15 MARCH 1940, Page 6

When Mr. Sumner Welles told a questioner, who asked whether

it was true that he emerged from his interview with Hitler looking gloomier than ever, that " one of my great defects is that I can't see my own face," I imagine he was being consciously reminiscent. At any rate he was in the true Democratic tradition, for President Wilson had said the same thing before him in language which is almost, but perhaps not quite, too well-known to quote. It was, I believe, Mr. Wilson's only Limerick.

In beauty I am not a star ; There are others more handsome by far.

My face, I don't mind it, For I am behind it.

It's the people in front get the jar.

What British statesmen said to Mr. Welles has not been published, and is not likely to be. But here again a historic quotation may pretty safely be taken to cover the whole ground. When the American Ambassador, Walter Hines Page, was talking to King George V soon after the beginning of the last war the King uttered one pregnant sentence: " My God, Mr. Page, what else could we do? " His son could not have done better than repeat the question to Mr. Welles.

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