23 FEBRUARY 1901, Page 1

Count von Billow's concession to the Agrarians has already borne

its inevitable fruit. The St. Petersburg Trade and Industrial Gazette has published an article, generally supposed to have been inspired by M. Witte, threatening severe reprisals if the German Government fulfils its pledge to enhance the grain-duties, and the circulation of this article by the German semi-official telegraph agency has thrown the Press into con- siderable commotion. The Protectionist organs, while affect- ing to despise these threats as academical, do not attempt to conceal their irritation. They attack the Social Democrats and Radicals for playing into the hands of foreign Govern- ments, contend that the raising of the duties is aimed not so much against Russia as America and Asia Minor, and empha- sise the danger of a tariff war to Russia, hinting that in the event of reprisals Germany could hit harder than her neighbour. The Berlin correspondent of the Times, while endorsing the view that M. Witte inspired the article in question, holds that the Free-trade journals are going too far in their efforts to magnify its significance, and recalls the maxim of Bismarck that strained commercial relations need not necessarily be incompatible with political friendship.