Various changes among His Majesty's representatives abroad have been announced. Sir Robert Clive, British Ambassador to Japan, has been appointed Ambassador to Belgium and Minister to Luxemburg, while Sir Esmond Ovey, Ambassador in Brussels, has been nominated Ambassador to the Argentine and Minister
to Paraguay. Sir Robert Craigie, Assistant Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, has been appointed Ambassador to Japan.
Sir Robert Clive has been Minister to Persia and to the Vatican, while Sir Esmond Ovey has been Minister to Mexico and Ambassador to Russia, which post he held during the famous trial of the British engineers. Sir Robert Craigie has been Charge d'Affaire.s. at Washington and has been Assistant 'Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office for some years now, having done valuable work in connection with the naval treaty negotiations with Japan.
Four candidates have now been officially nominated for the Farnham vacancy— Messrs. Godfrey Nicholson (Nat. Cons.), Mr. Linton Thorp (Ind. Cons.), Peter Pain (Lab.) and E. Miller (King's and People's Champion). In view of certain statements and extravagancies of language this last candidate, a Woking draper, is not taken seriously and is certain to forfeit his deposit. It is thought that Mr. Nicholson will probably be returned, despite the divided Conservative vote, but a much reduced majority is anticipated. The situation remains uncertain as regards the Combined Universities, where Sir Francis Lindley (Cons.) is opposed by Sir Henry Bracken.bury (Ind.) and Mr. T. Edmund
Harvey (Ind. Prog.). The latter is supported by Miss Eleanor Rathbone,
Sir Arthur Salter, M.P., and Viscount Cecil, and has adopted the practice, unusual in the case of University elections, of holding meetings in Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester. The Tonbridge contest remains very unexciting, Sir Adrian Baillie (Cons.) being sure of a comfortable, if reduced, majority over his Labour opponent, Mr. Harold Smith, a Catholic, and his Liberal opponent, Mr. Borlasc Matthews. No further moves are reported in the Wandsworth contest, nor has Mr. Dunne officially resigned his Stalybridge seat.
February Trade Returns
February's good trade returns showed increases in both imports and exports. Imports rose by nine and a half million pounds as compared with last February, while exports rose by three and a half million pounds on the same basis of cornparison. As compared with January both imports and exports showed a slight decrease owing to the smaller number of working days. Re-exports showed a heavy increase as compared with January and also with February last year. Among the
exports showing the most improvement were coal, chemicals and textiles, as well as iron and steel. Imports of dairy produce decreased, but grain and flour imports rose heavily.
Mr. Lloyd George and Duke of Windsor
Despite discreet Government manoeuvres it is now almost certain that Mr. Lloyd George (arid probably Mr. Winston Churchill) will press for a special State pension for the Duke of Windsor and oppose the Government's proposal merely to grant a Civil List to the King, who would then himself make an allowance to his brother. Both Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Winston Churchill will he members of the Civil List Committee and there may easily be some controversy on this delicate and difficult question.
Fenland Flood Menace
There is a grave danger of flooding from the River Ouse and its many tributaries which drain in all some 175,000 acres of land in the Fen district. The waterways are all full, and with the prevailing high tides sweeping down from the Wash there is a danger of the banks of these waterways breaking, which would spell ruin to the valuable agricultural land around. Patrols are watching the banks everywhere.
Cabinet Changes ?
It is now virtually certain that Mr. Baldwin will carry out his intention of resigning the Premiership and his Parliamentary scat after the Coronation, though it is as yet uncertain whether he will go to the House of Lords. Mr. Neville Chamberlain will be the new Premier, while Mr. Ramsay MacDonald is to follow Mr. Baldwin into retirement. Moreover, Lord Hadsham, who has been ill, is likely to leave the Woolsack, as is Mr. Duff Cooper the War Office. The future positions of Sir John Simon and Mr. Runciman are giving rise to much speculation, but it is thought that the National Labour element is not likely to survive long.
British Pro-U.S.S.R. Congress
M. Maisky, the Soviet Ambassador, speaking at the Congress for Peace and Friendship with the Soviet Union held in London, declared emphatically that Soviet Russia was now quite capable of repelling any attack from any quarter, including a simultaneous attack upon her eastern and western frontiers. Russia's main aim, however, he said, was to prevent war and therefore strengthen the collective security system. Among the Conservative members of Parliament who attended and spoke were the Duchess of Atholl, Mr. Vyvyan Adams, and Mr. Robert Boothby. Other speakers were Miss Eleanor Rathbone, M.P. (Ind.), and Mr. Geoffrey Mander, M.P. (Lib.).
