The Opium Conference, which opened among the sincere acclamations of hopeful humanitarians, has closed in a temporary checkmating of all its lofty aspirations. From the beginning, the representatives of India, China, and Japan have seemed to block, by objections of doubtful validity, the fulfillment of the Conference's hopes. After alternatives of action were offered, the American proposal was on the point of acceptance; but the clamorous objections of the Indian representative concerning the adequate power of the Conference to adopt the suggested protocol led the French and English representatives to arrange a suspension of the Conference. Meanwhile, a committee is to visit the producing countries and the League Council, deliberating the opium question at Rome. For the present, prospects of destroying the "dope" bane are severely blighted.
To thoughtful students of international affairs, the opium question is an accurate gauge of the existing degree of international-mindedness. If the powers cannot forego their petty advantages to wipe out a universally recognized menace, the hope for international cooperation is ludicrous. If the inherently selfish aspects of nationalism can in this one case he overcome by a feeling of community of need and action, hopes of the League and of all internationalists will rise. Eventually the Opium Conference will receive either ignominy for spiking the wheels of the new chariot of internationalism, or high praise for aiding the progress of universal peace and cooperation. But unless the members change their present attitude, this latter alternative will never take place.