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History Notes Issue 3 [October 1991]

Locarno 1925: The Treaty, the Spirit and the Suite

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+*+ IJN Foreign & Commonwealth Office


LOCARNO 1925 Spirit, suite and treaties

CO TENTS Introduction

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The Locarno Suite

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Lacarno in Diplomacy

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The Treatie

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Pen Portrait

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Source and Further Reading

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AN EX: Selected Document

FCO Hi torian Record & Hi tori cal Department

HI TORY OTE O. 3 SECO DEDITION Revi ed Augu t 2000

The patterned ilk fabric, illu trated ri ht, adorned the wall of the Locarno Dinin Room, after it rede oration in 1926.


INTRODUCTION For many years, the Foreign Office Locarno Suite (the former Victorian Reception Suite) was terra incognita to most people working in the FCO Main Building, with the three great rooms subdivided by false walls and the ceilings shrouded by plasterboard and harsh striplights. To an observant eye, the occasional flash of gilding, incongruously juxtaposed with security presses and frredoors, hinted at the ghostly presence of fonner glories, but it was possible to walk through most of it without being aware of anything unusual. One part was even being used as a furniture store. All this changed in the late 1980s, when the FCO's rolling programme of restoration and refurbishment reached the area surrounding the Suite. When partitions were first stripped away from the second largest room of the Suite, its scale stunned all who saw it, and work began immediately on restoring its midVictorian splendour. Its reversion to use as a conference room in the summer of 1990 and the restoration and re-use of the adjacent Dining and Grand Reception Rooms stimulated much interest and many enquiries about the history of the Suite and the diplomatic events which its name commemorates.

Note on the Second Edition This year sees the 75th anniversary of the formal signing in the Reception Suite of the Locamo Treaties. To mark this occasion FCO Historians have fully revised and expanded this Note, the original version of which was published in 1991. It is intended to provide, in an easily accessible form, information that visitors to the Suite are likely to require.

Acknowledgements Mr William Deacon recently presented to the FCO a collection of rare photographs of the delegates at Locarno and at the ceremony in London, which had belonged to his mother (nee Miss Victoria Skidmore Simcox), who was a Foreign Office secretary prior to her marriage. We are most grateful for this generous gift and are delighted to reproduce some of them here. Colour illustrations are reproduced with the kind permission of Cliff Birtchwell, ASP Photography (Grand Reception Room), Adam Woolfitt and Cecil Denny, HightonIHOK (Locamo Dining Room), Clive Friend, FBIPP (Conference Room), PSA Photographic Unit (ceiling of Conference Room).

Thanks are also due to Central Drawing Services, Support Group ofFCO Services for much help and the redesigned front cover.

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I


THE LOCARNO SUITE Early diplomatic entertainment by the Foreign Secretary took place in local taverns or at his home but, by the 1850s, the London Diplomatic Corps had increa ed so greatly that there were very few noblemen's houses which had rooms sufficiently large to contain it. Furthermore, diplomatic business was broadening in scope as well as in size and the Office needed conference accommodation. The London Conference of 1831 on Belgium, for instance, had taken place at the old Foreign Office, but the Secretary of State had had to vacate his room for the duration, as it was the only one big enough for the delegate . In 1858 therefore, the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Office Reconstruction was told by Edmund Hammond, the Permanent Under Secretary, that in any new building, it was 'essential that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs should have the means of giving large dinners ... and that he should have reception rooms of holding capable 1,200 or 1,500 people' . Following these representation, the architect of the new Foreign Office, George Gilbert Scott, designed a magnificent suite of three rooms on the first floor. This consisted of the lofty 'Cabinet Room', (now known as the Grand Reception Room) with its barrelvaulted roof and windows looking out on The Grand Reception Room to the Main Quadrangle and the Foreign Office courtyard the maIler square Dining Room, and the Conference Room with it gilded ceiling supported by brackets embellished with emblems of foreign countrie . The uite was approached by the left-hand branch of the Grand Stairca e, with the right-hand branch leading to the Secretary of State's Room.

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Scott's intention was to create a feeling of grandeur evoked by spaciousness: in effect 'a kind of national palace, or drawing-room for the nation'. Until 1914, the suite was in constant use for entertainment and conferences. It was invariably the venue for the royal Birthday celebrations, 'when the great double staircase, with the guests ascending and filling the open corridors above, provided one of the most magnificent sights in London'. It should be remembered however, that identification of individual rooms in the suite is not a traightforward matter, as each has been given various names over the years.

The Locarno Dining Room The door to left lead to the Grand Reception Room, the door to the right to the ldtchens

The Dining Room for example wa sometime al 0 known as the Cabinet or the Smaller Conference Room, and was in addition often u ed by Lord Sali bury a his office in preference to the Secretary of State's Room. The Conference Room has al 0 been described a the Dining Room or the Larger Conference Room. During the First World War, however, an acute shortage of space within the Foreign Office led to the entire Reception Suite being u ed as offices. Thi was not a succe s. The original Victorian decorations had become very shabby, and the room were considered too dark and draughty for daily use. When Austen Chamberlain became Foreign Secretary in 1924, he was anxious that they should revert to their original purpose but the Office of Work a ked whether the room hould b redecorated, and if 0 in what style. It was impossible to clean the original tencilling, and it would need either to be repainted or removed. Before any decision wa made, however, Austen Chamberlain' attention was diverted toward the negotiation of the Locamo Treatie .

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When the Treaties were initialled at Locarno in Switzerland in October 1925, the delegates agreed to come to London for the formal signing of the Treaty in December that same year. The only possible venue for the ceremony was Scott's Reception Suite, so the largest of the three rooms, and the smaller square chamber adjacent to it, were cleared of their former occupants, and the walls were adorned with royal portraits and with one of Lord Castlereagh. The room in which the Locarno Treaties were signed was known in 1925 as the Reception Room, although the Gaumont Film Company's newsreel showing the ceremony described it as the 'Gold Room' . Later in December 1925, the newly created Royal Fine Art Commission recommended that the original Victorian stencilling should be removed from the walls of the two largest rooms in favour of redecoration in shades of parchment colour, and that the furniture should be upholstered in black and gold silk damask, with curtains of the same material. This fabric, entitled 'Locarno', was designed for the Suite by Charles Ebel, and specially woven by Warner Fabrics. The walls of the small square room were covered in crimson silk stretched on battens, and were hung with portraits of famous Foreign Secretaries. Following this transformation, the three rooms were renamed the 'Locarno Suite' , as a memorial to a supposed diplomatic triumph promising an era of international cooperation. In 1935 the Locarno Suite was chosen for the opening session of the International Naval Conference, and during the State Visit of President Lebrun of France in March 1939, a splendid dinner party in the presence of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth took place there, prior to a theatrical entertainment staged in Durbar Court. On the outbreak of war later that year, the chandeliers were shrouded and the Locarno Suite became the home of the cyphering branch of Communications Department, for whom no other accommodation was available. An even more acute shortage of office Locarno At War: space after 1945 led to the Cypher typists in the Dining Room, division of these rooms into looking towards the Conference Room. cubicles under false ceilings, and in these makeshift plasterboard hutches, the Legal Advisers and others worked.

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This is how the Locamo rooms remained until the FCO's rolling restoration and refurbishment programme reached the Suite in the late 1980s. The plasterboard shroud was stripped from the second largest room of the Suite to reveal once more the coffered ceiling, pilasters crowned with Corinthian capitals, and quadrants supporting gilded iron beams. Circular majolica plaques bearing the national coats of arms or emblems of twenty countries further ornament these quadrants, and the original stencilled design has been reinstated on the walls. The Locarno Conference Room reverted to its original purpose in summer 1990, while the re toration of the Reception and Dining Rooms proceeded between 1990 and June 1992. In the Dining Room, the The Conference Room today removal of the plasterboard and the very dirty red silk hangings uncovered the original stencilled decoration in olive and gold with red and gold borders. Although faded and damaged, its survival ensured that an exact copy could be uperimposed on the walls, restoring the room's authentic Victorian plendour. Two new doors, matching exactly Scott's originals, give direct acce into the adjacent former India Office. The restoration of the Grand Reception Room involved much pain taking detective work. The great barrelvaulted ceiling of the Reception Room wa known to have borne an elaborately detailed de ign of cIa ical figures and signs of the zodiac, but it was feared that the decorator in the 1920s had removed from it with pumice stone every crap of colour and gilding. Close examination nevertheless revealed that one ection had imply been painted over, and scientific analy is of the remains below enabled the ceiling to be reinstated according to Clayton and Bell's original de ign. The marble fireplaces throughout the Suite, like tho e in the Secretary of State's Room, date from the eighteenth century and may have been tran ferred from the old Foreign Office. Following the restoration the entire Locamo Suite is once more available for conference and mini terial and government functions .

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THE MAJOLICA PLAQUES Twenty majolica plaques each bearing the arm of a eparate foreign power, adorn each id of the ceiling bracket in the Conference Room. The rea on for cott choice of the e particular twenty power, however, remains ob cur .

The ceiling and majolica plaqu in the onference Room of the Locarno The national arms of China and witzerland are in the foreground .

.JOLICA PLAQUE PR

JAP

ITALY HOLL

SIA

PORT GAL PAPA Y

R

GRE

IA PAl

DE MARK

WEDE & ORWAY SWITZ RL

CHI B VARIA

D

AXOY RKEY

Rl

USA


LOCARNO IN DIPLOMACY 'The Great War ended in November 1918. The Great Peace did not begin until Oct. 1925.' Letter from Lord ~four to Austen Chamberlain, 16 December, 1925

Locamo once symbolised detente in Europe. The presence in October 1925 of leading statesmen from seven European countries in the Swiss lakeside resort and the accords which resulted from their deliberations seemed to represent a shift away from an uneasy period of confrontation, in which Franco-German relations had been dominated by differences and disputes arising from the application of the Treaty of Versailles, towards an era in which the politicians and diplomats of western Europe were more actively engaged in promoting reconciliation and reconstruction. France's quest for security and Germany's pursuit of treaty revision appeared all too briefly to coalesce. The spirit of Locamo, subsequently celebrated in the formal signing of the Conference treaties in London, became synonymous with international cooperation and the pursuit of what a fonner British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, described as the 'general appeasement of Europe'--a term then understood as applying, not to the buying off of would-be aggressors with territorial and other concessions, but to the removal of potential sources of conflict through negotiation and the promotion of peaceful change. Of the Treaty of Mutual Guarantee, the diplomatic instrument with which the Conference is chiefly associated, the historian A.J.P. Taylor aptly observed: 'Its signature ended the first World War; its repudiation eleven years later marked the prelude to the second.'

Guarantees and Security, 1919-24 'The aim of British foreign 'policy since the aimistice has been to reconcile and medi.ate ... aDd the Imga- Europe coritinues in a ,state of economic' nightmare, dominated by.the ftuctuatims'offear and revenge, the more our bus~ess .suffi:rs.' , Foreign Office meinorandmn, 9 May, 1922

The full significance of the Locamo Conference can only be appreciated in the context of the peace settlement negotiated six years earlier in Paris. French participation in a victorious military alliance had then allowed France the opportunity to reverse some of the consequences of Prussia's triumph in 187071. And with their long-term security in mind, the French had endeavoured to right what they perceived as a latent imbalance of power between themselves and a defeated, but more populous and prosperous, Germany. They sought a treaty which would reduce Germany's size and resources, limit its capacity to wage or threaten war, and provide France with the means both to enforce the new settlement and to ensure that any future Franco-Gennan war would be fought on German rather than French soil. At the same time the French tried to

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maintain the victorious wartime coalition. Their efforts were rewarded with the Treaty of Versailles, a settlement which, in addition to dismembering Germany, restricted its armed forces, required it to pay reparations and established a regime in the Rhineland which effectively advanced France's strategic frontier into the German heartland. Alsace-Lorraine was retroceded to France; Eupen and Malmedy were transferred to Belgium; and the Saarland was separated from Germany and placed under the auspices of the League of ations with its future to be determined by a plebiscite in 1935. In addition, the left bank of the Rhine and a fifty kilometre-wide strip of territory on the right bank were demilitarised (i.e. the Germans were not allowed to fortify, or maintain troops in, the area), and the left bank and the bridgeheads at Cologne, Coblenz, Mainz and Kehl were placed under the military occupation of Belgian, British, French and United States forces. Provided that Germany fulfilled the other provisions of the treaty, these forces were to be withdrawn progre sively at five-yearly intervals over a period of fifteen years. THE VERSAILLES SETTLEMENT

In return for abandoning their original demands for the establishment of an independent Rheni h state (or states), the French were also promised an Anglo-American guarantee of their future security. This stipulated that in case the clau e relating to the Rhineland 'might not at first provide adequate ecurity and protection for France' Britain and the United States would come immediately to France' a si tance in the event of an 'unprovoked movement of aggre ion' being made by Germany against it. The terms of thi commitment were frightfully inexact, and in this respect they probably suited George Clemenceau the French Premier, who wanted an engagement that would act a a ba i for future collaboration between Britain, France and the United State, not ju t in the event of German aggression, but in order to uphold the European peace settlement in its entirety. The British guarantee

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was, however, dependent upon the American one, and the United States Senate's failure to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and its associated provisions rendered both abortive. This may have made French governments all the more detennined to uphold and, if possible, change in a sense more favourable to themselves, the new territorial settlement in the Rhineland. Clemenceau insisted that the eventual withdrawal of French forces from the region would depend upon Gennany' s payment of reparations and that since Gennany would be bankrupted in the process, France would remain in perpetuity upon the Gennan Rhine. Meanwhile, French officers aided and abetted separatist movements in the Rhineland and Palatinate; the French made contingency plans with the Belgians and the Czechoslovaks for the exercise of joint military sanctions against Gennany; and in 1921 France entered into a fonnal military alliance with Poland. Relations between Gennany and its western neighbours were henceforth marred by the attempts of the fonner to revise and resist, and of the latter to refme and impose, the tenns of the Versailles Treaty. lllis was particularly apparent where reparations were concerned. In March 1921 the slow progress so far made towards achieving an agreement on the sum owed by Germany led British, French and Belgian troops to move into the Ruhr ports. German customs receipts within the demilitarised zone OCCUPAnON of the Rhineland AND EVACUATION OF' (DMZ) were seized, GERMANY acco,.dinf to and a customs barrier cle 429 ofthe"?eace r....ty . , .Scale~ . ___ "..., was established 11; _ _ .-rw . . ____ _ between the occupied = n:.:n-;: ~ -.-.-. and unoccupied parts of Germany. Further east the Poles, who had already acquired from a defeated Germany Posen and most of West Prussia, were, with French backing, able to lay hold of a sizeable portion of the coal-rich province of Upper Silesia. ., ••

iii

........

