FRANCE AND RUSSIA
In his first statement before the Chamber of Deputies (June 23) the new Foreign Minister in Blum's Cabinet, Delbos, refused to listen to the suggestion that France should "mind her own business" in Europe, drop her alliances, give up the attempt to build a continental system of security, and retire behind her own frontiers, content to purchase her own security at the price of European peace. There could be no agreement "contrary to the principle of undivided peace, with no threat to anyone". Blum also declared (July I) that France would fight to protect not only her own frontiers but also those of her "allies"; that only Governments bold enough to risk war could hope to preserve peace; that the greater courage they showed in facing this risk the more hope there was of preventing war.
What was the use of talking about indivisible peace, when the British Government had divided the Western peace from the Eastern peace, and was prepared to ignore any threat to the East? Delbos and Blum did not, or could not, or pretended they did not understand that France was now up against a choice between its commitments to the Little Entente and Russia on the one hand and British support on the other, and that the Covenant had been thrown on the scrap-heap. All too soon the Spanish Civil War, the rape of Austria, and the invasion of Czechoslovakia were to show what course Blum, Delbos, and their successors were forced to accept.
That the leaders of the British Conservative Party had definitely chosen their course of action, became obvious when Sir Austen stated in the House of Commons (June 27) that Great Britain could not expect every country to go to war over every quarrel that might arise; therefore, Britain could not be expected to do what no other country was expected to do. Great Britain must fight to the finish in her own defence and therefore, obviously, also in the defence of Holland, Belgium, and France. But "to say that we would fight only under these circumstances would licence war everywhere throughout the rest of the world. That was a thing which we had no right to do". Great Britain should reserve the right "to judge each case on its own merits", that is to say, the right to licence or not licence any war according to her own convenience.1____________________