19 AUGUST 1905, Page 1

The most bewildering point in the perplexing history of the

negotiations is the object with which the Russians are protracting them. If, that is, they have resolved not to accept what the Japanese say they must accept, why do they not break off discussion at once ? Nothing appears to out- siders to be gained by all the" talkee-talkee," which, neverthe- less, disturbs all Europe, and especially all financiers. Extra- ordinary suggestions are offered to account for this apparent waste of time—one being that both Linevitch and Oyama are collecting shells—but we believe that the Russian Court has two objects. Being, as we have argued elsewhere, very ill- informed, its chiefs still think that Japan is approaching exhaustion, and will, if they are stiff enough, in the end abandon her conditions ; and they overrate the value of the general opinion of the world. They hope, in fact, to create the belief that Japan is ambitious, and therefore ought to be restrained in good time. That is the motive with which M. Witte, though he has promised secrecy, is allowing the negotiations to leak out, to the gratification of editors who, he thinks, make opinion, and is openly courting American popularity by pretending to be a democrat. St. Petersburg is in error. The Japanese cannot restore Saghalien without stultifying themselves, and the general opinion is, and will remain, that the Japanese terms are moderate.