19 JUNE 1936, Page 18


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] SIR,--Anything written by Sir Arthur Salter gives food for thought. He is rightly recognised as one of the leading public men in Europe, and a very pleasant personality to work under, as I know from my own experience as a technical member of the Reparations Commission.

Yet he, like the policy of the League, bases his views and interpretations on an idealistic policy and refuses to face the facts.

Sir Arthur Salter started life under a disability. He was born a member of one of the greatest nations of the world, great in financial resources and with an immense territory within her frontiers which should absorb her full energies to develop to help the countless millions which look to her for guidance.

Our natural desire is for peace, so that we may develop our people and our trade.

Apart from the United States of America, there are three ultra-virile great powers, Germany, Italy and Japan, whose increasing populations must find space for expansion. Their political propaganda has filled the minds of their young people of both sexes with the conviction ci a great destiny. Russia is in another category. This is an Empire of vast potential wealth, as yet sparsely populated, but its growing power and experiments in all branches of science and social conditions have to be seen to be believed.

Let us come down to fundamentals. Can the most optimistic believer in the " Immediate Policy " of the League conceive that these world forces will agree to have their future destinies controlled by geographical or other obliga- tions to the Covenant ?

We have had the bitter lesson of seeing the solid agreement of " 52 Nations " on paper—but only one, Great Britain, in fact took any steps to carry out that agreement. What grounds have we for believing in the honour of the 51 nations when it comes to using International Force? At the moment the most difficult task before the world is to re-model the League, which will need a very long time.

In the meanwhile, the British Empire should gradually withdraw from all the Continental commitments which we cannot carry out. We have no axe to grind, no territory we covet, and provided we strengthen our forces to within the limits needed, we will again become the greatest force for Peace in the world.—Yours truly,