16 SEPTEMBER 1899, Page 1


QIISPENSE is still the dominant feature of the South

African situation. On Friday the only thing that can be said with certainty is that the question of peace and war hangs in the balance, and that there is no certain indication as to which side the beam will incline. The known facts are as follows. The Boers are still considering their answer to Mr. Chamberlain's final despatch,—the despatch which was forwarded to Pretoria immediately after the Cabinet Council. In that despatch Mr. Chamberlain began by a temperate but very firm refusal to entertain any proposals in regard to the question of suzerainty. Her Majesty's Government " have absolutely repudiated" the claim of the Transvaal to " the status of a sovereign international State." No proposals coupled with a claim to that status can there- fore be recognised. Our Government, however, express their willingness to accept the proposals for (1) a five years' franchise; (2) an increased representation for the goldfields ; (3) an equal share in the election of the President and Com- mandant-General, provided that the inquiry which her Majesty's Government have proposed, whether joint or unilateral, "shows that the new scheme of representation will not be encumbered by conditions which will nullify the intention to give substantial immediate representation to the Outlanders." The new Members of the Volksraad, it is assumed, will be permitted to use their own language. Acceptance of these terms would at once remove tension, and " would in all probability render unnecessary any further intervention of her Majesty's Government to secure redress for grievances which the Outlanders themselves would be able to bring to the notice of the Executive and the Volksraad."