22 OCTOBER 1937, Page 2

Republican Offensive The end of last week saw the opening

of the long-awaited Republican offensive on the Aragon front, and the Nationalist forces, after severe fighting, have been driven back in the neighbourhood of Saragossa, which is an important centre for the manufacture of war material. The Government argue that they owe their opportunity to the stubborn opposition of the Asturians, who have held up the Nationalists in the north. From another point of view, however, the offensive appears to have come too late. Delivered earlier it might either have saved the Basques and the Asturians by forcing General Franco to divert his troops, or have effected a break-through while they were still occupied in the north. At present, with the Nationalists at the gates of Gijon, whose fall seems to be inevitable, General Franco appears to be in a position to check the Republican attack. Indeed, with the international situation encouraging him to deliver a decisive blow before there is any change to his disadvantage, it is probable that the Government will again be thrown upon the defensive. The Government's projected move from Valencia has not yet taken place ; Dr. Negrin's broadcast last Saturday was suddenly cancelled, but he is expected to announce the decision before the end of this week.