24 NOVEMBER 1939, Page 2

Marking Time in Finland

No steps have yet been taken to promote a resumption of the Finnish-Soviet negotiations, but that the question is far from being shelved is shown by a threatening article in Izvestia by the Commander of the Baltic Fleet. The writer speaks of the cession of Hango by Finland as vital, and hints that the Baltic Fleet is ready at any moment to take action. Meanwhile the Finnish forces remain mobilised, and it has not escaped attention that the Soviet newspapers have said that Finland will be unable to bear the financial strain of prolonged mobilisation. It would, of course, suit Russia's peaceful role if Finland should fall into her arms through economic collapse rather than through defeat in war. The Soviet rulers have no desire to show themselves to their own people as war-makers and conquerors, and undoubtedly prefer bloodless victories. But Finland's economic position is far from desperate. Her credit is good, and her citizens have subscribed well to her internal defence loan. Being alone among European countries in having paid all her war debts to the United States, she is in high favour in that country, and could probably float a small loan there without difficulty. Both sides are manoeuvring for position, and we may hear before long of resumed negotiations.