19 SEPTEMBER 1931, Page 14


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—Dr. R. G. Walmsley states that " the wrongs of a dictated peace " and " the injustices of an arbitrary and unjust frontier " constitute the essential threat to the security of France and to the peace of Europe. Armaments, he says, are merely a symptom of the sense of insecurity. I disagree. There may have been a time when armaments were merely a symptom ; when men armed themselves only when there was some immediate danger to face, but since the rise of national- ism and the habit of nations-to try at an' times to be a little

better armed than their neighbours in order to be ready for any emergency, armaments have certainly become more than a mere symptom of insecurity ; they have become one of the chief causes of it.

Dr. Walinsley considers that these threats to security which he mentions " may be removed only by one of two methods— treaty modification or war." I venture to say that they will be removed by neither of those methods. I need not take up your space with arguments to show that war will not solve frOntier problems or remove injustices. A moment's thought will convince most people of that. Can treaty modification solve the problem ? Is it really possible to frame a treaty which will satisfy everybody ? Can any historian tell us of a frontier treaty which has been satisfactory to everybody ? However we may rearrange things, somebody will be dis- satisfied. Neither of these methods will remove the sense of insecurity. They do not touch the root of the problem.

The sense of insecurity will, in my opinion, be removed in one way, and in one way only. It will be removed when nations (and, therefore, the individuals which compose them) have learnt the meaning of " friendship " and " forgiveness " ; when they have accepted a childlike faith in God as a Friend and Father—a faith which drives out all fear and insecurity— when frontier problems have become very little things and cannot stand in the way of friendship. There may, then, be little hope of removing the sense of insecurity for hundreds, i f not thousands, of years, but, unless we are working on the lines I have suggested, we are wasting our energies.

What, then, must be our immediate aims ? They must be (a) To promote a childlike faith in God as a Friend and Father, and to assist enlightened education.

(b) To reduce armaments, and thus remove one of the immediate causes of insecurity. Though this might do little by itself, it can do much together with (a).—I am, Sir, &c., H. J. PnicKErr. The Heights, West View, Ilkley, Yorks.