NEUTRALS TRY TO AVOID RIFT WITH REICH

The small neutral nations of the Continent are being forced to face the grave question of whether neutrality is compatible with the present war. Three recent developments have raised this issue in acute form, for the Netherlands and Belgium especially. The first is Britain's new two-way blockade; the second is Germany's resort to unrestricted mine warfare; the third is violation of the air over neutral territory, particularly by the Reich.

The possibility of a joint stand on these points, in an effort to preserve their increasingly precarious position, is known to have received consideration by statesmen of several West European neutrals, including the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland, and Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland.

Difficulties in the way of establishing a common attitude however - and primarily the desire to avoid giving Germany the slightest grounds for complaint - are understood to have prevented diplomatic consultations from getting beyond the preliminary stage of informal discussion.

The Monitor is looking back at the events of World War II.

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