12 DECEMBER 1931, Page 1

Deciding Destinies at Basle No body in session at this

moment, not excluding the Parliament at Westminster or Congress at Washington, is called on to take decisions so momentous in their hearing on the immediate future of the world as the Young Plan committee now deliberating at Basle. While its primary business is to consider Germany's claim to a moratorium in regard to the conditional part of the reparation payments she is due to resume after next July the committee has entered on the fullest examination of Germany's obligations in every category, and found, incidentally, that the short-term credits estimated in the Layton-Wiggin report of last August at 8,000,000,000 marks, were actually 12,000,000,000 at that date, though 1,000,000,000 have been paid off since then. The vital factor in the Committee's discussions and thc Govern- mental conference that must follow is the attitude of France. That has been defined in an official memorandum laving it down (1) that the principle of reparation pay- ments must be maintained, (2) that Germany must be given assistance in the present crisis, and (3) that any alteration in the Young Plan scale of payments must be dependent on a simultaneous reduction of debts. That declaration at any rate bangs no doors. It might have been better, but it might have been worse.