Great interest has been aroused throughout Europe by the interview between the Austrian Chancellor, Herr von Schuschnige, and Signor Museolini at Venice. immediately after the Austrian Chancellor had left for Vienna Signor Gayda, commonly considered to be Signor Mussolini's mouthpiece, declared in the Giornale d'Italia that the Austrian Nazis were as a result of this interview shortly to be admitted to the Government. The Austrian Chancellor at once issued an official denial, but declared that a representative of the " national " (i.e., pro-German, not ostensibly Nazi) circles in Austria would shortly be nominated in an advisory capacity to the executive of the Patriotic Front, but not to the Cabinet. This piece of news is considered as a tactical victory for Germany, and has given rise to great anxiety both in Austria and Czechoslovakia.
In the course of an interview given to the Manchester Guardian, Mr. Gandhi stated that it was not his desire or that of Congress that the Governors should pledge themselves in no case to dismiss the Provincial Cabinets. but merely that they should not interfere with the day-to-day administration. He emphasised that the main problem which Congress Ministers must face is the crying poverty.
Mr. Eden in Brussels
Mr. Eden has been paying an official visit to Brussels, in the course of which he has conferred with M. Van Zeeland, the Premier. and M. Spaak, the Foreign Minister. An official banquet was also given in his honour by M. Speak, at which Mr. Eden referred to common memories and the common determination to prevent war. Mr. Eden was received by King Leopold. It is thought that conversations have centred largely on Belgium's release by France and Great Britain from her Locarno obliga
tions and new policy of neutrality. Difficulties arise here owing to Germany's refusal to guarantee Belgian independence unless Belgium is released from her obligations under the Covenant of the League and all other obligations to third parties.
Other Diplomatic Journeys
The visit of Colonel Beck, the Polish Foreign Minister, to Bucharest is said to have terminated with complete success and the Polish-Rumanian alliance strengthened. No further pacts will be concluded with Russia, but both countries will collaborate closely in matters affecting League and Danubian reform.
General Goering has been in Rome and is known to have discussed the Spanish civil war at length with Signor Mussolini, as well as with Count Ciano. It is thought that as a result an invitation has been extended to Signor Mussolini to visit Herr Hitler at Berchtesgaden and thus repay Herr Hitler's 1934 visit to Venice, an invitation
that he is likely to accept. Further diplomatic journeys in Central Europe include a visit of Count Ciano next week to King Zog of Albania and, also next week, of the German Foreign Minister to Rome. In
May the King and Queen of Italy, accompanied by Count Ciano, arc to visit Budapest, while Herr Goebbels and General Goering are to head for Italy. The Jugoslav Foreign Minister will also come to Rome in May, and in June it is thought that Count Ciano will visit Bucharest, while in the autumn he is expected to visit Angora to see the Turkish dictator, Ataturk.
Spanish Civil War
Little alteration appears obvious at first sight save on the Basque front. Madrid continues to be shelled with the consequent heavy toll. hut near Teruel a slight advance on the part of the Government forces is reported, and a viaduct on the SaragossaTeruel railway has been blown up.
On the Basque front General Mola's Nationalists are making very definite headway towards Bilbao and have captured the heights dominating Bilbao. Now that Eibar and Durango have fallen, the fall of Bilbao is not likely to be long delayed. The ancient Basque city of Guernica has been reduced to ruins and the death toll is enormous.
There has been a considerable amount of friction between Great Britain and the Spanish Nationalists on the subject of British foodships for Bilbao. General Franco has protested to London against the convoying of these foodships several of which have reached Bilbao despite the blockade. Thus the British cruiser Shropshire refused to accept the Nationalist claim to a six-mile limit and there is bitter criticism in Salamanca and Berlin.
Extremism in France
Extremist ultimata from the French Trade Unions to the Government have created an awkward position in France. M. Vincent-Auriol, the Finance Minister, has refused their idea of a new loan. There is a threat of occupying the Exhibition and in this event M. Blum would resign. In such a case M. Dormoy. Minister of the Interior, and known for his hostility to the Communists, would probably take office.
Meanwhile, a by-election at Cette in the South shows that the Front Populaire is still strong. even if slightly weakened. The Socialist polled 5,240, while the NeoSocialist (supported by all the anti-Social ists) polled 5,094. A Communist polled 2,992-300 less than last time. A second ballot takes place next week.
Japanese Move in Malaya
Alarm is felt by British people in the East at the steady penetration of Japanese into Malaya. writes our Special Correspondent in Tokyo.
A Japanese company has just doubled its capital to expand mining business abroad. and has secured two concessions in Malaya. The company expects to export 1,000,000 tons of ore annually to Japan. Fifty miles of railway is to be laid by the company.
The strategic importance of Malaya to the British Empire can best be realised from the fact that the biggest British naval base in the East is situated off Singapore.. Singapore is bounded on the north by the island of Johorc, where the Japanese are most active.