10 DECEMBER 1937, Page 1

* * * * The Consequences The political consequences of

the fall of Nanking are highly problematical. The Japanese certainly do not desire a prolonged irregular war, 'a MOSCQW campaign that may turn victory into disaster, nor any unnecessary increase of the already -heavy. cost of the war, Yet their proposals remain vague. The atteinpt at Gernian'mediatioir has failed ; Tokyo statements are confined to suggesting the substitution of a more amenable Government for that of Chiang Kai-shek, henceforward to be treated as a local and illegal regime. Wang Ching-wei has been named as a possible successor. But the Japanese may. also wish to prevent an irregular war, carried on with the aid of foreign munitions, by imposing a blockade ; and, ironically, this implies recognising Chiang's Government and, at this moment, declaring war on it. This course also has its disadvantages, as a declaration of war will bring the American Neutrality Act into operation against both sides. The difficulties are immense and com- plicated; what is certain is that any solution will be decided by Japan alone. The only means of strengthening American or British influence is by a refusal to give financial or other aid to Japan. Without such weapons, neither Britain nor America has any power to affect the result, and the criminally provocative "victory march" through the International Settlement last week has shown that Japan will not meet even the most reasonable requests for self-restraint in a conciliatory spirit.