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Danger of European Conflicts.

Genoa Conference. – in the House of Commons on 25th May 1922.

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Meanwhile, we are to consider what is to be done in order to prevent conflicts in Europe. There was real danger. The Red Army at the present moment is an army of 1,450,000 men under arms. On 1st January of last year, they had 5,000,000 men under arms. Since the 1st January the number of men on the frontiers have doubled, according to the reports we have received here. The reports I received at Genoa were of an even more alarming character. One day the Prime Minister of Rumania came to me, and said that a very considerable body of Red troops—I believe he said seven infantry divisions and two cavalry divisions—were massing on the Bessarabian frontier. There has been a considerable increase in the forces on the Polish frontier, and I was told that when the attention of Mr. Tchitcherin was called to it, and he was asked, "Why are you massing troops on my frontier?" the reply of Mr. Tchitcherin was, "Because you are massing troops on your frontier." The same thing applies to other parts of the Russian Soviet territory. Whether the troops are there for attack or de-fence does not altogether remove apprehension, because it is the fears of nations that make conflicts. Russia may be afraid of attack from Rumania or Poland, or Poland and Rumania may be afraid of attack from Russia. These fears make conflicts, when troops begin to mass, to increase and to march towards each other.