12 APRIL 1935, Page 1


THE outcome of the Stresa conversations is awaited with equal anxiety in this country and France, Italy, Russia and. Germany, but the delegates themselves are looking first and foremost to the British Ministers for a declaration of policy. The positicn is simple. If Great Britain is prepared to say at Stresa what Mr. Baldwin (whose speech has been curiously disregarded on the Continent) said on Monday, that there must be no war in Europe, and that this country will take its part in confronting any would-be aggressor with an overwhelming force of opposition, then agreement at Stresa should not be hard to reach. The understanding announced between France and on joint defensive action (within the limits of the League Covenant) in case of need is one more reminder of the certainty that dangerous sectional alliances will be concluded all over Europe if no guarantee can be given that the collective security provisions of the Covenant will be worked as they were meant to work. A British assurance on that point is more needed, and would be more effective than any other, and there are signs that Mr. MacDonald will be able to be less ambiguous on the subject than British Ministers have so far been. It, is the one arrangement that would be completely fair to Germany and could not be interpreted as action directed against her.