25 NOVEMBER 1932, Page 14


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—In the very interesting article on this subject in your issue of last week you have, I think, done a little less than justice to Sir Eyre Crowe's memorandum ; and you have been rather more than kind to M. Caillaux's reply.

I suggest that Sir Eyre Crowe was writing, not an historical thesis for criticism by historians, but a confidential memo- randum for the guidance of his Department, based, of necessity, largely on inferences, and written in a highly charged atmosphere, for which M. Caillaux, the speeches of French statesmen and the French Press, generally, were largely responsible.

I put in my pleading against M. Caillaux. It is an extract taken from tome 8 of " L'Europe : Au Jour, le Jour "—a collection of articles published from day to day in 1911 in the Journal des Debats. It is as follows : "Au cours des quatre mois de negociations qui suivirent M. Caillaux essaya hien de revenir par des voles detoumees a des combinaisons du genre de cellos qui avaient ete envisagees au printemps avec M. de Lancken . . . et Dr. Semler . . . mais, comme an printemps, II crut devoir agir a l'insu du ministre des affaires etrangeres . . . il en results de penibles incidents, qui, terms tout d'abord secrets, aboutirent finalement Is In chute de M. Caillaux."

This, of course, is no evidence on the one side or the other. I put in M. Caillaux's reply :

" L'allegation . . . que j'aurais eke jusqu'a me montrer pret, en Septembre 1911, Is conclure un arrangement secret avec l'Alle- magne contre la Grande Bretagne rentre dam In categoric) des sornettes dont les has agents tiennent boutique, &c., &c. Voila ma replique I On pout objector qu'elle no repose que star ma parole."

On this I comment that secret arrangements with Germany _might well be discussed, and not be, of necessity, directed against Great Britain ; equally might Sir Eyre Crowe draw the inference that any such arrangement or negotiations, of which he had knowledge by hearsay only, might have or tend to have such a direction.

I give my evidence. The French Senate Commission; January 9th, 1912, M. Caillaux speaking :

"There has been some attempt in the Press and elsewhere tc put about that the negotiations were carried on outside the Foreign Office. I pledge my word that on no occasion has there been tiny sort of political or financial dealing other than diplomatic and official conversations."

M. Clemenceau then asks M. de Selves (M. Caillaux's Foreign Minister) to confirm this, and also whether there were not documents to show that the Ambassador in Berlin had com- plained of meddling by certain individuals in diplomatic arrangements. M. Caillaux seeks to answer for M. de

Selves : M. Clemenceau asks for an answer from the Foreign Minister : M. de Selves asks to be excused from replying: he resigns : M. Caillaux then resigns and he is succeeded by M. Poineare.

This is not conclusive evidence, I agree. But any inference? The French Senate, February 10th, 1912, debate on foreign policy, M. Poincare speaking :

"Si jamais, par impossible, tin gouvernment aveugle s'ecartait des lignes directrices tracees par la volonte reflechie de la France, il se briserait Is in revolte de l'opinion publique indignee."

Were these words directed against nobody ? Were they spoken a propos of nothing at all'? Any inference ?

The French Chamber, March, 1912, debate on Moroccan policy, M. Jaures speaking : "Jo dis quo, si M. Caillaux se tait, je dis que, si M. Cruppi as tait, II faudra gulls soient disqualifies par le parlement."

A commentator writing :

"Ii (M. Caillaux) avait seulment voulu couvrir son silence ford d'Ime apparence d'abnegation patriotique. Aussi, quand de toutes parts on l'appelait hier au tribune, s'est il contents de dire gull parlerait Is son jour et Is son heure."

Any inference ?

"Monsieur Caillaux, Monsieur Caillaux! . . This is Clio

speaking . . . Clio, the Muse of History . . she says she has read Sir Eyre Crowe's memorandum, also your reply . . . she reads the Spectator every week. . . Surely you have

something to add ? . . . and in the language of the Academie Frangaise . . . if you please . . . "—I am, Sir, &c.,

Reform Club, Pall Mall, S.W. WALTER ROCS.