~..

1 W _ 1W'n

But the British were increasingly critical of such efforts to weaken Germany. The French insistence on the prompt payment of reparations at a time when Gennany was being deprived of its economic resources seemed vindictive and

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contrary to the interests of Britain and the general well-being of Europe. In these circumstances, the then Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, began to toy with the idea of offering the French a new guarantee treaty. He assumed that their insistence on treaty fulfillment was in large part due to their sense of insecurity, and that a British guarantee would enhance their confidence and lead them to adopt a more conciliatory approach towards Germany. It might even open the way to a broader settlement of Anglo-French differences in Europe and overseas, such as the French Premier, Aristide Briand, suggested to the British Foreign Secretary in September 1921. But from the very start of discussions on the subject there was a fundamental difference between the British and French Governments over what should be the basis of a new Anglo-French accord. The British thought primarily in tenns of a simple guarantee of France's territory against German invasion, whilst the French wanted to associate Britain more closely with European security as a whole. The French favoured a series of non-aggression pacts which would encompass Gennany, and which would be linked to an Anglo-French understanding. Raymond Poincare, who succeeded Briand as Premier in January 1922, wanted even more. He claimed that France would derive little from a British guarantee of its territory since Britain would in any case be obliged by its own interests to defend France against an aggressor. Instead, he proposed an Anglo-French military agreement, which would state precisely what assistance Britain would give France in the event of war, and an arrangement by which the two powers would agree to consult in the event of any threat to the peace of Europe. There was little likelihood of any British government during the 1920s subscribing to such an arrangement. In the aftermath of the first World War there was a general revulsion in Britain and the Dominions against the notion of entering into the sort of military engagements that were popularly regarded as having been a cause of war. Alliances, which had so often seemed to divide Europe in the past, and which had appeared to transfonn local conflicts into major confrontations, were out of fashion in an age of collective security and the League of Nations. The British were also reluctant to seem to underwrite France's commitments to its new-found friends and allies in eastern Europe. It was therefore hardly surprising that after six months of protracted negotiation nothing came of the renewed offer of a British guarantee to France. Indeed, by the autumn of 1922 Britain and France were at odds with each other not only in Europe, but also in the Near East and north Africa, and Poincare was threatening to send an army into the Ruhr basin in order to extract reparations from a Gennany which was protesting its inability to pay. It was in the hope of staving off such sanctions that the Germans first proposed, in December 1922, that France, Gennany and other powers interested in the Rhineland should sign a non-aggression pact. But Poincare was evidently determined to have a 'productive gage' with which to enhance his bargaining position, and in January 1923 French and Belgian forces occupied the Ruhr. Berlin responded by funding a campaign of passive resistance and by launching a fresh diplomatic offensive in London and Washington. In May the Germans again

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put forward their idea for a non-aggression pact, and in September, after the formation of a new government under Gustav Stresemann, the leader of the German People's Party, they proposed a pact between the powers interested in the Rhine for the mutual guarantee of existing territorial arrangements. The French were not tempted by either offer. Military force alone could not extract reparations from Germany, and France and Belgium risked diplomatic isolation and a run on their currencies. Nevertheless, by the late summer of 1923 the French had broken the back of German resistance, and the parlous state of Germany's finances, hyperinflation and the prospect of the Reich breaking apart, all made Stresemann amenable to Anglo-US proposals for the establishment of two new committees to report on reparations and their payment. Their findings formed the basis for an accord on reparations which was endorsed at an international conference in London during July and August 1924. These arrangements, the so-called Dawes Plan, provided for an international loan to Germany to help stabilise its currency and a revised schedule of reparation payments. The agreement was also based on the assumption that its fulfillment would lead to the dismantling of the administrative machinery established by the French and Belgians in the Ruhr, to the withdrawal of their forces within a year, and the abandonment of French efforts to separate the Rhineland from Germany. There was, however, still plenty of scope for Franco-German disagreement, particularly where German disarmament was concerned. And the British, to whom the French still looked for support, remained wary about entering into new military obligations. In July 1924 the Labour Government of Ramsay MacDonald rejected proposals for the creation of regional pacts for the application of League of Nations sanctions. But MacDonald was prepared to explore with the French a reform of the League Covenant which would oblige states to resort to arbitration for the settlement of international disputes, and which was to be linked to the adoption of a plan for the reduction of armaments. This draft protocol, popularly known as the Geneva Protocol, had still to be fmalised when in October 1924 a general election in Britain led to the formation of a new Conservative Government in which Austen Chamberlain was appointed Foreign Secretary.

The Making ofLocamo, 1925 'Throughout the Locamo era [Chamberlain] played on two chess boards .. . he played a German game and a French game. Being industrious, meticulous, and exact, he played both with great skill; never once did he .get his moves confused. ' 1. Ja~bson, Locamo Diplomacy

Even had the Labour Government remained in office it is doubtful whether it would have accepted the Geneva Protocol. The Dominion governments objected to the idea of their being drawn into disputes which were of only peripheral interest to themselves. And the Protocol was in any case dependent

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upon the concIu ion of an international di armament tr aty. Chamberlain had however al 0 to reckon with con iderable oppo ition from rank and file Con rvative to the notion of compul ory arbitration and the kind of open-ended commitment the Protocol implied. It th refore hardly cam a a urpri e when on 12 March 1925 he revealed to a di appointed League Council that Britain rejected the Protocol. But Chamberlain wa r luctant to eem to b pur uing a purely negative cour e. A francophile, he, like hi predece or, recogni ed the importance of offering orne form of rea urance to th Fr nch. He had begun to think about reviving Lloyd George's propo al for a limited guarantee treaty, and rumour that the new Con ervative admini tration might be prepared to nter into an alliance with France and Belgium had aIr ady reached the ear of German diplomat . Thi wa worrying from th German point of view. Stre emann, who, though no longer Chancellor, wa till German Foreign Mini ter, wa perturbed by pre ure from the French to e tabli h on German soil permanent League in pection agencie to report on German di armament. Still mor alarming from the hi point of view wa the ruling by the Inter-AlIi d Control Commi ion that Germany had not yet complied with the di armament provi i n of the Ver aille Treaty, and the warning which the German Government had ree iv d on 24 Decemb r that the anticipat d rom withdrawal of force Cologne and the adjacent northern ctor of th Rhineland n Engli hman broad Austen Chamberlain. British Forei n ecrelary. Locarno, 1925. could not now take place in January. The pro p ct both of an Anglo-French alliance and a delay in the withdrawal of the army 0 ccupati n from the Rhineland truck at the whole ba i of Stre emann s foreign policy. He had hoped that through a policy of fulfillment he could recover for G rmany it freedom of diplomatic manoeuvre in the we t, and that thi would ultimately 1 ad to th progre ive revi ion of the Ver aille ettlement. But a n w Anglo-French combination would hamper hi diplomacy abroad, whil t an ext n i n of the allied cupati n would play int the hand of hi nationalist critic and opp n nt at h me.

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Stresemann need not have worned. Britain was unlikely to enter an alliance with France. There was even less enthusiasm in Britain for an Anglo-French guarantee treaty at the end of 1924 than there had been in 1922, and Chamberlain would have found it very difficult to win the consent of his Cabinet colleagues for such an arrangement. Stresemann nonetheless welcomed the suggestion made by Lord D' Abernon, the British Ambassador at Berlin, that Germany should pre-empt a new Anglo-French accord by resurrecting the notion of a multilateral non-aggression pact. D' Abemon, who was personally hostile to anything which smacked of a return to the pre-war alliance system, first put the idea to Carl von Schubert, the State Secretary at the German Foreign Ministry (the Wilhelmstrasse), on 29 December 1924, and he thereafter encouraged Stresemann to proceed along this course. For Stresemann it represented both a means of obviating any closer alignment of the western powers and a way of reassuring France of Germany's good intentions. Like Lloyd George, he recognized that if the French felt more secure there would be less chance of their resorting to punitive sanctions against Germany in the future. They might also be persuaded to begin the evacuation of the Rhineland. By 14 January 1925 Stresemann and Schubert had decided to proceed, not with a multilateral non-aggression pact, but with a scheme prepared by Wilhelm Gaus, the Wilhelmstrasse's legal expert, for an international guarantee of the Rhineland's demilitarisation and the status quo in western Europe. This, at least, was the basis of proposals made on 20 January to D' Abernon at Berlin, and then on 9 February to the Quai d'Orsay (France's Foreign Ministry) in Paris. The Foreign Office responded coolly to the German project. Chamberlain thought it inopportune. He still favoured an Anglo-French alliance and he suspected that the Germans were seeking to separate Britain from France. But he had also to reckon with the vehement opposition of Cabinet colleagues, foremost amongst whom were Winston Churchill, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Leo Amery, the Colonial Secretary, to any bilateral arrangement with the French. A British guarantee of France, Churchill contended, would simply encourage the French to be more provocative towards Gennany. It thus became increasingly apparent to the Foreign Secretary that if France were to be offered anything to make up for Britain's impending rejection of the Geneva Protocol it would have to be multilateral, and very possibly in the fonn proposed by Stresemann. Indeed, until 20 March, the majority of the Cabinet refused to go even this far without prior concessions on the part of France to Germany. Only after Chamberlain had threatened to resign, was he able, with the backing of Stanley Baldwin, the Prime Minister, to win Cabinet approval for participation in a Rhineland pact. Edouard Herriot, the French Premier, was dismayed and disappointed at Britain's rejection of the Geneva Protocol and its refusal to participate in an alliance with France. Nevertheless, he was prepared to subscribe to Stresemann's proposal as a viable alternative. France's acceptance of the

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Dawes Plan had, after all, meant the abandonment of any further attempt to alter the existing settlement in the Rhineland in France's favour, and it implied a rejection of the policy pursued by Poincare in the Ruhr. Yet both Herriot and Briand, who became Foreign Minister on 17 April, were determined that there should be no evacuation of Cologne before Germany was disarmed. They also insisted that the security of Czechoslovakia, with whom France had concluded an alliance in 1924, and Poland should not be ignored, and that Germany should join the League of Nations and accept the obligations of Article XVI (the sanctions article) of the Covenant. Stresemann had already made clear Germany's willingness to conclude arbitration treaties with Poland and Czechoslovakia. It was, however, more than apparent that no German government could afford to do anything that might hinder either the peaceful revision of Germany's eastern frontiers or the eventual reincorporation of Austria in the German body politic. Rather like pre-war France in its attitude towards Alsace-Lorraine, Germany was not prepared to guarantee frontiers which it regarded as patently unjust. Stresemann had in any case -to take into account the opinions of those within and outside the Wilhelmstrasse who believed that his pursuit of an accommodation with France meant the abandonment of Weimar Germany's alignment with Soviet Russi~ relationship symbolized by the Rapallo treaty of April 1922 and made manifest in the economic and military collaboration of Europe's two pariah powers. Poland and Soviet Russia had already fought each other in 1920-21, and Stresemann wished to avoid any suggestion that in the event of a renewal of this conflict Germany should be required to assist Poland under Article XVI, either by participating in economic or military sanctions against Russia, or by pennitting the transportation of foreign troops across German territory. It was, nevertheless, the eastern frontiers of France rather than the eastern orientation of Germany that gave the French most cause for concern in the negotiations which preceded the conclusion of the Locarno treaties. In discussions with them during June and July 1925 Chamberlain and his officials made it clear that they could not underwrite the status quo in eastern Europe, and that they wished to limit Britain's obligation to give immediate military assistance to France and Belgium only to those instances where such aid was necessary to defend against actual attack or to 'repel invasion'. They thought a German violation of the DMZ should not in itself be sufficient cause for Britain to be required to go to the immediate assistance of France or Belgium. But Briand insisted that any infringement of the Rhineland settlement by Gennany should be regarded as an act of aggression. Eventually, he and Chamberlain resolved their differences during conversations in London on 11-12 August. They agreed that if, for instance, the Gennans were to begin the construction of fortifications in the DMZ, no action could be taken until the matter had been examined by the League Council; and that British military assistance would be immediate 'only in the event of some serious threat of an aggressive character which would confer some distinct advantage on the aggressor'. The French meanwhile rejected Stresemann' s demands that the conclusion of a mutual

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security treaty should be linked to the evacuation of Cologne and a commitment on the part of Britain and France to an early withdrawal of forces from the remainder of the Rhineland. Briand's understanding with Chamberlain was incorporated in a draft treaty of mutual guarantee the terms of which were reviewed by jurists representing Belgium, Britain, France, Gennany and Italy, who met in London early in September. But it was not until 26 September that the Gennan Government accepted the French proposal for a conference at Locamo. Even then, the French and German governments were at odds over two issues relating to the treaty: (i) the French desire to guarantee the arbitration treaties which Germany had proposed to conclude with Czechoslovakia and Poland; and (ii) the question of whether or not Gennany's membership of the League would imply its full participation in sanctions. The French also maintained their opposition to any deal on the withdrawal of forces from the Rhineland before the conclusion of the projected mutual guarantee treaty. Indeed, what is surprising about the Conference is that despite the contlict of interests which separated two of its principal participants, its proceedings were characterised by a general feeling of goodwill and cordiality and an absence of that rancour between the victor and defeated powers that had marred so many previous international gatherings.

