5 MARCH 1932, Page 1

Is it Peace ?

The actual situation at any moment since Sunday has been almost impossible to assess owing to the

,difficulty Admiral Kelly at Shanghai and the President of the League Council at Geneva have found in pinning Japan down to any definite undertakings. The basis of agreement suggested, but not finally concluded, on ' Kent ' on Monday provided for the mutual and simultaneous withdrawal of the two armies, and with that in view the League Council drew up a plan for definite peace negotiations at Shanghai. While the Japanese Government was accepting these, and Geneva was sitting back in relief, the Japanese forces celebrated the occasion by launching a new and violent offensive on the Chinese positions. In face of this, and more particularly because their flank was in danger of being turned by the landing of Japanese reinforcements some little distance up the Yangtze, the Chinese fell back to new positions on or behind the twenty-kilometre line to which it was the professed object of the Japanese to drive them. Even so, the Japanese attitude remained equivocal, leaving it impossible to divine whether the offensive was to be arrested or pursued, or whether the civilians at Tokyo and the soldiers at Shanghai intended the same thing. But the announcement, arriving as we go to press, that the Japanese offensive has definitely ceased, wears a rather hopeful look of authority. * * * •