16 SEPTEMBER 1922, Page 14



Six,—Few Austrians, and very few of us British residents in Austria, will challenge your thesis that fusion with Germany might have saved Austria. But is it " too late "? An Austrian friend, who is " behind the scenes " in matters of Central European finance and diploinacy, assures me that Germany will not now accept Austria as a partner in the Reich; and if this is so the door is obviously closed. In that case, is there any alternative? My friend thinks that the best hope lies in a commercial treaty between Italy and Austria, and wherever one goes one finds people who once (before the Genoa fiasco) looked to Germany and who now pin their faith to Italian assistance. The main difficulty in the way of the Italo-Austrian treaty (apart from the misgivings of certain Italian indus- trialists and the criminal apathy of the Powers who created Austria's present troubles) seems to be just this—the Czecho- slovaks and the Yugo-slays announce that they will oppose it tooth and nail !

Those of us who know that the impending landslide threatens the very foundations of European civilization pray earnestly that the League of Nations will insist on immediate action, for the time for chattering is long past. The Slays and Czechs have, of course, every right to state their objections to any measures propounded for the rescue of this country. But that right implies an obligation to suggest some alternative scheme to save the Viennese from death by cold and hunger this winter —and already, as this is written and as the League is settling " preliminaries," the snow is falling on the mountain tops. It is for the League to say that the Conscience of Europe will not allow the martyrdom of Vienna, and to decide which of the various remedies suggested is open to the fewest objections, and, above all, which is the most capable of immediate trans- lation into effective action. Finally, may one urge that no scheme will be of the least use if it fails to equip the authorities charged with the maintenance of civil order in Vienna with a non-partisan, loyal, and disciplined force of police! The Austrian public has no confidence in the armed forces of the Republic as at present constituted. And as long as this is the case there is no hope of " internal reform " in Austria.—