25 SEPTEMBER 1936, Page 1


WHETHER it be true that the defenders of the last shellishattered remnant of the Alcazar at Toledo have capitulated or not there can be no doubt that the Government's position generally is considerably worse than it was a week ago. In the north the insurgents are moving on Bilbao, which, however, its defenders, mainly Basques, seem confident of holding. What matters far more, the convergence of insurgent forces on Madrid continues, and even the fall of Toledo will not release Government troops for use elsewhere, since they are already engaged on the spot with an enemy, column which had hurried to the relief of the beleaguered Alcazar. The capital is in serious and obvious danger, more of being starved out than of capture by direct attack. Every- where the superiority of the rebels in aircraft, thanks to supplies from abroad, has given them an irresistible advantage. Whether importation of arms is continuing on any considerable scale is doubtful—official opinion in London holds that the existence of the Non-Interven- tion Committee has damped down that activity consider- ably—but the damage to the Government cause has been done already. Whatever happens there is no peace in sight for Spain, for neither side could hold together after victory. But the prospect of localising the conflict is improving.- *