Courtesy Reuters

Peacemaking at Paris: Success, Failure or Farce?

THE Conference of Paris dissolved on October 15. "La Conférence de Paris," rasped M. Bidault, "est close." For 79 days had the representatives of 21 nations been discussing the terms of peace to be imposed upon their five minor enemies -- Italy, Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Finland. It is the way of every conference to begin like a tortoise and to end like a greyhound. But no conference that I have ever attended showed a greater disparity of progress between the commencement and the finish. During the first six weeks the Conference dragged itself along painfully at the rate of an inch an hour; during the last four weeks there was a breathless scramble to conclude. In frantic haste the delegates rattled off their final speeches, the concluding votes were registered in an indecent rush, and so anxious were the statesmen not to miss the Queen Elizabeth that there was no time at the end for the customary courtesies and farewells. After all those days and nights of tension and clamor a sudden silence descended upon the Palace of the Luxembourg: the microphones and the loud-speakers were dismantled; the hundreds of small gilt chairs were returned to the basement; and in the courtyard of the palace, which had been the scene of so many arrivals and departures, five army lorries were loaded with the tons of paper which remained unconsumed. The inhabitants of the Luxembourg quarter, who night after night had been kept awake by the loud-speakers calling the delegation cars from their parking places, resumed their accustomed somnolence. The police were withdrawn; the flags were taken down; and the galleries and saloons of the palace, which for ten weeks had echoed to the sound of many languages, heard only the voices of children playing in the gardens below.

In the last days of the Conference, an unofficial poll was taken among the journalists of 27 countries who had followed the proceedings. They were asked three questions. Did they regard the Conference as having

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