Page 4, 12th April 1946

12th April 1946
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Page 4, 12th April 1946 — QUESTIONS OF ME
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Locations: Liverpool, Chicago, Beirut

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QUESTIONS OF ME

MI The Editor

Army Day in Chicago THE frivolities of statesmen. the humour which is the most widely remembered feature of the character of the Emperor Nero. have been again emphasised in the West by the week-end Army Day Speech of President t timer in Chicago and by the general reception of the news of a settlement of the Iranian issue between the Russians and the Persians. Mr. Truman's speech. like Mr. Attlee's and Mr. Bevin's speeches on most occasions, was redolent with goodwill. He stated very positively that America is now the strongest country in the world. America will keep the peace : America must: America will succour the starving. On the first point we still await a reasonably constructive statement of the measures both America and our own country are prepared to take to maintain peace. On the second we need no reassurance. America has succoured Europe in the past and no European of any intelligence has ever believed that the American people, properly informed by their politicians, would let Europe starve.

The Strength of America BUT the assumption that America is the strongest country in the world cannot be accepted without some deliberation. Materially one would agree. But no country is stronger than the will of its people to action. Arc the Americans prepared to accept the necessary peace-time service which is a tragic index of the state of the relations between modem nations? Mr. Truman was significantly vague on this point and until it is fully clarified the strength of America. the strength of the West is very much a problem. At this time of day it is surely not being undiplomatic to state that one country, and one country only threatens peace. So long as that country can use the United Nations Organisation as a mart wherein it strikes bargains on the one hand, and on the other becomes a screen for aggressions in Europe, peace will be maintained. But when the invasion of the country that will in the future be the Poland of 1939 comes. What then? What now? The weakness of the West, the shufflings of politicians who arc afraid of their own people's capacity for truth, is a constant temptation to the East with its re

lentless will to expansion It is on the following ,condition that the strength of America and Great Britain must he judged ; the faith of the poll. tical leaders of both countries in their people's ability to accept the full truth and act upon it as their leaders think necessary—and the justification of that faith by those of us who elected these leaders. On that basis Mr. Truman's speech was the customary hotchpot of aspiration and negation. It might have been spoken by Mr. Attlee.

Germany Now ONE other peace aim of America emerged from Mr. Truman's speech, indeed it emerged in the second paragraph. " We have," he stated " still to destroy the war material and the war industries of our enemies." It is the sort of statement that is received with approbation by the righteous unthinking. But what is war material and have not " vnstr " industries a dual operation? Can one, for instance. destroy the Ruhr without destroying first the German people and then the industries of a large part of Europe? On Germany as a whole Mr. Truman has nothing to say. The coun try is divided in four. As Mr. Stokes pointed out with understandable indignation in a recent letter to the Times, each occupying power is pursuing a different policy and not one of these policies bears any relation to one that would establish peace and good order in Europe. The British are negatively Liberal. The officers and men on the spot. doubtless harassed by the ignorance and muddle-headedness they observe in home opinion, are doing an excellent job so far as they can. But for a future Germany they have no policy. The Russians in their zone are building up what will be in effect a Government of Germany as submissive to the Kremlin as that of M. Beirut. The French seemed moved entirely by fear of the future and resentment, again as understandable as, in statesmen, it is unpardonable of the past. The Americans are not really interested They go through the motions of occupation while their unfortunate occupying army, made up of civilised men, sickens as soldiers eventually will, of " going through motions." What is the policy of Britain, France and America in Germany? The question is one that must be answered. For on its answer much depends. The Russians have no doubts about their policy. Have the British and American Governments?

Archbishop Downey

E commend to our readers the

principles outlined by His Grace the Archbishop of Liverpool reported in this week's issue, and to the wise and moderate statement of Sir William Beveridge on his return from Spain last week. No one will doubt the principles set out by Dr. Downey. no one in this country or in America as distinct from the sentimental aspirations which the statesmen of both countries confuse with principle they stand out clearly with the objectivity of truth. It is in the application of such principles that Catholic action finds its field ; it is therefore a duty upon us that they he studied and digested mentally One point in particular we would indicate, at the moment. as an example to which Dr Downey's words on Habeas Corpus be applied. The case of Draza Mihailovitch is still to be brought before the Yugloslav military courts Yet in a statement made by the Yugoslav Government in reply to the United States Government, he is already tiescribed as " a traitor " whose crimes are beyond " discussion." The travesty of law which is implied in that statement can be re-enacted here: it will 'be unless Christians of all denominations. see clearly and understand the principles which are set out by Christian leaders such as the Archbishop of Liverpool, and live by them.

