22 JULY 1905, Page 1


MWITTE, the Russian Peace Plenipotentiary, has . started for Washington, and before his departure circulated, through the Associated Press, a sketch of his opinions on the position. It is obviously intended to warn the Japanese not to ask too much. He denies that Russia is crushed, and declares his belief that if her amour propre is wounded, the internal dissensions, the existence of which he fully admits, will disappear, and the people will be ready to continue the war for years if necessary. "Russia is not on the verge of dissolution as a Great Power, and is not obliged to accept any con- ditions she is offered, in spite of the military reverses she has suffered." He explains, too, that while he is himself in favour of peace, there is " a large and influential party " in Russia "in favour of continuing the war a outrance." Much of this, as we have argued elsewhere, is mere bluff, not alto- gether consonant with M. Witte's boast that he always tells the truth in politics; but some of it doubtless represents the Emperor's wish to leave himself a loophole. In any case, M. Witte declares himself merely the servant of the Czar, and bound to carry out "instructions," of whose character he gives no hint. He intends, we should add, while en route to consult M. Rouvier, and possibly other Western statesmen, and to ascertain at the same time the views of the great European financiers.