19 NOVEMBER 1921, Page 2

The opening day of. the Washington Conference may well , be

revered in future as one of the most important in the history of mankind. The American proposal, which was presented by Mr. Hughes and which combined . vision with a firm hold on detail, WS so complete a break with the past that it positively startled •everybody who heard it. It was in the nature of a great inversion. In the past diplomats would undoubtedly have discussed all the political facts and then would have tried to reduce their armaments. so as to square with their commit- ments. The result would probably have been nothing at all. It might even have been worse than nothing, because it would have left the world in a state of hopelessness. Idealism would have been at a sad discount.