29 AUGUST 1891, Page 1

M. de Blowitz, telegraphing on Monday night. declared that he

had received information of what passed at Cronstadt from a very trustworthy source. According to this information, Admiral Gervais carried with him a document, drawn up by Baron Mohnnheim, in which France and Russia agree to act together in China in the event of hostilities. "In ease any revolution or rising directed against foreigners, or, indeed, any unanticipated affair, should prevent either of the two nations from freely making use of its own coaling- :stations, the other shall freely place its stations at the dispo- .sition of its ally. The two Powers shall place, in the case of a. revolution in the Celestial Empire, a cordon of troops on their frontiers." Further, the Powers agree not to interfere -with each other's missionaries. This, we confess, if true, looks very much as if the French Government were determined at all costs to agree with Russia about something, and, thinking China safe ground, chose that. It is, however, asserted that the real ground for this "Arabian Nights" agreement was as follows. It was necessary to find ground for an accord which would not give umbrage to the other Powers, and which could be communicated to them without appearing as a challenge.

Ribot chose China "as the ostensible ground of an under- standing," because it alone would affect no European Power. At the same time, he was enabled to form an alliance which can, if needful, be changed in character and purpose. If this is so, M. Ribot must think the Powers very simple-minded. Their suspicions are apparently to be lulled asleep by talking about China, though something very different is really meant. Children often play at this game, but it is not usually practised by grown-up people.