7 JULY 1939, Page 5

Russia and the West The new difficulties that have arisen

are surprising. In return for the guarantee of the Baltic States, Great Britain appears to have asked for a Russian guarantee of Holland and Switzerland ; Russia is unwilling to accede to this demand, while the Netherlands Government has protested against its inclusion in the list of guaranteed countries. Russia's unwillingness may be explained on two grounds: firstly, that neither of these two countries recognises the Soviet Government ; secondly, and more important, that a guarantee of their security is unnecessary because their independence is a vital interest of the Western Powers which in no circumstances could avoid using all their strength to defend them against attack. They are not therefore in the same case as the Baltic States, for which specific guarantees were demanded precisely because their independence is not generally recognised as a vital interest of the Soviet Union's. It is difficult to understand why Great Britain has raised this demand at this point, unless by now it is infected with the distrust which inspires the Soviet Union. If this is true, the moment has come when a responsible Minister, preferably Lord Halifax, should visit Moscow and en- deavour to create that basis of mutual confidence which is so obviously lacking from the present negotiations.