Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 1, No. 2. March 16, 1938
Shortly after his departure for Germany at the end of 1937, the suggestion was made that Lord Halifax was going to see Goering, not merely to swap hunting yarns, but perhaps to swap colonial claims for a free hand in central Europe. This aroused a rather comic storm of protest in the press, but the fact remained that on the statesman's return, official pronouncements were made to the effect that, the mission "had not proved fruitless." In view of the hearty acclamation with which the Nazi press greeted the appointment of Halifax to the control of the "peace" mission it is not difficult to guess the tendency of the talks: and judging by subsequent events, such as the recent Nazi coup in Austria. Hitler's threats to Czecho-Slovakia which he now no longer even pretends to conceal, and Britain's apparent unconcern in face of both, it seems far from fantastic to suppose that the Fascist drive to the East and the snaring of game in Central Europe formed the subject of at least one of the yarns.
Then with appalling suddenness Mr. Anthony Eden's resignation comes as a bolt from the red white and blue. The next step after Germany was Italy, but unfortunately for Mr. Chamberlain, the goodwill mission to Italy did not proceed as smoothly or as far as that of Lord Halifax.
There have long been those who claimed that the contradictions involved in the foreign policy of the Conservative Cabinet must ultimately show themselves; but there can have been very few who foresaw how sharply and suddenly that state of affairs would arise.
Lord Halifax and his mission and Mr. Anthony Eden and his resignation show clearly what those contradictions are.
Since 1933 the British Government has been faced with the unwelcome presence of nations who were at once both a threat to the undisturbed possession of the British Empire, and an attempt to prolong the already over-ripe old age of the Capitalist order of society; whose desperate recklessness was a constant embarrassment and whose debts were alpine. Three solutions were possible.
Either H.M. British Government might by judicious negotiation and political prestidigitation sacrifice parts of the British Empire to the land hunger of Fascism and thus ensure its continuance; or it might, from within the League of Nations, shoulder its full joint responsibility with the other democracies in resisting fascist aggression, thus hastening its inevitable collapse; or it might search for a lamb to lead to the slaughter.