21 AUGUST 1936, Page 1

The Reform of the League The receipt at Geneva or

a French Note on the subject is an opportune reminder that the reform of the League is the most important item down for consideration when the Assembly meets in September. At the same time the contents of the Note confirm the view that no very radical proposals for the revision of the Covenant are to be looked for. The fundamental basis of the League—that nations undertake to refrain- from aggres- • sion, and that nations attempting to violate the under.. taking must be subjected. to some kind of prevention or coercion—must remain. The question is the eictent- of the obligation to apply coercive or preventive measures. France stresses the importance in this connexion of regional understandings, adding that by " region " is meant " any group of Powers whose union is based on geographical situation or on community of interests." The words italicised (by us) are obviously full of am- biguity. There is no doubt that discussion will largely turn on the question of supplementing economic measures, to be applied by all League States, by military action to which only States in the region of aggression will be committed. But whether the " region " could, in the case of Europe, be less than the whole continent may well be doubted. The influential Next Five Years Group, which outlined "A Map of Peace" in The Times at the beginning of this month, is convinced it could not. The British Government is still considering its League reform proposals.

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