26 JUNE 1936, Page 1

The Dardanelles Discussion The conference at Montreux to consider the

Turkish request for revision of the international agreement of 1923 regarding the Dardanelles opened on Monday in an atmosphere of general cordiality, which soon gave place to more businesslike emotions. The action of Turkey in seeking legal permission for the refortification of the Straits, instead of simply creating a fait accompli, is entirely laudable, and the conference immediately admitted the claim in principle by taking the new conven- tion drafted by Turkey as the basis of its discussions. But fundamental issues are involved. Is Turkey to be the sole guardian of what is an international waterway of the first importance, even though both its shores are Turkish ? Should there be free passage for the warships of all nations, as in the case of the Suez Canal? (There ought at least to be free movement for all fleets acting under the League Covenant.) Is Russia to have free egress for her whole Black Sea fleet into the Mediter- ranean, without corresponding freedom of entry by other Powers into the Black Sea ? Russia's access to the Mediterranean is of the first importance to Italy, which has declined to take part in the conference (or any other international activity) while she is under sanctions. Rut the conference will go on, and her uneasiness at her absence is likely to grow.