18 DECEMBER 1936, Page 2

Reform of the League The League of Nations committee considering

what is cautiously defined as "the application of the principles of the Covenant" is taking an unconscionable time in getting going. There is some excuse for that, for funda- mental principles are involved as well as detailed enactments, and it is by no means easy to decide where a beginning should be made.- Is it better for the League to be universal and ineffective, or to be confined to States limited in numbers but pledged to honour stringent obligations ? Opinion on that point is divided, and till some decision is reached the Committee can make little progress with its work. To put the matter in another way, should the obligations of the Covenant be relaxed in the hope of getting a State like Germany back, or should there be some discussion with Germany regarding the kind of League she would be prepared to enter ? The objections to the latter course are obvious, but there might be some advantage in knowing Germany's mind, if she has any other than an opportunist policy on the subject. One step at least is plainly desirable, that the Covenant should be severed completely from all association with the Treaty of Versailles. There appears to be no juridical difficulty about that, and the taint of its origin undoubtedly compromises the League in many quarters.