20 FEBRUARY 1953, Page 1

Can Yalta Last ?

The story that the United States Government have proposed to the British Government the .repudiation of parts—in par- ticular, secret parts—of the Yalta Agreement of 1945 is now falling into perspective. But it must not disappear from sight altogether. Mr. Eden has put the immediate facts straight by telling the House of Commons that no request for repudia- tion has been received from the United States and that the British Government is opposed to the wrilateral breaking of international agreements. It is also possible to piece together an explanation of the manner in which the story of a possible repudiation arose at all. Last August General Eisenhower, in the course of his election campaign, said that he would never regard Russia's present position in Europe and Asia as per- manent. On February 2nd, in his State of the Union message, President Eisenhower said that the United States would never acquiesce in the enslavement of peoples, and that any past secret understanding permitting such enslavement would not be recognised. And on Tuesday of this week he told the Press that he disliked any treaties, past or otherwise, entered into without the consultation with Senate required by the Consti- tution. The explanation is broad and simple. It may be accepted. But it must not be allowed to explain out of existence the problem of Yalta. That problem is real and there is no reason to believe that it will get less difficult as time goes on. The Japanese Prime Minister, in an impromptu answer to a Parliamentary question, has said that Japan ought to try to regain the Kuriles and the southern half of Sakhalin, which were given to Russia at Yalta. He knows perfectly well that any such return would be contrary to the Peace Treaty with Japan. But he has not withdrawn his impromptu statement. And as Japan gets stronger, as she will, irredentist demands of this nature will probably grow louder. Complaints about Yalta, and about its European as well as its Far Eastern clauses, are almost certain to grow as time goes on.