24 OCTOBER 1923
Fierce fighting took place between Communists and the police in Hamburg. Disorder was also reported from the Rhineland in connection with the Separatist movement.
General Smuts, making a speech in London on the European situation, referred to “this crusade of suicide on which Europe has started”. Condemning the French occupation of the Ruhr, he said “we are back in August 1914. It is again the scrap of paper”. Britain, he declared, should make clear that in certain eventualities it will have regard to its own interests “irrespective of the effect that they may have on old friendships”.
Herbert Asquith, speaking in Liverpool, advocated an impartial international inquiry into Germany’s capacity to pay. He contended that the Dominions as a whole did not desire or ask for further preference. Free Trade had been the sheet anchor of Britain’s prosperity.