The Conference and the Treaties, 5 October -1 December 1925

Few of the delegates to the Conference seem to have been unaffected by what The Times referred to on 8 October as the 'spirit of Locarno'. The setting seemed ideal. 'It is perfectly beautiful', wrote Miles Lampson, a member of the British delegation, 'a nice little town, rather Italian than Swiss in character, nestling under high mountains on the shores of the Lake.' But perhaps more important was the fact that for the first time at an international gathering since the end of the first World War the Gennans were treated as equals by the fonner wartime allies. Unlike the London Conference of August 1924 when, according to Lampson, the British and French delegations had already carefully arranged everything before the Germans were admitted to face the chainnan 'like prisoners at the bar', at Locamo Briand, Stresemann and Hans Luther, ~e Gennan Chancellor, sat opposite one another in the conference room and discussed 'with the utmost discretion and good humour their various difficulties' . Chamberlain, who presided over these relatively informal gatherings~ had not expected such a mood of conviviality. Suspicious of Gennan intentions and critical of the way in which they had seemed 'to whittle 17


The Magnificent Seven: The British Delegation at Locarno, October 1925 From left to right: J.c. Sterndale Bennett, W.H.M Selby, Sir. C. Hurst, Austen Chamberlain. Y.F. W. Cavendish-Bentinck. M W. Lampson. G.F. Steward

away their assurances and introduce new conditions', he had departed for the Conference in 'a spirit of sober hopefulness'. Yet within a few days of its opening on 5 October he had begun to wonder whether he was 'living in a fool's paradise'. He even started to fmd the Germans 'rather agreeable'. Seven countries sent delegations to Locamo: Belgium, Britain, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy and Poland. Of these Italy alone was not initially represented by its Foreign Minister. Benito Mussolini, who was both Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, only condescended to attend on 14 October, forty-eight hours before the signing of the treaties. But Briand thought that the views across Lake Maggiore more than compensated for the absence of II Duce. Briand also understood how to take advantage of Switzerland's scenic beauty in order to hasten the business of diplomacy. On 10 October he invited a small group of the principal participants, including Chamberlain, Luther and Stresemann, to a cruise aboard the Orange Blossom, a launch habitually used for wedding parties. The ostensible purpose of the trip was to celebrate Mrs Chamberlain's birthday. The Foreign Secretary's wife seems, however, to have been the only non-working passenger. The others, unhindered by too many technical advisers and uninhibited by the presence of the press, used the occasion to hammer out a compromise on the question of Germany's future participation in League sanctions. As a result it was settled that the other parties to the treaty would address an official note to Germany to explain that in applying Article XVI they would take into account Gennany' s military and geographical situation. Subsequent private discussions also allowed Briand and Stresemann to reach an agreement on the omission of all 18


reference to the eastern arbitration treaties from the Treaty of Mutual Guarantee. France was instead to sign separate guarantee treaties with Czechoslovakia and Poland, and the text of the Pact was redrafted so as to allow France to take military action against Gennany in the event of a League decision to respond to a German attack upon either of these states. In its final form the Treaty of Mutual Guarantee, or Rhineland Pact, as it was more popularly known, confirmed Gennany's frontiers with Belgium and France as established at Versailles, including the DMZ; and it stipulated that Germany and Belgium, and Germany and France, would not attack each other or resort to war against each other, ex~ept in ~egitimate self-defence, in the event of a flagrant violation of the statutes governing the DMZ, or in the exercise of a decision taken by the League. The Council of the League was also required to rule on alleged breaches of the treaty; and Britain and Italy were, as guarantors, only obliged to intervene without awaiting such a decision in the event of a 'flagrant contravention' of the treaty. The Rhineland Pact was not, however, to come into effect until Germany joined the League and, as noted above, this necessitated the drafting of a collective note to Gennany regarding Article XVI. At the same time Germany was to conclude arbitration treaties with Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia and Poland. And France, in an effort to demonstrate its loyalty to its eastern allies, rewarded these last two powers, whose Foreign Ministers were excluded from the plenary sessions of the Conference until 15 October, with formal guarantees. But before any of these arrangements could be concluded, the German delegation sought compensation. They insisted that ratification of the Pact by the Reichstag must depend upon Germany receiving fonnal assurances with regard to the evacuation of Cologne. Luther and Stresemann also wanted the final protocol

Square-Table Diplomacy: The Diplomats Gathered At Loearno No~ Mussofini

(beneath the waff picture), seated two to the left ofAJUIe" Chamberlain

19


of the Conference to include reference to the early withdrawal of foreign forces from the whole of the Rhineland and the non-establishment of permanent on-site disannament inspection agencies by the League of Nations. Briand and Chamberlain resisted these demands, and in the end all they were prepared to concede was a verbal pledge from Briand that after the Conference he would support the fixing of a specific date for the withdrawal of troops from the Cologne zone. This last minute effort by the Gennans to wring further concessions from Britain and France caused Chamberlain considerable irritation. He subsequently described it as an 'attempt at blackmail'. The German Government was, he noted, 'like a nagging old woman who must always have the last word', and he was 'astounded by Briand's forbearance, by the largeness of his outlook and the generosity of his declarations'. Nevertheless, this upset was not allowed to obstruct the signing of the treaties on 16 October amid what Sir Harold Nicolson later described as 'scenes of almost orgiac gush'. Chamberlain, whose birthday it happened to be, wrote to his Pennanent Under-Secretary 'I felt myself a little child again in spirit'. Equally impressive was the formal signing of the accords on 1 December in the Reception Suite of the Foreign Office in London. The decision to hold the signing ceremony in London was taken before the delegates left Locamo, a recognition of Chamberlain's pivotal role in bringing together Europe's former adversaries. Though Mussolini once more absented himself from the proceedings, the signing ceremony was attended by all the other Foreign Ministers of the Mr. Chamberlain shows M. Briand the way; signatory powers and Dr. Stresemann examines the tine print. received considerable The signing ceremony. London, 1 December, 1925 coverage in the press. Public opinion in Britain heartily welcomed the agreements, delighted by the prospect of peace and security that they promised to bring. These sentiments were shared by the King. 'This morning', George V recorded in his diary, 'the Locamo Pact was signed at the Foreign Office. 1 pray this may mean peace for many years. Why not forever?' The treaties were received somewhat less enthusiastically in Berlin. There German nationalists portrayed them as a reaffirmation of Gennany's

20


acceptance of the humiliating terms of the Versailles Treaty, and the conclusion of the Rhineland Pact led to the withdrawal of nationalist ministers from Luther's coalition Government. In truth, however, Stresemann had triumphed at Locarno. As one historian has remarked, 'on every major issue raised at the Conference the German view-point was the one that found acceptance'. The arbitration treaties were based on a German model and were intended to apply only to legal disputes; those Germany signed with Czechoslovakia and Poland were not expressly guaranteed by France; and the Collective Note implied that Germany's obligations as a League member would be limited by its special position as a disarmed power in the heart of Europe. In addition, Locamo again made manifest the extent of France's retreat from a policy based upon the use of military sanctions to enforce the postwar settlement. It represented a defeat for those in France who had hoped for a revived alliance with Great Britain. Along with Italy, Britain had guaranteed a frontier rather than an ally, and henceforth was, in theory at least, committed as much to Germany as to France and Belgium. The obligation to give immediate military assistance in the event of a 'flagrant' violation of the treaty was also both ambiguous in its wording and likely to be impracticable in its application. As had already been evident before 1914 the speed of modem warfare had made joint contingency planning an essential prerequisite for the rendering of such aid. This was a point that Poincare had made dwing the discussions for an Anglo-French guarantee treaty in 1922. But Locamo seemed to preclude any joint military talks between Britain and France. After all, if the British military authorities engaged in contingency planning with their opposite numbers in France, the Germans might quite reasonably claim that they had an equal right to be consulted. Yet for Britain to join in bilateral discussions with both powers with a view to assisting either in the event of a Franco-German war would clearly be ludicrous. Critics of Locamo were also quick to point out that the Conference had sanctioned a distinction between two kinds of frontiers in Europe: those in the west, which were regarded as permanent and which the great powers had mutually guaranteed; and those in the east which only France was prepared to guarantee and which, by implication, could well be subject to revision. Pilotti, the Italian legal expert who had hoped to obtain a guarantee of Italy's new frontier with Austria on the Brenner, spoke of 'first and second class frontiers'. Indeed, the Rhineland Pact and the guarantee which France gave to Poland in 1925 had the effect of restricting France's obligations under the Franco-Polish alliance treaty of 1921. Henceforth, if France were to render aid to Poland against Gennany in a German-Polish conflict where the League had not declared Germany the aggressor, Britain and Italy would be obliged to go to Gennany's assistance. It could, however, be argued that the Locamo Conference had done no more than register the realities of the international situation. The British had long since made it clear to the French that there could be no return to the military conversations of the pre-1914 era, which many in Britain regarded as a means by which the French had ensnared Britain in a

21


moral commitment to assist France in war, and in 1925 Chamberlain had had great difficulty in persuading his colleagues to accept the very much more limited obligations resulting from the Rhineland Pact. British governments had been equally opposed to becoming further involved in the affairs of central and eastern Europe, especially if this meant assuming new commitments in a region in which Britain had no longstanding or traditional interests. It was in any event most unlikely that any German government in the 1920s would or could have accepted as permanent the loss to Poland of West Prussia, and the separation of Austria from the Reich. The newly-drawn frontiers of eastern Europe were, even without Locarno, in a different category to those of the west. The carefully crafted clauses of the Locamo Treaties might also be said to have proved inadequate when actually put to the test. Hitler's remilitarisation of the Rhineland in March 1936 demonstrated flaws in the Treaty of Mutual Guarantee which few had anticipated in 1925. Hitler was thus able to claim that the conclusion in May 1935 of a Franco-Soviet alliance was incompatible with Locamo since it left Paris and Moscow free to decide, without reference to the League, when aggression had taken place. And this technical incompatibility of the two agreements allowed Hitler to use the ratification of the Franco-Soviet alliance as a pretext for his own resort to force. Moreover, his action fell between two legal stools. The Rhineland Pact had seemed to envisage the remilitarisation of the Rhineland taking place either covertly and gradually, or as the immediate prelude to an invasion of France and/or Belgium. In the fonner case the matter was to be referred to the League, and in the latter Britain and Italy were required to give immediate military assistance to the victim of aggression. But in 1936 the German move was both blatant and limited. Hitler, while making no secret of his action, was profuse in protesting his peaceful intentions. In such circumstances it was possible for the British Government to claim that it was under no obligation to contemplate joint military action with France until the matter had been referred to the League or a meeting of the Locamo powers. It is, however, questionable whether by then the provisions of Locamo could have been said to have had any practical relevance The political alignment of the European powers was radically different to what it had been in the 1920s: Italy's war in Ethiopia had alienated it from Britain and France; Belgium had announced that it intended to revert to its fonner neutral status; and the new order in Germany espoused a doctrine which conflicted with all notions of international cooperation. The Locamo Treaties belonged to the decade in which they were conceived and their true significance may ultimately lie less in the principles they enshrined than in the spirit they engendered.

22


Opening Diplomacy: Locarno and the Media .:~. 'Jf:th~'Foteigii. offi~:ga~e··~4t '"~·ljttle:'~o*~: $Y.igfjf: th~·~i~( d~e;~ .~.

