25 MARCH 1899, Page 2

Mr. Brodrick had evidently been instructed not to imply that

the Government were about to give in to the demand for recognising "spheres of interest," but it is clear, we think, from his speech that, though the Government still think that they can squeeze a certain amount of benefit out of the policy of the " open door," they are gradually preparing to fall back on the other policy. " We stand," he said, in regard to the strong appeals made as to the Yangtse, by the necessity for safeguarding to the utmost of our power the particular sphere' in which we are interested—I do not call it a 'sphere of interest,' but the particular part to which our trade mainly goes." Mr. Brodrick, though he spoke guardedly, was, we are very glad to see, able to speak with a good deal of hope- fulness as to an understanding with Russia. He also, it may be noted, did not make any declarations as to a belief that China would in the future be capable of reforming and holding her own against her assailants. But if we claim the Yangtse as our "sphere," seek an understanding with Russia, which, if made, must surely be based on the recognition of Russia's " sphere," and say nothing about the integrity of the Chinese Empire, but declare that we cannot possibly under- take its government, we have come pretty near to completing the transition from the policy of the "open door" to that of "spheres of interest."