Officially, the British Government can take no action which could be regarded as an interference with the domestic affairs of a friendly power, and certain overzealous representations which have been made to Sir Edward Grey overshoot the mark. Sir Edward Grey’s liberal principles are sufficiently well recognized to make it certain that what he is able to do he is doing to remove all causes for the misgivings with which a good number of his fellow-citizens regard the Russian alliance in its moral aspect and its possible ultimate developments.
Great hopes are felt that these very delicate representations will meet with success. Predictions are made that the final outcome of the combined grant of autonomy to Poland and the removal of at least some of the civil and religious disqualifications now weighing upon the Jews in Russia will be the growth of a new State, in which the Jew and the Pole will find an equal place in the sun and flourish exceedingly.
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M. Sazonof, Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, to Correspondent of The London Times, Petrograd, Sept. 15.
The eyes of the world just now are fixed on the fortunes of the armies in the field. It is, perhaps, not spectacular from the point of view of the average newspaper reader to speak at this time of mere business and trade relations. I quite well realize that it is accounts of victories and routs, acts of heroism and magnificent assaults by troops that sell the newspapers, but beyond and above all this there now exists a situation and an opportunity in trade and commerce with Russia which to England and America may mean more in decades to come than it is easy to realize.
For years past Germany has been steadily and vigorously pushing her trade into all quarters of the Russian Empire, and now sells us above L60,000,000 worth of products yearly. The ground has been broken by Germany, and these enormous markets for machinery, chemicals, and all sorts of manufactured products are now suddenly cut off from the avenues through which they have been supplied. Herein lies the greatest commercial opportunity for England and America that has ever been offered.
It has been said in the Maxims of Pascal that to govern is to foresee. This is not only true of politics and affairs of government, but applies as well to trade relations. It is that country which foresees the situation commercially in Russia that will reap the enormous benefits that these markets now offer.
It is not merely sufficient that merchants and manufacturers should offer their goods here. They that would profit permanently by the new trade conditions of this empire must take up the task seriously. Experts should be sent here now, even while the war is still in progress, to study and examine the wants of our country. Our duties, our manner of doing business, our present and future wants and growing demands, should be studied scientifically and fundamentally, so that when peace comes those channels which have for decades flowed deeply with German products may continue to flow with products from America and England.