19 MAY 1923, Page 2

The administration of the Saar Basin was discussed in the

House of Commons on Thursday, May 10th. Last week we drew attention -to the disagreeable fact that the Governing Commission of the Saar had issued a decree • subjecting to extraordinarily severe penalties persons who uttered any criticism of the League of Nations or of the Treaty of Versailles. The significance of this 'is that- the Governing Commission is .in practice dominated by the French, and that as the Council-of the League of Nations had acquiesced in the decree any discredit in the matter—for which there is plenty of room—finally falls on the League. Sir• John Simon challenged the action of the British representative of the League of Nations and asked why he had approved of the decree. Mr. Asquith used unsparing language and said, " You may seek through all the annals of despotism in Russian history without finding a more monstrous specimen, of despotic legislation." And then he. naturally commented bitterly on the fact that this decree had gone forth to the world with the authority of the League. " No worse blow has ever been struck against the credit of the League." He proposed that a special meeting of the League should be held to rescind the decree and to restore the ordinary safeguards of freedom.