4 MAY 1907, Page 1


ON Tuesday in the Reichstag Prince Billow in making his statement on foreign affairs dealt first with the Hague Conference, about which he made a decisive declaration. After announcing the general adherence of Germany to the official programme, be came to the proposal for limiting armaments, which throughout the debate was spoken of loosely as "disarmament." This proposal, he said, had not yet become definite, the British, American, and Spanish Governments having only reserved the right to submit it for discussion. He recognised that the intentions of these Governments were well meant, but the real question was whether a discussion would advance their ideal. The German Government had considered the matter, but had been unable to discover any formula for arresting the growth of arma- ments that would meet all the notorious difficulties. They even thought that a discussion might do harm; but they had decided . not to make their presence at the Conference depen- dent on the condition that "disarmament" should not be dis- cussed. " We leave it to those Powers who are sanguine that the discussion will be fruitful to conduct it alone." Prince Billow hinted that if any conclusion should be arrived at, Germany will consider it later. We doubt whether, without the assistance of Germany, the discussion can have any practical result.