::~~~~ t~~~~~~t:·;·::y"i)~~~~}~i~~~g~~~~~f,T9,~t; The Rhineland Pact was symptomatic of what in the wake of the frrst World War was labeled the 'new diplomacy'. Its signatories, whether by choice or of necessity, looked to collective guarantees rather than alliances and balance-ofpower politics to ensure their future security. The signing ceremony in London seemed likewise to respond to public demands for greater transparency in the conduct of international affairs. Prior to 1914 European statesmen and diplomats had rarely felt able to neglect public opinion. It had limited their actions, and they in tum had sought to advance and defend their policies through the publication of documents and the manipulation of an expanding popular press. But the outbreak of war did much to stimulate and broaden the public debate of foreign policy. Belligerent governments sought to mobilise public support for their respective causes, and in 1915 the British Foreign Office, which had previously been more restrained than some of its Continental counterparts in the development of formal links with the press, acquired a separate News Department. Critics of the Foreign Office were, nonetheless, quick to blame the war on the failure of governments to submit to public scrutiny the accords and commitments to which their diplomats had subscribed. The contents of the secret treaties which the Russian Bolsheviks began to publish in 1917 appeared to add substance to their analysis; and their prescription, the more democratic control of foreign policy, received powerful endorsement when the American President Woodrow Wilson appealed in his Fourteen Points for 'Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at'. Open diplomacy, it was argued, would make for more honesty in international politics, and new legal constraints, backed by 'world public opinion' and the threat of collective sanctions, would impede any reckless resort to force Whilst not unsympathetic to such aspirations, British diplomats treated the notion of 'open diplomacy' with caution. Democratisation and accountability were laudable enough concepts. Austen Chamberlain himself readily condemned the pre-war practice of undertaking 'secret engagements which were not disclosed, [and] the committing of a country by its government without the country being aware of what was being done or having an opportunity of expressing an opinion'. But both Chamberlain and his officials were apprehensive lest too close a public examination of their work should prove detrimental to the diplomacy they practised. Delicate negotiations required tact, discretion and sometimes plain secrecy; they certainly could not succeed in the full glare of the media spotlight. As the Foreign Secretary explained in a confidential briefmg of the British press at Locamo, if all diplomacy had to be conducted in the open 'in the hearing, as it were, of our constituents', the focus of the negotiator would inevitably become distracted away from trying to fmd common agreement with his counterparts and towards 23


'thinking of the effect of their words on public opinion at home'. 'Open diplomacy in that sense never has been practised, and can never be practised with success', he argued, since 'nothing but mischief could be done if we transformed our friendly private conversations into a formal public debate in the presence of the whole world'. Whilst the principles and objectives of foreign policy were legitimate topics for public debate, the day-to-day tactics employed by the men on the spot were not: 'You must allow us, shall we say, to cook the meal in the kitchen, but as soon as it is ready it shall be properly served and submitted to the approbation of Parliament, and through Parliament to the public. ' These tensions, between public pressure for accountability on the one hand and the diplomats' determination to preserve their craft on the other, created a less than harmonious fellowship between the FO and the media. 'Nothing doing today, gentleman' was the usual refrain from the Foreign Office doorman to waiting journalists outside Downing Street, epitomising the reserve which characterised the Office's view of the press. But the 'Locamo spirit' reached into even this most difficult of relationships. In a letter to Sir William Tyrrell, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Miles Lampson, reported from Locarno that the combination of lakeside mountain scenery, good accommodation and 'excellent food' was such that even 'those ravening wolves, the reporters, have apparently succumbed to the atmosphere of general contentment and [seem] to be fairly benevolent in their attitude towards the conference, despite the complete lack of real news which is given to them'. Under the influence of this bonhomie, the British press were gradually brought into their delegation's confidence. Chamberlain's briefings became franker, and the press, in tum, agreed, not only to refrain from reporting developments which the Foreign Secretary preferred to keep secret, but also to include in their articles material which the British delegation wished to be released into the public domain. Whatever the implications of this for 'open diplomacy', the Locarno experience proved to be a superlative example of media management, unprecedented in peacetime, and envied by Chamberlain's predecessors and successors alike. The printed press no longer comprised the entirety of the media, however. In 1922 the British Broadcasting Company (forerunner of the Corporation) delivered its first radio broadcast and by 1925, though still in its infancy, radio broadcasting in Britain was becoming an increasingly more important part of the media establishment, with a domestic audience of millions. How far this new media could be utilised by the Foreign Office, though, was perhaps not so readily appreciated. In November the BBe expressed an interest in broadcasting the forthcoming treaty signing ceremony in the Reception Suite. But officials were less than enamoured of this prospect, seeing little value in the exercise: 'To the ordinary listener', minuted one sceptic, 'the ceremony would probably come through as a protracted rustling of papers and scratching of pens ... [and] might border on an anti-climax'. 'If we go on like this', noted

24


another, 'there will be so many mechanical devices in the signature room that it will be quite intolerable.' It was, however, Austen Chamberlain who settled the issue: 'Quite out of the question', he noted, adding with much gravitas, 'I couldn't say d[amn] if my pen spluttered or B[-] O[ffl] to - anyone.' The era of sound-bite diplomacy had not yet quite arrived.

The Spirit ofLocarno, 1925-1929 . -: '..'The·He.av:enly, a1~h~JriY~ftlie Lo.carrio spirit~ theitriuri.tpharit .,.'. -~,' . . ' splend~~:ofthose ~ days, did. ~~t.prove'oi.l~;n8~· endwince/ ·': .',':, .: . . ~ ~.

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The four years that followed the Locarno Conference constituted a period of relative stability in relations between the major European powers during which Briand, Chamberlain and Stresemann continued to hold office, and to seek through personal and conference diplomacy to take advantage of the reconciliation achieved in Switzerland. Their relationship was seen as being imbued with the spirit of Locamo. Yet, as was apparent at the time, this spirit could manifest itself in very different forms when it was translated into 'I' esprit de Locarno' and the 'Locarno Geist'. The French had accepted the idea of the Rhineland Pact as an alternative to the guarantee they had desired from Britain because they hoped that it would provide them with security and the regular payment of reparations without the need to resort to force. By contrast, in Germany even the advocates of Locamo tended to treat German renunciations with inner reservations, and Stresemann continued to strive for treaty revision and international recognition of Germany's equality of rights and status. These goals were pursued through what were sometimes referred to as the Geneva 'tea-parties'-the more or less regular meetings of the three Foreign Ministers which, after Germany's admission to the League in September 1926, usually coincided with the quarterly sessions of the Council. Three experienced parliamentarians had the opportunity to apply skills learned in cabinet and party politics to their infonnal conclaves. In the privacy of hotel bedrooms they were able to co-ordinate their policies and arrange the affairs of Europe, while the role of their ambassadors was sometimes reduced to that of handling low level and routine matters, preparing for future meetings and putting ministerial decisions into effect.

25


SummoniDg the spirit of Locarno The Treaty is signed in the suite which was later to bear its name.

Their endeavours, which coincided with a period of economic revival and growth in Europe, soon acquired an aura of success. Some progress was made towards moderating the impact of the peace settlement: Cologne was evacuated in January 1926; the Inter-Allied Control Commission, which had been meant to supervise Germany's disarmament, was wound-up in the following year; and Gennany's acceptance of a new reparations settlement, the Young Plan, in 1929 led to a withdrawal of all foreign forces from the Rhineland five years earlier than originally anticipated. As confidence-building exercises the 'tea-parties' did much to reduce French doubts about Germany's intentions. But the modalities of Locamo diplomacy also helped create an illusion of reconciliation in western Europe. Expectations were raised that could not always be realized, and this in tum led to frustration and disappointment. Typical was the meeting between Briand and Stresemann at Thoiry, a. hamlet in the French Jura, in September 1926. There over an ample luncheon, which included five bottles of table wine and one of Champagne, the two statesmen explored the basis of a bargain on reparations and the Rhineland which seemed to take little account either of the political opposition they were likely to encounter in Paris and Berlin, or of the reactions of fmancial markets in London and New York. Indeed, it remains a matter for speculation whether the French could ever have voluntarily accepted a stronger Germany free from the limitations of Versailles, or whether the Germans could ever have reconciled 26


themselves to continued restrictions on the exercise of their sovereignty. The gulf which separated the two nations was a wide one, and with the onset of the economic depression at the end of the 1920s and the lurch towards political extremism in Germany and elsewhere, the prospects for the 'appeasement' of Europe rapidly receded.

Conclusion 'The fact is that war and rumour of war, quarrels and friction, in any corner of the world spells loss and hann to British commercial and financial interests. It is for the sake of these interests that we pour oil on troubled waters. . .. Without our trade and finance we sink to the level of a third class Power. Locarno and the unemployed have an intimate connexion.' Foreign Office Memorandum, 10 April, 1926

Well before the removal of Chamberlain from office in the spring of 1929 and Stresemann' s death in the following October it was plain to see that Locarno diplomacy had serious shortcomings. The notion of Loc arno , nevertheless, continued to fascinate Europe' s statesmen. In the mid-1930s an 'eastern Locarno' was advocated as a means of maintaining the status quo in east-central Europe, and as late as May 1953 Sir Winston Churchill, then in his final term as Prime Minister, called in Parliament for a new Locarno in order to reconcile the security of Russia with the freedom and safety of western Europe. 'I have', he declared, 'a feeling that the master thought which animated Locamo might well play its part between Germany and Russia in the minds of those whose prime ambition is to consolidate the peace of Europe as the key to the peace of mankind.' It might even be possible to see in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 and the subsequent review conferences a re-enactment of the 'spirit of Locarno'. But save insofar as Helsinki implied acceptance of the new territorial status quo in Europe, the terms devised there bore little resemblance to those drafted half-a-century before. The Treaty of Mutual Guarantee and the associated accords were prepared to meet problems peculiar to Europe in the 1920s. The guarantees which they included were ambiguous in their formulation and, given the exigencies of modern warfare, were likely to be difficult to fulfil. But they met the psychological needs of the moment, and had their signatories been spared the onset of the depression they might have provided the basis for a lasting peace in Europe.

27


THE TREATIES On 16 October 1925, the following eight accords were concluded at Locamo. They were formally signed in London on I December. 1 Treaty of Mutual Guarantee between Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Italy 2 Arbitration treaty between Germany and Belgium 3 Arbitration treaty between Germany and France 4 Arbitration treaty between Germany and Poland 5 Arbitration treaty between Germany and Czechoslovakia 6 Draft collective note to Germany regarding Article XVI of the Covenant of the League of Nations 7 Separate Treaty between France and Poland 8 Separate Treaty between France and Czechoslovakia. The signatories of the Treaty of Mutual Guarantee (the Rhineland Pact) thereby guaranteed the maintenance of the territorial status quo - the frontiers between Germany and Belgium and between Germany and France established by the Treaty of Versai lIes - and the observance of the provIsIons of the Versailles Treaty relating to the Rhineland. Belgium, France and Germany also undertook not to attack or invade each other except in 'legitimate selfdefence' or in pursuance of Article XVI of the League of Nations Covenant. Oppo ite: Facsimile copy of the Treaty of Mutual Guarantee, signed in London on 1 December, 1925 HANS LUTHER GUSTAV STRESEMANN EMILE VANDERVELDE ARI. BRIAND ST ANLEY BALDWIN AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN VIITORIO SCIALOJA

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NINE GENTLEMEN OF LOCARNO PEN-PORTRAITS OF THE PROTAGONISTS GREAT BRITAIN Austen Chamberlain, Foreign Secretary The eldest son of Liberal politician Joseph Chamberlain, and half brother of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Austen Chamberlain was born in Binningharn in 1863. He entered Parliament in 1892, remaining an MP for 45 years until his death in 1937. His government posts included those of Civil Lord of the Admiralty, Postmaster General, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary of State for India, Lord Privy Seal, and First Lord of the Admiralty. He was leader of the Conservative Party from March 1921 until October 1922, the only leader in the twentieth century not to have been Prime Minister. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in the Locarno negotiations, but his mixed successes in other offices led Winston Churchill to say of him that 'he always played the game and always lost it'. A reserved family man, who took great pleasure in spending time at home and tending his rock garden, Chamberlain did not enjoy social conviviality. Bismarck remarked of him after one dinner: 'Nice young man. Pity he's such a poor drinker.' Despite his aloofness, Chamberlain was well liked in the Foreign Office, where he was described as a gentleman with 'more modesty than is usual on high'. See Sir Charles Petrie, The Life and Letters of Sir Austen Chamberlain, Vols. I-II (London, 1939); David Dutton, Austen Chamberlain: Gentleman in Politics (Bolton, 1985).

GERMANY Dr Gustav Stresemann, Foreign Minister Born in Berlin in 1878, Stresemann wrote his doctoral thesis on the development of the city's bottled beer trade, before being employed by a number of trade organisations, including the Association of German Chocolate Manufacturers. He was elected as National Liberal Deputy for Annaberg in 1907, and entered the Government after the First World War as a member of the centre-right German People's party (DVP). His 100-day tenure of the office of Chancellor during the Ruhr crisis of 1923 was followed by his appointment as Foreign Minister, a post he held in every government until his early death in 1929. Stresemann was the premier politician of Germany's transition from a defeated imperial power into a republic. His diplomatic successes of the Dawes Plan, Locarno, German admission into the League of Nations, and the negotiations for the Young Plan all helped to ensure Germany's temporary inter-war recovery. The British Ambassador at Berlin, Lord D'Abernon, recalled Stresemann's physical resemblance to Winston Churchill, his capacity for hard work and sense of humour, while Austen Chamberlain claimed that Stresemann was 'the greatest German since Bismarck'. See Eric Sutton, ed, Gustav Stresemann, His Diaries, Letters and Papers, Vols. I-II (London, 1935,1937).

