25 JANUARY 1908, Page 17

NEWS OF THE WEEK • M ANY of the sensational rumours

as to the character of the Russo-German negotiations on the Baltic question have been ended by an official statement issued in St. Petersburg on Monday. In particular the statement contradicts the report —merely the revival of a familiar rumour—that Germany and Russia bad agreed to declare the Baltic a mare elausum. There has been "no reference whatever to the Baltic in time of peace or war." The Agreement of November 2nd, 1907, between Russia, Germany, France, Great Britain, and Norway, guaranteeing the integrity of Norway, naturally brought into prominence the question of Sweden's position. The integrity of the combined kingdoms of Sweden and Norway was guaranteed by the Anglo-French Treaty of 1855, and Sweden had some reason to be disquieted at "the exceptional position created for Norway" last November. Yet Sweden, who has always prided herself on her independence, did not ask for a similar guarantee of her territorial .integrity. It was pro- posed, however, that Swedish interests should be secured by special declarations between Sweden and Russia and Sweden and Germany. Negotiations to this end are proceeding. Denmark, although she is the fourth Baltic littoral State, is taking no part in them. Of course any guarantee of Baltic territory which is to be a perfectly safe instrument of peace ought to include the signatures of Denmark and of France and Britain.