The most intelligent opposition that has yet been offered to the Franco-Soviet Pact of mutual assistance was presented in the French Chamber last Tuesday by M. Taittinger of the Nationalist wing. He argued that France might be dragged into a war with Germany as a result of it and that the signing of the pact would be followed by fresh demands for financial assistance, even though past Russian debts were still unpaid. He also advanced the opinion that nothing should be done to irritate Germany at a time when peace was of such paramount importance.
This attitude of common sense and clear-thinking is a favorable sign for the future, since it comes from a group which has formerly been fanatically and uncompromisingly anti-German. M. Taittinger's speech was carefully worded and devoid of the unbalanced reasoning that has frequently figured in many of the Chamber's debates. It came at a particularly opportune time in view of the fact that efforts are being made to reopen conversations with Germany about rejoining the League of Nations. The favorable comments from the German Foreign Office through the Berliner Tageblatt on the following day proved that M. Taittinger bad made a wise move.
Distrust of Soviet Russia has been steadily increasing in official Parisian circles and many political leaders are gradually realizing that the road to peace is not fringed by a dense shrubbery of so called "defensive" mutual assistance pacts. The World War gave ample proof that defensive alliances with the resulting struggles for a balance of power were disastrous, and that such actions inevitably led to war. M. Xavier Vallett, another Nationalist deputy, speaking shortly after M. Taittinger, said that he opposed the pact because if would lead Germany to believe that she was being encircled. Such sentiments are truly encouraging when they come from a French Nationalist, and may possibly open the way to a new Eastern Locarno far quicker than a dual pact with Soviet Russia, which would have the double effect of alienating the Little Entente as well as Germany and Poland. If the Left can come to some agreement with the Right on this issue and abandon the policy of "einkreisung" which has been such a point of friction between the two countries, it is quite possible that France, England and Germany may yet come to some permanent understanding.