6 JANUARY 1923, Page 9

Our main reason for optimism is the very imminence of

catastrophe, which, in spite of superficial indications to the contrary, we cannot believe is really hidden from the statesmen of France. Though the French people may be angry, they do not wish to quarrel with the British people and to destroy the foundations of that friendship and help which they must know are of vital consequence to them. We cannot admit that France is so powerful and so secure that she does not need the good will of any other nation and can stand in splendid isolation. Therefore, reflection will surely show her that the task of coercing Germany, without the approval and support of Britain, and even in face of the dis- approval of Europe generally, and still more of the New World, is beyond her powers. The talk of France being self-sufficing and of being able entirely to ignore her outside trade has been very much exaggerated. If France incurs the hostility of the great trading and carrying nations by dashing from their lips the longed-for cup of prosperity, she may find that hostility a thing of terror.