By Nicholas Rostow
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Extra resources for Anglo-French Relations, 1934–36
In the end ministers rejected the advice of the service chiefs and the Foreign Office. The Cabinet none the less started to rearm, however inadequate their programme was both in conception and scale. The first stage began on 15 November 1933, when the Cabinet established a sub-committee of the Committee oflmperial Defence to investigate the nation's defences in relation to past programmes and to recommend remedies for the 'worst deficiencies'. The new Defence Requirements Committee (DRC) was interdepartmental; it represented Treasury, Foreign Office and service opinions.
Dodd, his American colleague in Berlin, 'always inclined to take too pessimistic a view of the near future'. 53 In the years 1934-6, Britain's policies towards disarmament and Germany were the same. Phipps visited London on 24 and 25 November 1934 and offered the Cabinet an analysis that allowed hope for agreement with Hitler or any future German Government. In Phipps's opinion '[e]ven if Hitlerism were overturned Germany would never revert to the pacifist Weimar attitude, and no new Government would give much better terms than Hitler from the military point of view'.
The Cabinet's treatment of the DRC report revealed its priorities and preoccupations. Neville Chamberlain, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, led ministers to change the plan. Chamberlain was unsentimental and hard-working. As time passed, his influence grew. He believed in action and understood the advantage ofbeing first with memoranda. On important questions, Chamberlain's colleagues could expect to hear forcefully presented Treasury positions. An orthodox Chancellor, hostile to deficit financing, Chamberlain argued in June 1934 that a layman might not think the D RC proposals to be excessive but 'our deliberations' showed that the country could not afford them.
Anglo-French Relations, 1934–36 by Nicholas Rostow