An January 2, the conference of allied prime ministers is to take place in Paris, the purpose of which is to create the political basis for resolving the reparations problem. What could not be achieved in London is now to be achieved in the French capital under the presidency of Mr. Poincaré. When the heads of government of the Entente in London decided to postpone their deliberations until after the holidays because they could not agree on the political terms of the moratorium to be granted to Germany, Mr. Mussolini, according to press reports, in his own, had little diplomatic customs said in a considerate manner that the adjournment would make oneself ridiculous in front of the whole world. The news sounds quite believable that the Italian prime minister had his allied colleagues told he would not go to Paris unless certainty for an agreement was secured in advance.
In fact, since the London conference broke up, discussions have continued. It’s just that the prime ministers aren’t negotiating in person now, the discussion has returned to the diplomatic channels. Notes are exchanged, ambassadors call at the foreign offices, and it may be that in this way the conference scheduled for January 2nd in Paris will have only a formal significance. In any case, there is a great danger that a compromise will be made in advance, which is fatal.
Poincaré does not pronounce the word “Ruhr”. He insists he didn’t need it in London either, and he’s leaving it to the French press to tell the world what he’s up to. It is perfectly clear that British politics will not concede to him the military occupation of the Ruhr area. America, too, is opposed to this act of violence and is using all its diplomatic clout to prevent France from taking such a fatal step. Even Mussolini, certainly not unsympathetic to the use of force, disapproved of extending the military occupation zone. If Poincaré insisted on the occupation of the Ruhr, he would certainly be in the minority. In this case, he would have to be determined to take action on his own authority. But that would mean the rupture of the Entente, he will no longer be in any doubt about that. Would French politics tolerate such a development?
In London, the French Prime Minister didn’t dare let it get that far. The Paris press, even in the nationalist camp, has even made it clear that it considered the French prime minister’s game in London to be going too far. France could get a reduction in her debts from England if she did not show herself willful. America should also expect some concessions on the debt issue in such cases. will French politicians really have the courage to risk this in order to get dysentery? It’s hard to believe. If Poincaré were to carry his stubbornness so far, he would be exposing himself to the danger of not having his own people behind him. Therefore, the thought suggests itself that it is tactics when the French press continues to give the impression that France still insists on the occupation of the Ruhr area today, that it wants to intimidate the allied countries in order to en route of compromise to preserve what is really close to her heart, namely the Rhine.