3 OCTOBER 1914, Page 11

The papers of Wednesday published an excellent statement about the

war which forty-two of the leading theologians of the United Kingdom, including the two Archbishops, have drawn up in answer to the manifesto of German theologians. The statement is a valuable precis of the diplomatic negotia- tions that preceded the war, and presents an unanswerable case. It might, however, have been made even stronger—if that were possible—had the writers mentioned that the " conversations " at Petrograd had actually reached a basis of settlement when Germany launched her ultimatums at France and Russia. We fully share the wonder of the British theo- logians that their German brothers should have framed such a manifesto. Had they been kept in ignorance of the facts? That seems the easiest explanation. The British theologians say : " We can only suppose, incredible as it seems, that those honourable and gifted men who signed the German appea were unaware of the obligations by which we were bound, and also of the story of the negotiations. A violation of such promises on our part would have been an act of basest perfidy."