Spanish Civil War
No progress is reported on any front save Madrid, where the. beginning of the week saw a mighty advance, mainly with Italian troops, on the part of General Franco's forces, who advanced on a wide front both north and south of Madrid, almost encircling it. This attack, after an advance in some places of almost sixteen miles, was, however, repulsed with heavy losses, large numbers of Italian prisoners being taken by the Government forces. At the time of writing both sides are resting, exhausted after this severe engagement. Fighting at Oviedo has been held up by the intense cold.
Famous French Armaments Works Nationalised
The famous armaments works of Schneider-Creuso•t has been officially nationalised by decree of the French Government. Government control will come into operation almost at once. The question of the assessment of the value of the works and the compensation will be settled later, but it is known that compensation will not be paid entirely in cash. Only those sections of the works manufacturing railway material, ships, etc., will be exempt from this decree.
Vital Belgian Election
M. Degrelle, the leader of the Belgian Rexist (Fascist) movement, which has been condemned by the Belgian episcopate, has ordered his second-in-command, M. Olivier. Rexist deputy for Brussels, to vacate his scat, and he is himself to contest it. As Belgium votes in accordance with proportional representation this entails a by-election for the whole of Brussels and such a by-election is thus a test of strength. He has challenged M. Van Zeeland, the Prime Minister, to oppose him, as M. Van Zeeland is not a member of the Belgian Parliament. M. Van Zeeland, a Catholic, has accepted the challenge and will have the complete hacking of the Catholic, Liberal and Socialist parties, while M. Degrelle will be supported by the Rexist movement and the Flemish Nationalists. Polling has been fixed for April 11.
Successful French Defence Loan
The success of the first portion of the French national defence loan, on behalf of which President Lebrun launched a stirring appeal, has exceeded all expectations and the loan was fully subscribed within a few hours, applications having in the case of many banks exceeded more than four times the amount allotted. The total amount is Frs. 5,000,000,000 (£50,000,000) at four and a half per cent., on which, however, French income tax is payable. The loan is repayable over a period of sixty years and was issued at 98. A second portion issued subsequently, amounting to Frs. 2,500,000,000. was also successful.
Raw Materials Conference
The Raw Materials Committee has now wound up its work in plenary conference and the work will be continued by two subcommittees, which will probably meet in
June. Efforts were made by the Polish delegate, M. Rose, to put the colonial question on the agenda, but these efforts were defeated mainly by Sir Frederick LeithRoss (Great Britain) and Sir Henry Strakoseb (South Africa). The Japanese and Polish delegates denied that poor countries such as Japan and Poland (and Germany) were responsible for currency and quota restrictions, etc., and said that these were forced upon them owing to the impossibility for them to obtain foreign currency, Holland took up an attitude similar to Great Britain and opposed Japanese immigration into the Dutch East Indies. Poland's delegate also pleaded for the inclusion of the Dominions on the sub-committee set up to deal with the distribution problem.
U.S.A. Protest to Berlin
As a result of an unfortunate remark made by Mr. La Guardia, Mayor of New York, about Germany, a violent Press campaign directed against the United States ha.s been a prominent feature of late in Germany and an American telegraphic agency correspondent has been expelled, presumably by way of reprisal. The American Ambassador has, at the request of his Government, protested against the campaign in question, which, he claimed, was utterly unjustified and out of proportion, and particularly at the extreme scurrility and vulgarity of the language used in the German Press. The protest has not been mentioned in the German Press.
French Railway Crash
Fifteen people. were killed in an appalling railway accident near Bourges in Central France, when a winter sports express bound for Mont Dore (Auvergne) crashed into a tree that had fallen across the line as a result of a gale, at a speed of nearly sixty miles per hour. The victims —nine men, four women and two children —were all in a wooden carriage, that was crushed by the heavier metal one in front.
Germany and Western Pact
The German reply to the British note of last November with regard to the proposed Western Pact has been sent, but not pub lished. It is understood that Germany regards Franco-German relations as the main problem. Complications are said to be provided by the Franco-Russian Pact, the British desire for a guarantee of security, and the Belgian desire for absolute
neutrality. It is denied that Germany wishes to obtain a free hand in Eastern Europe through these negotiations. German hostility to the League of Nations remains as strong as ever.