5 MAY 1923, Page 1

Mr. Asquith viewed the proposal with "grave appre- hension on

both strategic and financial grounds." We do not profess to be able to say offhand whether this new plan of making a strategic centre of the Far East, for that is what it amounts to, is right or wrong, but we assume that the Government has considered the matter most carefully in all its lights before coming to a decision. Of course, we greatly regret the expenditure of money, and also the suspicion we may arouse that we are going to depend, after all, for the management of the world on guns primarily and on reason secondarily. We do not believe, of course, that the Government has any such intention, but there is, nevertheless, a danger that when a suspicion is aroused the atmosphere will be made proportionately more difficult for the spread of the ideas that cluster round the League of Nations. We take it for granted that the British Government has satisfied itself in advance that America will not take offence, but on the contrary. -offerstmoral sanction of the scheme. We are attracted by Itr.f..Asquith's proposal that the whole problem should be referred to the Imperial Conference.