3 JANUARY 1936, Page 5

M. Laval made clear, what was already known, that France

and Britain had agreed at an early stage to refrain from military sanctions, but it is grossly improper to inter- pret that, as has been done in some quarters in this coun- try, as applying to an embargo on oil. Military sanctions mean the use of force to bring compulsion to bear on the aggressor, not in defence against a new attack which the aggressor may see fit to launch. The statement M. Laval was able to make about the plans for joint action in case of need concerted by the French and British general staffs justifies the conclusion that apprehensions of a possible Italian attack on the British fleet have no longer any substance. It is not unreasonable that M. Laval on his side should ask for assurances as to Great Britain's attitude in case France felt herself in danger as the result of denuding her German frontier to defend her Italian. On the whole, M. Laval's survival is to be welcomed, for he has obviously been pushed in the right direction, and if he holds to that course he can carry the country with him better than a successor of the Left would be likely to.