OUR FOREIGN POLICY.
FOUNDATIONS OF DIPLOMACY.
[Mr H. Wickham Steed, the distinguished foreign editor of "The Times," who has represented that journal in Paris, Rome, and Vienna, has delivered the first of a series of lectures arranged by the Council for the Study of International Relations at Birmingham
University.] Mr Steed's subject was "The foundations of Diplomacy," and he illustrated it by a recital and discussion of the diplomatic events which led to the present war. The lesson of the lecture was that, without knowledge on the part of our statesmen, and knowledge—less immediate and less complete, but adequate as regards the broad conditions of our national existence and our fundamental national interests— on the part of the people of this country, no safe and effective foreign policy was possible either in peace or war. An Ambassadors' Lullaby. Mr Steed, said that if, since the death of King Edward in 1910, we had had no true foreign policy, it was largely because the only effective and constantlyoperative check upon the ignorance of our statesmen and their absorption in party politics had ceased to exist, and because no other check was available in the shape of an instructed public opinion.
"It was true that the basis of what Continental diplomatists had always called 'King Edward's policy' remained unchanged— that was to say, our agreements with France and with Russia persisted. After the Agadir incident Germany changed her tactics towards us. She sent to London Prince Lichnowsky, whose mission it was to strive for an 'Agreement' with England, and incidentally to sing us a lullaby. Prince Lichnowsky did his work most efficiently.
He also made innumerable friends and his able helper, the Councillor of Embassy, Herr yon Kimlmann, as plausible and unscrupulous a schemer as could be found in the ranks of German i diplomacy, seconded him with 'zeal. Our Ministers and the chief permanent officials of ouri most important Department of | State was beguiled by them. Writers and journalists were 'roped in.' Great schemes for the peaceful partition of the most important of the less civilised parts of the world were set on foot and were actually completed. Our Government apparently hoped by placating Germany to dissipate the legend of English jealously; in reality, they were whetting German appetites. Germany's Miscalculation. "Was Germany deliberately working for war and preparing to strike at her appointed time?" asked Mr Steed. "Yes and no, Germany was deliberately preparing to impose her will upon the other powers of Europe and to make the danger of resisting her so great that she might reasonably expect to secure her ends without war. Germany's one grave miscalculation was in regard to the attitude of England She believed herself sure of our neutrality, at least until it would have been too late for us to intervene effectively. It was an open question whether war would have been avoided if our Government had made it clear from the beginning of the crisis that we intended to support our friends with all our might; and it is equally doubtful whether had war been averted or post-
poned, it would not have been a misfortune in disguise. Hardest Task of All. "Our aim must be so to reconstitute Europe that a recurrence of this catastrophe should be impossible. The Allies must redeem, restore, and liberate the, small nations—Belgium, Serbia, Poland, Bohemia—and constitute as strongly as possible every state that had a vital interest m preventing the mastery of Prussia over Germany, and through her, over Europe. We had not yet performed the preliminaries of our task. Before Germany was beaten we should need all our courage,_ all our resources, all our tenacity. "And when Germany and Austria had been beaten in the field the hardest part of our task would still be, before us—to impose conditions of peace so just and so farsighted that Europe would be freed for ever from the nightmare of scientific barbarism. For this to be possible our Government, however it might then be constituted, would need the constant support, the constant pressure, of enlightened ' public opinion, and such opinion ■ could not be formed without ; knowledge."
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PEACE TERMS., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3541, 2 May 1916