22 OCTOBER 1937, Page 1

The Nine-Power Conference Conferences require preliminaries, but in view of

the urgent need for rapid action, and the fact that an appeal to the nine signatories of the Washington Treaty of 1922 was decided on as long ago as October 6th, the convocation of the conference for October 3oth is certainly not premature. Whether Japan and Italy will decide to be present in Brussels on that day is still uncertain ; they appear to stand or fall together out of a common hostility to democracy, for it is not easy to see what other bond unites them. But the United States, the British Dominions and France will be there, and their influence, if they choose, to exert it, will be considerable. Mr. Roosevelt has declared formally that America goes into the conference completely uncommitted, but his " quarantine " speech, which Senator Pittman, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, has re-emphasised, has undeniably raised certain expectations. One obvious danger the conference must avoid at all costs. Japan, held at Shanghai, has come very near attaining her apparent objectives in the north. The clear line for her or her apologists is the conclusion of peace on a basis which would leave her in possession of her conquests, or at the least sever most of northern China from Nanking, and put it under one or more of those " peace commissions " which so regu- larly form a transparent synonym for Japanese overlordship. The conference should have read to it at the opening of every session the clause in which Japan and the other signatories of the 1922 treaty solemnly pledge themselves " to respect the sovereignty, the independence and the territorial integrity of China."