1 APRIL 1905, Page 2

A long and extremely interesting letter from Dr. Neilsen on

the Swedish-Norwegian conflict appeared in last Saturday's Times. We have not space to go into details, but may briefly summarise Dr. Nansen's contentions. They are that while there is no word about Consuls in the "Rigsakt," or Act of Union, of 1815, the clauses dealing with Norwegian Consuls in the Norwegian" Grundlov," or Constitution, of 1814 have never been altered, and that the partnership in Consuls which subse- quently grew up automatically was a temporary arrangement dietated by practical convenience, but has never been obliga- tory under the Act of Union. A long struggle to readjust the equilibrium, upset by the gradual growth of Swedish ascendency in the first seventy years of the Union, led finally to the appointment of a joint Committee in 1902 to consider the question of the separate Consular Service, which reported unanimously that "it was possible to appoint separate Norwegian Consuls solely responsible to Norwegian authority, and separate Swedish Consuls solely responsible to Swedish authority." Dr. Nansen attributes the failure of the subsequent negotiations to the bad faith of the Swedish Government, and in particular of the Swedish Premier, in openly going back on their pledged word, and introducing new conditions—e.g., that Norwegian Consuls should be removable by the Swedish Foreign Minister, a Swedish official responsible only to Sweden—none of which could be reconciled with Norway's position as a sovereign State. We do not wish to prejudge the question without hearing the Swedish side, but there can be no doubt that the Norwegians have a very strong case ; nor can they be blamed for resolutely pressing a claim which, on the express admission of the Swedish experts, is compatible with the maintenance of the Union.