busy keeping order while a procession of five thousand Italian Communists marched through the town, the demonstrators suddenly decided to attack the Italian consulate. Luckily the authorities got wind of this plan and had time to send a detachment of gendarmes to defeat it.

France has more than a sentimental or a political motive for viewing this situation with profound regret. Her people certainly share heavily in the responsibility for the present ill-will on her southeastern border. And the people there are paying a heavy price for these provocations. Except at Cannes, where a remarkable genius has succeeded in retaining his clientele, less than one half as many people are spending the winter in the Riviera this year as last.



It may be asked, why should an Englishman busy himself about what is happening in the Palatinate, which is under the French occupation? If the Germans object to this occupation, if incidents occur, such as the shooting of two Germans at Germersheim recently by a French officer, why not accept the French view that the officer acted in self-defense, and leave it at that? Surely this and the various charges which the Germans bring against the French in the Palatinate are matters for the French and Germans to settle among themselves, and to meddle in the business will only arouse the resentment of the French, without helping the Germans. Why not, therefore, leave the Palatinate alone?

The answer is that the occupation is a joint concern of the former Allies, as the title of the body which is responsible for administering the occupation clauses of the Treaty of Versailles, the Interallied Rhineland Commission, suggests. Therefore the British cannot escape responsibility for what goes on in the Palatinate. Lord Curzon acted strictly in accordance with the right of this country to inquire into the French administration in the Palatinate, or any other part of the occupied area, when he sent Mr. Clive, the British Consul at Munich, to investigate the condition of affairs there when the

1 From the Nineteenth Century and After (London Conservative monthly), January

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Separatist movement was in full swing in the early part of 1923. He acted in the interests of the former Allies when he prevented the French from setting up a Separatist government in the Palatinate under the authority of the Rhineland Commission. The French Government never argued that Lord Curzon was not within his rights in insisting upon an investigation.

Without inviting any invidious comparison between British and French methods in the Rhineland, there is no doubt that the British are in character and temperament more akin to the Germans in many ways, and therefore understand better how to deal with them. There has never been anything like the same friction in the British area as in the French area, for the British authorities have never interfered with the people, and never pursued any political aim. On the contrary, General Godley and Mr. Julian Piggott set their faces sternly against the admission of the Separatist agitators into the Cologne area.

The main cause of the friction in the French area, especially in the Palatinate, was due in the first instance to the failure of the French authorities to understand that they were not there to control the German civil administration, or to pursue a Separatist policy, but solely as a garrison, their duty beginning and ending with the holding of the territory. The real trouble began when the Separatist movement was supported by the French in the hope that this might lead to the Ger

mans in the Rhineland accepting an autonomous régime, which would divide the demilitarized area from Germany, or at least neutralize it when the occupation came to an end. This policy was promoted by wholesale expulsions and the imprisonment of many Germans in the Palatinate. The German police were disarmed and a gang of rascals was installed in the Government building at Speyer, the German officials being sent packing over the Rhine. Thus left shepherdless, the people of the Palatinate could offer no resistance to the traitors who were installed in their midst to administer their affairs, and it was only just in time that Lord Curzon interposed his veto on the establishment of an independent régime in the Bavarian province.

I am reminded of all this as we speed toward Speyer once more and cross the pontoon bridge over the Rhine which leads to the city. On our right rises the tall dome of the cathedral, which can be seen for many miles across the flat plains so famous for their vineyards. It witnessed Luther's arrival in Speyer to beard cardinal and priest, and survived the Thirty Years' War and devastation of the Palatinate under Louis XIV. Little of medieval Speyer remains; the cathedral was largely destroyed, the tall basilica, one of the finest of its kind in Germany, being modern, while the city itself recalls Hanoverian times.

