Page 4, 12th January 1945

12th January 1945
Page 4
Page 4, 12th January 1945 — SHORTCOMINGS OF ROOSEVELT'S ADDRESS
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Locations: Washington, Moscow, Teheran

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SHORTCOMINGS OF ROOSEVELT'S ADDRESS

PRESIDENT Roosevelt's Mes

sage to Congress failed to reveal any change in an Allied outlook which is serving us rather poorly in this victorious period of

the war. Though the President could scarcely help passing reference to the political and military difficulties of the moment. there was the same bland assurance that all was fundamentally well in the best of possible causes. As for the enemy -apart from the recourse to the stale old adjectives of abuse Congress was treated to a further instalment of the convenient excuse that any differences in our camp were " made in Germany." It may he remarked in passing that there could be no poorer attempt to escape. From the beginning of the war healthy and very , necessary criticism has been stifled because it helps Germany and because the uttering of such criticism renders one liable to the charge of repeating German inventions. Obviously any well-founded criticism is likely to coincide with what the Getman propagandists are saying. They arc not fools, and they know our weaknesses as well as we do. Indeed a timid deal better than many whose business it is tolknnw them. And so long as it is considered unpatriotic to face up to realities, one of our major weaknesses will be this insistence on pretending that everything in the garden is lovely—or as lovely as we can possibly make it.

The truth of courste is that we are living in a world and under moral conditions which involve very deep-seated differences indeed between nations and between men. in fact the fundamental differences between the Allies themselves are not necessarily less important than the differences between them and the enemy, though naturally enough'it is hard to realise this while we are fighting the enemy with weapons and massproduced propaganda. What we take to be the'essential meaning of Fascism. the acknowledged primacy of force. whethei in internal administration or in foreign policy, over spiritually and morally based law, is by no means confined to the enemy camp. Nor, on our side, is it only illustrated in Communism. It is inevitably making in• roads into every country which has ceased to have faith in objective spiritual truth and which is spending the moral capital inherited from past spiritual beliefs. The reason is that the life of society is a constant struggle against the temptation of preferring the easier animal way of behaviour to the rational, and therefore spiritual. With the destruction of faiths and the traditions founded in faith, there is nothing solid to oppose to the temptation.

Seeds of Tyranny OUR conviction is that unless Great Britain and America, two coonhies *here the traditions of Christianity and civilisation have not yet been wholly destroyed, arc prepared to look into themselves and meditate on the above truth, the future of the West is doomed. We believe in all seriousness that the time has come when leaders like Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt should deliberately make their military and political speeches against this deeply serious moral background. So centralised has life become to-day, so entirely orientated arc we all towards two or three world leaders that only they carry sufficient authority and prestige to persuade men in general of the truth.

And the last thing in our mind in saying this is to canvass for some utopian world, some new " perfection

ism," to use the President's term. He is the utopian who deceives himself.or for political reasons tries to deceive others—into the belief that peace and order can be iebeile without attending to the foundations upon which the building will be laid. Any appreciation of the moral realities of our present world can only lead to a very cautious and statesmanlike • realism. And this we need. not only in order to make some sort of progress towards peace after the war, but even to win the war in a manner that gives the smallest hope for the future. The pretence that all is for the best, the psthetic imitation of ofir enemy's etude appeal to force as the only arbiter, have not only prolonged the war, possibly beyond the term when catilisation can be saved, hut has quite !'efinitely sown the seeds of anarchism, evolution and ultimately tyranny in many European countries and prepared a moral and political situation in Germany and Central Europe that will beggar description.

Justice First ! OF course it is true that any moral agreement, in terms of fundamentals and not in terms of the vapid moral abstractions to which we are treated, between Britain and America 'will widen the gap between (hens and Russia. And any such resolution to return to spiritual foundations would inevitably bring out further differences between America and ourselves. But there is the first advantage. We shall at last know where we arc. We shall he able to take some steps, however short and tentetive, on solid earth instead of groping and colliding in the fog of political mysticism.

When we know and accept the knowledge that Soviet Russia intends one way or another to build a great empire on force, we can honestly face the fact. It becomes one of the givens, and our task. instead of blindfolding ourselves and kidding ourselves by attempted justifications of Soviet action. is to plan in terms of this reality. Strong in our faith that peace can only ultimately be built on spiritual foundations, that, whether justice in this world succeeds or not, nothing but justice can be successful, we can, first, seek to secure an area of civilisation where the rule of law can be built up again and made tolerably safe; and. second, lay our plans for the ultimate conversion of Russia to what we, the inheritors of a thousand years of civilisation, know to be truth, but what Soviet Russia. a wholly modem emergence. has not yet realised—and perhaps in her circumstances cannot.

Exactly the same is true in regard to Germany. Our job is not to empty the baby with the bath, but to consider what conditions of relative force offer she best hope of Germany being converted to that spiritual and 'rational way of social life to which we pay lipservice, but which in fact we do not practise because of our vain attempt to create unity where there is only disunity.

