2 DECEMBER 1899, Page 18

M. Delcasse, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, made a

speech on Friday week in the Chamber which is of import- ance, not only from the impression it produced, but because its heads had been discussed in the Cabinet. After explaining that in war time a man-of-war had a right to examine any suspicious vessel, and that the charge of the moment, the search of a French vessel in Delagoa Bay, was ridiculous, he proceeded to defend the whole policy of his Government. They were accused of not getting enough in China, but they already possessed in Indo-China a territory twice as large as France, and this if it were worth while—which he evidently doubted—might be extended. As to South Africa, he had not offered mediation and did not intend to offer it, to the great offence of those who wished France to be strong in Europe and aggressive everywhere else, and who forgot that the French colonies were already ten times the size of France, while the French population no longer increased in number. He denounced this "madness of territorial acquisition," and held that France should consolidate and utilise what she already had. The policy of shaking the fist in the air at everybody came either from ignorance or a desire to "exploiter" patriotism for personal gain. The Dual Alliance permits of long plans, but to complete them there must be time.