PROPOSED ANGLO-RUSSIAN UNDERSTANDING. The understanding would naturally fall under three different heads: I. THE NEAR EAST. With regard to the Near East the basis would be that whilst Russia abstained from any attempt to interfere with the status quo in Egypt, we should frankly recognise that the fulfilment of what Russia regards as her historic mission in the Balkan peninsula conflicts with no vital British interests and that in AsiaticTurkey we should abstain from favouring the development of German schemes of expansion. II. PERSIA AND CENTRAL ASIA. With regard to Persia and Central Asia, we might offer Russia our cooperation in the development of railway communication between the Caspian and the Persian Gulf; and in securing for her a commercial outlet on the Gulf in return for an undertaking on the part of Russia to respect the political status quo along the shores of the Gulf. III. THE FAR EAST. With regard to the Far East the question is necessarily more complicated, as Japan would have to be taken into the counsels of the two Empires and a basis of agreement arrived at which would satisfy her as well as Russia and Great Britain. As far as Japan is concerned, such a basis might be found in the recognition by Russia and England of the Japanese claim to an exclusive sphere of influence in Corea. Japan would presumably, in return for this concession, have no objection to a formal agreement under which Great Britain would recognise Russia’s claim to regulate her political and commercial position in Manchuria and Mongolia by direct negotiation with China, and Russia would in like manner recognise Great Britain’s claim to regulate in the same wav her political and commercial position in the Yangtsze Valley, each Power binding itself to give no support in those regions to the enterprise of any other Power. With regard to all other questions in China, Great Britain, Russia and Japan would agree to take no steps without mutual consultation. The fact of Russia being a party to such an agreement would give France a guarantee that her interests would be taken into due consideration, while our participation would afford a natural safeguard to the commercial interests of the United States. The effect of such an agreement, accompanied by the customary demonstrations in such cases, public declarations by the Sovereigns and their official representatives and an exchange of visits by their respective fleets, would at once remove the danger of a sudden explosion, which must continue to hang over the whole world so long as the Far East remains the powder-magazine of international rivalries and conflicting interests which it is at present. The natural consequence of this understanding would be that in the event of war between Germany and Russia, Great Britain would remain neutral and in the event of war between Great Britain and Germany, Russia would remain neutral. Russia would no longer give cause for suspicion that she was instigating France to make war against us, as Count Muravieff did during the Fashoda crisis and Great Britain would cease to be suspected in St. Petersburg of encouraging Japanese hostility to Russia. Japan, on her side, would be relieved of the menace of a possible rival against her of the Triple Alliance of I895. We need not enlarge upon other points in the European relations of Great Britain. Lord Salisbury’s Government deserves credit for having strengthened the bonds between this nation; her oldest ally, Portugal, a country we should stand by on all occasions. On the other hand, have not his Majesty’s Ministers shown some remissness in their dealings with Italy? At any rate, there is high authority for saying that this is the feeling at the Quirinal. Any obstacle to Anglo-ltalian friendship, whatever it may be, should be speedily removed. Italy is a country specially dear to the English people; it is the land that Byron loved and to which Palmerston was devoted. Nothing in this latter’s brilliant career does him more credit than his persistent, wise and courageous efforts to liberate Italy from thraldom. Apart from all sentiment, Italy is one of the natural allies of England and we have not so many that we can afford to trifle with her. Italian statesmen have one and all proclaimed their desire to maintain the status quo in the Mediterranean and any attempt to impair the supremacy of England in that sea must be looked askance at in Italy, for if we were overthrown, France — the friend of the Vatican — would take our place. And just as Russia has nothing to gain but everything to lose from the substitution of German for British supremacy, so Italy would have bitter cause to rue the disappearance of the White Ensign from the Mediterranean. On her side, Italy has a right to expect the material as well as the moral support of England under certain circumstances easier to conceive than to discuss. For instance, should the nightmare which haunts European statesmanship materialise and the Austrian Empire be plunged into the melting-pot, England should exert herself to secure for Italy that portion of the disjecta membra which is Italian in sympathy and feeling. Under no circumstances should we tolerate that the German flag should float over the Italian city of Trieste. If we are to revert, as some of us desire, to the policy of Canning and Palmerston and energetically support the cause of civil and religious liberty and popular rights in Europe, the time may not be remote when we should lift up our voices on behalf of the Czechs of Bohemia. In so doing we shall be promoting the real interests of the Austrian Empire; the question has been so persistently misrepresented that Englishmen are only beginning to realise that the Slavs of Austria are not the disintegrating force within that country.