22 DECEMBER 1939, Page 20


SIR,—When the time comes for resettling Europe one of the main difficulties will arise from the fact that solemn treaty obligations have always been regarded by German rulers as " scraps of paper." It may or may not have been wise to insert the " war guilt " clause in the last treaty, as arguments have been produced for and against its validity. There is, however, no shadow of doubt as to the deliberate violations of international law both by the Emperor William and Hitler in the matter of (t) the rape of Belgium in 1914 and now of half Europe ; (2) the use of poison gas ; (3) the bombing of civilian areas from the air ; and (4) unrestricted submarine and mine warfare on enemies and neutrals alike.

If a list of these violations, with documentary evidence from the treaties or conventions under which the law came into force, and similar irrefutable evidence of the intention to violate and of the violation, were inserted in the preamble of the next peace treaty, it would be a valuable safeguard against the recurrence of such barbarities as we are witnessing. The ipsissima verba of the German rulers could not hereafter be disputed. Memories are short ; memoirs are conflicting ; but such a record, to which the whole world subscribes, can never

be lost sight of. J. W. MEARES. 14 Cawley Road, Chichester.