VOL. 172 No. 5127

LONDON AUGUST 13th, 1938


IN T i n s ISSUE


The Case of “Voltaire” METHODISM The “Crumbling” of a Tradition. By T. S Gregory. A CATHOLIC ADVENTURER

By Graham Greene


A Summary of Twenty Years’ Struggle

Full List o f Contents on page 196.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK Russians and Japanese

The news reached England, on Thursday morning, that an armistice had been agreed upon in the Far East frontier dispute between Russia and Japan. Forces on either side are to remain in occupation of the territory held twelve hours previously.

This means that the Japanese hold a wedge 220 yards deep which they have driven into Soviet territory. The Soviet Forces will occupy a wedge 330 yards deep over the Manchukuan frontier, which they crossed on Wednesday.

The armistice was agreed to on the basis of Japanese proposals at a conference in Moscow between the Soviet Foreign Commissar, M. Litvinoff, and the Japanese Ambassador, Mr. Shigemitsu.

A mixed commission of two Soviet representatives and two Japanese-Manchukuo representatives is to deal with the demarcation of the disputed frontier.

The Commission will use an old Russo-Chinese map—• presumably that attached to the 1860 treaty—as the basis for its negotiations.

The armistice cannot yet be taken as putting a definite end to hostilities, and the situation is still obscure and dangerous. It is certain that the Japanese neither intended nor expected to provoke a major war. It seems rather that the stories which General Lyuchikov brought with him in his escape persuaded them that the state of Russian disorganization was such that there was no danger in provocative action. Therefore they took the opportunity to occupy the Hill of Changkufeng. The Russians have resented that occupation with an unforeseen vigour, and, though the original provocation came from Japan, subsequently the Japanese have been on the pacific defensive, while the Russians have become the aggressors by their air-raids on Korean towns quite beyond the area of dispute. The Russian Government wants a major war as little as the Japanese, and, so far as the decision rests in the hands of Moscow, the policy is merely to create enough trouble to prevent the Japanese from moving their Kwantung troops down into China. But does it rest with Moscow ? Moscow has fed the Russian people so long on its talk of “ Fascist” aggression that it is now a temptation to the able and ambitious Marshal Bluecher to use that propaganda for his own ends against Moscow, and it is possible that he will force the issue and appear as the defender of the sacred soil of Russia against a craven Moscow Government that was ready to barter it. If he wins, he is the hero of the hour, and, if he loses, he will lay the blame on a treacherous Government at home that did not properly support him. We cannot much blame him for looking after his own interests when we recollect what happens in Russia to generals who do not do so. The Hill of Changkufeng is a hill of mystery. We are told of its great strategical importance. But, if it really is of strategical importance, it is extraordinary that neither the one side nor the other should have bothered to occupy it throughout all these years. American Comment

From America comes the wisecrack that a RussoJapanese War would be “ the world’s most popular war” and there is no one who would not eagerly welcome the defeat of both sides. It is certain that, as in most wars, both sides would be defeated, and one is tempted to agree with the American judgment. But unfortunately it is all too dangerous to indulge in such a luxury. Though it is not likely that any third Power would be immediately involved, yet no one can feel confident for how long it would be possible to limit the conflict. The whole dispute is manifestly capable of settlement, given good will, but that does not say that it has been settled. Czechoslovakian Communists

The stabbing affray at Glasswald is a reminder, if any were needed, of the continuing seriousness of the Czechoslovakian situation. Whatever policies may at