12 OCTOBER 1934, Page 2

Minorities: A New Plan In an address in London on

Monday Lord Cecil made a suggestion that deserves attention regarding the vexed question of the treatment of minorities. Poland's action at the recent Assembly of the League of Nations in refusing to take part in any League proceedings for the protection of minorities was indefensible but symp- tomatic. The revolt against compliance with the existing minority treaties will almost inevitably spread, but there is no chance that the Polish demand for the universal application of the treaties to all countries will be acceded to. That Lord Cecil recognizes, and he admits that the League can give minorities no effective guarantee. His proposal, therefore, is that in the place of the treaties there should be universal recognition of the principle of fair treatment of minorities and some right of investigation of grievances by a special Standing Committee of the League of Nations. This kind of new approach to the problem is psychologically sound, for countries which would refuse to accept the obligations of the existing treaties, with the implication they embody of a rather oppressive servitude, might reasonably be willing to acknowledge a principle the justice of which no one can contest, and to recognize some right of appeal such as aggrieved parties in a mandated territory already possess. Such a proposal would have most hope of success if sponsored by a Great Power like this country.