1 FEBRUARY 1919, Page 1

President Wilson and the Allied Governments on Friday week issued

a warning to the small nations of Eastern Europe which are fighting for disputed territory, in accordance with the maxim that possession is nine pointa of the law. The Allies pointed out that " possession gained by force will seriously prejudice the claims of these who use such means," and who " sot up sovereignty by coercion rather than by racial or national preference and natural historical association." The indirect statement of the considerations by which the Conference will be guided in fixing boundaries deserves to be noted. The warning itself' was uttered none too soon. A typical case is reported in Wednesday's Times, in which Polish troops hat occupied the coal-mining district of Teschen in Bohemia and offered a stubborn resistance last week to tho Czechs Slovak troops, "acting under the instructions of the Entente," who tried to expel them. Such encounters between Slav peoples but newly freed from the German yoke are profoundly regret- table. They point to the need for prompt and decisive action such as the Allies are said to be taking. A mere warning, we fear, will not greatly impress the hot-heads.