25 SEPTEMBER 1936, Page 2

A French Disarmament Plan ?

The news from France this week has been of a mixed character, and gives no clear balance of gain or loss for M. Blum's Government. The rift of the Popular Front over the question of non-intervention_ in Spain seems to have been healed. Another wave of strikes is reported—this time mainly in the textile industry— though it is their frequency rather than their duration which is the disquieting feature. More serious, perhaps, is the comparative failure of the recent bond issue, and the resumption of the familiar symptoms of a flight from the franc. But the most striking item of news is the unofficial, but. clearly inspired, announcement, following on M. Blum's. talk with Mr. Eden in Paris 'on Sunday, that the French Government is contemplating new proposals for a disarmament convention. This intention, if it is confirmed, may be partly attributable to reasons of internal politics ; for a Left Government may Well feel that the electorate expects from it some attempt to alleviate the financial burden of armaments which is threatening to send taxation soaring once more. But it is also possible that France has at long last awakened to the fact that she is less well equipped than Germany to sustain a ' prolonged armaments race, and that reduction of .arrnanaents may be about to take a permanent and important place among the objectives of French policy. Any such initiative from France will be warmly seconded by this country.

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