6 JANUARY 1912, Page 21



imagine few if any of your readers will dispute the position you take up in repudiating the extraordinary sugges- tion that we should band over half Australia to Germany, or that we should encourage the idea (assuming it to be enter- tained) of a forcible expropriation, on Germany's behalf, of Belgian and Portuguese interests in Tropical Africa.

Nevertheless it would be of great value if the Spectator could assist public opinion here in appreciating the German view instead of labouring to show its readers week after week that the Germans have no case at all. Within a single year events have occurred resulting in the acquisition by France of the greater part of Morocco, and in a state of affairs in Persia which—although there is a natural disposition in official quarters to demur to the proposition—can only now end in an Anglo-Russian partition of Persia. Thus, while we protest over here against any desire to keep Germany out of the sun, the fact remains that two weak and aboriginally governed States have actually passed or are passing under the partial control of Great Britain and of the Powers with which Great Britain has contracted understandings.

You will say that Germany has been compensated, so far as Morocco is concerned, by a slice of the French Congo. That is true. But in the light of the French Chamber and Senate disclosures it is no longer possible for reasonable men to con- tend that British diplomacy has not been exerted, steadily and persistently, throughout all this Morocco-French Congo affair against Germany, or that the 1904 Agreement with France has not been given a character which intrinsically it does not bear. It is surely a circumstance deserving of some- thing more than contemptuous dismissal that many of us who worked in various capacities for the entente with France are unable from a study of accessible documents to resist the con- clusion that the entente has been converted into an instrument which Germans would be less than human if they did not regard as directed against themselves.

The attitude taken up by British diplomacy over the nature and extent of the compensation to be acquired by Germany in the French Congo, in exchange for France being permitted to reduce the Algeciras Act to waste paper, is not encouraging from the German point of view, or from the point of view of Englishmen, who sincerely believe it a matter of enormous interest to Britain that our relations with Germany should improve when future problems even now looming upon the horizon are contemplated.

What is to be our attitude' towards Germany when the Congo and Portuguese African questions come on to the tapir, as come they must P It is impossible to imagine that matters can remain as they are much longer. In Portuguese East Africa the condition of things is such that, both as regards the treatment of the natives and the growth of legitimate European enterprise, an acute situation has already risen which may give rise any day to grave complications. The condition of Angola is shocking, and the recruiting of serviettea for San Thome and Principe, abandoned for two

years, is now about to be renewed. In the French Congo and in the Belgian Congo it is open for Germany whenever she chooses to raise the question of the continued impediments to freedom of trade which, in violation of the Berlin Act of 1885, both France and Belgium persist in imposing. In thus acting Germany would not only be in the right, but she would, incidentally, be serving the cause of the long- persecuted aborigines of the Congo Basin. The wholesale distribution of arms by the Belgian Government in the northern part of the Congo in order to procure ivory, denounced by Consul Armstrong in the White Book recently issued to Parliament, is also a matter which gravely affects both British and German interests in Central Africa.

Germany would be doing a service to mankind in raising these questions in definite fashion, as, indeed, we ought to have done long ago. Any day her legitimate interests may compel her to do so. Are we to meet her with sullen obstruc-

tion in order not to wound French or Belgian susceptibilities P Does not, on the contrary, the whole situation in the vast territories comprised within the conventional area of the

Congo—a situation at once disgraceful to humanity, a menace to sound administration, and an obstacle to every legitimate economic interest—provide a golden opportunity for Britain and Germany to find—to seek, if need be—common ground, a common interest on which they can combine P

The notion, so far as I can gather, which attributes to responsible German opinion the desire or the expectation

that we should give Germany this, that, or the other, and purchase her goodwill by some act humiliating to our self- respect, is nowhere entertained. I do not see how sensible Englishmen can imagine for a moment that advance can be made on those lines. But those of us who are profoundly convinced that the national interest imperatively demands a modification in the Foreign Office attitude towards Ger- many are entitled to point out that there are opportunities which can be taken if we have sufficient imagination and common sense to take them. The game of one measure for

France and a totally different one for Germany is a game which masses of Englishmen of varying political views are

becoming more and more persuaded responds neither to the political nor to the business interests of the nation.—I am, The essence of Mr. Morel's argument is that to be on good terms with France is an act of hostility towards Germany.

We cannot agree. Sir Frank Lascelles, whom no one can accuse of anti-German feeling, in a passage quoted in our notice of the magazines, supplies by anticipation an excellent

corrective to Mr. Morel's contentions. If Mr. Morel thinks he is furthering the cause of peace by encouraging the prepos- terous legend that the Germans are the long-suffering victims of Perfidious Albion, he is very much mistaken.—En. Spectator.]