NEWS OF THE WEEK
BY the customary malignity of fortune the final communique of the Moscow Conference was expected an hour or two after this paragraph had to go to Press. But while its details are unknown there seems good reason to think that the general air of confidence which pervades the messages of journalists in Moscow is justified. The official communiqué issued en Christmas Eve was at any rate a good beginning. To have reached agreement on the decision to draft forthwith treaties of peace with Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland is to indicate that various obstacles that prevented such agreement in the past have been surmounted, and to have fixed an actual date by which a conference to consider the treaties will be convened demonstrates confidence that the machinery which is now to be restarted—a standing committee of the Foreign Minister's deputies —will now work efficiently and without interruption. France, which was dissatisfied with her exclusion from the Moscow Conference, has not yet signified her acceptance of this procedure, but there is little doubt that she, and likewise China, will ; even without that the arrangements would go forward. Altogether the signs are that as
• a New Year opens a new atmosphere has been created between the Foreign Ministers—possibly as a result of moving the discussions to Moscow, where M. Molotov is not under the necessity of cabling across a continent to secure authorisation for his decisions or objections. It may well be that when the full story of this conference is told the return of Marshal Stalin from the Crimea may be seen as a large element in the success it appears to have achieved. However that may be, there seems reason to believe that the General Assembly of U.N.O. will open in a fortnight's time under happier auspices than at one time seemed probable. Intricate problems have still to be worked out—the relation of the Three and the Five, the relations of the Three and the Five to the Security Council which has still to be created, the relation of the universal U.N.O. to the regional organisations which will certainly be found essential. But given the necessary basis of goodwill and mutual confidence there is no difficulty here that should prove insoluble.