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ount (jKuma. in an interview with a r-i.resentative of the "Japan Advert-;?er," stated that thef Geiman (Government, fwl- m.g acutely its tiiiancial diiffcultie«, had made overtures to Russia and Japadi for a, separate peace. The overtures were rejected, for both liussia and Japan wero determined t.- continue the war to the end. Count Okuma was the Preuncr of Japan in 1914, and is H statesman of the foremost rank. He- speaks as one who know. Intimately eon- nect-ed with his statement is the report on Fi-idav fi-oll, York of a further fall in the market value of the German mark and the Austrian crown, bringing the former 28 p. r cent, and the latter 43 per cent, below the face value. For the Central Powers this is a sinister omen of an approaching financial crash, tierman 'war bonds offered in neutral -untr, e- security have been evei-ywhere rpfused bv bankers, and a competent judge ^p»erts> t?.jt "houhi the depreciation of th? merman mark reach 40 or 50 ?r cent. national and state hankrunky and run unist follow." In this we may perceive tho deadly effect- iveness ot sea-power. Germany and Austria unable to deliyej. and. therefore, to sell the goods b\ which iu normal conditions they live- I"eten<ce at evading the GO.n0- roiejices of the sea-blockade is kept up by flooding both t orintries with paper money, nnbacked by the only token or genuine A'nJue. Tin- pap4,1 nv°uey, which can be produced in sheaves by the printer a.t, small litei- -i t -nia U cost, is of worth or worthless, acoordir.g to the capacity of,the issuing authority to re- Ieem it it) good yellow metal. The slump mi the pnrclu1."ing power of the mark and crown indicates diminishing f;1}f;h of neutral countries in Austi-o-(ierman ability to seoure the ultimate vielorv. More than that. ;t suggests a growing doubt regnrcling the sol- vency of the Ceaiti al Powers at the end of the war. It has been said with considerable truth | tliat no country has failed iii wai- from want] of money- A striking ex-ample of the limited j power of goldis suppose 0 to have been fur- nished by the ^oalkan States when they over- came Turkey, though all the Jewish nnd other financial magnate*? were backing the <Eorks. But the Serbians. Bulgariaus and Greeks, except for guns and munitions, drew their resources from the native soil and made war under conditions almost mediaeval in their tlimplicity. A population mainly agricultural, threw into the national granary their crops and surplus sbock of cattle and horses. Thus the national re- venne became altogether available for tho purchase of n?ential goods which had to l?, obtained abroad. Thr case, ot Germany and Austria is very diifp,<n!. \Ve have here, roughly, about 115 millions of people who. in peace time, de- pended for their existence upon tho sale to the outside world of goods to the value of many hundreds of rnilliom; pounds sterling. This oversea trade has been cut off for more than a year. The two countries are re- duced to the condition of a. grocer without customer:- who, with his family, lives on by eating the goods he had expected to sell- In Germany an d Austria- the prices of food have risen and are. rising, not only be- cause the suppi), falls short of the demand, but, aJso because the paper money offered for the articles is of doubtful value. The vendor, when he is asked to accept a fifty or hundred mark note. is not certain that when the -paper taken is finally nego- tiated it will command its face value. Hence the reduced purchasing value cf the paper-money expressed in inflated prices for commodities, and the slump abroad in the market, quotations for the German mark and the Austrian crown. Austro-Geniian financial difficulties will hatell the end of the war. They are more j potent than the shortage of food, respon- sible for riots in Berlin, Cologne and other German and Austrian cities. Tho deadly grip of naval power tells with increasing efficacy day bv day. Germany and Austria are, for at) practical purposes, reduced to the state of besieged cities which have to take oount of their food reserves periodically. Their responsible at-atesmen make the best possible show of the national resources, but in the end have to admit shortages in essen- t;al, people are asked to accept bul- letins of victory in substitution of the food thev need. There must be, and is, a limit to this artificial feeding. To make nure of the ultimate victory, the economical pressure on Austro-Germany must be supplemented by military pressure on every front. In France aiiii, Flanders this is as-ured, and the steady trickling through of German deserters tells a suggestive tale. But for the risks of slaughter; from their own side these war worn and weary combatants would be more numerous. They itc!(-(-Pt de,rK-rate, chances in making for our lines. Their ell- terprise is indicative of the spirit that pre- vails in the ranks of the enemy. In France and Flanders we hold the Germans fast—two- thirds of their forms are on this frOJJt-and at the selected moment can get though their lines. An attack on their side, designed to win through to Paris or Calais, would be vwl- >».med. so convinced are the Anglo-Froncb- • ^b.ic art/ib. r ihey occupj lines im- pugnable to tbe enemy. f a And in ^alomka. the Anglo-Trench armies j 'are by this time so strongly entrenched that j an attack, whether by Austro-Germaus or ) with these reinforced by Bulgarians, would e be helpful as affording a chance of demon- v strating the impotence of the Central Powers in the Balkans despite the treason of 13111- 'gari.i. Constantino, fit Athens, is making a note of the waxing strength of the Anglo- French in Macedonia- —conscious that the bulk n of bis people, are for war on the side of the Kntente Powers- and of the restlessness of It Rumania, which appreciates the significance cf e the. Russian success!ul offensive in the liuko- e wiua. On the whole the outlook for the Ell 's tente Powers is decidedly improving.

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