29


Dr Hans Luther, Chancellor Born in the Rulu valley in 1870, he became Mayor of Essen in 1918 and was appointed Minister for Agriculture in 1922. Luther served as Minister of Finance under Stresemann and Wilhelm Marx from 1923 to 1925, and was responsible for currency reform, and for the acceptance and implementation of the Dawes Plan. In January 1925, he became Chancellor, a post he held until May 1926, when, following his encouragement of German embassies to fly the maritime flag, which contained the old imperial colours, the Reichstag passed a motion of no-confidence in his Government. Despite the claims of Sir Ronald Lindsay, D' Abernon's successor in Berlin, that Luther had 'no particular knowledge of finance', he re-entered public life as President of the Reichsbank in 1930. D' Abemon described Luther as having 'none of the minor graces, but a sturdy presence not unlike a Thames tug' .

FRANCE Aristide Briand, Foreign Minister Born in Nantes in 1862, Briand worked as a journalist before his election as Socialist Deputy for Saint-Etienne in 1902. He held the posts of Minister of Education, Minister of Justice, and President of the Council, and formed the first of his record 11 governments in 1909. His 1921 government, in which he took the foreign affairs portfolio, was terminated by a disastrous game of golf with Lloyd George at the Cannes Conference: the widely publicised photographs of the British Prime Minister teaching Briand how to hold a club were perceived to be humiliating by his colleagues, and he resigned. He regained the Foreign Ministry in 1925, and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in Locarno, which, according to Robert Vansittart, 'cleansed him of back-handed golf at Cannes'. His departure from Office in 1931 was precipitated by a press scanda~ and he died in Paris a few months later, in March 1932. His refusal to be tied by party lines helped to make Briand one of the most successful French politicians of the inter-war period, frequently able to hold together otherwise impossible coalitions: one historian has described him as 'supple, conciliating, and infmitely persuasive', able to 'move in and out of the highest posts of government for the space of nearly thirty years with equal nonchalance'. See Georges Suarez, Briand: sa vie, son oeuvre avec son journal et de nombreux documents inedits, Vols. I-VI (paris, 1938-1952).

ITALY Vittorio SciaJoja

Born in Turin in 1856, Scialoja was professor of Roman law at the University of Rome and an authority on international law. He became a Senator in 1904, and served variously as Minister of Justice, Propaganda Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs in preFascist Italian governments. He represented Italy at the Paris Peace Conference, and from February 1925 he served as a delegate to the League of Nations. Although he was not a member of the Fascist Party, he appeared to have considerable personal influence over Mussolin~ and is widely credited for II Duce 's presence in Locarno on 16 October.

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Dino Grandi, Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Born in 1895, Grandi had a distinguished war record before joining the Fascist party in 1919. He worked as a journalist and acted as a chief of staff during the March on Rome of 1922. Having first entered the Chamber of Deputies in 1921, he joined the government in 1924 as Under Secretary of State for the Interior. The following year he was transferred to the Foreign Ministry and represented Italy at Locamo and on the Council of the League of Nations. By 1929 he had gained enough experience to be promoted to the post of Foreign Minister and Sir Ronald Graham (British Ambassador at Rome) found him 'moderate and reasonable' and 'extremely pleasant to work with'. Posted to London as Italian Ambassador in 1932, Grandi remained until July 1939, when he was recalled to Rome to become Minister of Justice. His opposition to the war led to his dismissal in 1943, but he retained his seat on the Party's grand council, and orchestrated the 1944 vote of no confidence in Mussolini. Grandi escaped reprisals by fleeing to Lisbon and, after the war, Brazil. See Denis Mack Smith, Mussolini (Londo~ 1981).

CZECHOSLOVAKIA Dr Eduard Benes, Minister of Foreign Affairs Benes was born in Kozlany (Western Bohemia) in 1884, and educated at Prague, Paris, Berlin and Dijon, where he was awarded a doctorate in law. A little-known university lecturer, Benes fled to Paris in 1915, where he began campaigning with Jan Masaryk and others for Czechoslovak independence. As General Secretary of Czechoslovak National Council, the basis of the subsequent Czechoslovak Government, Benes visited the Foreign Office in London in August 1918 with the aim of obtaining British recognition of Czechoslovakia as an independent state. Viscount Cecil, the Under Secretary who took part in these negotiations, described Benes as 'a most delightful negotiator. He never put forward extravagant or unreasonable demands. He asked for what he really wanted and what he thought his country was entitled to have and no more. Another merit of his system was that he never increased his demands in consequence of the acceptance of part of them.' After the creation of Czechoslovakia, Benes was the country's first Minister of Foreign Affairs, a position which he held until 1935 and which he coupled with being head of the government from 1921 to 1922. Elected President in 1935, he resigned in October 1938 after Munich and went into exile. From July 1940 he was President of a provisional Czech government in London, which returned to take power in Prague in May 1945. In the face of growing communist influence, Benes resigned in June 1948 and, already ill, died three months later. See Eduard Benes, Essays and Reflections presented on the occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday, edited by Jan Opocensky (London, 1945).

31


BELGIUM Dr Emile Vandervelde, Minister for Foreign Affairs Born in Brussels in 1866, Vandervelde trained as a barrister and taught law at the New University. He joined the Belgian Workers' Party in 1889, soon becoming its leader, and entered parliament in 1894, representing Charleroi, and later Brussels. Vandervelde served in the Belgian wartime governments, became one of Belgium' s delegates to the Paris Peace Conference, and served as Minister of justice until 1921. He remained out of office until June 1925, when he was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, a post he held until 1927, representing Belgium at Locarno and at the League of Nations. Contemporaries claimed that his deafness placed him at a disadvantage. Known affectionately as ' Ie Patron' , he was the onetime president of the Second International, but his open distrust of bolshevism led some critics to accuse him of pro-German sympathies. After the fall of the Jaspar Government in 1927, he held two more government posts: minister without portfolio from 1935 to 1936, and minter of public health for the following year, before his death in Brussels in December 1938. See L De Brouckere, ed, Emile Vandervelde: L 'Homme et son oeuvre (1928).

POLAND Count Aleksander Skrzynski, Minister for Foreign Affairs Aleksander Skrzynski was born in Zagorzany in Galicia in 1882. He joined the Austro-Hungarian Diplomatic Service after taking a doctorate in law at Vienna, and before the First World War was posted to the Vatican, Berlin and Paris. In 1919 he was appointed Polish Minister to Bucharest, and he became Minister for Foreign Affairs in December 1922. Out of office the following May, he visited London and wrote a book entitled Poland and Peace. Early in 1924 he represented Poland at the League of Nations and he regained the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August the same year. In this capacity he represented Poland at Locarno and at the signing of the treaties in London. Becoming Prime Minister in November 1925, he retained his position as Foreign Minister but lost office the following May. His retirement was notable for his fighting an illegal duel with General Szeptycki, a former Prime Minister, after a dispute over responsibility for Pilsudski' s recent coup.

32


SOURCES AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING The main Foreign Office political file on Locamo is C459/18 of 1925, preserved at the Public Record Office in FO 371/10726-10748, and this is complemented by copies of the original Conference papers and correspondence at FO 840/1. A selection of the more important papers in these classes has been published in the two volumes relating to Locamo in Documents on British Foreign Policy, Series I, Volume XXVII (HMSO, 1986) and Series IA, Volume I (HMSO, 1966). The text of the Locamo accords can be found in Final Protocol of the Locarno Conference, 1925 ... with Treaties between France and Poland and France and Czechoslovakia (Cmd 2525, HMSO, 1925). Sir Austen Chamberlain's miscellaneous correspondence for 1925 is in the FO archives at the Public Record Office, in FO 800/257-8, but the bulk of his private papers is held by the Political Archives Centre at Birmingham University. Lord D' Abemon's private papers, including correspondence with Chamberlain, are in the possession of the British Library (Add. Ms. 48926A and 48926B). Relevant biographical sources include: An Ambassador of Peace, Lord D 'Abernon's Diary, Vol. III (London, 1930); Gustav Stresemann, His Diaries, Letters and Papers, Vols. I-II, edited and translated by Eric Sutton (London, 1935, 1937); The Life and Letters of Sir Austen Chamberlain, Vols I-II, edited by Sir Charles Petrie (London, 1939); David Dutton, Austen Chamberlain: Gentleman in Politics (Bolton, 1985). A brief but sympathetic view of Chamberlain's contribution to Locamo is also provided by Sir Julian Bullard (British Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Gennany, 1984-88) in his Chamberlain Lecture, 'Britain, Gennany and the Chamberlains' (University of Birmingham, 17 October 1990). Sir Harold Nicolson's King George V, His Life and Reign (London, 1952) contains lively pen-portraits of the main protagonists, and quotes from some important letters by Chamberlain and D'Abernon. Eduard Benes, Essays and Reflections presented on the occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday, edited by Jan OpoCensk)' (London, 1945) also includes biographical snippets by Viscount Cecil amongst others. Of the abundant secondary works on Locamo and diplomacy in the 1920s, Gordon A Craig and Felix Gilbert's The Diplomats 1919-1939, Volume I: The Twenties (princeton, 1953) still offers one of the best introductions to the period. For more detailed studies see: A. Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery: France's Bid for Power in Europe, 1914-1940 (London, 1995); Henry L Bretton, Stresemann and the Revision of Versailles, A Fight for Reason (Stanford University Press, 1954); F. L. Carsten, Britain and the Weimar Republic (London, 1984); R. Grayson, Austen Chamberlain and the Commitment to Europe: British Foreign Policy 1924-1929 (London, 1997); Jon Jacobson, Locarno Diplomacy, Germany and the West, 1925-1929 (princeton, 1972); A. Orde, Great Britain and International Security, 1920-1926 (London, 1978); and Henry Ashby Turner, Stresemann and the politics of the Weimar

33


Republic (princeton, 1963). Two studies providing valuable insights into the workings of the Foreign Office during this period are: Sibyl Crowe and Edward Corp, Our Ablest Public Servant: Sir Eyre Crowe, GCB, GCMG, KCB, KCMG, 1864-1925 (Devon, 1993); and E. Maisel, The Foreign Office and Foreign Policy, 1919-1926, (Brighton, 1994). Helpful articles include: David Carlton, 'Disannament with Guarantees: Lord Cecil 1922-1927' in Disarmament and Arms Control, (3 (2) 1965); Andrew J Crozier, 'The Colonial Question in Stresemann's Locamo Policy' in The International History Review, (IV, 1, February 1982); Sibyl Crowe, 'Sir Eyre Crowe and the Locarno Pact' in English Historical Review, (Vol LXXXVII, No 342, January 1972); E. Goldstein, 'The evolution of British diplomatic strategy for he Locarno Pact, 1924-1925', in Diplomacy and World 路 Power: Studies in British Foreign Policy 1890-1951, edited by M. Dockrill and B J C McKercher (Cambridge, 1996); George A. Griin, 'Locamo, Idea and Reality' in International Affairs, (Vol. XXXI, 4, 1955); Douglas Johnson's two pieces, 'Austen Chamberlain and the Locamo Agreements' in the University of Birmingham Historical Journal, (Vol. 8, 1961-2) and 'The Locamo Treaties' in Neville Waites, Troubled Neighbours: Franco-British Relations in the Twentieth Century (London, 1971); F. Magee, "'Limited Liability"? Britain and the Treaty ofLocamo', Twentieth Century British History, (Vol. 6, 1995); 'Anglo-French Relations from Versailles to Locamo: The quest for security' by Alan Sharp in Anglo-French Relations in the Twentieth Century, edited by Alan Sharp and Glyn Stone (London: 2000); and F. G. Stambrook, "'Das Kind" - Lord D' Abemon and the Origins of the Locamo Pact', in Central European History, (No 1, 1968). Amongst the foreign sources on Locarno and the background to it are: Jacques Bariety, Les relations franco-allemandes apres fa premiere guerre mondiafe, (paris, 1977); Y. V. Borisov, Sovetskofrantsuzskie otnosheniy 1924-1945 [Franco-Soviet relations 1924-1945] (Mezbdunarodnie Otnosheniya,1964); A F Dobrov et al (eds): Lokarnskaya Konferensiya 1925 (Documents) (Moscow, 1959); Laslo Karoy, Velikobritanya i Lokarno [Great Britain and Locamo] Izd. Inst. Mezhdun. (Otnosh, 1961); F. Notovich, Razoruzhenie imperialistov, Liga Natsiy i SSSR [Disannament of the imperialists, the League of Nations and the USSR] (Moscovsky rabochiy, 1929); Locarno-Konferenz 1925, Eine Dokumentensammlung, edited by the Ministerium fur Auswartige Angelegenheiten der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik ([East] Berlin, 1962). For the aftennath of Locamo, also see Akten zur Deutschen Auswiirtigen Politik 1919-1945, Serie B: 1925-1933, Band 1, Dezember 1925 bis Juli 1926 (Gottingen, 1966).

