THE LOCARNO PACTS
During the spring and summer of 1925, the French, German, and British diplomats were looking for some substitute for the Geneva Protocol. Stresemann was ready to guarantee the French-Belgian frontier on condition that France and Britain gave a similar guarantee for the German frontier. This was the gist of the so-called Locarno Pacts of September 1925.
In the course of the negotiations, Mussolini endeavoured to obtain a similar guarantee for the Italian frontier at the Brenner. His attempt failed.1
As a consequence, Mussolini took no interest in the Locarno negotiations during October 1925, and the Fascist Press in Italy displayed mocking scepticism. The weekly Critica Fascista, published by Bottai, an important personage in the régime, used the following terms to describe the "Byzantine" discussions at Locarno:
"Nobody has the courage to put his finger on the wound: an inter- European understanding is a chimera and as good as impossible. The best thing is for each country to look to its own interests, forming friendships and possibly alliances with the neighbouring peoples with whom it will some day have to march. We are sure that our Government is of this opinion. The indifference with which it follows the proceedings at Locarno proves it. Mussolini has preferred to spend several days in Piedmont, where our soldiers are training, rather than in Switzerland, where diplomats are wasting their time."