13 MAY 1916, Page 1

We cannot refrain incidentally from expressing our admiration of the

diction with which Mr. Wilson has expressed himself. How different it is from the woolly or muddy language in which our Foreign Office despatches are too frequently written I Are not the greatest political affairs of men worthy of the greatest language ? Lincoln certainly thought so, and it is to the United States that we have to look for some of the best models. But the question whether what we have called Mr. Wilson's tactical courtesy is wise or not is another matter altogether. He has decided to regard what is not a promise as a promise, and to wait and see what Germany does. One obvious disadvantage of this is that it is committing a moral issue between two powerful nations to pure chance. If more American citizens happen to suffer from fatal " accidents," there will apparently be a rupture. Otherwise, not. But surely Germany should be tested by her willingness or unwillingness to murder neutrals. If she has no right to murder, she has no right to try to murder. If good luck should save her from the deadly offence against America, she will still have been allowed to establish a disastrous precedent.