34


ANNEX: SELECTED DOCUMENTS - Letter from Austen Chamberlain (Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs) to Lord D' Abemon (HM Ambassador, Berlin) of 30 September, 1925 - Letter from Miles Lampson (British Delegation, Locarno) to Austen Chamberlain of 9 October, 1925. - Letter from Austen Chamberlain to Sir William Tyrrell (Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs) of 11 October, 1925. - Telegram from Austen Chamberlain to Sir William Tyrrell of 15 October, 1925; Sir William's reply. - Letter from Austen Chamberlain to Sir Eric Drummond (SecretaryGeneral of the League of Nations) of 16 October, 1925. - Article from the Soviet newspaper, Izvestiya, of 18 October, 1925. - Extract of a record of the Locarno Treaty signing ceremony, London, 1 December, 1925. - Article from The Times newspaper of2 December, 1925. - .... 000--


Private

Five Ashes, 30th September, 1925

~"~..

I very nearly replied to their declaration about war guilt with the old tag: litera scripta manet. Commend by moder~tion in having refrained! I am astonished at it.

I have chosen my path within the limits set to me by forces beyond my control. God forgive me ifI have allowed myself to be duped by the Germans, but either Stresemann is crooked and a coward, or the value of any Pact which may be made is fOr the present singularly discounted by the opposition which he meets.

communications will have told you (or will in due course tell you) all that I have said or directed to be said, and some part ofwhat I have thought. At every stage the Germans sow distrust in my mind. At every stage Briand disproves the common assumption the difficulty is now with France.

Letter from -Austen I~hamberlain (Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs) to Lord D' Abernon (HM ~mbassador, Berlin) of 30 September, 1925

My dear D'Abernon, I am here in the country getting such refreshment as I can after Geneva and before going to fight with Germans at Ephesus or some other Swiss town. It is here tonight that your letter ofthe 26th reaches me. As I have no secretary I shall write briefly and even brutally. Your Germans - I use the possessive pronoun as one says to one's wife: your housemaidare very nearly intolerable. From first to last very nearly every obstacle to the pact negotiations has come from them. Briand has almost taken my breath away by his liberality, his conciliatoriness, his strong and manifest desire to promote peace. The German attitude has been just the contrary - niggling, provocative, crooked. Official


-' i;~ ~. '/ "

t''''' ~ ''':'"';

".-

LOC/'ro iyj- ~p.

etc.,

evc.

:~:. I

I., c,; 71

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:

..

.

'

