10 JULY 1936, Page 2

The Straits Conference The Straits Conference, which is meeting at

Montreux in a charmingly pre-War atmosphere, appears to have reached a deadlock. The question of the passage of the Straits by warships of belligerents in a war in which Turkey is a neutral has divided Russia and this country, and the controversy involves points of principle as well as of interest. No doubt the Russian proposal that, when Turkey is a_ neutral, the straits should be closed to all belligerents except such as are carrying out their obligations under the Covenant, or subsidiary obliga- tions, such as are involved in the Franco-Soviet Pact, would work greatly to her own advantage ; for even here the presence of Germany is felt, though she has no part in the Conference. The British position was originally that belligerents should have the right to pursue a defeated enemy. But to have insisted on this point would have probably involved breaking up the Con- ference, and though we may deplore the desire or necessity for refortifying the Straits, it is essential that the method of Conference should be shown capable of making such changes by agreement. * * * *