Speyer is a quiet provincial town, with cobbled streets, and unexpected peeps of gardens over red-brick walls, and new shops in modern German style elbowing the houses reminiscent of early Georgian days. There, in that square-faced hotel, the German traitor was shot as a warning to Separatists. There is still the bullet mark in the woodwork of the wall behind the chair in which he sat. In that tall official

looking building opposite General de Metz allowed the Separatist Government to take up its quarters. A general with a little imperial beard who looked as if he had walked out of a picture of the Third Empire, General de Metz could not really have believed that the Separatists were good, honest Germans whose only fault was that they wished to pay reparation and be on good terms with the French. He might think, perhaps, that an Englishman was fair game, but he could not persuade me, after I had seen the terrible confusion in which the Provisional Government had left the State building in March 1923, that the Separatists were anything but sans-culottes of the lowest type. And I am sure that the General was too intelligent to think that a movement headed by such rascals represented the spontaneous desire of honest people in the Palatinate for an autonomous government, and that this desire was held in check only by Nationalist agitators from across the Rhine.

Lord Curzon had no doubt as to his right to intervene to stop this business, and the name of Mr. Clive is still remembered with gratitude in the Palatinate, for his inquiry led to the French withdrawing their support from the Separatists, who collapsed at once. The soi-disant Provisional Government disappeared in a night, vanishing into holes and corners when the Speyer agreement was signed, which permitted the German officials to return to take over their duties once more. But the Palatinate was still seething with indignation when I first visited it, in March 1923. Fortunately, M. Herriot's advent to power brought an amnesty for political offenders, and although it took some time for the exiles to return, for the French officials in the Palatinate insisted on scrutinizing the list very carefully,

peace was gradually restored to the Palatinate, and on my next visit, in 1924, I found a much better feeling prevailing.

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It took a large sum of money to restore the interior of the Government building at Speyer to its former spickand-span appearance, and workmen were still engaged on the task. The German Administration and the German police, with whom the occupying force had never any right to interfere, were functioning again, and although there were still political offenders in the French prisons, one of which I visited at Germersheim, to find that the prisoners were well treated, - the bulk of them were free. The people of the Palatinate still complained of interference in their domestic affairs, and particularly resented the presence of the native troops from Morocco. But they were no longer oppressed, imprisoned, or exiled for asserting their legitimate rights. The French troops were less visible, and were under better discipline. There were, however, still complaints of assault and robbery, and a state of strained nerves still existed. One could realize the full meaning of what they had passed through only by talking to the people themselves, and noting how many of them, especially the women, showed traces of anxiety. They had not forgotten the time when a rap at the door might mean the dread order for expulsion, or, worse still, an order for arrest and subsequent imprisonment.

But in 1924 General de Metz had gone, and the French general who had taken his place was a wiser and more humane man. There was no longer any playing with the Separatist movement; there was no justification for any suspicion that the French still held this card up their sleeve. They realized that, whatever excuse they might plead for having mistaken the Separa

tist movement as a spontaneous rising of popular feeling against the Bavarian Government, it had not only failed ignominiously, but had stimulated the loyalty of the people of the Palatinate, who were more passionately patriotic than ever.

The improvement of the relations between the French occupying force and the people of the Palatinate continued until July of this year. It was hoped that when the Treaty of Locarno was signed there would be an immediate reduction of the number of troops in the Palatinate, but unfortunately this did not occur, and, according to the German authorities, there are as many French soldiers in the country to-day as there were before the signing of the Treaty. What the people had hoped was that it would no longer be necessary to billet French soldiers in their houses, for the French had built new barracks in the Palatinate, and the former barracks were sufficient for the German garrison of pre-war days.

The demand that the French troops should be reduced to the number of the German soldiers who were in the Palatinate before the war was a reasonable one, and if it had been met the friction caused by billeting French soldiers in German households would have been avoided. Moreover, this billeting leads to a shortage of house room, which is much resented. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, and the people of the Palatinate, who had been led to expect, not only a reduction in the numbers of the occupying force, but the promise of an early deliverance altogether, began to grow restless.

This, I think, partly explains what subsequently occurred. At all events, in July the improvement in the relations between the Germans and the French received a check. The French put this down to the celebrations which were held in Germersheim, a small

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