21 MAY 1948, Page 2


Nothing could well be more unsatisfactory than the aimless interchanges of the past week between Washington and Moscow. As to the first of them, between General Bedell-Smith and M. Molotov, it now- appears that the American Ambassador's remark that " the door always remains open for discussion and the settle- ment of our differences " was no more than a casual obiter dictum. But whatever M. Molotov's motive in seizing on the invitation— there was obviously good propaganda to be made out of it—President Truman might surely have found something better to do than issue a statement implying that the door was not open and was never meant to be. And now comes Mr. Wallace, half sentimentalist, half politician, with his Open Letter to Marshal Stalin, and Marshal Stalin's carefully studied reply. The letter itself appears not to have been published. Marshal Stalin's comment on it has. It lists a number of questions which, it is suggested by Mr. Wallace, could and should be settled by peaceful discussion through the two countries. Marshal Stalin agrees, and adds that "in spite of the difference in the economic systems and ideologies, the coexistence of these systems and a peaceful settlement of differences between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. are not only possible but also unquestionably necessary in the interests of a general peace." Marshal Stalin has said this thing before and nothing has come of it—possibly because any nego- tiations had to be conducted with M. Molotov. But again some- thing better than pure negation might have been expected from Washington. Actually Mr. Marshall's comments are as chilly as Moscow in winter. In a situation like the present no vestige of an opportunity for improving relations with the Soviet Union can be despised. And there is no advantage in presenting either M. Molotov or Mr. Wallace with propaganda material.