Perhaps the most significant remark in General Allen's speech last night passed unheeded. Speaking of the Separatist movement and of the attitude which France, England and the United States had assumed toward it, the General added. "There is less chance now than ever before that England will withdraw her troops from Cerlege." Coming directly after the British refusal to recognize a Separate State and from a man who knows the situation in the Rhincland as well as any American, the statement merits reflection, for it emphasizes the fundamental difference between British and French policy and indicates the nature of the cleavage between the two allies which General Allen and most other sensible people so deplore.
Taditionally England has feared too powerful a neighbor on the continent. The Armada, Blenheim, Waterloo, and the Battles on the Marne illustrate that better than any words or any theories. And so England, is perforce opposed to a Rhineland State, assumedly under the protection of France and joining in the dominating group of Europe the Little Entente, Poland and Belgium with France at the head. In the future it is conceivable that an alliance between Russia and Germany might be the greatest source of anxiety to English statesmen. But just at present it is France and her lesser associates, France with her powerful army, that is worrying Lord Curson and the rest.
The battle is largely one of diplomacy. Poincare and Baldwin may meet in Paris, shake hands and act as the best of friends, but underneath they are both using all their powers to win the approval of the world and particularly of the United States, and to get into the strategic position to enforce their point of view. France wants security; England wants peace and trade. It is the tragedy of Europe that up to the present these objects have been mutually exclusive.
But while the battle of diplomacy is raging, there is a chance that the whole question at issue may be determined by the development of a Separate State--a "falt accompli" in the Rhineland. For France this would be almost as good security as the famous left bank of the Rhine. For England it would be a dangerous development. And so the British stay on at Cologne.