(Continued front page 11.) Germany and Holland to Italy via the Brenner. Such benefits are, however, but temporary.
Bankruptcy for Italy More than once while I was in Austria, 1 had quoted to me the words spoken to the Italian Parliament so long ago as May, 1934, by Mussolini: " The pressure of taxation has reached the limit. . . . The Italian taxpayer must be given a breathing-space of absolute tranquillity." Yet, what relaxation of taxation has there been in Italy?
What chance of relaxation in the near future is there? thinking Italians are asking themselves. None! is the answer that they are forced to give to their question; an answer which, in the view of many of the soundest among them, spells bankruptcy for Italy.
Nor can it be overlooked that, in transporting German coal for which Germany will be paid in Italian-held shares of Austrian industrial concerns, the Austrian State Railways are merely acting as the agents for the transfer from Italian to German hands of an appreciable amount of the control of Austrian domestic affairs.
Germany a Strong Ally
And it is to Germany that one must, in my considered opinion, look when one is considering the Austria of the more immediate future., It is known in Austria by the common people, who are going to be so vitally important, that Italy has a large slice of the South Tyrol, which, say the common people, does not rightfully belong to her.
It is known, too, by the shrewd business people that Italy's financial condition is parlous; that Germany is in a position to offer trade agreements just as profitable as and much less uncertain than those at present in force with Italy. It is known, moreover, both by the common people and by the shrewd business people that Germany is a strong power, daily growing more consolidated in that strength.
Lastly, hut not least, it is known in Germany that the foregoing considerations are very widely appreciated in Austria. Of late, reports of renewed nazi propaganda in Austria have appeared in the press; but such reports are not, I imagine, factual. I was in Nuremberg, before going to Austria, for this year's nazi Porte! Tag, and I had frequent discussions with prominent members of the Nazi party concerning the attitude of Germany towards Austria.
Free Elections Coming The answer given me was always the same: that Germany would not interfere tvith Austria's. domestic allairs. Why should Germany interfere? Was it not realised very well in Germany that Austria must work out her own choice of direction—Italian or German?
Of course it was. Most certainly it is. In Germany to-day it is realised—as it is in Austria—that the time is rapidly approaching when government for the whole of Austria will no longer be able to be superimposed, as it were, from Vienna.
Sooner rather than later free elections are bound to be held; and when these elections arc held one candidate—Italyit will be found will already have withdrawn from the field.
This will narrow the issue to a fight between monarchism and a union, in some form or other, with Germany. And without expressing any personal preference, one cannot but feel that the chances of Germany will be good indeed.