The Coming Budget
The White Paper on Defence issued during the week shows that for the coming year the Estimates of the three Defence departments provide for expenditure amounting to £343 million out of which £90 million is to be met out of loan.
At the same time the warning is given that the expenditure in the following year will be even heavier.
Debate on Defence
The debate on defence was opened by the Prime Minister. His statement of the progress being made in rearmament was considered satisfactory by his supporters, except that part relating to the Air Force. He said that he now thought that air power could not be measured by first-line strength.
Mr. Churchill deduced from this that Lord Baldwin's pledge that we would have air parity with other Powers had been broken, if air power was measured, as it always had been, by first-line strength.
Mr. Churchill further suggested that Germany might have double our air strength, and might be increasing that strength at double our rate of increase.
The Cadman Report
The Cadman Committee report blames the Civil Aviation Department of the Air Ministry and Imperial Airways for lack of progress in the past. The former is accused of lack of initiative and leadership, the latter of being " intolerant of suggestion and unyielding in negotiation."
In response to the Committee's recommendations the Government have decided to raise the annual sum for air transport subsidies from ill million to £3 million. The Department of Civil Aviation is to be enlarged and strengthened. The Secretary of the Air Ministry is to become a permanent Under-Secretary of State.
The Government do not propose to carry out the recommendation that there should be a Parliamentary Under-Secretary to deal solely with civil aviation.
Royal Visit to Special Area
It has been announced officially that the King and Queen will pay a day's visit to the special area to the south and east of Glasgow on May 4, the day after the official opening of the Empire Exhibition.
The Unemployment Insurance Fund ended 1937 with a surplus of over £60 million. Of this, the Statutory Committee propose to save £52 million for the next slump. Of the remainder, they suggest that some should go to the reduction of debt, some should be used to lengthen the maximum period of benefit, and the rest should be used to increase the weekly rate of benefit in respect of wives and dependents from 9s. to 10s.
The Government propose to give effect to these recommendations.
Holidays with Pay
A week's holiday with pay for all workers is to be granted this year in the Lancashire coal-field, it was announced, after a meeting between the owners and the Miners' Federation.
Labour Campaigns and Defections
The Labour Party has conducted a " Peace and Security " campaign throughout the country to gain support for their foreign policy.
Another Labour Peer, Lord Sanderson, has resigned from the Labour Party, because " its foreign policy involves so much hatred of other Powers," and because " it is prepared to go to war on behalf of collective security (whatever that may mean)" . . .
Mr. Chamberlain is quickly getting under way on his " new course" in foreign policy. Lord Perth, British Ambassador in Rome, after coming to London to receive his instructions, has gone back to his post, and conversations between him and Count Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister, began on Tuesday night. On Thursday, the Fascist Grand Council met, and now the Anglo-Italian negotiations are proceeding in earnest.
The British Government has given an assurance to the Egyptian Government that they will agree to nothing in the AngloItalian conversations that might affect Egyptian interests, without consulting the Egyptian Government.
Russian Treason Trial
The trial of twenty-one Russian communist leaders and doctors is proceeding in Moscow. All the accused have pleaded guilty from the start of the trial, except Krestinsky, the former Ambassador and Assistant Commissar for Foreign Affairs. The latter, however, on the second day of the trial, retracted what he said on the first day, and pled guilty like the rest, and as he himself had done in the preliminary examination.
From the evidence it appears that there was an Army plot to kill Stalin, at the head of which was Marshal Tukhachevsky. This was nipped in the bud, and the Marshal and seven Generals were shot. Also, according to the confessions of the accused, they were all working with Trotsky and the British Secret Service to overthrow Stalin.
The English were fomenting rebellion in Turkestan, which was to be given to England in exchange for help against Stalin.
Talks with Eire
The Irish delegation have again been in London this week to continue the talks with the British Government. They are returning today. It is believed that no
agreement has been reached on the question of Northern Ireland, And that there is great difficulty in making any agreement as regards trade between the two countries.
But it is still hoped to make some arrangement as regards Defence.
In the Non-Intervention Committee, Russia has at last agreed in principle, and with one or two reservations, to the British formula, already accepted by the other Powers, for withdrawing the foreigners in Spain, and for granting limited belligerent rights to both sides.
As regards the numbers to be withdrawn on both sides, M. Maisky, the Russian Ambassador, has suggested 20,000, which figure has caused some amusement, as previously he had declared that there were no more than 14,000 volunteers fighting for the Government in Spain.
Another difficulty is the cost of withdrawal. M. Maisky has proposed that each nation shall pay for the return of us own nationals, " with the scarcely veiled implication that the bulk of the cost will fall on the Italian Government," says The Times.
Another cause of dissension is the present control or lack of control of Spain's frontiers, and at sea.
The Baleares Torpedoed
With the loss of about three hundred officers and men, Franco's cruiser, the Baleares, was sunk by a Government des troyer's torpedo. Survivors were picked up by British destroyers, but unfortunately a member of one of the British crews was killed during the rescue work. Franco has only two cruisers left now, the Canaries and the Almirante Cervera.
Dr. Von Seyss-Inquart, the Nazifying Minister of the Interior, has paid a visit to Graz and also to Linz, the two centres of Nazi activity. In both places he held out great hopes for the Nazis, at the same time warning them against illegalities. He is stated to have allowed the Nazi salute and the wearing of the swastika in private life.
Herr Stephan, the anti-Nazi Governor of Styria, has been forced to resign. The resignation is also announced of General Jansa, the Chief of the General Staff. It was rumoured that his resignation was demanded by Herr Hitler at Berchtesgaden.