RUSSIAN PACT BEFORE
Midnight Meeting at Kremlin IMMENSE GAIN TO DEMOCRACY
Courier-Mail Special Service
LONDON, May 31. — Before the end of the week Russia's immense military strength is expected to be added to the anti-aggression front. The Soviet Ambassador in Paris (Mr. Souritz), is reported
to have told the French Foreign Minister (M. Bonnet) that Russia had agreed to join Great Britain and France in a mutual aid pact. The apparent delay in completing the agreement is due to Russia seeking elucidation of various points. She is leaving nothing to chance, or for misapprehension in the future.
One point raised related to a reference in the draft formula to action 'under the League' — a rather loose expression implying consultations at Geneva. Russia feared that this might lead to delays, and emphasised that modern warfare allowed of no de- lays for talking. Action had to be automatic and immediate, The British Government has now re- assured Moscow on this point. The Russians are also seeking elucidation of the position in the case of certain States, as, for example, Yugoslavia, which, as a result of Ger- man pressure, might be forced to sur- render their neutrality, thereby chal- lenging an important strategic position, and threatening the whole new system of security. Exchanges of views on these and other points are continuing, but no hitch is anticipated. There is every hope that the pact will soon be signed, but it is thought that a sequel to it may be another European crisis. According to the Daily Mail's Paris correspondent, the Russian Ambassador to Paris informed M. Bonnet that he understood that the agreement would provide — (1) In the event of Britain, Prance, or Russia, being attacked, that the others will be automatically involved. (2) That all three Powers will go to the aid of Poland and Rumania if they are attacked. (3) That the three Powers will, mu- tually consult regarding the giving of assistance if any of the Balkan States are attacked. Staff Talks The Daily Telegraph's diplomatic correspondent writes: 'It is under- stood that the Russian Ambassador to London (M. Maisky) visited the Foreign office yesterday, and received satis- factory assurances on points which he raised. The Soviet Premier and Commissar (M. Molotov), at a mid- night conference with the British Am- bassador (Sir William Seeds) at the Kremlin, raised similar issues. 'Russia may also demand further amplification of the provision for staff talks without which an alliance might be blunted.' The Times' Moscow correspondent explains that Sir William Seeds' visit to the Soviet Foreign Office took place at midnight because Monday is the Soviet's 'free day,' equivalent to the English Sunday, and foreign repre- sentatives are, not usually received on that day. Russia's attitude was sufficiently clarified by the White Russian Premier (M. Natalevitch), In a speech on the Budget when he castigated Italian, German, and Japanese aggression against peaceful nations, necessitating other peaceful nations spending, enor- mous sums on defence. Gap in Baltic 'The Soviet,' adds The Times' cor- spondent, 'probably is now concerned about stopping a possible gap in the anti-aggression front arising from the Baltic countries' neutrality decision, and is enlisting British and French support in the matter. Russia may not sign the pact until the Baltic States position has been settled, although those Stales are still unwilling to ac- cept guarantees which might prove embarrassing to them.' In addition to invitations to Mar- shal Voroshilov (Russia) and General Smigly-Rydz (Poland) to attend the British army manoeuvres, says the Daily Herald's diplomatic correspon- dent, it is expected that the army chiefs of Rumania, Greece, and Tur- key will be invited. The French Commander-in-Chief (General Game lin) and Portuguese officers are cer- tain to attend.