By C. Kitching
During this attention-grabbing learn, Carolyn Kitching examines the position which Britain performed on the Geneva Disarmament convention, an occasion which marked a watershed in inter-war diplomacy. Failure to arrive contract in Geneva hastened the cave in of the Treaty of Versailles, and gave the golf green gentle for German re-armament. Britain used to be arguably the one energy able to mediating among conflicting French and German calls for over the Treaty's disarmament clauses, and this research finds that the conventional interpretation of British coverage on the convention has to be tremendously revised.
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Extra info for Britain and the Geneva Disarmament Conference: A Study in International History
Whether the security offered by such an agreement would suffice, or whether France would require a stronger commitment along the lines of the Geneva Protocol of 1924 was unknown, but it was felt that consideration must be given to the present proposal. A Mediterranean Locarno would offer France guaranteed protection from Italian naval attack on her transports crossing the Mediterranean with troops from North Africa destined for the defence of France, and a more general protection of her Mediterranean possessions against Italian aggression.
There was some confusion over whether Lord Cecil's proposal that this information should, in fact, be supplied for all branches of the armed services had been accepted, or whether the information was only required in respect of land forces. In the event, both the Admiralty and the Air Ministry felt that there would be no objection to a similar procedure being adopted. This acceptance, however, was based on the assumption that the French proposal involved the disclosure of less detail than the Dutch proposals envisaged, and that categories and sub-divisions would remain broad, especially in view of the `impossibility of defining a Tank'.
Again this theory was challenged by both Treasury and Services representatives. Noel-Baker felt that the Dutch were working on the theory laid down in Article 8: the Preparations, Policies and Personalities 31 removal of suspicion caused by the secrecy of the past would be achieved by openness and publicity. There was, therefore, `a fundamental difference between the true conception of the League and the conception as it appeared to be in the minds of the fighting Services'. Noel-Baker thus encapsulated one of the major stumbling blocks in the way of achieving any disarmament agreement.