After Sir Edward Grey had explained and defended the Declaration
of London with great ability and ingenuity, and had promised that the Dominions should be consulted before the instructions were issued to our delegates at the next Hague Conference, and after a general discussion, Mr. Fisher withdrew his original resolutions and substituted a motion approving Sir Edward Grey's declaration of the Imperial Government's future policy in the following terms :—" (a) That the Dominions shall be afforded an opportunity of consultation when framing instructions to the British delegates at future meetings of the Hague Conference, and that Conventions affecting the Dominions provisionally assented to at that Con- ference shall be circulated among the Dominion Governments for consideration; (b) that a similar procedure, where time, opportunity, and subject-matter permit, shall be used where possible when preparing instructions for the negotiation of other international agreements affecting the Dominions." This motion having been carried unanimously, the Conference, on the motion of Sir Joseph Ward, approved of the ratification of the Declaration of London, the Australian Ministers abstaining. Mr. Fisher, however, explained that while they could not wholly approve, they admitted that the Declaration was a great step in advance, and they would not therefore oppose the resolution. We cannot say that our view of the Declaration of London is in the least altered by the discus- sion, but undoubtedly Sir Edward Grey proved a most effective advocate, and it would be idle to conceal the fact that his conversion of the Dominion Premiers will provide strong support for ratification.