-

,

-

q~

~~~ ....CL /2./

. .

~

-, it.' t-" }w J

,(

-:-,':.. , ' British Delegatlon, .. .i:-._':4._'~ , Looarno. 103 C"" C' ,: , . , (J If 9th Cctober' 11;25.

I L"1 2J I ,

, 14 OCT ,g~ ~- --_.-.. ..

';.1: :013 ! ; l~ cc 1 ~ :3iIl1pl t3 ti ue!

never •• '.

104

"general-Btimnutlf;" -of the conference 1s -good? Even those raven1nG wolves, the repo~ters. have apparently succumbed to the atmosphere of .gen-eral contentment . . and to. be fairly benevolent 1n the1r attitude towards the conference, desp1 te the comple'te lack of real news which 1s' given t~~. So much for the plaoe: now as to th'e conferenoe 1tself. Franlcly I am amazed' - -I th1nk everyone must be - by the absence of all chtoanery. All part1es come to tile -ta.ble and, expla1n the1r particular diff1culties in t ii9 s1l1191est and mos-t atraightforward language. 1undanlsntal divergencies of view of course there are: but in no single instunce h uvu tnfUbeen expounded ill such a v/o.y as to oallSO tho s14-;htest umbrage to the other 1)81'ty. . I claim to be as pl1lc{}.1at l c :..Jlic1 unemotion al as mOG t of my countrY1i1en~ but I am.lit llC.ving been thr,illed to t ilO bone once or tV/ice by the eloctuence and obvious sincerity 0'1 both Briand and Stre9E1nann. Yesterday, over the question of Ge.rnlany's entry into the League, they were both at their best and I have

~

Facsimile of a letter from Miles Lampson (British Delegation, Locarno) to Austen Chamberlain of 9th October, 1925 ,. -fI r

_

Dear Tyrrell,

The telet;;ramu

The Secretary of State is ;': eepini; you ;i.'ullr informed of all our officlal doll]bS.

and reoords of cOllversations cover that side of the picture. , But :l,.t may interest you to (lave a 1010re

~en'raJ. wld ~ulte informal accowlt of the 1mpresIn the first place no one vlho is not a Robot

sions which ti'le proceedings here leave on me. , ' could fall to be favourably affected by the place

Tha

miles as t he crow flios - ?'; iO!'e I;Jotmta.l118

Cpposl te _

Swl~s in c;;.ul'acter, nestlinL.,' un~er high

in waicll we find ourselves. It is jH3rfectl l' DaautlfUl: a nico l~ttle town, r ::: thor I '~ullan

than '~hree

moun t:J.il1s on the shores of tile La}~e. aCl',,;J ;;; t il ;) :'.l:~ e.

·:::',::. t ti. ~ '.: e l'i:l~lI .:l ':: (iul:7, c ~~ J. l t ;l e

tlll<1f fected. In :lci. d ltl ol1, 3. :.:ood ilOtel, :":o od .!'oa.'. ls, and ex ccllel: t fo o:; ::01' ~~l e i! ,l'l or !Il~m! .11' e you :::~rpris ed ~i1~t

etc.,

Sil' i(1111wil TY1'.re111 J . C•• : . G. ,


our

10:) · nev~.r before 'had the good fortune to heal' a discus. aion ~ond~cted on so high a plane. It was really wondertu~. and here lot me say that what has undoubtedly greatly 'c ontributed to' th~ 'general Jl'ogross and hanllonv of ·lihe. prooeedings up to date 11ao been the unel'rl~ judgTnent Vli·lib. waich, at precisely the psychOlogical moment, oVin Seoretary of State has in~erven$~ in tho debate. . Both the ~rellOll . and the Germans have testified to this. And ~tlng at my at : the .table 1 ila~-e particularly noticed the ~laoe

'fihe moment he be-

way in ·· whioh tIle .eYes both ot Luther and Str.es8luann are rIvet ted upon I'ilr. Chamberlain

bins to speak.

~t

':'.:

.when •..••

Tb1s 1s tb~ third re~ oonference at wh1ch I have. been preaent: · ~ashington. London last year, and now :::'ocarno. ani there can be no (!uestion that there is all the d i,fference in tho ,,'orld bet\';cen the last two na1':1ed. True that ut L.ondon we !;1et the :;e~~l1s ostensibly 011 ~!1 erlu,'l l fOOt:4.l1~. ~ut in actu!ll f3C·~, was tile t true'? aurely not. DId we not clll'afully arl'ange th~t bofol'e the Germans join~d us we t:Jhould our proposals into out and, dried form? And

have

.~

....

' .",' oJ

'.

,

10J·

.' ·:·when, 'a fter much dlffloul ty w1 th . the French, tile .... Gemans d1~ arrive, and dld ' joIn ·us. were they not .. (t~ough the aooldent of lack :ot .s pao·e', 110 doubt)

· . :- pi~~ed ~:t the end of the .r o·om · a~ a t~9ie .faC·l ng the '

Ob·$ imlan. a..'ld for all tile world 11ke· pr1so.n era at the bar? .And then COl':)e ' the drwnat1c moment when · Hankey advanoed and, a.t the request o.f ~he p,r ime · bl!i~ls tel', handed to the Genaan' Chancellor a volwn1nous b~dle . oontaining th~ Resol~tlons etc. alread~· adop.t ed · by the lntel'-allled conferenoe. These the · Ge1'l;nans' · , were lnvited to ohew and digest, at~er VJhich Vie., the' · allles. ~·· would be pleased to meet them and dlscusS :. ::. · their. ··appll~atlon. HOVlever .1l1lCll · In .tileory VIe may . have met . in London on a footing of complete e(lualit1, ln practIce' we certainly dld not: we, the al11cm, . ·· d'eo.1d·ed what we wanted; we,· the allies, then persuaded the Garmans to acce~)t our prOi)osuls after , it

~;Jhat

1.8 true, thorough and perfectly fail' d1scuss10n; so

that it was in fact a .ilvi~ion into tv/o groups. 1s the posl t10n here~f Gtrikinsly :litfel'ent, ~·~·o

grouping of pa::·ties, no division into allies on one .

slde a'nd Germans on tho other. On the contl'8rv, Briand ....


Briand, 5tresarnann and

L~ther

10'J sit opposite to one

another in tile Conference Room and discuss VIi th Each goes out of his way to Sh 0W

the utmost discretion and good humour their various difficulties.

that he realises those of the other; each is obviously genuinely desirous of helping th,e other out so

As tile

In sho.rt, the.re is a complete

far as 11e possibly can consistently with his own na tional intel"ests. absence of bi tterness or bacl{-bi tinge

~i'or

r~j03t

blU~l­

Secretary of 0tate said in his first interview ';/ith This str1kes me as really the

the jOUl'nal1sts, 1 t is a case of the 'dead past Ing ·its dead'.

significant feature of the vlhole conference.

t t a::(,.m

~roups;

~: i:u's e ' CD l d

: : :~lr

:l.-t u.; rG.;ur ds ent tlU-

:rm:.

the first time since tile war t he Jrencil and tile Germans meet as man to man, one mig ht 8.l uost say as friend to friend. The ~ e is complete equal ity; all that ;JOi.iG'.: .iil

t~ ere is no lon&er a division into is past ani Gone.

11·'i pen il.:.i. S

ov e l· d. oln~;

Opt1mlsr.l in :":'. ca tell i ns complain t, :.ll:d pe r ha ~Js

\':el l thin:{ th2. 'v I dLl s ias-Il .

it .....

it blinds my vision; but I do not wittingly

103

exagserate . .. So ~ar as 1 can. judge thls :1s a very remarkable gathering, voila·! .

~ .~ -

.. -.-- ,---

.

~

r~~


My dear Tyrrell,

To add a touch of humour to the situation, the launch bears the name of the 'Orange Blossom' and, as explained by Monsieur Briand, is chiefly used for wedding parties. 'Alors, c' est un mariage que nous c6lebrons,' said I, embracing the Chancellor and Briand with a wide gesture: 'C'est un vrai depart pour Cythere'. And just five minutes ago Selby has come to consult me about the desire of the Press to entertain all the delegations to the Conference at a public luncheon. The press had proposed to Selby that I should take the place of honour as President of the Conference, but Selby had explained, very properly, that I was not President though I always preside. In that case they had replied that, as Luther held the highest individual rank, he must be put in the place of honour. You see the difficulty. What is intended to be a recognition and a public conf1flll8tion of the excellent relations which have prevailed between us in the Conference at once creates an awkward situation. Would you believe it? Briand has already said that, if it is agreeable to me, he has no objection to seeing the Chancellor in the place of honour. There are times when I do not know

hours later at th~ Conference, owing to the accident of there not being much to do in the plenary sitting, I took the opportunity to run through the draft in an endeavour to see what clauses were fmally settled and what questions still remained open for discussion, & Scialoja announced Italy's adherence, and almost before I had got over the not, I hope, unnatural elation caused by this announcement, Briand invited Luther, Stresemann and me to accompany him in a little trip on the lake in a launch belonging to the Italian fleet of the ubiquitous Loucheur. What would you have said if, on the platform at Victoria, I had told you that in a week's time I should be joining in a pleasure party in a launch on this lake with the Chancellor and the Foreign Minister of the Reich as the guests of the Foreign Minister of . France?

Letter from Austen Chamberlain to Sir William Tyrrell (permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs) of 11 October, 1925 British Delegation, Grand Hotel, LOCARNO. 11 th October, 1925.

Many thanks for your letter of the 9th. I have already spoken to Briand about Mose~ and I am rather loth myself to mention the subject to him again at this stage in our proceedings when it may be necessary for me to press him for some concessions in the interests of Germany. Apart from this, I should be very loth to give him the idea that I was in any way bargaining my support. I am confident that we shall have his help, and I would not have him suspect me of carrying on what I may call an Italian policy. I propose, therefore, to ask Lampson to take an opportunity to speak to Berthelot or Leger in the sense indicated in your letter. I wonder what you are all thinking of us by this time. Do you think that we have aU gone mad in the abnospbere ofLocarno? When I awoke on Saturday morning I wondered whether I was living in a fool's paradise, and trembled to think of the tone of the letters and other messages that I was sending home. Then 'The Times' of a couple of days before reached me with a gloomy message from its Berlin correspondent about the influence which Chicherin was exerting and the prospects of the Pact as seen from Berlin. On the whole I was in a subdued and slightly anxious frame of mind lest I had been making a fool of myself in some jocular allusions; and then, a couple of


By the way, did I make some disagreeable observations about my German colleagues at the first meeting? Did I say that they were bald and ugly and unhealthy looking, with rolls of fat at the back of their necks? I fancy that some such thought passed through my mind and found expression in a letter which I scribbled to you. I must have been jaundiced that morning. I find them rather agreeable. The Chancellor, if not exactly handsome, is a pleasant-looking man, comfortably but not unduly clad with flesh. No-one would describe Stresemann as good-looking, but he is quite a pleasant companion, at any rate as pleasant as anybody can be who speaks so ugly a language as German. Schubert, I admit, might easily be improved. A visit to Aix or Vichy, which may shortly be open to him, so fast are we becoming reconciled to one another, is I think what he needs. Seriously, they have conducted themselves admirably in Conference. I have not the least doubt that they are honestly anxious for success, and not a word has escaped either of them which we would have wished to suppress or to alter, and the Chancellor has shown striking powers of persuasion as well as a really remarkable capacity for expressing himself in French.

whether I am standing on my head or my heels, so fast has the world gone round since we came here.

And here I must say some words about my own personal position. I sent a formal account of my conversation with Luther, but I hardly liked to say in so formal a document with what a depth of feeling and warmth of expression he had spoken of my part in this work. 'We should never have come to this Conference but for you', he said, and again he repeated that if the Conference had come to birth and if we were now all hopeful of a successful result, it was due to the work which I had done in London and to the manner in which I had conducted proceedings here: and the next morning, after the sitting of the Conference, Vandervelde came up to me to say almost the same thing in almost the same words. He said that he and I stood at almost the opposite poles of political thought, but he wished to tell me how profoundly grateful he was for what I had done. I had made the Conference possible, and I had made the Conference what it was. If a month or two ago it had become known in their respective countries that Briand had met the German Chancellor alone in some little wayside restaurant whilst he, Vandervelde, was at the same moment closeted with the German Foreign Secretary, they would have been stoned as traitors by their people.

dependent will dare to draw upon its country the universal condemnation that would follow upon rejection of the agreement.

I have never listened to a more interesting discussion both in matter and in form that that which took place on Thursday afternoon on the subject of article 16. It was on an extremely high level and it is literally true, as I said to the Chancellor, that a stranger, ignorant of who we were and of our past and suddenly introduced into that discussion, would have felt rather that he was among old business associates, amongst whom some difference of interests had developed but who were determined to continue their association, than among the representatives of nations who had been engaged in a struggle to the death a few years ago. I believe things have gone too far here for any delegation to incur the results of a failure to find a solution, and I believe, rightly or wrongly, that if we sign or initial something here, no party in any parliament upon whose vote ratification is

It sounds, I fear, very egotistical to put all this down in black and white, but I have worked pretty hard, and at moments a little alone, to produce this result. Not many people, I think, outside the Foreign Office, understood that [sic] I was doing or at what I was aiming, and I confess that I am deeply moved when I fmd that all the delegations feel that things would not be as they are, with such good prospects in front of us, if it had not been for the part that the Minister of Great Britain played. It is not only the protagonists who speak thus appreciatively of my share in the good work that has been done. Steward tells me that the German press representatives hold much the same language. The French delegation has told their press to give me full credit for the part that I have played and, to lend a humorous touch to this egotistical record, Hurst reports that a member of the French


delegation watching my proceedings in the chair threw up his hands and exclaimed 'Comme it est d6licieux'. Well, it is all going well as far as I can see. We have not resolved all our difficuhies, but I believe that we shall find a way out of them before we part, and looking back on what has been done it all seems so simple, so easy and so natural: and yet I recall my flfst impression of these strained German faces as they came into the room where the rest of us were already assembled, when I was the first to move forward to shake hands with them, and then Briand's face as I turned to look for him and found bimjust behind me advancing for the same purpose, but with the grimmest look that I have ever seen him wear. It was not an expression of anger, but literally one of pain as of a man approaching to ask the surgeon what was the result of the operation just performed upon his wife. I see that picture vividly as I write, and contrast with it Briand leaning forward in the discussion the o~er day, his eyes twinkling, his mouth smiling and in his most persuasive voice saying 'Comment? vous croyez pouvoir rester neotre. Allons donc!' and I wish I could give you any idea of the way in which he pronounced the last two words and of the friendly and even cordial persuasiveness which they carried. This letter is already quite long enough but I have yet a bit of news that will interest you. Scialoja came to see me this evening to hear how the separate conversations were proceeding. I told him that I did not believe that any of us could now allow failure to take place, but I added that I was not yet prepared to indicate the date at which Mussolini should present himself for the signature of our treaty.

Scialoja replied that Mussolini had a good many difficulties on his hands, and he was not sure even now that he would be able to come. He himself very much desired that Mussolini should come, and it was partly to produce this result that he had made his announcement yesterday. He had not consulted Mussolini beforehand, but had received a telegram fully approving the action which he had taken.

I confess that it is a profound surprise to me to fmd that Scialoja had strength and independence enough to take such action except upon direct instructions, but Scialoja observed that his position in relation to Mussolini was peculiar, for he was not a Fascist and he was the only man in Italy who told Mussolini the truth.

I hardly like to put on paper a further observation of Scialoja' s, for it seems too good to be true, and I have no confirmation of it: but he said that Briand had told him that if all went well he was not disinclined to hand back the Saar to the Germans. I fmd it hard to believe that Briand can afford to do this in connection with the Pact and to confront the French Nationalist opposition that it would arouse; but I am going to seek conversations with him to-morrow before we meet the Germans with the idea that the way to help them to overcome the objections of their Nationalists to the entry of Germany into the League or to any other feature of the Pact is that we should give them something tangible to carry back with them in regard to Cologne, or the conditions of occupation in the rest of the Rhineland. Have I told you yet, though we cruised for nearly five hours on the lake, we had not time to touch upon this question, and as the Germans had particularly requested a conversation on the subject I felt bound to say before we parted that we owed them an opportunity for it, and to ask whether they would all meet in my room to discuss it, say, to-morrow at 4 0' clock. The two German Ministers, Briand and myself will meet here. There are wheels within wheels at Locarno as elsewhere. The Germans asked me to invite them to meet Briand and Vandervelde. Briand did not object to meeting the Germans, but begged me not to import Vendervelde into that discussion.

Poor Vandervelde owing, I think, mainly to his deafuess is constantly getting hold of the wrong end of the stick, and introducing into the discussion some theme which everybody else has carefully avoided.

~"~'.c.


Telegram from Austen Chamberlain to Sir William Tyrrell, indicating that agreement on a treaty had just been reached at Locarno, and Sir William's reply.

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M. Skrzynslci will employ in order to conceal this fact, cannot make away with the fundamental difference between the treatment at Locamo of Germany's western and ~tern frontiers. The fact

remains a fact. England indicated Poland to Germany as an object of compensation, and France was not in a position to oppose this. A third result of the negotiations at Locamo is that Germany has entered the League ofNations in spite ofthe fact that the 16th and 17th paragraphs of the Covenant of the League of Nations have not been abolished and remain in force in regard to Germany. England and France have undertaken to propose to the CoWlcil of the League of Nations that it should promise Germany that she cannot be forced to fulfil articles 16 and 17 beyond the extent of her power to do so. The German press, in defending the policy of the pact, pretends that the of the Government's fulfilment declaration that it will not accept obligations arising out of article 16 means a victory for Germany. We say quite openly that we have here not a game of hide-and-seek, but a very usual teclmical move aimed at concealing the truth. Perhaps the move will be successful as regards Gennan public opinion, but it certainly will not succeed

in relation to public opinion in the U.S.S.R. [Here follows a disquisition designed to show that tM concession granted to Germany in relation to articles 16 and 17 oftM CoveTlQnt was already accepted in 1923 wMn tM Canadian delegation's resolution on this subject was passed by the Council oftM League.] What does this mean ? h means that the so-called ooncession made to Germany by the League of Nations is no concession at all; it means that England and France have sold Germany goods

which have already been sold before. All the other small Powers had already some time before expressed themselves against the obligation arising out of article 16, and concessions had already . been made to them in the shape of a promise that the Great Powers would take into account their special position and their weakness. Thus the Entente has as yet made no new concessions to Gennany. But perhaps Germany has been victimised as a result of having

been badly informed. This would seem improbable even if we did not definitely know that the German politicians were fully aware of tM above-mentioned decision of the League ofNaJions. In all fundamental questions England has carried her point of view. She has

