From Our Own Correspondent
Last-minute efforts for French intervention to save Barcelona were made this week, and the sittings of the Chambre in Paris have been noisier than usual.
The main interventionists are the Communists, Socialists and certain Popular Democrats.
The only fundamental difference between. the situation then and now was that then, although France was officially non interventionist, the Front Populaire allowed arms to pass into Spain on a large and regular scale, and the Communist Party of France, which formed part of M. Blum's majority, was organising and recruiting the International Brigades.
intervention on an effective scale is stow snore than unlikely because the overwhelming majority of Frenchmen are opposed to risking war for any ideology: above all as war over Spain would presumably not be backed by the British Government.
There seems to have been a noticeable cooling-off of sympathy
towards the Spanish Nationalists in certain Right-Centre circles since the development of the quarrel with Italy; and there is, in addition, a section of French opinion which, without supporting the Spanish Republicans, has never been anxious for a rapid Franco victory.
While groups such as the Action Franca/Ise, the Dorlotists, and the followers of Colonel de la Rocque, are supporting Franco as before, many Centre people are nervous concerning the close collaboration with Italy which the new Spanish rulers will presumably
maintain; and the hostility to Burgos has now gone on for so long that it is rapidly becoming too late for the French Government to make friends with the Spanish Nationalists—especially if the Spanish Nationalists consider they have won in spite of France.
DIPLOMATIC FAILURES For months now the Right leaders have been urging the Government not to make the same mistake with regard to Spain that they made with regard to Italy—withholding an ambassador until too late.
There is a real uneasiness in France over these diplomatic failures, especially when they are compared with the successes the Germans and Italians seem to be achieving in eastern Europe and the Balkans—the fact being that owing to the collapse of Russia, France has no strong ally to counteract German development in the East.
HOSTILITY TO WAR
But a fundamental el, nir nt that no French politician can ignore is the deep hostility of large sections of the French population to war—above all war under conditions resembling those of September last.
This is especially strong in the Right —which is absolutely determined not to allow a war until France has been cleaned up and the Communist Party has been suppressed. This factor was a vital one in September last, and it remains so now.
Indeed, an impartial commentator may conclude that the French will hardly fight save in two (at present unlikely) eventualities: a direct attack on the Maginot line by Germany, or a direct attack on the French colonies by Italy.
WHAT IT IS LIRE
All war propaganda in France, direct or disguised, has an obstacle to face in the stolid hostility of the average man, Who remembers perhaps more clearly than his counterpart in any other country what the last war was like, and what it was fought about.