24 NOVEMBER 1939, Page 3

Russia and Japan

It can no longer be regarded as extraordinary that with one hand Russia is extending support to China and with the other endeavouring to reach an understanding with Japan. The rumour that the Soviet Government was demanding con- cessions in the interests of the Communists as the price of continued support to China is discredited in Chinese circles in London. But undoubtedly it is anxious, in view of the European situation, to get on better terms with Japan, and it is probable that Japan, having her hands full with the Chinese War, would overlook some apparent inconsistencies in Russia's attitude if she could settle some of her differences with that country. Agreement upon the Mongolian Frontier Commission has already been achieved, and it is a big step forward that negotiations for a trade treaty are to begin. Japan, having no commercial officers at her Moscow Embassy, will have to send a special trade mission. It can hardly be doubted that the trade negotiations will be the cover for political talks, though it is stated that no definite proposals have been made for a political agreement. Japan's supreme object would be to induce Russia to withhold sup- port from Chiang Kai-shek. Her main hope of achieving anything in that direction is Russia's absorption in the pro- blems of Finland, Poland and the Balkans.