taken Germany into her wake and aeated strained relations between Germany and the U.S.S.R She has succeeded in weakening the link between France and her allies, she has gained for herself the role of arbiter between Germany and France, and, finally, she has left open the question as to the occupation of the Rhine, the question of the Saar Basin, and the question of military control, which in case of necessity will, in the hands of England, provide a meanr for creating strained relations between France and Germany, and will also provide sma/I change in case there should be need of making small concessions to Germany in order to force her, against her will, to engage herself against the U.S.S.R. The Locamo Treaty represents an important landmark in the development of international relationships after the war, and we will therefore have to return to it more than once. To-day what we have said is enough to define the U.S.S.R. 's attitude towards this great event.

Translation of an article in the Soviet newspaper, Izvestiya of 18 October, 1925 AN ENGLISH VICTORY The decisions of the conference in Locarno have not yet been published, but the general outlines of these decisions are already visible, and therefore the political meaning of the conference is clear. Germany, France and Belgium have

confirmed to each other the permanence of their frontiers; the guarantor Is England. This means that England is the judge between the Powers named. It is she who will decide whether the time has come for her to intervene, and whose side she should take. Their relationship to England becomes the central question of the policy of these Powers. France has not gained the right to play the same role in regard to the GermanPolish-Czechoslovak frontiers. The fact that Briand will reiterate to Poland and to Czecltoslovakia that their alliance With France remains in force does not

alter the fact that France's liberty of action for the defence of the Polish frontiers wUl depend upon the League of NaJions, that is to say, in the given case, upon English imperialism. Poland has been isolated by the outcome of the Locamo negotiations. All the phrases which will be said to her in order to cover this fact, and all the phrases which


Facsimile extract of a record of the Locarno Treaty signing ceremony, London, 1 December, 1925.

GERMANY. CONFIDENTIAf:..

SBCTION 3.

9 [C

16WA/~/18]

No.1.

.t

Note. of an International Conference held at the Foreign Oftloe on December 1, 1_, 11 a.m., for the purpoee of dping the Tre&tt.. of Looarno. Present: . GUMANY.

BBLGIUM.

Dr. Luther. Dr. Stresemann.

M. Vandervelde. ' M. Rolin.

Herr von Schubert. Dr. Kempner. Herr ROOelhanmier. Herr Bernhard. FRANCB.

M. Briand. M. Berthelot.

GllBAT BRITAIN.

Rt. Hon. Stanley i3a1dwin. Rt. Hon. Au.st.en Cbamberlain. Sir Cecil Hurst. Mr. ,Miles Lan!~n. , Mr. Walford Selby. Mr. J. C. Sterndale Bennett. Mr. V.' Cavendish-Bentinck. Mr. G. F. Steward. POLAND.

ITALY.

Senator Scialoja. Marchese MedIci. Commendatore Pilotti.

'.

Count Skrzynski. ' Count Przezdziecfii. M. Kisielniclri. CZBCB08LOVAJUA.

Dr. Benes. M.Babb.

.MR. CHAMBERLAIN, ..peaking in French, &aid:"By command of Hie Majesty the King, my august Master, I bid you welcome to the metropolis of HIB Empire. cc His Majesty hia charged me to tell you with what interest He followed the discussions of the Conference of Locarno, and to express to you His profound satisfaction at ita soooeaaful i88Ue. "His Majesty oo~tulates Himself on the choice which you have made of His capital as the place in which to sign the ~ments concluded at Locarno. His Majesty regrets that the sad, 1088 which. He has just sustained prevents Him from celebrating the occasion &8 He had wished to do, but His aearest hope is that this great work of appeasement and reconciliation will provide the foundation for a sincere friendship between our seven nations and will assure peare "to our peoples." " Gentlemen, I venture to add that the Prime Minister and myself also congratulate ourselves on your presence here to sign the Treaty of Locarno and the supplementary agreements which were ooncluC:led at the same tim~. " We very mUch regret that his Excellency M. MU880lini has been unable to come to sign with his own hand the treaty which he initialled at Locarno, but we are happy to greet, in the eeraon of M. Scialoja, the representative of the Kingdom of Italy, a guarantor, like ourselves, hI thi8 work of peace. " His Majeaty'a Gove~ent identify themaelvea completely with the wishes which His Majesty baa charged me to expreaa to you in His name. 8188 rlS908] , B


'2 " The Conference of Locarno, while strengthening our fo~ frien~pa, has been the basis of a reconciliation with Germany, a 1'eOC?ncihatlOD which we are convinced will" assure to us henceforward yet another f~end. . " Gentlemen, we are fu1l:y aware that, there is much ~till. to be d~De In ,order that, these hopes may be realised: We shall all meet With many difficulties on our ~ths; prejudices to be conq~, s~piciOll& to be ~'. " . . " But for our part we are ullshakeably resolved to pureoe this work of peace in the same spirit which inspired our negotiations at. Locarno. " H~ving put our hand to the pl~h we shall ..never;1ook .back.... '. "H18 MaJe8ty:'s Government Will do everything ~h&t bas WIthin then power to ensure a successful issue to our labOurs, to ~ury the ha~8 and the 8ll;Bpicions of the past, '"!ld to BJ)&!e future generat~ons a repetition o! the misfortunes and the suffermgs of which the world of tcrday has been the WItness and the v i c t i m . " · . . ,

DB. LUTHER, speaking in German, said:e e In the name of mj. Government I desire to exPref(58 profound . gratitude for the message wh~ch His Bri~ic Majesty has conveyea ~ the assembled delegates of tile natlons'who met m Locarno to lay the foundatiOns of t~ work which is to be concluded in the capital of Great Britain. I am certain that 1 am speaking in complete ~ment with all the nations represen~ here when I express the sympathy which we all feel f9r the heavy 1088 which the British Empire, together with the Royal Family, has suSered through the death ofthe. ~MQther.

"I welcome from my whole heart His Majesty's oonviQtion that Locamo will be a. work of pacification and reconciliation as the foundation of a real friendship between the nations repreeen~ here; that, furthermore, it will assure that peace which all peoples 80 ur~ntly need 88 a basis for their recovery. We earnes~ hope, moreover, that the wishes ex~resaed by the British ~ of State for Foreign Affairs may be fulfilled, more especially &8 the relations between my country and the nations represen~ reo Mr. Chamberlain has riglitly empliasised that there ' are difficulties to be overcome on the road to this reconciliation from which Dew friendships will spring. We speak of prejudices which we ~U8t conquer and of 8Uspi~i~ which, must De overcome. All peoples must unite to · rer~ these preJudl0e8 ' and 8U8picions t{) the past in order to o~n the way to. a futme ~velopment .in which we must &If collaborate. ~o tbis end everything must disappear whIch has its causes in the aft.er~ftects, now no longer justified, of the .w ar period. The fact that districts of my Fatherland have to sutler still longer from the consequences of that war must within a measurable period also belong to the past, as also the feelings of distrust which we desire mutually to renounce. The plough to which we wish to put our hands must create new value&, Dluat give ~ a free soil the possibility of the harvest which our peoples need after their long sufferings from the visitations of the past. It 18 our task to collaborate in this great work. . Even more important than the contents of the trea.ty, which denotes new relationships in tlie world, must be the unity ' of purpose to work peacefully ~ther, which finds expn!88ion in the work of Locamo. Germany to day, in liarmony with her previous a.ttitude and her own initiative, gladly identifies herself with this work. May the CXH)peration of all the peoples here assembled spring from this unity of purpose." . M. BRIAND, speaking in French, said:ee His Maj~'s message enables me respectfully to express· the deep ~t felt in France for the cruel loss which the Royal Family and the whole British nation have sustained. • cc I thank both the King and His Majesty'8 Government most sincerely for their word~ of we~oome and for the generous h08pitali~ which has been exrended to the national delegates who elaborated the treaties of Locarno. It is a pleasure to me to avail myself of this occasion once more to pay ~omage to that .noble and geool'OU:B spirit in which Mr. Chamberlain presided ove.r our meet~~gs !1Dd to ~e einlne~t.part there playe4 by him. It. IS not WIthout emotIOn that I shall si~ these great agr~ments, which !lre deatlD~ to draw the nations of Europe closer together and to mark the Inau~atlon of an era of peace which is in harmony with the deepeRt feelings and Wlth.the prayers of aU the nations who suffered 80 terribly in the war."


The Treaty of Locamo and the other treaties initialled at Locamo on October 16 were signed yesterday at the Foreign Office. A faint gleam of sunlight trailed slowly down a grey wall of the Foreign Office and touched a sparrow who was flitting gaily round one of those weather-beaten figures that may once have been an adornment. The sun did his wintry best and there was a rosy tint in the misty air. It was a gentle quiet day, and there was a leisurely tranquillity in . the Big Reception Room where the plenipotentiaries of seven nations were meeting to sign the Pact of Security and Peace. The Reception Room is dignified in its proportions, grave, almost sombre in its general effect or was that because of the uncertain light that brought out no colours and could not quite scatter some straggling shadows, for all the relief of those splendid tall windows? It is a room that suggests stately ceremonies and rigid etiquette, and ghosts

movement quickened. Here now were Ambassadors and Cabinet Ministers and High Commissioners of the Dominions. And then, at 11, Sir Austen Chamberlain appeared smiling in the doorway leading the signatories in - 18 were the chosen company of European men of State who were to carry out a solemn act, on which the fortwles of millions depend, in the unobtrusive modern way. There they sat at last around that sober table which, perhaps, itself and its very inkstands and pens will be called historical in after years. A life-size portrait of the King looked down upon the scene with a portrait of Castlereagh at his side. It was beginning. What was beginning? An act even greater in its scope and range than that which brought, rest to Europe after long wars over a hundred years ago. Attentioo wandered a little, ''Time like an evertlowing stream - ", but no, those 18 men with the pale, tired faces were not simply going to sign

documents and make not very audible speeches; they were pledging the nations to peace. Sir Austen Chamberlain sat at the head of the table. It was his day. He seemed even thinner than usual, and if he showed little emotion, it seemed to be sublimated arOlmd him so that there was just a filint impression, a glimpse, perhaps, as of one who had seen a vision. To his right sat Mr. Baldwin, very cheerful and alert, looking curiously around at the assemblage of European statesmen. The other participants in the ceremony had the appearance of men still burdened with many cares and reposing in a momentary respite. The Germans were alert and concerned. They have had a hard struggle with the strong Natimalist opposition in the country and the Reichstag and Dr. Luther and Herr Stresemann, having won their victory in Parliament on this question of Locamo, are preparing to resign when they return to Berlin. They were

Article published in The Times, 2 December, 1925 of the days before democracy and world wars may have been lingering there. But yesterday the hall was very nearly modern, even businesslike. In the centre stood a big oblong table, with dispatciJ. boxes, inkstands, and pens upon it, and surrounded with heavy chairs. Other smaller tables for secretaries stood near and rows of drawing room chairs were ranged along the walls. Behind a barrier journalists from half the world were wedged in tiers, and photographers and cinematographers were perched high up in nooks above the windows. It was very modern and really extremely simple. The slow minutes drew near 11. Foreign Office officials moved about, giving a final glance, putting a pen in place here, straightening a paper there. Ladies in black came in quietly - Mrs. Baldwin, Lady Chamberlain, and others, and took their seats near the wall A happy boy came too - Sir Austen Chamberlain's son. The

conspicuous figures in yesterday's ceremony. Sitting side by side far down the table. they might have been brothers. Both are of medimn height and thickset. Both have roWld, full, tired faces. Herr Stresemann sits with bowed head and clasped hands. Dr. Luther looks alertly through big homrimmed glasses. He is a good, well-trained, businesslike German touched with a practical sense of bigger possibilities, national possibilities, that are not yet apparent to many of his more contentious countrymen. These characteristic faces showed yesterday most distinctly the sense of fierce strain and of momentary relaxation. M.Briand was calmer. He is always calm in the most astonishing circumstances, and the benevolent expression of his blue eyes will never change if the world tuns upside down. He has just formed a Cabinet at a moment of extreme internal conflict, and he is hurrying back to France today to deliver his Ministerial


declaration to the Chamber. Yet he is impertW"bable, and his rich, musical voice descanting 00 the larger issues ofwar and peace did yesterday most distinctly suggest the range of hwnan events in the past and the futme to which the new Treaties are the key. M. Vandervelde was serene and weighty as the representative of Belgium, liberated anew. Signor Mussolini did not come after all to sign 00 behalf of Italy, but Signor Scialoja was there, calm, unaggressive, quietly insistent on the rights and powers of Italy in the new era. The new era was the word. Herr Stresemann said it later on in the meeting in a German speech, which, beginning low, fiu' down in the throat, came gradually forward so that the most impressive passage happened to be that in which he recalled the blind destruction by war of those young capacities, intuitions, and talents, those impulses of genius which but for the war might have been enlightening us now. They signed, of course they signed, the Treaties, thinking of their own present

stress, of the past, of violent conflict from which something had been rescued and of the dim new era of hope of which their signatures might be the beginning. The signing of the various documents then took place. Dr. Luther dipped the ordinary pen again and again in the ink before he wrote down his name against the red seal on the vellum tmder the shelter of the blue ribbon of peace. Herr Stresemann wrote confidently, as though his signature were a matter of daily routine. M. Briand accomplished the task without any visible effort. M Vandervelde signed with a quill pen. Sir Austen Chamberlain wrote with a glorious pen of gold, in the shape' of a quill pen, which had been presented to him by the British delegatim at Locamo. Sir Cecil Hurst carried the chief Treaty around the table, presenting it to the delegates with a cheerful nonchalance that obliterated every expectation of formal effect. The legal expert of the Foreign Office was the law on this occasion. He knew the Treaties through and through in all their

stages. Sitting on the left hand of Sir Austen Chamberlain, he carefully observed all the details of the culmination of a long diplomatic effort in the technical forms of international law. There was a lot of writing and a lot of formal signing. To several documents the various delegates had to append their full names. They did so resolutely. Beyond the table, against some outer wall, Lord 0' Abemon looked on the achievement with an air of personal satisfaction. Near him were Lord Crewe, the British Ambassador in Paris, and Sir George Grahame, our Ambassador in Brussels, who had followed every stage that had led to this dramatic development. In that line were M. de Fleuriau and Herr Stahmer, and the Marquis de Torretta, the French, German, and Italian Ambassadors in London, and also the Ministers of the other signatory Powers. Sir William Tyrrell, the head of the Foreign Office, sat gleaming, as though someone were telling a very good story. A whole row of Cabinet Ministers sat behind Sir

Austen Chamberlain with the composed air habitual to British Ministers in Parliament, on the platform, and on every public occasion. To all of us who were there it seemed that something decisive and important had really happened, in spite of an appearance of unobtrusive routine. The ceremony stopped short; Sir Austen Chamberlain expressed his pleasure and proposed that a telegram should be sent to the Mayor of that little town in Switzerland whose name the Treaty bears. Then everybody moved out into Downing Street, and there a large British crowd was being marshalled by vigilant police, and it cheered the outgoing delegates and cried ''Vive Briand" and took off its hats to the German delegates, and gave the first indication of how eagerly the world was waiting for the peace now safely signed tmder solemn seal. -000-


LIST OF PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED Feo mSTORY NOTES History Notes are produced by the FCO Historians in the Records and Historical Department (RHD) of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For information contact: Historians, RHD, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Old Admiralty Building, London SWIA 2AF; Tel 020 7210 3862; email: bistorians.rhd.fco@gtnet.gov.uk:

1. Korea: Britain and the Korean War 1950-51: June 1990 Second edition (revised) January 1995 ISBN 0 903359 53 7

2. The FCO: Policy, People and Places, 1782-1995: April 1991 Fifth edition (revised) August 1997 ISBN 0 903359 72 3 3. Locamo 1925: Spirit, suite, and treaties: October 1991 Second Edition (revised) August 2000 ISBN 0 903359 82 0 4. FeO Records: Policy, Practice and Posterity, 1782-1993: August 1992 Second edition (revised) November 1993 ISBN 0 903359502 5. FeO Library: Print, Paper and Publications, 1782-1993: March 1993 ISBN 0 903359 49 9 6. Women in Diplomacy: The FCO, 1782-1999: May 1994 Second edition (revised) May 1999 ISBN 0 903359 78 2

7. "My Purdah Lady". The Foreign Office and the Secret Vote, 1782-1909: September 1994 ISBN 0 903359 52 9

8. FeO Library & Records, 1782-1995: June 1995 ISBN 0 903359 55 3

9. Origins and EstabUshment of the Foreign Office Information Research Department, 1946-48: August 1995 ISBN 0 903359 60 X 10. The Katyn massacre: an SOE Penpective: February 1996 ISBN 0 903359 64 2 11. Nazi Gold: Information from the British Archives: September 1996 Second edition (revised) January 1997 ISBN 0 903359 69 3 12. Nazi Gold: Information from the British Archives: Part ll: May 1997 ISBN 0 903359 71 5


13. British policy towards enemy property during and after the Second World War: April 1998 ISBN 0 903359 75 8 14. "A most extraordinary and mysterious business": The Zinoviev Letter of 1924: February 1999 ISBN 0 903359774

Feo Historians are also responsible for publishing Occasional Papers, Documents on British Policy Overseas (DBPO) and FCO Internal Histories. Most recent titles from these series include: Occasional Papers: No.12

Nationality and Nationalism in East-Central Europe since the 18th Century

No.13

The Growth of Multilateral Diplomacy

No.14

Britishness and British Foreign Policy

No.IS

Spies, Secrets and Diplomacy

No.16

Journey to an Unknown Destination: the British Arrival in Brussels in 1973

DBPO, Series III Volume I, Britain and the Soviet U Bion, 1968-72 [The Stationery Office, 1997] Volume IT, The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, 1972-75 [The Stationery Office, 1997] Volume ill, Detente in Europe, 1972-76 [to be published by Whitehall History Publishing in association with Frank Cass, December 2000]

FCO Internal Histories No.1

Britain's Entry into the Europe Community, report on the Negotiations of 19701972 by Sir COD O'Neill, edited by Sir David Hannay [to be published by Whitehall

History Publishing in association with Frank Cass, September 2000]

Locarno 1925: The Treaty, the Spirit and the Suite  

A history of the FCO’s famed Locarno Suite and a brief outline of the key diplomatic events which gave rise to its name.

Locarno 1925: The Treaty, the Spirit and the Suite  

A history of the FCO’s famed Locarno Suite and a brief outline of the key diplomatic events which gave rise to its name.