14 FEBRUARY 1880, Page 1


friti news of the week is a proposed transfer of Herat to Persia. The British Government intend, it is believed, to cancel the clause of the Treaty of 1857 under which the Shah is forbidden to occupy Herat, and to invite him to send thither a body of soldiers, commanded by British officers, who will per- manently garrison the fortress, and protect a British diplo- matic Agent. The intelligence was first made public through a leader in the Times, which is only half-disposed to support the project; and it has since been repeated in telegrams and letters from all parts of the Continent, and in part in a Reuter's telegram from Teheran. Lord Beaconsfield on Tuesday blankly denied, in the House of Lords, that the arrangement had been made; but Sir Stafford Northcote was more cautious, and refused to make a statement, as " no agreement had as yet been concluded." The reasonable probability, therefore, is that some treaty with Persia is in contemplation which involves an occupation of Herat, but that the formalities are not as yet quite finished. We have endeavoured to show elsewhere that any such arrangement will involve a Protectorate of Persia, and bind this country to efforts nearly as great as those involved in the Anglo-Turkish Convention. The fact that we have no more right to assign Herat to Persia than to assign Brussels to Holland is, of course, a minor and unimportant detail.