From the moral point of view, any preventive action, any
negotiations which might sully the virginity, or wound the pride, of the smaller neutrals, would be incompatible with the ideas and purposes by which our intervention in this tragedy has alone been justified. Conversely, from the practical point of view, it is evident that unless our intervention is fully planned and fully equipped the Germans may reach Rotterdam or Ploesti before we have recovered from our scruples or sur- prise. The right course seems to lie between the moral and the practical. We should never commit an aggression on our own part ; but we should at once prepare with the utmost industry such schemes as shall enable us to intervene with rapid efficacy at the very instant when the neutrality of a small State is obviously violated. Night and day should the fire- brigade be at its post.