REACTION " IN THE BALKANS

THOSE who have insisted that it was patriotic and progressive to back the Left in the Balkans and reactionary to express misgivings about our policy there must now be wondering (If they are honest) whether they were justified. The position has become very curious. In Yugoslavia and Greece there is a deliberate bid, in the name of liberation and anti-Fascism, to establish Left totalitarianism with managed single

list one-party elections. In Yugoslavia considerable pains arc being taken to disguise the reality. But an analysis in the Observer of the methods employed leads to the conclusion : " It appears, therefore,' that the only party which, as such, can claim representation in the Government is the Communist Party, which controls the Movement of National Liberation." We know that in Greece the Communist bid reached such a danger-point that we have been forced to attack the very elements which we had armed for resistance, and a revolutionary general, like. Plastiras, shows himself more uncompromising in regard to E.L.A.S. than the Allies.

Soviet Russia, however, whose press criticises us folappeasing Fascists. doesn't hesitate for a moment to invoke something very like the principle of legitimacy in establishing administrations convenient for its military needs. The Russian-sponsored government in Russian-occupied Hungary is a " Dalian " government, and wherever Russia goes there is never any question of expressing the people's will now or later as to the kind of regime they want. Russia decides and woebetide any critic.

But while Left publicists, who called anti-Tito critics reactionaries, must now realise quite well that force or imperialist utility are the only words with any meaning in Balkan Left resistance, they are too proud and blind to acknowledge that only in the rejected monarchist, middle and peasant classes of these Southern European countries ties any hope of ultimate democracy and moderate Socialism. It is unpleasant to have to back publicly as the only progressive force what you so lately dubbed reaction.

"SECRET DOCUMENTS

THE theft and subsequent pub lication in some 600 U.S. newspapers of quotations from a confidential document in the keeping of the State Department in Washington cannot he lightly dismissed. The last incident of this kind, coming after a series of such occurrences, exhibits the irresponsibility to which the public craving for news is apt to give rise. The gravity of the qffence, in this case, was Increased by the fact that the information thus obtained was used (unjustifiably, says Mr. Stettinius) to support the contention that differences had arisen between the British and American Governments regarding Allied treatment of Italy and thus to impair relations between the two countries.

The term " secret diplomacy " has acquired a sinister sound which is misleading, Especially during a war where enemy propaganda is eager to exploit alleged friction between allies opposed to it and to use the information in its own preparations which indiscreet disclosures gives it is often necessary that the course of negotiations should be known only to those immediately concerned. It is pushing too far belief in democratic government to suggest that the alternative is to make i.nown to the general public everything taking place behind the scenes. There are few to-day, for instance, who

would blame Mr.. Baldwin (as he then was) for increasing armament supplies beyond what Parliament, if it had known, would have endorsed. Certainly the right of the public to know what is being done in its name does not extenuate such thefts as those perpetrated recently in America.

The blame for such thefts, however, does not rest soles! with the individual thief. He is encouraged by the existence of an idle or even malicious curiosity that battens on gossip and especially on the gossip that foments differences. Nor can the diplomatists themselves be held blameless. Recent developments have created suspicion as to what took place at the Moscow and Teheran conferences. At all times the temptation to exploit the immunity from enquiry which diplomacy claims and to exploit it to hide policies that would not stand the test of daylight is strains!. There is, in particular, the suspicion that the customary declaration of " full agreement " may covet serious differences. Such suspicions Provoke attempts to discover the truth by any and every means.

FINDING A JOB THAT the change-over frbm war

conditions to peace will be accompanied by a complete reshuffling of man and woman power is obvious. The prospects point to a sort of game! at musical chairs. The compulsory reinstatement of empfeyees is nbt likely to go far in solving the problem. It is also clear that the Labour bureau will be insufficient to cope with the task_ These arc limited in their scope and leave unprovided for the higher types of employment. The Appointments Offices with various regional branches in different parts of the country are doing a good job in direiting professional workers and the agencies seeking their assistance, and there are also university and professional organisations which deal with specific forms ot the problem. But even these are not adequate to handle the situation. Wisely therefore the Ministry of Labour instituted an enquiry, by a committee of which Lord Flankey is the chairman, concerning higher appointments defined as those above the level of foreman and clerk. The subject of this enquiry, it is stated, is " to find men and women suitahle for posts notified by employers and to help applicants to find posts for which they are best suited." It is added that attention will be given also to the larger task " of making sure, in the interests of the country as a whole, that full and proper use is made in the future ofits greatest single asset, the trained ability and intelligence of its men and women."

Whether this proposed extension of the Appointments Offices will have the desired effect remains to be seen, but as to the desirability of preventing squaye pegs getting into round holes, there can be no question. Apart from the economising of national intelligence. the need to facilitate the individual's problem of fulfilling his or her voca Lion is of the highest importance.




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