Beveridge on Spain WE commend Sir William's state: ment because it provides an example of an honesty and democratic good-faith which is tragically scarce in these days. No one of integrity will believe that Sir William Beveridge has any sympathy. as a life-tong Liberal, with the political structure of modern Spain. Yet he speaks out clearly, noting with special approval the strength of family life on the peninsula, stating the good as he saw it and implicitly denying the monstrous calumnies which partisans who have, in their politictif bigotry heaped on Spain. It is to be noted on this score that the famous social scientist was warmly criticised on this point by the Tribune last week. The paragraph in question provides an interesting side-light on the modernemind. Sir William is attacked because he saw good things in Spain

and said so. The Tribune interprets .his as pro-Franco propaganda It is not concerned with the truth of the statements, not in the slightest. If Sir William had made a statement revealing all the things that opponents of Spain ache to hear. Tribune would have been pleased. Ije just told the truth and the truth reflected credit on the Spanish people and some little credit on their Government. He is therefore, as a Spanish witness, cast out.

The Two Chinas FROM China this week we are able to report on the conditions which exist North and South of the Great Wall. In the North, Russia, pursuing the oolicy of 'aggression which dates back beyond the Japanese Manchurian adventure, has brought to that suffering land all the brutality which is now associated with " liberation " in the East of Europe Tragically the Chinese Communists, against all hopes, have proved truer to their " philosophy " than to their national traditions. Here is another question on which Mr Truman might have spoken out clearly last week-end America is vitally con cerned in Asia. America had two diametrically opposed schools of thought trying to collaborate in Chungking One of these was. according to the most responsible American on the spot, under the influence of the Chinese Communists now unmasked as the Bieruts, Thorers, and Dimitroffs of their country; the other withdrew. All that can he deduced from the tragicomedy is that America is without a real understanding of the Chinese problem and is without a policy in the East. In the meantime Chiang KaiShek, beset with internal problems, harassed by thnse who threaten Civil War in the interests of an alien power. finds his name bandied about as a crypto-fascist. not only in the Russian press but in the press of those who were his Allies when his interests. China's, were considered identical with

those of America and Britain. The Euronean missions in the North. the repositories of the best, the core of the West, where priests attemnied to fuse this best in the best of the East are ravished The Europeans and Americans who brought God's word to China see their work being sacrificed to those who would impose the Animal Slate on an ancient civilisation. China is the cock-pit of contending idealogies. while the Chinese people starve, die and sec no order in the future they have fought to preserve.

Instead of War Ir is not realised perhaps that. according to Clause 41 of the Charter. the Security Council can call upon members of the United Nations to take measures, not involv

ing the use of armed torce, to give effect to its decisions, and that these

measures may include the partial or complete interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea. air. telegraphic, or radio communications and the severance of all diplomatic relations." This was made plain by Mr. Noel-Baker in moving the second reading of the United Nations Bill, which gives the Government attthnrity to control the actions of its uationals in accordance with these measures, The Bill was read a second time. It probably represents average opinion in the country. The method proposed for dealing with recalcitrant Governments is certainly preferable to war. But its very mildness. compared with the use of armed force. and the case with which it can be used, may lead to an abuse of the powers it gives And it should he remembered that economic warfare, for instance. can be quite deadly in its effects. Such is the interdependence of the nations to-day that the invocation of these powers against an offender would be almost equivalent to a sentence of death. It is to be hoped that the Security Council will be exceedingly cautious in the application of Clause 41.

Labour Party and Government THE victory won by Mr. Bevin at the meeting of the Parliamentary Labour ?arty on March 27 was not conclusive. Judging by the resolutions tabled for discussion at the National Labour Party at its Whitsun Conference, the Minister for Foreign Affairs will come in for further criticism. Of eighteen resolutions on foreign policy. all but three are adverse to the Government. Five emphasise the need of closer co-operation with Russia, four call for the breaking off of diplomatic relations with Spain. Seventeen resolutions deal with appointments to the Foreign Office and in the diplomatic and consular service. Some of them, indeed. would have the Conference declare that " it does not believe it possible to administer Socialist and democratic foreign policy by men who arc not in sympathy with that policy. and one calls for a purge of the Civil Service as a whole, alleging that, in spite of Labour Ministers, many Government departments are maintaining a continuity of policy at variance with that advocated by Ministers themselves. These criticisms ignore the fact that Members of Parliament arc responsible not to the Party but to their constituencies, a fact made clear when Professor Laski, just before the election, raised the issue. It will be noted also that they suggest the introduction of the American system whereby the Civil Service can he filled by nominees of the Government for the time being in power.

More dangerous still is the assumption made in some resolutions that the Central Office of Information is to be a Government propaganda agency which could and should make and show,in all cinemas films illustrative of Labour policies.




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