3 JANUARY 1936, Page 6

Amnesty in Austria The Christmas amnesty to political prisoners in

Austria is a welcome sign that Prince Starhemberg's Government (for so, in effect, it is) is aware of the precariousness of its position and the necessity of coming to terms with the Socialists. But amnesties alone, however generous, are not sufficient to give the Government the co-opera- tion of the Socialists ; only a real concession of political and civil liberties can secure that. Unfortunately, Prince Starhemberg is not the type of man who appreciates the value of such concessions. He knows also that many of his own supporters have been taught, by him, to hate Socialism so much that National Socialism may seem a lesser evil ; and so long as Italy is incapacitated in Abyssinia his strength must crumble away. It will be impossible for him to withstand the Nazis so long as he can only oppose them with a system which differs from National Socialism simply in depending on Italy rather than Germany. Herr Hitler would no doubt be content- with the existence of a Nazi Government in Austria, working in harmony with Berlin and thus making an actual Anschluss unnecessary. Only a steady growth of the strength of the Austrian Socialists is likely to avert such a development And in spite of the new amnesty there is little prospect of that.