5 DECEMBER 1952, Page 2

The Saar and the Future

There is some difference of opinion as to whether the result of the elections in the Saar last Sunday will impede or facili- tate a settlement of the differences between France and Germany over the destinies of the contested territory. The voting itself was completely without incident. No disorder occurred anywhere. A heavy vote-93 per cent.—was recorded, in spite of particularly adverse weather, some 24 per cent. of the voters, belonging to the prohibited pro-German parties, deliberately spoilt their ballot-papers, and at the end of it the Prime Minister, Herr Hoffmann, found himself in a slightly better position than before. The Saar, clearly, is reasonably content with things as they are and have been. But they cannot remain as they arc and have been. The status of the Saar cannot be finally determined till the contractual agreements with West Germany are passed and ratified. But if France and Germany can achieve accord on that in advance, to give legal force to it will be a simple matter. Dr. Adenauer has repeated that he will not recognise the results of the Saar elections. It does appear to matter greatly whether he does or not. They are mainly an internal affair and will affect external relations very little. M. Schuman on the other hand is naturally gratified at the decision of the voters and feels that now negotiations with Germany can be resumed. Dr. Adenauer will do wisely to take the same view. While elec- tions are pending interested parties are naturally cautious about taking steps that may compromise the prospects of the party they favour. That inhibition is now removed. One desirable step would be to decide, and make known, precisely what is meant by the "Europeanisation" of the Saar, a develop- ment which seems to command general, but very vague, assent. Since the idea, if approved, must be embodied in a statute ambiguous terminology is no longer adequate.